By Allaya Cooks-Campbell
"Breastfeeding is awesome! It's easy, it's convenient, it's free, it's super healthy for you and baby - I love it and I can't imagine feeding my baby any other way!"
Yeah, sure. After a few months, maybe, but when my daughter was four days old, I wanted to quit.
Okay, "quit" is maybe the wrong word. More accurately, I wanted to rip my nips off (seemed like it would be less painful). Or at the very least, I wanted to drive my daughter back to the hospital and give her to someone who knew what they were doing.
Experienced moms who have breastfed their children would tell you that "once you get past the 'hump,' it gets easier." But that hump is actually a good six weeks in, and when you have a brand-new baby and you're in pain, six weeks seems like a really, really long time.
The first night home from the hospital was the worst. I had gotten off to a really good start with the baby in the hospital -- she latched on immediately after birth, and although it was uncomfortable, she was able to nurse consistently in the hospital. When we got home that night, however, I found myself dealing with a screaming, red-faced newborn who could not seem to latch on to my cracked and raw nipples. Every time she got close, I would flinch, frightening her and starting the squalling all over again. I felt like a failure. It took two weeks for my nipples to heal, four weeks for me to stop flinching, and right about two months for me to be able to walk through Target and breastfeed while shopping for sheets.
At almost five months old, my daughter is exclusively breast-fed and has gained nearly ten pounds since birth. So how did we survive our rocky start? Here's a few things that helped me get over the "breastfeeding hump."
- Realize that compromises might have to be made. That first night home, I kept trying to latch her on and she kept screaming. My husband asked me, "Why can't we just give her a bottle?" I sobbed out, "Nipple confusion!" Eventually, I got so tired that I pumped out what I could (barely an ounce) and gave it to her in a bottle. She fell asleep immediately, I got a shred of sanity back, and it didn't interfere with her ability to latch on later. Sometimes, it's about whatever works.
The more you read, ask and talk to other moms, the more you'll realize: the struggle to breastfeed successfully is completely normal. But for me, it was completely worth it. I'm always sorry when I see moms that want to nurse quit early on because "it was too hard." On this side of the fence, it is finally easy, and convenient, and healthy, and all that great stuff. It just takes a little time.
This piece was originally published by Allaya Cooks-Campbell on Well Rounded NY. Allaya Cooks-Campbell is the mother of an adorable newborn and step-mommy to two gorgeous tweens. She works very hard to keep her children from developing her sense of humor. An avid yogi, gamer and novelist, Allaya lives in New York with her husband, Damany. You can find her exploring motherhood at babydroppings.com.
Please share your opinion below! For more original content, check out Well Rounded NY.
Follow Well Rounded NY on Twitter