[By Big C]
I latched my baby with no cover in front a group of expectant and new mums!
It was a seminar presented by certified lactation consultant from Gleneagles; and due to some work relationship, I offered to be the model for the live demo. Yes! I offered without thinking much until the LC called and thank me personally for volunteering because she has always been looking for someone who is willing to do that.
The weeks that followed were hard… I was considering if I should tell them that I changed my mind. I mean, seriously what was I thinking when I volunteered? It means baring your boobs and potentially nipple for all to see!
Being Asian and brought up in a conservative family where we don’t even hug each other affectionately, it is a scary thought to expose myself to strangers.
But, I decided that the best way for mums to learn is not to read on google, look at images or illustrations! It is for them to see for real, what latching looks like and how the baby’s mouth movement should be.
Been there, done that. I did wish i could have a better example to refer to when I was trying to master the latching game.
Small E was my little model and he was already around 7 months old. LC did say he is considered kind of old and skilled in latching. Not the ideal model but better than none.
So finally the day came. I was nervous and the thought of backing out kept popping up!
I sat at the back of room – which was actually set up with partitions as walls and there is no ceiling. I sat there with Small E while the seminar went on. I couldn’t focus on the content of the seminar at all.
Then Small E started fidgeting. He wanted to latch! I was considering if I should because what if he gets full and refuse to latch when the demo is on? But I look at the flow of the presentation, it looks like it is going to end. Besides, who could ever say no to a hungry baby?
So I did and I am glad that I did! Because then my nipple can stay mysterious (hahahahah).. I managed to stay latched throughout the demo! So though we couldn’t show the mums exactly how the latching is done – like teasing baby to open mouth wide etc, the mums could see the posture, angle and signs of baby drinking well.
I tried to keep a straight face and covered my chest a little with my blouse. The LC just opened it up, making me feel more exposed. Haha but I told myself I am a professional model now!
Surprisingly, as the LC explained and as mums started raising questions, I started feeling more at ease! And LC asked me if she could let the mums come forward to have a closer look, I agreed.
The mums look genuinely eager to learn everything about breastfeeding and having gone through the process, I can understand how important it is to understand it well and learn the hacks to survive!
After I unlatched, I babywear Small E and decided to speak to the mums. I wanted to share with them about how tough it was for me too though I look like a pro now.
So many times, I wanted to give up. I had sore nipples. I had engorgement. I had hard rock boobs. I had deep blockage and the massage to unblock was sooooo painful that I really asked myself if I wanted to go on breastfeeding.
And how I couldn’t just go to bed with Small E at night because I had to do my last pump of the night, else I would have to wake in middle of night due to painful engorgement. And even if I wake to pump, I would be stuck between pumping or waiting for him to wake to latch.
And having to manage pumping at work, and bringing everything to and fro home.
I was just like any regular new mum (even though this is my 2nd!), struggling with all the common problems. I wanted to give up too and I never imagined I would be able to ace it in the end. But I did!
So once again, I want to tell all mummies out there! Don’t give up if you are really really keen to exclusive breastfeed your baby.
Breast is best but not the only! It’s not all or nothing for breastfeeding. If you need to, you could supplement with formula and continue with breastfeeding! BUT don’t give up breastfeeding totally… You CAN overcome the hardship!