No one warns you just how difficult breastfeeding is, they only tell you how good breastfeeding is for you and your baby. You hear all about how it lowers your risk for breast cancer, helps you lose baby weight (which is true- I'm 3 weeks pp and have already lost 26 of the 35 pounds I gained during pregnancy!). They tell you about the antibodies your baby gets to build their immune system and how breastfeeding is free and there's no bottles to prepare or dishes to wash. They tell you these things because they want you to remember them when you're awake at 2 a.m. crying because your boobs are sore and your baby won't latch right and it hurts like a mother.
Maybe it's easy for some people, but I have the trifecta of doom. large breasts + inverted nipples + baby with tiny mouth = breastfeeding hell for mommy. And forget breastfeeding being free. I have a $200 pump, lanolin cream, gel soothie pads, boxes of breast pads, nipple shields, and at least 4 visits to the lactation consultant at our pediatricians office- you name... it I have it.
We are 3 weeks in and I finally have her latching just fine on the left and it's finally starting to feel "normal" but the right side is a whole different story. Apparently the right side is harder for her to latch on to and so therefore she has damaged that boob more which in turn has turned to mastitis. For all of you mommies who have had the pleasure of experiencing mastitis you feel my pain. For those if you who haven't- here's a description to help you feel my pain. Basically your boob turns red and feels like like a MLB player took a home run swing at it, and that's just the feeling when you aren't feeding. When you're feeding it feels like there are pieces of glass in your boob that are trying to be pulled out through your nipple. Awesome -right?? Oh and then there's the fever, chills and sweats - like the flu minus the throwing up. The part that sucks is that when you have mastitis the way to fix it (in addition to meds) is to keep feeding on that side.... and often. So it's like voluntary torture every 2-3 hours.
The part that sucks the most is that as a first time mom - I went into it knowing there'd be a bit of a learning curve, I mean babies don't come out of the womb knowing how to breastfeed. I definitely didn't think however, that it would be so physically and emotionally draining. I figured that as women our bodies are built to breastfeed, so it should come somewhat naturally.
The other part that sucks is that I feel like if you do choose to not breastfeed you are kind of judged, like you're taking the easy way out. It's like people act like you're voluntarily harming your kid. So there's this whole guilt you feel for even considering quitting. Which this past week I have thought about it many many times. It had me literally screaming in pain, all I could do was cry and stroke Brooklyn's little head and tell her it wasn't her fault mommy was crying. I'd rather give birth 10 more times that have mastitis.
They recommend breastfeeding for the first year. I had originally said I was going to breastfeed for at least 6 months. I have now decided I'll get through this mastitis thing and try to make it to 6 or 8 weeks (it's only another 3-5 weeks) then go from there. The main point is that I'm trying and I have to remind myself that the fact that I'm trying, really trying- to make this work is enough. Any breastfeeding I can give her is better than none.
The point of this post is to just get it out there, cause it's one of those things no one really talks about- at least no one really gave me a heads up about.....breastfeeding is hard. It is wonderful for you and baby and the first weeks will suck. Like really really suck. You need support, whether from your hubby, friends or a lactation consultant - preferably all. If it wasn't for Kelly, the lactation consultant at the ped's office, I would have quit after day 9. The most important thing is that you need to do what's best for both you and your baby. I've decided that if I make the decision to throw in the towel at 6 weeks I'll do it knowing that my baby got 6 weeks of breastfeeding and that she'll have a happy mommy which to me is way more important than 6 months of breast milk and a tired, stressed, mommy. I'll let you know how long we make it.
Oh and Miss Brooklyn is 3 weeks today! She's finally over her birth weight and has decided all the sudden that she'd rather be awake at night and sleep during the day. We're hoping she decides to get her act together and switch back soon. :) Until then we'll just be a little sleepy. She's definitely worth a little sleep deprivation.
|The glider swallows her :)|