No one told me before I had Elijah about the rollercoaster that is breastfeeding. I knew about not sleeping, crying, poopy diapers, etc. but there was never a mention of the difficulties that come with feeding that sweet baby. I marched right along my pregnancy smooth and easy just assuming breastfeeding would be just as simple. It’s completely natural right? Moms have been doing it since the beginning of time, how hard can it be? Flash forward to the hospital after he was born and in my case another two months, and ow, tears, frustration, and guilt are the words that come to mind! My little guy seemed to latch on okay and I’ve never had supply issues( oversupply if anything), but he was somewhat of a hungry little barracuda, and my nipples never stood a chance.
1 – The pain!! – all the experts say if there’s pain you’re doing it wrong. What they mean is if there is significant pain for the entire duration of the feeding your latch is probably off. However, those first 30-60 seconds of toe curling teeth clenching pain are totally normal.
2 – The learning curve – as I mentioned before I assumed this being a natural thing that that’s how it would feel. I did not anticipate the latch on, pull off, latch on, pull off, scream in frustration, repeat the process for 30-40 mins every two hours. Oh and add in an extra scream and cry to the mix for night feedings because baby and mom are both tired.
3 – The leakage!! I had the pads and was ready for some leaking, but what I experienced was more like niagra falls of breast milk coming out of my boobs whenever I would feed, not feed for more than 3 hours, or just randomly throughout the day. I felt like I was in a constant state of wet. Like shirt soaked to the bottom and sides, waking up in puddles of milk kind of wet. A friend had gotten me lily padz breast pads ( sticky silicone pads that apply pressure and prevent the leak – and add a barrier between sore nipples and clothing) and those were the only thing that helped to control the milkfall.
4 – Where’d my nipple go? I got the nipple cream for sore nipples, but after a couple of weeks mine was missing a chunk. Like half of my nipple was gone and what was left was raw. Now I know what you’re thinking, latch issues and I should have seen a lactation consultant. Well I did and he was latched on good, taking plenty of milk and we also had him checked for lip and tongue tie. Which leads me to my next point..
5 – They grow into easier feeding! Elijah’s latch was fine he just needed to get better and grow bigger! For him it took two months before it started to get easier.
Overall I am really glad I chose to breastfeed and have stuck with it, but wouldn’t it be great to be prepared for some of these things? Everyone talks about how natural and beautiful breastfeeding is(it’s true) but communication about some of the hardships might better prepare us and take away some of the shock that is becoming a mom.