Saturday, December 24, 2011



When I began breastfeeding my daughter did not want to learn.  She simply did not want to breastfeed she would scream and go off for a long time.  She was smart she knew breast feeding was work and didn't want to participate right out of the gate.    But I never gave up and I didn't let her give up.

Ahh breast feeding they show you this beautiful picture of happy baby cooing into its mother eyes such a bonding moment. And you say to yourself I am going to breastfeed its the best you can give your baby, breast-milk is natures perfect cocktail, its a bonding experience, and it is free. BUT what you don't know is what they don't tell you, and that is the truth of what it is really like to breastfeed. I found out the hard way, the way I usually find out, its the I am shocked had no idea way.

When I was at the hospital pumped up on drugs from my c section waiting for my milk to come in, getting some "liquid gold", (colustrum) at least twice a day a nice older women with a comforting motherly appearance and a nice soft voice would show up and start showing me how to latch my infant and begin breastfeeding.

It started off with my baby fussing at the breast (heck I thought though she is only 2, 3, 4, 5 days old), having a hard time latching. I was set to stay in the hospital for 5 days through Thanksgiving that is what my insurance paid for so I took it, I was sure it would be a breeze by the time I left.

ME--"Is she fussing because my milk hasn't come in?

LACTATION CONSULTANT--"That could be part of it but she was not born knowing how to breastfeed babies have to learn to breastfeed" WHAT!!!! BABIES HAVE TO LEARN TO BREASTFEED HOW NAIVE WAS I?

The days went on the latching was painful, the baby was not learning.

LACTATION CONSULTANT--"She is a tuff one"

The drug filled haze went on. They told me that I could come back for a free Monday thru Friday lactation class ever day from 1-2 so not to worry. Don't use binki's, don't use bottles, it could cause nipple confusion (under 4 weeks), breastfeeding takes time, it could take a could month or more before things start to work out. Oh great I thought I have just been cut open like a Thanksgiving turkey and now I have to get into my car when I am not suppose to be driving and drive 30 minutes to a lactation class with my newborn screaming in the back-seat. GREAT! FYI ---Meanwhile other woman are secretly using binki's and bottle's the whole time and I didn't know it. They are weak! I did it cold turkey no help at all. No supplementing and I am proud of it.

At night in the hospital the nurse on duty would come and take her for weight checks and vitals. And at first I didn't want them to take her, but I would come to miss that option when I left the hospital. You see in the hospital you can get some sleep. I should have taken more advantage of that one!  I told the nurses NO BOTTLES.  I would only allow some supplementation from a syringe.  They use syringes because its nothing like a nipple so the baby won't get confused between your soft warm nipple and a rubber cold one.  Secondly the lactations consultants told me that babies who get the bottle early usually prefer it why?  Because its easier the milk comes out faster and they don't have to learn to suck or work for the milk.  That is why they say NO BOTTLES.  Some of nurses looked at me sideways not wanting to step one the toes of the lactation consultants but I could tell they had an opinion about all of it. But I did it because that is what the lactation consultant told me to do and when someone tells me something I try to follow orders/directions like an obsessive soldier.  Let's put it this way picture a pit bull that won't let go its hard to get me off. When I left the hospital all proud and happy I had no idea what I was in for. I thought I had been through the worst. But now the real test of my strength was about to begin for both me and my husband.

Have you ever had a baby latch on wrong and cut your nipples so they are bleeding? The pain is so intense you cant' believe you ever thought pregnancy and the c section were the hard part.

So she was at my breast at 3AM screaming inconsolably, I am nodding off while trying to latch her and re-latch her. Over and over again. The nipples bleeding the Ibuprofen hardly working. I needed something stronger way stronger. I thought I can't go on I thought, this is too hard.

LACTATION CONSULTANT-- "The first 30 to 50 seconds she is on your breast will be the most painful, because that is when the sucking is most vigorous." Vigorous what a nice word for what it really is hundreds of tiny knives slicing through my tender pink nipples at all hours of the sleep deprived night and day. I love it when they tell you that your soft beautiful nipples will harden up and get tough over time. YA that sounds appealing!

Me--"YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN OOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW this sucks I want to stop". She is still not latching correctly 3 weeks in.

As the days past it got worse not better, I cried more than ever before. Talk about baby blues this was full on depression. I felt so many emotions, and I was hurting because my baby seemed miserable, her eyes were sad and wet from tears, she was hungry and frustrated, I was hoping it would work out wanting my baby to feel soothed by me not traumatized. Worried she was losing weight. Worried that I would not be able to continue breastfeeding. Wishing I was one of those women in the B*llSh*t commercials.

