breastfeeding is hard and sometimes, really sucks
Breastfeeding is hard.
It’s one of the toughest, most frustrating things I have experienced so far and as a new mother, I feel like wit shouldn't be this hard. It should be easy because women are naturally born to do this, right?!
I wish I was one of those women who had the knack to nail this from the start. Blissfully giving birth, then poof! My baby would latch to my boob from and all would be well in this world.
This is not how it went for me. At all.
I’m not completely delusional because I know breastfeeding doesn’t come easy for all women. There are new mothers who have absolutely no issues breastfeeding their little ones and for most women, it’s the most satisfying, amazing, personal experience they have, feeling the most bonded with their child.
There are women who either (a) cannot feed because of some issue(s) or (b) they just don't enjoy it at all, which is totally fine. Then there is me, so here's just a short list of the road blocks I endured on my way to breastfeeding bliss:
- I ended up having a C-Section due to Grayson's breach position so it was the safest delivery route to go (not to mention I tried other alternatives like acupuncture to help turn him, with no success), and truth be told, C-Section patients already have delayed milk production because we're not going through the whole 'normal' labour/delivery.
- Grayson had problems latching from the get-go. In an attempt to try and feed, I ended up with chapped, sore, PAINFUL nipples, exhaustion, lack of sleep you name it. No man has felt or seen pain like a woman with chapped, swollen nipples. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT grab your woman's boobs or hug her hard in a sudden fit of romance, we WILL smack you across the face!
- Because of the latching issues, I visited a lactation consultant which was a god-send (can I just say the health care system up in Northern Alberta and resources available through public health are AMAZING here!), and she introduced me to two glorious products: APNC (All-Purpose Nipple Cream) and the nipple shield. Heavenly indeed, but I'd like to strangle the creator of the nipple shield, because although helpful and amazing, I'd like to know how they expect them to stay ON the boob. No need to go into detail, so I will just leave it at that, but lets just say my mother had to bring surgical tape with her to tape the shield on so that it wouldn't come off. No joke.
- I had low milk production. Well this was the bee's knees. Just what I wanted, little to no milk, no wonder my breasts hadn't changed in size much (sorry Nate)! Enter the wonder drug, Domperidone (or as I like to call it, Dom Perignon if all you can think about is drinking alcohol at this point) which basically increases your milk production. Works like a gem, but still makes me feel inadequate each and every day knowing I have to rely on them.
- Pumping was basically non-existent. Because of my low milk supply, I pumped like a champ, producing (wait for it......) all of about 1tsp of milk COMBINED from both breasts. Yup. That is all folks.
- Lastly, Grayson was indeed tongue tied, which is very common, but the debate between the health care professionals in the hospital as to whether he needed the laser surgery or not, almost killed me. Which is it?! I didn't care so long as it helps him latch and he can feed! (Yes, he ended up getting the surgery, along with his circumcision, so the poor little bean had a rough first week).
Everyone told me it takes at least 2 weeks for things to improve and get somewhat normal, but they might as well have told me 2 years because that's what it felt like! Everything was as slow as molasses, but like anything in life, you just have to take one day at a time and do your best.
My experience has been exactly that. An experience. Not the greatest, but one that I will never forget and one that I will pat myself on the back for because I persevered and came out #winning...so far. It was important for me to provide breastmilk for my little guy but I also realize its not for everyone nor is it easy for everyone and not everyone wants to choose to breastfeed. As a woman, that is ok! We don't need the pressure of feeling guilty because we can't or won't. At the end of the day, your baby needs to eat, grow and get their nutrients and no matter what route you take, so long as your baby is healthy and it works for you.