When I had Little Man 17 months ago I tried to breast feed and it was a miserable experience. I ended up pumping as much as possible for about 4 months until my bleeding nipples got the best of me and I quit. This time I was determined to make it work.
After the c-section I asked if we could have Baby Dos brought into recovery to try as soon as possible. She didn’t come in, but I only stayed in there for one hour so we tried quite quickly and it worked almost immediately. She latched on and the first couple sessions were good, even though there was no milk, only collostrum so they lasted just a few minutes.
Then the initial bilirubin test results came back. Baby Dos was Coombs Positive and had a blood incompatibility with me. She was whisked away from us and put under the lamps for three hours at a time. We only saw her for an hour for feeding and were recommended (sternly) to supplement with formula so she would poop out all the bad stuff. After the first 36 hours, our time was brought down to half an hour as her levels shot up.
Luckily she recovered enough to come home, but the breastfeeding was already tougher. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- Every time I give her a bottle it makes it harder to get her to latch on for the next feeding. She will eventually, so I’m not believing that nipple confusion ruins breastfeeding (neither did the hospital lactation consultants), but I will admit that it makes it tougher.
- According to everybody I know that has breastfed successfully, your nipples are crazy sore for the first few weeks regardless of how perfect your latch is.
- You have to relax. That’s the only reason I can see why it’s working this time and didn’t last time. It won’t be perfect every time, but beating yourself up, getting frustrated and annoyed will screw it all up.
- Along with the latch, the perfect hold, the position (you’re supposed to sit back) and everything else you hear, the lactation consultants recommended a glass of wine. It helps you to relax.
- When she/ he first latches, take a deep breath and relax your shoulders. It hurts and the breath will help.