– The stages of labor and methods of natural birth (and other delivery methods and interventions that might become medically necessary)
– Whether or not to swaddle, use a pacifier, babywear or co-sleep
– Different baby soothing and sleep training methods
I did not, however, put one moment of thought into breastfeeding. Why? Because it’s “natural”. What’s so hard about popping a boob into a baby’s mouth?
It turns out that “being a natural mammalian process” and “coming naturally (translation: easily) to anyone who tries” are two completely different concepts. Why wouldn’t my baby open her mouth wide enough to latch on? Why was she always screaming, and how was I supposed to hold this wild and wiggly creature while she ate? Was it supposed to hurt THIS MUCH for THIS LONG??? I was angry, exhausted, and confused – so were my baby and my husband!
I don’t remember much from those early days. I sat on my couch and cried a lot. Every body part that made me female ached. My delivery had been a difficult one, and it was hard to mourn the loss of my “ideal” birth while battling yet another unforeseen obstacle. What I do remember is my sister-in-law giving me the phone number that changed my life.
We soon found ourselves in the Via Christi Breastfeeding Clinic. Since I had not delivered at a Via Christi hospital, there was a one-time fee of $50 that provided unlimited access to the clinic for as long as my baby needed it. I felt like an idiot and a failure…but I was also incredibly relieved.
The nurses and lactation consultants were so sweet and encouraging as they literally taught me how to hold my baby. How to position her body & head to get a good latch. Over and over and over again, in a comfy chair with pillows and a privacy curtain, they guided my hands. They showed us how to supplement with an SNS tube until I grew more proficient. They also diagnosed her with a tongue tie that had been missed at birth!
I’d love to tell you that I was a seasoned pro when my next baby was born, but I wasn’t. Since I delivered him at Via Christi, I had immediate help from the breastfeeding support staff…and we still struggled after we were discharged (which is when most problems tend to pop up!). We were in and out of the clinic for help, and when he was diagnosed with a posterior tongue tie (hard to spot with the naked eye because it needs to be palpated) it all made sense!
If you or someone you know is struggling to make breastfeeding work, please contact one of the organizations below. They are working diligently to support Wichita moms dealing with a wide variety of breastfeeding issues – low milk supply, latch problems, mastitis, pumping, etc. They want moms and babies to succeed if a strong breastfeeding relationship is desired. Don’t let frustration and fear keep you from enjoying this “natural” part of motherhood!
Wichita Breastfeeding Support and Services
VIA CHRISTI BREASTFEEDING CLINIC
A walk-in clinic located at 3600 E. Harry, open from 10:00am to 2:00pm Monday-Friday. Free to women who delivered at a Via Christi Hospital; $50 for women who delivered elsewhere. Staffed by nurses, also offering childbirth and breastfeeding classes. 316.689.5426
WESLEYCARE BREASTFEEDING CLINIC
A walk-in clinic located at 3243 E. Murdock, Suite 105, open 12:00pm to 3:00pm Monday-Friday. Free to women who delivered at Wesley Medical Center; $50 for women who delivered elsewhere. Staffed by nurses. 316.962.6455
LA LECHE LEAGUE OF WICHITA
A non-profit, volunteer-led community resource for breastfeeding moms. Support groups meet all over the state of Kansas, with six available in the Wichita-Metro area – volunteers will often come to your home if you are unable to attend a meeting or uncomfortable in a group setting. Locations and contact info can be found here. Connect with them on Facebook, too!