it isn’t supposed to hurt

“Can you check and make sure I am doing this right, it really hurts and I was told it shouldn’t hurt when you do it properly.” The nurse scrunched her eyebrows together in confusion and responded “oh, it’s going to hurt in the beginning.” She then gave me a quick once over and said, “yep, everything looks good.”

UGH! My Bradley Method teach was a liar! She spent 12 weeks assuring us nursing wouldn’t be painful, you could hardly feel anything but tugging, and if you felt pain you were doing it wrong. Well, I have this nurse right here who says I am doing it just fine, thank you very much, so she is obviously WRONG. Clearly, that’s the only alternative.

By the end of my first 24 hours in the hospital, I was sitting around completely topless because I couldn’t handle the feel of any fabric touching me. By the end of day two I had cracked on both sides and gone through a tube of lanolin. A week later I learned I had mastitis, and began pumping and bottle feeding, nursing every other session to give myself a chance to heal. It was so bad at the beginning of each latch, I would kick my coffee table in hopes of diverting some of the pain in my chest to my toes. Someone at my baby shower had given me the wisdom to “give it 6 weeks”, and I knew I was doing things right, the nurse said so, so I pressed on telling myself everything would work out by 6 weeks.

At 6 weeks, still alternating between pumping for healing time and nursing, I turned to my dear friend Google. Google told me the pain and soreness from nursing would be gone by 10-14 days post partum–wait WHAT! Surely these other moms meant WEEKS? Right?? Google, did you check your facts and compare sources? Oh, you did, and if the pain lasts longer it’s because I’m doing something–No that’s not possible, the nurse said, she looked quickly and verified I was doing it right. Let’s look at my symptoms, you’ll see, everyone experiences this. Ok, symptoms related to tongue tied and shallow latch. Well my baby clearly isn’t tongue tied, I don’t think, I mean, maybe she is? How do I know? Oh and she absolutely doesn’t have a shallow latch, the nurse said so.

Well, my darling Google, I am a rational woman, and I know by attempting the solutions for shallow latch, I can prove whether or not that’s the problem, and if it’s not the problem, I can see if Aspen is tongue tied. I’ll show you.

Have you ever tried to hold a baby, sandwich a breast, and pull a newborns chin down and hold her mouth open all at the same time? Sometimes I think we women were meant to have three arms. Somehow I was able to manage this feat, and for the first time ever, I didn’t have to break my toes to get my daughter to latch. I had hope. I didn’t have perfection, but I knew what it was SUPPOSED to feel like, and just needed some practice. This is where my sister Vonnita came along. More on that tomorrow.

*to clarify, my Bradley Method instructor was not a liar, and was a very wonderful woman and teacher. If you would like her info, I am happy to share.

[I most certainly should have an amazing picture of early nursing with Aspen to accompany this, but  I never took any. Instead, here is an example of our typical nursing session at 10 months old, the only three nursing pictures I have, taken with my Iphone. You’re welcome]

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