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I gave birth naturally in the "birthing center" part of the hospital and the nurse I had there was really great about helping me with DD's latch, even though the hospital itself didn't have LCs on staff. Between her and my doula (who also had BF-ing experience), I left the hospital feeling really prepared.
I also had to transfer to the regular postpartum floor for a night due to untreated GBS (they wanted to monitor the baby for 48 hours.) That experience was miserable -- I'm not even sure I had my own nurse. However, my roommate had MAJOR issues getting her baby to nurse -- he screamed and she cried all night -- and nurses did come in to try to work with her.
I had to freaking beg for for help and my baby was in the NICU! They had gotten rid of their NICU LC due to budget cuts and they told me their priority was for the main LC to meet with the "regular" moms who were heading home. And I doubt she even had time for that, frankly. It really p!ssed me off. I wound up having 2 LC sessions over 6 days. DD was on a strict schedule so it was really hard to get a time with the LC that coincided with when I was allowed to nurse.
A couple of the NICU nurses were really helpful, others were not and one made me feel like I was hurting DD by trying to nurse her. We also had a shared room so it was kind of awkward and a big production with a screen, etc.
If not for the support of my MW and SIL I might not be BFing today. My neighbor is on the board of trustees for the hospital and asked me about my experience. I (politely) let her know what it was like. Hopefully they will change things a bit.
I had a really great experience at the hospital. Every nurse was a trained LC and they were available anytime I needed them.
Our hospital didn't specifically have any LCs. They sort of looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if there was one. (We're really rural.) But they said any of the nurses could help me, and they did. Since I had a c-section, everything is sort of a drug-induced fog, but I know the nurses came in and helped me with positioning, asked if he seemed to be getting something from both breasts (because every time they walked in, I just happened to be nursing on the same side--and I think I was favoring one side because of being hooked to IVs, monitors, etc).
While I was still PG, I went to the LLL website, and there's one LC in a little town of about 500 people maybe 20 minutes away, but I never called her. Just a few weeks ago, I found out that one of our friends is an LC. She just doesn't want to be listed on the LLL website because she wants people to just "find her" through word of mouth. I *wish* I'd known this because Jared plays guitar and sings with her husband, and we're at their house all the time. I would have been way less stressed if I'd known one of my friends was a certified LC. Ooops.
In the hospital, I met with the LC once and it was about an hour before I was going home. DD was sleeping and she didn't stay to watch or check back in. However, the nurses that I had were amazing and so helpful! They got me started right after birth and would stop by to check throughout my stay and show me different positions. If LO was having trouble, they offered tips and/or helped me to get the correct latch. They also told me to call them down anytime I was getting ready to nurse if I thought I wanted help.
There is a LC consultant at our pediatrician's office, too. So, I made sure to schedule my appts with her just to continue to make sure things are going okay. We had a weight check appt. after being released from the hospital and she called two more days that week to see how things were going and ask if we had questions.
I had a lot of help. I didn't meet with a certified LC until the next day since the one on shift left before LO came out.
However the nurses made sure I had all the support I needed and one of them training to be a LC came as soon as her shift started because I had asked for a LC. She stayed and we got a good latch, etc.. Every day I was asked if I needed one and no matter what I said one stopped by just to make sure. They gave me their phone numbers as well for when I left the hospital.
My hospital also runs a breastfeeding support group twice a week with LCs. I went to one and it was super helpful. The LC at the hospital even called me at home a few days after I left to see how we were doing.
I delivered my son at 10:22 p.m. My goal was to nurse him as soon as possible. The nurse tried to help me the first time, but he did not want to latch on. 30 minutes later I tried again, but there was no one there to help. I got him on, but apparently the wrong way.
After that they took me to my room and he went to the nursery. He was in there for 5 hours before they brought him to my room! Not b/c he was having problems. I woke up scared to death something was wrong b/c he had not been brought to the room after an hour like they said on the tour.
The LC came in twice, but always after I just finished nursing. I feel like I did not get enough help after delivery in the hospital. It took 3 weeks to get Liam back to birth weight.
Now, when I made an appointment after I left the hospital a week later they were amazing with helping me. The damage was done though, so now I breastfeed and supplement with formula.
I had an hour consult on my last day with an LC who told me that my nipples were too big for nursing, that "nursing isn't for everyone" and that I needed to start DS on formula right away. She was a miserable human being and I'm not sure why she is in this profession. So, I spoke with my nurse who told me that my nipples were fine, that I could nurse and that DS had only lost 4% of his birth weight so there was no reason to push formula that early. She was wonderful and made me wish that I hadn't even spoken to the LC. All the nurses I had tried to help, but they only had a few minutes each time. Apparently my hospital is certified as a "breast friendly" hospital, so all the nurses had to go through extra training to help with BFing.
