Breastfeeding, part 1

Deciding to breastfeed your baby is probably one of the best decisions you will ever make for your child. We have all heard that “breast is best”, baby will be smarter, etc. But did anyone ever tell you it will hurt like hell when you first start? No? Ok, well, I’m telling you now. It hurts!
You may have seen other mommies nursing their babies and thought, “Well, that doesn’t look too bad. I can do that.” You get all excited, thinking that when the time comes, you will let your baby nurse as much as he wants cause you want your baby to have the best. And it is the best. But the reality check doesn’t hit until you actually begin.
The first time baby latches on and gets that first mouthful, you smile. You observe that tiny mouth working hard to get the milk, the closed eyes, the tiny fist on your breast. You feel like a mother.
The rest of the first day you don’t mind nursing whenever baby asks for it. You may even make it through the second day…then again, you may not. At some point the pain is going to kick in, and this isn’t just a little pain – it’s enough to make you yell. Your nipples will feel like they are on fire each time baby grabs them; you will cry, maybe even wish you had never started.
The good news is, the pain will only last about a week to 10 days, or 2 weeks at the most. Your nipples will toughen to a point that you lose all feeling in them. But what can you do during that time when it hurts so much?
At first, you have to endure, even if you are yelling and crying. I remember pounding the bed with my fist and yelling “ow, ow” until the painful point passed. Yes, it will not hurt the entire time, after about the first 30 seconds, the burn will pass and you won’t feel anything, unless baby lets go and you start over.
Since a newborn nurses so frequently, you may reach a point in the day when you say “enough, I’m done”. What I did was to keep on hand a jar of formula and use it whenever I needed a few more hours in between. Sometimes the hospital will provide this so that the baby has something to eat while your milk is coming in. If they don’t, then have someone get it for you. It won’t hurt your baby to have a little formula, and your nipples will thank you for the break.
Eventually the pain will pass and you won’t need the formula any more. I always keep some on hand though, mainly for use during outings. Where I live, finding a private place to breastfeed is not easy, and trying to sit and nurse the baby with a sheet over my shoulder while my other two were running off was not practical. It is also extremely hot here (current temperatures around 40 deg. C) so covering the baby’s head would make her sweat, too. So the easy solution was to pack a bottle with the formula measured out in it, and a bottle of water, and just mix it when she was ready for it.
You can find the next part here.

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1 Comment

  1. I LOVED breastfeeding. I wish I could have done it longer but even though I was pumping to try and build up my supply, after 5 months this momma went dry. =(Struggling to feed outside of the home was a struggle for me. So I was home or at a relatives house for most of the time I was breastfeeding. Boring. But I hope I get the chance to do it again!

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