Of course I knew that this was not going to be easy but little did I fathom how bloody difficult it actually was going to be. I mean come on!! As mammals, as mothers, this should come naturally to me, right? Wrong! Absolutely wrong.
At the hospital, I did have skin to skin, and he did have a drink within the first 40minutes he was born. So that was A GOOD START. But during the time I was in the hospital, I did need help from the nurses to have him LATCH. But I pegged that down to exhaustion – after all, I had just had a baby.
But even after I came home, things didn’t improve. He wasn’t latching on well. But I was determined to make sure he drank and that led to me having nipples which had gone to hell. Sore, bruised, almost to the point of bleeding. In immense bloody pain. And because I wasn’t able to feed him well, the breasts were too full and that was a lot of pain as well. I did not know how to get him to drink, so I would wait till he was starving and crying and offer him my breast and he would chomp down angrily and hungrily. Not fun at all.
And then I contacted Tracey Tootell, who is a certified midwife/lactation consultant. And that did change my life. She was definitely like a heaven-sent for me. Taught me easier ways to help him latch, and advised on how to know if he is feeding well, and most importantly, upped my confidence. Even now, when I was feeling doubtful about breastfeeding, all I need to do is to reach out to her, and I know she will motivate me.
I would highly recommend Tracey, and if you are planning to breastfeed, especially if you are on baby number one, A QUALIFIED LACTATION CONSULTANT IS WORTH EVERY PENNY YOU SPEND. PS – getting a lactation consultant isn’t as expensive as I first thought it would be.
One thing to remember is to have THE RIGHT POSTURE – SIT UP STRAIGHT, REST YOUR BACK AGAINST SOMETHING AND TO RELAX YOUR SHOULDERS WHILE FEEDING. My shoulders get into quite a knotted state when I’m in an uncomfortable position. I did consider an armchair – a nursing chair, but at the time I didn’t quite have space in our bedroom, and our living room is already filling up with baby stuff. So I picked what I thought was the next best thing: A BREASTFEEDING PILLOW, and I am so glad I did. It puts my bubs in a better position to latch on, and occasionally I can remove my arms from under him, to have a sip of water or to simply stretch. Another trick that calms me is DRINKING WATER; I always try and have a big gulp of water while I am feeding.
I also occasionally pump and give him the bottle when my nipples or arms are completely sore. It gives both of us a break.
If it looks like a long session of breastfeeding, I pick up a book, or pull up some videos on my phone. It keeps me amused while my baby is busy getting his fill, and basically just hanging out on my boob because he likes it.
I have learnt that it is not something we can cheat on. It is something we need to be committed to. If milk doesn’t go out, more milk doesn’t get produced. And that could affect the supply.
Two weeks on,
I still have times when I want to throw in the towel, when my little champ is crying his lungs out at 4am, and I am struggling to get him to latch, but to see him get it right and drink to his heart’s content, that is immensely beautiful and satisfying for me as his mommy. Because that is our time, our space, mommy and her boy, and no one can come in between that. I quite love the times I think he’s looking into my face, studying his mommy dearest. Even with the occasional bite that makes you want to scream in pain, I think it’s still AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE.
PS – my husband loves watching the drama that leads up to the feeding. Me chastising my little one to open his mouth, or to move away his hands. Cutie doesn’t know how to use his hands yet, and tends to push my breast away rather than pull it closer. Husband says it would make the funniest home video ever to see our lil fun struggle at the start of every feed.