Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Breastfeeding is hard!

Ladies! There is no need to put yourself, your baby and your spouse through endless sleepless, tearful nights associated with breastfeeding woes. Just cheat! There is a very helpful product that hospitals, doctors, lactation consultants, nurses and LaLeche league almost NEVER tell new mothers about. Perhaps it is because they themselves are unfamiliar with it. Or perhaps they insist on breastfeeding done the old-fashioned, "worked for thousands of years" way, ignoring the fact that so many mothers start supplementing formula after just a few weeks because of the extreme pain that can be involved in breastfeeding.

Fortunately for me, when my first son was born and we were having exactly these kinds of problems with breastfeeding, my dear mother heard about nipple shields from a friend and mailed me one from across the country. What a lifesaver! With the breast shield in place during feeding, he was able to easily latch-on and stay there for a full meal. The pain associated with cracked, blistering nipples was immediately eased and the sores were healed within a week and I was able to stop pumping between feedings and supplementing bottles. Occasionally I tried feeding without the nipple shield, but found it wasn't worth the struggle so always went back to it.

I relied on nipple shields again with DS (dear sons) 2 and 3, but for some reason when my daughter was born I rebelliously thought we could do without. Oh boy, was I wrong! I should have known better! In the hospital before going home I met with a lactation consultant (first one ever, which is amazing considering this is baby #4). I told her that DD (dear daughter) was doing well latching and feeding, but it was very painful. She tried to help me get her repositioned and a better latch, but there was still a clicking sound while sucking, even when everything appeared to be correctly placed (boob, baby, head, tongue). I decided to grin and bear it because after all, breast is best. After nearly a month of suffering I finally broke-down. I jumped on Amazon.com, ordered 2 and had them shipped overnight for the fastest relief possible.

Below are the two I ordered most recently. I preferred the Ameda one because although the plastic was a little thicker, it stayed in place better, and I didn't really see the value in the odd shape that the one from Medela had, it usually just got in the way.

Finally, I lost both nipple shields at about 3 months. I think they went in the trash by mistake. Good news is that we have been doing just fine without them ever since so I didn't feel the need to re-order.

Have you tried these? Is it okay to cheat at breastfeeding?