Breastfeeding First Impressions
Posted By: Jennifer Johnson
I didn't grow up around breastfeeding moms. In fact, I grew up making formula bottles for my little sisters.
I had just met my daughter. As she was born, my doctor placed her immediately on my chest and I kissed and rubbed her slimy body against mine. I remember hearing skin-to-skin is good for establishing breastfeeding, but I wasn't thinking about advice, rules, or techniques in that moment, I was just in a happy place with my new baby girl.
I held her for a while, kissed her, stared at the most beautiful creature I had ever seen and fell in love. My husband cut her umbilical cord and we gazed at her in amazement for a while before we let them take her to the side to weigh and measure her.
Nice pounds nine ounces! I could tell she seemed big and healthy when I held her, she even surprised me holding her head up by herself when they set her on my chest. I should have known my little porker was going to be a good eater.
They handed my daughter back to me and said we were about to move to our postpartum room. That's when I did something I didn't need to do but for some strange reason I did it anyway. I asked if I could feed my daughter.
"Of course," the nurse said. Which what else was she going to say? "She's your baby."
I had to get used to that. Used to being a mother — her mother, and making good decisions for her.
I've decided to breastfeed, and while I haven't done extensive research on the topic, I've been using friends who'd breastfeed and lactation consultants to help.
I was nervous when we took our first try at it. I brought her to my breast and hoped she'd get what she's supposed to do. Our first try wasn't bad at all. I knew when she latched she should get as much of my areola in her mouth as possible. It was a little uncomfortable, which I expected, but she seemed to have the sucking down pat.
I wasn't sure if she was getting anything but they assured me she was getting some colostrum, and that we were doing a great job. I still requested help from a lactation consultant in the morning, and did my best to feed her while we waited.
It was the Fourth of July, and I worried we'd have to wait until the holiday was over before we got some help, but we didn't. She came in and gave me advice on how to help with the process. She advised me to grab and massage my boob in a football-like hold, then showed me how to express the milk from my breast. I was amazed when I actually saw stuff coming out. Yellow, sticky stuff, which I learned was colostrum.
The first 24 hours of breastfeeding left me feeling happy, accomplished, and proud that I had at least tried it. I worried though for the tough times ahead that I keep hearing about: engorged breasts, bloody nipples, bad latch. I waited for the ball to drop. I was told the second night was the hardest because your milk still hasn't come in but your baby cluster feeds all night to fill up her small stomach but also to help bring in my milk.
The second night was rough. I stayed up most of the night with my bed sitting all the way up, and her in my arms so I could quickly feed her when she awoke. But the second night was nothing compared to the third night, which maybe since she was born at night was her equivalent of night number two. The night that gave me my first doubts about breastfeeding.12:00pm on Tuesday September 21
The OB at the hospital made a comparison that helped me a lot...he said that breastfeeding is like a dance and both partners need to learn their parts before it is pretty. Hope you've both gotten your parts down now and all is going well!
Congratulations to you and your husband on the birth of your beautiful daughter!
I know that you will fall into step with breastfeeding and will find the rythym that works for you and your baby. The most important things are a positive mindset and support, which it sounds like you have!
All the best!