1. Be sure to re-up your Vicodin at least thirty minutes, but no more than one hour, before feeding time.
2. Have husband change your already-hungry baby's diaper. This will get him good and mad and ready to go.
3. Grasp baby's head firmly in your hand, being careful not to fold his ears in half with your fingers or leave permanent marks. Hold the baby's body close to your body with the elbow of the same arm. Do the Hokey Pokey and You Turn Yourself Around, clap clap cla-clap clap clap.
4. Using your other hand, grab the boob with four fingers underneath and your thumb on top. The exact configuration will make perfect sense when the lactation consultant is standing next to your bed arranging your fingers for you, but will elude you every single time you feed the baby after you leave the hospital.
5. Take slow deep breaths and go to your happy place for a moment while you wait for the baby to stop opening and closing his mouth like the clown at a miniature golf course.
6. Get a towel and dry off all the milk that dripped onto the baby's face while you were waiting that he is now licking off in lieu of doing the hard work of sucking.
7. Repeat Steps 3 and 4
8. Lose patience and try to force him to latch on, whereupon he will bite the hell out of you and resume the miniature golf clown mouth routine. Clench your teeth and try not to scream "HOLY SHITBALLS" loud enough for your in-laws to hear from downstairs.
9. Fondly remember the days when they sent mothers home from the hospital with a big bag of formula samples.
10. Repeat Steps 3 and 4. Indefinitely.
11. If you wait long enough, the baby will tire of toying with you and open his mouth nice and wide. This is your signal to DEPLOY! DEPLOY! DEPLOY!
12. While simultaneously doing something very important with the boob hand that I can't remember for the life of me and holding the baby's bottom close to your body with your elbow, use the other hand to fling the baby's head towards you in such a way that his mouth lands in the correct position on the nipple. This will take some practice, as you will have about four-tenths of a second to complete the maneuver before the baby clamps his hungry little mouth closed again. It will help if you have previous training as a sniper for the CIA. Or a ninja. Repeat until the baby relaxes and begins swallowing milk. Or until he begins frantically gulping it down because he is starving after the twenty-minute delay caused by Steps 2-11.
13. Evaluate pain level. In the words of the LC, "Stabbing ice pick nipple pain means there's a problem with your latch." If you are experiencing "stabbing ice pick nipple pain," begin again with Step 2. If you are experiencing only "dull old bruise ache," then you are on the right track. Note that it will hurt either way. Feel free to complain to your spouse. Then ask for a glass of water and a cookie, pretty please.
14. Repeat every three hours around the clock for several months.