Thoughts on Breastfeeding

I am now in the midst of the hardest thing I have ever done in my life – breastfeeding.  What is odd is that this might be my biggest challenge ever but I have a furious determination that I also have never before experienced.  I so badly want to be successful at breastfeeding – I want to be a good mom and give my son the best nutrition I can.

Though it seems it should be the most natural process in the world – this is how new life has been sustained for thousands of years after all – it is not.  Like many things in life it comes easily for some and not so easily for others. I fall in the not so easily category.

 

Breastfeeding symbol

Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My ambitious eater is feeding between every hour to two hours right now.  Our pediatrician tells me this is what you call a “growth spurt” or midnight torture for mom if you ask me.  Not only does he like to eat a lot he likes to bite as well.  Granted he has no teeth just yet but the pain is real none the less and at 3 am I am close to tears when he starts to wake up and I know I am going to spend the next hour having my nipple gnawed on and being exhausted.

 

 

Today, at my visit to my OB I heard this advice; get through the first three months because they are the hardest and then things will get better.  In my mind I am thinking “three months! Are you friggin’ kidding me?  How am I going to make it three more weeks like this?”

My current approach upon some good advice from a pediatrician is ‘take it day-by-day’ and ‘set short term goals’.  When I try to envision month after month of this grueling process I honestly want to cry so taking this one day at a time seems to be the only way my sanity will be sustained.

 

 

 

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18 thoughts on “Thoughts on Breastfeeding

  1. I feel like we are kindred spirits, going through this whole breastfeeding thing at the same time. And you’re right…it is brutal. Despite the fact that I gave birth nearly two weeks ago, my milk still hasn’t fully come in so we have to supplement the breast milk with a teeny tiny syringe filled with formula. And gally has a huge appetite so I’m up every hour too nursing her. It is decidedly no fun.

    However I’m really lucky because the baby’s pediatrician is really supportive and totally understands how difficult breastfeeding is. She has been a huge encouragement, and I’m going to stick with it.

    • I am sorry to hear that you are struggling with breastfeeding as well. Having support wherever you can get it is so important. It is great that your peditrician is so on board with the idea. It would be so easy to have someone say it is ok to stop and then just giving up because you are not being supported.
      Although I am not happy that is challenging for you as well I am glad there is someone else experiencing what I am. You are right it is like we are kindred spirits in this whole crazy thing called motherhood and I find that very helpful.
      Go mammas!!

  2. my OBGYN said the same thing to us, that it takes 3 months to get used to your newborn. it really does get better (then worse again) and i hear by 6 months it will be a lot easier.

    don’t give up on breastfeeding yet. it’s still really early. it took me 6 weeks to be comfortable with exclusively bf-ing and now it’s become more or less a walk in the park. do you use nipple cream? my favorite was the medela lanolin one. and yes, set small, daily goals for yourself. take it a day at a time. time will pass much faster than you will remember and then you will look back at your current post and other newborn photos of your kid feeling all nostalgic and wondering how did time pass so quickly. (i’m not too far ahead of you; my little one is only 4.5 months!)

    hang in there!

    • Really, 6 weeks? Agh, that is a long time but I think it is really helpful to know that it did take you that long. It makes me feel a little less challenged to know that it can take so long.
      I am using some lanolin nipple cream and it is helping some. I feel like I just can’t put enough of it on though!

      Thanks for your supportive comments! I really appreciate hearing other mom’s stories.

  3. Wow. I’m giving you mad credit right now! I think I told you I decided not to continue to try to BF after I got home from the hospital. I should write a post on this. Bottom line: you have to do what you feel is best for you and for baby… And you need to take care of yourself too. I’m sure there are a ton of BF blog entries out there where you can find some support, encouragement and tips/tricks. Taking it one day at a time sounds like an excellent idea. I think Sixtene and the little things wrote a good BF entry not too long ago….Good luck :)

    • Thanks for the credit! It is needed. there are many nights where I think there are going to be more tears than breastfeeding so I appreciate the supportive comments as I go down this crazy road of new mommyhood. Right now, breastfeeding still feels like the right thing to do for both of us but I am just now sure how long that will last! Day by day is the mantra.

  4. It sounds like you and your baby may have issues with latch. It is not typical, with a proper latch, that a baby would be “biting” at this stage. A lactation consultant can help you figure it out. A good lactation consultant is worth her weight in gold – or oil….or breastmilk….or whatever is the most valuable commodity on Earth. I am not saying it’s a picnic, but I will say for sure that if you address the latch, you will be grateful. I have breastfed all three kids and had tremendous challenges with two of them. I feel lucky that I had the support to persevere. Of course it’s your decision and your body and your baby and you will be just the mother your baby needs no matter how you approach feeding. But if you have goals of breastfeeding, there is support available and it sounds like you could benefit. If you don’t have access to a really skilled lactation consultant (or even if you do), I really recommend La Leche League. Despite what some people may think, they get excellent training and provide much-needed support.

