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I'm a pretty detail-orientated person. I've always been like that, but it wasn't until nursing school that I started to become a bit more of a perfectionist, especially when it came to my education. Sitting in the lecture hall, I would frantically be scribbling notes in my copy of the PowerPoint and when I ran out of room, my equally detail-obsessed study partner would slap a Post-It note over what I had just written so I could continue my frantic note-taking for that particular slide.
Like I said, I started to become a little more of a perfectionist.
There are several things in my pregnancy I started to become slightly consumed with once I got over the terror of a miscarriage in my first trimester. But nothing baby-related has taken over my time and Pinterest boards more than breastfeeding , or more specifically, trying to learn everything humanly possible about that method of feeding my child.
I pinned articles onto Pinterest. I regularly went to the websites of La Leche League and KellyMom. I asked my new mom friends all sorts of awkward questions about the intricate points of breastfeeding. I wanted to be prepared. I wanted to be successful when that moment would come shortly after my daughter was birthed when the nurse would ask, "Would you like to try breastfeeding now?"
Last week, my husband and I attended the first of several new parent prep classes: a breastfeeding class taught by a women with eight children, all whom where breastfed. She introduced herself and passed out folders of information to all of us. I started thumbing through it and came across the paper copy of the PowerPoint.
Honestly, breastfeeding is intimidating. There is so much to learn. While no one has a handle on it all, it's an art, and so much dedication seems to have to go into it in order to be successful.
I spent the next two-and-a-half hours taking way more notes than was probably healthy. I mean, really, what am I going to do with them? Bring them to the hospital with me and review them between contractions? (Actually, that may be a good distraction tool.)
Honestly, breastfeeding is intimidating. There is so much to learn. While no one has a handle on it all, it's an art, and so much dedication seems to have to go into it in order to be successful. Sitting in class that evening, listening to the instructor and taking notes, I felt like there would be a test later. The test being when she is placed on my chest and the nurses tell me, "You have one hour. Bathroom breaks with a pass only. Here is your number two pencil and a Boppy. Good luck."
So now that I have articles pinned, and websites bookmarked and breastfeeding moms on speed dial, there is only one thing left to remember about feeding my baby.
Allowing myself some grace. To let myself feel inadequate those first few days. To forgive myself for feeling awkward about positioning my baby, or for crying when I can't get her to latch in the dead of night and she's screaming her head off. To tell myself it's better to not be a perfectionist right now. Even if I can't feed her the way I first intended and all my learning has gone out the window, my baby will still be ok.