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nobody told me

December 16, 2010

When I found out I was pregnant (now almost a year ago to the day!) I had already made the decision to breastfeed exclusively. And it was funny how often that question came up, “are you going to breastfeed?” almost as often as “do you know what you’re having?” And I would reply, yes, I hope. Because I knew it was hard and I knew a lot of people that didn’t. The only thing I didn’t know was really how hard it would be at first.

I read a lot before the baby came about how to breastfeed, how to get the best latch. Remember, the books said, the baby is learning to latch and you’re learning to breastfeed but its a lot of instinct – she knows what she needs to do. well, she didn’t. I didn’t. it took us a good three-four agonizing days to figure out what we needed to do. In that time she didn’t have the x number of wet diapers a baby is supposed to have (or so they tell you), so of course, I freaked. and cried. and called the midwife. I gave her some pedilyte with a syringe so she wouldn’t be dehydrated. And then, we figured it out and we could breastfeed! the pediatrician said, “she’s totally fine. theres nothing wrong with her. not having a wet diaper is not the end of the world.” so why do all the books tell you that? better safe than sorry I guess.

There were illustrations and descriptions in my baby books of perfect baby lips around your nipple. So I spent a lot of time and stress trying to maneuver myself into a position so I could see, for sure, that she was in that correct latch position. I could never tell. and every time I tried, I ended up pulling her off of my boob. I finally gave up and figured, if it felt like sucking, she was probably on there ok whatever her lips may be doing.

All the books I read said, I you’re doing it right, it won’t hurt.The day I had the baby, my sister-in-law came over and said, “If it makes your toes curl, it’s not right.” Well, it hurt. it made my toes curl. I would dig my nails into my hands and cry it hurt so much. And I thought, I cannot do this for another week, let alone 11 months! I would slather on the lanisol, but that would make my poor sore nipple stick to my breast pads. I finally found the earth mama angel baby nipple butter that worked so well (shameless plug). But it still hurt and I worried that we weren’t doing it right. and then one day, about 4 wks after she was born, it didn’t hurt anymore. it just didn’t. I don’t think she or I did anything differently, we just both got used to it. I met with my midwife at 6 wks and I complained to her, you never told me it would hurt! and she said, it does, I didn’t want to tell you b/c I was afraid it would scare you away from breastfeeding. scare me away?! I was willing to have an at-home unmedicated birth. not much could scare me about this whole baby thing. so I told her I would have felt a lot better knowing, beforehand, that it did hurt and it was supposed to. and it was going to be okay. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. she wasn’t doing anything wrong. it just hurts. at first. but it does get better!

I wonder if my midwife tells people now? I do.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Milly permalink
    December 17, 2010 5:05 pm

    Wait are your trying to get people to breastfeed? I didnt realize it was that painful! Fortunatley I have a sister who would probably force my boob into a babys mouth if I didnt. Even though I am not pregnant (or will be anytime soon) nor do I have a baby I think this is a cool blog. I look forward to hearing more boob stories! xox

  2. December 17, 2010 5:33 pm

    I know it sounds like I’m trying to warn people off, that is definitely not my intention. For me, had I known that it would hurt, it would have made my first few weeks of breastfeeding much less stressful. Because everything you read and hear says that it shouldn’t hurt and for me, it did. And I thought I was doing something wrong. But I wasn’t. I want all mamas that can breastfeed to breastfeed. There are so many benefits, that sticking it out through the pain, I think, is worth it.

  3. Stephanie permalink
    December 21, 2010 3:32 pm

    Oh girl- it hurt like hell for me too. But thanks to the pump, that’s what I did an entire year. I wish I had not given up so quickly, but it was excruciating! I am lucky though, that I still had a way to get breast milk to Finn. Hoping this time around goes better….I will let you know!
    Even after buying a pump, bottles, and all that good stuff, it is STILL cheaper to breast feed the entire first year.

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