When my first son was born almost 13 years ago he was unable to breastfeed, despite many many hours of trying, because of poor muscle tone and was unable to latch (he has Down's Syndrome and this is pretty common). Needless to say, it was a huge disappointment and very frustrating. I pumped for a long time but felt saddened that we couldn't share that experience.
When my now 16 mo old was born, I had a very difficult time trying to nurse him. I know that I felt a lot of anxiety and was afraid I wouldn't be able to nurse my second child either.
My saving grace was a terrific lactation consultant who spent a great deal of time (and patience) with me in not only showing me techniques but she gave me a lot of emotional support and hand holding while I cried and cried (post-partum hormones combined with no sleep make for a very emotional mama).
I had originally planned on having my son in a birth center but was unable to because I had to have antibiotics administered during delivery. I was so disappointed at having to deliver in a hospital (very crappy experience the first time around) but feel very fortunate to have had the support I really needed at that time.
My ds Julian is almost 16 months old, and we are both pro's at breastfeeding now. I am so grateful that I didn't give up and that I had the lactation consultant available to me. Breastfeeding has been such a wonderful experience that my son and I share. Hugs to all the mamas that are having a difficult time getting started and congrats to all the moms who stayed with it despite the early challenges.