Months 1 – 3
PURE TORTURE!!! Well not all of it but a lot of it. Archer started off great. He came out of the womb, eyes wide open and when they laid him on my chest I swear he started doing push-ups. I, having been too terrified to hold any of my friends newborns, was beyond shocked at how strong he was. With a little coaxing from my wonderful doula, he was able to find the milk makers within minutes. He did amazing wanting to nurse right away and frequently, so much so, that by his first doctors appointment on day 4 or 5 he had already gained back his birthweight and increased it by a 6 ounces! So everything was going swimmingly until the pain… SO MUCH PAIN. It started with a cracked nipple that turned into a giant fissure… I thought half of it was going to come right off. I googled and googled and cursed the people that said if you are doing it right there should not be pain. I wanted to slice their nipples open and see what they thought. I had the lovliest lactation consultant (erica of the mama’s circle) do a house visit, as I wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. She was amazing, assured me that I was in fact “doing it correctly” but that I had “extreme nipple sensitivity”. Great. Basically it meant I had to suck it up, wiggle my toes and count to ten while the worst of the pain subsided when he first latched and carry on. He was doing so well and I had so much milk, I just didn’t want to give up and so I didn’t. And then guess what? THE PAIN GOT SO MUCH WORSE! No joke, I was on antibiotics for the first two weeks (because of the catheters) which messed up all my insides and led to a terrible horrible case of thrush. It was bad, so bad… Something like shooting out shards of glass, while burning on fire, while getting stabbed with a knife repeatedly every time I nursed… every two hours. I tried pumping and that was even more painful. My mom thought I had postpartum depression because I cried so much, but I was crying from the pain, I was crying because I dreaded feeding the little guy which made me feel like a horrible mother and I cried because I wouldn’t let myself quit as he was doing so well. Finally we got it diagnosed and got a prescription, it was a long road to healing, but we made it. I remember after the first month I just kept telling myself, I will tough it out for six months and then be done. Erica told me that some people actually enjoy nursing, that it can feel pleasant. I looked at her like she was insane.
Months 3 – 6
Just around the three month mark, it got so much easier. I felt like I was getting the hang of things and the pain was pretty much gone, slight discomfort at times but nothing like before. Archer was feeding about 6 times a day, he was gaining weight and growing like a champ and getting so much more efficient. We finally fell into a rhythm and turns out I have come to enjoy the quiet time in the rocker with just A and me. Erica wasn’t so crazy after all. I do feel incredibly lucky to be able to experience it and am SO glad I stuck it out. And now… here we are, a little past 6 months and I can’t believe how the time has flown by. We started introducing some fruits and veggies around 5 months old, giving Archer tastes here and there. Sweet potato was the first, then avocado, and banana. Now we have been feeding him solids alongside nursing 3 times a day, with a final solely breastmilk feed before bed. Introducing solids has been hilarious, see what he thinks of bananas here, and I don’t blame him since we learned the hard way just how constipating they can be for the little guy. And on that note… I think I shall wrap things up as there are five too many mentions of nipples, one too many of poop (or the lack there of), and if I carry on who knows where it might lead.
And in closing… although not very informative, I hope anyone struggling with breastfeeding woes finds solace in this post and knows they are not alone. Oh and how freaking adorable is that little buddy in his highchair up there?
If you missed last month’s real talk on sleep, catch it here, and make sure to check out my other real mama friends chatting about feeding today, listed below:Sacramento Street