I dreaded breastfeeding tried avoiding it as long as possible, trying to make her sleep longer feeling guilty knowing she had to eat every 2- 3hrs. I dragged myself out of bed and dragged my tired a** to the private and the not private lactation classes where she always seemed to miraculously do better until we got home. And don't get me started about "cluster feeding" look it up not enough room to discuss here. But that is worse when they don't want to get off your sore red, bleeding, cracked nipples, and every time you stop feeding them hoping they will stay asleep they suddenly AWAKEN and start screaming again for more blood.

My Sister--"I got APNO cream from the pharmacy it was a lifesaver for me use it after every feeding, it works put it on your nipples and leave it" Apno cream I thought I don't want my baby eating cream, but again desperation.

I ran out and got the cream and guess what its $80.00 and ounce!  Invented by a man named Jack Newman (see his website) he is the breastfeeding guru. The pharmacy actually makes it by hand ingredient by ingredient. It seemed to help although although maybe it was a placebo effect with me. I looked up the cream on the Internet checking to see if their was any negative reviews, after all I was paranoid on top of everything else. But the $80.00 an ounce cream didn't work enough to keep me from vacillating back and forth about whether I was going to continue breastfeeding (every feeding I tortured myself with indecision and guilt). The baby needs to feed 8 times minimum in a 24 hours period YOU DO THE MATH. Also you may need to wake them up when you don't want too. And really they need to feed on demand.

LACTATION CONSULTANT-- "Hang in their it will get better" REALLY LIAR WHEN I thought!!! Now I was F PISSED.

But I fought through it like a soldier as bombs went off around me. Let me tell you it wasn't easy. For me breastfeeding is harder than the pregnancy and my c-section COMBINED. But I am a fighter and apparently more stubborn than I realized because I refused to throw in the towel. And my husband experienced the brunt of it. His head was snapped off quite a few times and the profanity was hard to take in the wee early hours.

MY HUSBAND--"Go to the bottle then, you don't have to do this if its this hard".

ME--"Your so insensitive" I snapped. "You don't' understand I want her to breastfeed off me." Tears would start up again as I recapped every sentiment I had ever had. Including my favourite aunt who died 5 years earlier that I felt I didn't pay enough attention to.

I really put him through a lot he is my rock, I love u R.

MY MOTHER--"You need to decide soon whether you are going to continue breastfeeding or not."

ME--"I know as tried to latch her", and gritted my teeth in pain. In fact after a few weeks the pain actually started to feel good why? Because you release opium like endorphins when you are in pain. Its sick really.

There were times I was not so happy with my little beautiful angel let me tell you. She tried my patience, she made me mad.

ME--"Latch Maya Fck goddammit" I would mutter through my teeth. Then I realized she is only 4 weeks old, how can I get mad at her she is learning its not her fault, you can't be like this to your beautiful baby, this time passes quickly and soon you will miss it.

So here I am over a month has gone by and its gotten somewhat better but I have a new problem now to much milk that comes out fast so she still has a tight latch, but that is a whole other set of problems and stories, truthfully it never seems to end. But the nipples are not bleeding anymore. Its still hard, but they keep telling me to stick it out so I will plunder on for a couple more weeks.

The good news is that she is gaining weight and I love her more than ever. I know now I am a lot stronger than I every thought I was, emotionally, and physically especially with pain. Now I watch her suck and my heart melts because I want to do it for her. But I won't feel guilty if I do end up failing love is all that matters.

I hope I can continue on past the hard part and be one of the women in the commercials.

*Update it took me a over two months close to three to get my daughter to successful latch correctly!  

**I used to drip expressed milk onto my real nipple to get her to try to latch. Additionally my daughter did lose weight but I did not give her bottles ever and I think that is why I am still breastfeeding at almost six months.  Don't get me wrong I would have eventually tried some supplementation if she never gained weight but I waited longer than most I fought through.  My sister used to top off each breastfeeding session with an ounce of formula but only at the end of breastfeeding she only did this for the first two weeks to make sure she was gaining weight.  But that can lower you milk supply so you must pump.  

***When you start breastfeeding session get into the right position, calm baby down if baby is excited by sticking your clean finger (pinkie) pad side up in his/her mouth and letting them suck.  Then try to place your breast with expressed milk dripped on top in their mouth.   Try to do it when they are really hungry.  Massage your breast when the mouth is on or near to get more milk to drip out if possible.   Keep trying a few times before you give up even if they are screaming.  My daughter used to scream for 10 to 15 minutes.  You have keep practising.

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