The joys of breastfeeding. It’s going to be just like you thought it would be. Simple, blissful even and oh so beautiful. Like one of those movies or ads where they are feeding their baby in a meadow. Right?!?!
Not! Reality is, it sucks, it’s hard, it’s frustrating, it is NOT that beautiful and there will be tears, from both of you. Lot’s of tears.
Maybe you will have an ample supply of liquid gold a few days after delivery or maybe you won’t. Maybe you will have a low milk supply like I do. (That will bring on tears EVERY freaking time you supplement with formula.)
For me, the beautiful moment of breastfeeding was during the first latch. It is right after you bring that tiny human into this world, they latch on, they know what they are doing, or at least it seems. BUT after that, it gets frustrating, baby may not match perfectly or it hurts. Your nipples hurt so damn bad after a day. They blister, bleed and scab over (not so beautiful now, is it?!). Your tiny human sucks the life right out of them! The latches begin to hurt because your nipples are so tender. More tender than ever before. Your breasts slowly become full and you wake up one morning, not even recognizing your own boobs and that pain….. The pain from the engorgement is something you’ve never felt before and it is rough. You feel like your tits are going to explode. Like, literally, explode. Between that and your nipples hurting so bad, you want to give up. I understand why I did with my first born.
For me, the low milk supply has been awful. I’m 6 weeks in and I have cried so much out of frustration. I don’t want to feed the baby formula. I don’t want to supplement at all, which leads to me crying as I feed her a formula bottle 25% of the time. It’s not that I don’t want to feed her, god no, it’s the fact I’m angry my body isn’t producing enough milk for her. Before someone chimes in about supply and demand, I know this. For every bottle I feed her, my body will make that much less milk. Well let me tell you, my body cuts itself off about 6pm everyday, since she was born. Sometimes earlier. We faced challenges within her first week of life too, with jaundice, which lead to the supplementing and this crappy cycle too.
How do I cope with my body failing to make milk for several hours? I cry. I amp up my “milk making” foods and drinks. I stay hydrated. Then I get to pumping. I try to pump a couple times a day.
Pumping is challenging too. I don’t get more than an ounce a day. No matter how many times I pump. That magical feeding time in the evening, where I don’t get a drop out for baby, well I don’t get a drop out in my pump either. My body is like “nope, not happening”.
I’ve reached out to several people in my area who assist with breastfeeding. La Leche League, WIC breastfeeding peer counseling, my daughters Pediatrician and friends. I’ve concluded her latch is good, positioning is good, my diet and water intake is good. It comes down to the fact my thyroid is once again messing with my body. Even being on medication, my thyroid is affecting everything. If I wasn’t on medication, I probably wouldn’t have a milk supply at all.
Between the early mornings, to late nights, breastfeeding sucks. It’s hard. It’s not like one of those magical stock photos in your magazine. It’s more or less like a nightmare on little sleep. Yet, it’s so fucking rewarding. Something about giving your baby breast milk, makes life seem good for a moment. Plus the bonding you both get from it is pretty amazing.
- Eat, snacks you can eat with one hand are great
- Drink up, stay hydrated
- Rest, often
- Record some TV shows to binge on
- Get comfortable, your going to be here awhile
- Cry, it’s okay. It happens, because this job is frustrating.
Regardless of breast feeding or formula feeding, your baby is getting nutrients to grow regardless.