Tag Archives: birthing

Breastfeeding is The Most Natural Way…Alies the Challenge

Breastfeeding seemed to be and I’ve always heard that it is the easiest and most natural way to feed a baby.  Like the urge to have a natural birth was just, well, natural – breastfeeding seemed like a given, too.  Maybe I was dense but I didn’t realize that it wasn’t something that was always easy to do until my daughter and I struggled.  In many ways I was (and still become) booby trapped along the way.

During my pregnancy it seemed like 99.9% of my brain was being used for planning the birth of our daughter, learning about pregnancy, learning about babies and getting the apartment ready.  I mean, we took one of those hospital classes, mainly to see the hospital, but other than the 5-10 minutes they talked about breastfeeding I didn’t do much to prepare.

My daughter was born at 7:41 in the morning after about 12 hours of labor.  Needless to say I wasn’t quite thinking straight after she was draped across my chest.  I sat there in a daze just simply amazed with her and myself.  When I think back about that morning I think about all the things I could have done differently that could have helped us.

For starters, I did a great job coming up with a birth plan that worked for us but it really only included the fact that I’d like to breastfeed and not that I’d probably need some help.  I birthed at a Certified Baby Friendly Hospital so I thought that getting help would just be a given, I guess.  I am not the type of person to ask for help with anything unless I really need to and by that point I’ve usually messed up pretty bad.

I didn’t get good skin on skin contact with my daughter right after her birth because I was so excited to have everyone meet her and I didn’t really know about the importance of skin on skin contact.  I mean, I read a bit about it in my Hypnobabies workbook but it went in one ear and out the other.

I remember asking the nurse about 5 minutes after she was born if I should try to breastfeed.  She said sure, you could try and as I put J to my breast I felt this pang of panic.  She didn’t just latch on, or lick, or show any interest at all.  So, I stopped and the nurse took J for her bath (in the room!).  I don’t know why I told her to take her and give her a bath instead of just laying there skin on skin with her for a while.  It’s something that I really truly regret.

Our family members all came in to meet our bundle of joy.  It was a great morning and we were all so happy.  After an hour she started to grunt and protest which got me excited.  Our first real breastfeeding session would be under way!  I put her to my breast and she slurped it up like a champ.  It was pretty uncomfortable but I figured it was because I wasn’t used to the sensations. The nurse told me to let her nurse as often as she’d like but not to go longer than 2 hours while also checking her poops and pees.  I diligently obliged and nursed her on cue like I was told (and I had read).

Things were going great except I noticed that it was every half hour or less

Dad's tuckered out!

that she’d want to nurse.  It seemed like she was on the boob more often than not. The first night together we happily co-slept in my hospital bed and I’ll never forget lovingly gazing at my sleeping husband across the way as my little nursling ate to her hearts content all night. 

I remember in the middle of the night our nurse came in so I asked her if she could help me because I didn’t know if I was breastfeeding right.  She helped my figure out the football hold which was AMAZING.  But,

J sleeping on Mama

when I asked about the latch she told me I’d have to ask the lactation consultant.  The next morning we were supposed to be discharged right away so things with the LC were rushed.  J was sleeping the whole time and I didn’t want to wake her because it was the longest stretch she’d had yet.  So, the LC asked me questions, showed me how to manually express, answered my questions and we were good to go!

I didn’t know we had a shallow latch issue for months. I thought that she just needed to comfort nurse, a lot.  When A’s entire family (seriously, like 9 people) came over on Christmas night at 9:00pm I was pissed, she was fussy, we couldn’t get a good latch the whole time and we damaged my left nipple.  My nipple has never been the same since that.

When people asked me if she needed to nurse again after she just ate I started to doubt myself.  When the first weigh-in at the doctor’s office showed that she’d lost too much weight I really started to get freaked.  I called the hospital lactation consultant and asked questions but I was always leaving messages, not getting calls back and when I did it was something that I already found out myself – or something not really helpful.  I didn’t know any LC’s that did home visits and I didn’t really have money for one.

