Earlier I shared with all of you about my choice to breastfeed my daughter. That was my personal decision and I made it based on what I felt was best for both me and my daughter. I’m not going to lie or sugarcoat things – breastfeeding is tough. There is no way around it. You have to be ready and willing to put in the work and get past the hard part. Because once you and your baby do, it’s a piece of cake. Since I had a tough time (not tough as most), I thought I would share some things with all of you that might help you learn from my missteps.
First, let me begin with my terrible story. Just know going into it, that I survived and I have been successfully nursing my daughter for seven months now.
It was just after six o’clock on a Friday night that I gave birth to my daughter. I had been induced the day before and was in labor for a full 26 hours. I was flying high. I had my baby girl in my arms and I didn’t want to put her down. After she had been measured and weighed, I was super psyched to start her first feeding. I had taken the class and done my research. I was ready to go. My daughter latched right away with no problems. I loved my first experience. I was so proud of myself, because I thought I had mastered it in one try. Silly me. Not long after she finished, my nipple blistered up pretty good and became extremely sensitive. But I didn’t think anything of it. Around 1:00 am it was time to feed her again, so I used my other breast. Once again, she latched on with no problems. But she was a little Barracuda. You would have thought I had been starving her for the past ten months, and she was afraid she was never going to get to eat again. So when she finished with her second feeding, my other nipple blistered up even worse than the first. So when 4:00 am rolled around and she was ready to eat again, I thought I could handle the pain. Boy was I ever wrong! Every time she latched on to either side it felt like razor blades on my nipples. So painful. I had to pry her off and stop the feeding because I was in tears.
I felt like such a failure. I thought I should have been able to handle the pain and get through it for my daughter. It was my duty to make sure she was being fed and I couldn’t do it. I asked the nurses for help, but there was nothing they could do for me. Since it was the middle of the night, the lactation consultant wasn’t around, so I had to wait. I cried for two hours, because I felt so horrible. I kept asking my mom if there was something wrong with me. I even tried pumping with a breast pump, so I could feed her that way. But even that was impossible. So we waited for 10:00 am to roll around when the lactation consultant to get there. So my daughter missed 2 feedings (I still feel guilty).
When she arrived, she was convinced that Aaliyah wasn’t latching on properly, and that was my problem.
Turns out my daughter was just a very rigorous sucker, and my nipples were over sensitive. So I was faced with a decision; throw in the towel and formula feed her or dig deep and deal with the pain. Believe me, it was very tempting to scrap the whole breastfeeding thing, but I was determined to give it another try. The Lactation consultant gave me a “Nipple Guard” to help take some of the immediate pressure off of my nipples. That way I could nurse, but Aaliyah didn’t have to latch directly onto my blistered nipple. So I tried it, and it helped alleviate some of the pain and discomfort. It made the process tolerable. So for the first two weeks, I used my nipple shields during every feeding.
When Aaliyah was two weeks old, she had a doctor’s appointment and I was caught unprepared. Her appointment took so long that I had to feed her while we were in the doctor’s office. And stupid me, I didn’t pack a Nipple Shield in my diaper bag. So I had to nurse her without one. And something weird happened – I realized it didn’t hurt like it originally had. So that following week, little by little I weaned myself off of my Nipple Shields. And before I knew it, I was t using them at all. By the time she was a month old, I was successfully nursing my baby girl! A huge feat for me and I was so proud. And so I continued to nurse and have been for the past 7 1/2 months without incident. So there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. So with that, I am going to pass on a few tips that will help you survive the process.
Breastfeeding Survival Tips
- Take a Breastfeeding Class ( If one is offered)
- Talk to the hospital’s lactation consultant while you’re still in the hospital
- Invest in a set of Nipple Shields
- Apply Nipple Butter on your nipples everyday (Even when they aren’t sore)
- Rub breast milk on your sore or cracked nipples
- Don’t give up. Give it 4 weeks before you consider throwing in the towel, because it gets easier.
- Talk to other mothers who are breastfeeding (They may have new ideas for you)
- Get a nursing pillow or boppy for support
- Try different positions to find the most comfortable one for you (What works for one mom may be awkward for another)
Let’s hear it…
Feel free to share your breastfeeding stories, both good and bad. I believe it is important that we share our experiences with each other. I found that I felt like I was the only one who was having a difficult time. But the truth is – it’s incredibly common for moms to struggle with breastfeeding.