How you can tell you've been walking around topless too often

This morning I dreamed that I had to visit a family's house to interview them for a university class assignment. (Yes, it was one of those awesome "You haven't actually graduated from high school/college yet because there's this one course you still need to finish" dreams.) And near the end of my visit with the family I looked down and realized that my bare boobs were sticking out of my nursing bra.

Best part? So did not care. I shrugged and went, "Yeah, well" and carried on. When you wake up for a 3am feeding and realize that you've been sleeping with yesterday's tank top still around your waist (and you consider just leaving it there) then clearly there's just not much caring going on.

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement yesterday. I did go to the clinic in Orem yesterday and spent an hour with a very nice consultant and signed a form stating that she was welcome to turn my breasts into her very own Play-Doh. They're pretty much public property at this point. But she had a bunch of helpful suggestions. Turns out I've been doing the latch all wrong, but I'm still not clear on how to do it the way she wants me to do it without wrenching one of my arms out of its socket. Both the football hold and the cross-cradle are my enemies. So are pillows. And I'm going to set that Boppy on fire if it doesn't start being helpful as more than just a Thing to Rest My Stitches on.

It has been warned.


brinestone said... [reply]

I wouldn't worry too much about how to hold the baby. I did a bunch of weird stuff with my babies, basically depending on how numb each arm was from holding 8 to 10 pounds for an hour, what the baby liked, and how much I cared to be precise about my positioning. The most important thing for latching is to make sure the baby essentially has half your boob in his mouth. And if it's hurting when he sucks, he's probably not latching right and you should try again.

Magnificent Me said... [reply]

I'm sorry breastfeeding has been so difficult! I would supplement with formula once in a while at the beginning just so I could sleep and make more milk. While in the hospital and nursing for (no kidding) 3 hours straight, the nurse still had to give me the "breastfeeding is best" lecture before giving me the formula.

Anyway, enough about me. I wanted to comment to let you know about a boppy alternative that my hospital sold. It was a harder foam table-like thing that strapped around your waist. The nurses said it was better than a boppy because it actually supported the baby instead of the baby falling between you and the pillow. I never used it, but it looked like it would be better than a boppy (which I only occasionly used).

Hope that helps!

Lindsey said... [reply]

You just wait until the day GH wakes up in the morning only to find you passed out in the nursing chair, holding baby and bare breasts hanging out. It will happen. Mark my words. :)

AmyJane said... [reply]

I'm sure you're sick to death of advice about this, but just in case this particular way of saying it clicks (as it did for me) regarding positioning.
When in the normal cradle hold, put his head on your wrist or forearm, NOT in your elbow. His cute little nose should be lined up with the nipple, NOT his chin. Get him in that spot, then make someone else stuff the pillows in around that.

Then, and this is important: if his latch hurts, you MUST unlatch and start over. Again and again and again. I know. I know. You just got him on sorta kinda and he's not freaking out so the temptation is to just ride out the pain but he will do unmentionable damage to your boob and the make more milk impulses will not kick in.
Feed him often. I know you want to die, but feeding him more and more often will kick up the production and he will be less frantic at the beginning of each feed, giving you a chance to work on the latch.

Breathe. You can do this. You can, if that's what you want. And if you want to and persist, it will get better. I promise. A few months from now it will be easy as breathing and you'll have a hard time remembering what all the fuss was about. (I'm kidding. You'll totally remember. But it will be a distant memory.)

Love ya. Hang in there. Call if you want a pep talk. Or a good cry. Whatever.

Jenny said... [reply]

What does that dream even mean? I have it too! Especially when I am pregnant/have new babies. Only I wear a bra in mine.

Anonymous said... [reply]

The pillow referenced above is called "My Brest Friend", and I found it was better than a Boppy for breastfeeding (much easier with positioning the kid, although some kids just don't like certain positions).
And yes, I love both the still in college and suddenly realize you're naked in front of everyone you know dreams. Btw... I'm all for leaving the old tank top around the waist. It's more efficient to take a few off at the same time :)

Janssen said... [reply]

Before I had a baby, I could not have imagined that a male anesthesiologist could come into my hospital room post-delivery while I'm nursing and totally topless and it wouldn't even phase me.

Liz Johnson said... [reply]

Breastfeeding has the most ridiculous learning curve in the universe. I just remember sitting on my bed, stupified, wondering how on earth a baboon could do this and pick her nose at the same time, but I seemed unable to get anything right. Good luck. In my experience, it gets better.

I sometimes wonder why we don't all walk around topless all of the time. After breastfeeding three children, I kind of feel like somebody seeing my boob is as scandalous as seeing my kneecap.

Kayla said... [reply]

I used a much bigger king sized bed pillow when my baby was little because the boppy was way too low (he's 8 months now and we finally started using it a few months ago). Also, I spent forever googling latch techniques and it took a full two weeks for us to get the hang of it. It'll come!

Charms said... [reply]

Okay so this may not be helpful at all...but my husband made this incredible "BIG" boppy...for lack of a better name, that wrapped all the way around me.
I was trying to breastfeed our 9 pnd 9 oz. daughter and hating it because of my C-section, her size, and my desperate need for back support. After he gave it to me, it was like night and day...and I was able to breastfeed her for my goal time (1 year)
So anyways...that's what helped me get through it.
Maybe you could tell your hubby to get sewing...Good luck and good on ya for trying. Most people just give up!

kip said... [reply]

I feel your pain. Breastfeeding is so hard! Anya and I took many trips to the lactation clinic in her first few weeks. But I can say that for me, it got so much easier after the first 3 months. Good luck!

