Tag Archives: Breasfteeding

Breast is best

7 Aug

It’s funny, all through your pregnancy you think about the labour. What it’s going to be like, how you’ll handle the pain, what you need to learn to get through what’s supposed to be the toughest four, twelve, twenty hours of your life. Typically, I didn’t think about it that much. I figured it was going to suck, that I’d beg for pain relief within seconds, and that it was only one day out of a life of thousands. And that’s pretty much how it panned out.

What no-one really talks about, and what I certainly didn’t think about, was the weeks and months after labour. How much a third degree tear really does hurt once the epidural has worn off. What it feels like to have your nipples ripped to shreds by something that looks all innocence but really has the sucking power of an industrial strength vacuum. How much it hurts to put your all into something for hours and hours each day only to have it not work, for absolutely no reason. How guilty you’ll feel giving your baby formula. And how terrified you’ll be that you’re stuffing absolutely everything up.

I’ve never been the most confident girl in the class. But I always figured I’d be a good mum. I’d love my kid to bits, I’d give him everything he needed, and I’d breastfeed because ‘Breast is Best’. I never thought that we’d struggle with something that’s supposed to be so natural, or that I’d reach the point where I just wanted to leave, run away, because I was completely unable to do the one thing I was supposed to be able to do – feed my child – in the way I thought I had to.

Seven weeks later and it still hurts. Every time I think I’m ready to just suck it up and pack it in I feel guilty for giving up so easily. I still think that by eight weeks, ten weeks, twelve weeks something will magically change and we’ll get it – there’ll be no more tears and screaming. And then there are the days when I wonder why I’m still plugging away at something that feels like it’s ruining the bond I have with my baby.

We’ve had help and lots of it. Our community health nurse has been fantastic, we’ve been to Tresillian to learn how to settle Henry and recognise the difference between hungry and tired. I’ve seen lactation consultants, I’ve been medicated, I’ve pumped till my nipples were purple. The supply has improved, slightly, but it’s still not where it should be. In a word, it’s heartbreaking.

But it’s time to move on. Henry will be two months old on Thursday and the time is simply flying by. He’s smiling now, holding his head up and pouting, becoming his own little person. Each day it’s something new, some little thing that becomes absurdly exciting when you’re a new parent – and I don’t want to miss a second of it.