We are often led to believe breastfeeding is easy. Its the best for baby and most natural thing they can have. However we are told very little before hand and given very little support afterwards.
Breastfeeding is hard and can come with many problems that have you reaching for a bottle.
Our journey started well with a little support latching him on which was handy seen as I had a million things attached to my arms and hand post birth. Baby fed for an hour then every 3-4 hours after that! The first week went well but then my issues started.
Whenever baby fed it tickled to the point I had to often stop feeds for a few minutes and after 2 weeks baby was on 1 bottle of expressed milk in the night to give me a break.
The problems worsened as I would alternate with toe curling pain, hand clenching tickling and constant cluster feeding. Asking my midwife for help I saw a feeding counsellor who helped me achieve a pain and tickle free feed!!
The worse feeling was the agitation and how strongly I felt that nursing was almost unnatural! I came across D-MER but this was the feeling at let down (that tingly sensation when your breasts tighten) and mine was during the whole feed!
After that I came across nursing aversion thinking this was my issue and I would have to put up with it. My midwife had already ruled out tongue tie and I was at the end of my teather. I hated breastfeeding and dreaded baby needing feeding which led to me refusing to cluster feed by placating baby with a soother or handing to someone who didn’t smell of milk. Sometimes this worked as baby wanted to sleep and not eat for hunger but often it didn’t.
Once each feed was over the feeling left me and although I dreaded each feed that was more the fear of not knowing if it would hurt or tickle. Each time I would be left with a crease down my nipple and it would look flattened and often purple. I would also have stinging pain especially if I put my top back over them.
Endless posts on facebook came back to same thing check for tongue tie! So I asked my midwife to refer us to be doubly sure. At least point baby was 5 weeks old and we were due to be discharged at 6 weeks at which point it would have been much harder to seek referral.
At this point I had my 6 week check with my GP and she decided it must be thrush affecting us despite the baby showing no signs.
Finally our appointment came at 7 weeks of pain, agitation, frustration, tears, and overwhelming urge to quit because it was simple too much. They confirmed he had tongue tie and it was cut right then and there. They laid him in a blanket and swaddle him which made him super angry. He’s a strong baby though and got his hand free!
The snip was so fast we didn’t realise it had been done and I gave baby a feed straight after. It felt so weird, different but better.
He fed almost non stop for 24 hours to help himself heal, relieve his pain and practise his new skills. However pain started to creep in for me and it was worse than before. For about a week I was in the most pain I’d been our entire journey and I could have cried thinking why did we snip his tongue for nothing!
I reasoned he’d had an extra week he may not have got if we hadn’t tried. But as every stubborn woman will tell you quitting just isn’t an option. So we kept going. I finally started having the odd pain free feeds only for few minutes but it happened.
We are now at 3 months breastfeeding (bronze boobies) and every feed is great. We are pain free, mastered lie down feeding and hes had no bottles for nearly a week now! The nipple blanching still happens but without the pain. This is due to approx 11 weeks of trauma as the last week is the first time it’s been completely painless.
Never be afraid to seek support and help wherever you can access it.