Struggle but got better, sore nipples, latching

by Stephanie Lawes

I was naive to think that breast feeding would be easy having seen friends seemingly do it with such ease. My first mistake of many is that i did not do the research beforehand. I really feel this is vital since breast feeding is really something that you have to learn about.

I did not feed my daughter regularly enough in the first few days. Something that I now realise as vital to help your milk come in and to prevent engorgement. I didn't know and was not advised that really you should feed around the clock in those early weeks.

Due to my lack of knowledge my breasts became engorged, I got mastitis. And, we could not get the latch right. My nipples became sore and cracked and the pain was just too much to bear. It got so bad that we went back to the hospital mathernity ward after suffering about 2 weeks (too long). We spent the whole day just in a private room with the lactation consultant. But my nipples were bleeding so much and I was in so much pain we had to give my daughter formula :-)

I carried on trying to feed through the pain and bleeding as we felt very strongly that we wanted to breastfeed. I tried nipple shields but without success. I was stretching out the feeds to every four hours convincing myself that it was ok (not ok in early weeks). I just dreaded every feed so much and cried in agony each time. Of course as a result my daughter failed to gain the weight she was supposed to and we were told that we needed to give her top up of formula after each feed.

Well we were so adamant that we did not want to give formula. So I was exhausting myself by expressing milk around the clock so we could feed that to her. I upped my game and started feeding her 24/7 even though it was agonising.

Well a long story short. My problems did not really end there but I've shared the majority of my story. The latch actually took around 3 months to perfect. In fact I gave up trying to get it right every time and eventually my daughter taught herself to feed more proficiently.

She is now 5 months old and can you believe it, I now LOVE breast feeding and am even saddened that we will be starting the weaning process soon! My daughter and I have now this super special bond and a kind of connection that I can't really describe.

Breast feeding is really really hard and you will probably want to give up again and again. But it gets better really it does. And don't listen if you are told you don't have the supply or that there is some other reason you cant do it because you can. And you will be giving your child the best start in life in so many ways.

Good luck. X

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Oct 26, 2012
Thank you
by: Tracy Behr, CBC, CLD (CBI)

Hi Stephanie

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story. You can be so very proud of yourself for sticking in there and giving your baby the best start to life.

I have shared your story of encouragement on Facebook...

Nov 02, 2013
Misery loves company
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing this!! I am having a very similar experience and reading your story has helped boost my confidence and allowed me to be (slightly) less stressed!

My baby is just over 2 weeks old, and recently decided to stop latching; though I can't blame her as my nipples are raw and still bleeding, and my production has dropped and the last time she tried to nurse I bawled my eyes out because of the pain... It's so difficult as a first time mom to know what to do, especially when you receive conflicting information from everybody you talk to.

Luckily we haven't given up, I started pumping exclusively (temporarily; mostly to allow my nipples to heal and boost my supply) and we have supplemented some with formula, (a very humbling experience for me).

At first I felt so guilty, I've failed my child and have been starving her (she went a week without pooping and was losing weight). But stories like yours helped me realize I'm not alone, and that it could take some time but it's not impossible to get her to nurse again.

There is definitely a huge learning curve with breastfeeding, and I still have a long way to go, (once my nipples heal and my supply increases I plan on meeting with a lactation specialist to determine WHY we had so much trouble).

I'm just glad I have an opportunity to learn from this and (hopefully) correct past mistakes. And I can share my experience with other new moms so they can learn from them too!

Thank you again for sharing it's just the motivation I needed :)

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