Thursday, 12 June 2008

Breasts, Mastitis and Ouch, oh my!!

Day 3 of the breast/nipple/pain thing. This morning a bit of uncomfy-ness (yes, it's a word) turned into Mastitis. Stop reading here if the word nipple makes you red faced. I will be saying it a lot!
Firstly, to those who think I am 'lucky' to be able to breastfeed, ah, no. It is not luck. It is pure perseverance and will power to carry on struggling to the light at the end of Booby Tunnel.

My first babe knew as much about breastfeeding as I did. So, pretty much nothing. Don't get me wrong I was given lots of 'advice' and read a shitty parenting book or two about the matter. But still, without the experience I knew nada.

The pain and agony are still fresh in my mind of those first few weeks. Several of the staff and the hospital told me 'It shouldn't hurt, he must not be latched on correctly" To which I would show them my nipple, a perfect read ring around it glaring back at them. Thankfully I was able to have a Lactation Consultant come in and she was great. Explained that yes, breastfeeding can and does happen to a lot of mamma's, especially first time mamma's.
She sat and talked with me about feeding for almost an hour. Finally some advice and facts from someone who knew what they are talking about.

Each week the pain lessened just a teeny amount. By 2 months I could feed my baby without clenching my teeth, curling my toes and swearing like a sailor. This is what they spoke about. The moment you feed your baby and can smile. We are talking averages here of course. Each mother and babe are very different, and the length of time it takes to feel confident and pain free with breastfeeding varies from a few days to a few months.

Yes, it hurt like razor blades shooting from my nipple, yes I thought it would never end, yes I had my husband buy me formula and bottles, make them up and sit them in the fridge.
What changed my mind? Several things. The main one sticking in my mind is looking at the bottles, the yellow 'milk' in them. I looked at my husband and said 'I can't do it. I can't give him that stuff. It will get better, I have to keep going'
So I sat back in my rocking chair, held my breath and put my tiny baby to my breast. It hurt and I clenched myself again.

With each baby since my first I have experiences tenderness, and a small amount of pain for about a week after they were born.

3 Days ago, and still now I am reminded of the pain of those first weeks with my first born. I have mastitis, and wow, does it hurt. I am taking Belladonna, massaging, using Dr Newman's nipple ointment and reading his fact sheet again, hot/cold compress and practicing biting my tongue so as not to swear in front of the children.

I am on the mend and getting better. This is what helps, I know I will get better and feeding will be enjoyable again. Perseverance is needed in many aspects of parenting.
For anyone pregnant, wanting to know more about breastfeeding, and those who in those first weeks and experiencing pain, it does get better! You can do it! I have a list of resources on the right side, have a look, and learn as much as you can. Join your local breastfeeding organisation, and chat with other mum's who have been through it.

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