I was so prepared to love nursing. All my life there had been no question- when I had a kid, I would nurse. My mom nursed, and loved it. It's the best for the baby. It is a great bonding time. It's easy and convenient.
Ah, expectations like these. They are the perfect set up for overwhelming guilt when things don't work out.
And they aren't working out.
1. Nighttime feedings. And feedings in general. When she is crying and saying "Neh" and rooting around, there is no point in handing her off to Kurt. Especially since pumping just isn't working very well for me. This means I get the hungry, angry baby, and all the sleepless nights that go with being the sole provider of her nutrition.
2. The pain. Breastfeeding should never hurt (except maybe for a few seconds when they latch, and mostly just in the beginning weeks). Let me say that again: Breastfeeding should never hurt. If it does, something is wrong.
Something is wrong.
Our latch wasn't great in the beginning. I wasn't kidding when I said that 15 people saw my nipples that first week. Between Kurt, Amber, Jamie (who took our newborn pictures), the nurses and pediatricians and midwives and random people on the street, 15 people might be an understatement.
(Kidding about the random people on the street. I didn't go anywhere except my couch, and that was a painful mistake. If you are a new mom STAY IN BED. For at least a week, if not 2.)
And this bad latch, combined with my baby's need to comfort suck led to:
Cracked and Bleeding Nipples.
Ouch. Actually, it was more like OUCH!!!!!
Once our latch was better, those healed pretty fast (thank you magic breastmilk!)
But then I got a clogged duct.
...Which turned into Mastitis.
So, that was really painful.
Did you know that you have to nurse more on the painful side when you have a clogged duct?? And you have to nurse a lot when you have mastitis? This is because Mother Nature hates us.
That cleared up, thank goodness, and then I got Thrush.
Well, I'd always had it, but hadn't really noticed it with all the other things going wrong. The thing about Thrush is, it just gets worse and worse. So it didn't mind waiting it's turn to make me cry.
I have yet to go a single day without crying from pain while she is nursing.
Which brings me to the whole amazing bond thing.
It's hard to feel any kind of bond when your child is sucking the happiness out of your life, and replacing it with searing pain.
It's not her fault. And I have to keep telling myself that as she sucks and sucks, and I cry and cry .
...and she is only 1 month old. It's been a painful month.
You're probably wondering why the heck I haven't turned to formula feeding. Or at least supplementing. Or at least pumping.
(I try to pump, but with Thrush it hurts me worse than nursing)
These are all great options for other people. I would never look down on someone for using formula, no matter what their reasons. So why am I not using it?
I'm too stubborn. I want to like breastfeeding. I want that bond. I want to win, dammit! I don't want to lose out because I happened to get every single painful condition known to nursing women.
(I know, there are more conditions out there. Like milk blisters. But I'm just assuming that I'll get them all, because I've already had 4 serious ones, and she is only 4 weeks old. That one is scheduled for next week.)
I know some people desperately want to nurse, and can't for a number of reasons. And I know that the fact that I even have a baby to nurse is something to be so, so grateful for. And that that baby is healthy? Is a huge blessing. I really, really have no room to complain when faced with the alternatives. I am truly lucky.
But that just doesn't help when my baby latches on, and I have to bite back a scream.
So that's my list. It is only 2 items long, really. The pressure of being the sole comforter and provider of food for my little girl, and the pain.
Seems like such a small list when I put it that way.
Did you breastfeed? And did you like it?