One of the great surprises of parenting was that breastfeeding does not, in fact, "come naturally." There are many aspects of breastfeeding that do. Your breasts do generally become engorged with milk soon after you give birth. Your baby is born with an instinct for sucking. But getting all the parts to work together effectively? Hah. That takes a little practice and a lot of bugging the nurses and your friends to help you figure out that latch one more time. Sure, there's some uber-nursers who figured it out right away. But for a lot of us, this breastfeeding gig happens in stages.
Stage 1: Deluded confidence. So you think practicing with a doll in a breastfeeding workshop is going to prepare you for breastfeeding? Sure, go ahead. Think that.
Stage 2: You try it for the first time and OFMG HURTS!
Stage 3: Total despair. They say it's not supposed to hurt that much. So should it hurt enough to make you yell or just whimper a little? Because that's the continuum you're on right now. Can you really handle this?
Stage 4: Water. By the way, the pediatrician tells you to drink a gallon of water every day or you'll shit the most painful poo diamonds of your life. Or rather, you'll not shit them. This is because all the water in your body is going into making milk. Listen to the doctor.
Stage 5: Realizing you need help. Every. Single. Time. When you ask one of the nurses if she would mind coming home with you and the baby, she gives you the side-eye. Why?!? Doesn't she know? This is HARD.
Stage 6: You get your baby to latch the right way by yourself for the very first time. Finally.
Stage 7: Three hours later: You forget how you did that.
Stage 8. You get that latch right three times in a row. You finally know what you're doing, and you are Lady Bountiful. YES! Breastfeeding? It's handled.
Did it take you a while to figure out breastfeeding, or did it come naturally to you?
Image via Beatrice Murch/Flickr