Nursing is something I've been planning on since long before I ever got pregnant. I've read lots about it, and even took the breastfeeding class the hospital offered. During the class we were shown a video where the newborn found his way to his mother's breast and latched on by himself. When I saw that I told Doug I wanted our baby to do that. And he did. Once the pediatrician gave him a once over he was put on my belly, skin-to-skin, and he found a nipple and latched on by himself. It was pretty awesome.
Since he had latched on by himself, and the lactation consultant on the mother-baby ward saw him nursing and said he had a good latch I thought we were doing everything right. For the most part Roland was able to latch on by himself, so long as I got his mouth in the right vicinity. There was some soreness, but I knew that was to be expected and it should go away in a few days.
At his 24-hour appointment he weighed 6lbs, 13oz. The nurse said it was normal for him to lose some weight because my milk hadn't come in yet and he was just getting colostrum. She said we could expect him to be back to his birth weight of 7lbs, 4.5oz at his two-week check up.
Fast-forward to 6 days later, and I was still sore. Even more sore than when I went home. In fact, nursing had become painful. I was holding my breath with every latch-on and doing Google searches between nursing sessions. Everything I read online said the soreness should be gone by now. All the pictures I saw showed a latch that looked very similar to the one Roland had. Luckily the Army hospital has a lactation consultant for outpatients, and I called as soon as I woke up Monday morning. She had an opening at 1pm, I said I would see her then. Doug had a short day at school so he was able to go to the appointment too.
When we got there they weighed Roland and did his vitals. He was up to 7lbs, 14oz. He gained 1 pound and an ounce since we were in 6 days ago! Even though nursing had become painful, he was definitely getting what he needed from me. The nursing consultant was a super nice lady. Roland was hungry (as always) so I had no trouble getting him to latch on so the nurse could see what we were doing. Turns out that even though he was getting all of the aureola in his mouth, he wasn't getting enough of the breast in his mouth. She showed me how to get him to latch on better, I practiced a few times with her watching, and then let him nurse until he was done. Not only did it hurt less (almost no pain at all), but his nursing time was cut nearly in half. The nurse said it would take another 24 hours or so before all the soreness went away now that we were getting a proper latch. And it was helpful to have Doug at the appointment, he asked questions I
hadn't thought of and during the first couple of days he was able to
remind me of the little tips I was given but had forgotten.
Tomorrow will be a week since we saw the lactation consultant. The soreness is gone and his nursing sessions typically last only 15-20 minutes. He has his two-week appointment so we'll see how much more weight he has gained. He nurses at least every two hours so I'd bet there has been more weight gain. We've even had a couple of nights where he was able to nurse until all the milk was gone, and then he fussed for an hour or so when we waited for my body to produce more. After two nights of that my body caught up to what he wanted and we haven't had that problem since. Everything I've read about milk supply said not to supplement with formula or offer a pacifier during the adjustment period because it would just prolong the time it would take for my body to catch up to what he wanted. We've also been getting better at noticing his nursing signs, which means less crying before he eats. Now it seems the biggest challenge with feedings is getting him to burp after eating so he doesn't end up with a sore belly later on.