Just a warning-this post is about BOOBS! (And not in a fun way) But more specifically about breastfeeding. I wrote this post after I had Maddox, my first son. I will be doing an updated post about how my journey with breastfeeding has progressed and changed by baby #3 but I think it’s important to share where I began.
First I have to admit, I honestly thought breastfeeding would be easy. I naively assumed I just whip it out, Maddox would begin nursing and we’d have this kumbaya bonding moment. There’d be no struggles, no real learning how, and especially no pain. Wow was I wrong! While Maddox naturally knew exactly what to do, I on the other hand was the idiot. Even though my mom had nursed all 3 of us for years, I clearly had not asked her enough questions. Josh and I even took a couples’ breastfeeding class while I was pregnant but even then no one came out and said “BREASTFEEDING MAY BE HARD and IT MAY HURT!”
There are many reasons that some women aren’t able to breastfeed. Luckily, I had no medical issues or concerns that conflicted with breastfeeding. My main issue was how simple I really assumed it was going to be. When Maddox was born I immediately attempted nursing within the first hour (like all my books, classes, and experienced moms had told me to). Right away Maddox knew exactly what to do! However, his technique (specifically his latch) needed a little work. I kept attempting to nurse him every few hours but something just didn’t feel right. Honestly- It hurt like HELL!! I later learned this was partially due to the way I was errr…built…that made latching harder for him. Luckily my mom (and experienced breastfeeding champion herself) was there and recommended I talk to the lactation specialist at the hospital. The first one that came in was slightly helpful (but mom wasn’t impressed) so we asked for another one and let me tell you- She knew her stuff! She was an expert! She was beyond helpful and even talked to Josh about ways to help and comfort me while we all got the hang of it as well.
By the time we left the hospital Maddox and I still didn’t have this whole thing figured out but the nurses were happy with how he was doing and we were happy with the knowledge we had gained to feel comfortable continuing to work on it at home. The biggest thing I did wrong was to let Maddox continue to constantly nurse without properly latching. Both josh and my mom noticed how tense my entire body was getting every time I would feed Maddox so they would do everything they could to help me relax- i.e. shoulder massages, turning on the tv to distract me, talking to me, having me try Maddox in different positions, and having me stop feeding him so he could relatch until it didn’t hurt. I was so worried about him getting enough to eat that I ignored how uncomfortable it was for me. Boy was that a bad idea. Nursing him “the wrong way” for just a few days had caused cracking, bleeding, bruising, and blistering…. Talk about painful!! At that point there really wasn’t anything I could do. He had to eat, so I had to nurse. Now supplementing with formula, even temporarily, is definitely an option. However, I had decided and was very determined to breastfeed exclusively. There’s absolutely nothing right or wrong about either option. That’s just what I decided was best for us.
So in the beginning it was hard but for me it was totally worth the pain! I soon learned that nursing fixes everything! Hunger, sadness, tiredness, frustration, pain, you name it! I never had to worry about packing bottles or buying formula. I also feel like it really helped Maddox and me to bond, not to say people who don’t breastfeed are missing that bond, but for us, it created a closeness that I can’t explain. It was a lifesaver for us, in so many ways and I’m so glad Maddox and I were able to experience it! Fingers crossed things go smoothly with Marlow, but we’ll see.
After a few months of proper feedings, lots of patiences, terrific support from Josh, and a boatload of nipple cream and gel pads we were home free! Well…until teething-but that’s a whole other post. I don’t want to make these posts too long so I plan to do another post about how long Maddox nursed, when he nursed, when certain feedings started to tapper off, and how I dealt with the occasional feelings of “NO ONE TOUCH ME or I’ll scream.”