Discovering laid-back nursing
After 26 hours of labour, a birth plan that went out the window, and giving birth during a pandemic…my son was born May 1st 2020. Spending the first couple hours in the hospital bonding with baby Z, doing skin to skin, and smothering him with kisses was truly magical. My midwife asked “are you ready to have him latch?”. This was the moment I was waiting for. This angelic bonding that was to come with baby Z and I. Just as I had seen many generations of women before me do it, or even how its portrayed in the movies, it was finally my time. I was still in a daze from giving birth, so I couldn’t focus on what my midwife was saying to have him latch correctly. She said “do you feel him sucking? That’s it, that’s how it should feel when he latches correctly”. I was confused…how should it feel..I cant feel anything. Too tired to ask her again, I decided I would figure it out at home, how hard could it be?
Three days after having Baby Z home, I was in tears every time I had to feed him. The thought of having him latch made me anxious and stressed. Especially at night when he would cluster feed. My nipples were sore and my body ached – I felt like giving up on breastfeeding. How could I only be a few days into breastfeeding and already feeling so defeated? This was not as easy as it looks.
The pandemic meant that I could not have anyone over at the house to help me with the latching. I called my midwife who tried to offer support over the phone, but it wasn’t enough. I tried to YouTube different latching techniques, but nothing was working. Desperate, I reached out to my mom group on Facebook and asked if anyone had resources I can connect with. I was frustrated that this pandemic meant that I had to deal with this alone. However, I found comfort in reading all the supportive messages from other moms on Facebook trying to help me out.
After reading through the comments someone suggested Liana for virtual lactation consulting.
I was hesitant to see how a virtual appointment would work but I decided to reach out. My appointment with Liana changed the course of breastfeeding experience. With her helpful techniques I was able to have him latch more comfortably. The most important thing she told me was to drop my shoulders, sit back and relax. A simple change in my body’s mental and physical state helped me ease into breastfeeding more successfully. As a new mom, I definitely needed to learn the art of relaxation. Two months later, my son and I have progressed tremendously with breastfeeding. He can latch correctly, and it is also comfortable for me. I have a more positive relationship with my breastfeeding experience.
To all the new moms, especially the ones giving birth during the pandemic, you do have a community of people ready to help. I felt the loneliness, the fear, the isolation. I’ve been mad, sad, angry at the world wondering why I have to figure this out alone. My virtual community has become my support system. I have leaned into the idea of reaching out to moms online and sharing your small wins and asking any questions. I would encourage new moms to find positive online communities to connect with. Whether its Facebook or blogs. Also, don’t be afraid to tell your partner or share with a family member that you’re struggling. Vocalizing and confiding with loved ones can release so much stress. It’s okay to not know what you’re doing.