"Breastfeeding was super easy from the start." - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How come we never hear stuff like this. When I was preparing to BF with DS1, I was prepared for the worst. Engorgement, leaks, sore boobs, mastititis (sp), dry & cracked nipples. I was in no way ready to simply have an easy time with it. But, I did, both times. I feel like I don't get to share my story because it doesn't happen often enough, but then wonder if the reason I don't think it happens enough is that more people feel like me.

Wouldn't it make a difference if someone told you BF may be super easy and you might have no problems from the start, rather than bombarding you with all the negatives only?
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#2 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:29 PM
 
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Hmm, I don't know. I expected bfing to be hard (I had a breast reduction, so I was even prepared to not have full supply). It was hard the first few weeks, but I expected it, so I was okay. And in fact, I have full supply (rare but not unheard of in bfars), so I consider myself lucky - I was willing to do MUCH more than I needed to in the end.

I think most women who have challenges are told that breastfeeding is easy, natural, etc, but don't have anyone around them who has BTDT, ya know? And when they run into latch issues at 3am with a screaming baby, they freak out, get scared, and often give up right then and there.

So perhap hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, is the best approach?

Thoughts?

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You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#3 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:29 PM
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it fits int o the adage--prepare for the worst, expect the best.

i think a lot of women romanticly assume that BF will be easy, and when it isn't, they're frustrated and disillusioned. So, focus is set on how breastfeeding can be difficult and how to work through those difficulties.

but, BF can be easy for some women--i would say probably most since that's how we're "designed" to work--but it may not be easy for every or any given woman.

i expect that BF will be easy for me, when my time comes, but if it isn't, i know where to go for information, help, and support should anything arise. I"m prepared for worst, expecting the best.
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#4 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:32 PM
 
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Oh, I think it would make a huge difference!!!!

and, for the record, I had a pretty easy time too. I heard all about how hard it would be, cracked, bleeding nipples, mastitis, clogged ducts, latching issues, you name it.
I had a very hard night the night before my milk came in. DD was hungry and just not happy with the colostrum I had to offer. But once my milk came in, it really was pretty easy for me. Any soreness I had was gone in less than a week.
That said, I really feel for the mamas on this board who have had a difficult time, and I salute them for perservering!
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#5 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:32 PM
 
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I think it would be good for women to hear a variety of experiences...and to not assume their experience will be one way or the other.

Our first week was tough, but after that, I loved it so much. It wasn't always what I would call easy, but it was much easier than I expected.
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#6 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:34 PM
 
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I agree with PP. Somehow the message that BF *is* easy has leaked to the general public. So most people I know, at the first sign of trouble, just go with formula. I personally researched enough to know it could be hard, and it was, and that made me more determined to stick with it.

Even with #2, I had nursed already, so I should have been very confident. But at 2am, when the baby was not latching and the nurses were pushing formula, I still wavered. Getting started can be hard. I agree, prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

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#7 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I didn't think people were getting the idea that BFing was easy at all... I never did. Every book I read, TV show I watched, etc said the exact opposite. I just wish people could hear different stories about it. Especially on the baby shows I see on TV.. those are super frustrating because it seems like every one that BF has a bad experience and starts supplementing and in their follow up, most said it was too hard.
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#8 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:41 PM
 
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Actually, hearing my mother and all my friends tell me about how super easy breastfeeding was for them really made me feel worse about having problems with it. Like I was some kind of freak of nature.
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#9 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:41 PM
 
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I think a better message is it *will* be easy after the first few weeks ( I know it's not true for everyone, but overall the newborn phase is the most challenging). When I felt ready to give up and it was so hard to get him latched on it was good to be reminded that it wouldn't be like that forever.
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#10 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:47 PM
 
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i has such a hard problem with my first because all i got was how super easy breastfeeding was. i thought something was wrong with ME
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#11 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:53 PM
 
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Bfing started out PERFECT for me.....never even had a touch of soreness or engorgment(sp?) that was was painful. It really couldn't have started out any better. Anyway, at about 6 weeks- 3months over active let-down was misery and then she went on a nursing strike due to reflux and food senstivity(I guess) never had a bottle in her life......I'll stop rambling-long story, that is for a whole nother thread.

Just wanted to say that bfing can be super easy from the start!!!!!!!!!!

Tiffany , mama to my 2 spirited girls, natalee (8/05) and scarlett (5/09)
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#12 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:56 PM
 
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I try really hard to tell any pg women I know that DS and I never had any problems nursing. No pain, no supply issues, no latch problems. I don't do this to brag, just to let them know that not everyone experiences the horror stories you hear. The same way I tell pg women that I didn't feel much pain until I was 7 cm dilated. Women love to tell war stories about awful labors and terrible nursing problems for some reason, even though we know it scares the bejesus out of expectant moms.
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#13 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:57 PM
 
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Add me to those who had never heard anything about breastfeeding being hard. I hadn't heard it was easy, either, I just assumed that it was natural and instinctive and therefore would be easy.

