Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wish I Knew Then, What I Know Now

Over on Facebook's Pregnancy Corner, they asked what piece of advice that you'd give to new moms, that you wish someone would've given you.  So I said, "Breast feeding doesn't always go as planned, it's not always as easy as it looks. Don't get discouraged if you can't get it to work. It's not your fault.".

The dreaded breast feeding.  My boobs were engorged.  My newborn was hungry, but damn it, neither of us could get the nipple to work properly!  The nurses at Mount Caramel were no help.  It seemed like they were too impatient.  They kept telling me that the specialist was coming in; she was busy with other new moms.  After several frustrating hours, after I'd given up and switched to formula, a nurse came in and said, "Oh, sorry.  The specialist left and won't be back from vacation for two weeks!"  

Nice.  Real nice.  Makes me wonder if I had insurance at the time, if the specialist would've seen me as important...or the RN's for that matter?

No one had told me that it doesn't always go as planned.  No one told me that it's not instinctual like with other animals.  Kittens seem to know to go for the teat right away, as do other mammals.  I thought a human infant would do the same because no one told me different!

It's frustrating.  Makes me wonder how other mothers of the past did it.  Well, I guess it was breast or death, wasn't it?  Unless your were wealthy, then you could have a Wet Nurse--is that what they are?  The women who were basically hired to breast feed your kid for whatever reason?  

Let's face it, there were women who were unable to then, just as there are now.  My grandma couldn't, my mom couldn't--both because they didn't produce milk.  My SIL couldn't produce milk either.  I could, however, I didn't have the instruction and know-how to get it to work.  Having a flat nipple doesn't exactly make it easier. 

I had gone home and read up on it in my What to Expect book and online.  I tried the exercises that I found.  I talked/typed to other moms.  I tried and failed, and tried and failed.  Eventually, the pain in my boobs was too much, and I opted for a breast pump.  The manual pump was a waste of milk and time.  I couldn't get proper suction and had leaking problems.  Then I got an electric pump which worked well.  But I was so discouraged by my previous tries, that eventually the boobs stopped altogether!

It was disheartening.  I felt like a failure.  Here, we didn't have enough money as to was, and I couldn't get the liquid gold to pour.  I felt pressure from my mom and my husband.  All they kept saying was, "Well, you're just not trying hard enough."  Because they would know, right?    "You should do it this way."  "That way."  "My way!"  How about yall do it the "Shut the Fuck Up way?"

Oh, and watch some of those parenting sites, because you will run into those moms who believe that you're a bad parent if you don't/can't breast feed.  They refuse to listen to reason and have too much time of their hands.  They'll judge judge judge and call you whatever name that boosts their egos.  They're just bitches.  Plain and simple.  Don't worry about em.  If they have the time to belittle someone online, imagine how shitty their family life or self esteem must be.  

Last week, my appointment at Riverside, the lactation specialist came in and talked to me.  She even had a picture book.  She was honest and informed, with experience; and she was polite and encouraging!  It was very helpful and refreshing!  I wish I had talked to a specialist BEFORE I had my kid!  Definitely would've save me a lot of stress and tears.

Yes, my advice is before you have your kid, research breast feeding.  Talk to other moms who have and who tried.  Talk to your hospital's lactation specialist before.  Take classes if you can afford it/are able to.  And do not feel guilty or like a failure if you don't produce milk/enough milk or can't get the boob to work properly.  For some moms, it's easy, for others it's not.  Remember that both you and your newborn are new to the experience.  

That being said, I'm going to try for round two.  If he doesn't latch on like before, I've got my electric pump and freezer baggies.  I'll do it that way for as long as I can.  Hopefully, this time it won't be as defeating as before.

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