My mommy friends warned me about what happens when your milk comes in.
It can only be described like this:
Rock Hard Porn Star Boobs
I can’t wait to see the traffic that little phrase brings.
Two and a half days after Henry was born my milk came in. Suddenly, my breasts became two boulders attached to my body. Before this we had no issue with latching. In fact, he latched only a few minutes after he was born.
My breasts became so engorged that Henry stopped latching and started head butting me and slapping my boobs with his little balled up fists every time I tried to feed him. This went on for about a day.
Travis eloquently described the problem like this, “It’s like trying to put your mouth around a basketball.”
Slowly, over the course of the day, I felt my breast feeding confidence disappearing. No wonder people stick with formula, I thought. I tried over and over to get him to latch, but no such luck. The whole time my boobs were getting larger and more rock like. Not comfortable. Finally, I tried looking up a solution in Dr. Sears’ book. I decided to try to pump to relieve the engorgement and then see if I could get my kiddo to latch again.
The pumping felt wonderful, but latching was still an issue. At the end of the day I called a local lactation consultant (Starfish Lactation) and made an appointment for the next day. The woman I spoke with was so helpful and reassured me that Henry would not starve to death and that feeding him the milk I had pumped from a bottle was totally acceptable.
Meeting with the lactation consultant was an excellent decision. She weighed Henry and then got him latched to one side. I felt almost immediate relief as he nursed. A baby does a much better job than a pump.
Once he was done nursing on one side she weighed him again to see how much he had consumed. Then she helped me to get him latched on the other side and once he was done we weighed him again. During that feeding he consumed almost two ounces – a sure sign that my body was producing.
Although the nurses in the hospital were really helpful in teaching me how to breastfeed, meeting with the lactation consultant in an environment where latching was our only focus was exactly what I needed. She sent us on our way with instructions on how to relieve the engorgement and a renewed confidence in my ability to nourish my child.
She also talked to us about nipple confusion and said it was perfectly acceptable to bottle feed when necessary. This helped me so much. We’re still working on our latching and not every feeding goes as planned, but knowing that I’ve got a reserve in the fridge is reassuring.
No one tells you how hard breastfeeding really is and how much commitment it takes. I truly had no clue. I thought after carrying a baby for 9 1/2 months that I would reclaim my body as my own once he was born. So. Not. True. In fact, my body’s job has not changed much at all. I’m still responsible for providing nourishment for him. We are still attached to each other almost 24 hours a day. I could give you some story about how breastfeeding gives us time to bond and blah, blah, blah. But really? I’m still figuring this whole thing out. I know that it makes me feel better – when we have a successful feeding I feel like I’ve really accomplished something. But there are still times when the feeding doesn’t go as planned and I’m tempted to throw in the towel.
My motivation for breastfeeding is more than just wanting to provide the best nutrition for my babe. It comes down to two reasons really and they are mostly selfish:
1. Studies have shown that your risk of breast cancer decreases when you breastfeed. My mom’s a breast cancer survivor so I’m motivated to give this my best shot in hopes that I avoid chemo and cancer wards in the future.
2. Breastfeeding is like lipo, yo! Sucks the fat right off. Like a George Foreman Grill. Or a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.