During my pregnancy with my first born, I was worried about breastfeeding. My friends had mixed experiences. Some were lucky and had no issues. Others ran out of milk supply or never had any to begin with. One of my friends just couldn’t get her baby to latch.
I was scared. I wanted to do everything I could to make sure I was successful… to make sure my baby could feast on my liquid gold.
I bought the “Mother’s Milk” teas and drank them every day. I did A LOT of research, but I still felt completely unprepared.
My saving grace was having help when I was in the moment. After Jackson’s birth (Jackson’s birth story here), I knew I wanted to breastfeed right away. It helps you bond with your baby, and mommies that are able to get baby to latch right away have a higher chance of succeeding.
In the precious moments after his birth, Jackson didn’t want to latch. He tried to suckle a little but wasn’t really interested. I started to panic.
My doctor recommended I see a lactation consultant. At Kapiolani Hospital, you can ask for one to visit you at every feeding… so pretty much at any time! ha ha! We went a bit overboard, I’ll admit. I must have seen two or three different lactation consultants – whomever was on the clock – several times a day. I learned SO MUCH! Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to ask questions.
The lactation specialists taught me the different nursing positions, how to self-express milk, how to use my breast pump, how to use a manual pump, how to relieve pain and swelling, what to do when I was engorged and most importantly, what a proper latch looks and sounds like.
Jackson wasn’t very interested in nursing, so we had to self-express milk and place it in his mouth to give him a taste and hopefully peak his interest. Sometimes directly from the breast… but at times we had to even resort to those tiny little droppers and stick them along the side of his mouth by his cheek. The first few days were tough… I started doubting whether we would be successful.
Fortunately, the hospital had all kinds of ways to support my breastfeeding journey. The lactation consultants were great at helping me pinpoint the problems. They also helped troubleshoot to find solutions. They provided equipment, literature and tools for me to use. By the time I left Kapiolani, I felt prepared, comfortable and confident.