One thing I was sure of when I found out I was pregnant: I was going to breastfeed my baby. Yep, this was my goal. I pictured myself lovingly looking down at that perfect face while feeding her, baby staring at me in appreciation, carefully storing milk in the freezer for when I went back to work. Everything was planned and calculated. Breast-pump? Check. Tote bag? Check. Storage Bags? Check. Nipple Pads? Check. Nipple Cream? Check. And so on, and so on. But then, I gave birth and the moment came to breastfeed my baby…and I hated it!!!
“She’s not even a week old and I can’t even feed her!”
Not as easy as they say, folks. For some mommies, the process of lactation comes naturally. Baby latches on, milk flows, and all is well with the world. For me? Complete agony. My modest 34B size breasts were engorged but nothing came out. Pain was the word of the day. Baby couldn’t latch on properly, so add to this a LOT of frustration and feelings of failure.
And then, baby finally gets it…and it hurts like hell. Sorry, they say breastfeeding doesn’t hurt, that if it does, “you’re not doing it right.” Wrong. Unless you’re used to a lot of nipple pulling and sucking (hey, to each his own…), it takes a while to get used to it. Honestly? I almost gave up. My nipples were sore, bleeding, a new kind of pain.
“I can’t do this!”
I cried, I whimpered, I succumbed to formula-feeding because baby lost a bit of weight while in the hospital, I wasn’t producing enough milk. I went through every stage a first time mom goes through.
But, after a lot of reading, of asking for advice, in a few weeks, it all just clicked. I kept at it, and I started noticing I hadn’t used all the little bottles of formula. Time kept passing and then I noticed I hadn’t needed to use ANY bottle of formula. My baby was happy, chubby cheeked and, bonus, not colicky.
So, fellow first time mommy, know this: Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t come easy. It takes practice and PATIENCE. Ask for advice, reach out to support groups, like La Leche League International, breathe deep and don’t give up. You can do this. Your body knows what to do, keep trying, the more you do, the more you stimulate milk production. And if after a while you’re not able to breastfeed your little one, or choose not to for any reason, no worries, this doesn’t define you, it doesn’t make you less of a mommy. Keep your head up, smile, and feed that baby, however you can!