However, now that I've been through it before, I would change my approach. DS had a hard time latching on, so I wish I had been pumping colostrum and feeding him that from my finger. I would have tried to nurse and then started pumping for 20 minutes each time afterwards. I wasn't given a pump (even though I requested one) until 24 hours after he was born. I also would have ripped that bottle of formula out of the LCs hands. I was so shocked and she made me feel so awful like my DS was starving and was going to die, that I just let her feed it to him, but I regret that and wish that I had stood my ground more.
Since Violet immediately went into the NICU - I was lost on what was going to happen with my breastfeeding request. Thankfully a very kind NICU LC came in the room a couple of hours after delivering and brought me a pump w/ all the goodies & got me started on that. She was the nicest one I dealt with out of the three. When I got the go ahead to start BFing Violet - she had a wonderful NICU nurse at the time that was VERY patient with V & I. The next round wasn't that same - the NICU nurse was nice & all but didn't give extra assistance...when she saw me crying with my screaming baby in my arms she asked if I wanted to see an LC - I nodded yes. The LC wasn't as ... nice I guess you could say. The kind NICU nurse that helped me in the beginning warned me that they may make us use a nipple shield & although it can help - it should be a last resort. Well, what do you know...within 3 minutes of trying to get Violet to latch...this LC whips out a nipple shield & that was that. Violet latched on well but then came the demands of having to pump after each session and the stress that this may kill my milk supply.
The final LC was nice enough & helped me set up my pump...she had a lot of free stuff too. One of the few perks. lol
I eventually weaned Violet off the nipple shield on my own...since I felt mixed about the support I was given at the hospital I figured it would just be better if I did this on my own....
As soon as LO was handed to me after delivery I asked the L&D nurse help me get started with breastfeeding. Actually, 12 hours earlier when she started her shift, I expressed my desire to breastfeed as soon as possible and asked then if she would help me. Fortunately, with her help, LO latched right away. Every nurse that came in after that I asked questions- am I doing this right? how is her latch? etc. And the first few times I paged the nurse to let her know that I was about to feed LO and could she help me make sure I was doing it right. I'm sure I was a huge PITA, but after getting my $30k hospital bill, I have no regrets, and actually the nurses seemed happy enough to help, (and we did give a small box of chocolates to every nurse that helped me.) Although I asked for an LC right away, she only came on the 2nd day and although I had just finished breastfeeding 30 minutes prior, I asked if I could do it again so that she could see, and she gave me a few additional pointers. I was adamant and demanding (in as nice a way as possible) about getting as much help with breastfeeding as possible because I was clueless.
JaneBeam:While I was in the hospital, LC's were "there" but they never let me try on my own while "supervising." They'd be there for 10 min, rip my boob into the baby's mouth (sometimes it would take all 4 of our hands) and then leave before I felt comfortable. We ended up supplementing and switching over compeltely to formula when LO kept loosing weight. I was VERY dissapointed in the help I got in the hospital and after (I called the line when I was home and everything). Some BF-ing moms might say I didn't try hard enough but no one was there when it was me and LO crying for hours on end because my milk took 11 days to even start to come in.
This. I called for her several times, but I never got more than a few minutes with her each time. We also started supplementing while in the hospital, and I stopped BF all together between 11 and 12 weeks. :(
Drew was in the NICU for the first 8 hours of his life and the first person to help me with breastfeeding was his NICU nurse. She was awesome. She made it clear, simple, and was so calm. After that we had an LC visit us once a day for the remaining two days. She said we could call her other times if we needed, but Drew was such a natural I really didn't need any help. I called the LC line at the hospital three times after arriving home (once that first week, once the second week, and once at three months) and each time found the LC on call very helpful.
With Lizzy the LC came twice the first day and once the second. They spent a little more time with me b/c she was a much lazier nurser and needed some encouragement. I also needed some extra reminders about positioning and support. The LC said that's common for 2nd time moms who nursed for a long time (I nursed Drew for 14.5 months). She said we get lazy too, haha! It's definitely true though - I was over confident in my ability because I had months and months of experience with a baby that latches himself. I needed a big refresher on how to latch a newborn.
All in all, I've been extremely pleased with the nursing support I've received. I think support and education are the two biggest factors in BFing success.