By: Kami M. Pace
I have gone back and forth with myself trying to decide if I want to post these photos. Then I realized if someone had for me when I was a brand new first time mom how much it would have helped me emotionally as well as physically. Maybe a struggling mommy needs someones point of view who has been in her position.
I had my son three years ago and when I did I wanted to breastfeed. Everyone pushes it on you so much it feels like if you can't you're broken or something. So the moment he was born we were skin to skin and he was trying the nurse was helping, it hurt a lot. She said it would but it was the latch. I spent about an hour with her grabbing his head, trying to have me squeeze my breast like a taco to get the latch right to no avail.
In the hospital exactly 24 hrs, problems the whole time and I wasn't even producing colostrum. My son was starving! We even had the lactation counselor come to try to help. My nipples cracked and started to bleed the pain of him latching was unbearable. I know now we probably shouldn't have, but we left the hospital and I still wasn't producing.
Day three my son was starved so he didn't sleep. He cried all day and night. I started bawling after two days and nights of no sleep. Add a screaming three day old and the fact I wasn't able to do the one thing women are supposed to do after having a baby and it was a melt down at 6:30 am. My husband said it wasn't my fault and no one could say I wasn't trying my hubby then suggested giving him some formula. We gave him a pre-made bottle the hospital gave us and he drank a lot of it and passed out. I on the other hand began to engorge bad! From a b cup to a DD and I was in serious pain and every time my son tried to eat it hurt horribly. Who knew my chest could hurt so bad while just sitting on the couch. I couldn't move my arms and I was miserable. We bought a pump to relieve some of the pressure. Sitting in the kitchen I had one pump hubby had the manual and I felt like a milk cow. Tears were running down my face, probably the worst night of being a mama.
The next day a lactation consultant came to my home to offer advice. I was sore, stressed to the max, and bleeding into my milk when I pumped. I unlatched my bra to show her how we nurse and milk started pouring, to me a modest new mom I was so embarrassed. My son wouldn't latch, pain was so bad! So she told me to pump a little to relieve a little pressure to make my nipple easier to grasp. I was a bit reluctant to pump in front of a stranger. She was all done up I thought she looked really pretty, I on the other hand hadn't bathed, slept or combed my hair since a few hours after having my son, it was a bit intimidating, However, I did. My milk was like Pepto it was so pink from bleeding and that was it, I had it! I had tried for a week to breastfeed I was exhausted, humiliated, (even though they said blood in milk was fine for baby) it grossed me out. I kindly asked her to go and feeling defeated decided my son was going to be formula fed. No one could say I didn't try. So he was.. (I didn't hear about wet nurses, or donation milk until a month after weaning him. I wish i had been told earlier.)
Well my daughter was born July 27th. I decided to try again if we couldn't oh well I wasn't going to beat myself up some women can't breast feed and sometimes, like with my son, the babies cant latch. She latched and I was producing colostrum! My nipples dried out and cracked and bled a little and I engorged so bad I went to the er. Pain was horrid all over again but I kept trying. I got mastitis several times and kept having to take antibiotics, but we kept trying. One night I was in so much pain my mom suggested trying a bottle. It killed me to think it might be over and once again my hubby so sweetly (I needed to hear it) said "Its not your fault, your trying so hard, not one person can say otherwise." We kept trying! I can say we have made it breast feeding two months and we are going strong! My gosh it's not been easy but we did it! I don't know if we will make it one more month or six but I don't care I'm so happy!
Any mother out there thinking they cant do it, you can!
Any mother struggling with breastfeeding, I am with you, I have been there, and its okay!
Any mother choosing to formula feed, don't listen to anyone who says you should be doing something else. You know whats best for that baby, you do you!
No one should have to face these obstacles alone. If you are having any sort of worry or doubt please find a support group, to talk with other moms who know what you're going through. Sometimes all you need to hear is, "I've been there and it sucks, but it does get better and if it doesn't at least you can say you tried." Maybe the issue goes deeper and for that I would suggest seeking help from a Lactation consultant who specializes in whatever you may be going through.