A Story of Patience
Sometimes nursing doesn’t come easily. For some there is pain, frustration, and a need for patience. Thank you Sarah for sharing your story.
I was extremely adamant to breastfeed. By day 5, Elizabeth lost 11%, had developed a bad latch and I was in excruciating pain every time we nursed, crying the entire time and watching the clock. My nipples were cracked, bleeding and screaming red. My breasts were as hard as rocks and nursing wasn’t alleviating any discomfort. My midwife arrived that morning and recommended I go to a lactation clinic.
I went to the clinic that day, and it changed my life. The consultation room is open and full of chairs for moms, couples and support systems to gather together and wait for their turn with the lactation consultant (LC). We overheard what other moms were struggling with during their consultations and this was really reassuring and comforting. It seems strange to say that about someone else’s struggles, but we learned so much and no longer felt so alone. All of the moms had their husbands holding blankets up to give them privacy while nursing. When it was our turn the LC asked if we were ok to nurse right there in the chair as it wasn’t very private. I didn’t care, I just needed help. My husband offered to hold the blanket for me to too but I decline. I didn’t have time to worry about my breast showing! I needed help to learn how to feed my baby and if I can’t show my breasts in a lactation clinic, where can I?
The lactation consultant was so helpful and if it weren’t for her help, I am not sure I would still be breastfeeding. She corrected my baby’s latch right away and helped me with breast compressions and troubleshooting. We nursed for over an hour in that chair, and one by one, the other moms told their husbands to put the blankets away. By the time we left, any awkwardness had dissipated all the moms were comfortably nursing their babes openly and chatting together. Someone else’s husband had noticed my arm was tired from holding babe to my breast and got a pillow off the shelf for me! As we were walking out to the car my husband said “I am so proud of you babe. You changed that room. You made all those mothers feel comfortable nursing their babies.”
I am still breastfeeding my daughter. I still struggle with over supply and intense let-down which often causes my daughter to choke and it is very upsetting for her. Nursing sessions often begin with a lot of tears and frustration for us both. I have hope that eventually my body will figure things out and recently have had several peaceful nursing sessions.
Having my Elizabeth and being able to breastfeeding with her is the best thing I’ve experienced in life. It is also the hardest thing I have ever done.
Update: At our worst, when we had the Photoshoot done we were also dealing with some intense teething. Elizabeth cut her first tooth the first week of March, and has a second tooth already. She is a whole different baby since the first tooth came through. She is excited to see my breasts instead of screaming. She WANTS to nurse now. That alone brings tears to my eyes. She is 6.5 months now, and my engorgement and let down are much better. Not perfect, but better.
There is always a light at the end of the tunnel!