The story of a new physician mother

My baby was crying non-stop as soon as we got her home. She tried to latch and did well, but I had no way of knowing how much nutrition she was getting. I counted the diapers, and the numbers were just barely on track, and she was making small quantities. I was trying to Google more tips with one hand and nurse her with the other. She was suffering, and I was desperately trying to find the information I needed. She did not sleep. My nipples were bleeding and burning. And I had not slept in three days. I developed an aversion to nursing due to the pain and fatigue but would do anything to calm her and feed her. I am a physician, and I can figure this out, I insisted. I started to withdrawal from phone calls and did not ask for help. I suffered for it. This was the most devastating experience of my life. I was not prepared for motherhood, and I was unraveling.

As a physician, I thought I knew a good deal about infant care. I read through The Harriet Lane Handbook during medical school, read What to Expect When You Are Expecting and began reading the American College of Pediatrics recommended text. I watched a prenatal class that taught lactation techniques and about the process of giving birth. I was preparing for the greatest test of my life and felt confident that I had it handled. After all, I am now a cardiology fellow who is juggling fellowship, research, graduate school and studying for the internal medicine boards. I know how to prepare, so I thought.

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