My battle with breastfeeding began the night Ella was born. I was in my hospital bed and she was handed to me. I pretended like I knew what I was doing and let Ella go to town and it hurt, real bad, I mean real bad. But, I thought, this must be the way it is. The next morning I woke up to find some seriously sore and bruised nipples. Now, not only did I do the wrong thing, I was going to be sore for a long time. Lesson learned: if it hurts badly enough to make you cringe, your baby is probably not latched on correctly.
Latching on, I feel, is the most difficult part of breastfeeding because once you've got your baby to latch on correctly, you're on your way to breastfeeding success. So, how do you ensure a good latch? First, when you're in the hospital, demand to see your lactation consultant. He or she is the key to your success before you leave the hospital. Once you leave the hospital you are on your own, so be sure to take advantage of the time you have. Ask the consultant to watch you feed your baby and then ask for pointers. If you're not keen on your consultant, ask a nurse. Many of them breastfed their babies and they are always eager to help. Make sure though, to get advice from one perspective and keep it that way. If you are given pointers about breastfeeding from every nurse on the floor, you're probably going to end up very confused and frustrated. Also, try to feed your baby at a time when he or she is just beginning to get hungry. Your baby will probably start rooting (basically, lip movements and sounds that look like your baby is eating) and then you will know, it's time to get prepared. If you wait too long, your baby will be too hungry and the crying will ensue with little to no success on your part.
Once you've got a good latch, you'll know it, and it will feel right. A good latch looks like this. You won't be cringing either, that's for sure. Even though you may get a good latch one day, another day might be a different story, therefore I had anxiety about feeding Ella for the first 3 or 4 weeks of her life and I really didn't get comfortable with breastfeeding until about a month in. The good news is though, that once you've got the hang of it and your baby does too, it's pretty much smooth sailing, except for a couple other challenges...more on that later. For now, you know, latching on is important, so be prepared and if you do have any questions, be sure to let me know.
|Ella looking pretty tired after eating a good meal.|