Story by: Norton Healthcare on June 23, 2016
The breastfeeding classes I took before having my first baby were far and away the best thing to prepare me. No books could have prepared me for what I was about to experience after Jude was born. Without those classes and the support of my family in those first 10 to 14 days, I think I would have quit trying to breastfeed.
I remember the in-hospital lactation consultant referring to Jude as a “rigorous” nurser — not really the word I was hoping for. Finally, after our third lactation session at the hospital, I felt like I had the hang of it enough to help him latch properly. The problem was, up to that point I had been struggling with a proper latch and was extremely sore.
When I went home I was committed to making breastfeeding work. I spent my non-nursing moments with cooling ice packs, lanolin cream and standing in the hot shower waiting for my milk to come in.
When it finally came in after five days, I felt like it was a turning point in our breastfeeding. Jude seemed more satisfied, became less “rigorous,” and we both became more relaxed. The next week was still a challenge, though, as cracked nipples turned into scabbed nibbles, and it was extremely painful for the initial latch. But once that healed, it really was smooth sailing. It’s exhausting being the sole supplier of food for your baby, especially in the beginning when you have to nurse every 2½ to three hours.
I try to be honest with first moms about my initial breastfeeding struggles. For me, just committing to it for two weeks really got me over the hump. If you want to breastfeed, just know that it won’t be easy. Educate yourself on what to expect, so you won’t be surprised with how difficult it is. But also educate yourself on the enormous health benefits it provides your baby and you. Because I was educated and knew it would be difficult — but remained committed — I was able to breastfeed Jude for eight months, and Bryce for two years!
Your body doesn’t always allow it to work out this way, so don’t feel upset or guilty if your breastfeeding experience doesn’t last, or you decide not to try to breastfeed. There’s too much pressure on moms as it is, and you don’t need this to be one more thing. Let’s support one another in our decisions on how it’s best to feed our babies — whether that’s with formula from day one or breastfeeding for years.
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