How many of you have had difficulty breastfeeding and almost felt like giving up? Or perhaps you did give up on breastfeeding…?
I never understood why so many moms give up on breastfeeding until I had my daughter, who is now 4.5 weeks old. With my first, I didn’t have any difficulty, just a little sore to begin with, but never any cracking or infections to deal with. However, this time around I finally experienced the excruciating pains that many moms feel.
Starting in the first week I was dealing with cracked and slightly bleeding nipples to the point of wondering if my daughter’s latch wasn’t quite right. We determined with my pediatrician, who is also a lactation specialist, that her latch was good and she was just a very strong sucker and the pain would go away soon. Luckily it did after about a week.
However, just last week, after breastfeeding had been finally going smoothly, I woke in the morning with a very tender breast on one side and simply feeling kind of lousy with a headache and a bit of achy feelings in my body. I went about my day and ended up literally crying in pain as I fed my daughter from the sore side at each feeding until finally I realized something definitely wasn’t right, especially when I felt like I was running a fever with chills and hot flashes. I took my temperature and sure enough-101.5.
I had read up on mastitis previously so I knew what to look for (temperature, one side of the breast hot and tender, pink blotchy skin on the sore side, etc), but was confused because I didn’t seem to have the pink blotchy skin until much later in the evening. I decided to go to the doctor because it seemed to be getting worse so was able to find an urgent care facility that was still open when my husband got home. I was given an antibiotic for mastitis and the doctor said I should feel better within 48-72 hours. Thank goodness for doctors and antibiotics! I was feeling much better the next day.
After experiencing two difficult problems I could finally enter into understanding what other mothers have faced when telling me about their breastfeeding woes. Amongst being exhausted and juggling a newborn no one wants to deal with excruciating pain every time you try to feed your baby! I can understand now why it is so easy to give up and move to bottles!
But I always wonder how did you feel if/when you wanted to give up on breastfeeding? Did you feel like people around you would make you feel guilty for not being able to breastfeed or that you were a “bad mom” because you couldn’t breastfeed your baby?
I feel like there is so much pressure put on new moms that “breast is best” and many are looked down on because they chose not to try breastfeeding or tried and “failed”. But the truth is formula fed babies turn out just as great as breastfed babies so the point of feeding, whether breast or bottle, is that you want a healthy baby who is gaining sufficient weight and it doesn’t matter how it is getting its nutrients!