I recently was invited to a Breast Feeding class. Now, yes, I explained to them that this was my third child and I had successfully breastfed my two girls already, but they insisted. They said that there was some great information and having a "seasoned" mother could be helpful for the other moms coming. So, I agreed - I can always learn more!
The first words out of the lactation consultants mouth were, "The first myth about breastfeeding is that it hurts." I almost snorted! I held my tongue and waited for her to continue to explain that it does hurt most new moms tho. I mean surely she would not set these new moms who have never breastfed to believe there would be no pain as they learned a new skill?!? Right?!? Wrong!
She went on to explain that with the proper latch breastfeeding should not hurt and that pain was a sign you were doing it wrong and that a re-latch was necessary. Although it was hard not to jump in, I waited as she explained how Lactation Consultants had to go through 40 hours of training and she had breastfed her three boys. The first two she mentioned were easy, but she skimmed right over the third! I tried to relax as she explained the proper latch with fish lips and how to break the seal so you don't damage your nipple and tummy to tummy rule, trusting that eventually, she would come back to preparing moms that it is a learning process for both their baby and them!
The entire presentation my brain was screaming to warn the moms that myths come from somewhere! Yes, with proper latching it should hurt less maybe, but your nipple has never been sucked like it is about to be! I have heard of so many moms not being able to breastfeed for one reason or another, but I think the biggest problem is not knowing what to expect and giving up because you can't imagine dealing with one more painful latch! I have also heard from seasoned moms that a third kid wouldn't breastfeed for some reason or another. I have yet to meet one myself that said it didn't hurt at first!
Now, yes, for a handful of moms that have babies with angelic latches and who have either a mother or lactation consultant advising from the first latch there may be no real pain associated with breastfeeding. Maybe...But what about for the others?! My children could suck the paint off a wall and I knew how to properly break a latch, but I guess both my daughters and I were slow learners. The first two weeks were hell both times! After those two weeks, we got it and I wouldn't have traded breastfeeding for anything. My nipples toughened up, baby gains head control and your milk subsides from the painful engorgement to the sustainable amount your baby needs. But why do they not tell new moms that the first week is not only crucial (for that colostrum gold) but also the hardest - especially day 3 and 4? I think too many give up because it hurts and therefore they or their baby must be doing something wrong. WRONG! Stick with it - it gets better!!!
You are dealing with so many factors that the first week: being sore, training baby to latch, learning your baby's signs, training yourself to wait for the perfect open mouth, learning how to soothe an angry baby enough to get on or back on the breast if you miss their signs and now they are red-faced, waiting for your milk to come in, worrying if they are getting enough/any colostrum, watching bowl movements - yours and baby's, listing for their breathing, engorgement and let down once the milk comes in, and that is just to name the ones I can think of right now. Can we not reassure moms that babies are resilient and can survive on a tsp of colostrum no problem?! Let's share those baby stories about newborns surviving 10 days after an earthquake even though separated from mom - a little dehydrated but alive! Let's remind moms that not every baby's bowl movements will be charting like the book says. There is an ideal, sure, but with babies, exceptions are the rule!
My heart is to be real - Lets set moms up for success instead of failure by giving new moms ALL THE FACTS! How about pumping is great, but your baby being skin to skin is extremely important (it has saved countless NICU babies' lives), not just for healthy bonding but to also allow your nipple to read whatever anti-bodies your baby needs right from the baby's saliva! Getting a sniffle...no problem your body will sense it and make some anti-bodies just for that - amazing! Save at least a meal a day for that breast if you can. Now, if you are in that 5% that have such severely inverted nipples that you can't latch or your milk never comes in even after a week of regular stimulation and skin-to-skin time, you are off the hook. Our bodies can only do so much. You may be elated by this or be extremely saddened, but I commend you for trying! Breastfeeding isn't for everyone, but I don't want it to be because you weren't given all the facts!
Don't be afraid to get the consultant to come over (the sooner the better yes!) or even another mom who has recently been there! Blessings and may your nipples be toughened quickly!
I have been very blessed to have three great pregnancies. Each one has gotten slightly harder, but I really can't complain and I can't see much difference when I look at the pictures. I am currently in my 32nd week of my third pregnancy and wanted to get this comparison article down before I forgot the details.
My first pregnancy was in 2008-2009 and was not planned. It was hoped for but was a pleasant surprise on Father's Day to see those + signs. I had mild nausea the first trimester. I continued to work part-time as a waitress right up until the month before I gave birth when lifting heavy trays got difficult. I was so enamored with the changes and spent time talking and singing to the baby in utero, but enjoyed being able to put my feet up after work. I gained about 35 pounds with my first daughter and ate coffee ice-cream almost nightly. The third trimester with the onset of heartburn definitely kept the ice cream coming.
She came on her due date. It was a 21-hour labor, but only 40 minutes pushing. 7-pound baby girl.
My second pregnancy was intentional in 2010-2011. Around the time my first was 16 months I was charting and taking my temperature (family awareness method). We tried for three months and then I fell off the wagon with my charting. Our anniversary rolled around and we ended up conceiving our second daughter over our anniversary weekend. I like to think it was God's way of reminding me he is in charge of life, not me. I had been rollerblading or running Monday through Friday which really had helped me get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. My midwife allowed me to continue this throughout my pregnancy since I had been doing it. I had similar pregnancy symptoms of nausea and heartburn, but having another little one to watch and potty train kept me pretty busy. I remember the hip pain at night in the last trimester again, but still knew a lot of friends who had it worse. I still gained about 35 pounds.
She came 9 days early. It was a 12-hour labor with 12 minutes of pushing. 7.5-pounds baby girl.
I am 32 weeks into my third pregnancy and I have been craving more salty things than sweet. I have had even more nausea and heartburn starting in the first and continuing throughout. I had a metallic taste in my mouth about the end of the first trimester which was new and continued off and on into the second trimester. We have been eating healthier but with the two girls and working from home I have not had much energy left over for working out. :( I had lost all the weight after baby #2 but then gained 10 back right before finding out on Josh's birthday we were pregnant again. We were happy but really hoping for a boy so we could round out our family and get that done feeling. Very relieved to have our prayers answered at the official ultrasound!! We had to have a second ultrasound to check out his kidneys since he appeared to have some water on them at the first one (apparently this is pretty common for boys.) Happy to report they checked out at the appropriate levels. I have only gained 20 pounds so far but am assuming there might be another 5 or so in these last few weeks and trying to not let that bother me since it is part of the process. We are praying for a short labor, one push- no tears supernatural birth. Please feel free to pray with us on that!
...update after His birth with the details...
Our son's labor was a little over 3 hours. I was 9 cm by the time the midwife got here but had to push a cm of the cervix for over an hour. Once that was out of the way it was only 6 minutes of pushing until he was out. He weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and was 20 inches long. He was born at 6:39 pm on June 7th. His head was trying to come out sideways and his cord was wrapped once like his sister's. So my kids continue the bungee-jumping tradition. No tears, so two out of three prayers answered. I had a lot of pelvic pain and did most of the labor standing. He is here and beautiful and our last.
My Current Mantra
Walk humbly with God and do the work at your hands....