During my pregnancy I found and armed myself with several breastfeeding resources because I knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as photos and experienced mamas make it seem. But what I wasn’t expecting was for it to be one of the HARDEST things I’ve ever had to learn to do.
I have relatively flat nipples but was encouraged by my midwife to just try right off the bat because maybe baby girl would do fine with it. Our first breastfeeding experience happened about 30 minutes or so after the c-section while we were in recovery. I was so thankful for this experience and wanted to breastfeed so badly that I just had her latch on and we tried. It did hurt a bit but I kept going in hopes that we would just figure it out. It had looked like her mouth position was correct and I thought I would just get used to the feeling. In the next 2 days baby had lost 10% from her birth weight and I was so sore and bruised that I couldn’t stand trying to feed anymore. One of the nursery nurses gave me a nipple shield to try but that should have been given to me long before and I couldn’t handle the pain with that either. Because of the loss from her birth weight I was being hounded by some of the staff to supplement with formula. Thankfully my milk was starting to come in at this point so I had them bring me a pump. This was a good compromise to me because the pumping would allow my nipples to heal and I would be able to give her the milk that I was starting to produce. I just prayed that giving her a bottle wouldn’t interfere with her being able to latch.
When we left the hospital I was still pumping and having to feed every two hours to get her weight up. The day after leaving the hospital we had a home visit from a nurse at our birth center and she could visibly see the shield would not yet work with the bruising so we did syringe finger feeding and stopped using a bottle so that it would be easier to transition back to the breast. We had an appointment a few days later with a great lactation consultant and tried the shield right away. Baby did great at latching on and all the concern about her weight melted away because her pre and post feeding weight increased by almost 3 ounces! By this time it was a week after her birth, but I was so happy that she had that great feeding to get us started.
Back at home we had several difficult feedings. I most likely added to the stress because I was nervous about her getting enough milk and putting on good weight. Not to mention being very emotional from the postpartum hormonal shifts. Breastfeeding has been the farthest thing from easy and without the right support from family, friends and medical personnel early on I completely understand why so many women believe they are not able to breastfeed even if they really want to. If it is really what you want to do, then I urge you to seek out all the resources and support that you can.
Today marks 6 weeks of breastfeeding which was my first goal and I’m so proud of us!!
Next goal is 8 weeks!
I’m going to set a shorter time period because sometimes large numbers scare me and it seems more manageable.