This morning when I dropping off my daughter at preschool, I was telling a fellow mommy (of two) about this blog. She seemed intrigued, and eager to voice her #1 thing, she wished, someone would have told her. The truth about “how hard breastfeeding really is!” She was not surprised when I told her that’s what I was writing about today. I know I did touch on breastfeeding a little in an earlier blog, but it is definitely worthy of its own day (possibly two), I nearly scratched the surface (on an already painful nipple) is all. She said, “oh, everyone talks about delivery, and how hard that is, but no one talks about the challenges of breastfeeding”. I completely agree! Hence, why I saved my time (so I thought), and money, and skipped that class at Sutter. I thought, why do I need to pay someone to tell me the obvious. You just whip-out your boob and your baby latches on to your protruding nipple eagerly awaiting the release of the over abundant milk supply it has been harvesting over the course of your pregnancy…right? Even my three-year old thought this to be true…just look at her whipping it out. She thought to herself, how hard could it be to feed “George”?
I was, as are many, shocked to discover that it is not that easy. First off, when you “whip it out” there are many ways to do so depending on the “hold” of your baby (usually dependant on your breast size and their latch ) and the angle at which their little mouths will be facing. By the way sports fans, a “football hold”, though sounds cool, is not necessarily the best position for you or your baby. Seriously…who knew that even holding your baby to breastfeed would be difficult? Don’t you just cradle them and gaze into their adorable innocent eyes and rock them in that over-priced, not-so-comfy chair you got for the nursery. While you are rocking it that chair, I suggest you consider how you will be whipping it out in public? Will you be using a Hooter Hider or going all naturel? Or do you plan on bottle-feeding while out and about (assuming your baby will even take a bottle…another challenge)? If you live in Davis, like I do, or another granola town(you know the type), you better hope there is breast milk in those bottles. Don’t worry formula bottle-feeders, I will get to you (us) next.
Then you tell yourself, well, at least my nipple is willing and able. Not always, as I explained in my 10th confession. If you don’t suffer from inverted nipples like I do, there is still a whole slew of things that can go wrong with your nipple, and your babies latch. The first time my daughter latched on, well so I had thought, she gave my boob hickies. I hadn’t had one of those since highschool, but now, my boobs were covered in them. I thought she was getting all the milk she needed as she suckled away, only to find out she was getting nothing. In fact, the first few days in the hospital (until the lactationist made her rounds to me), I had to pump my breasts, and the nurse would “cup feed” her. No wonder, it took her weeks to gain back her birth weight. She was probably starving! I know she was that Easter Sunday when she was only 14 days-old…we were in Berkley (another granola town) and we lost my nipple shield at my aunt’s house (remember, she couldn’t latch (eat) without it). My husband and I frantically drove to Target (the only convenient place you can really buy them it seems) only to discover that Target decided to close ALL it’s doors for Jesus! Now, I am no atheist, but really… closed? I mean, it’s not christmas for crying-out-loud. Which by the way, my daughter, and myself were doing plenty of that. Given I was so new to this motherhood thing, I thought there was nothing worse than not being able to feed your child when they are hungry (now I know there are much worse things). Some women don’t even have any milk for the baby to drink in the first place. The first few days after delivery, you only produce colostrum, this thick yellowy goodness, and then you sit around and wait for this abundant milk supply you have been hearing about. For some, it is not so abundant when it does actually come in or let down, as it is called in the industry, and could take weeks. Many women, end up changing their diet or drink special tea’s to try to increase their supply. Nothing about feeding is easy. I HIGHLY recommend you actually listen to the lactation nurse that visits you so annoyingly in the wee hours during your hospital stay. If you are a lucky one, who doesn’t encounter any issues at the hospital, you most likely will only see the lactationist once, or not all. I seriously suggest you take some notes when she is there, or at least accept the business card she will offer. You never know when you might need her help. You have heard the phrase, “it takes a village”, motherhood is no exception.
more to come on this feeding frenzy tomorrow…