Years before getting pregnant and having Ezra I began researching pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting. I have always known I wanted to breastfeed. I never considered any other option. I was determined to educated myself so our breastfeeding relationship would start smooth and continue for at least a year. Education is absolutely important and I am an advocate for studying extensively. Still, there is no replacement for practice.
The first two weeks began with our first latch. Soon after Ezra was born I was prompted to begin breastfeeding her. Our first latch didn't happen immediately. She was trying and I was trying. Some time passed and after switching sides she was able to get a successful latch. Within four hours of giving birth we were home. We settled in as a family and started practicing breastfeeding. Even with great latch technique something was causing nipple soreness early on. Our pediatrician noticed Ezra had a short frenulum (skin connecting tongue to the bottom of the mouth) and clipped it a few days after she was born. The procedure is quick and easy. It is just a small snip to elongate the webbing. It doesn't bleed and there are minimal nerve endings. After that was done she was able to bring her tongue forward a little more but she still needed time to get used to it.
The same day Ezra had the frenulectomy my milk began to come in. That was day three after her birth. At first I just felt full but as the hours passed it became more and more uncomfortable. The next day, day four, I woke up to engorgement. Defined by me as: rock hard, massive breasts. They were swelling almost into my armpits. Physically, I felt miserable. Think about this, your body doesn't know how many babies you just had. It just gets to work producing milk. Based on the demand it will regulate its supply. This process starts immediately but I didn't notice the swell of milk begin to go down until about four days later. In the meantime I kept telling myself, "Breastfeed Ezra like normal and your body will regulate your supply in a few days. You can do this!"
I was determined to breastfeed and I never doubted my abilities but I cried from the pain sometimes. When Ezra would first latch on I would cringe. After a minute she would get into a rhythm, milk would start flowing and the pain would ease. This cycle went on for two weeks. Aching wasn't only at the breast and nipple. Supporting and positioning a newborn took its toll on my back and wrists. My back was sore and my wrists were weak. Pillows were wonderfully helpful in supporting Ezra.
While I was experiencing a lot of discomfort at the same time my body was pumping out a mix of hormones that provided sweet relief. Oxytocin: the "love hormone" that contracts the uterus and releases milk. Endorphins: reduce pain and make you feel happy. While nursing these hormones flooded my body. I would look down at my baby nursing, fell so happy and know it was all worth it! Milk would spill from the corners of her mouth and she would drift into a satisfied slumber. She was happy and I was happy.
Our bodies our perfectly made and they will serve us and our babies well.
Two Through Six Weeks coming next.