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no one ever said how hard it would be.

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
mylittle princess was born a week ago on friday. literally the happiest day in my life.. however, i've benn findung myself an absolute emotional nightmare since then, mostly because of feelings of inadequacy from nursing. we are totally 100% dedicated to being a 100% bf family but my god this is hard.

when i was pg alli focused on was the pregnancy and birth (we had a lovely naturalunmedicated waterbirth at a birth center) and didn't spend much time thinking about the "now what". no one warned me that bfing would so painful, difficult and physically and emotionally draining.

I've been feeling like a horrible mother for the past week because i've been dreading feeding my baby. night time is the worst... especially when i'malready exhausted and she wakes me up demanding i produce food from my already bruised and bleeding nipples.

we had latch problems at the beginning. we sorted those out. then i had problems withmy milk coming in.. i was so engorged on the left side that nothing would come out... a midnight trip to the midwife center to hace the LC physically squeeze my breast until it gave upthe goods will forever live in my mind. my baby lost over a pound in those first few days. it was scary and i felt totally ineffectual as my one biological function wasn'y functioning.

now she is eating ALL the time. she can't be near me without wanting to nurse.. i'm nothing more than a buffet to her. she's sweet and loving with her daddy though, and as happy as that makes me, it makes me sad as well. i want to be more thanjust a cow.

logically i know that this phase won't last forever. i know that by the endof the first month many things change and her feedings will space themselves out. logically i know that mt hormones are still all in an uproar and that they'll balance out.. butnone of that logic helps me when my baby is crying and i can't help her. all i can do is offer up a breast, while daddy can pick her up and make her calm down.

i feel like a terrible mother.

that's my rant.
post #2 of 46
You're not a terrible mother, you're a great mother! You're right, we hardly ever hear about how hard breastfeeding can be. You *know* it will get easier, but it's still hard while you're going through it.

My dd took a month to nurse exclusively, ds1 took 4 mos to nurse exclusively (we had to fingerfeed for a couple of months, I pumped only 5 oz a DAY, the rest was formula, but we made it work), ds2 only took a week to nurse exclusively, partly b/c I knew enough about the potential problems and worked SO hard to avoid them.

You'll make it. It's hard, but you can do it. Keep coming here, you'll get TONS of support and advice.
post #3 of 46
mama. It is hard at the beginning, but it does get easier. You're a great mommy for fighting through this to do the best thing for your daughter.
post #4 of 46
For years I spouted the party line that "nursing is so much easier and more convenient" than formula. And in some ways it is. I sometimes think I was more convincing myself of the truth of that statement than convincing others.

But it really is true that they need to eat more often, that your body takes time to get used to nursing, that (gasp, oh horror!) you *are* more "tied" to a nursling than a formula-feeding mother would be. You are tired, you are hormonal, your life has been turned upside down and this is your first real exposure to what being a parent is like - sometimes giving more than you think you have in you for the care and sake of the child you bore.

The benefits FAAAAR outweigh the cost (and I've been nursing for all but 4 months of the last 7 years or so) but don't ever feel bad for realizing that the "madonna" images were pretty much all painted by men who hadn't been there where you are.

With my DS the first six weeks were very difficult. And the first year was hard. But I look at him now and I know the parenting decisions I made have made him what he is. Breastfeeding is only one of them, but it helped prop up all the other choices I made. BTW, DD was a simple dream. Just different personalities AND I was more confident, experienced and knew what to expect. In her case I was pleasantly surprised.

It does get better, really. And it's worth it. Hang in there.
post #5 of 46
I was so mad that no one told me how hard it would be. I remember telling my lactation consultant that learning how to bf was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

I remember dreading the next time my ds would be hungry. I iced my nipples when he was not nursing. The bruising and bleeding caused toe-curling pain whenever he latched on.

We made it through that time and we are still nursing at 16 months. You CAN do this and your commitment to it - as well as support from an LC and anyone else - is what will get you through these first rough weeks.

It got easier for me around 6 weeks. For about the first 3 weeks I took it one feeding at a time. I always just promised myself I'd nurse him "one more time." Thinking ahead any farther than that was overwhelming.

You are way more than a buffet to your dd. Food is her primary need right now, though, and you are providing that for her. She may likely always respond to her dad differently than you.

Hang in there.
post #6 of 46

You are a wonderful mother!
And it is sooo hard in the beginning. I dreaded nursing. I cried hysterically through so many feedings. I would grit my teeth and wonder how women managed to do this for so many years!

All I can say it that it does get better. I'm so glad that you worked out your latch issues and the engorgement! The sorness was so hard for me to deal with. I actaully used Motrin for the first few weeks : and it really helped me. At least tears weren't pooling on dd's head while I fed her (not that she seemed to mind at the time).

It gets better. Promise! Hang in there!!!!
post #7 of 46
It can be hard, very hard. I think many pg women get so caught up in how to get baby out that they forget about everything after that, I know I did with dd1. I wasn't prepared for it to take everything I had just to feed my child. It does get better, alot better, but it takes time. It was a slow process for me, it wasn't until one day I woke and realized that I no longer dreaded nursing that I realized we had arrived on the other side so to speak. You can do this, come here and vent, ask questions, whatever you need to get you through each day.
post #8 of 46
Oh, honey, all I can do is echo what the others have said.

It does get better. I promise.

