The first time I breastfed my son, he seemed to latch right on—despite the skeptical attitudes of both me and the nurse watching over us. It didn’t take long for me to realize we must have been high on adrenaline and exhaustion in that moment to think my son was already a pro. It was within minutes of his birth, so the kid wasn’t actually getting any of my ta-ta tonic, after all.
At his first pediatrician visit he was already losing enough weight to concern the doctor, who sent me home with the number of a local lactation consultant. My husband was just as worried as I was, but also concerned about how I’m a bit of a prude when it comes to flashing strangers. How would I handle an LC needing to maybe see my you-know-whats?
Before I could mention to the lady who soon showed up at my door that I preferred a bit of discretion, she was marching me into my bedroom so we could get down to business. Here are just a handful of the things a lactation consultant will do that just might have you, too, looking around the room in a state of shock:
1. Tell your husband to go spend all his money on very specific supplies at the baby goods store RIGHT NOW, which he will do without question or complaint (i.e. “work magic”).
2. Tell you to take your top off while leaning so close she’s taking up every square inch of your personal space.
3. Take a VERY close look at your nipples. I CANNOT STRESS THE WORD “VERY” ENOUGH HERE.
4. Quietly remain in the VERY CLOSE distance from your nipple for much longer than you’d expect someone to need to in order to look at such a small body part.
5. Poke at your nipple a bit like she’s playing a bizarre game of Whack-a-Mole.
6. Critique your nipples in great detail while asking you exactly how many times your baby has peed and pooped since birth.
7. Make your husband nervous when he returns with the goods, requesting in a voice that is both kindly and terrifying that he hand wash everything pronto and line it up within her reach.
8. Invite your husband to come over and look at your nipples with her while you do your best to pretend you’re somewhere else (yes, even helping your toddler poop on the potty would do).
9. Pick up your baby like he’s not the most fragile thing in the universe and look at his mouth as if she’s inspecting a trout during a fishing contest.
10. Grab your painfully engorged boob, grab your baby’s softly pulsating head, manhandle them like stubborn puzzle pieces until they fit together.
11. Poke at your baby’s mouth and your nipple at the same time.
12. Rub thick, sticky substances on your nipples while making them try on tiny silicone sombreros she insists will help the baby latch on.
13. Assemble the 472 parts of a breast pump together in under 12 seconds without even looking down once, hook you up to it, and feed your baby from countless different bottle nipples until she decides which one is a winner.
14. Tell you exactly how you will spend the next week in a cycle of breastfeeding, pumping, and bottle-feeding until your baby plumps up to a satisfying weight (sleeping is not included in this cycle).
15. All of this while you sit there in front of her topless, taking notes, and changing diapers every 40 minutes or so.
Before she leaves, she’ll plop the bird-like baby between your bare boobs, lock him in there with some voodoo-like baby-wrapping skills, and calm you both down by reassuring you that you’re now ready to do this on your own.
And the most shocking thing of all? You will be.
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