Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Bad Latch

I did so much to prepare for the birth of my daughter.  Twenty four hours of Bradley classes (spread over eight Saturday nights), pain management practices, book after book.  During my time educating myself I read up on breastfeeding and even practiced with a doll at my classes. 

After basically the most awesome natural birth ever I brought my baby to my chest and she latched on with ease.  I grew this baby for nine months, I birthed her and of course I could feed her.  We spent the next twenty four hours wrapped in each others embrace in my hospital bed.  New York City hospitals are pro-breastfeeding and keep formula out of sight, but no one ever asked if I wanted to see a lactation consultant or got close enough to see her latch.  And I was too prideful to ask them.

Toward the end of my baby's first week of life I was in so much pain I declared breastfeeding harder than giving birth naturally.  And I meant that.  My nipples were cracked and bleeding and I was crying along with my baby.  Finally, late that Saturday night I called my Bradley teacher in tears.  I remember so clearly that she told me, "It's okay not to love every second of this."  She helped me find a lactation consultant who came over the next morning and not two seconds into her visit she diagnosed Adelaide as having a bad latch and showed me how to get her to latch correctly.

She also suggested I soak and rinse my nipples in warm salt water which helped tremendously in healing.  

That afternoon I put on my shoes and my coat, put my baby in the sling and walked proudly outside to meet my husband and in-laws who were picking up lunch.  My nipples still hurt like hell, but I knew from then on out that I could do it.

It's been just over nine months since my daughter was born.  I don't think there's any feeling in the world like knowing you made this tiny little human and your body alone is sustaining all of her needs. 

Now if only teaching her not to bite me with her shiny new teeth was as easy as teaching her to latch correctly.


  1. Love these two girls!! Glad you stuck with it!! Sorry you had to go through the pain!!!!

  2. Lactation consultants and breasftfeeding support groups are an incredible resource. I'm glad that you stuck with it and sought out help!