The Best Infant Parenting Advice I Have Ever Received
Updated: Feb 23, 2021
As an overwhelmed parent struggling to face the every day challenges of new parenthood, I received one piece of advice that changed my approach for the better. And it can apply to tons of different situations.
My son was a few months old (he was a preemie) and I was working with a chiropractor after he had his tongue and lip tie repair. My goal was to get him breastfeeding, but in the meantime I had to pump every 2-3 hours to keep up my milk supply since he was not able to nurse at all when he was born. Pumping (for me) was not only physically exhausting and time consuming, but emotionally exhausting. It was getting to the point where I was triggered every time I had to sit down and hook myself up to that machine. I felt like I was trapped, and that I would never be able to get through it. How could this possibly be worth it?⠀
So one day after an adjustment from the chiropractor, I was leaving the office and the nice receptionist had gotten to know me, and why my baby was a frequent visitor. I'm sure she could see the exhaustion in my face, and my obvious look of despair.
I was turning to leave and she said "Can you do just one more?"
I didn't know what she meant at first. But she went on to ask "Can you do just one more feeding? Can you pump just one more time?" I started to understand what she meant and I said "Yes, of course I can." She told me to only focus on that. To ask myself that same question every single time I sat down to pump. ⠀
I took her advice, and I did it. Not only did I use this advice when I had to pump, I asked myself this question for many situations throughout the day. Anytime I struggled to get him down for a nap or nighttime, anytime I felt like I couldn't possibly wake up throughout the night again, or even anytime I felt like I was too tired to change a diaper! I would just ask myself that question and I would feel so much more hope and confidence in myself. Because the answer was always "YES." Yes of course I can do it just ONE more time. Now if I thought about how many more times I actually was going to have to do those things, it was overwhelming and caused a panic attack. But instead, I was able to focus on the here and now, the present moment. And I could think to myself...
Right now, I only have to do this one time. I don't need to worry or even think about later. I just need to focus on this present moment.
I'm not going to lie, it was still really stressful and hard, but it was such a good tangible tactic I could use to get through the day.
Eventually (4 months and LOTS of therapy and chiropractic care later), my son started to nurse full time. He nursed for 2 and a half years, and I can say now, without a doubt, it was ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT.⠀Every minute spent pumping was worth it. Every tear shed because I had yet another plugged duct was worth it. Because getting to breastfeed my son was so important to me for many reasons, all of that fear, panic, and stress was worth it.
So next time you feel overwhelmed, or stuck, or trapped by something that you have to do... just ask yourself "Can you do just one more?" And I bet you can.
Gina Mydlo, PT, DPT