BREASTFEEDING. When I hear the word I cringe. My experience with breastfeeding was extremely difficult. When my son, Turner, was born I was adamant I would breast feed as long as I could, or at least until I went back to work. For the first week, I breast fed laying on my side due to my healing process. Just like many other moms experience, the first two weeks were very painful. Everyone kept telling me the pain would lessen over time, but it didn’t. I met with a lactation consultation two days after Turner was born to make sure he was latching right, which he did a good job of. But something was just not right. I got mastitis not once but twice in one month, and if you know what it feels like you know it was horrible. Fever, chills, lack of energy (which you’re already low on to begin with), rash, itchy skin, and above all else you’re supposed to continue nursing to work through the infection. I worked through it gritting my teeth and quietly whispering a few swear words as Turner nursed. I also had a cut on my nipple that would not heal for anything.
Let’s throw in to the mix a very gassy and fussy baby. I mean crying all the time for no reason. I blamed my diet, so I tried to lay off the dairy. That lasted a few days. It was too stressful to track every little thing I ate, and Turner seemed to be acting the same either way.
Finally, after 5 weeks of trying my best, my husband noticed my pain and struggle and offered to buy some formula. I think he was tired of Turner’s gas issues as well, and would try anything to get him to stop crying. We supplemented formula with pumped breast milk. After the second or third day of pumping every few hours, I decided to quit. I was done with the stress and the struggle. Turner seemed to be doing a bit better on formula, and I finally felt free from pain. I was very apprehensive to stop, and I immediately missed the connection Turner and I had in those quiet moments we spent together. In the end I feel I made the best decision for Turner and I. I plan on breastfeeding as long as possible with my future babies, and I hope my body cuts me a little slack the next time around.