Breastfeeding… the hardest most frustrating thing in the Galaxy!

WARNING: This is going to be one of my I-have-lost-my-freaking-mind rants. Bad filthy language and graphic images will ensue…

I have been breastfeeding for 6 weeks 3 days and 13 hours. All I have to say from my experience is, are you kidding me right now?!

It all started right after delivery when my baby started chewing, grinding, tugging and thrashing my nipple. Lucky for me the C-section drugs let me not only miss out on the pain at first but completely black it out too. The realization that breastfeeding might possibly suck ass didn’t set in until 4am two days after delivery when I wanted to sleep and my sweet son wanted to rip my nipple off.

It should be no big surprise that my first question when the lactation consultant came to my hospital room was, ”when can I start pumping because this (shit) hurts!” Little did I know the lactation consultants at my hospital think pumping is shameful and unnecessary. Yeah well, knowing what I know now, their (the lactation consultants at the hospital) attitudes are shameful and unnecessary.

I found the miracle lactation lady once I left the hospital. I told her that my nipples were barely recognizable and if I didn’t get some relief, my son was going to get some formula. She told me to pump for 24 hours straight for feedings, let my poor nips heal and then go see her for proper latching techniques. God Love that woman because she got my nips screwed back on right, my son fed breast milk and my sanity restored.

Enter week two breastfeeding… The lil’ man is latching well, I am feeling good about my breastfeeding self and all I need is sleep to make the world spin back on it’s axis again. So, I get the bright idea to pump a bottle for my husband so I could skip the midnight feeding and sleep for, an unheard of since Oliver was born, 4-5 hours. Little did my novice breastfeeding ass know that would sabotage my milk supply! DAMMIT!

Going 6 hours without feeding or pumping tells the milk factory that baby doesn’t need so much milk. What kind of shit is that!? Baby needs milk, why not just produce a constant stream? This sabotage meant that I was no longer able to pump enough to get that midnight feeding in advance and my boy was having to eat for 45 minutes at each sitting! Ok, eff me! That meant that I was up feeding for an hour and now only getting 1 ½-2 hours of sleep in between feedings!

I had completely lost my mind by week four trying to find a balance between feedings, maintaining my sanity and sleeping. What do I do? Determined to get back to having my husband do the night feeding, I start pumping for 45 minutes at a time on high suction. Please do not try that at home my friends. I managed to do more damage to my poor nips than my son did in his first week of life. My nipples were so sore, cracked, bright red and all together jacked-as up! I went to my lactation lady, freaked out and at my wits end, AGAIN! She just looked at me perplexed, and said, “well, it kind of looks like it could be Thrush. (Blog on that to follow, that’s a whole other are you effing kidding me rant of its own!) She just kept staring and poking and asking if this or that hurt. In the end she said, “Ok, I am just not seeing anything that makes me think its Thrush for sure. GO home and mix together the “All Purpose Nipple Ointment,” and call me in three days.” So off to the store I went for Monistat, Antibiotic Ointment and Cortisone. I had to mix the three together and apply it after EVERY EFFING feeding! What a mission and a mess.

The next morning after three applications of this ointment concoction, my nips and areola are swollen and inflamed! Needless to say, but here goes anyway… Are you kidding me right now? I go back to the Lactation lady, and she tells me to, “Stop using the ointment. Now it looks like contact dermatitis on top of the damage from the pump, which I think might be vasospasms.” Meanwhile I am still feeding the nipple-grinding monster.

This ridiculous cycle has been going on for nearly two weeks now and I am still dealing with bright red nipples, the contact dermatitis has cleared up, but now I’m getting some of those tell tale shooting pains of Thrush! I mean come on! Is this how breastfeeding is going to go? When is this shit going to get good? I feel like the breastfeeding Gods are having a laugh! Or that I’m on some jacked up game show like Wipe Out where I have to endure all kinds of crazy shit before I can get the prize. I bet those same lucky bitches that had dream pregnancies are loving breastfeeding too.

Silly me, I thought all I had to do was get my baby to latch properly, then pump or feed ever three hours to make breastfeeding work. WRONG! Once I got all that down, I had to learn the hard way about Thrush (Yeast Infection), Bacteria Infections, Contact Dermatitis, Vasospasms, and God knows what else is out there. So here is the bottom line…today… I am tired of bitching, yes me, I am sick of feeling sorry for myself. I have made this bed and now I will just lie in it. I am going to keep feeding until my nipples fall off. Which I am pretty sure is going to happen sooner than later.

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


Moonshine0100 said...

If it were not for nipple shields, I would not be breast feeding my daughter. She's almost six months old and, while she no longer has a latching issue, she sure as hell loves to chew. At this point, she thinks it's a game and finds it funny when she can get me to yelp. As soon as her first tooth comes in, I'm done.
For me, the worst part about breast feeding is having to pump at night. As lucky as I am that my little girl started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, I had the same problem with my milk supply. I still have to pump before bed and once at night in order to keep up with her demand.
The best part about breast feeding? The bonding. :-) She plays with my hair, I get to give her a backrub and cut her nails, she gurgles when I'm not looking at her and smiles so big that all that precious milk just runs out the sides of her mouth... and I love it. Those moments. I've fed her bottles and it's not the same.
I wish that my fiance would hurry up and create a way for me to pump while still asleep but, until then, I will take one day at a time and enjoy the moments when she doesn't bite my nipple off.

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Yeah, breastfeeding is a bitch. That said, thank your lucky stars you haven't developed mastitis (infection) in your milk ducts. That (so I hear) is abysmally painful.

My BF struggles have to do mostly with supply and not so much with dermatitis and nipple issues, but my girl does clamp down hard (and when she's pissed off she clamps even harder than usual). I swear she does it on purpose though nobody would believe that a 5-week old is vengeful.

That said, I do like when she rests her little hand against my chest or breast or face, and I love being able to cut her nails and cuddle with her and watch her giggle (from the belly, no less) mid-feed. Much as I hate some parts of BFing, I know there will come a day when I miss having the experience so for now, I'm trying my darndest to enjoy the moment (though some are easier to enjoy than others)! ;)

Kitten said...

Man, it hurt hurt hurt me for the first two and a half weeks. Then, I had a blood clot and I went to the hospital for three days where I had little contact with my baby. (Not a shock since I've had a blood clot previously.) During that time, I only pumped instead of feeding my baby at night and that basically healed up my nipples and allowed me to power through with breastfeeding at a time I thought I might give up.

It's better now, but, I'm lucky and I did read about milk supply previous to getting the hospital stay so I knew to pump like mad every three hours while I was there. (Also, I had huge milk supply issues in the beginning so whenever someone told me to give her formula to allow myself a few hours of sleep, I'd say NO NO NO.)