Success! Latching On Luna
Christie Alarcon, Fullerton, California.
Editor’s Note: Christie’s daughter, Luna, is now seven months old. Christie wrote this when she was preparing to return to work and Luna was three months old. Christie wrote about Luna’s successful latching: “One night I just tried to breastfeed her, and she took it. There was nothing different (that I did to latch her). I came across your (LLL USA) page on Instagram. I was struggling and felt like a failure. I reached out through private message and someone replied and gave me some excellent tips.”
Some mothers have babies who, as soon as they are placed near the breast, latch on like there’s no tomorrow. Others don’t and have to supplement with formula or exclusively pump or even both.
Luna was one of those babies who didn’t latch. I saw two different lactation nurses while still in the hospital. Neither was able to get Luna to successfully latch. We had to give her some formula and feed her my colostrum with a syringe. I was discharged home feeling pretty bad about not being able to breastfeed. I had this plan in my head that I would be nursing my baby until she turned 12 months old and that nursing would be a special mommy and me time. I felt like a failure.
I began pumping as soon as I could, but my supply couldn’t keep up with my baby’s demand so I had to continue supplementing with formula. I thought I wasn’t even good at making enough milk for my daughter, so what kind of mother was I? Once she turned one month old, we were able to stop supplementing with formula. By the time she was a month and a half, I was able to produce enough milk for the day and start working on my back-to-work stash. I would see pictures of mothers with big stashes of milk and get stressed out. How could I ever catch up to that?
When Luna turned three months, she finally latched. I felt so much relief. This was such a big victory for me. Yes, it took a while, but we had finally done it! It’s been a couple of weeks since, and as I look back to our feeding wins and struggles, I realize that we can be so hard on ourselves. We blame ourselves for everything. We don’t let ourselves catch a break. A baby is a miracle. We have to stop being so hard on ourselves.
- Christie pointed out that breastfeeding often begins smoothly without any trouble latching or positioning the baby. That isn’t always the case, as Christie discovered. The LLL USA website has a wealth of information about positioning and latch that may prove helpful if you are struggling: https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/positioning/
- Additional breastfeeding information is also available on the FAQ page: https://lllusa.org/faqs/
- In order to locate a La Leche League Leader near you, go to: https://lllusa.org/locator/
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