Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding Readers! This month's carnival is about overcoming obstacles, and you can find links to all the other great contributions at the bottom of this post.
I never knew very many babies. My little brother is only 16 months younger than me, so I don't remember him as a baby, & we didn't live close enough to extended families to really know my younger cousins as babies. By high school I was insecure about my lack of baby knowledge & intentionally avoided them so I wouldn't look dumb. I only took babysitting jobs for toddlers and older kids. In college I babysat for a sorority sister once, with help from my then-fiancé (now husband), & almost threw up when I attempted a diaper change. And I can count on one hand the number of moms I have ever seen breastfeed. But I knew from talking to my husband and researching online and in books that I wanted to breastfeed exclusively and be a stay-at-home mom.
My baby is now almost 7 months old and in the 90th and 75th percentiles for height & weight, respectively, exclusively breastfed until about 2 weeks ago. But it wasn't easy to get started. There were a few key steps that ensured success in overcoming my cluelessness. One was reading "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" from La Leche League cover-to-cover. The information in that book really helped me understand why and how theoretically I should breastfeed, and solidified my desire to do so and confidence that I would be able to.
The most valuable thing for me, however, was personal help. First, the nurses at the hospital helped me figure out how to position Baby so he wasn't on my c-section scar. I also got help from the lactation consultant at the hospital with getting him to latch on properly. Then when I went home after several days of recovery in the hospital, I had the invaluable help of my mother-in-law who stayed with us for a week after Baby was born. Having nursed each of her six kids for well over a year, she was like my own personal lactation consultant. She patiently helped me position him and get him latched on properly. She instructed me on how to nurse laying down (a total lifesaver if you are wiped out from a c-section). And she told me about her own nursing experiences with new babies including the struggles she had getting started with her first, because of her own lack of breastfeeding knowledge at the time.
I feel so blessed that Baby and I's breastfeeding relationship has gone so smoothly; we haven't really had any major problems. And I know it was because we got off to a good start. So now I know, the cure for cluelessness is to seek out resources, not just in print, but also in the form of nurses, lactation consultants, and family members if you are lucky enough to have knowledgeable ones. And know that you aren't alone in your cluelessness, or in your desire and ability to successfully breastfeed anyway!
Please check out the other great entries in this month's Carnival of Breastfeeding:
Hobo Mama: Supplemental feeding techniques for a breastfed baby The Milk Mama: How I got my bottle-guzzling, breast-phobic baby to love nursing Breastfeeding 1-2-3: The Importance of a Babymoon Lucy & Ethel Have A Baby: A Rough Start Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Which obstacles have you overcome to breastfeed? Living Peacefully With Children: When Nursing Takes Longer Jessica Montalino: Week 7 and Our Breastfeeding Melodie @ Breastfeeding Moms Unite!: I'll Be Brief: How To Overcome Breastfeeding Challenges Mama's Herb Garden: 9 Things Your Nipples Wish You Knew About Them Good Enough Mummy Tongue Tied and Twisted