I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. There was never any doubt in my mind. That was our plan. Our son was born and we immediately started breastfeeding within minutes of his birth. Confession: It was hard. My husband and I attended the breastfeeding class before my son was born where they tell you how wonderful breastfeeding is. How it shouldn’t hurt and how it’s natural. We watched a video where the baby roots his way up to the nipple while laying on the mom’s chest and latching right on. What a beautiful, miraculous moment. This was not my experience.
Don’t get me wrong. I was able to breastfeed from the start. We quickly began our regular feedings what felt like every few minutes (probably more every couple of hours), but it was very stressful. I had the hardest time getting my newly born, sweet little one to latch on. All three days we were in the hospital I had a lactation consultant in the room giving me advice. The morning we were to go home, our new pediatrician stopped by to check on our little one. Instead of focusing on our son he focused on me. I had spent the whole hour before his arrival sobbing. I couldn’t get our son to latch on. I was hormonal, exhausted, and completely stressed out. The pediatrician assured me that my son was fine. He hadn’t lost nearly as much weight after birth as most babies and therefore was getting plenty of nutrition. He encouraged me to try to relax and keep up the hard work. I was to set up an appointment with the lactation consultant at his office when we came in for our first check-up the next day.
We went home, got some sleep, and I nestled into my large rocking chair I just had to have. It was wide and I could easily fit my nursing pillow in my lap with plenty of room. It was perfect for breastfeeding…or so I thought. Once again, I couldn’t get my son to easily latch on. My husband was amazing at helping and encouraging, but I just wasn’t succeeding. My new little boy was screaming in hunger. In frustration, I stood up with him and walked around the room. I don’t know how it came to mind, but I decided to try breastfeeding while standing up.
Magic. Instantly my son latched on. No struggle, no tears (from either of us), no stress. I nursed him while standing up. The next time, I did it again, but this time I decided to sit down once he was latched on. It worked like a charm. I don’t know why it worked and I didn’t really care. I was so glad to have a solution. My son is almost a year. He easily latches onto the breast without a problem now. I only had to do the whole standing up thing for the first week or so. We got into the swing of things and breastfeeding was no longer hard. Thank goodness.
I can honestly say, I now know why so many moms give up on breastfeeding. Without a good support system, some encouragement, some help, it can be tough in the beginning. My advice is to stick it out if you can and try to remember that it gets better. And don’t be afraid to get creative!
Jenny is a cloth diapering, stay at home mama. She writes about her cloth diaper obsession on her blog, Cloth Diaper Revival.