Breastfeeding does not come as naturally as one might think

I wasn’t really expecting instant success with the whole breastfeeding thing. I know from all my new mom friends that it is hard, frustrating work to get things to work out for both you and the baby. Since Ivy was born by c-section there was no immediate skin to skin contact, no chance for her to nurse immediately after she was born. Which, according to all of my breastfeeding books and literature, is fine. Except that her first few feedings were formula from bottles because mommy was too out of it to even attempt to breast feed in Ivy’s first moments. The night nurses were not really ready to help with breastfeeding, so by the time I got a knowledgeable nurse who could help me out Ivy was almost a day old.

Obviously we did not have successful latch on the first few tries. We did use the industrial strength pump to get some colostrum out and fed her that through a bottle. La Leche League would be so disappointed! Nipple confusion! OMG!!! But my baby was getting fed and also still getting the good benefits of mommy’s milk. I kept trying to get her to nurse but it was hard for a couple of reasons, the main one being the hospital beds and or chairs are not comfortable places where one can relax and bond with her child while trying to feed her! So we never really had great success in the hospital.

When we got home we had a few almost successful latch ons, but nothing that was actually feeding her. I was hand pumping milk and not having any trouble with my milk production or let down. Jeez I can just think about feeding her and the milk starts to drip out! Then I remembered a friend of mine trying ‘nipple shields’ when she as having trouble with latch on, and I got some.

These things are amazing! They really help her get a grip on enough nipple to latch on properly and get enough milk out. So we’ve still been giving her bottles in addition to the breast – sometimes at night it’s easier to just grab a bottle of pumped milk out of the fridge. This also means that Daddy can wake up in the middle of the night and feed her. I am going to start hanging out at a breastfeeding support group with the other moms just to make sure everything going good.

I also ordered an electric pump so I can start building up a freezer stash. I figured I’d need one when I go back to work anyway and man in that hand pump annoying. Jon and I joked that I could probably crack a coconut with my hand after all the exercise that thing has given me.

So Ivy is not quiet an exclusively breast fed baby, though she is almost exclusively getting breast milk. (Don’t yell at me but sometimes in the middle of the night she gets formula) We’ll get there and soon I’ll be whipping out my boob like a pro! But for now it’s intermittent pumped milk in bottles and mommy’s leaking breast milk all over her nightgown.

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