Under five weeks to go and my body is definitely telling me it’s nearing time for baby number two’s arrival. My hips are giving up and the bust area surely can’t get any bigger… oh wait, the milk is still yet to arrive.
Breastfeeding Often Comes with Surprises
Having bigger breasts made the latching process for my sleepy 37-weaker more challenging and a large part of the reason it took her six weeks to begin breastfeeding.
I hadn’t anticipated this challenge and thought that surely having a larger bust would help provide plenty of milk. This was not the case.
My daughters little mouth just wasn’t designed to latch onto by big bust and I would have to wait for her to grow in strength and weight to do so.
Meanwhile, I would express and bottle-feed which made the feeding process a whole lot easier for her. The ease of the bottle presented a few more challenges in getting her to work a little harder on the breast.
My left breast also has an inverted nipple. This was one of my biggest worries going into breastfeeding. I remember my first antenatal appointment with my obstetrician and him doing all the checks, one of which was a breast examination. This was most uncomfortable and something I was embarrassed about. I did not want anyone to have to see my inverted nipple (surely it was a rarity).
He mentioned that this may cause some issues with breastfeeding and to consult with a lactation consultant prior to birthing my child… and the conversation was left there.
I was left rather self-conscious and worried as the breastfeeding battle hadn’t even crossed my mind I was solely focused on getting through the pregnancy.
Nipple shields were my turn to solution for the inverted nipple. They helped me get the milk flowing, as my daughter grew in strength and began feeding from the breast regularly she sucked the nipple out, literally.
This was not her preferred breast and I have always wondered if perhaps she had to work harder on this side?
When it Comes to Breastfeeding, Knowledge is Power!
I have since found that several friends have had similar concerns with inverted nipples through nervous, embarrassed conversations. It is not something I suppose is easy to talk about, as was certainly the case for me. However, it has been great to be able to reassure mothers to be that this unspoken “defect” will not mean that attempts to breastfeed are doomed.
The challenges of those first few weeks have definitely come flooding back. The saying goes “knowledge is power,” I’m hoping all the little bits of information I have gained through experience and insights from those who immerse themselves in this daily (midwifes / lactation consultants) will help me with the upcoming weeks. But as I well now know, plans can only remain as that until the little one arrives.
Katie, an educator, qualified midwife and lactation consultant has answered many of the questions that Lisa raised in this post. You can read her suggestions here.
What questions have you found yourself asking while on your breastfeeding journey? Let’s share our stories and learn from each other.