Breastfeeding Isn’t Always Easy and Glamorous

After my daughter was born, I wanted to breastfeed her but I didn’t know one thing about breastfeeding.  I didn’t know it was challenging or that it doesn’t come naturally for something that was so natural for women to be able to provide their child. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with her it was drilled into my head “breast is best”. I couldn’t get her to latch at the hospital so my nurse told me I’d have to give her a bottle if she wouldn’t latch. I didn’t know if you give a baby a bottle you’d need to pump to make up for that feeding. As you could guess I quickly dried up. So when I failed at it after just 3 weeks I felt like a failure. Not because I thought formula was bad in anyway, but breastfeeding is what a mother is suppose to be able to do, right? I understand not every mother wants to breastfeed, but I did. I was determined to breastfeed my second child. I think instead of wanting to breastfeed for the health benefits of both the child and mother that comes from breastfeeding that I wanted to achieve this goal to prove to myself I can do this and I’m not a failure. What I found out instead was that it’s a beautiful and moving experience. The connection you build with your child cannot be compared to anything else.  I want to be able to help others through their struggles and help them overcome the trials of breastfeeding so they too can experience the most overwhelming love and connection with their own child. I hope one day I can become a Lactation Consultant and I hope this blog helps someone realize they aren’t a failure just because they cannot breastfeed. I know about low supply, over supply, cracked/bleeding nipples (yeah, that happens), thrush, clog ducts, near mastitis (like the closest you can come to it I think).

Eli, my second child, was born July 2011. My goal was to breastfeed him no matter how difficult it was. Right after he was born he latched perfectly, but somewhere between the first day and the 2nd week his latch became less than perfect. He developed thrush and I was at the start of mastitis. I started meeting with a Lactation Consultant and she immediately took me under her wing. She helped me with all the clogged ducts I had before it turned into mastitis. What I found to be very important is that many new mothers do not know about is Lecithin. Go buy that now it is basically lube for your milk ducts. You’ll thank me! Warm compresses, pumping and nursing around the clock, 3 Lecithin and 3-200mg Ibuprofen saved me from mastitis. After 24 hours, I felt like myself again and not like I was dying. She helped me with his latch and showed me different ways to insure a good latch. She helped me stay calm and collected when I would get frustrated with myself. She helped me understand thrush and how it transfers from the baby to me and from me to the baby. We battled thrush for 3 whole months, when all the medicines the doctors tried didn’t work, I turned to Gentian Violet 1%. That stuff works miracles! It stains everything, but it works, and in 4 days, we no longer had it!!!!!!! Seriously all you new mothers and by new mothers I mean anyone who just had a baby. no matter if its your 2nd or third baby and you are having issues go find a Lactation Consultant.

My goal of breastfeeding quickly changed to just to the next day… then, just to the end of the week… then, just to the end of 2 weeks… then, just a month longer…. and before I knew it after three long months of battling thrush and clog ducts, crying over the pain and frustration, and rejoicing when finally everything came together and we found our grove.  I realized breastfeeding was a beautiful experience.  Never in my life did I know you could feel so close to a child.  I no longer experienced anxiety when he was hungry.  I no longer had clog ducts.  I no longer had thrush and every horrible side effect that came with those.  I finally came to a point where I didn’t have a timeline of when I would stop breastfeeding.  It quickly changed to when he was ready.  Deep down I knew I just didn’t ever want to let this feeling go.  I was the only one who could feed him, to comfort him, and to be his main source of everything he needed.  Next thing I knew he was about to turn 2 years old and was ready to wean.  I cried when he was done.  I knew it was time and I was ok with that, but I was sad over losing the peaceful bonding time we had.  I cherished all the sweat and blood that went into achieving my goal and exceeding my expectations of what I thought breastfeeding was.

With my third baby, who was born October 2014, I felt more confident in what I was doing. I knew what to expect and what to do. He has been a breeze. I really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect easy breastfeeding experience.  After being faced with all three very different breastfeeding experiences, having overcome not just the physical trials, but also the mental trials they bring, I am proud to say I breastfed 2 of my 3 children.  I breastfed one child for 2 years and my second child 15 months so far.  It’s not something a woman should feel forced to do, but something she will absolutely love and cherish forever if she is successful.  There absolutely will be hard times and complications in the beginning, but as long as you has a place or a person to turn to for the help and the support you’ll need you can succeed. You can overcome any insecurity you may be facing when you cannot figure out on your own why it isn’t working. If the first Lactation Consultant isn’t right for you don’t give up! Find someone you click with and who can related to your struggles.

 

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