I was always so worried that I would be one of those moms that wouldn't be able to breastfeed. I don't know why this thought was so dominant in my head, but it was. I guess when you hear others' horror stories, you assume it will happen to you. I even took my breastfeeding fear to my mom who tried to reassure me that it would be fine...and luckily she was right. I'm very happy and fortunate to say that breastfeeding came naturally to Nia and I. With the c-section, I thought it might take a bit before she would latch (as I had read/heard that the percent lowered for c-section babies being breastfed and had I had a natural birth, I wanted her to come out and feed right away, which obviously wasn't the case), but everything went smoothly!
I'm going to go through my experience from the beginning (the good, the bad, and the ugly).
THE HOSPITAL DAYS
Some babies come out knowing what to do, and Nia was that baby. She knew how to latch and did it well. I joked with everyone that she might actually be too good of a latcher!
The first few feedings went good, but after those few, it started to hurt. The hospital is very, very dry and I think that played a part in the situation because I definitely needed to moisturize (which I wanted to keep natural, so I just expelled some colostrum to do just that). I also ended up with a few blood blisters (which aren't pretty and hopefully never have to experience again), but something that babies can still eat with. Luckily those went away around day 3, but the dryness persisted.
Initially, it only hurt because of her amazing latch and suction she had, but eventually turned to the other things listed above and caused pain for about 90% of the the feeding.
I was happy to get home to see what happened with the dryness situation. At this point, since my milk came in (and you sure feel when it does!), I switched to moisturizing after each feeding with raw cacao butter because before it's used for chocolate, it's a very good moisturizer (plus, I figured Nia might like a little treat when she went to feed next ;)). I used this for about 2 weeks, when at that point, the dryness stopped on its own (and I'm still doing good up to this day!).
In terms of pain, these 2 weeks were the hardest. I feared when she first latched because it hurt a lot. The pain was the worst when she first latched, but definitely persisted throughout the whole feeding. I'm not sure if this was the combo of dryness and just adjusting to feeding in general, but I was happy for the times when she would sleep and not eat for a few hours at a time just to give me a break. (I also wondered how other moms did it if that was how it was suppose to feel each time!)
Even with the pain, I knew it wasn't because she wasn't latching properly. So when Nia was 1.5 weeks old, we were fortunate to have a public health nurse come for a home visit and was nice enough to stay until Nia was ready to eat, just to check the feeding situation out (because I had told her that it was sore when she ate). She helped tremendously with how to hold Nia while she ate, and somehow that made all the difference from thereon forward for feedings.
Pretty much by 2.5 weeks I was pain-free and we were a power team!
WHERE WE'RE AT NOW
Now that I'm pain-free, feedings are going great and I don't fear when she latches on. The new problem though? When she gets fussy while she's eating, she tries to pull away with my nipple still in her mouth. Major ouch. I can't wait until she starts teething ;).
OTHER BOOBY TALK
Just a few other random things I can think of off of the top of my mind:
- Breast pads are awesome. Leaky boobs are no joke. I use anywhere from 1-3 each day on each boob. 'Nuff said.
- I can totally tell when she doesn't eat for 3-4 hours because it's rock hard and huuuurts.
- At around 1.5 weeks she started doing this thing where she'll stay latched on but not eat; she just 'nibbles' as I call it. The nurse said it's to do just that - stay latched on!
- I'm still not entirely confident breastfeeding in public. I either go out to the car, or go where I know it's completely secluded. I'm hoping once I have a better cover (hopefully get one within the next few days), I'll feel better about doing it.
- Lying down for feedings in the night is so essential.
And there you have it - the good ol' breastfeeding journey so far!
Anything I'm missing?!