Fiction – Remember to Relax – Sarah M Jasat

Illustration by the fantastic @LifeOfHedge

Remember to Relax

Find a comfortable space. Perhaps in bed with the pillows propped up behind you, or your favourite armchair. 

sounds nice

It does, doesn’t it? It’s best to be as relaxed as possible for this beautiful and natural process.

a bit hard to relax though, with the screaming

Your baby will give many signs that she is ready for a feed. Early signs include “rooting”, turning her head from side to side and making a sucking movement with her mouth.

she’s basically screaming her head off

Screaming is a later sign of hunger. It is best to respond at an earlier stage as agitated babies can struggle to feed.

well i was trying to get upstairs to my comfortable space. not so easy to do with a screaming newborn. so now what?

Begin by lining up her nose with your nipple--

she’s on

Excellent. Getting the right latch is essential for effective feeding--

is it meant to hurt this much?

Excessive pain could be a sign of incorrect latch. Slide your finger between the baby’s mouth and your breast to break suction, then try again.

oh god she’s going mental now and there’s milk everywhere

Babies can become agitated when removed from the breast prematurely.

you’re telling me! ok she’s back on, I think that’s right. still hurts though?

Some minor discomfort is very common, especially in the early days following childbirth, or when your breasts have become uncomfortably full. 

minor discomfort?? feels like she’s drawing blood. 

The important thing is that your baby is feeding. The nutrients in your breastmilk--

how long is this going to last?

Feed duration varies. During the newborn phase feeds can be up to two hours.

what???? but when am i going to eat? or sleep?

It’s important to eat and drink frequently to maintain your milk supply. Many mothers batch cook and freeze individual portions in the weeks prior to childbirth.

bit late for that now, isn’t it? it still really hurts, i think it’s getting worse

Tension can cause pain while breastfeeding. Remember to relax. 

the pain makes relaxing kind of hard, actually

If you have a partner, or close family nearby, we’d recommend asking them for help.

not really an option right now

You may find it beneficial to connect with other new mothers through mum and baby meetup groups and share your concerns

they’ve cancelled those coz of lockdown though, haven’t they? you’re more or less all i’ve got

Many mothers find breastfeeding a challenge in the early days, but the majority report improvements over time and come to enjoy the nursing experience.

that’s good to know i guess. sounds like it’s going to be a difficult few months though

There is something else you could try. It helps a lot of new mothers. 

screaming? 

Something else.

what’s that then?

Take a deep breath and look at her face.

oh. 
yes that is something. 
that’s everything

Sarah M Jasat lives in Leicester, UK, and has read a lot of books on breastfeeding, some of which have been helpful. ‘Remember to Relax’ is her first piece published online for which she drew on her own experience of how isolating and hopeless early motherhood can feel, as well as the humour and love that is to be found in it. Her short fiction is upcoming at Reflex Fiction and Bandit Fiction, and explores individual struggles within the constraints of traditional families. She dreams about writing a novel for older children if only she could get her own child to go to sleep.

Connect with Sarah on Twitter: @SarahMJasat

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