I feel like there is a lot of mystery around breastfeeding, that you can’t fully comprehend until you try it. I know I was pretty dumbfounded as to what it would feel like, and how someone is seriously going to survive just by sucking on my boob all day. I had gotten a lot of books from friends on the “art of breast feeding” which confused me even further considering there was a litany of literature on the subject. I kept wondering if it was more complicated than I was assuming. Don’t you just put your baby on your boob and call it a day?
After popping the baby out, Sage, my Doula asked if I wanted to try breastfeeding. Everyone was still in the room milling about, while the nurse wondered if I wanted my bedding changed considering all the birth juice that was pooled at my feet. Point being, it wasn’t the most calm of situations. I put the baby towards my boob, and she just kinda bobbed her head around. I tried to guide her mouth towards the nip, but nothing really happened and I didn’t want to be forceful and snap her head off on the first day and all. I also felt a little self conscious with people watching with looks of anticipation much like being at the US Open and waiting to see if Andy Federer was going to miss his second serve. I decided, “fuck it” there is too much going on.
After about 30 minutes, the doctor, nurses, and Doula all left, and for the next 3 hours we just held her and stared at her face. Time was like an illusion and I couldn’t believe it was already 1:30 when the nurse asked if I wanted to take a shower. Getting up no longer preggo was the craziest feeling. In the shower I got so lost in my head thinking about the total insanity of what had just happened. I couldn’t believe I had just given birth and that my baby was out. While I washed off I realized it was the first time I hadn’t been with her for the last 9 months, and I felt so empty without her energy inside me anymore. Then, about 11 pounds of blood and birthing material suddenly gushed onto my feet and I decided it was time to get out. Lucky for me, they give you pads the size of a diaper for a giant to soak up all that fun stuff.
Now that I was clean, and my bed was no longer saturated, I jumped in and the nurse handed me the baby like I knew what I was doing. I snuggled up next her and tried to sleep, but there was no way that was going to happen considering the amount of adrenalin pumping through my system. The nurse came back around 3:30, asking if I wanted to try feeding her. Looking back, I can see how everything about this moment was perfect for learning how to breastfeed. It was the strange hour in the middle of the night where you are naturally calm, and no one was awake to watch the progress. Breastfeeding is not a spectator sport, and I highly suggest trying for the first time by yourself or with one nurse to give you suggestions.
The nurse told me to lay on my side, and lay the baby on her side, so she could try feeding on the bottom boob. The nurse explained that you don’t just put the tip of the nip in the baby’s mouth, but the whole freakin’ thing. The baby means business, and needs the nip all the way in there. So I would basically take my boob, and stuff it into my baby’s mouth. The nurse explained, that if she wasn’t “latched on” correctly I was going to have issues, so to stick my finger in her mouth to get her off and try again. Although the thought of anyone being “latched on” to my nip is quite intimidating, I did get what she meant because you definitely felt that sweet spot when she was stuck on there.
The exciting thing they don’t tell you about your first breastfeeding sessions, is that it contracts your uterus. So basically, the baby feeding helps your giant baby-sized uterus shrink back to its normal pear size. Although the last thing you want to feel after having had contractions all day and giving birth, is more contractions, but there are two reasons why this is okay. Reason number 1 is that you know the baby is on there right and feeding. Reason number 2 is because you do not want your uterus to maintain that weird hollow baggy feeling any longer than it needs to.
So at the end of the day I feel really lucky to have had such a great nurse to help me with this first experience. From then on I felt pretty calm about it, and never let her suck on my nip if she wasn’t latched on properly. I would stick my finger in her mouth and pry her off faster than bunnies get laid because I did not want her to give me raw nips. I need those things. I had a friend who had bleeding, cracked nipples, because of breastfeeding. She told me she just never really knew what it was supposed to feel like, so assumed it was normal to be super painful. Of course, everyone experience is unique, but these are my thoughts on how to make it easier for you…
Toni Bologna Breast Feeding Suggestions That Will Rock Your World
1) be calm
2) have the least amount of people observing possible
3) don’t let baby suck if not really stuck on like a Valasor Raptor
4) moisturize your nips with Argon Oil!!!!!!!!!!