After a ton of reading and learning about breastfeeding, a healthy, full-term pregnancy, and a successful unmedicated birth at home, I kinda expected my son to just magically latch onto my breast without a hitch (perhaps accompanied by harps or little singing nature sprites or something). So imagine my surprise when he totally didn't. "I'm Earth Momming so hard right now, little man! Get it together, what are you doing?" Turns out, there are plenty of not-so-idyllic things that definitely happen the first time you breastfeed, no matter what you imagined beforehand, or how smoothly your birth experience went. (This is also why I think we shouldn't constantly talk about how "natural" breastfeeding is, because the image "natural" suggests is usually so different from what most moms actually experience in real life.)
Though we're still nursing every day and nearly two years after I gave birth to him, the first time my son and I breastfed was nothing like what I imagined it would be. We both felt clunky and awkward, not at all peaceful and still and effortlessly gorgeous like all the images of nursing moms I'd seen before. My breast was actually bigger than his head when we first started, and I was low-key afraid I might suffocate him. He was super hangry, and flailing around with his terrifying little baby claws each time he tried to latch on. Once he actually did (and fell off, and then latched again), I couldn't tell if he was actually getting anything to eat, 'cause it's not like boobs have convenient little markings that let you see how much liquid is inside, like bottles do. I knew I wanted to keep going with breastfeeding, but I had no idea exactly how we would do that.
Fortunately, I had lots of knowledgeable folks — themselves moms who'd nursed their own children — around to support me, including a midwife who showed me how to hand express milk so I could at least see that something was in there, a pediatrician who supports breastfeeding moms and affirmed that everything we were doing and experiencing was totally normal, and a lactation consultant who showed me some tricks to help him get a nice deep latch every time.
If most or all of the following things happen to you the first time you breastfeed, don't take the challenging bits as a sign that you're not cut out to nurse. Know you're yet another of the billions of nursing moms through the ages who've been in the exact same place, yet went on to nurse their babies for months or even years after that.