Note: this post got to be so long that I decided to break it up into two. Part II coming soon.
When I was pregnant with Lawson, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding him. I did zero research on it. I thought it would be easy. It’s nature, right? My motherly instincts would take over. The fact that I wasn’t so sure I had motherly instincts at all didn’t seem to phase me.
Breastfeeding will always be one of my favorite memories of Lawson’s first several months. But goodness, it was filled with lots of ups and downs.
Even though I had a c-section (Lawson’s birth story), Lawson was placed on me to start breastfeeding as soon as I entered the recovery room. (Note to self: remove regular bra before going into surgery. The first few times were a blur. I was sleep deprived and most likely full of pain medication and don’t remember much of it. However, within 12 hours I wasn’t sure Lawson was latching properly and it was starting to become painful. While in the hospital, I saw 3 different lactation consultants. One told me she couldn’t believe I was still trying to breastfeed from my right breast. It was so cracked and sore. That would explain the pain I was feeling.
I certainly wasn’t ready to give up, but did take a few days off. I pumped on the right side and nursed Lawson on the left. Similar to a lot of babies, he lost weight in the hospital and our pediatrician recommended supplementing with formula to get his weight back to a level we were comfortable with. He soon did and off home we went.
After getting settled in at home, breastfeeding was still very painful for me. I went back to the hospital to see another lactation consultant who assured me everything looked great. Then why oh why did it hurt like hell? Every article I read said if the baby was latched properly, breastfeeding should be pain-free. I couldn’t figure out what we were doing wrong.
This continued for several weeks. I would literally get tears in my eyes, curse like a sailor (which I have been known to do even pain-free) and began to dread his feeding time. I diligently applied nipple cream after each feeding, but nothing helped. Thankfully I reached out to a few friends that assured me they also had painful experiences, but it eventually got easier. Their words gave me the encouragement I needed to keep trying.
When Lawson was around 6 weeks old I developed a high fever, which is one of the symptoms of mastitis. I was diagnosed, immediately put on antibiotics and began to feel much, much better. Soon after, Lawson and I settled into a routine and breastfeeding really did become pain-free. It was the nirvana I had read about! And I thought we’d continue to have a blissful experience until one of us decided we wanted out. Oh, how little I knew…