TMI found below.
Breastfeeding this time has been completely different than nursing Alex. Edison was pro at it from the start. It took a few minutes to get him to latch on, but I was more patient because I knew how it was supposed to work.
After a few days of nursing, I noticed my nipples were starting to separate a little. I tried to make sure Edison always had an excellent latch (which he did). About four days post-partum, I would be bawling just trying to get up the courage to put him on. He would try to latch and I would shrink away from him. This would make him start screaming. It usually went on for about 15 minutes before I sucked it up and put him on. Then the rest of the time I would be flinching and crying, clenching my teeth and squeezing my eyes shut.
Luckily, Edison is a very efficient eater. For the first three-and-a-half weeks, I only had to nurse him on one side for about 10 minutes. He would fall asleep and even if we woke him up to keep eating, he wouldn't eat anymore; he was full! Since only one nipple was separating, I was able to nurse two feedings on the good side and then one on the bad side in order to give it more time to heal. After that, he started acting hungry even after 15-20 minutes on one side so I had to start switching him. This was really difficult for me because it meant the sore side would have to be nursed on each feeding.
I would sit and put my knee behind his head so he wouldn't try to come off and on or try to pull away at all. It helped a little.
He would nurse every 2-4 hours during the day for the first month. At night he would go a few hours longer. We only swaddle him at night. I want him to eat as much as he wants during the day so he will be full and not need to eat as much at night.
I spent so much time crying while nursing that my milk started to let down when I would start to cry. It started getting better at three weeks. At that point I was able to put him on without crying. It only became difficult at night as I was sore from nursing throughout the day and my milk supplies were low.
I have noticed that I don't mind leaving activities to nurse as much as I did with Alex. It used to really bother me and I always felt like I was missing out on something. It may be that Edison is a faster eater so I don't have to be gone as long. With Alex, I could have been gone for up to an hour.
When Edison was six weeks old, I noticed I was starting to heal. I didn't think it was going to heal and I was quite pleased that I was looking normal again. I think it was the gel pads that helped the most. It probably also helped that this is when Edison started sleeping 8-10 hours each night. Love that kid.
As hard as it was physically to nurse Edison, it was a cinch mentally. Nursing Alex was so emotional and the nipple shield made me feel inadequate. I am so happy to be doing this the normal way. It is really nice to not have to worry about having the shield with me at all times. Nursing makes me happy.
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