Breastfeeding was a strange thing for me. At first, I didn’t think that I would be comfortable with it. Then, I decided to try it. Then I began to learn all the things about it that no one wants to tell you.
In the hospital, you will have LOTS of help trying to learn how to breastfeed. Each nurse will ask you if you need help and lactation specialists are available if you need them. There are so many people offering their “breastfeeding techniques” that you begin to lose your modesty. One night a hospital employee knocked on my door with my dinner. He was visibly embarrassed and apologetic when he walked in on me nursing my son. I barely looked away from the tv except to say thank you. I wanted to ask him if he knew any breastfeeding tips, everyone else did.
It is very hard to get your baby to latch on correctly, and if you don’t, you will know it. In a day or two, you will wish for your old nipples back instead of the swollen, painful red ones that now belong to you. It is exhausting and frustrating to try to get your baby to latch on correctly. It could take many tries until they finally latch, then they get a couple good gulps and then they fall asleep in your arms. (And by the way, don’t forget to use your little finger to break their latch seal before you try to move your baby away from your chest. If you don’t, you will feel like your nipples are stretching across the room. OUCH!)
Your baby will eat every 2-3 hours and you will know that it is time because you will feel like your bra is carrying two large rocks or melons and your chest will ache. If you are late for a feeding, there will be so much milk that your baby may have a hard time latching on. The good news is once he/she starts drinking, you will feel comfortable again. It also took me until my second child to understand what the “let down” is. Once your baby starts to drink from one side, you will feel this warm, releasing sensation from both breasts. You may also experience leaking from the side that they haven’t gotten to yet. Oh yeah, and you will be wearing your nursing bra all day and all night for the remainder of your breast feeding time.