Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thoughts on Breastfeeding

You can read many books about breastfeeding.

You can consult nurses, lactation consultants, and doulas.

You can study pictures that demonstrate correct positions.

You can know that the baby's lips should be "fish lips."

You can remember that her ear and shoulder and hip should be aligned.

You can keep in mind that you should bring the baby to your boob and not your boob to the baby.

You can use an app on your phone to keep track of time of feedings, length of feedings, and which side the baby was on last.

You can be focused and organized and determined, and so freaking happy to have this opportunity at all.

But it is absolutely impossible to communicate to a 5-day-old baby that she should hold off one godforsaken minute to let you make the necessary adjustments on her latch position before she starts sucking away with her superhuman jaw strength and grinding your nipple into hamburger.

22 comments:

  1. Yep, that about summarizes breastfeeding for the first week or so. I was a crying mess for the first few days because it hurt so freaking bad! I didn't think I could do it, but I wasn't about to give up. It honestly gets easier and your nipples toughen up A LOT! Use some lanolin every time and it will improve. You won't even need it for that long.

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  2. And it doesn't stop. They get even faster and stronger, if that's possible. I've had hickies in places I shouldn't (and Elliot too!) because of that superhuman suck power.

    Also, don't google the word hickies if you are uncertain of the spelling. You're welcome. ;)

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  3. meganalisonsmithJuly 5, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Hang in there! I promise it gets easier! And yes on the Lanolin. I also found that, for me, the Johnsons breast pads were most comfortable and soothing between feedings. I found with the other brands, they rubbed and were itchy/irritating. Just wait until she starts pulling off with that superhuman jaw strength and milk sprays everywhere! ha ha! Oh the joys of breastfeeding. Once you guys both get the hang of it and you aren't so sore, it's pretty much the best thing ever. I promise. ;)

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  4. They are strong little creatures! You have about two seconds to get everything exactly right and then they clamp down and go. So frustrating. It does get better!

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  5. Hang in there - as everyone says, it does get easier.

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  6. Just as everyone has said.. it gets AMAZING! And ps- when she latches improperly don't hesitate to break her suction with your finger and re-latch her! xo

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  7. I hear that superhuman strength is a heritable trait.

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  8. I never really got good at breaking off Luke's latch, that hurt almost as bad or worse as just nursing when his latch wasn't great. It's too bad that nipple shields have issues of their own and are such a PITA to use because they at least help with the pain.

    It does get better. This was about the time where I thought it MUST BE so much easier just to pump and bottlefeed...I am so glad I didn't...that is so much extra work. Hang in there, in a few more weeks, the pain part will be mostly over. You should start pumping a little and getting her used to taking a bottles every once in awhile (we tried to do one bottle a day), pretty soon though. You don't want a baby that refuses to take a bottle! And that will give you a break at least for one feeding. (Luke actually started getting bottles of breastmilk in the hospital after every feeding because they pressured us so hardcore to supplement him when it wasn't necessary. He never really ended up preferring the bottle over breast so I tend to think that risk is overhyped.) If you wait till you go back to work to introduce bottles though, there's a good chance she'll refuse them by then.

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  9. Also, I usually kept a pillow nearby so I could dig my fingers in it when getting him latched was excruitating. It might have just been a mental thing, but it helped, I think.

    And you may be able to appreciate this article...
    http://www.parenting.com/article/suck-it-the-real-way-to-prep-for-nursing?cid=obinsite it's a favorite of mine, especially the "suckle a wolverine" part. :) (It really does get easier though, promise! Someday it won't hurt at all! I know that is hard to imagine the first few weeks.)

