Thursday, October 7, 2010

Breast Advice

All my life I've been certain that my breasts would be perfect for breast feeding. My husband even joked that his attraction to me was an evolutionary response to the fact that my breasts were big enough to feed a good sized family. Which is why I have been so frustrated and surprised by how many problems I've run into. I was prepared for the pain, for awhile. I knew it'd hurt some. I didn't know I'd bleed so much. Or that every minute of the nursing would be painful. I wasn't prepared for the wounds and blisters.

And I wasn't prepared for the experts. It started from Day One. Every nurse in the hospital wanted to check my nursing style. And every nurse had a different opinion on how I was doing it wrong. The last day I finally saw a lactation consultant and she declared "Perfect Latch! Stick it in a textbook!" Finally. I thought I was home free.

But then came the milk blister, and the crack, and the wound, some blood, an infection, more and more pain. I looked for help in the books, on the internet. I contacted the La Leche League - they copy and pasted the book. I contacted a LLL Leader - she told me my nipple was the wrong size for my daughters mouth. I contacted a Certified Consultant - she told me I had to have my breasts massaged Japanese style every week (for a hefty fee of course). I contacted another - she wanted to charge $200 to read the text book version of a latch over the phone. We started to call them the "Capital "E" Experts." But even so sisters, friends, other moms - they told me what the books said. They told me to pump. They told me to stop nursing. They told me it gets better in a few days, a few weeks, a few months. Some women told me it wasn't worth it.

In a moment of pain and exhaustion I declared that I hated breastfeeding - then latched Emily onto my cracked, open nipple for another hour long session. My husband sent me links to fix oversupply.

I spent every minute worrying if she was on right, if she should make the noise, if she was getting enough milk, if I was using the right side, or squeezing enough, too much. I wondered if I was too big or too little, or made too much milk. I wondered if I really was the wrong size and shape for my daughter.

Finally, I met with the last lactation consultant in stroke of luck. She looked at us and said "She's fine. Latch is fine. Don't listen to them anymore."

Breast - I mean Best - Advice Ever!

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