Well, so far, breastfeeding has been pretty easy for me. Emmy was eating within 10 minutes of being born. Latching and sucking like a pro. The nurses were actually quite impressed, as was the lactation consultant. The hardest part for me (and maybe her) has been the cluster feeding. For those of you who are unaware of cluster feeding, it is torture. This is when the baby is either A. trying to help your milk come in during the first week, or B. when they are going through a growth spurt. The cluster feeding that went along with helping my milk come in was the worst. Hours and hours a day for a few days. My nipples were destroyed. Every time she began to root (move her tongue around in her mouth to signal hunger) I would want to cry. I knew her latch was going to cause extreme pain. I got through it though. No more scabs on the nipples. Yes, scabs (gross). Now the cluster feedings are just sort of irritating. They comes out of nowhere when I am finally getting comfortable with her every 2-3 hour feeding schedule, all the sudden we are up for four hours feeding in the middle of the night (just like last night). All in all, I think I’ve been pretty lucky.
I am having to wear breast shells to keep my nipples perky (apparently they are flatish and can cause problems latching). These are fairly comfortable for being big, plastic, hard covers that I have to constantly wear. They were also a lifesaver during the scabby nipple time. I tried wearing pads once and lets just say that pads stick to scabby nipples….. ouch! They are good for catching the leaky milk too, although they do have air holes at the top, so if you bend over the milk will leak out all over you. I finally got the bright idea to shove tissues in the bottom to absorb the milk. No leaking all over myself for two days now! Boom! These are the shells if anyone is interested or thinks they may need them for flat or inverted nipples, or just to keep your nipples from touching things. I have the ones with the smaller holes. If you ask for them at the hospital, they will give you some for free! http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/592/softshells
Now, onto the mental state of breastfeeding. The feeling of being trapped is sometimes overwhelming. I get nervous when I need to take a shower. I just feel like she’s going to start screaming and only being fed will calm her. I can’t stand to hear her crying, so being in the shower with shampoo in my hair is not the time I want to hear her getting upset. I guess once the cluster feedings become less and less frequent, I will feel more comfortable doing things (like showering, laundry, cleaning, etc.).
I think, overall, I’m doing well. Not sure if I’m going to make it to a year (49 weeks to go!) but I am going to try to go as long as I can. I really don’t feel like paying for formula, but once she’s on solids and only needs a couple bottles a day, it may not be so bad. We shall see! Only time will tell!
Good luck to all you breastfeeding mamas out there!