Mostly, it was...except when it wasn't. But my mom was very reassuring and I didn't feel like I was broken, I just realized that like anything else, it's part nature and part nurture.

I wish people wouldn't qualify breastfeeding in general as either "easy" or "hard". It oversimplifies things. Besides, breastfeeding your baby isn't about choosing something for convenience or the challenge, it's about choosing what's right for your child, regardless of the difficulty rating.

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living whatever they sing is better than to know  - e.e. cummings
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#14 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 06:00 PM
 
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I had the same expereince with my first - i was prepared for lots of misery and hard work, and it was so easy. My second was a little more difficult, he had a funny latch for a while, and #3 is back to being super easy,

I guess it's like labor - everyone's different, and each person might have different experience with each child. And we usually just hear (or remember) the horror stories.
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#15 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 06:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meganeilis
I try really hard to tell any pg women I know that DS and I never had any problems nursing. No pain, no supply issues, no latch problems. I don't do this to brag, just to let them know that not everyone experiences the horror stories you hear. The same way I tell pg women that I didn't feel much pain until I was 7 cm dilated. Women love to tell war stories about awful labors and terrible nursing problems for some reason, even though we know it scares the bejesus out of expectant moms.
I agree!!!!!

Tiffany , mama to my 2 spirited girls, natalee (8/05) and scarlett (5/09)
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#16 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 06:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeDeeLenae
Wouldn't it make a difference if someone told you BF may be super easy and you might have no problems from the start, rather than bombarding you with all the negatives only?
Yes, it would have made a difference--I may have been pushed off the edge into formula feeding. Although no one TOLD me that BF might be super easy, I just assumed it would be easy and natural. When it wasn't, I was heartbroken, scared, and overwhelmed. My nipples hurt, my baby was screaming and fussing, popping on and popping off and nursing around the clock, and then the icing on the cake: my milk coming in. Suddenly I am faced with breasts so large, so leaky, and so tender and I had no idea that this wasn't what it would be like for the entire duration of our nursing relationship. So at 11 pm, crying, I sent dh out for a can of formula.

I never opened the can and the next day my midwife and her friend, both LLL leaders, showed up to help. They were my salvation because they assured me that engorgement was normal, that sore nipples were normal, that my difficulties were completely normal and that it would all go away as my body got accustomed to breastfeeding.

I think if people had told me beforehand that nursing might be easy-breezy, coupled with my own assumptions that it would come naturally, it would have been enough to push me over the edge when it wasn't. If LLL hadn't stepped in to tell me that breastfeeding WASN'T necessarily easy and that pain and difficulty in the beginning was NORMAL, I might have been too scared and frustrated to wait it out.

The fact that every single person I know has quit breastfeeding because "it hurt" or "the baby couldn't latch" or "I didn't have enough milk" makes me think that more women than not have troubles in the beginning and could be served better by being prepared for it to be difficult. If it isn't, then they can feel like champions but if it is, at least they won't end up feeling scared and inadequate.

mommy to ds 11/05, dd1 01/08, and dd2 01/10!
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#17 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe it's just me. I felt inadequate because I didn't run into those problems. I never had the idea it was easy. But, I'm not complaining.
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#18 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 06:35 PM
 
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I find that many women (who end up FFing) assumed BFing would be easy because it was natural. They then end up giving up if they encounter difficulties only to feel either disappointment in themselves and/or anger toward BFing advocates when they realize the problems they encountered were common and manageable.

I think the message should be that BFing involves work and commitment, that you may encounter problems and you may not, that problems have solutions excluding FFing and that, ultimately, sticking it out is worth it.

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#19 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 06:41 PM
 
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As a not-mama-yet, I am glad that the wide variety of experiences I have read about have prepared me for the worst. I think that knowledge of how to overcome certain challenges and that they are not unique or absolute will help me persevere should I face any of them.


But I am very glad that my own mama has made me able to hope for the best! When I first started reading about pain, cracked nipples etc. I asked if she had had any problems. She said, "Oh no! It felt really good!"
She had been C-sectioned (me "emergency" due to FTP, and younger Brother planned due to "big head") and they kept bringing her bottles in the hospital. She was not terribly educated about these specific things (well educated in general, but not like an MDC addict) and had no help at all. But she just ignored the formula and latched us on. She weaned at a year b/c she thought she needed to, but was not tired of BFing then or having any problems at all. No thrush, mastitis, nothing.

