Breastfeeding: It’s not exactly butterflies & rainbows

No one teaches you about birth, breastfeeding or how to care for your baby. No. There’s no manual for that. You have to live through it to learn about it. And man, do you learn about it the hard way.

Breastfeeding is such a beautiful, wonderful, delightful experience? Okay, don’t get me wrong. I love breastfeeding NOW. Three months into it. I’m totally for breastfeeding. But it’s hard as work y’all. I don’t understand how you see women just pull out their boob and feed their child as if it’s just breathing. Wait..

I do know. They’ve had PRACTICE! They’ve already lived through the hard stuff. They learned and now are pros!

While I was pregnant, I decided on breastfeeding. But I also said that if I wasn’t going to be able to I would just give my baby formula. It’s the same thing right? … Not exactly.

Don’t get me wrong I know that there’s circumstances and beliefs that women have that are for it, and I’m totally for that. It’s a source of nutrition for you baby. You do what you need to do for your baby.

But I personally wanted to breastfeed my baby. And as time went by I STRUGGLED, like I’m sure a lot of women do. Like I cried SO MUCH y’all. I had meltdowns. And I almost quit. I searched up formulas, and how to slowly wean off of the boob. BUT I didn’t. I kept going, and the only thing that kept me going was my baby. I kept telling myself how many women go through this and get through it and I wanted to get through it, I mean I just gave birth. Birth is worse right? Again, not exactly. I mean it’s a different kind of pain. It’s a different kind of struggle.

You see guys,

It hurts. People who say it doesn’t. BULLSHIT. it’s painful. At least for the first month or so. So yes, it’s not supposed to hurt throughout the whole feeding. But yes it does hurt, especially because you’re not used to someone sucking on it so hard! And I don’t mean sexually, because this is very much different. This is their source of food, so they’ll suck on it until milk comes out. And for the first few days, you don’t get milk. Your baby feeds off of colostrum which is supposed to be this superfood for babies. It gives them a huge amount of vitamins, antibodies etc. So you don’t need to worry about your babies weight, until a week goes by and you see them slowly gain their weight back. I mean their tummy’s are the size of a pea. That might be a little exaggerated but ya know it’s very tiny. So they don’t require much, yet.

And in about three or so days. Your milk decides to show up. Y’all my boobs were small, and they probably maybe grew a cup size up and thought okay. This is okay. NO. When the milk came in my boobs were about two cup sizes up. They were engorged. They were painful, think about how a stone feels.

Yeah,

That’s how your boobs feel. Hard and heavy. And not only do they already hurt but your baby is hungry so you have to feed him. And at first your baby doesn’t know how to properly latch. So you and your baby are learning. Now your boobs are stones and your baby is deathly starving, so it hurts that much more.

Now the latch. Getting the right latch is a tricky thing, sometimes it’s perfect other times it’s not. And for me, I thought I had the right latch when I first had him but when my milk came in it’s like I didn’t know how. So I literally did not sleep because I felt baby wasn’t latching. And if he’s not latching, he’s not eating and if he’s not eating, HES CRYING. And this cry, you never want to see your baby cry. It’s so heartbreaking to feel like you can’t feed your baby. So I cried as he cried. I stayed up from 10pm till 5am just trying to get him to latch on correctly. It was TOUGH. You could see why I just wanted to give up.

Engorgement lasts quite a while so you have to use these disposable pads because your boobs leak from the engorgement. On top of that, you have to constantly change them because you don’t want bacteria to build up. Yes, you don’t want any sort of infection. TRUST ME.

I have been lucky enough to steer from some of the painful effects of breastfeeding like cracked nipples, which lead to bleeding, blisters and thrush. (KNOCK ON WOOD) But I did get mastitis. Which is what happens when clogged ducts go some time without being unclogged.

You see I have an oversupply of milk. This created the clogged ducts and boy, is it hard and extremely painful to get rid of. I tried so many remedies and the one thing that sucked was that baby still had to feed. Especially from the breast with the clogged ducts because that was the best way to get rid of them. I tried massaging with coconut oil, cold and hot compress, hot showers, hand expressing, I even tried laying the baby on its back while I hunched over him, so gravity would work its magic and it felt like nothing was working. It went on for days, up until my breast started to get swollen, red and I ran a fever. At this point, I knew something wasn’t right anymore. I called my midwife and she suggested to use poke root. It’s a natural herb in liquid form, and it worked miracles. I swear anytime I feel like I’m getting that pain again I use it and within 48 hrs, ITS GONE. Seriously guys, forget antibiotics, that shit does miracles. Clogged ducts are no joke.

Back to my oversupply. So I thought it would be nice to have a lot of milk. You know the baby gets full quick and you don’t have to stay there 30-40 minutes feeding. NO. It isn’t pleasant. I have a forceful let down, which is when you have too much milk. When you feed baby, it’s a REALLY FAST flow. It shoots out, no kidding. And not from one hole, from multiple. So can you imagine the poor baby trying to gulp all this milk down? He chokes a lot of the time because of it. And not only does he not enjoy drinking the milk, it makes him 10 times more gassy. POOR BABY. I have struggled up to this day with the oversupply. But up to now am I getting the hang of it … three months in. Let me tell you, I have tried so many things with the let down, and the only thing that has worked for me is to lay down and have him feed on top of me, so both our bellies are touching. This allows any extra milk to come out the sides AND gravity. Who knew gravity would be such a life saver during these moments, it helps with the fast flow.

I did try pumping. But pumping is very time consuming at least it was for me because I also breastfed him directly from the boob. So I had to find time frames of when I could and it just didn’t work for me. It was easy to just give him the boob. But because of my forceful let down I started to just feed him from one breast and pump the other. Especially at night. At night it’s a totally different story. But that’s how I started to store milk if I ever needed it. But to be honest since I’m currently a stay at home mom, I’ve not needed to pump. I only use it when I need to.

The point of all of this is not to scare you. Probably thinking, dang forget that! BUT it’s to let you know you get through it. It won’t be that way forever.

YOU GET THROUGH IT, IT GETS BETTER.

I love breastfeeding. Yes, it was hard as fuck. But I would do it all over again, no doubt. You know why? Because the bond I have created with my son is unforgettable. Is it worth it? HELL YES. Just like it was worth giving birth to him, it’s worth giving him great nutrition in spite of the struggle and pain. Whenever I feed him, I get to spend the time talking to him, staring at him and loving him. Not to mention the way he looks up at you! What’s better than that!?

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