Monday, September 24, 2012

Breastfeeding woes

I'm sure you've seen other posts with the same title. Actually, maybe you haven't. It seems lots of mothers don't like to admit that breastfeeding is really. freaking. hard. until you yourself admit to THEM that it's hard. There certainly is a stigma attached to admitting this. Well, it's hard and painful. Oh my god is it painful. My friend pointed out that it makes no evolutionary sense for it to be so painful as that's the main reason most woman throw in the towel and shouldn't they WANT to keep feeding their child?? I can completely understand why people stop. I don't get excited when it's time to feed him again, I don't feel a nice bond while we do it. I do it because my body is producing the milk to give to him.

Adam will be 3 weeks old on Thursday and it feels like we've been battling this for months. He latched on beautifully as soon as he was born, but his interest in latching waned while we were in the hospital. He was losing weight, which is normal, but since he wasn't really interested in nursing the colostrum-which meant a very frustrated baby and mother-we ended up finger feeding him formula. Starting on the Wednesday after he was born, he has only received breastmilk, either by nursing or by expressing it and finger feeding him. Getting him to latch on was still extremely painful and I was in tears most of the time. I had a huge crack slicing across one of my nip.ples and the other side wasn't much better. I went to see a lactation consultant and she was great. Of course he latched on like a pro and probably had the best feed of his life. When she was instructing me on how to fix things she said, 'Use one hand to do this, one hand to do that, and one hand to do this.' need to have three hands to nurse your child! Even with my lacking a third hand I was able to get to a point where it actually doesn't hurt when he latches on. However, they hurt pretty much all the rest of the time. The let-down hurts, they're heavy, engorged, and everything is sensitive. It feels like little needles are poking all around. I'm afraid I've been lazy with his latch and now we're backtracking a bit. I got a nice electric pump, so I'm hoping that will help to give me a break periodically and allow things to settle down. I'm also looking forward to my husband being able to give him bottles and bond with him a bit more. He's really wonderful and helpful to me when I'm nursing, but I know he wishes he could do more and seeing me in tears leaves him feeling a bit helpless.

By Adam's first pediatrician appointment he was back up to 8.4lbs from a low of 7.7lbs in the hospital. By two weeks he was back to his birthweight of 8.8lbs and he's been primarily nursing. We only used formula once and that was because everything hurt so bad I couldn't even express. Apparently, this still isn't good enough and the doctor would have like to see more of a gain from him (although she did admit a gain is better than a loss!). After days of him eating every hour and lots of pain, this is really frustrating. We're back for another weight check tomorrow. He's been eating like crazy, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.

I've been told it gets better and at this point I'm setting mini-goals for myself with the thought that it WILL get better. I'm taking it all on a week by week basis!


  1. Yay for Adam gaining so much weight! That's great news and it sounds like you are really on the right track! I can imagine the doctor saying she wanted him to gain more was frustrating, but you are heading in the right direction - no doubt about it.

    I know many women have no trouble at all and their babies nurse like champs right away, but I think the majority of us have these issues to some degree or another. I won't lie - I was in pain for a LONG TIME. I went to lactation consultants and new mother groups and to me it seemed like the bottom line was that the baby and the mom just have to get the hang of it. Some babies get it quicker than others, but they usually do get it eventually. Mine did but it took FOR-FREAKING-EVER! I still can't quite believe we made it through that pain. But I'm so glad we persevered!

    Fingers crossed the weight check goes well. You are really smart to just take it one day at a time. This stuff is really tough! xxx

  2. I'm sorry about your nips. :( It gets better! I remember being in pain for the first few weeks, but thanks to cold compresses and hot towels, things got gradually better.
    I hope Adam gained some weight - he's definitely thriving. He's so long, that weight probably gets lost on him (but it's still there!)