Breast Feeding Woes, Part I

A friend of mine just had a baby a few weeks ago; among the requisite topics a quasi-veteran motherbrings up with a brand new mother are 1) sleep and 2) breast feeding, which, along with poop, are pretty much all you think about for the first few months. On the topic of breast feeding, she was telling me about having to use a nipple shield, which she felt some anxiety over. Now, anxiety is basically my middle name, and that was especially true around breast feeding. There was just something about this one thing that REALLY aggravated my already grandiose perfectionist tendencies. In my mind, I had decided formula--while totally and completely fine for other moms--was not an option. (Note: I don't say that to knock anyone or their choices or circumstances; I'm saying it to illustrate how bat sh*t crazy I became about it.) For me, it was breast milk or bust (no pun intended) and I would do everything in my power to make sure that happened. From the get-go, breast feeding was hard. E was born two and a half weeks early--not officially premature, but a little extra time on the inside wouldn't have hurt--and also had a pretty recessed chin, like many babies. I had a lovely, short, natural childbirth (Note: "lovely" + "natural" = "short." It could have been different had labor gone beyond the nice 7 hours that it was.) When she was placed on my stomach and given several opportunities to nurse, she seemed like she wasn't quite sure how to put it all together. She couldn't latch on.