It’s 3 a.m. and I watch as my five day old revel in what seems to be a very pleasant dream. She’s been attached to my breast for at least 2.5 hours and I don’t see our midnight rendezvous ending anytime soon. I’m exhausted to say the least and my body aches from the c-section surgery I had just days ago. Baby awakes from her nap and begins to suckle my breast aggressively as if she hasn’t ate in hours, let alone minutes! Then tears start to form and stream from my eyes. I’m crying and not really sure why. Maybe it’s hormones. Yeah, just maybe. But the accompanying pain tells me otherwise. However, I keep going.
Once she’s satisfied I place LO in her crib and look down to my sore nipples only to find them bleeding. More tears start to flow and my stomach convulses from the sobbing I am now doing. I’m sure this is not how breastfeeding is supposed to feel. I feel as if I’m silently suffering while my child is apparently enjoying herself. I can’t help but to think about me. What about my emotional state? As a person who suffered from depression, early signs of sadness are big red flags for me.
I confided in my husband for solace but to no avail. I’m ultimately confused on what to do. I failed at exclusively breastfeeding with my first child because I honestly wasn’t educated enough on the subject. During my second pregnancy I read countless breastfeeding material from real moms and health professionals alike. Surely I was equipped with the knowledge this time! However NO ONE told me it would be this hard or painful.
I reached out to a local La Leche League leader who was the sweetest and did an excellent job at coaching me on the ins and outs of breastfeeding. I felt confident but when the time came for feeding again, I was smacked yet once again with reality. I wasn’t ready for this. The pain was simply unbearable due to my recent cesarean surgery and the previous breast reduction I received years ago. And not to mention I have a one-year old vying for my attention every moment of the hour. I didn’t want to grimace at the thought of feeding my child so at that moment I decided to stop forcing myself to suffer and simply supplement with formula. I was informed in the past that I would probably have to supplement due to the fact that I had received nipple surgery so this thought soothed me. Seeing LO’s face as she grinned in her sleep also let me know that I was making the best decision for the BOTH of us.
It’s been a week and I couldn’t be happier; the unwanted stress has been lifted from my shoulders. Currently dad and family members are able to bond with LO as they help to feed and prepare her bottles.This gives me a moment to take a step back and regroup. It’s the perfect balance to my situation.
Now I know my case isn’t typical but mamas you gotta remember that no one should set the standard for you. You have to do what works for you and your family. As long as baby is healthy you should not beat yourself up about the goals you didn’t reach. At the end of it all you can say I tried my very best. Trust me, baby still thinks you’re the best mama in the entire world. Feed that baby the best way you can whether it be through ebf or supplementation. Enjoy your baby and take a moment to smell their hair or run your face against their skin..simply indulge yourself in the moment because as fast as you blink your eyes, the moment will be over. Smiles and hugs!