Breastfeeding for the First Timer and the Experienced Mom

In anticipation of this spring's opening of The Birth Place, featuring a Level II NICU, we have partnered with Olathe Medical Center and local mom, Sarah, to document her pregnancy and birth journey in this new space.

I was warned that breastfeeding would be hard and painful. If someone asked me how my breastfeeding journey went, that’s exactly how I’d describe it, hard and painful. With my first, I knew something wasn’t right when it was extremely painful to nurse her, to the point that I preferred to pump so I didn’t have to worry about the pain that came every time she latched and unlatched. It was during one of those pumping sessions that I knew something had to be wrong. My nipples were cracked, and I was pumping almost straight blood. I needed professional help if I wanted to continue breastfeeding.

With my second, it was his slow weight gain and colic that had me questioning my milk supply. Again, I knew I needed to seek help from a lactation consultant to make sure I was producing enough milk and to get recommendations on ways to nurse him and things to change in my diet that would hopefully help him be less colicky.

Now, I’m prepared for the struggles that may come with breastfeeding when number three arrives but since I’ll be delivering at a different hospital then I did with my first two, I wanted to reach out to the lactation consultant at the Birth Place at Olathe Medical Center and get her advice and reassurance before my due date. Here are some things Calayne and I spoke about:

With my first two deliveries, I was able to have a lactation consultant come to my room after delivery and assist and observe me with breastfeeding. Is this something you offer?
Yes! When you receive your pre-registration form, there will be a piece of paper in there for you to fill out about past breastfeeding experiences or if this will be your first time. We visit everyone’s room unless they mark on the form that they don’t want to be seen. We have a lactation consultant available about 13 hours each day, so you’ll have assistance almost your entire stay.

When should someone seek help if they don’t think breastfeeding is going well for them?
It takes newborns about 7-10 days to start gaining weight so if they still aren’t gaining after that point, I would suggest you bring them in. Or if you are questioning your milk supply, have cracked or bleeding nipples, nursing is painful, the baby develops thrush or if you just don’t feel like things are going smoothly – we are always here to help.

What if these problems happen after you’re already home from the hospital?
Still call! We also offer a breastfeeding support group every Tuesday from 1-2:30 p.m. at no cost. You can come weigh your baby, nurse him and then weigh him again to see how much he is eating. A lactation consultant will be available to observe a feeding and offer any tips or suggestions.

What advice would you give a mom that has never breastfed before or even one that has?
I encourage all woman to take a breastfeeding course, learn about the different feeding positions and read up on breastfeeding. Even if you’ve breastfed before, it will be your baby’s first time. Many women forget what a newborn latch is like and only remember how it was going at say, 6 months. So I think ALL woman need a refresher before baby is born.

To read other posts in this series, click here.

About the author: My name is Sarah and I’ve been a Kansas gal my whole life; born and raised in Manhattan but have been living in KC for 6 years. I have a degree in Family Studies and Human Services and I’m wife to Derek and mom to Collins (4), Brooks (2) and baby 3 who will arrive this Summer. We are big K-State fans and also cheer for our Royals and Chiefs. We are lucky enough to have a lot of family close by so we enjoy spending as much time as we can with them or doing all the fun things KC has to offer. 

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