From the time I found out I was pregnant with my first, there was no doubt in my mind that I would breastfeed. As a mom-to-be, I already wanted to provide my baby with the best quality everything, so I read everything I could on the subject. Positions, signs of a good latch, how to tell my baby was getting enough.
Nothing prepared me for the pain.
I knew it could be uncomfortable, but for the first four-and-a-half months that I nursed my firstborn, I was in perhaps the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Including labor.
My breasts were covered with purple and black bruises; my nipples were fire-engine red. I endured cracked and bleeding nipples, clogged ducts, and mastitis. I went to my OB, who referred me to my primary care, who sent me to a dermatologist. No one knew how to help me.
I’m a pretty stubborn person, especially when it comes to doing what’s right for my boys, so I tried to keep my eyes on the prize: perfectly designed nutrition and a close bond.
But there were plenty of days when I wanted to give up.
It even got to the point that my whole body was tense as feeding time approached; just knowing the first latch would cause such toe-curling pain made it so difficult to want to continue.
If it hadn’t been for the support I found, my breastfeeding story might not have a happy ending.
After a couple of personal consultations with my IBCLC, she mentioned that she ran a breastfeeding support group at a local baby boutique.
A few days later, my son and I ventured off on our first outing and found the most incredible community. I can’t sing the praises of that group enough; they’re really the reason I kept going.
It was so helpful to be in a room of moms who were experiencing some of the same things as I was. We shared ideas and tips, suggested solutions, and commiserated with each other when things weren’t going well. That group was the perfect way for me to ease into the world outside of the bubble of my new little family.
With their help, I figured out that I just needed two things: to adjust my son’s latch ever so slightly, and to get used to his needing to nurse 10 to 12 times a day.
Then we finally got to the point that breastfeeding was what I wanted it to be. It still wasn’t always this blissful moment, sitting in our favorite chair, bathed in sunlight, while angels sang, but it became pain-free and even cozy.
I’m so glad I found the support I needed and stuck it out. My first son nursed until he was two, and my second made it to three!
If you’re struggling, reach out for help and support, and hold on for one more day. You’ve got this.
Be you bravely,