So it is possible to have everything go just about perfectly, even w/o ideal initial conditions.
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#20 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 07:01 PM
 
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I had the same attitude of 'hope for the best, but expect the worst' as well. I feel really lucky that I have a very supportive dh and family, a doula at the hospital for the birth, and a couple of LC's as well to reassure me when I was worried about low milk supply. I think I was really lucky that I had very few bfing issues (some soreness for a week or so and 1 day of engorgement when my milk came in), and dd latched on like she knew what to do within 30 seconds of delivery. I realize that my experience is probably not the norm, and I really admire you mamas that have major issues and persevere through them to give your babies the best. : You ladies rock!

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#21 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 07:08 PM
 
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FWIW, I am currently reading published diaries of a missionary woman who, with her husband, traveled to WA State in the 1840s. She details how breastfeeding her first baby was very difficult for her at first, of the pain she felt, and about her putting hot compresses on her breasts to relieve the soreness. This was over 150 years ago!
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#22 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 07:23 PM
 
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even though I'm an EP'er (and belong to a group of EP'ers who have been through it ALL) I really try to present a good vibe when talking about nursing to a new mama. When I was pg I heard things like "make it through the first two weeks!!" etc.

I try to say something like, it can be hard in the beginning but it's so worth it and it's natural. Sometimes I like to point out that if 98% of women in Norway can bf, their boobs don't work any better than ours do! But it's the bad advice from pediatricians and well meaning relatives that can totally screw up a perfectly good bf'ing relationship with things like schedules and bottles and constant weight checks. ugh. I think so many more people would have a positive bf'ing experience if they were just left alone for the first month with the baby.

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#23 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 08:05 PM
 
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I didn't really do any research on bf before I had my daughter. I just knew that that was the way my mom fed me for my first 18m and that's how I would feed my child. I got a few negative comments from MIL, DH, and GMIL about it because MIL and GMIL supposedly had supply issues and so had to ff, although I think it was just doctors filling their heads full of c.rap.
I knew about LLL and that if I needed any help I could go to a meeting or get an appointment with a LC, but I really wasn't expecting any problems.
BF turned out to be super easy. Like I'd been doing it all my life. I've never had cracked/bleeding nipples, mastitis or anything like that. I didn't even know that they had whole books just on bf until dd was over 6 mo and I saw one at a bookstore!

Jessika, wife to Turbo, mommy to Codi (12/04), Kayce (8/08), Colten (10/10), and a new little stork-suprise.gif coming 12/13 .

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#24 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 08:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowbunny
I find that many women (who end up FFing) assumed BFing would be easy because it was natural. They then end up giving up if they encounter difficulties only to feel either disappointment in themselves and/or anger toward BFing advocates when they realize the problems they encountered were common and manageable.
This was me with my first child- I expected it to be easy and when it wasn't, I didn't know what to do. Add that to the LC telling me that Zachary would never latch on to my flat nipples and I ended up ffing. Which just served to make me feel like a failure as a mother right form the get-go. All that said, I would have loved to hear ANYONE with a first hand story about bfing at that time- good or bad. When I had Zachary, I had never even met anyone who bfed so I would have loved to hear about how easy or hard it was for them just to have someone who knew anything about bfing.
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#25 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 08:44 PM
 
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Breastfeeding isn't super easy from the start for a lot of mothers. There are latch problems, diet changes, mastitus, engorgement, all kinds of bumps along the way you must deal with. I don't think it's a good idea to act like breastfeeding is super easy, just as it's terrible to bombard people with negatives. I think the best thing is somewhere in the middle, pointing out the reality: yes, there may be bumps along the way, but it's worth it...and it's a cinch once you get the hang of it.

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#26 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 10:30 PM
 
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It wasn't hard at all for me. No pain, no latch trouble, no supply issues, not even really engorgement when my milk came in. It was magnificently easy, right from the start.

I don't talk about it, because a) I don't need any support for "I just stick her on the boob" and b) I don't want to seem like I'm... insensitive, with all the women who've had issues on this board. Much like I don't talk about my incredibly wonderful marriage ever on the parents as partners board...

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#27 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 10:42 PM
 
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My LC gave me a book called "Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding: Protecting the Mother-Baby Continuum". This book truly changed my whole perspective on this issue. I had a long, difficult hospital birth complete with meds and episiotomy, followed by weeks of rough recovery. DS and I had a terrible time getting started with breastfeeding! Fast forward to a week ago- the birth of my second child at home, unmedicated, 8.5 hour labor. I am happy to report that breastfeeding is a BREEZE this time around. Sure my boobs are leaky and get a little sore but that's normal compared to what I dealt with last time. Breastfeeding certainly has the POTENTIAL to be easy from the start, but its going to be a long time and take a lot of work to convince women that not being doped up during labor and not forced to undergo interventions has a lot to do with this.
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#28 of 43 Old 08-08-2006, 02:42 AM
 
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Mom bf'd seven of us and the hardest was my youngest sister, 2 months early - she says "each baby is different," in terms of nursing. But she was able to establish a good supply for my sister in the early 80's despite her being so premature.

