Sunday, March 20, 2011

my war with breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding. It's been a love-hate relationship the past few weeks. We'll start from when I was pregnant..
Right when I got pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. The past few years I have gotten really into eating naturally and organically as much as possible, & there is nothing more natural than breast milk to feed a baby. I've known a lot of women that decided to formula feed because of how difficult breastfeeding was for them. Now, I know I am a total sissy-lala when it comes to pain, so I knew I should start researching RIGHT then about how to breastfeed and what I can do prepare for it, and stay motivated to do it. I watched youtube videos, read articles, and Steve & I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital a few weeks before Aubrey was born. Something really stuck with me that the teacher had said, "Breastfeeding is the difference between eating a full, balanced meal, ALL organic, & eating at McDonalds." WOW! So maybe this lady was a little bit of a breastfeeding nazi, but this just pushed me even more to want to breastfeed. I stocked up on lanolin, nursing bras, nursing pads, an awesome pump, and pretty much every nursing item on the market so I would have everything I needed.

Fast foward: Aubrey was born, they laid her on my chest and we did skin to skin for a long time. She ended up latching on, (YAY!!) and although it did hurt a little, I thought, Yes, I'm doing this. The next few days we stayed at the hospital, everything went downhill breastfeeding-wise. It started to hurt more, I started getting cracks, scabs, & all sorts of battle wounds on my nipples. I would cringe every time she latched on, but I still kept doing it because all the nurses kept telling me, in one week, I'll be doing this with no problems.

Well, that week passed, and those nurses LIED! Okay, I'm sure they didn't lie, but the pain had only gotten worse, and I was at the point of being in tears every time I fed her. My milk had come in, so it was even more painful. I was soooo engorged, even after a few days, and I really felt like Pamela Anderson. Sucks for you, Pamela Anderson. I decided to call a lactation consultant at the hospital, and they told me I should not be engorged anymore, and I probably have a breast infection called mastitis. Greeeeeeeat. Dr's orders were to pump a LOT, continue breastfeeding, and take antibiotics. The infection had given me a 103 degree fever, body aches, uncontrollable shaking from chills, & basically..complete misery.

I continued to breastfeed and still would be crying at each and every feeding because of the pain. Obviously the latch was NOT right. I even had a lactation consultant come to my house (who was fabulous!) and gave me some good tips, but nothing seemed to help and I realized something. I was miserable. I wasn't enjoying my baby! I didn't even want to hold her in fear that she would try and route around and want to be fed again. I was exhausted, I was in pain, and I wasn't enjoying my baby during these precious few days of her life that I wanted to remember forever.

That's when I made the decision to pump exclusively. It was a hard decision that brought tears, but I'm glad I made it. Besides the pain of breastfeeding, I loved that 45 minutes of cuddling and my baby looking up at me while she ate. It really was a special bonding time between mother and daughter. But what I cared about most was that she was getting that organic, nutritional meal that my body has made exclusively for her. I didn't want to feed her McDonalds! (No, I don't REALLY think if you feed your baby formula you are giving them McDonalds, but you get the picture)

So there you have it, my war with breastfeeding. I guess I kind of lost & won all at the same time.


  1. Good for you lady! Your baby is important but you are just as important and you need to take care of your body. Maybe later down the line things will get easier! I am so proud of you! You are a wonderful mama :)

  2. The hardest thing for me was making a choice and then not beating myself up over it. Everyone is different and we all need to do what is right for us. Glad you made some headway and can enjoy your baby girl!

  3. Way to stick with it! Pumping can be tough too (makes everything take longer), but that's awesome! If you are pumping exclusively you should get a pump band. It holds the pump on so you don't have to. My sister had to pump exclusively because my niece had a cleft palate, so she had one of those, and could do other stuff while she pumped. I've used one, they're awesome!

  4. I had problems like that with Noah. It stinks. Pumping is just as good. After you heal, you can try nursing again if you really want to. Another thing that I had to do was express some of the milk and rub it on my nipple and let it air dry, sounds gross (Steve won't mind) but I healed much faster. Remember, you're a good mom either way and every baby is different.

  5. I wish I could have breast fed longer but every mama is different. And even though I gave Veronica "McDonalds" I would still be the only one that fed her to create that bonding time. Breastfeeding is hard and it hurts and maybe you can try again later. Good luck and remember you know what's best for you and your baby don't let others try to tell you different. (I've had to tell off a few breastfeeding Nazi's)

  6. Sorry you had a rough go of it! What a good little Mama you are though to find another option that works for you and your sweet little girl!