In celebration and recognition of World Breastfeeding Week I am going to talk about my boobs today….
You would think that since I managed to breastfeed twins for over two years that I had this whole breastfeeding gig totally sorted…. but you’d be wrong.
The girls born way too early to breastfeed. They were too prem to even take milk feeds for the first week and a half. So my very first introduction to breastfeeding was the pain, anguish and humiliation of a midwife hand expressing tiny amounts of colostrum into syringes because I couldn’t for the life of me get a drop of milk out of my own boobs.
Later I became close friends with the ‘Mean Green Milking Machine’ as I expressed three hourly round the clock to try and increase my supply and keep up with the demands of my then tube fed babies. It wasn’t till the girls were about 7 weeks old that we even attempted to breastfeed…. and then it was a total disaster. Two sleepy, tiny babies, with reflux, big boobs and flat nipples…. it wasn’t at all like I had expected. Eventually, with the help of nipple shields and a little good advice we went on to breastfeed for more than two years.
I am proud of that achievement, against the odds, and I knew I’d battle whatever I had to to breastfeed my next baby too. But after Muski was born, I suddenly realised I had absolutely no idea how to breastfeed a newborn. Not a clue.
I knew the theory behind getting a baby to latch properly… but I’d never had to actually do it. With nipple shields, a correct latch is a non issue. You just get the baby to suck, they suck your nipple into the shield and off you go. You also hold your breast differently when you are holding on a nipple shield.
Faced with a hungry baby and a bare breast I was totally lost.
I muddled through for the first couple of days, watching my nipples get shredded before my very eyes. At the end of the first week I gave up being stubborn and rang for an appointment with the local lactation consultant. Of course that was Friday and I had a whole weekend of pain and feeding ahead of me. So I did what any self respecting net-nerd would do when in need of help…. I googled..
I read through the fabulous Kelly Mom site and some ABA info and forum posts which were all great…. but I already knew the theory, I just wasn’t quite able to get the mechanics of it all to work when I needed it most. How exactly do I hold the baby? Where exactly do I put my hand? How do I hold my boob and get everything in the right place at the right time?
I’m a visual learner… I needed pictures…. I needed video!
I hit you-tube.
I searched around a bit, and watched a couple of videos and suddenly the light bulb went on. I was holding my breast all wrong, no wonder I felt all tangled and confused.
It was as simple as that.
I sorted out which way to hold my breast, reminded myself about aiming my nipple at the roof of his mouth and off we went. By the time my Monday apportionment with the lactation consultant rolled around my nipples were well on the way to healing and we were feeding with no troubles at all.
Three years (and a day) later I had a new hungry baby to feed and while I was much better equipped this time around I still jumped on the computer and hit up you-tube for a bit of a refresher course.
Nothing comes close to good advice and support from a great lactation consultant or midwife (I know because I’ve had some terrible advice in the past) or ABA counsellor (which by the way you can call or email just about any time) but if it happens to be the middle of the weekend or the middle of the night or you just need some reassurance, some information and some real life demonstrations, check out these video resources for positioning and latching a newborn….