As you all know, I am pregnant with precious baby boy #2 - and SO close to the finish line, I can almost taste the breastmilk. Wait, what?! Ok, so, I don't drink breastmilk, but my baby will. Gage did. Curtis refuses to taste it. I am adamant about breastfeeding this baby because I had a disappointing experience with Gage, and mostly, it was due to my ignorance.
When I had Gage, I did a LOT of research. Mostly about having a baby, being pregnant, being prepared for labor and delivery, what to expect from a newborn, etc etc etc. I intended to breastfeed, and I did. Except it didn't go how I planned. Because I failed to plan for that portion of having a newborn. Stupid, I know, because it's like the most important thing you'll do for your baby - feed them. That's pretty much all there is to do with a newborn: feed them, change them, smell their heads, and watch them sleep when you should be sleeping.
So, when Gage was born, I didn't have a plan for nursing. I bought ONE nursing bra (that was way too small, like I didn't realize I would FINALLY have the boobs I always wanted) and did not attend any breastfeeding classes. Although, I could easily blame my doctor because she told me "breastfeeding is a two person sport, you don't really need a class to tell you how to do it", I did have ANOTHER opportunity the day after I had Gage to take a FREE class in the maternity ward at the hospital. To which I replied "no thanks". I wish I could go back and hit myself. I would definitely say "Really!? You turned down a chance to take your newborn to a breastfeeding class down the hall and you said no?! YOU'RE SO DUMB!"
I also did not buy a breast pump. I don't know WHY. I don't know what I was waiting for. But, I just didn't. So, when I had Gage on Tuesday and my milk didn't "come in" until the following Sunday, I wasn't sure what to do. And, to make it worse, when I took Gage to his first check up on that Friday, they totally freaked me out because he had lost 11% of his birth weight and anything over 10% is like "OMG your baby is starving to death and it's all your fault. You HAVE to supplement with formula until you can feed him with your boobs successfully like good moms do." - or that's what I heard. I can still remember how guilty I felt, how defeated and so much like a complete failure.
I also remember going in the nice little cozy nursing room with the lactation consultant who reminded me of the perfect grandma and how SHE made me feel horrible too because we discussed my "supply" and she suggested I start pumping and gave me Enfamil to supplement Gage's feeding after she gave him a little bottle and commented on how his fists relaxed when he ate, so he was clearly hungry. My overall impression "YOU SUCK AT BEING A MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I gave up after 5 weeks. I didn't understand that I should have tried nursing Gage within an hour of birth. Or that I should nurse on demand in the hospital and spend as much time with him skin to skin in the hours after birth. I also didn't know that babies can take 30 minutes in one "session" and that they eat like every 2 hours, so when I felt like all I was doing was nursing Gage, I was actually doing the right thing and it was normal baby activity. I didn't know there was a TON of free help available to me via The Leche League, and many other support groups, even on Facebook.
But, you know what? It's not always "the most natural thing". It's not just like magically your boobs make milk and your baby latches on and nurses away while you stare into each other's eyes. Sometimes you don't have a clue what you're doing. Sometimes you get bad advice. Sometimes there's a medical reason it's not successful. But, if you CAN and your baby CAN, then you should be sure to get support to remind you that you CAN when you think that you CAN'T. So, here's a little link list to help you out too.
The Leaky Boob on Facebook
La Leche League International
Find a Lactation Consultant Near You
Hope this helps you and your boobs!