What to say about breastfeeding? It isn’t any fun and hurts! No one ever tells you this before you make these proclamations of breastfeeding your child for umpteen months. I’m here to tell all the soon-to-be-Moms that it’s no walk in the park and there are many hurdles to jump, but yes, it is worth it.
Here’s my story, so far. I am almost a month into this charade and I can honestly say that I was ready to quit on day 2. My sweet little child has a shallow latch and that caused blisters right off the bat. No one really warned me about the pain that would follow such an event. They just said to take care of those and be careful that she latches better. Well, I had no idea how to do that and the nurses seem to think that this breastfeeding thing is going to come so naturally that all they have to do is shove the baby on your breast one time and they have done their duty.
So, we start off with some blisters and I think, oh it’s not that bad, I can handle it and L.L. (my daughter) will get it. Ummmm…no, that isn’t the way it went at all. The second night, we are told it’s the all night open buffet for newborns. Little did I know just what that meant and how painful it would be. It was toe curling, sharp-shooting-pain-through-my-breast-down-my-legs-craziness. I was seriously ready to put L.L. down and be done with it. I didn’t see how anyone could handle this and actually enjoy it.
Where was the cuddle time? Where was the bonding and feeling like you were providing for the little one you just popped out?
We were so desperate that second night that we even tried a pacifier, so that she would stop crying and I could give my body a little bit of rest. But NOOOOO, she wasn’t having that. For some reason my child doesn’t like a pacifier (even to this day)! How did we get so lucky, right? Grrrr!
I called nurses in to help me and no one could do anything, even talked to the lactation consultant, again, the next day and nothing. Everyone had the same thing to say. Relatch because it shouldn’t hurt, if it hurts you are doing it wrong and she’s latched on incorrectly. It was infuriating! No one could help and they all just looked at me like this is what women have to do. They didn’t seem to care how much it hurt or maybe they just didn’t believe me that it was as bad as I was describing.
On the day we were checking out of the hospital the lactation consultant finally gave me a nipple shield. She had looked at my nipples and was forced to agree that they were pretty bad. Of course, she never mentioned these magical things before, where we could have saved my skin from the torture at the get-go! She was even talking about me only using it as a last resort, where “maybe” I would have to consider them later on. WHAT!?!?! Woman, don’t you listen — I’m in MUCHO pain here!
I took that thing home and still use it now. In fact, I had my husband get me another one to make it easier. They really did save me, but not totally, just to the point where I was ok with moving forward on our original breastfeeding plan. The pain remained, but not as severe. Only a few nights would the shooting pain happen as bad as it did on night #2. However, the itching started and annoying sensational pain from my nipple through the breast. I would itch and itch and itch the whole time she would feed and the sensational pain would get worse the more L.L. sucked. Not to mention the latching pain at the beginning. That was shooting pain, but died off as she kept sucking.
Can you tell I was feeling a bit defeated? I even went to Breastfeeding Support Groups and didn’t find that they were all that wonderful, but it was nice to go. I found that I wasn’t the only one with this problem and that it does go away, but it could be a few months. I was floored when I heard that and really disappointed, but what can you do? Seems that when you start producing milk your body just goes through this change differently. Even though, most people don’t experience the severe pain I was suffering from, it would eventually pass.
One thing that did help me was Eucerin Calming Cream. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it was better than the Lotrimin that was suggested to me from my Pediatrician’s Nurse. At first I didn’t know what Lotrimin was, but when I found out it was for athlete’s foot (etc…) I decided it wasn’t going anywhere near my breasts or baby’s mouth. Ugh! (Which meant the afternoon on the phone with 3 different nurses from 3 different doctor offices was a bust!)
This brings us to today. I still have some itching that happens and nipple sensation that is annoying, but it’s not terrible anymore. The worst of it is the small shooting pain I get from my nipples at random when she isn’t feeding. It’s annoying, but doable. The one part I don’t like it that there is pretty much some kind of negative sensation or feeling coming from “the girls” at all times. But I guess I can manage. I have been told by many people that it will eventually go away completely and I will enjoy the time with my baby. There is a part of me that understands that and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
So, I’ll close this post with this…if you are breastfeeding and it totally sucks, you aren’t alone! Find a support group near by you. Either at the hospital you gave birth at or somewhere in your neighborhood. They are EVERYWHERE, you just need to find them (and they’re free!). Talk to anyone and everyone that you can to get advice. Use nipple shields, they are amazing and I don’t care what anyone says about nipple confusion — if they work and you can continue to breastfeed, no one should give you grief over them. Look for the nipple guards (round discs with holes in the top half). They will help your skin to heal along with lanolin cream or whatever kind of nipple butter you fancy. Also, a hot shower will help. I know it sounds weird, but one of the nurses suggested that I massage the breasts while in a hot shower and it definitely helped me. Don’t forget to put on the lanolin cream before tho, that will keep the hot water from drying out your nipples. WHOA does it hurt if you do that! And no one wants to dislike a comfortable shower that is supposed to relax you. Most importantly, don’t feel guilty if you honestly hate breastfeeding. I know I did and still don’t love it, but I don’t hate it anymore. It’s a process and it’s tough. Momma and baby have a lot of work they have to do to get it right. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Take it from me, even now I can see that and I’m not completely pain free yet. But I have faith I will get there, eventually.