I think: “oh no…please….NO” (whilst my heart sinks and a feel like crying)
Husband says: “I think she is hungry – are you going to feed her”
I think: “NO….you get your boob out and feel the pain for a change”
I actually say: ” Yes…give me two seconds…I’m on my way”
Those first few weeks of breastfeeding are by the toughest and for me very soul destroying. I had totally not got the latch right with my daughter (she was my 2nd child and I thought breastfeeding would be a doddle). This meant I had cracked, sore nipples – bleeding. The latch on was pain which ran through my very core and feeding her was painful, tearful and something I didnt want to do. Hence my heart sinking when I needed to feed her.
I kept thinking this wasnt what it was like last time – I remember it was hard at first, but this was on-going. I couldnt see how it was going to get better. When my daughter cried to be fed, my heart sank and I was scared of feeding her as I knew what the pain was that was about to come. When she did latch on, I would cry through the feeding. However I suffered in silence, I didnt want to tell my husband or midwife how hard it was. I kept thinking it would be ok, and that by admitting it wasnt right would mean that I would have failed. I soon became disillusioned by it all, and thought forget this – give her formula.
Though thats not something I really wanted to do – and I just wanted to see through it all. In addition to the pain, the milk was coming in and production hadnt regulated which meant the boobs were sore and gorged and no matter how many cabbage leaves I put on – it wasnt helping.
I finally caved in and asked for help when the midwife came and she came armed with improved techniques and advice on how to help the sore nipples heal. In a matter of a few days the pain subsided as the latch on was correct and the nipples started to heal. In a matter of a week I could latch her on without any pain and I wished I had asked for help earlier. That bliss lasted for a few days until the mastitis kicked in and the pain associated with that..however it would be my luck that the masititis got worse and developed into something more serious which required serious medical help in the form of surgery…….but thats another story and not something I want to shock anyone with
However out of all this – I am still breastfeeding and my heart no longer sinks when I need to feed – though the night time feeds I could do without. Finally it all feels natural.
My advice to anyone finding breastfeeding hard – don’t be a martyr. Get support from your midwife, health visitor or anyone else in the medical profession and keep an eye on how your feeding and how often.