- Miss Grey
- 3 years ago
- Wedding: May 2012
Long story short: I felt really discouraged about breastfeeding after my baby had spent the first week of life on a bottle. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be THIS hard. And then one day… it wasn’t hard anymore. In fact, it was easier than pumping and storing and bottling. It’s totally true what they say about the 3 P’s of breastfeeding – it takes persistence, practice and patience. (I’d also like to add Pain, but that’s not super encouraging, so I’ll keep that to myself…) If your baby started on the bottle and you couldn’t breastfeed, or you’ve changed your mind or what have you, just know that you CAN do it!
So here’s the long version: My baby spent a week in the NICU recovering from a rough first 24 hours after birth due to a respiratory infection. She was fed with a feeding tube for a couple days, and then moved on to bottled expressed breast milk (EBM) while in the hospital. The doctors, nurses and lactation consultant encouraged me to try and breastfeed every day during my visits, but we never really got anywhere. They said to keep at it – it would be a challenge to get her back on the breast but not impossible. While she was in the hospital, I was a slave to my pump. Every 3 hours, round the clock, I was on that thing trying to get her milk.
When she came home, I didn’t know how to make the transition to the breast. I was still hooked on the pump, bc that was the only sure-fire way I knew how to get my baby milk. That being said, my goal was to attempt breastfeeding once a day. In the first 2 weeks home, some days we’d make it 5 minutes. Other days, I’d practically get my bra off for 10 seconds before I put it back on – I’d get so frustrated that she wouldn’t open her mouth, or she’d clamp down hard on the tip that I’d be screaming in pain and immediately call for a bottle of EBM.
So all of that was the bad news. Then at almost 3 weeks old, an LC came to visit me at home and reassured me I was doing everything right – we just needed more practice, and to give it until she was 6 weeks old. This simultaneously gave me hope and deflated me. I wasn’t doing something wrong that I could fix… I just had to do it more, which was a daunting task given that it hurt like shit. One side was especially more painful than the other.
When she was 4 weeks old, I had increased to bf-ing 2-3 times a day, and I realized I just needed to make the jump to exclusively breastfeed. I literally had 1 ounce of EBM in the fridge and realized I couldn’t continue this way – stressing about both the pain of breastfeeding and trying to get in enough pumping sessions to get a full feeding’s worth. It was the worst of both worlds. My left nipple was still in a lot of pain, so I called the LC back and she said it was either a slightly shallow latch or a mild infection. She recommended the “triple nipple” cream to fight the infection – it worked! That, or her latach improved. But ever since then (she’s now 5.5 weeks old) we’ve been exclusively breast feeding.
I honestly never thought that I’d get here – there were so many days that I would be crying in pain inflicted by my tiny baby, how would I ever make it to this mystical 6 weeks where everything turned easy? But it DID! It got easier little by little. If you’re having difficulty but you really want to breastfeed, I encourage you to stick with it and give it 6 weeks. YOU CAN DO IT!