thanks to a random university holiday, i was able to check out a local breastfeeding group.
its probably borderline blasphemous to mention the savior of dalhousie in the same sentence as a pair of knockers, but im going with it. university workers and students got today off to honor george munro, a famous canadian publisher who donated enough money back in the day to keep the university from closing. his huge gesture is honored by a huge gesture from the university to give everyone the first friday in february off, paid. pretty cool.
so, not having to go to work, i was freed up for the day. the nurtured baby store has a regular friday breastfeeding group which meets from 1-3p. naturally anyone who is not a stay at home mom coping with a newborn and the challenges of breastfeeding wouldnt be able to attend this mid-day time slot. and, while i have some time before i need to deal with this topic, i thought today was a good day just to go check the group out. ive heard/read several people say that getting pre-birth breastfeeding knowledge and tips would have been vital to helping them establish confidence and know-how for when reality hit.
the group is lead by a local doula who has 5 kids of her own. the woman has experienced probably every breastfeeding woe known to motherkind, including having thrush with every child and mastitis 15 times! plus, it was great to hear from the other moms who came. there were 3 of us who were pregnant (and were there to absorb info) and there were 2 other moms besides the doula.
the one first-time mom had a 10 week old who had only recently started to feed properly. this lady had a 30 hour labor, followed by an undesired c-section, and then had to endure 6 weeks of attempting to get her son to breastfeed! wow. and she had enormous boobs that came equipped with their own problems. she had mastitis once and had had to deal with all the fun sounding issues related to inverted nipples. while she was dealing with breast and nipple problems, her son wasnt a fast learner on how to feed himself. they had to start with finger feedings (taping a tiny feeding tube to your finger that is attached to a syringe full of milk. you teach the baby how to suck on your finger and they learn that milk comes from this action.) and then move to cup feedings (you put a small cup full of milk up to a babys lower lip. tilting the cup slightly to get the milk near them, you wait for their tongue to move out and they use it to lap up the milk, like a cat. the pressure on the lip teaches them the cue to then use their tongue to get milk into their mouth.).
finally, there was another mom there with her second child. she was determined to breastfeed her daughter because she had given up with her son previously. she too had nipple problems as well as baby latching issues. whenever she has tried to get the doula to help, her daughter has been asleep. this happened today too. she tried for a while to gently wake her up, but she never became active enough to attempt it. bummer.
a walk-away piece of advice for women having problems was to consult the canadian breastfeeding guru, dr jack newman (what!? a man!). he apparently has a clinic in toronto and is constantly turned to for help, advice, etc. he has some books and a website (complete with videos to actually show some tips), and apparently he personally responds to email questions/concerns. typically he does this in a very timely fashion, even in the middle of the night! good to know. and...now ive filled your boob/nipple quota for the week/year/lifetime.