    • Hi mudpieville! We worked with two different lactation consulants at the hospital and while they were really helpful they have me using a nipple shield. Our doula came by and did a post partum follow up and she thinks the latch is good but the nipple shield is the real problem. So, now I am trying to ween him off the shield but I feel like my nipples are so sore that it is hard to tell if we are doing better or not.

      Yes, La Leche League. Thanks for the reminder. I am going to have to remember to look up the local meetings and head to one. I have a book of theirs that I was reading while I was pregnant but I think going to a meeting is a much better idea.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on this post!

  5. Sorry to hear you’re having problems. She could well be lying, but our breastfeeding councillor said it should not hurt if the baby is latched on properly. She gave us all a slice of orange and got us to stick a straw in it and try sucking. It was very difficult to get any liquid out. The she got us to put our mouths around the orange and, naturally, this was a lot easier.
    She said a baby wanting to feed all the time and/or falling asleep after five minutes of suckling is often a sign that it is not feeding properly. It’s important that the baby tilts its head back and sticks out its tongue before latching on and you should still be able to see the top of the areola. I’m sure you already know all of this stuff, but, as Mudpieville says above, it is probably well worth you getting some guidance from a breastfeeding support professional. Good luck!

    • The crazy thing is that I have worked with a couple of lactation consultants. The ones at the hospital wanted me to use a nipple shield and the one from outside of the hospital actually thinks the nipple shield is why I am having so many problems with biting. So, we are now trying to ween him off the nipple shield but it only works every now and then. The nipple shield seems to make his latch too shallow and he ends up just tugging on the nipple itself. It is amazing how much conflicing information there is out there!

      • Hm….I am wondering if maybe your pediatrician would want to look at baby’s tongue. Sometimes they are “tongue-tied” and there are things they can do to help. In my area, the local Children’s Hospital (which is a big one, I will admit) has a special feeding section where they do PT related to feeding issues. It’s like the best of the best when it comes to latch analysis, and assessment of mom and baby’s physiology. Every so often there are physical things that make breastfeeding impossible or nearly so, but usually the PT folks can help. Sometimes it’s just a matter of time. Babies grow and develop so fast! WIth my first, we had latch issues that she literally grew out of around the time I figured out how to resolve it when she was a few weeks old.

        And yes, there is a TON of conflicting information out there. Independent lactation consultants who work outside of the hospital and LLL volunteers usually see more people in your shoes. Often the women in the hospital see only the very first issues of newborns and preemies.

        In any event, you have my sympathies. There is enough for you to adjust to without sore nipples!

      • I think I am going to have another meeting with a lactation consultant in home and see if they can help me figure out what is going on. We have heard about the issues with a baby being tongue tied but don’t know how to check that for ourselves so having someone who knows what they are doing is probably our best bet.
        Thanks again for your support!

  6. I am sending love and support your way! A friend of mine told me breastfeeding hurt before I had my baby, but I didn’t believe her. Then I experienced it myself and was so surprised that she was right. I cried every time I nursed. We went to Le Leche League, and then finally to a lactation consultant at our local Children’s Hospital. My daughter’s latch was strong, and it was me that ended up having the sensitivity. I stuck it out, and told myself “I’ll just do it for two more weeks.” I had a post-it on my fridge showing me how many weeks were left. At the end of the two weeks, of course I added two more weeks. I used lanolin, and I pampered myself by using small, warm rice-filled fabric pads after I nursed. I had a little spray called Happy Mama and the scent while nursing made me feel slightly better. On bad days my partner would rub my feet while I nursed. Somehow I got through it all, and the weeks kept passing by. I don’t remember exactly when I turned a corner but it seemed easier at some point. I ended up nursing for nine months (pumping and nursing both during months 4-9 since I was working three days a week.) Pumping actually hurt less for me but I do think that my supply went down a little when I started pumping more often. My baby was a champion eater so she had no problem going between breast and bottle, but my friend started giving a bottle and then her baby wouldn’t go back. Every situation is different, and I am sure you will figure out what works for you and hit your stride!

    • Thank you for the love and support. Also, thanks for sharing your experience. It is so good to hear other mom’s experiences with the crazy process. Isn’t it crazy how much breastfeeding can hurt? I had no idea. I love your approach to it – work through it in small, manageable chunks. That is the only way I think I can face it at this point. Although the idea of pumping and bottle feeding is appealing since as you mention pumping does seem to hurt less; I am concerned to try it in case he won’t go back to breastfeeding. There is just so mauch to think about. I really thought it was going to be so much easier than this – silly me!!

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