I could ramble on about how it is best for your baby (it is), how it facilitates bonding (it does), how it can only be sanitary (when straight from the source anyway), etc etc. I won't. Google can tell you all of those things. I want to talk about the experience. And seeing as I can see Saoirse's eyes in that little swing, that may or may not happen in this post.
Let me be honest, that first week was incredibly rough. I can see how people give in and switch to pumping and bottle feeding. Or formula. I know that rough first week or so can be avoided with the perfect latch. But who the heck ever gets a perfect latch on a regular basis in those first few days? By the time I had a good latch going, my nipples had been abused by the sharp ridge on the backside of Saoirse's upper gum.
On second thought, razor blade might be a more accurate description.
She had a tendency to try for a shallow, lazy latch. Which hurt like hell. There was a lot of breaking the latch and darn near shoving as much of my boob as possible into her mouth to where my nipples weren't being gnawed upon. Those lovely hydrogel things lived on me and I'm not sure we would've survived without them. Even so, there was a lot of gritting my teeth and reminding myself that in a minute or so the pain would subside. And hoping that once my boobs got used to it, the pain would go away. As a light at the end of the tunnel to anyone reading, it did. 6 weeks later, we're still going strong with breastfeeding. And it doesn't hurt.
But at the time, holy cow. The cluster feeds and Saoirse endlessly being attached to my boob for 4 or so days until my milk came in was brutal. I took Motrin more for my nipple pain than for the damage done down south. However, I am glad we stuck to it and I would never discourage anyone not to do so. I would and do encourage hooking up with a lactation consultant in the hospital or as soon as possible after birth. Get a good latch as soon as possible. But the fact is, your boobs have never experienced this amount of attention. There will most likely be some initial discomfort. I also found life got better after my milk came in when she didn't have to nurse quite so vigorously or constantly to be full.
But things are working now. Wonderfully. She gained back her birth weight in a week, and she's up to 10 lbs now.