Breastfeeding has been a successful partnership with my baby, but it also has not been without its shooting pains at the very beginning. I remember the soreness, the chapping, the scabbing, and the pain from that first draw could just downright made me angry! But then it gets easier from the pain standpoint. I don’t recall exactly when but it just does. Now at 3.5 months, the only thing I tend to feel is relief when I have a lot of milk, and that it is “our time” when I feed my girl. But yes, it is hard to breastfeed and I just gritted my teeth and got through the difficult beginning.
Yes, get the lanolin to sooth your nipples at first. Yes, get the Lansinoh pads because I can’t tell you how much your breasts will leak!
I used the My Brest Friend for a time, when baby was small, but two issues arose – her reflux and then choking on my milk. So I changed her positioning a few times until I found a way to keep her more upright during the feeding (as opposed to laying down). If I’m nursing on my right side, I have her sit facing me on my left side, and I twist a little to my left and she leans to her left (my right) and then we meet in the middle for quite a comfortable position. This works if you are on the couch or have enough room beside you. Hey, you do what you have to in order to get the baby to eat!
If I have an oversupply though, and if she’s not ready for the crazy fountain of milk, then she will choke and I just have to either pump a little or let a cloth soak up the extra fore milk before the stream calms down. I keep a Haakaa brand manual pump just for the occasion. I remember the first time I gave her a milk facial, poor thing, the stream of milk was so fine but when she pulled back I could see it sprinkling all over her face and head and then on my clothes and the couch. My mom jokes about Cleopatra taking milk baths for beauty which is pretty cute! But like the choking, it’s a bit of a panic session at the time to get things under control.
You know, you think that breastfeeding is going to be this easy and beautiful experience every single time, that your milk is God’s blessing to the child. It is, but you have these complications of choking and milk spraying every where, having to hand express your breasts that are hard as rocks with milk back-up…it’s just not as elegant as one would hope!
And then there’s the contents of the milk itself. Yes, it’s possible for the baby to have negative reactions to the make-up of your milk, based on what you eat. I just had a reflux episode last night that reminded me of her earlier days, because I indulged in some foods that were “not allowed.” It’s back to the chicken diet for me for the time being!
The most recent “hiccup” in our breastfeeding adventure together has been the “distracted baby” phase. One day, my baby suddenly enjoyed breaking off the latch and looking at me, and watching my face, waiting for me to smile or something. Well, of course it surprised me and I laughed and she loved it. Latch back on. Latch off. repeat for quite a lot of time. I have to believe that she gets her feeding in those first 6 minutes now and then after that it’s bonding time for her. I can’t help but wonder if she’s getting enough food. At night and in the morning she’s all business and just eats without distraction, so I know that when she’s hungry she eats well! Since she’s continuing to grow and be cheerful, and fills her diapers very well, she seems to be doing just fine in regulating how much she’s eating. I just recommend putting a cloth under your breast to catch the flow in between her latching on and off mode!
I hope I can keep up with breastfeeding for a year while she also starts solids at the appropriate month (month 4 or 5 or 6, we shall see!). I find it both a commitment but also the easiest option because you can be anywhere and your milk supply is ready, no need to mix or warm up anything. Feeding in public…that’s an art…since my girl started to get more active and choke and such, I keep breastfeeding a private affair lest I want to flash the world.
Breastfeeding is beautiful, not always easy, but seeing how well my baby has done, I am a proponent of this natural food. I know some people who need to justify why they were raised on formula or why they raised their children on formula can have some mean things to say about breastfeeding – ignore it! And if you can, breastfeed, if you can’t, formula does the job too!