So, I sat down with my nursling and read a zillion blog posts, articles, kellymom, watched youtube videos, read The Breastfeeding Book, listened to insights from my ONE nursing friend etc. until I could figure out how to get her to latch better.  Once we had a proper latch (which, sometimes I failed at my first round of discipline as a mother and let the lazy latch be ok) most of the time she still wanted to nurse CONSTANTLY unless I was wearing her.  Once I started wearing her in my moby wrap things took a glorious turn.  I felt like I was finally starting to understand her and we were jiving.  I’d know when she was getting hungry during her pre-cues.  It was fantastic.

Now I understand that although breastfeeding itself is natural, the act of it isn’t always a natural one for mother and baby.  Especially for those moms like me that live in a world of assumptions.  To succeed at breastfeeding you need to be informed, be dedicated, be flexible and most importantly have support and USE IT.

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Child Birth the Natural and Easy Way

When I became pregnant I knew that I would have a natural birth.  There was no question about it, really.  Women around the world for generations upon generations have been having babies successfully without interventions so why couldn’t I?  At first I thought that I’d just handle it myself, grit my teeth and bare it, I suppose.  Once I learned more about the process that your body undergoes during labor I realized I’d need something more than just will power.

At first, we I decided the Bradley Method would be the best for us.  I truly believe that this method of birthing is amazing and would be a perfect way to go IF my husband took interest in it – which he didn’t, at all.  In the beginning Adam was really on board and excited to take the class with me.  But, as the class crept up on us he wouldn’t even respond when I’d try to talk to him about it.  When it came out how much the class cost he threw a fit.  Luckily, there was a scheduling issue and I wouldn’t be able to get in a class before my due date and we cancelled.

I was really pissed off at him; I’m not going to lie.  I found myself married to someone who only thought about the price of a class not about how the class would help me.  My arguments about how much the class could save us if I didn’t have to get an epidural or a number of procedures that are routinely done during a woman’s labor were futile.  I knew that I had to find something else that I could do on my own that wouldn’t even involve my husband.  At one point I was so mad about it that I considered not letting him in the room at all!

During one of my prenatal appointments I told my midwife that Bradley was out the window and I think she breathed a sigh of relief (she wasn’t really keen on Bradley, either).  She mentioned hypnosis for childbirth and it kind of stuck with me.  It’s better than just going with the flow, I bet, so why not?  I decided to get Hypnobabies home study because I could do it all on my own and the investment wasn’t much at all.

And you know what?  I freaking love my husband for being a thorn in my side and not being on board with taking the Bradley classes.  Not only did Hypnobabies work amazingly well for me (and I was a slacker and I didn’t even use it during half of my labor – which I kick myself in the ass for) but I can seriously say that my labor was pain free.  I mean, yeah I felt lots of pressure, pulling, stretching and discomfort but I was expecting that.  I never got that “ring of fire”, I never screamed out obscenities, cursed my husband for making me pregnant, or any of those stupid clichés that you see in the movies.  I did some hard work and thoroughly enjoyed my daughter’s birthday without any drugs.  Not even an IV.

 “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right” ~ Henry Ford

What I believe is this: mind over matter.  Do you think labor is going to hurt like hell and is going to be one of the most agonizing events you will ever experience in your whole life?  Well, congratulations, you’re correct!  Do you think that child birth is natural, normal, easy and your body can do it sans pain?  Ya know, you’re right, too!  Childbirth has a lot to do with how you perceive childbirth to be.  If you tell yourself 10 million times that it won’t hurt if you let your body do what it’s supposed to do and don’t fight it then will it?  Probably not…  If you tell yourself and listen to everyone else telling you that it’s going to be excruciatingly bad then girl, it’s going to be.

Bottom line is, hypnosis works but it takes work.  You have to open yourself up to the notion of hypnosis and believe in it.  You have to practice it, and practice it often.  Once you believe in it and you practice it often you can reprogram your subconscious to believe loads of things.  I convinced myself I’d have a natural, normal, healthy, fast, easy, pain-free birth using Hypnobabies and you know what?  I totally did.

If you’re interested in reading my birth story you can do so here.

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