When I was pregnant with Chloe, I was very unprepared for a lot. Some of it may have had to do with the surprise of her and the denial of me throughout almost 7 months of pregnancy. I was very on the fence about breastfeeding before her arrival (but I mostly mean I was leaning on the fence and standing on the 'no way' side). And this is more honest that I've ever admitted out loud... I was scared the hubby (who wasn't the hubby then) wouldn't find me desirable after watching me feeding someone out of my boob. Selfish, immature, naive. I gave it a shot though. It wasn't a "I really want to do this and make it work" kind of shot, it was a "I don't want anyone to think I'm a bad mom if I don't do this" shot. Selfish, immature, naive. It lasted maybe 5 days... maybe 4, and I hated it.
Becoming a stay-at-home mom with Aria meant losing an income into our family. Formula is expensive. I knew breastfeeding was going to be more of a necessity this time around and I had grown into mother hood enough to know that I could do this, probably.
In case you didn't know, there are not lactation consultants available to you at the hospital during Labor Day weekend. I relied on memory of what the consultant told me with Chloe, the nurse that got stuck working on the holiday weekend who was not overly friendly/helpful, and instinct. I was very conscious of her latch, I was generous with the Lanolin ointment and it still HURT. Day 2-5 is by far the worse. By day 2, I was cracked and bleeding. It was turning into the same story as Chloe. We went home from the hospital on Sunday, I was ready to quit Monday. Part of my milk supply and settled into into a gland under my armpit, causing a huge, painful lump. I was still cracked and raw, even after using Lanolin ointment after every feeding. I was engorged. I was done. I had a breast pump from Chloe that was not expressing any milk and hurt equally bad as nursing. (It got to the point where I was sitting on the toilet seat, crying, holding a bottle and hand-expressing - think similar to milking a cow - to have some relief, any relief.)
My mother-in-law is pro-breastfeeding and wanted it to work out for us this time. On Monday, while I was nursing Aria, for what I expected to be the last time, she was driving the 40 minutes into Target to pick up a "good" pump and nipple shield.
Both of these were lifesavers. The shield provided enough relief from the suction of Aria's mouth to allow the skin to heal, while still allowing her to receive milk. (It still hurt, but was manageable.) I used it on the worst side for 1 full day, then every other feeding, than only if it was really sore, and by 4 days I no longer needed it. The pump did not hurt while it was pumping (A good pump should NOT hurt!) and expressed enough milk to remove the intense pressure and give back the feeling of softness to my breast. Between these two "tools" I successfully made it through the first week and what is deemed "the hardest part" of breastfeeding.
That doesn't mean it got easier.
Part 2 coming soon...