Breastfeeding is NOT easy

When I was pregnant, I read some of Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding, but never got around to finishing it along with a few other pregnancy books.  I thought breastfeeding would be easy. How hard could it be to put your boob into your babies mouth and feed him? Boy, was I WRONG.  Breastfeeding is NOT easy to learn.  Of course, lots of mums seem to pick it up so easy.  But, I ran into many problems.

I was having problems with breastfeeding from the start.  The lactation consultant at Summerlin Hospital thought my nipples were too big.  She showed me how to latch correctly and how to do the football hold which I thought was weird since it felt awkward.  I kept trying and trying even though my nipples were bleeding and breaking off.  Such pain!

On the second night after giving birth, I was having problems with breastfeeding.  George kept crying and wouldn’t stop.  I didn’t call for the nurse.  Our room was at the end of the ward.  The crying must have been so loud that she heard it and came to see me.  She said that he was really hungry.  She said it’s fine if I gave him formula since he really needed to eat.  I felt defeated and that I had failed him.

The lactation consultant visited again since I still hadn’t gotten a hang of breastfeeding.  I latched right when she was there, but I couldn’t seem to do it on my own.

I still wasn’t having luck once I got home.  Sometimes it would be so painful and I was yelling at my husband Ivan since I was so frustrated.  I finally gave in sometimes and fed him organic formula.  I felt bad about it, but I wanted to make sure that he was eating.

I was determined to breastfeed my baby even if it did hurt.  I just hoped that I would be able to solve the problem.

My friend Carrie said that some mums say that learning how to breastfeed was harder than labor. At first, I thought that was ridiculous. But, after dealing with all the problems, I see their point. Sure, some labors like mine are practically non-stop pain for hours (mine being over 2 days), but it eventually ends. I just felt like I would never learn how to breastfeed and I’d have to be in pain for a year while trying to get my baby the right nutrients.

Ivan started looking up things that might help me.  I could go through a lactation consultant through my insurance, but I didn’t want to wait a long time.  He found a lactation consultant at Well Rounded Momma named Erica Dalmore.  We actually interviewed her when we were picking doulas.  She was very nice.  She didn’t think my nipples were too big.  She said that he wasn’t tongue tied which our pediatrician Noelle already told us.  She showed me how to do it.  Of course again I could do it correctly when she was there.  But, once I tried again, I couldn’t do it.  It was so frustrating.

Ivan also told me about a support group called Mama’s Milk Circle where mums got together to breastfeed and talked.  There was also a lactation consultant on hand.  I was hesitant to go since I’m really shy with strangers.  I thought I should give it a go, though.

Ivan dropped me off and George  at the Mama’s Milk Circle.  One of the mums was really nice and introduced me to the other mums.  She found the lactation consultant Tiffanie for me.  I told Tiffani that I was having problems with breastfeeding.  She weighed George.  She told me to show her how I breastfed.  She gave me tips on how to do it right.  After 10 minutes, she got George’s weight again.  He was getting fed since he was 2 ounces heavier.  She thought that George had a tongue tie.  She recommended a dentist that could laser it or she could do it also by cutting under his tongue.

I didn’t think he was tongue tied.  Just to be sure, we had our pediatrician, Noelle, who’s also one of our best friends, come over and look at his tongue again.  She said he definitely didn’t have a tongue tie.

There was no way I was giving up on breastfeeding.  It has so many good benefits, lets you bond with your baby and you save lots of money not buying formula.  I love feeding George and sometimes it makes him fall asleep.

George fell asleep after breastfeeding

It’s so cute.

I went to see Dr. Koury who’s a chiropractor my midwife Kathya recommended.  Having George adjusted should help with his latch.  It was only partly covered by my insurance since I was going outside the network.  I told Dr. Koury my problems with breastfeeding and how one lactation consultant thought he was tongue tied.  She thought it’s quite common for lactation consultants to misdiagnose babies with tongue tie even though they didn’t have it.

She adjusted George and told me I should come four more times and that should help solve my troubles with George latching right.

George getting adjusted

I did just that and it helped.  Dr. Koury wanted me to come more since she thought George needed more help with his back.  Ivan thought she just wanted more money.  I stopped going since it’s so far and my breastfeeding problems were over.  Thank goodness!  It took 3 1/2 months and lots of money, but it was worth it.

It’s been almost 8 months of breastfeeding and George has been eating food for 2 months.  George doesn’t breastfeed as much which makes me a little sad since he doesn’t need me as much for nutrition… but I know that he needs me in other ways now.

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