The title of this pin caught my eye. In true Pinterest form, it has a dramatic, hidden feel about it. The related blog doesn’t have that feel at all. I went in expecting secrets about how the medical community is holding out on some really useful information about breastfeeding. Instead, it is clearly Stacey’s personal experience breastfeeding her own baby. She repeats this throughout the post and in responses to the many comments. A more apropos title might be “Things I Wish My Doctor Had Told Me About Breastfeeding”
While it wasn’t what I expected, there are several things I really like about the suggestions in this post.
Stacy mentions how frequently and how long her baby nursed at the beginning, and knowing how tiny a baby’s tummy is and how quickly breastmilk digests can be helpful information for a mother to have. It’s reassuring (especially in the beginning) to know more or less what to expect.
I also like the way she stresses asking for help. Babies aren’t necessarily born knowing how to breastfeed and even experienced moms don’t always know everything they need to know for a specific baby.
So where do you go for that help? Hopefully you have a friend/mom/cousin support system you feel comfortable talking to. Keep in mind though, their experience is one experience. It may apply to your situation, but it might not. Your doctor may be a good resource, but that can greatly depend on their training. A pediatrician has to know everything from chicken pox to acne and stomach aches to appendicitis. They may have had a breastfeeding class during medical school, but they also may not have.
Look for help from someone who has a broader experience than your support system and perhaps more in-depth breastfeeding expertise than your doctor. La Leche League is a great resource. A board certified lactation consultant has the experience of working with hundreds of moms and the depth of study to pick up on problems even some doctors may not see.
Pain – This post talks about nipple pain as “excruciating” and “tortuous” and lasting months. I’m not saying this can never happen, but it really shouldn’t. A lactation consultant can help work through the latch issues to make nursing more comfortable. Will there be absolutely no pain? There will probably be some. But it should be mild and short-lived.
Pain is a major reason women quit breastfeeding and rightly so if the only option is to tough it out. But the choice is not enduring pain versus quitting breastfeeding (or resorting to full-time pumping). The message should be, “Get help!” from someone who has the expertise to help you figure out your real options.
One other note: No matter whether you work with a lactation consultant, counselor, doctor, La Leche League leader, there are going to be people you don’t click with…you can’t built rapport and trust or you just don’t like their advice. That’s not all that unusual, but don’t give up. Go to someone else and say it just wasn’t working for you in that situation. Try again. There will be someone you can lean on and feel good about.