Let’s start by saying, wow, breastfeeding is a feat in and of itself. It’s truly much harder than I expected it to be, and I don’t think that’s talked about enough. I’ve had countless private conversations with moms about the difficulties, pains, and struggles of breastfeeding… but when it comes to the public eye, breastfeeding is all butterflies and rainbows.
That’s not to say it’s not magic. It is. To know that you, as a mommy, not only created and nourished life for nearly ten months, but continue to nourish your baby, is one of the sweetest accomplishments. It’s something only you can give your baby, and that’s what makes it so special.
Immediately after birth, Paisley latched well. The nurses had told me so. I felt so proud to finally be feeding my baby, I even asked Grant to take a photo of us during that very first feed. But the next couple days in the hospital, I struggled with some pain. I had the nurse help me with Paisley’s latch and again, she assured me everything looked good… but I did have compression lines on my nipples.
A few weeks after leaving the hospital, the pain only got worse. I became obsessed with researching different breastfeeding techniques and tips. I think I’ve read every online article there is. I got in touch with a lactation consultant. I sent photos to my midwife. I needed all of the information I could get, because the pain was nearly unbearable.
Since then, I’ve been on medicated cream for thrush. Thrush is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy! Not only is it extremely, constantly painful… it also made the compression injuries hard to heal, which only made them bleed, scab, and bleed again. I haven’t been officially “diagnosed” (however, I did ask my doctor if I could be and she said it was unnecessary — frustrating), but my symptoms fit the bill — knife-like pain, dreading feeding, pink, irritated skin, pain even when I wasn’t nursing, pain that was so bad I couldn’t stand under the shower stream. I told my sisters the pain of breastfeeding was much worse than the pain of labor — that’s not how it should be! It still isn’t always pain-free, although it’s getting better. We don’t have anymore bleeding, so that’s a start! lol.
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve felt guilty for dreading feeding. I’ve felt guilty for taking pain killers every single day. I felt guilty for having to use medicated creams and having to remember to wipe them off before feeding. I felt guilty for feeling as if nursing my baby wasn’t the way I pictured it to be. And I felt guilty for having thoughts of wanting to give up.
I pushed through the pain and cried during lots of feedings. I was determined not to give up. And honestly, I’m proud to say that I didn’t.
I feel as if we are finally on the mend. The excruciating pain I felt is beginning to become more bearable as my nipples are finally beginning to heal. I don’t dread feedings as often as I used to. And I feel more confident in the different ways I can help her get a deep latch.
We also have a good routine down. We have started supplementing with one formula bottle before bed using Bobbie formula, which gives me an opportunity to pump at night to stock up our freezer stash (and give my nipples a well-deserved break). But other than that, we breastfeed.
There was one time Grant and I did give her Enfamil because I was having a rough day… and truthfully, I teared up watching Grant feed her that bottle. I knew in that moment, it was more important to me to push through the pain and figure it out than it was to give up. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of many of the US’s formula’s ingredients (hence Bobbie formula — they’re the only US-made formula I could find that doesn’t use icky ingredients). I knew I didn’t want to have the headache of shopping European formulas, but I also knew I preferred the EU formula standards. Bobbie was the perfect happy medium. It’s mom-founded, USA made, held to European standards, yet FDA approved. The formula is organic, which means it doesn’t contain GMOs or pesticides, and they don’t use corn syrup which is found in many other formulas. The price is about the same as what you’d pay for any other formula too. I actually got two 14.1 oz cans for only $24 total. They’ve helped me feel confident in my decision to supplement that one bedtime bottle, and I’m really glad I found them!
Also I have to say it — their branding is fantastic. Okay, okay. Couldn’t help myself. But I especially love the name. Bobbie… as in almost-boobie. At least that’s what I think they were after lol. Clever!
I’m excited to see how the rest of our breastfeeding journey pans out. It’s one of my most prized accomplishments.
If you’ve read this far, leave your breastfeeding story or best tips below. I will take all of the advice and wisdom I can get!
Other than our breastfeeding debacle, at six weeks postpartum I’m feeling 95% myself. The last 5% resides in extra weight and exhaustion haha. My postpartum checkup is scheduled for November 30th, and I’m excited to be cleared to workout again. I have been craving a run for weeks! I downloaded and resubscribed to the Sweat app, too, since they offer a postpartum workout plan. I loved that app before getting pregnant and highly recommend it! My stitches feel like they’ve completely healed and I haven’t felt sore since maybe around four weeks PP. I feel lucky to have had such a positive healing experience post-birth.
That’s all I have for my six week postpartum update! Chat with you again in a few weeks.