Breastfeeding, Almost Worse Than Labour!

Breastfeeding, Almost Worse Than Labour!

     Well for some of us! I say this because my labour was hours of pain whereas, my breastfeeding was months of pain, sadness, and frustration.  As a mom, we want to provide the best for our baby and the first way you get to do that is through breastfeeding. However, this time around, it wasn’t that easy for me.  Breastfeeding my son was a little challenging at first because he was a preemie and he didn’t have much strength. I had to do a lot of pumping while he was in NICU. I also had to use a shield on my breast with him for the first few months, to help him latch better. If you have no clue what I’m talking about its a small plastic nipple cover you can use on your breast.  It creates an easier latch for baby.  I know some people frown upon the shield but I honestly and truly feel you need to do whats best for you and your baby. If I didn’t use a shield I might have not been able to feed him breast milk for those valuable months. I ended up being able to produce enough milk, and breastfed him for about 6 months. With my daughter the experience has been much different.

One thing I will say over and over again is you need to do what your heart tells you when it comes to your children.  Trust your intuition and do whats best for you and baby.  Listen to others advice but deep down you know whats best in your own situation.  Don’t worry about what others say or frown upon. It doesn’t mean they  are right. Obviously, speak to medical professionals and then make your choices, but those who are not professionals just listen and figure out if their advise works in your situation.  Breastfeeding isn’t as easy and glamorous as people make it to be. After this experience, I really understand that. For those who say it is, maybe it was easy every time they had to breastfeed their own children.  This means they were not able to experience the other side. I want to share my other side with you about my current experience with my daughter. 

     It was an extremely painful start and I thought it would be over sooner than I expected.  This is what worked for me and my baby but it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Every baby you have could be a different experience and you will learn from it. From the beginning my daughter has been a piggie. I wasn’t able to produce colostrum fast enough for her needs. Within the first 12 hours she was really hungry. Colostrum takes about 3-4 days to come in fully and we were still within the first 12 hours and she needed something more. I couldn’t handle seeing her hungry so we gave her some formula. Again, thats frowned upon by some but I’m also not one to let my baby starve. 

     Latching was perfect on the left side but she would always get frustrated on the right.  She could latch easier on the left because the nipple would protrude more than the right.  She had to work harder on the right side and she didn’t like that very much. I tried so many times in the first week to get her on the right.  Since she favoured my left so much she eventually destroyed it. It was extremely painful.  I did have a nurse come in on two separate occasions to make she she was latching properly and she was. So we just had to keep trying to heal the breast while trying to get her on the other side. Just a side note having the Public Health Nurses come in after you having given birth is a truly amazing benefit we have living here. They have great advice and resources and can help out so much! 

     After a few days my milk was coming in but she still wasn’t getting enough to fill her. I still gave her a little formula after each time I fed her on the breast. I ended up getting a prescription for Domperidone to help with increasing my milk production. I also went to a local store to stock up on some more natural products to help with milk production.  I’ll discuss some of my favourite products I use for breastfeeding in a separate post.  I ended up getting a nipple shield for my right side, where she wasn’t feeding. I also used the shield on my left side temporarily,  to help heal it. I used nipple cream as well and it slowly started to heal.  I was able to use the shield on the right side for a while but then she stopped wanting to feed from it. The nipple shield soon became useless with her. I had to pump from that side all the time because she refused to drink from it.  As time went on pumping the right side I had less and less milk being produced. Now here I am, feeding her from the left sided only and pumping the right as much as I can which really isn’t much and giving her formula after breastfeeding. I honestly thought I was going to be done within the first two weeks. I know it’s not the ideal breastfeeding situation, but it worked for us. She is still got breast milk from me every feeding but she’s such a  piggie she got a bottle after. She’s was happy and active so I know it worked for her. 

     One last major issue I had with breastfeeding her is the lovely mastitis, which is an inflammation in the breast and can quickly turn into an infection. Honestly, get to the doctor as soon as  you can to heal it before it gets to the point you can’t feed your babes.  I had this “great” experience with her first Thanksgiving! My breast was starting to get sore. At this point, my nipple was still destroyed from her, so I thought that was the reason for my pain.  I didn’t have any visual signs of it, just the pain.  She was only a couple weeks old at this point.  It is common to get in the first few months but what I didn’t know was that it could be a reoccurring situation throughout the whole breastfeeding experience. So if you get mastitis, you may end up getting it again. During the night before Thanksgiving I started to get an intense fever.  This fever was unlike any I’ve ever had.  My husband was sitting on the bed near me and could literally feel the heat coming off my body.  I was so weak that every time I went to feed my daughter I thought I would almost drop her. I didn’t and my husband helped me with lots this night! I didn’t know or consider that I had mastitis. My nipple was destroyed so I thought the pain was related to that. I thought I had a fever because my body was going through so many changes since my delivery and from my lack of sleep. My sister came over to help out and mentioned maybe I had mastitis. I honestly didn’t know much about it at this time. Of course I googled it. I had some of the pains that they mentioned but not any of the visible issues.  I ended up going to the doctor that afternoon and by the time I reached the doctors office my breast had turned red and was really inflamed. All I want to say is do your best to catch this early! I have linked a great resource for additional information 

https://www.babycenter.ca/a251/mastitis.

 

     I would never wish that fever or pain on anyone while taking care of a newborn it was very hard and I couldn’t have done it without help. I’ll share some ways I found that worked to help get rid of and prevent mastitis from coming back.  The idea is to keep the milk from getting blocked.  Which means your boobs needs to be more relaxed and drained rather than hard.  I ended up needing antibiotics but honestly if you don’t it will get really bad.  So on top of the antibiotics using a warm compression as often as you can throughout the day is really amazing. I did this as much as possible along with massaging the breast.  Feed your baby for as long as possible. The more the baby sucks the less chance the milk will get blocked. Make sure babes is latched properly because that can be a cause of why it happens in the first place. Drink a TON of WATER!!! One other that I never tried was putting a cold piece of cabbage on your breast. I’ve heard it works great as well. This isn’t a fun experience and you need to take care of your body and try preventing it from happening again.We definitely had a unique breastfeeding experience and I fed her like this until she was just over 6 months old. She got breast-milk and formula for that time and it worked for us. Again, you need to do whats best for you and baby.  I’d love to hear about your methods and experiences

 

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