I don’t think that 4 years ago when Azita was born I had ever heard the terms “latched on” or “nipple confusion”, especially not on a TV show.
But me and Payman just watched the Office episode where Pam delivers her baby and it shows her in the hospital trying to breastfeed and coming into difficulty in getting the baby to latch on.
When a very unsympathetic nurse tells her she can just give her a bottle, Pam says “No, I’ve read about nipple confusion in the books.”
Later on in the episode, the nurse tells Pam that plenty of babies are fed with bottles and it will be fine.
Unfortunately, I think this can be a realistic picture of the amount of information and support a woman gets when trying to nurse her baby for the first time.
A lot of women get defensive and think that those of us who do breastfeed had it easy and they just weren’t able to breastfeed for some reason that was beyond their control.
You can see that two ways– in a sense, it is beyond your control if no one seems to care or know enough to give you the correct information. And of course, in a sense, we live in a society now with abounding information and have many resources to get info from.
But I was just like Pam in that show, in the sense that I was confused and saddened and frustrated that breastfeeding wasn’t working for Azita and I. And also like her in the sense that I got zero help or sincere encouragement from the nurses at the hospital. One told me, “Well, if she doesn’t latch right it will hurt,” and another told me to feed her every two hours or they’ll give her a bottle.
Gee, that made the nipple pain that comes from a baby who isn’t latching right go away.
And of course, that is where my doula called La Leche League and a leader came to my room and saved me and Azita’s fragile postpartum sanity.
The initial pain didn’t go away for 2 weeks, but at least then I had the confidance that someone had shown me how to hold her, how to latch her, how to unlatch her when it hurt, how to line up her little body. All I needed was that confidance that breastfeeding didn’t hurt when it was going well.
Before the LLL Leader came in, I thought that the entire time we nursed it would feel that way.
I thought it was cool that those terms were mentioned on a prime time show like that. And it even shows another mom breastfeeding easily and well, while Pam sits there discouraged. So many moms have been there. At the end, she is going home and finally gets her baby to latch and it has one of those sweet little moments.
I saw a mom I met while she was pregnant the other day at the store and the baby is now 3 months old. She told me that she didn’t want to stop breastfeeding but she had too much milk or a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and that the baby had painful gas and green poo. I’ve been there too. I have an abundant milk supply and I remember Azita screaming through feedings until she was 3 months old as she coped with the foremilk and gas that comes from it.
I learned alot of ways to cope with it and also that it often naturally lessens as the baby gets older and can handle the milk flow and your milk regulates.
I wanted to tell this mom that. I wished I had seen her before she quit breastfeeding, especially since she said she didn’t want to stop.
But she said she was happy the baby got the colostrum and that he’s doing well, so I said, “That’s wonderful.”
I mean, those are the reasons I’m such a breastfeeding advocate. Her choices might have been different had she been given more information by a nurse or doctor or lactation consultant.
I’m not out to judge any mom for making her choices, I just want her to have the information to make that choice. The mom herself said she wished it hadn’t turned out that way, so that has to be reason want to share information and support. But certainly not to make her feel bad. She did the best with what she had at the time. But for the next woman that comes along, I want to share information and support with her, ya know?
So I was a little bummed about that, but the tv show cheered me up. If “nipple confusion” is mentioned on NBC, breastfeeding information must be getting more mainstream.