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Yesterday I went to Saturday Market with babe and she needed milk, so I found a place to sit (the base of a big fountain) and nursed her. While I was sitting there, bagpipes playing, kids running around, people of all shapes and sizes walking around, I felt so calm, and realized that I just really enjoyed breastfeeding! This is the first time I realized this. It's like a page in our relationship has turned.

My breastfeeding story:

I had Madeline at home, in water, and the first thing I did (before the cord was even cut) was to put her near my breast. Eye contact was more important to her, though she did make some little sucking sounds with her mouth... she just didn't latch on. I took a bath and held her in my arms, until finally I let my mom hold her while I got cleaned up. My mom let her suck on her finger and I think it kind of screwed up Madeline's suck. At least it wasn't a paci, but still, my nipples were very soft... very unlike a finger! So during the colustrum days it was this constant struggle to get a correct latch. She had a very strong suck, just an inefficient (and painful!) latch. The second night I was so desperate to feed her that I just let her suck with her painful latch nearly all night, and the next day my nipple was so blistered it looked awful. I was told by DH and a very unhelpful LLL leader that I "shouldn't let her do that." What do you mean!? How do I make her do it right? No help there. So when my milk came in, the third night, I still was shaky on our breastfeeding, and Madeline *screamed* all night long while I tried to latch her on and milk poured all over us. I got her to drink finally by just dribbling milk over her hand while she sucked on her hand. The next morning I totally broke down crying and DH (attempting to be helpful) said, "You know, we shouldn't rule out formula."
I told him I had plenty of milk and I'd pump if I had to but there was no way I was giving her formula. I wasn't really considering pumping... I wanted to breastfeed successfully! A few days went by of struggling and I got a post-partum doula to come over and help me. She actually helped hands-on, unlike the LLL leader, as I told her I didn't care if she "handled the goods" as long as it helped us breastfeed. The first thing she did was to swaddle the baby up really tight. Then she positioned her and gave her the "boobie sandwich" and for the first time we had a good latch, fishlips and everything.

I swaddled her like that for every feeding for a few days and after we got used to the latching and feeding process, I could feed her unswaddled as well. I still wrap her up really tight if she's too fussy to feed straight.

Even though I would say we were successfully feeding by week 2, my nipples took a long time to really form, and it was two months before they really "hardened." Because of the ongoing pain, the overactive letdown, lazy or tense latching (we still deal with it... I'm always flipping her lips out for her and trying to loosen her jaw up), breastfeeding still felt like a struggle.

And then, like magic, the stress just dissipated, and I actually felt good nursing my cozy little baby. I still leak like crazy, she still struggles sometimes (popping on and off due to distraction, a really fast letdown, the heat, or possibly this sore I noticed in her mouth), but overall I can tell she really loves to nurse and I really love to nurse her.

This morning she decided I had to pay attention to her when she nursed. I was trying to check out MDC and she was popping off to babble and tap me with her hand and I'd look down and she had her eyes wide open and staring at me and she'd smile and go back to sucking. As soon as I'd look away, she did it again. Good lesson, baby! I put everything else aside and just spent the time with my daughter, and eventually she nursed to sleep.

So now that she's napping I had to type out this story in response to a lot of breastfeeding frustration I'm seeing, to say I have it, too, but eventually it does get better, even if problems persist!
 

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WOW! Thanks for posting your story. You did great!
Maybe a mama going through the early days now will read it & feel inspired.
Looking back now I am sure it was all well worth it, too. Glad you are enjoying BFing now! WTG!
 
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