The Feeding Journey: Find Your Resources & Feed a Little Easier
When my daughter Eilish was first placed in my arms after her birth, I groggily asked if it was okay to nurse her, before shoving her on my boob. This was the first of MANY questions I would have on the journey of feeding my daughter. I took all the classes, I thought I knew what to expect, and then suddenly she was at the breast and I felt awkward, uncertain, and so completely out of my element. We were both new at this, and the physics alone – tiny mouth, enormous boob – were baffling. I needed to talk to an expert.
Before Eilish’s birth, I preemptively made the decision to see a lactation consultant after she was born. I heard the horror stories about painful latches and bleeding nipples, so I went in knowing I wanted someone to tell me if I was doing it wrong. But what I didn’t expect from a visit with a lactation consultant was the peace of mind it would give me.
In those early days of breastfeeding, I was constantly worried if Eilish was getting enough milk. After her birth, she lost a little more weight than she should have, and I had to supplement with a couple bottles of formula. Add in that my milk was delayed coming in, and you can’t tell how much a baby is eating – I was an emotional, stressed-out mess. But during my appointment with the lactation consultant, she immediately relieved my fears.
During this appointment, the consultant reviewed my daughter’s latch, checked to see if she had a tongue tie, and weighed her before and after feeding to give me an idea of how much milk she was getting. She also gave me permission (and showed me how) to unlatch my daughter if it was a “bad latch” and was causing pain. Before this, I was too scared to take her off once she was nursing, because I was so obsessed with making sure she got enough to eat. This lesson alone made the appointment 150% worthwhile. And getting to see her weight increase before and after a feeding? – honestly amazing. Seeing is believing as they say, and I could finally take a sigh of relief knowing she was actually getting food.
So much of having a new baby is a guessing game – you’re just hoping you’re doing the right thing. And breastfeeding is especially hard since you’re the only one who can do it for your baby. But a lactation consultant understands the physical and emotional rollercoaster that is feeding your baby and can help you figure it out. So, don’t go it alone – find your resources, use them, and feed a little easier, mama.