Friday, February 11, 2011

It sure takes a lot of work

A few weeks ago I posted about how hard breast feeding is. Having had to relearn how to get a proper latch once again I feel it bears repeating. Breast feeding is hard, it's painful to get the hang of and boy does it ever take up a lot of time.

The Bean was born weighing a whopping big 9lb 2.5oz and because she wasn't able to breastfeed for two hours after she joined us on the outside; the rest of our first day together was spent with her trying to catch up on those lost two hours when I was in recovery. The result was two very blistered nipples and very painful latches while in the hospital.

I have a theory about breast feeding in the hospital. The nurses are there to make sure that your baby is being fed and to get her latched on; not necessarily to sit with you for however long it takes for you to get the hang of holding the baby, bringing the baby to the breast, waiting until the baby's mouth is open wide enough and all the other little things that make up a good latch. These ladies have so many things to do that when they do come in to help it's to get it done fast and get back to whoever else is ringing them for help. Learning in that environment is near impossible. Since on top of the kamikaze breast feeding lessons you also have visitors coming in and out, nurses coming in to test vitals, and you're also trying to get acquainted with the little life you've been lugging around for the past nine months.

It wasn't until I was at home and the health nurse called to follow up and I asked for a home visit that I was able to get the whole latching thing down. Learning how to get that latch once I was at home was so much easier for many reasons not least of which is that it's a one on one experience and she's there to make sure that you get the latching thing down even if it means doing it over and over and over until you get it right and it feels like second nature.

When it's your first time around it's frustrating and difficult and disheartening. At least with the Bean I knew what to expect (I knew it would be frustrating and difficult and disheartening) because I'd been through the same thing with the Peanut. So when I started to get the the little nipple blisters I asked for help, again and again and again in the hospital; knowing that I very well might not get the hang of it there. When I got home I made sure to ask for a lactation consultant to come to me so that I would get back into fine breast feeding form.

Now if I can just get over how much time I'm spending feeding the Bean we'll be doing awesome.

* the photograph above of me and the Bean was taken by my Niece


Knickertwist said...

It really is hard to breastfeed. I don't think that people realize just how difficult it is! Prehaps that's why so many women give up. My breastfeeding experience was initally a nightmare. In the hospital I was put on an industrial breast pump and when I complained about the pain was told "Breastfeeding does not hurt." Minutes later the nurse was told that the pump she had put me on was faulty and stuck on the highest suction level. We got the hang of it eventually but it was a struggle... I am glad we stuck it out though, I wouldn't change that for the world.

Marisa Hopkins said...

Oh man, breastfeeding... for something so natural, why does it NOT feel natural for so long? It took me 2 weeks with Annelie to be comfortable. So frustrating!!! But it was so worth it!!

Linda in New Mexico said...

My daughter worked as a lactation consultant before the birth of her first child. She had studied and was very pro breast feeding and her clients were all so appreciative of how kind and enduringly patient she was with them. And then she had her first....uh real life is a bitch. She had a terrible time at first, gave her a new perspective and was afraid to share with anyone else because of her training. She didn't want them to doubt her. But she breast fed GK for almost 3 years. Then came her second child. He was anti breast from the first moments on the outside. He just refused. She pumped for him and he refused her about a let down. But once again, she used it as a teaching tool. But it did secretly break her we know why he couldn't be close, he has Asperger's and even good touch at moment one of his life was not good touch to him. He's still a little that way. Doesn't like to be in near proximity except for short periods of time.
Hang in you know, it does get better and consider your Zen moments with the bean time invested, not time consuming. The Olde Bagg, Linda

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Again I marvel at today! 50 years ago, I had like no-help-from-no-one, hospital or at home. No visiting nurses and etc.

I know! Cool it on how hard it was. lol! It's like the old person who tells you, he walked to school, through all weather, and up-hill both ways!!!! -grin-------

Jen said...

Glad you had the perspective to know it wasn't anything you were doing "wrong" or that it wouldn't work. The breastfeeding relationship takes time to cultivate whether you've breastfed ten children or none. In many ways I think that is what women should prepare for pre-birth rather than labour or the birth itself. It's way harder!

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