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The Terrors of Breastfeeding
The struggle of breastfeeding
I'm about to tell you the cold hard truth about breastfeeding that I experienced. Maybe other people's experience are much more pleasant, but this article isn't for them. This is for every mom and mom that knows breastfeeding isn't a piece of cake, and for the new moms that are also having a bit of trouble in the beginning. I just want you to know that you are not ALONE! I was lucky enough to experience the birth of my first baby boy 4 weeks ago! :) His name is Spencer Lee and he's the light of my life and I wouldn't change anything. Well maybe my experience with breastfeeding. :) It all started on June 1, 2015 at 10:57am. They laid my baby on my chest and told me to try and breastfeed. Me being a new mom had no idea what to do. This little bundle of joy squirming around on my chest knowing automatically to go for the breast, so I drew in my nipple and tried to place it in his mouth over and over and over. The nurse reassures me as she took him to his first bath that this happens to everyone. You'll keep trying and adventually he will latch on. The first night in the hospital was so hard. This little baby would not latch on and made me think I was a horrible mother. The tensions were high, and my husband was getting frustrated. He felt like I was giving up when maybe I was, but he didn't understand that it was so hard. I kept bursting into tears and telling myself that I was disappointed in me. The first step of being a mom and I couldn't figure it out. The nurse would come in and try to help; forcing my babies head into my breast while I'm tearing up. They reassured me that it's not me. That I'm doing everything right, but he's just not sucking. At that time I was like oh thanks for trying to make me feel better, but they were telling the truth! Just remember that and it will give you some hope. The second day at the hospital was a little better. He seemed to be latching on, but only on the right boob! He wanted nothing to do with the left boob. That day his pediatrician came in for a visit, and was so pro breast feeding. I had hope up to that moment, because he tells me that you'll know if hes latching on when it doesn't hurt?!! That's all I felt. I was in pain when he was "latching on. " My nipples hurt and I could see sores developing. Now I was back to square one; sinking back into depression of being a horrible mother. To top it off they weren't going to let me out of the hospital until he was a pro at breastfeeding, and my thoughts were if I can just get out of the hospital and be more comfortable at home; I could make this whole breastfeeding work. That day I tried my hardest just to make him look like he's latched on, and it worked! I was headed home with all the hope of becoming a champ in breastfeeding; only to experience a nightmare. My first night home was nothing that I could ever expect. The loss of sleep and a fussy baby that would not latch on either boob. As the tears stroll down my face and the baby looking at me with a hungry face; I was giving up hope. I wanted so badly to just run to Target and get formula, but then I knew I just couldn't. That this was the best nutrition for my baby, so I laid there all night trying to figure it out. I did the side by side, cradling, football hold, and tried the nursing pillow. My luck; nothing worked. That morning as I was greeted by my husband with bags around my eyes and tears in them he just reminded me of how important it is to not give up, so I continued to struggle. The second day and night went the same as the first. Losing all hope I took him to his first doctors appointment. As they weighed him I saw the scale going lower and lower. At birth he was a healthy weight at 7 pounds and 12 ounces. Today he dropped all the way to 6 pounds and 13 ounces. It just hit me that my baby has not been eating for four days! Ontop of that the doctor tells me he may have jaundice now. Never being so disappointing in myself I started crying. He tells me that we need to hydrate him and the only way to do that is to give him formula. At that point I knew I needed to do anything I could for my baby. As the doctor handed me the formula and we were feeding my little baby I couldn't help to have tears of joy seeing him chug that bottle down. I knew finally he will be satisfied. My doctor told me to continue with the formula, but don't give up on breastfeeding. I did continue trying to breastfeed, but noticed myself going to he formula more often. It just seemed so much easier. I hid from my family on how much I would use the formula, because at that time breastfeeding was such a disappointment and sent me into depression. The next day I took my baby back to the doctor and to my surprise and his; my babys weight was up to 7 pounds 4 ounces. I felt so accomplished! :) I didn't care that I accomplished this with formula, because my baby was drinking and happy. So for all the moms that get into that situation with having to feed your baby formula don't feel bad, because there's still hope your baby will breastfeed. The days passed and I continued to give him formula and occasionally tried to get him to breastfeed. Then it happened! I noticed my boobs getting bigger and harder. The touch of my hand began to feel like needles to my breast. I used my breast pump to see if I can get milk out, but nothing else then colostrum was barely coming out. I came to learn this was engorgement, and usually everyone goes through this. I had no idea it would be this painful. I remember driving in the car, and the movement of the car would be so painful to my breast. This made me feel angry that I had to deal with this ontop of everything else. It was around day five that I was able to start seeing some milk come out of the right boob. The left breast was still colostrum and some blood from the sores I have accumulated. The next days I just remember being in so much pain and reading these articles saying it will soon pass. One day I woke up from a nap with my shirt soaking wet! This was finally it; my milk has came in! I went to the pump and sat there for twenty minutes and looked down and was at about 5 ounces! I was so excited running to my hus and with tears of joy in my eyes: I have finally accomplished getting milk out of my breast. Now to accomplish breastfeeding. At this time I had him mostly on a bottle with formula, and was so pleased I could finally put breastmilk in those bottles, so he can have the best of nutrients. I slowly started the process of getting him back on my breast. I really wasn't thinking he would even latch on, because he's been on the bottle. I've heard that once they go to a bottle they won't latch back on your breast. That kind of devastates me to think I would never be able to have him breastfeed and miss that motherly connection with your baby. To my surprise I held him up to my right breast and he latchesd! :) I had finally accomplished breastfeeding. After a week and a half I was able to give my little baby boy the nutrients he needed. I was so proud of myself, but it wasn't complety over just yet. I continued to struggle with the left breast, but now I have back up with the breast pump and knowing he is still eating if he doesn't latch on. This is week four and all my baby boy gets is breastmilk from the bottle and my breast. Yes, I continued with the bottle and he still latches onto my breast. It gets me wondering if that saying once you go to a bottle you can't get them back to the breast is just a myth...So for all you moms out there struggling or thinking breastfeeding is a piece of cake just know if you do experience the worst; don't give up and continue to try, and don't let it get the worst of you. Once you accomplish breastfeeding you'll be staring down at your precious little one. You'll experience such an amazing connection and feel so much better about yourself being a mother! :)
A few other things you should know when breastfeeding and pumping:
- make sure to get nipple cream
- remember engorgement doesn't go away
- stock up on breast pads ( you will leak at unexpected times)
- stock up on breast milk storage bags
- have quite a few bottles, so you don't have to constantly wash one every time
-get more than one attachment for your breast pump
- pump as often as you can
- breast feeding pillows are cute but not necessary. Any pillow will work just fine.
- breastfeeding doesn't hurt in the beginning but the pain goes away
-you will develop sores on your nipple, but it doesn't mean your doing it wrong.
- blood in your milk from sores is fine, but just remember you will see it in his diaper and don't get alarmed; it is normal
- Dont give up hope and if you need help there are support groups for breastfeeding out there!
AND remember to sleep when your baby sleeps. Sleep is the best way to keep your milk flowing :)