I know. We had a really hard time in the begining. For us, the bleeding nipples only lasted a few weeks, but I didn't really feel comfortable nursing Anna until she was 3 or 4 months old. It still isn't my favorite thing to do, physically, and she is 17 months now.

I totally get what you are saying. I was angry that no one told me that it could be really hard. I felt like my body was betraying me. I felt like I was a failure becase I wasn't blissful when Anna was eating--I was crying.

But I wasn't a failure, and neither was my body, and neither are you.

You are doing the best that you can. And, I think it bears repeating, it will get better.

One day, not long from now, your little one will need you for more than just food. And one day she will thank you for doing the right thing for her, especially when it was so hard. What a wonderful example you are being for her.
post #9 of 46
I can only echo what others have said: you're doing great, and it gets better.

You're not a terrible mother--you're becoming a mother. Becoming a parent is unbelievably hard, it took me by surprise, too. Newborns just need so much, and you've never done this before. This is "baby boot camp," it's a huge transition, and you're going to come out the other side as a parent. That's a big deal! Go easy on yourself, just concentrate on being with your baby, and get as much help as you can.

Oh, and keep working on the latch. I think it took us a few weeks to really get it right. You're doing great, hang on!
post #10 of 46
also, remember, you are going through a veritible hurricane of hormones right now! Less than three weeks post partum? My god, all moms at this stage should be classified as legally insane!

Think of it, hormone hell, PLUS lack of sleep, PLUS learning to nurse, PLUS caring for such a fragile little being, PLUS trying to wrap your head around how your core identity has just fundamentally changed for the rest of your life. No wonder you feel like hell!

It gets easier. Your job now is to survive. To sit on your butt, nurse that baby, sleep when the baby sleeps. THAT IS IT. No laundry. No making dinner. No thank you cards. Nothing else. Make your family treat you like you just had open heart surgery. Focus all your attention on nursing and sleeping.

Your baby wants YOU. Yes, you are nursing her most of the time. But she wants you, because she knows you - your scent, your heart rate, your milk. Daddy, at this age, is a new toy. You are her world.

And before you know it, your baby will be settled (in about three months), breastfeeding will be easier and you'll have a whole new set of challenges to face ; )

Congratulations and this is a great place for support!
post #11 of 46
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
It gets easier. Your job now is to survive. To sit on your butt, nurse that baby, sleep when the baby sleeps. THAT IS IT. No laundry. No making dinner. No thank you cards. Nothing else. Make your family treat you like you just had open heart surgery. Focus all your attention on nursing and sleeping.
I have to agree, just taking care of yourself and your baby right now is your only job. I remember making a goal for myself when my babies were less than a month old to shower daily. That's right. I felt I had accomplished something if I managed to get my daily shower in.
post #12 of 46
I feel I have accomplished something if I shower and get dressed. I have to do that for 3 other small people - usually they look fabulous, and I have on the only sweats that go over my post-partum form and unbrushed hair.

It IS hard. This is my third, I've breastfed for FOUR YEARS already - you'd think that this new baby would be a breeze. But no - the first bit still is difficult. Don't feel bad - you aren't wrong.

The only big difference over time is I've shortened the worst of the pain and bleeding, and already know that things like lecithin help my ducts, taking Cod Liver Oil seems to make my milk nicer for my baby, I know the internal booby itches mean I'm fighting thrush off.

I still get the "oh-my-god-please-please-stop-nursing" feeling for the first weeks. I mostly have gotten over the horrible "I'm-a-primate-milk-and-sex-machine-dear-god-please-someone-I'm-an-actual-human-being-with-a-mind-and-not-just-boobs-and-holes" feelings at the beginning...mostly.

It is hard. But it does get better.

One day, your baby lays a hand on top of your breast while nursing in such a sweet way you want to burst. One day they look up at you with a nipple in their mouth and a lovely grin around it.
post #13 of 46
Sending you hugs and strength and patience. Those first few days and weeks are SO hard. It does get easier, I promise.

post #14 of 46
Oh Mamma! Hang in there! They are all right you are a great mother! Especially for trying so hard and committing yourself to doing what you feel is right for your family. I had a similar experience with my first ds. And it felt like there would be no end. But it ended up being one of the most treasured, wonderful bonding experience of my life with my ds. I am so glad I stuck with it, you will be too.

Lots of hugs! You are doing great!
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post #18 of 46
A lot of women have wonderful times breastfeeding, but the truth is that most don't. For some reason there is a reluctance in the breastfeeding community, especially when talking to expectant mothers, to acknowledge and address the very real, very difficult obstacles that can stand in the way of breastfeeding. If women were educated and informed about these problems right away, rather than told how convenient and natural breastfeeding is, I suspect a lot less women would give up at the first sign of trouble. Good for you for sticking it out and continuing to try despite all of the problems. I had troubles positioning Corbin at first, and then I was engorged all the time for about six weeks which was very uncomfortable.

I've gone through the buffet phase; I'm still a buffet at night. KNow, however, that nursing with you is about much more than feeding. That is how she likes to spend time with you, bond with you, 'play' with you. That is how she loves you. Nursing is very much a comfort thing. I assure you that if your husband had a breast, she would prefer it to whatever else he does to calm her down. Know also that many men feel this mild jealousy about breastfeeding. As you envy his time with your daughter, he probably slightly envies your feeding time with her, too.

Everything will get better. Do not feel like a terrible mother. It is so normal to have feelings like this especially when things are hard. It will get better. *hugs*
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