Breastfeeding is harder than I thought it would be! I had no idea. It didn’t occur to me to prepare for breastfeeding by taking classes and reading books.
I assumed it would happen without any effort on my side. All I knew was breastfeeding is natural and I wanted to nurse my baby. I knew it was best for my baby.
Getting your baby to Latch
I didn’t know you had to teach your baby how to latch. I didn’t even know what latching was. But not all babies know to open their mouths wide enough to latch onto the nipple.
When my daughter was born the nurse handed her to me and no matter what we tried she would not latch. I thought all I had to do was hold my precious bundle of joy in front of my breast and she’d be getting her fill of milk.
Yeah, it doesn’t happen that way! I was completely unaware of the difficulties of breastfeeding.
Giving birth to my daughter was not easy. I was in labor with her for about 15 hours. It ended with a vacuum extraction. You can read more about my first birth here.
A few days after her birth I went to see the lactation nurse. The nurse showed me different positions to hold my baby to get her to latch. But my little miss wasn’t opening her mouth up wide enough to get a proper latch.
The lactation nurse showed me how to tape a tube to my breast to drip some drops of milk into her mouth. By doing this it would encourage her to open her mouth wider to get her to latch.
That worked well when I was in the office. At 3 am though, when little miss was screaming for milk, I didn’t have time to tape and position a tube to my breast.
I was also unaware of how much breastfeeding hurts! It might not hurt as badly as labor did, but it’s close. The pain comes from cracked nipples and engorged breasts. Which are very common when you first start breastfeeding.
I Failed at Breastfeeding
Unfortunately, I failed to breastfeed my daughter. Not knowing what I was doing and afraid she was going to starve, I panicked and started to give her a bottle. I felt so horrible that I couldn’t get her to latch.
Later, I found out, a possibility she wouldn’t latch was because she had a sore chin from the vacuum extraction. So she couldn’t open her mouth wide enough. I could have gotten her help for the sore chin but I didn’t know that at the time.
Though I couldn’t get her to latch, little miss was still going to have breast milk. I committed to pumping and feeding her with a bottle. That made life a little difficult. It was like I was feeding two babies. I had to feed my daughter a bottle and pump afterward.
Doing this was hard in the beginning. Especially in the middle of the night. But I stuck with it until she was six months old before I gave up.
I felt like a failure when our breastfeeding journey ended and I felt guilty about it too. The guilt stayed with me for years.
Three years later when I was pregnant with my son, I got another chance to try again. I knew I was going to be successful in my breastfeeding journey this time.
This time around I made sure to research as much information as I could. So I would be successful at breastfeeding.
Books that helped me learn more about breastfeeding were:
Websites that were helpful:
Second Chance at Breastfeeding
When my son was born it was a lot easier to get him to latch. Learning more about breastfeeding helped me a lot the second time around.
Everything was going well in the hospital but when we got home it wasn’t that easy. I missed the hospital bed where I first fed him and the nurses that helped me position him.
Everything felt all wrong and I couldn’t get him to latch. Then my partner said to me that I was overthinking it and it would come naturally to the both of us.
He was right! I listened to what he said and relaxed. All I had to do was stop freaking out and let my little mister find his way to the milk and he did! It took a few days to get him to latch right every time but we figured it out.
Almost three years later and he’s still attached to me! Some days I love it and some days not so much but I’ll save that for another post!
Was getting your baby to latch hard for you? I would love to hear about your breastfeeding story in the comments!
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