When It Doesn’t
"I had a lot of pain and infections. I knew that, emotionally, I was not becoming the mom I wanted to be."
“What happened for us was poor latch led to infection, and I got mastitis. It was just really hard. I had so many friends that successfully nursed multiple children, and they were like, 'Let it go.' And actually, my OB gave me a pep talk on the phone and was like, “I was formula fed.” It works for some women, and it isn’t the best for others. And I had to think about the overall mom I wanted to be.”
"I understand why people give up. I mean, five weeks of trying. And week after week I’m going to the lactation consultant and crying, crying, crying. And she’s crying. And she’s still not good at it, and I have to give her a bottle sometimes."
Working Through the Challenges
“It was painful the first few days, but if you get through those then it gets easier; it takes a lot out of you, it’s draining. Literally.”
“She would latch but then get so sleepy, so it would take over an hour to feed and you have to feed every two hours. I ended up pumping so everyone could give her bottles for the first month or so then started to have to supplement … Lactation consultants are great. We saw two within the first week or so ... “
“When he was 3 weeks, he started needing to nurse for ridiculous amounts of time. That's when I found out about cluster feeding. It would happen at night where he just wanted to be on the breast the entire time. It was frustrating for me, for him, it was painful. My husband would warm up some frozen breast-milk to top him off which helped us.”
“It can get really frustrating, because it can feel like you’re doing everything wrong in the beginning … Newborns breastfeed as often as every 90 minutes, and usually each feeding session takes an hour when you first start. So you’re feeding that baby for an hour, then you only have a 30-minute break before you are feeding them again ... So the first 6 weeks are basically one long day with little naps, and it gets light and dark outside, but you push through.”
“It will be the hardest thing you have to do … I just made it a point to say, ‘I’m going to try this for 6 weeks,’ but then it was 8 weeks, then it was 6 months, and now I’m like, ‘I can do a year.’ There will be ups and downs with your milk supply.”
“The first week I was home, I felt like my job was to nurse him. I felt very distracted by life and taking care of my household; I wish someone had told me it’s okay to sit on your couch for two weeks, and all you’re going to do is nurse him every hour and a half or two hours, and that’s it. Don’t plan to do anything else.”
“Give yourself six weeks. It’s like the magic number. If you try, try, try and you can’t, then consider another option. But you need to at least give yourself six weeks to get used to it.”
“If you know it’s going to be challenging, you can stick with it. It really helps when the husbands are on board, not just getting you something to eat, but cheering you on.”
“Just expect it to be a challenge. At first I was like, ‘Oh this will be so easy. I can do it.’ It took me a few weeks to go, ‘Okay this is really working.’ … So even when you’re frustrated, know that it’s normal; there’s nothing wrong with you.”
“Realize that constant nursing is normal … I know for the first few weeks I was like a human pacifier, because it was telling my body to make the milk.”