Sunday, 30 October 2011

Breastfeeding: Lactation Consultants





Within two days, my nipples were red and raw, and feeding was something I was beginning to dread. It wasn't just nipple pain either, but a pain that started deeper inside the breast, instantly upon first suction. The pain felt as I imagine a heavy weight thread feels on being dragged with a darning needle through thick cardboard (think about school craft projects) would feel. Tight, scratchy, aching, burning, cramping, straining. The image below would have me locating that feeling right in the centre or core of the breast, in the Lactiferous Sinus.


At this stage the pain was definite, but not all encompassing. I mean, it widened my eyes and I bit my tongue and grimaced, but I wasn't seeing white dots, blacking out or vomiting in agony- yet. I asked to speak with a Lactation Consultant (LC) and a day later one came to see me in my bed. I explained the problem and she advised it was poor latching technique. She watched me latch my son on and told me I was doing it right and to continue in that fashion. The pain I felt while she was there was explained away as being sore nipples from previous poor technique.

As the days passed I tried different holding and latching techniques with each of the nameless, faceless hospital LCs and I agreed with each of them in turn that "it felt better to do it their way" and "thank you for showing me the way". 

I wish I wasn't so scared of telling these LCs they obviously had no fucking idea how to help me. I am very articulate and am not afraid to badger and harass until I get seen to. And I was seen to. I was given samples of Lansinoh, and made to parade my breast and feeding techniques to countless LC's and Midives, all of whom reassured me I was doing fine, and it always felt a little uncomfortable at first and perhaps I was just tired. I wasn’t tired, I was euphoric after having birthed the most divine creature on the face of the planet, but this feeding was brutal. My complaints were obviously (in retrospect) being seen as attention seeking. Despite this I was convinced that if I kept asking for help a solution would come. There would be something different I could do that, if seen through to when my nipples healed, would resolve my problem.

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