Breastfeeding – my struggle
The one thing that should come natural to every mom on the planet is not happening for me.
Every female mammal ( who gives birth) on this planet has one primary duty for their newborn… to provide nourishment and food for their babies. This… natural instinct… has proven to be a major challenge for me and I am emotionally and physically stressed because of it.
When we brought Thoms home from the hospital 10 days ago, I thought all was going great. I breast-fed him in the hospital and the lactation consultant gave me the go, the nurses were satisfied all was good.
We came home and I breast-fed for three-day before things started to take a turn for the worse. Around day 4 my nipples started to hurt… like a pain I have never experienced. While feeding the pain would wrap around my back and travel down my leg. My brain would pulse during the feeding from the pain.
Everytime it was time to feed , my entire body would just tense up in anticipation of what was to come… the pain. At times I would have tears in my eyes while nursing because the pain was so unbearable.
I took warm … hot showers to soothe the pain, ice packs, nipple cream and nursing pads to help soothe the pain. It didn’t work.
Then I started having these hot and cold shaky sweats… while hot my whole body would sweat, even my face and I was just incredibly uncomfortable, but when the cold sweats came on it was worse. My body just shakes and rattles and the bones in my back would just hurt and no matter what I did… short of standing in a hot shower… I could not get myself to warm up… and I would stil sweat!
All this accompanied with a low-grade fever.
This started last monday. Along with these shaky sweats came… breastfeeding issue.
I started to realize on Wednesday that Thoms was not getting a full feeding when he nursed. I would nurse him for 2 hours at a time and 30 minutes later he was still hungry. Now remember the intense numbing pain I told you about… this was going on all day because Thoms was nursing all day.
I called my doctor on Wednesday who said he didn’t think I had an infection and I should rest and get some sleep. As for the nursing, he recommended formula. Something I absolutely did not want to resort to. He said nurse for 15 minutes and if you feel he’s not getting anything.. then go to formula. but always nurse first. So that’s what I have been doing. for about 4 days now.
On Thursday I realized that I was not producing anything. NOTHING at all. apparently this happens to 2% of women… and I am one of them. The baby was hungry and crying… I was crying because I could not provide food for my baby and had to resort to formula. I mean NOTHING was being produced by me.
This is heartbreaking. Here I am surrounded by all the luxuries of life, all the comforts I need or could ever want but yet my body is not making the ONE thing that should be the most essential and natural to do.
Breastfeeding is important to a baby’s development. The whole 9 months I was pregnant I followed every thing I read about nutrients in your body and what your baby gets from it and how baby parts develop. Breastfeeding has proven to be incredibly beneficial for brain development among many other things. I mean BRAIN DEVELOPMENT!
I know some women opt out of breastfeeding due to work commitments or other reasons, and I am not here to say what’s right and wrong in anyway…I have been fortunate enough to take a brief hiatus from work so I can solely focus on the baby and Lily and being home and I REALLY want to experience this part of motherhood and to provide these nutrients for my child. Absolutely heartbroken over this and just can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Or if I am doing anything wrong.
I have spoken to lactation consultants who have said … this is much more common than you think. Give it time and you will produce. I also think I have a breast infection called MASTITS. I have been drinking Mother’s Milk tea, warm towels, skin to skin…all of it.
Since everything was hurting…I started pumping to see if anything was in there to pump out. After over an hour’s worth of 7 mins pump, 1 min massage… I finally got about 10 drops… 10 drops!
UGH. Devastating. Tomorrow I head to my doctor and hopefully he can help shed some light.
Meanwhile I have found such support in my online community and my friends and sis in law all who have contacted me to send me resources and kind words and even to say … “it happened to me”.
What I’m going through is much more common than I thought. And although I find strength in this amazing generous community that surrounds me, I can’t help but feel powerless and “less than” when my body is not making food for my baby. This is an incredibly helpless feeling that just overcomes my emotions… which are pretty fragile these days anyway.
When I did give Thoms the formula…sad tear… his eyes glazed over and he drank that stuff down like it was baby CRACK! He loves it. and now it makes me fear that when and if I do get my milk back in production… will he like it as much?
I’m seeing my doctor, a lactation consultant, joining a La Leche League, taking warm showers, resting, pumping, massaging, drinking Mothers Milk, eating well…all of it! If you have any other magic potions you want to tell me about please let me know.