I’ve had two people – including the health visitor – say that most people in my position would have given up breastfeeding by now.
I’ve had cracked & bloody nipples, a baby with tongue tie and then resulting nipple tissue bacterial infection, for which I’m on my third course of antibiotics. I’d upload a photo of my nipples but it would make you feel pretty uncomfortable, at their worst they looked truly awful – pusy yellow & red angry-looking tissue surrounding each nipple. And of course the pain! To start with it was pain from a poor latch, then an agonising letdown pain, toe-curling, teeth-gritting, for the first 3-4 weeks, and then the pain from the nipple infection, of baby’s pneumatic suck on raw tissue.
The truth is not that I’m brave, or determined, particularly – it’s that I’ve been too lazy & too proud to give up. Too lazy to buy all the equipment needed to pump/for formula, and to sterilise it all each time, and too proud to admit to the women closest to me – all of whom had breastfeeding problems of their own, but battled through it – that I couldn’t do it. Well I suppose that took determination of a kind, just not for the best reasons!
I have discovered that I can put up with much more pain than I ever imagined. When I was trying to get the latch right and I’d get nipple pain from a bad latch-on technique, I’d rather put up with the pain than try detach baby & start again. I quickly learnt that aside from my partner understandably getting frustrated with me, putting up with pain this time round because I’m too lazy or scared of the stress of trying to get a good latch, means more pain next time, from sore, damaged nipples. And it increases exponentially.
At nearly 6 weeks however it is getting much better. The nips are nearly healed, okay so one has decided to go back to being flat but we can deal with that. The antibiotics have made me constipated, which gave me a bleeding bum, and apparently the specific type, flucloxacillin, is notorious for causing thrush, so I’m being careful. Baby has got much better at latching on too. I am still dealing with profuse milk production so I need to wear breast pads all the time & cover my clothes & baby with muslin when feeding, but that isn’t too bad. I can’t wait for the day when breastfeeding is totally pain-free & effortless – hopefully very soon!
Have you been tempted to give up? Or perhaps you did? Do you regret it, or was it a relief? Let me know in the comments.