Two and a half years ago: I am sitting in a lactation consultant’s office at my local hospital with my week-old baby. I proceed to latch my baby on under the consultant’s watchful gaze. I bite my lip and try not to scream, my shoulders hunching forward impulsively from the pain.
The consultant observes and smiles kindly and points out a few tips. Then, she says, “You should come to the breastfeeding class and show other new moms how to nurse. Your baby is a model nurser. Everything seems just right.”
I have already seen two other lactation consultants and a nurse. They all say the same thing, “Try this. Try that. She looks great. But – remember – breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.”
The pointers are all old news to me: Make sure her mouth is open wide. Bring the baby to you, not the other way around. Vary positions. Blah-blah-blah. I have read countless breastfeeding books, looked at diagrams, even interviewed someone from La Leche League. I know it all. Yet it STILL hurts. I still dread each feeding. And I feel like I am doing something wrong.
Fortunately, I have a supportive husband and a dogged determination to make it work despite the obstacles. With a bit of time (approximately 2-3 weeks) and a lot of Lansinoh cream, I make it through [I go on to nurse my daughter until she is almost two…pain-free].
Fast-forward to today: My baby is a week old. The initial latch is agonizing and I always pray under my breath for the first ten seconds or so.
When I go into the birth center for my first postpartum check, the nurse says, “You know how they say breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt? That’s not exactly true.” I want to hug her. That is the kind of thing that a new mom needs to hear.
I know I’ll keep breastfeeding (the benefits far outweigh this temporary discomfort).
I know eventually this pain will go away.
I’ve already done this once before…and it is so worth it.
Stay tuned for an upcoming series about breastfeeding that will include tips, product reviews, personal musings, and plenty of giveaways.
In the meantime, you may want to check out some of my past posts on the topic: