Disclaimer: If breastfeeding makes you uncomfortable, you might want to bury your head in the sand, and/or skip this one, but really you might just need to suck it up. Kisses!!!
Many mothers have a vision of what breastfeeding might look like when they are expecting their sweet children. They might find out just how inaccurate that lovely picture is when baby arrives. I, personally, imagined sitting in a beautiful rocker/glider nursing a cooperative baby for about ten minutes at a time. I would be so relaxed and calm and I would easily enjoy every moment as a nursing mother.
Well, then the baby was born. My son had some latching issues. I could go into the gory details but I’ll spare you for now. Here is what I can say: it is not as easy as it looks. In an effort to get my son to latch, I tried every latch known to man and a few that we made up. We tried the normal hold, football hold, and many more! The “two person hold,” is when another person is involved and you are both trying to convince the baby to latch. It is generally unsuccessful. The “crying hold,” is the one where both you and your baby are crying because it isn’t working. The “people are in the room,” hold is the one where you try to hide what’s going on and usually involves two or three blankets and ultimately everyone can see everything anyway (this one is usually only applicable with first time moms).
If you are really lucky, you might get engorged which can lead to mastitis which is super lame. In the early days of breastfeeding, you might have to pump to help with this. There are other ways but this one is very effective but pumping sucks and I hate it. Pumping can also help you just get used to the whole process. It is much easier to pump than nurse at first because the pump doesn’t have any latch issues. The pump isn’t learning how to eat, it is a machine. In the early weeks, you might have to pump late at night. The pump will start to tell you things. You are sleep-deprived and exhausted and the sound the pump makes will start to sound like words or possibly a song. If this happens, finish as quickly as possible and go to bed. You may be able to get five minutes of sleep in before your precious newborn wakes up to nurse…again. Oh and pumping can help with latch too. I’ll just let you imagine why it helps.
Eventually, you will learn how to nurse and sleep at the same time. This will not happen at first. It won’t happen for a looong time. It will be months. In the meantime, Apple has a really good Pinterest app for the iPhone or iPad. 3 am is an excellent time to go on a Pinterest bender or watch shows that you’d never admit to watching during daylight hours (such as, “Make It or Break It,” thank you ABC Family).
You might be feeling discouraged. But this is one of those “you’ve got to spend money to make money” situations. Only instead of money, you have to spend time and sleep. Is it worth it? YES! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Forget about the fact that nothing at all will support your baby’s immune system the way breast milk does and forget about all the studies about the benefits of breastfeeding and the potential issues with formula. There is a major convenience factor. Instead of hauling bottles and formula around, all you have to haul around are your boobs and chances are good that you were already doing that. I’m not trying to guilt anyone into anything, by the way. Generally speaking, what works best for one family might not work at all for another. However, they don’t call it “liquid gold” for no reason. Just sayin.’
It’s worth noting that good support is hard to find. When I recall the advice given to me by the lactation consultant at the hospital, I cringe. I knew more about breastfeeding and I was coming off of Demerol. Whether or not your hospital is supportive of bfing, finding a good LC (lactation consultant) is a crap shoot. Le Leche League to the rescue! You can literally call these people up for advice. Or if you are lucky, your own mother is a former “head hooter” and can give you some good advice. Thanks mom!
Whatever you do, know what your options are. Go out and nurse in public and give the finger to anyone who says you should do it in the bathroom or stay at home. Just don’t even get me started on that.