Breastfeeding Dessy: Part 2
On our second day at the hospital, I went to the free breastfeeding class offered by the hospital. (This was before my discovery that breastfeeding Dessy wasn't going to be Nipplegeddon like it was with Emmy.) I needed to know if there'd been any technological advancements to make this part of the newborn process any more bearable. Maybe a new iBreast or iBoob Touch that you could buy and swype your way to copious amounts of breastmilk minus the ground beef nipples left behind by the most powerful suckling force on earth: the mouth of a newborn. The Dyson guy should really start prototyping that for his next invention. "After 5,000 breasts, I had it!"
I was the only one in the class birthing my second child, and the only one in the room unaccompanied by the father of my child. The 7 other couples in the breastfeeding class were all first time parents, all so innocently about to get their worlds THRASHED. I'm sure the other moms felt sorry for the mom sitting in the corner with her baby all by herself. (The Good Doctor had gone home to take a shower, with my blessing. I figured he needed a good shampoo more than a refresher on the cross cradle hold.)
The session was decent, and a good reminder of what to expect in the first few days as your body starts making milk. But as the Veteran Nipple Regenerator in the class, I wanted to tell all those moms so many more things. Because one hour isn't going to cover what you need to know about breastfeeding. Especially if you have a barracuda. Emmy was a barracuda. She wanted to suck suck suck. And then suck some more. We weren't sure if we wanted to give her a pacifier, but by hour 12 of her existence, she was plugged right up. That baby wanted to practice her new skill of sucking 24/7 and my innocent nipples will forever be indebted to the person who invented the pacifier.
Here's what I think first time breastfeeders need to know:
1. Breastfeeding hurts like a mother. And it doesn't necessarily get better after the first two weeks like the books say, so don't set your calendar and then give up when 14 days has passed and tiny mounds of ground beef sit where your nipples used to be.
2. Latch. Latch. Latch. It is ALL ABOUT THE PROPER LATCH. The more of your boob inside the baby's mouth, the less painful it is. We needed 4 hands with Emmy--The Good Doctor would help me open her mouth as wide as possible before allowing her to suction herself to my nipple. Otherwise she would just bite on for dear life. She would get the milk; I would die a slow painful death. And if you get off to a bad start and the baby repeatedly latches on incorrectly, it's really hard to recover because the damage is done and it hurts that much more for a longer period of time because you can't heal when the baby is feeding every 2-3 hours on jacked up nipples.
3. Smack is wack. RIP Whitney Houston, I'm taking a quote from you here. You do not want to hear the sound of your baby smacking her lips because that means your LATCH LATCH LATCH is WRONG WRONG WRONG. I remember The Good Doctor used to wake up in the middle of the night when he heard Emmy smacking away like she was Cartman and my boobs were a bucket of KFC. He'd be all, "She's smacking!" As if I wasn't well aware of the carnage her smacking was wreaking on my nipples. Thanks babe, I'll take it from here. He had such a knack for stating the obvious at 2AM.
4. Engorgement = rock hard boobs. They should be the 8th wonder of the world. They will be the craziest body part you have ever seen or felt on your person. Ice packs or cabbage leaves should help alleviate some of the pain and suffering.
5. Lanolin is your BF. Breast friend. Coat those nipples every time after the baby feeds. It won't prevent all chapping, cracking, or pieces of nipple from falling off, but it will help a little. And you will need every little bit of nipple help you can get.
6. Go to a breastfeeding support group. I'm not really a support group type, but it was a Godsend. I went to one meeting and it was all I needed to get my questions answered. It's so helpful because you're in a room with a bunch of other women going through the same experience and you'll get a bunch of answers to your questions. Odds are someone in there has been there, done that at least once, and you get all these helpful ideas and suggestions. It is a must do for any mom struggling with breastfeeding who doesn't want to give up.
7. Lastly, pray that your baby has a big mouth and is not a "clamper" as the nurse observed with a tsk tsk when she watched Emmy breastfeeding with me. Nurse: Oh my, she's what we call a 'clamper'" Me: *grimacing* Emmy: *clamping on for dear life* like she's the dog and my nipple is the rope. The main difference, I wasn't saying, "Get it, boy. C'mon you can get it."
We made it through and Emmy breastfed until she was 9 months old. When she turned into a biter, we mutually agreed to switch to the bottle. Lest I scream in her face one more time.
But now look at her. The Clamper done growed up healthy as a horse.