When I was pregnant I was disgusted at the amount of people that asked if I was going to breastfeed my baby. I thought it was such a personal thing and it wasn’t anyone’s business what I would decide. To be honest, the thought of breastfeeding was so weird to me. I was sure that I would end up bottle feeding. It wasn’t until I found out the benefits that I decided to stick with breastfeeding. Don’t get me wrong – I am all about the ‘fed is best’ and you do you, but for those of you that decide to breastfeed, you’re about to find out just how hard it can be.
First came the cracked nipples. What the hell kind of witchery is this… A fresh new baby is born and chucked straight onto your boob. You have no clue what your doing, and neither do they. You don’t know if it’s meant to hurt or not and then bam, cracked nipples appear. Little grand canyons of pain. If your one of the average population that has experienced cracked nipples, you would understand my pain. 8 months on and I am still not sure that my cracks have completely healed!!
So not only does it hurt when you’re feeding, it also hurts when your not feeding. For the first few weeks your nipples are red, sore and so damn sensitive that you would sucker punch anyone in the face that accidentally brushed up against you.
Then I discovered I had thrush. Yep, thrush on my nipples. You know when you get thrush when you get out of the shower and it hurts to even wrap a towel around your boobs. They’re so sensitive that you can’t even look at them without wincing in pain. You grit your teeth during feeds and try your best not to throw the baby across the room from the pain.
Vasospasms. Shooting pain through the boob and nipple. What the actual hell. Yes, hell – that’s what this feels like. I’m not even going to say any more about this.
I finally caved and went to see a lactation consultant. Tongue tie? High palate? Thrush in babies mouth? After 4 months of feeding I discovered my bub had a ‘long, skinny palate’ and there was literally nothing I could do to relieve the pain except for trying to perfect the goddamn latch and grit my teeth until her mouth grew bigger. Perfecting the latch is not easy. There’s so many techniques out there and oh boy do you find some good stuff on Google.
My biggest piece of advice – ditch Google and all the advice. Just keep trying different ways and eventually you will find a way that feels best for you. The ‘flip-nipple’ and the standard big open mouth techniques did nothing for me. Turned out the best thing that worked was to just let my baby do her thing!
I can honestly say that breastfeeding was painful for me for the first 5 months. It wasn’t until then that I actually started enjoying my ‘bonding’ time with my daughter. Then she grew teeth and decided that I was her new favourite chew toy.
Somehow I managed to keep going through all the pain and obstacles. She is now 8 months old. My supply has dropped considerably since going back to work and we are now mix feeding and she only breastfeeds at night. Last night she just about tore my nipple clean off. It was then that I decided that I will be giving up breastfeeding once and for all.
I know some people judge about women being ‘selfish’ for not breastfeeding or giving up. But I think that any woman that has given it a shot is very brave and should be proud of themselves. I am so proud of myself for getting this far and honestly, that’s all that matters.