Sherry said... [reply]

I am so with you on the uselessness of cross cradle and football holds. Traditional cradle hold worked fine from the get-go for me, and some of those nurses just insisted that it wasn't the best one for a brand new baby.

mj said... [reply]

I third the "My Breast Friend." Wish I lived in Utah and I would let you borrow it, since the thing is you really only need it for the first couple months and then it's one more thing in the closet you spent $40 on. Arrgh. Oh motherhood. I'll honestly ship it to you, though, for shipping costs, if you want.

Azúcar said... [reply]

For a month after the consultant I could use only football on one side and only cradle on the other. They were the only ones I could get the right latch on. Hilarious.

You guys will get it. Swearsies. Amyjane's got it.

perkiwindy said... [reply]

You do need to get the latch right...I let my first baby "hang on" however she wanted, as long as she was there, and had open sores for 6 months....get that latch right first! I still have scars 9 years later, but I did nurse 2 babies perfectly fine after that!

Shannon said... [reply]

Oh the joys of womanhood. Wes (who's 3 now) wouldn't breastfeed. I don't think it had to do with his Down syndrome. He would aggressively push against me and scream. When I took him to the Nipple Nazi's in Orem (although it sounds like you had a nice consultant), they said, "Wow, he's strong." Yeah. Breastfeeding never happened with him. Pumping and bottle feeding did. I always felt guilty for not being able to nurse him, and the old ladies at church piled on the guilt even more when they asked if I was nursing him (why is that any of their business??? Oh right, it's not) and went on to tell me how they nursed their babies till they were 20 months or something.

Anyway. Point is, like everyone said, your emotions are a mess with a baby and whatever happens happens and don't feel guilty if it's not your ideal situation.

Carissa (who's 4 months now) came out of the womb breastfeeding like a champ. Never had a problem. I guess every kid is unique.

emandtrev said... [reply]

It is darn crazy how life manifests itself into your sleep.

I too had some pretty awesome "I don't care" moments in terms of how free and easy and out there I was when I had my first newborn and was learning what worked well with nursing. I honestly didn't care who saw what.

I agree with others on how to hold your baby. It is easy to say just do what works well for you, but it really will come. I never fell in love with my Boppy. It's okay, but I actually liked one of my stiff couch pillows better. :) To each their own. Hang in there!!

Charlotte said... [reply]

I am currently breastfeeding a baby and I use this:


It works wonders. So much better than the Boppy. You buckle the strap around your waist and you can actually walk around, make dinner and salsa dance all *while* you're feeding the baby. It's that good.

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

Oh, darlin', I can so relate. It took me three years to have baby #2. Not the pregnancy, not even the 28 hour labor . . . it was the BREASTFEEDING.

Hang in there, lass, but whatever happens, remember that your mothering ability is not tied to your nursing ability. The important thing is loving this child and being so grateful that we have healthy options for feeding these little ones.

And whatever you, don't pull an STM and hang on to nine months of guilt, misery and cracking nipples because somebody said it was for the best. Do your best, listen to that inner voice, and then just let it go.

And don't feel bad if you don't want to have sex again for six months. Remember, GH signed up for this ride too; he'll survive, didn't he make it from the onset of puberty to like age 27? Use him scandalously during these first several months, knowing that you have a life time to make it up. Make him your best friend. Or Breast friend. What an awful name for a product.

Jenny said... [reply]

oh dear.
That's all I can say.
And I've done it six times.
Yep--and just when you think you've put all that nonsense behind you, the next phase of life you have to look forward to is the.mammogram.
Opens up a whole new world of blog possibilities. I'm ready to just cut them off. The end.

elliespen said... [reply]

Learning how to do the whole breastfeeding thing is superfun with a [just barely, but still] premie, let me tell you, since the Little Guy was born at 36 weeks and the sucking impulse really develops around week 37-38. It's hard to say who cried more during the first two weeks with the Little Guy, him or me. The lactation consultants in Orem were marvelous in helping the process along and drastically reducing the number of tears on both sides, but I still didn't start feeling really comfortable or coordinated until about 5 weeks in. I told my husband at one point that it felt like learning to drive all over again--it takes a while for you to be able to check your blind spot, signal, maintain speed, look in your mirrors, watch the road and steer properly all at the same time, and until it becomes second nature you start wishing you had a few extra hands or brains to help out. But then one day you can do it, and what a beautiful day that is.

In the meantime, good luck! And yes, wearing shirts while nursing is sooo overrated.

Kristeee said... [reply]

It's just not fair, is it? The thing that's supposedly the most natural thing in the world is super hard. With my first being in the NICU for almost 4 weeks we had extra fun - they weighed her both before and after each feed, then had me go pump after. And then there was the nice nurse who looked at my milk I pumped one morning and said, "that's it? Most moms make 2 or 3 times that much." It was awesome. The reglan made me crazy (literally) and I stopped nursing her at 6 weeks.

With #2 it's been easier, but I still just don't make enough milk for her. She nursed 20 minutes on each side at the beginning, and did that every 2 hours. At 4 weeks I started giving her a bottle at night (I'd pump for 10-15 minutes and then go to bed). Now I feed her and then make a bottle at just about every feed. And we're all happier because of it - and as I've relaxed a bit about it, I've found I make more. So be nice to yourself and things will be better.

Lisa said... [reply]

Breastfeeding is HARD hard work, no one ever told me that, until I had such a hard time learning, the baby included. The secret is to relax, and not worry, as much as you can, not my strongest character trait by any means. I had mastitis with both of my boys and mustered up the strength to power through, it was rough going for awhile, but so thankful I stayed with it. Stay hopeful, babies and mothers have been breastfeeding forever. You and your little one will get the hang of it after a little practice. I have a helpful hit that would be awkward to share on here. I'll email it your sister. Good luck!

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