My son is now a month old. I can’t believe how fast time has gone by…. And then I feel like “how did I make it through.”
Breastfeeding for my son and I was challenging from the second day. He was aggressive and a pincher. I assumed it was a normal feeling, pain in the beginning. I mean- after all my breasts were so tender during pregnancy I didn’t want anything to even graze my nipple. I kept putting him on to establish our bond and get him the “gold.” Ahh colostrum.
Who knew I’d be talking about all this a year ago?
Not me that’s for sure!
My son pretty much destroyed my nipples in those first two days in the hospital. I was bleeding and in pain. But still letting him latch. Lactation consultants came and tried to help. Nothing was wrong with his latch, no tongue tie or raised pallet, just a vigorous little barracuda.
The lactation consultants and my OB said I needed to heel, putting him back on the boob would only cause more damage to me… And potentially cause infection. Pumping began. The hospital pump was pretty serious. Everything hurt, lowest setting lowest suction. Holy crap. This was not fun. Since my milk hadn’t come in yet (typical 4 or 5 days post Partum) I was getting 5ml of colostrum. All that work and pain for a teenie bit of gold.
Using a syringe we sucked up the drops and fed it to my son- avoiding confusion for him by going to a bottle-plus there was so small an amount a bottle would be useless.
I felt good leaving the hospital. I had a pump at home. I was ready to get better, pump until I did, and then get him back on the boob.
Enter: my pump.
Now I was feeling positive. We had just gotten home, my mom was over to help, she took the babe while I went up to sit in the rocker and pump. And nothing happened. No milk, not even the tiniest bit. I was devastated. Thinking my pimp sucked, I was a terrible mom. I couldn’t even produce anything for him. The husb had come up to check on me. I was crying with the pump attached, in pain, angry, a million other emotions.
He started researching. Talked me down. Honestly, I may have quit if he wasn’t there. He talked to me about my let down, how I should massage my breasts before pumping, warm them with water, etc. As I’m sitting there completely annoyed and not wanting to do anything, he helps me. Massaging away.
As weird as it may sound or you may be picturing us- me sitting crying while he is massaging my sore boobs- it was what I needed. Support, someone to push me through this tough time. I mean no one talks about this stuff. How hard it is after birth. How much pain you go through- in all the areas of your body. As a new mom I needed him to be there with me.
Success! Drops began to come. We went through this every couple hours for the next few days. Sucking up the milk with a syringe and feeding it to my son. I started producing more, but needed to supplement with formula. Something I didn’t want to have to do. I did it because it was what my son needed.
By Thanksgiving I was pretty much healed- (about 6 days). Now the real fear came. Could I really let him latch back on? What if the same thing happened. Well I did it anyway. It wasn’t comfortable and most of the time I had to break the latch because of his pinching… We both were frustrated. I was in pain… And really worried he wasn’t eating enough. It was like he was constantly on me suckling away.
I called a lactation consultant on Saturday and had a meeting for Sunday morning. They were so supportive. That’s another fear I had, judgement. Judgement from everyone. I wasn’t doing enough, I should be able to suck it up and feed my child.
That is not what happened. The women was great. She showed me better positioning, how to get him on better. I will say this my son is always great on the breast when other people are there checking. (Oh ya…. Everyone and their mother will see your boobs… And you won’t give a shit!!). She also suggested I get a triple ointment prescribed by my OB to heal my nipples further. Done!
Perfect latch. No pinch. Always when we are being checked! Then come the evening feeds- anytime after 4pm was horrible. He’s tired, I was sore from all day feeding. Ahh. Ouch! I literally would have to pump at night to give myself a break. Also I had an overactive let down. Which caused my son to get pissed off because too much milk was coming out in the beginning. Lactation peeps said to hand express to get past that.
Umm… Do you know how hard it is to do that? I don’t me the physical part- emotionally I did not want to waste a single drop of the liquid gold.
After another week of our struggle we had his two week doctors visit. His weight was back to birth weight. Yay! Success. Most breast fed babies loose 10% of their body weigh after birth.
Doctor wanted me to go full breastfeeding and stop pumping. Me wanting to be the best and do what they say I attempted this. reached out to my breast feeding group (La Leche League) and friends who knew a lot about breast feeding challenges.
All was well for a couple days. Then the soreness, pain and borderline breaking of the skin returned. Dammit. I finally broke down. I was so exhausted from feeding him for hours, not sleeping, and working through pain trying to get to the point where my nipples adjusted.
After 3 weeks I decided to pump exclusively. It is what was best for both of us. No frustration. Not flip outs in the middle of the night. He gets his bottle and is a happy little babe.
I wanted to share this so that moms to be can see what I went through and know they are not alone if they face challenges or if it isn’t easy. Maybe they will be stronger than I was and will push through. Most of all I want whoever reads this to not feel guilty for their decisions or judged. We have to do what it best for ourselves. What is best for our baby. A stressed out mama isn’t good.