This is the first in a multi-part series Ask Moxie is going to run on breastfeeding. My guest expert is Jamie. She's a lactation consultant, mother of four, raconteur, and tireless supporter of all things boobular. She's the person you want to talk to when your tits are in a vise (literally or not). In addition to writing these articles for Ask Moxie, she's written an amazing series of posts on breastfeeding, breastfeeding support, and breastfeeding in U.S. culture on her own blog. You should check them out.
And now, on with the show:
One thing that complicates breastfeeding for new mothers is the abundance of myths steering her in the wrong direction (or at least in unhelpful directions) as she's getting started.
On the other hand, a lot of women experience a little pain. Your nipples have never been stretched so far; your ducts have never been distended to such a degree. Sometimes, especially before the milk starts flowing, it makes a person say ouch. According to The Breastfeeding Atlas, this type of pain should last about 20-30 seconds per feeding and resolve within a week. But if you hear that you shouldn't be saying ouch, you may worry that you're doing it wrong. Motherhood presents many and varied opportunities to worry that you're doing it wrong. Whenever possible (this is just such an instance), decline them.
- Feed the baby. If possible, your own expressed milk, given in whatever way works for your family. If you opt to use a bottle, this is a helpful article on using bottles to transition a baby back to the breast.
- Protect the milk supply. To bring in a milk supply, rent a hospital-grade pump. If your insurance company balks, an LC should be able to drop them a letter explaining why it's important.
- Fix the breastfeeding. If you can keep something relaxed happening at the breast, offering the baby a chance to nurse when you're both calm and he's not too hungry, many babies will catch on all on their own. Most will figure it out in time, with assistance from an experienced LC.