FEATURE STORY, MOTHERHOOD

First Latch

The first latch after birth was a momentous moment for me because it was the first time one of my babies latched right away. Instinctively, I knew what to do. I didn’t feel confused or nervous about breastfeeding my baby. Not this time as I had with my past birth experiences.

That first latch was also a beautiful moment for me because it was the first time I felt very confident with breastfeeding. Yes, after having my 6th baby, this moment with Zaya was the first time I felt sure of myself.

First Latch: Breastfeeding Newborn

It’s not a glamorous photo of myself, but to me, it’s a beautiful image because it was a real moment. Still in the labor and delivery room. Still drenched with sweat, hair a mess, swollen face and body, doctors and nurses cleaning me up. Sometimes the best photographs are the ones that are caught in the moment.

When I had Elijah, Michala, and Zhen, skin-to-skin was never offered to me. In fact, I didn’t learn about skin-to-skin until I had Zechariah in 2015! To me, it was a new concept, but I know skin-to-skin is something that moms have been doing for a very long time. 

When I had Zephaniah (2017), he had trouble latching after birth so I decided to pump and feed him the colostrum with a bottle. A doctor and nurse tried to discourage me from pumping and wanted me to use formula instead. But I stood my ground and pumped my baby’s breastmilk and continued to work on his latch at home. Around 3 weeks old, Zephaniah finally latched onto both sides and our breastfeeding journey lasted for 30 MONTHS! 

Breastfeeding a Newborn | First Latch After Birth
Skin-to-skin with Zaya

And taking it all the way back to 18 – 20 years ago when I had my older two children, I was discouraged from breastfeeding and encouraged to use formula (even though I was perfectly capable of breastfeeding. But see, I didn’t know that.) I was a new mom and lacked the proper breastfeeding education and support that I needed. 

Being 19 and 21, you don’t get the same support with pregnancy, labor, birth, and motherhood like you do when you’re a little older. You’re treated like a child and many people don’t have much respect for you, especially if you’re an unwed mother. At least, that was my experience two decades ago. (I even had a midwife constantly insult me and put me down for being a young mom.)

So Zaya’s first latch after birth was very special to me because it made me feel empowered as a mother and as a woman.

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