Breastfeeding, not for the faint hearted
Breastfeeding, not for the faint hearted
Mama grab a cup of tea, get cozy and sit down before you read this because we are about to get real.
Look at the picture attached to this post and what do you see? All the benefits of breastfeeding compared to formula, the pressure!
I have been wanting to post about breastfeeding for a while, breastfeeding is a journey, it’s a process and the beginning is not easy, it takes commitment and strength and lots and lots of love and sacrifice.
The thing about breastfeeding is that in the beginning it hurts, no matter what anyone says, it hurts! Yes, getting the correct latch is important and helps with pain but it does not take it away, it just lessons it. Your nipples used to just exist and look pretty and now they are being overworked, it’s something the skin needs to get used to and the nipple area needs to toughen up. This takes time but it does go away and yes believe it or not breastfeeding does become painless and enjoyable but no one tells you this.
What people say is that you are not getting the latch properly and maybe your nipples are too big or too small or maybe your baby has tongue tie, and these are very real problems, but most of the time you just have to dig deep and wait it out like morning sickness.
It usually takes two months for it to become fully painless and this is my opinion from my experience.
When I had Zac I only breastfed for one month. I was eighteen and unprepared, I had no idea breastfeeding would be that painful, and I had never heard about latching, so I gave up and put him on formula and he grew perfectly. He was a solid healthy baby but deep down I felt guilty.
This is what I want moms to know, it’s not about breastfeeding being better than formula, it’s about knowing that if you do have the option to breastfeed, that it’s something YOU CAN DO & OVERCOME! IT DOES GET EASIER!
I think it’s about having the right support, the right people around you. Other moms who have been through it to hold your hand and say, “I know it’s sore but it’s okay, it does get better, you just need to be patient”.
I remember with Elijah, I didn’t want to breastfeed and it was something my husband and I would argue about. I just did not want to do it and I know you are thinking but it’s your body, why does he have a say and you are right but the thing is when you are having a baby with someone and he actually cares and is there and does his part, then it’s not just your baby, and every decision is not just up to you so I don’t think it’s fair to tell your husband it’s my body because it’s also his baby and it’s also his decision. Choosing breastfeeding or formula is a big decision.
Firstly, I was afraid to breastfeed because I remembered how painful it was and secondly I didn’t want to breastfeed because after having Zac and even just breastfeeding for a month my beautiful perky size D breasts became saggy and inflated barely size A breasts. Now I know some moms are thinking how selfish and how dare you worry about how your breasts look over your child’s well being but this is something no one talks about. When you breastfeed your breasts deflate. After Zac my breasts were horrible and were different sizes as in one month Zac only liked drinking from the one breast and the other one pained more and so I let him, again no one told me differently. Do you know how it feels for a young girl coming into adulthood single and with breasts that look like empty socks? I worked and didn’t earn much and I saw that the beauty salon near me offered breast enlargement treatments. I saved and finally could afford to pay for these treatments. It involved a lady hooking two suction cups up to a machine and it sucking your breasts in and out, basically this was breastfeeding all over again and super painful.
I did this and told myself I saw results but let’s be honest nothing was going to undo what nature had just done; well certainly not a suction cup machine. Eventually I saved up after years and years and had a breast augmentation. This brought back so much confidence for me and I was just so happy with the results. I could not believe I finally had it done and then I met my husband. Why did I have to meet the person I’m going to marry after I did my breasts and now I’m going to lose them again? I know that was long but I need you to understand the reality of sacrifice breastfeeding is.
We basically get married and we decide to have a baby and now I’m faced with this decision. Obviously I want the best for my baby and so I chose to breastfeed. Goodbye my beautiful breasts!
My pregnancy was difficult and my birth was painful and now what’s next? … breastfeeding. I gave birth to Elijah and my breasts were engorged and painful. I took all the latching breastfeeding classes and so this time I was prepared. We got baby to latch and I was grateful and happy I could give my baby the nourishment he needs, when you see your baby all the image and material things you worry about goes away, all that matters is him and his health and safety. When we were at the hospital we were told you need to breastfeed every two hours starting from when baby starts to breastfeed and babies need to drink for an hour so basically if you started breastfeeding at 2pm and your baby drinks at 3pm, your two hours begins from 2pm and by 4pm you are breastfeeding again for an hour. This is right through the night and through the day. You need to try and double your baby’s weight.
This is hard work but is all fine because you have your beautiful baby in front of you and the adrenaline of giving birth and creating a human is all still fresh and watching your baby drink from you is amazing. I mean how amazing is Mother Nature like how beautiful is it that we can feed our babies from our very own bodies? It still amazes me! And when they cry your breasts start to leak like how super cool is that!
And then a few days go by and your nipples start to crack and bleed, the newness and excitement of it all fades and you are still breastfeeding. You have no sleep and it’s painful but you love your baby and you want to give him the best start so you continue and try and stay positive.
A month goes by and it’s still painful and you’ve run out of positivity, you are tired and angry. Why is this so painful, do I not matter, does it not matter that this is my body, baby cries and everyone runs to you like oh his hungry like oh I just fed him an hour ago. Am I latching correctly, I am doing everything they said, trying every different position and yes the pain has eased but it’s not painless. I want this to be painless and I want this bonding time with my baby to be enjoyable.
One thing about me is that I love to have my cake and eat it and I believe I can have my cake and eat it because if everything belongs to God and I’m his daughter then is it not mine too and why would God make something so beautiful so painful? So I pray and I cry asking God to make breastfeeding painless and enjoyable. I want to enjoy breastfeeding my baby, I want to nourish him and not be in pain, dreading when it’s time to do so.
I go to the breastfeeding clinic and the nurse checks his weight and says, “Well done Mama! He has doubled his weight, I know you have worked so hard, this is all because of you, well done.” Do you know how much it means to just hear that? I got so emotional because yes it was hard work, breastfeeding is hard work, sacrifice and painful.
She checked my latching and she said it was perfect. So why was it still sore?
My friend came over who had a baby just before me and she said you just have to keep going, it does get better. She said she cried and it sucked but the pain goes away and now she enjoys it. Do you know how many moms I meet and no one ever told me this? IT GETS BETTER, THE PAIN GOES AWAY.
And then it did. The pain went away and breastfeeding became enjoyable. The three months became six months and then twelve months and now I’m on fifteen months.
When the pain goes away breastfeeding is free, comfortable, convenient, the best nutrition your baby can get and it promotes bonding.
The fact is that I pushed through and I did it for my baby and I am so proud of myself for doing it. I’m thankful to my husband who stuck by me and encouraged me to keep going even while receiving death stares and all!
I wrote this post not to make anyone feel forced or ashamed as I know some moms actually don’t have the option but I wrote this for those who do. Don’t give up because I promise you, Mama, it gets better and when it does there is no experience or bonding with your baby that can compare to it.
Breastfeeding provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein and fat; everything your baby needs to grow. And it's all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby's risk of having asthma and allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infection and respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.
Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies. What's more, the physical closeness, skin to skin touching, and eye contact all help your baby bond with you and feel secure. Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children. The AAP says breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It's been thought to lower the risk of diabetes and obesity and certain cancers as well, but more research is needed.
For moms, Breastfeeding burns extra calories so it can help you lose the pregnancy weight faster. It releases the hormone, oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer and it may lower your risk of osteoporosis too. Since you don't have to buy and measure formula, sterilize nipples, or warm bottles, it saves you time and money. It also gives you regular time to relax quietly with your newborn as you bond.
The pain is worth it, you got this Mamas!