Breastfeeding... Want to give up? DON'T DO IT!

I decided early on in my pregnancy to breastfeed,or to at least give it a try. Then throughout my 10 months of baby growing, I heard all kinds of horror stories about breastfeeding-- babies not latching, milk not coming in, being too painful to continue because your nipples feel (and look) like they wen through a meat grinder... and so on.  So by the time I delivered I had pretty low expectations of actually succeeding at nursing.

To be honest, I thanks to the post delivery drug induced haze, I cannot even remember my first time trying to feed my son.  Sad I know, I only have vague memories of nursing in the hospital period.  Fortunately... or possible unfortunately... FTD remembers perfectly, this is a direct quote from his horrible Aussie mouth....

"Yeah, I remember! It was right after they wheeled you into the recovery room, a nurse came in, grabbed the titty and jammed it in poor Oliver’s mouth. He just started sucking, ate a little bit, then passed out." -FTD

Thankfully, I am one of the lucky ones that my son latched from the beginning and ever since we have been stumbling through the process together. Yes, my nipples look shredded, and yes I have gone through 10 packs of Medela HYDRO Gel pads, I HIGHLY recommend getting a case... Those things a new mother nursing gold!  And yes, I am nursing around the clock since I cannot pump... I just don;t get that much milk! UGH! Still, I can happily say that at 3 weeks in to this crazy journey, we have got it down! Don;t get me wrong, it took each one of the 21 days and 8-10 feedings a day to get it down. But it was SO SO SO worth it!

If you a new mother frustrated and at your wits end with breastfeeding, first of all, I know how you feel.  Second, it's not easy, it's not really fun, and it can hurt like hell! It is also so wonderful for your baby in SO many ways.  You can do!! Stick with it, it gets much easier! 

I have come up with a list I repeat in my head when I want to give up and I thought I would share.

First and foremost, I do believe right now while I am on maternity leave, my priority is to give my son the best I can. When I go back to work I may need to figure out another plan but for now I will breastfeed this baby!

Here is what keeps me going.

1. It's the very best nourishment I can give my son.
2. Bottle or boob, I'd be up right now feeding anyway. Ok, maybe my husband would be, but since he LOVES to wake up the baby to play with him at all hours of the night... probably not!
3. I have been blessed with the ability to do it. I was robbed of natural childbirth (even though I am VERY happy with my C-Section, it was not my choice) However, breastfeeding is my choice and thankfully I am able to experience this beautiful and amazing act of nature. Even if it is not so beautiful at times...
4. I am burning 500 calories a day just sitting on my fat postpartum ass just by nursing!
5. This 30-40 minutes is my quiet time with my son, I try to relax completely and enjoy the quiet.
6. This too shall pass and when it does I will miss it. If I give up now, I'm sure I will look back with regret.
7. Today I will breastfeed, tomorrow is a new day. I don't have to do this anymore if I don't want to. (I need to know I am not obligated or stuck, it takes the pressure off.)
8. Life is so short, and time goes by so fast, before I know it my son will be one year and a day and will not need boob or bottle anymore. I need to embrace every moment before it is gone.

Again, if you are at your wits end, ask yourself why and would formula make a big difference? As a mother of a newborn it's difficult right now for many reasons. EVERYTHING is a learning curve. I have to take parenthood one day at a time or really one task at a time. What I can tell you, and what keeps me going is that everyday it does get easier.

UPDATE:  March 15, 2013  

I wrote this post just 21 days after Ollie was born... That was 13 months ago!!  The time has flown by, and it will for you too! Relish every moment with your sweet baby, because soon your baby will be a toddler... Trust me, the time FLYS!!!

As for me and breastfeeding... I am still at it!  Oliver never had anything but breast milk until he was a little over one, I let him try cows milk.... 

It was not an easy road at first... I had supply issues and had to see a lactation consultant.  Thanks to her, I powered through my short supply by pumping every 2 hours and even 5 minutes on each side AFTER nursing Ollie for 48 hours straight.  I don't know how I made it through that, but I did. By 6-weeks nursing was almost second nature.  And now, today, I am so proud of myself for making the sacrifices and sticking with it. Oliver is super healthy, over the past year he has not been sick, had any ear problems, or seen the doctor for anything but well baby check-ups. He is bad ass and my boobies made him that way!  So stick with it girlfriend, it is so incredibly worth it!!

Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


foodpixie said...

Earlier I told myself to "Buck up little Buckaroo." I was crying over being a failure at breastfeeding. But I am not going to beat myself up emotionally, I will keep pumping and trying and hopefully soon my milk will come in. A friend said her first worked out perfectly, but her second took 6 weeks to get it right.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Good for you Foodpixie, keeping at it is all you can do. And don't be hard on yourself. A good friend of mine, mother of two, sent me a wonderful email telling me to relax, don't ever feel like a failure, and formula feeding is not the end of the world. It's all very true, I have beautiful nephews who were not breast fed, and niether was I. I am strong, healthy, play nice with others and don't blame my mom one bit! All the best to you, keep me posted!

Mrs. Loquacious said...

It is always a struggle, even though Baby Loquacious latches wonderfully. She only wants to stay on the boob for 5 minutes per side most times, and I'm pretty sure she hasn't drained them either because they still leak after she starts crying for the bottle. *sigh* I had to resort to "topping up" with formula because my supply was low, but now that it's adequate (still not awesome) I think my kid has become too attached to easy feeding to want to breastfeed :(

Still I persist, telling myself that I'm not a failure and if God gave me this body with its ability to produce milk, He will allow it to make what baby needs (e.g. enough milk to help her grow big and strong). I remind myself to stay the course constantly, and I only pump once a night (usually the 1 am or 3 am feeding) so that I can get a bit more rest and Hubbs can take a turn feeding her.

Kitten said...

Crickey, this is a timely post for me. I spent the first six days of my newest baby's life obsessed with breastfeeding and how I was doing it wrong. I'll be posting about it myself soon. We finally appear to have gotten it together (since I'm posting this while she's attached to my breast), but it was a damned struggle and one of my breasts still hurts every damned time she latches. Seriously, though, I was so upset about the lack of milk in the first few days and her weight loss (12%!!) that I asked the lactation consultant at the hospital why I was a failure while sobbing and she started to cry too.

April said...

Hi Ninja! I've been thinking of you... Congratulationon your lil bundle of miracle and for kicking breastfeedings ass! It's a battle. I'm actually feeding myself now. I'm back to 2 hour intervals... The battle has reached a new level, The Growth Spurt. Apparently if I win this battle it will be smooth sailing from here on out. I'll let you know... And I'll keep checking your blog for details. What day did you actually deliver?

Kitten said...

Last Thursday at approximately eight in the morning. I think about two weeks behind you!!

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

That's so wonderful! Congrats. and Oliver was born at 8:02am... so nearly exactly two weeks!