Pardon the pun, but breastfeeding sucks. I never thought I would feel this way and of course I firmly believe that breast is best. But man it has been a long and hard journey! I had a friend warn me that breastfeeding can take quite a while to get the hang of and be quite painful! Well it was!
The day after I had given birth to our little girl I had some help from the midwife to express some colostrum and syringe feed her. This was partly to do with the fact that my nipples were already starting to crack and they just wanted to make sure that something was coming out of my boobies. Well there was loads! The midwife was shocked, in a couple of minutes we had filled two syringes. She then said to me you won’t have any trouble with your milk supply. She wasn’t wrong.
Day four after the birth my milk came in and there was a tonne of it! So much that I was engorged and seriously uncomfortable. It was Christmas Eve and I had to rush into Target and purchase a breast pump. Well actually there was no rushing, four days after a natural birth – I have never walked so slowly through Target in my life!
The only way I could deal with all this milk was to express. While my little girl was feeding I hand pumped 80mls off my right breast. There was no way she was able to consume all the milk I had. At that stage she was probably only drinking 20mls each feed.
After numerous visits to lactations consultants I was always reassured that my milk supply would die down. Well it hasn’t. My little girl is now four months old and I still get engorged daily. Quite frankly I have an oversupply of milk and back in the day I would have made a great wet nurse! Midwives and other mothers have frequently told me that oversupply is better than not having enough. But seriously its been tough!
About a week and a half into breastfeeding I had mashed up, bleeding nipples (because of the engorgement it was always difficult for my little one to get her mouth on my nipple) and mastitis! Mastitis sucks! The fever that accompanies a blocked milk duct is crazy. I quickly got onto it and my GP gave me anti-biotics. It cleared up within a couple of days and was fine. However, the anti-biotics then gave me thrush in my breasts! This was even worse. The pain was excruciating.
After all this pain I decided I would express and bottle feed her for a couple of days to get over all the infections and give my mashed up nipples a rest. What a relief! I expressed each feed and fed her with the bottle. It helped immensely, otherwise I would be dreading each feed.
Some how we got through it all and we now manage to breastfeed pretty comfortably. But it sucked! It took a good 10 weeks to be pain free. And I hate how the ABA says that if breastfeeding hurts then you’re not doing it right! Because I can tell you now breastfeeding was extremely painful for me! Many people suggested that I put her on formula, but I just couldn’t be bothered with sterilizing bottles and always having to take formula with me. Breastfeeding seemed to be the most convenient solution. Also with my huge oversupply of milk it seemed stupid to then have to go and pay for a processed product.
I preserved and now its fine. But I am not one of those mothers who thinks breastfeeding is this wonderful bonding experience I see it as a practical and natural solution and I will be happy to give it up when the time comes.
What has been your experience of breastfeeding?
- Causes of Mastitis (allforbreastfeeding.wordpress.com)
- My Breastfeeding Experience (wildandwisdom.com)
- How to Handle Engorgement – Breastfeeding a Newborn (everydayfamily.com)