Sunday, March 25, 2012

Once Upon A Boobie v1

I'd like to chronicle my breastfeeding experience, as a way for me to remember this time...although there are moments (usually around the 1am feeding) where I'd rather forget! Since making the transition my life where I decided I wanted to be a parent, I knew I'd want to breastfeed my baby. Society doesn't paint the most beautiful picture of this relationship (in fact we were watching Me, Myself and Irene the other day and there's a scene with a bf'ing mom where a barbershop full of perverted old guys oogles her), and one part of my journey has been educating myself about what I'd be coming up against when I choose to feed my baby in public or when talking about my parenting style.

My experience with breastfeeding started at the most obvious moment, at Penelope's birth. About half an hour after she was born I was encouraged to try to feed her. When I attended a La Leche League  meeting a few weeks prior, we were asked if we thought bf'ing was innate or learned. At the time, I was leaning more towards the innate side, after all - it's only natural to want to feed your baby in this manner. But after that first feeding.. it's definitely learned. It took me almost 3 weeks to learn how to do it right.

Getting her to latch on wasn't easy, and within the first 48 hours her weight had dropped 9% of her original birth weight. Although this is normal, I was worried, and wanted to badly to give her what she needed. At the birth center the midwife recommended that I start out with a nipple shield due to flat nipples. This only helped a little bit, because she was so small and the shield made it really obvious where to latch on. But ultimately, it was causing her to have an extremely shallow latch (which was hurting me, as she was only sucking on the very end) and it wasn't giving her that much milk. I kept going back to the midwives, getting support, and each time we got her on perfectly but when I went home, it didn't work. She'd get frustrated, begin thrashing her head around - searching for the nipple - screaming and crying. This lead to guilt and crying on my part, from frustration and the shear pain. It was toe curling pain. Her weight wasn't going up as quickly as it should, and although I never doubted my desire to continue feeding her myself, it was definitely hard. There were times where I dreaded feeding her.

Eventually one of my midwives excerised tough love and told me that I just needed to ditch the shield, and if that didn't work I should seek help from a lactation consultant.  I knew I could do it on my own, and so I guess that was the driving force to going "all natural," bare boob. Would you know it, the little miss took to it like a champ. There was no confusion, she went straight for the breast and never looked back.

Read Once Upon A Boobie v2

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