The Highs and Lows of the First Month of Nursing
Posted By: April Picon
With her baby due any day now, April is equal parts excited and nervous.
I just put Aiden to bed and am sitting here with my laptop trying to figure out the best way to put my thoughts and feelings into words. I want my blog to be a place where readers can come and relate; see their experiences as I describe my own… I want it to be a positive, encouraging place but most importantly an honest place. You see, it’s just in my nature to speak frankly and especially when it comes to breastfeeding – I wish more women would be willing to talk about it without sugar coating. So, I’m going to come right out and say it: breastfeeding is hard!
I researched, and read, and educated myself so much about it… even with the challenges I faced while recovering from labor and delivery, I tried to be patient and not give up. I have been doing this for a month now and I will admit that I have considered giving up many, many times. I have experienced sore, cracked nipples that bleed, painful breast engorgement and major leakage to the point where I have to wear a bra to bed.
At first, I was worried about my milk supply since I had to supplement with formula due to my difficult recovery. I pumped in between feedings and made the effort to “catch up” with Aiden. I started to notice that at times during nursing sessions, Aiden would grunt and pull at my nipple. It seemed to me as if he was struggling for more milk to come out. When he would unlatch, there would be milk all over so it was very confusing. After these kinds of sessions (which I just happened to have before writing this) I feel frustrated and emotionally drained because I would rather deal with all of the breastfeeding problems mentioned above before I deal with seeing my baby struggle during a feeding. After researching and asking advice from some friends (including Bravado Breastfeeding Diaries Editor-in-Chief Danielle Friedland who is a Certified Lactation Counselor), I learned that I have a forceful letdown which is actually due to oversupply! It turns out that Aiden is grunting, struggling and sometimes even choking during feedings because too much milk lets down at once. So here I am, after nearly a month of trying to build up my milk supply realizing that I have too much of a good thing.
As you can tell, this month has definitely been challenging… but then I can’t fail to mention some of the amazing times I have had nursing Aiden. Nighttime feedings in particular are really wonderful. We lay side-by-side in bed and he curls his little hand around my finger while he nurses. He is at his most calm and peaceful and I enjoy these times singing to him and stroking his hair. He unlatches, thoroughly satisfied, and after a few burps falls asleep in my arms as I rock him. Truly and honestly – even with all of the issues described above, I am so incredibly grateful to have experienced this entire month nursing my son. It’s the good times that keep me going and carry me through the more difficult ones. It’s knowing that I am giving him the best, most natural form of nutrition available and it’s believing that if I stick with it, things are going to get better. Lots of highs and lows this month, but this City Mama isn’t ready to back down yet!9:00am on Tuesday July 5