Milky Misery and Happy Baby
Breastfeeding Woes and Wins
Written by Sarah Davis
I love breastfeeding. I have now breastfed all three of my babies for collectively over 3 years (and still going strong with my 4 month old!) It can be beautiful, nutritious, and connective to you and your baby.
However, the bed of roses can have some thorns.
In honor of those needing some breastfeeding encouragement, I would like to share some of the hurdles and my own insecurities that I have personally had with breastfeeding!
With my first baby, Eowyn, I had a flat nipple. Not only that, but I was totally uneducated about breastfeeding. I had seen my mother do it all growing up-seemed simple enough; put baby on boob, milk comes out of boob into baby. Yeah, if only. Instead I couldn’t get her to latch and had to use a nipple shield. It was awkward. 4 months or so into nursing I finally was able to use my actual nipple, phew! You can read more on nipples here.
Nursing around People
After Eowyn was born I didn’t go out into public, if I could help it, and I hated it when people came over after. I needed to nurse, and I couldn’t do it discreetly. I know, crazy that I cared considering now I can just nurse everywhere, but in the start I was vulnerable and insecure. What do people think about me nursing in front of them? Gosh what if someone sees my nipple? I’d drape a blanket over myself and try to cover while fumbling with the damn nipple shield only to have her quickly kick the cover off so she could milkly smile at me.
When My Milk “Came In.”
For me, it was the typical second or third day postpartum and when the milk arrived, it arrived with a vengeance. I lay in bed with my newborn; my husband faithfully by my side (playing video games) while big fat tears rolled down my cheeks and my veiny, leaky boobs blew up two more cup sizes to cartoony proportions. It was as if the heavy weight of milk was making it harder to breathe and my whole body, and especially my boobs, ached. I was miserable. Labor and birth did not make me question my sanity as much as the first three days of postpartum when my milk arrived. Thankfully, about a week later everything was evened out.
Masitis is the inflammation of the breast caused by obstruction, infection, or allergy and it is fairly common. I normally get it, without out fail, two to three weeks postpartum. Syptoms are fever, and in your breast there can be swelling, pain, heat, and even red streaks. I had it all. There is nothing like being as weak as a newborn while trying to feed your newborn. Simply the hardest thing I had to deal with while nursing and trying to recover postpartum.
We have two breasts so why not feed two babies? For two months I continued to nurse both my 17 month old and newborn. It was crazy hard, which eventually led me to gently weaning Eowyn. I have to say feeding two babies at once was hilarious and challenging. I applaud those that accomplish this task, but it wasn't for me, and that is okay. I saw that for myself and made the decision that was right for me.
Pressure to Make Nursing Normal
As much as I’ve had my own insecurities about nursing in public, I’ve also had insecurities about feeling bad for wanting to nurse in private. I have no problem nursing in public (now) 95% of the time, however, there are times where I would like a quite place to relax and not be around others. My sweet and very supportive husband has been almost offended when I’ve told him a few times how I would like to nurse in the car or in a room away from others. If you love breastfeeding and are proud to Nurse in Public, fondly abbreviated as NIP, then that is awesome. If you also find yourself wanting privacy or always wanting to nurse away from the public eye, then good for you!
We don’t have to be the poster mama for nursing; we just have be mom - a hard enough task as is!
Tulsa's Certified Lactation Counselor
I love helping families find a functional and happy way to feed their babies. Because of my own hurdles and triumphs in breastfeeding, in November I took an intensive week long course become a CLC, Certified Lactation Counselor. I am looking forward to providing Tulsa families with even more breastfeeding support.
Tulsa Family Doulas mission is to increase confidence in birth and in parenting for every family we serve and providing Certified Lactation Counselors is just one more way we can serve you and give you our absolute best.
Connect with us to learn more about our Certified Lactation Counselor services.