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  10. From one hamburger nipppled mum to another, I salute you.
    It is hard to know what to say in circumstances like this, because it does get easier and EVERYYYYYONE said that to me, but I couldn't past the end of my own hamburgered nipple, let alone one two, six or 12 weeks in to the future. But the truth is, it does get better so hang in there.
    I don't like giving advice either, but the only thing that saved me and allowed me to continue nursing Angus t through those first hamburger months was a nipple shield. Without it, I'd probably have had to stop.
    I can say it was a whole lot easier the second time around, so there is a vote of confidence to try for another baby some day. Because, you know, you're totally thinking about THAT right now.
    Hang in there mama. Toes are curling over now just thinking about that pain.
    xo

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  11. Oh honey, breastfeeding can really suck at first! Just keep telling yourself that it WILL get better. You can read books and she's got an instinct, but you both still have to learn to do it *together*, and that takes practice. Even with experience, the first couple of weeks are hard (breastfeeding my second was harder than my first). It is totally worth it, though.

    I second the recommendation to pop her off when it's not right, even if you are popping and popping and popping. And nipple shields can be a GODSEND, despite the bad information out there. If you are really creaked or bleeding, they give you a little bit of protection. Talk to an LC about them - a nipple shield made it possible for me to nurse my first, and made it easier with my second.

    It gets better. It is worth the effort. It gets better.

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  12. It does hurt so much at first! And you just have to work it out - you and the baby - while you try not to scream when she latches on. I'm sure you've had everything under the sun suggested to you. Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple cream worked really well for me, as did the soothing pads you put in the fridge. My midwife suggested rotating the baby clockwise when I was super sore, which helped a ton. That way I wasn't always latching him on at the same angle ... I hope that makes sense.

    I'm sorry your nipples are hamburger, but I am so, so, so happy for you.

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  13. It is hard. My little one trys to pull it in like a straw??? 3 weeks in and my nipples are still aching and this is not my first time doing this. But just keep at it, it will get easier I hope ;).

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  14. No truer words were ever written.

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  15. That shit hurts, no doubt about it.
    You're doing awesome.

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  16. I feel your pain..no really I do. I was clenching my jaw so tightly the first month my teeth were hurting! At a little over two months I am not clenching my teeth or curling my toes, but they are still very sensitive. Everyone has suggestions and time lines of when it gets better, but it must be on a case by case basis.

    Breastfeeding is no joke. It hurts like hell, but what a great problem to have right?!? We are SO lucky...that's what I keep telling myself ;)

    Hang in there...I hear it really does get better, but know you are not alone!

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  17. Be thankful she's good a latching on. My Frostina never got the hang of it and has now started refusing the breast all together. So I'm stuck pumping all the time.... which sucks and is hard to manage when she won't sleep.

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  18. Something that helped me when she would first latch on was to have my husband massage that shoulder with pressure. It "tricked" my body about where the pain was at and he stopped after she was latched and I was past the initial discomfort. Also- mercy hospital has a free breastfeeding group on Wednesdays at 1:00. I found it beneficial to go so I could ask a LC questions and get confirmation that I was doing it correctly. Keep going!!!! It does get better;)

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  19. I'm posting this anonymously, because I know there could be backlash. But you don't have to breastfeed to be a good mom. You already are a good mom. If, after you've given it your best shot, it is making you both miserable, remember that you have to do what's best for you in order to do what's best for her.

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  20. I have no experience at this at all. But, I know you can overcome this hurdle as well. Waiting for that post where you outline your best practices. On a superficial level, I can say try all positions and see what works for you and for Caro. I can certainly understand your pain. Hoping this gets easier as others have pointed mentioned.

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  21. I agree with Anonymous!. :)

    Either way, your baby has an awesome mom. Good on you for keeping at it but you have to do what's best for both you and the baby. Do what you gotta do!

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  22. Lol they don't tell you how hard it is for something so natural. It does get easier. Julius would clamp down on me for the 1st like 4 weeks. Baby girl would latch on, suck, and pop off over and over. It killed my uterus everytime bc it was contracting so much. It hurt so bad. I just started popping Advil earlier with her than I did with Julius and that helped. But just getting her on often also helped because she wasnt so super hungry and impatient. It takes time for them (& us) to get the hang of it. Hang in there

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