Saturday, June 23, 2012

Breast Feeding: One Week Later

Wow! All of these blog posts about breast feeding (post 1, post 2, and post 3), and now I can finally post about some real hands-on experience!


All in all, it was what I expected. Hard. I had done my research, but it seemed that baby Max hadn't been reading the same books I had. It took us some time to get the hang of it.


I was able to start skin-to-skin an hour after Max was born, the delay of course was related to my c-section. A lactation consultant was there, and helped us get a good latch. He nursed for a little while, and again a couple of hours later. During his second feeding, he actually used his arms to push himself away from my breast, and turned his head! This was 3 hours after he was born! Scary how strong he was already.


The feedings were tough to get started. I wasn't able to get him latched on my own. I would try for a few minutes, and I would ask for help once he was wailing and upset. I wanted to learn to do it on my own, but it wasn't worth getting us both worked up. The nurses at our hospital were AWESOME and helped me get him latched each time I asked for help. They were so great with getting him on. It seemed that I just wasn't willing to be as rough with him, they would grab his head and my breast, and just shove it deep into his mouth. Of course they weren't hurting him, but it still wasn't something I could bring myself to do.


His crying killed me. My husband and I would notice him rooting, and try to get him latched as soon as I could. We would fumble around for the latch for maybe three minutes before he would start getting really fussy and crying. That's when I would usually call for help. Once he started crying, there was just no hope in me getting him on by myself. My husband would help calm him down, and then bring him back to me. That sometimes helped. We always knew the nurses were there as a back-up plan.


After the second day, I would ask the nurse to come back and help me before he would get to the point of crying. I wanted to try and learn before he was all worked up. This helped, and on the third and fourth day I could get him latched on my own a few times (although I still needed help 75% of the time). I tried to learn from each nurse that helped us, and of course the lactation consultant. She was great, and gave me tips to help me learn.


I was told to pump to help with the "size issue" and they brought me a pump. When we had trouble getting him to latch, the LC put her finger in his mouth to suck, and use a syringe in the side of his mouth to give him some milk. This was teaching him that sucking would give him milk, which was better than just giving him the milk in a syringe alone. This worked very well with him, and it brought my concerns down a bit. I knew that I had this as a back-up plan.


On the last night of our stay, Max and I were having trouble getting started. I wanted to figure it out without help, but we just couldn't do it. I was getting so frustrated and he was crying, it was tearing me up inside. I told my husband that I wanted to use the syringe to get him started and calm him down a bit. My husband said, "No, try it again. You guys can do this." I got cranky about this, but I did it anyway. You know what? We did it right away! It worked! I'm so glad that my husband pushed me in my moment of weakness, it helped me realize that we could do it. That I shouldn't give up. It really changed my mentality on the whole situation. I love him for that (and so much more), even though it initially made me want to punch him in the throat (love you, Sean!).


Most of the problem was that I had to hold my breast a certain way, I was told that it was too large to have him grab onto himself (which later I noticed in all of the breast feeding pictures I have seen in the past, duh!).  For whatever reason, this hadn't automatically clicked in my head. Once it was explained, I got the hang of it.


I hadn't wanted a c-section (see previous posts here and here for more on that), but for breast feeding it probably helped us in the end. Having an extra day at the hospital to learn from the LC and nurses was great. I wasn't a pro by the time I left, but I wasn't scared anymore. We (pretty much) knew how to do it, and Max had the hang of it for the most part. We just needed to keep practicing.


The best part? As soon as we got home, it was EASY. Most of the time he is latched on within five, yes five, seconds. The worst so far was maybe 30 seconds, which was when he had woken up from a long nap and was super hungry and fussy. 30 seconds? I'll take it! Easy! My energy changed when I got home. I was in MY environment, and it made all of the difference. i'm even pumping up a stash and storing it (check out my storage system here). I'm loving breast feeding, I really am. My nipples hurt like hell, and the bleeding/cracking isn't fun. But you know what? These are the best moments of my life. I'm loving every second of it, even the painful ones.


The moral of the story: Don't give up, and ask for help when you need it!


If you're interested in following my journey into motherhood, you can find me on Twitter @DawnMarieMcG and I look forward to seeing you online!
You have stumbled upon a blog post participating in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt 2012! The more participating blog posts you read, the better your chances of winning the grand prize. If you're interested in reading blogs from parents who do have experience in breast feeding, please take a look! Here are a few you should peek at: My Mummys PenniesLife Happens So SmileLife Love Lollipops and Radical Ramblings. Also, check out 
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16 comments:

  1. Congratulations! Sounds like you have done a fab job so far. I really wish I had asked for more help on my first child as I think I could have successfully breastfed with it. My breastfeeding goal is to carry on breastfeeding while working full time

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    1. Thank you so much for the congrats, and thanks for reading! I'm sorry you didn't get help with your first child, that's unfortunate. Good luck with breastfeeding while working full time, that's my goal as well!

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  2. Hey. I'm glad you managed to get through that first week. We struggled a lot too with it being really painful to start off with. Still going now at 7 months and hope to continue until she is ready to self wean. I find it hugely rewarding now that we have the knack of it, and can't believe how hard it was to start with!

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    1. Hi, and thanks for reading! You are so right about the pain in the beginning, but I'm looking forward to that fading in the days ahead. Congrats on making it to 7 months!

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  3. Fantastic, well done you! May this be the start of a long and happy nursing relationship.

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    1. Thank you! Thanks for reading too!

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  4. Samantha HollowayJune 26, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    The longest I have breast fed before is 6 months so with my next I would like to go longer than 6 months, 1 year if possible.

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    1. Hi Samantha, thank you for reading my post. Six months is quite the accomplishment! Good luck with making it a full year with the next one, that will be great for you and your little one!

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  5. My goals are to feed for as long as my baby wants and needs. It sounds like your perseverance paid off so good for you for keeping going and being so determined.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, and for taking the time to read my post. Good luck with your goal for breastfeeding!

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  6. Wow well done and what a great husband too :)my goals when bump decides to arrive are the same as with our little girl to take each day as it comes, relax, enjoy and to allow her to decide when she wants to stop :)

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    1. Thank you :) and thank you for taking the time to read my blog! Good luck with your new baby, be sure to enjoy every single moment! :)

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  7. Congratulations. Max is such a cutie. You might hit a few more potholes ahead, but it sounds like you'll get through them just fine. Breastfeeding (and babies) are so amazing. I don't know how much longer I'll be nursing for, but I know I'll miss it when it's over

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    1. Thank you so much! Nursing is quite the experience, I wish us both many more days enjoying it!

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  8. To keep going for as long as my daughters want to.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, I love your blog! Good luck with continuing to breastfeed your daughters!

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