Since I’ve never breastfed, I can’t really be much of an advisor during National Breastfeeding Week. Beginning a nursing relationship is far from an area of expertise for me… but I’m fortunate to have friends. Meg, Huan’s mommy and Eudora’s future mother-in-law, has been breastfeeding for nearly a year and a half. Here’s her story on the early days of establishing a nursing relationship with Huan.
We were in the hospital for 3 day attempting to establish a good latch. When babies are born, they don’t have great muscle strength in their jaws and need a good deal of extra help latching on. I spent a lot of time in those first 3 days hand expressing colostrum into his mouth. This is the “liquid gold” of breastfeeding that comes in before your milk and is quite thick. The good news is they don’t need a ton of milk those first few days and will be ok if you are struggling to establish a good latch. When babies are first born, their stomachs are pretty tiny. (On day 1: roughly half a tablespoon, day 3: 0.75-1 oz and day 7 approx 1.5-2oz.) So, really, the lack of milk isn’t actually an impediment to beginning your nursing relationship.
It wasn’t until day 3, however, that we finally got him latched on. A nurse came in, grabbed my breast and pretty much just popped it in my son’s mouth. Was it a little shocking? Yes of course, but it was effective and helped a ton. The nurses didn’t pressure me with formula even once those first three days, nor did they pressure me to leave until they were sure I was comfortable with getting him latched on properly.
Once we got home, latching on was a challenge again. At this point (day 5) my milk had come in and I was engorged and crying. I was so frustrated, in pain, and wasn’t sure how I was going to make this work. How on earth were we supposed to establish a nursing relationship if I couldn’t even get him on the breast? My mom suggested to change my nursing position. In the hospital, they showed me the football hold. My mom suggested the side laying position. This was the best advice I could have received right then. If one nursing hold or position isn’t working for you, change it up! As they get bigger, you most likely will have to anyways. Find the position that works best for you and your baby.
The key part of building a nursing relationship is just that: find what works for you and your baby. Don’t be afraid to get help.
What was the best piece of advice that you received for establishing your nursing relationship?
Image courtesy of Jomphong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net