My son was born a month early. So I wasn't very prepared. I had a whole list of things to think about before the big day... including breastfeeding. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, yes. But I had no idea how it was going to work in practice. I didn't expect the start of breastfeeding to be so difficult and painful. Looking back, I really wish I had been better informed! I'm not surprised that some young mothers stop breastfeeding as soon as they get home...
So my little man showed up on November 9th and I received a lot of support at the maternity hospital, especially on breastfeeding. It's not easy to put your child to the breast at first. Although he was a bit early, my son still had the sucking reflex and he didn't do too badly. I used nipple shields a little. Although it is not recommended, it helped me a lot the first days! However, I did have some pain that I didn't expect: my breasts were pulling and especially the cracks. I tried several methods to get rid of them, including lanolin cream, which I recommend taking with you. But the most effective for me was the silver shells.
During my stay in the maternity ward, I used and abused the button to call the midwife (it's rare to meet male midwives and this one was great advice, especially on breastfeeding). I am shown the different breastfeeding positions. I am particularly comfortable with the "cradle hold" and "lying on your side" positions. I have more difficulty with the "ruby hold" position. After 3 days, my baby and I are autonomous: we are ready (or so I thought).
What a surprise and what a horror this return home was. I start to feed and my baby starts to colic. Enormous breasts (and not huge sexy ones but huge monstrous ones). I have this feeling of being a milk cow. I can't sleep on my stomach, I'm in pain and I don't know what to do! I keep complaining to my partner who doesn't know what to do. Is this normal? Will it go away? I try a few grandma's tricks I read on the internet: hot shower, ice cubes. Finally I end up pumping my milk to relieve the congestion. It hardly helps, but it does help. I almost stopped breastfeeding at that point. I was able to rely on the advice of midwives I know. Luckily I was able to call them and they listened and gave good advice. I held on and I'm glad I did.
After the milk came in, it got better little by little and I was able to breastfeed for 7 months, to my great pleasure and that of my baby.
Aurélia, mother of 2 children
Photo credit: Ninon de Buyl