My Story: Realizing That Breastfeeding Takes Longer Than You Think

By Saniya Ghanoui —

MS speaks about the reality of how long it can take to get your baby to latch onto you to begin nursing.


OBOS TODAY: Is there anything that we have not talked about today that you would like to bring up? 

MS: I don’t think so, I mean the only other thing I just sort of wish that someone had told me has to do with nursing, which I did nurse both my oldest and, and my twins as well, is that it’s actually really hard. It’s not that easy. It’s not like you just hold the baby up and they start nursing and it’s like you know falling off a log. It is not. It often takes a while for the babies to latch on, and I was lucky, I mean my babies didn’t have any trouble. Like some babies even have more difficulty latching on. Mine were kind of within the normal range, but even within the normal range, it takes a while, it takes a while to really get comfortable and to feel confident that you’re providing enough milk. I feel, like, there’s a lot of fear that must be evolutionary, you know, like it, it makes sense that, like, you would have this innate fear of not feeding your baby enough milk because that needs to happen for survival, but you have to really fight against that when you’re nursing.

If you feel like you’re not producing enough milk, you can get very freaked out and switch to formula quickly because you’re so panicked about it. And I feel, like, I had a lot of support and at that time my insurance actually paid for a consultant, a lactation consultant to come to my house, who did come and helped with my oldest. And so, I think that’s super, I think that was very, very helpful to have someone who’s really experienced who can, like, literally sit with you and like help you do it because it’s like very personal and it’s your body and it’s your baby’s body, and so you need kind of someone you really trust to help you with that.

But I’d say in the years since, a lot I work a lot with young women in my profession. I’m a college professor. I have a lot of graduate students, I have a lot of postdocs and people who are often having babies, and I’ve made it a point to always sort of tell them to be realistic about how much time it takes to be able to nurse and to not feel like you’re doing something wrong and to recognize that if it doesn’t just like happen like this and feel super easy, it’s, it’s, you know that’s normal and you need to kind of be patient and, you know, give it, give it a chance, so I’d say that’s the only other thing that I really wish I’d gotten better information about.