So one of the most annoying, and downright aggravating things about the first few weeks of my being a mom is that I got 9 billion conflicting opinions about how to feed my little one. Between the 2 pediatricians, 4-5 nurses and the lactation consultant, not to mention well-meaning family and friends – everyone had a different opinion on what I should be doing. Don’t give a pacifier, it’ll confuse the baby. Nurse, nurse, nurse. Supplement. Don’t supplement, the baby will never go back to the breast. Give a pacifier. Give baby to the nurse for the night and get some sleep. Room-in and do skin-to-skin. Do what’s right for you (as IF I knew what that was given I’ve never done this before, I just wanted the baby to be ok, wanted to do what’s best for her but also wanted to live without constant pain). “It’s a process..” – that might have been my favorite at the time. Meanwhile I was drugged up and hormonal and couldn’t make a decision to save my life and I really wanted to tell everyone to f*ck off. Between the pain, frustration and problems Maya had gaining weight (she is still only slowly gaining)….I was ready to throw in the towel…but I persisted.
So fast forward 6 weeks… I gave the baby the pacifier so Evan and I could sleep (though now she rarely wants it as she is smart enough to know it is NOT my nipple), and she still goes to the boob. I supplemented, and not only did that help Maya gain back her birth weight while she was learning to nurse, but the baby went back to the breast…now better than ever and she still gets two bottles a day, one of breast milk one of formula (and she hasn’t yet grown horns or done any of the other terrible things all the lactanazis threatened she might do if she ingested the dreaded formula).
I thought I had a breast infection this past week and was having excruciating pain while and especially in between feeds so I called my OB. She checked me out and sent me to the lactation consultant (I’m still convinced I had an infection which was cleared up by antibiotics I was taking for something else but that is another post)…I was reluctant to do this as this was the woman who made me feel like dookie in the hospital for supplementing. We had a phone consultation and she was helpful which convinced me to go to the breastfeeding support group at the hospital. The group got me out of the house, helped me with my latch (Maya now usually only takes 1-5 minutes to latch instead of 25) and positioning, and showed me that some ladies are way worse off than me in terms of handling the stress of this “natural” thing we are supposed to be doing and/or their supply.
My real wish is that before anyone gets pregnant or at least delivers their baby and has intended to breastfeed – it is made ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that lactating/breastfeeding is an acquired skill. Even if you take a class – your newborn didn’t and it might not come naturally to her. She might chomp down as she is afraid the boob will never come back. She might get so excited she is getting yummy food that she will flail her little arms, blocking the nipple from entering her mouth, preventing the exact thing she wants (thus making her scream and her mother cry.) Also, the fake baby you used in class did none of these things, so no matter how well you did there – you could suck at all the “holds” in real life. And no matter how well you did in high school or college, you might suck royally at this. But, miraculously – it does get better (Sonya and Nancy you didn’t lie!). And I have made it to the 6 week magic mark and I find myself wanting to breastfeed instead of pump as it is less of a PITA. Still hurts sometimes, but totally tolerable at this point (thank you ibuprofen) and the look in her eyes as she nurses is all worth it.