I love breastfeeding. I knew I was going to do it when I found out I was pregnant. Like duh, I knew it was good for mom and baby and it’s fucking free! But it wasn’t easy when we first started. It hurt. My nipples were cracked and bleeding for about 2 weeks. My shoulders and back were sore in places I’ve never felt before. And when my boobs were engorged, LORD! I will go on record and say that my contractions were nothing compared to the pain of engorged tits. But, I’m fucking stubborn so I kept trying. My pregnancy sucked and I didn’t have the delivery experience I wanted. I wasn’t gonna let bloody nipples stop me from trying to have some control over this.
Bruce wouldn’t latch right after he was born. A nurse said he was tired from the trip down the vag so I should try in a couple hours. When he finally latched, I was so happy but he felt like he was tearing my nipple off! A nurse helped me reposition him, and showed me the football hold to nurse him. It felt a little better but something was still uncomfortable. Of course I panicked and worried that something was wrong. The pediatrician came in for a check up and she noticed Bruce had a tongue tie. She told us it could make it difficult to nurse. It could be clipped or I could bottle feed him instead but that could still make it hard for him to eat. I wanted this to work. I cried about getting his tongue clipped. I didn’t want that for him. I know it’s a small quick clip and he wouldn’t remember it but I did have him circumcised. (Don’t come for me bitch, it was my family’s decision to make.) It was hard for me to hear him crying after that. It was too soon to be talking about more cutting. So with support from Tyler, I decided that we would make breastfeeding work without clipping the tongue tie. I was gonna make this work.
The days after bringing Bruce home were fucking dark. I remember Bruce woke up from a nap and he started crying. I knew he wanted to eat but I was nervous. My nipples were so raggedy. They were bleeding and scabbed. My right boob was engorged! I was so scared but I picked him up and nursed him. I sat in a rocking chair and cried. It fucking killed me. My husband is so sweet and perfect. He sat at my feet and tried his best to comfort me while I nursed our baby. We talked about other options if I was going to forgo breastfeeding. I talked about not getting the pregnancy or the delivery I wanted. I felt like I was failing if I gave up breastfeeding. I wanted one thing to go the way I planned but it didn’t look like I was getting that. Before I made my mind up about breastfeeding, I wanted to make an appointment with a lactation consultant.
A lactation consultant is this magical creature who specializes in breastfeeding. They teach women how to feed their babies. They can help with low production, latching difficulties, clogged ducts, and even pumping. I met with one at Bruce’s one week check up. She was this bright women, dressed in a Santa hat and she wore this wild Christmas themed skirt. When she walked she jingled. She was so happy and nice! I needed that, I was feeling pretty low. I expressed my concerns, showed her my engorged tit and cried when she said she could help. She examined my boob and gave me advice on expressing milk when I’m engorged. She showed me the correct way to sit while nursing so my back wouldn’t hurt. And she taught me the best way to hold my baby while I fed him. I told her about his tongue tie and how we were advised to get it clipped. She checked it out and told us it was so minor, he’d be fine without any cutting. So I cried.
I was able to continue breastfeeding! My nipples healed but they are not the same and I’m still trying to come to terms with that. That’s okay. I did have some issues with forceful or overactive let down, which is when your milk comes out too fast. Bruce would pull away because the milk was going down so fast and I spray him in the face. It was funny. I figured out a better nursing position to help with the letdown and started pumping regularly (I hate pumping). Then one fucking great day I woke up and felt a sharp pain in my right armpit. Whatever. No big deal, it’ll pass. Nope. It got worse throughout the day. I couldn’t lift my arm and I felt a huge lump right on the side of my boob. So I googled all my symptoms and found out I had a clogged milk duct. There are so many things that can cause a clogged milk duct. Sleeping on your stomach, a nursing bra that doesn’t fit, the baby not latching, all kinds of stuff. Google it. It was a combination of sleeping on my stomach and Bruce having a hard time latching. If you don’t unclogg the duct, it could turn into an infection caused mastitis. There are a few ways to unclog it. Feed or pump that tit girl until you feel like it's empty! All day long I nursed Bruce from my right boob but it didn’t unclog immediately. I took a warm shower and massaged my boob. It fucking hurt, but after that I nursed again and it unclogged! If you ever get a clogged milk duct and you start to have flu like symptoms, go see a doctor. You could have mastitis. (Tit is in the word mastitis lol)
Then cluster feeding happened. Cluster feeding is when your baby will nurse and nurse and nurse for-fucking-ever. It will typically happen in the evening time and they might get really fussy. Bruce would latch for a few minutes and then he would pull away and cry then do it all over again. It was super frustrating and exhausting. I was starting to feel crazy. I wasn't sure if there was something wrong with me or what! But it's totally normal. Cluster feeding helps build your milk supply and Bruce started to sleeping in longer stretches. When he would get fussy in the evening, I knew it was time for his little nursing session. So I would turn all the lights off, make sure my bedroom was the perfect temperature, get my computer, queue up a Harry Potter movie and started our little bonding moment. Tyler would stay in the living room and watch TV while we had our cluster feeding marathons. Then he would come to bed when Bruce would settle down and fall asleep. Cluster feeding was really hard at first but when I found out what worked for us, it became a great time for us to bond and watch Harry Potter together. Cluster feeding only lasted about a week and a few days. Don't worry mommas! It's not forever! (Let me know if you want me to go into more details about how I dealt with cluster feeding and milk production!)
Breastfeeding was rough in the beginning but once I found my groove it worked for me. If you’re breastfeeding and you’re finding it hard or painful see a lactation consultant! I cannot advise that enough! They are magical, really! But if you’re feeling like it’s not for you, don’t trip! You have to do what's right for you and your family. Yo, as long as your baby is healthy and fed, you’ve made the right decison sis!