My older sister didn't have any trouble getting going on bf with her three, nor did my aunts with their (5 and 3) nor my cousin. I didn't have trouble at first, but hit a major bump at about 2 months when Ina started limiting feeds for reflux pain, I was told to supplement per Ped/LC both (but both assumed I knew to pump to maintain/increase supply because I was so informed -- but I was too sleep deprived to think of that at that point) - and we discovered I'd some retained placental fragments which were impacting my supply too. So, I did struggle quite a bit for awhile. I guess I knew it could be easy when we got back on track though ....

I think moms need to know that it's not *always* awful, but it's not *always* sunshine and roses, either -- but it's worth the work regardless, and that once established, bf can be way convenient and a wonderful part of parenting. The big thing is for all moms to know to:
A. Do your research, buy/read breastfeeding books!
B. Find bf-knowledgeable and supportive OB's and Peds.
C. Research local LLL and LC support availability.
D. (Most important of all) Ask for help!!! Don't assume that you'll be judged, or that you're overreacting!!!
E. Double-check the advice you're given (in re: meds, treatment approaches, bf routines, etc.).

I do think, whether we assume bf will be easy (I did, although I did a lot of research anyway so I knew it might not be) -- or whether we assume it'll be difficult, we DO assume that it's "natural." And the reality is that for many women, it's something they've seldom seen and have little experience with, and they often are surrounded by people with even less knowledge/experience than the mom, who are supposed to be supporting her.

I think it's great to share "it was easy for me" stories - and I think a lot of us temper our "Well, things were rough" stories so as not to scare people (my approach is usually to say "Inform yourself, read these books, don't hesitate to call an LC, mine was wonderful!") .... I think that deviating from the norm is always a bit scary for most people -- and the norm is either ff, or bf only briefly in our society. So whether women hear horror stories or "it's all good" stories, they may worry either way about their reality vs. what they've been told.

That said - I also think that positive thinking can make a huge difference, too. I think that a lot of the uncertainty and fear which some women feel going into childbirth, helps promote the pain (and "I need meds" reaction) which they feel during labor ... and I think that moms who are terrified of supply issues, latch issues, etc. - probably end up with a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy going on too sometimes.

(I also agree that the medications and interventions at the hospital can really negatively impact breastfeeding initiation for mothers, and can have effects which mom is still fighting a month later ).

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#29 of 43 Old 08-08-2006, 03:10 AM
 
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I just ignore the comments on how hard it is now, because, okay, I've heard them. I get it. You can have a hard time. I actually think it's funny when I hear stories about "I wish someone would have told me it would be this difficult!" because that is ALL I hear! I take it in stride, and IF I come across those "inevitable" problems, THEN I will deal with them, but I don't drive myself crazy by setting myself up for failure. I just know that in the case these things happen, I have support and I will persevere, but I don't accept problems as inevitable, or even something that will "probably" happen.

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#30 of 43 Old 08-08-2006, 04:19 AM
 
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No....it wouldn't have made a d*mn difference. In fact, the one person that I knew that bf'd had NO problems at all...ever. Up to that point, I only had one other friend that nursed...she had no problems either. I felt incompitent and a miserable failure. I wish I had somebody besides my mom (who didn't have any support, and gave up) to tell me what a had road it would be. All I heard was cupcakes and ice cream....it's so natural and so wonderful...beautiful and serene....it doesn't hurt, but your nipples might get a little sore....bullsh*t!!! For me, it was agonizing, painful (more painful than my labor transition by a long shot), miserable, depressing and down right traumatizing.
I have a high pain tolerance...nursing, brought me to my knees...weaping, crying, yelping...I can't think of enough words to fully describe how bad it hurt me.
I still praise God that I had such a great LC. My son had a bubble palette and an incorrect latch...and I had an inverted nipple (which was the worse offended of the 2 nipples).
I am always quick to tell people how aweful it was for me in the begining, but I very strongly suggest a good LC, and I always recommend the one I saw. I finish my spiel with how successful nursing turned out for me and my son, and what a great experience it was. Each and every momma that I've talked to that was considering nursing has thanked me for warning them. My neighbor across the street is one of them...and she did see the same LC. She was on the fence from the get go, and has committed to a year of bfing now.
I know for me...a fair warning would've saved me some agony. I would've called an LC a lot sooner, and I wouldn't have been so hard on myself. I thought I was being a big baby.
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