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It Ain't Easy - But There's Help!

The breastfeeding thing seems to be under control now; Maddie’s eating like a pro and I’m all healed up.  We’re a great team.  I cannot forget, though, how hard those first couple of weeks were, and it seems everything happened correctly with me!  Madeleine latched properly right away, never refused to eat, my milk came in on the fourth day and has never stopped, I’ve never had an infection, and so on.  If I had so much trouble and everything went right, how hard it must be for everyone who doesn’t have it so lucky.  As it was, I maintained constant email contact with my girlfriends, seeking sympathy and reassurance.
But what do you do if you don’t have that network?  There are a lot of nursing-related issues that all new moms hear murmured ominously – thrush, mastitis, improper latching, and so on.  Where can you go to find out if your soreness is normal or cause for alarm, without calling your OB 10 times a day?

First off, there’s the reading thing.  Knowing I’d be sleep-deprived after Madeleine came, I opted to read up during my pregnancy.  Most pregnancy books also contain some starter info on breastfeeding, and there’s a ton of breastfeeding books on the market.  Looking for a breastfeeding book at Barnes and Noble, though, can be pretty overwhelming, so I turned to my girlfriend Bev, who recommended The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, the La Leche League’s book.  This book is great and truly helpful, though a bit over-the-top with testimonials about how great breastfeeding is.  I’m already on board with the idea or I wouldn’t be buying the book!  As a reference book, good old The Baby Book by Dr. Sears has a decent section on breastfeeding and also lists common problems like mastitis for you to look up.  Finally, my favorite labor book, The Christian Woman's Guide to Childbirth, has a helpful section on nursing.

If books or reading up in advance aren’t your thing, fear not.  Fortunately, we live in the internet age, and while I found several scary websites out there, I also found some excellent reference sources to be a sort of professional girlfriend.  Obviously, there’s the La Leche League website; I’ve also gotten a lot of use from The Nurture Center, a California-based support agency that also offers classes.  They’ve got easy to understand pictures and are a positive, encouraging site.  Ask Dr. Sears recaps much of the information covered in his book; Breastfeeding and Lactation Connection round out the ones I’ve used the most.  Several of these sites also offer pump rentals and sell supplies like nursing bras, breast pads, and so forth.  If you happen to live in New York City,  The Breastchester will deliver gear with a personal demonstration to help you figure the equipment out, or you can head to The Upper Breast Side, a great store offering expert fitters, nursing bras and tops, and breastfeeding accessories.  They’re also patient with questions.  I guess what I’m trying to say is this: figuring out the nursing thing can be hard.  It can be frustrating.  And you can feel really alone in this.  But you’re not.



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