My story doesn't have a sensational ending or plot twist. I didn't struggle with painful, bleeding nipples or low supply or any of the other horror stories you often hear about. Nursing was the wonderful, pleasurable experience I had imagined it to be. I attribute this mostly to the education and preparation I did while I was pregnant. And to a baby who learned well and quickly!
I bought a copy of Jack Newman's The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers and read it cover-to-cover twice before I had my baby. I spent a lot of time poring over chapters about how to get a good latch, since it is the culprit in so many breastfeeding issues. I also watched several of Dr. Newman's online videos about good & poor latches and how to do breast compression. I highly recommend this, as seeing successful breastfeeding in action is different than just reading about it.
I found the number of my local LLL leader in case I needed help. When I had a series of painful plugged ducts a few months postpartum, her advice helped me clear them up fairly quickly.
I planned for a completely uninterrupted labor, birth, and bonding period. For me, that meant choosing an unassisted home birth. I also found a local Baby Friendly hospital in case I needed to transfer, so I wouldn't be separated from my newborn. My labor and birth went perfectly, and I was snuggled in bed nursing my beautiful daughter within 5 minutes after she was born. She nursed for two hours straight.
For the first month, I nursed her in a cross-cradle hold day and night. It was tiring at times, but it was the best position for ensuring a proper asymmetrical latch and for doing breast compression. After a month, we transitioned to the cradle hold during the day and figured out how to nurse lying down at night. I was in heaven!
Co-sleeping has also made night nursing a pleasurable experience. I wake up when my daughter starts to stir, and she's usually nursing within 15 seconds. All I have to do is roll onto my side, scoot her closer, and put my nipple close to her mouth. We often drift off to sleep together. When she's done, I simply scoot her back between me and my husband, just an arm's reach away. She hardly ever cries at night because I can respond immediately to her needs before she becomes distressed.
I firmly believe that doing my homework before the birth helped me have a seamless transition into motherhood and nursing.
Links to other Carnival posts:
- Sinead at Breastfeeding Mums writes "What I wish I'd known about breastfeeding."
- Melanie at Spit up on my Shoulder tells us why "Education is key" when it comes to breastfeeding.
- Angela at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 tell us "What I didn't expect when I was expecting."
- Shelly at Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mother tells us what she didn't expect about breastfeeding.
- Ashlee at New Mama's Nest tells us what she didn't expect about breastfeeding her "early bird.
- Down with the Kids reflects back on breastfeeding as she weans her son in her post “Goodbye Booby.”
- Heather at The Spice Choir talks about how breastfeeding changed her social interactions and connectivity.