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Breast Is Best But Not Always Easy

Something so beautiful and natural isn’t always easy or painless. This is something I’ve known since my first son was born. What am I speaking of? Well breastfeeding of course.

Some women and babies take to it like no bodies business. Some never have problems with breast infections, nipples confusion, comfort nursers and so on. I do wish I were one of those women and had one of those babies.

With my first born he was tongue tied but we didn’t realize this until some time later. I used a shield because we couldn’t get the latch right. It affected my supply and I quit only a few short months in. I also struggled with nipple confusion and long nursing sessions.

With my second born he latched great, had a good big mouth (first born and current baby have smaller mouths) but had Thrush and gave it to me. We struggled with that. I was also dealing with ear infections, vertigo and many other symptoms of my yeast overgrowth. And same with my first born we struggled with nipple confusion and long comfort nursing sessions. I nursed him for a few months.

This baby was going to be different. I was determined not to introduce a bottle to him. To avoid the nipple confusion. To nurse well into his first year, if not longer. And then unexpectedly he was put into the NICU and supplemented with a bottle. Had I been offered the option of an SNS I would have taken it in a heart beat.

Our PED wanted us to supplement his feedings at home and I did this occasionally. I could tell his latch was different, his nursing behavior was different than before he was put into the NICU and nursing was getting more difficult.

Nipple confusion has set in. And likely even worse than my other two since he was introduced to a bottle long before my other two were. In addition to the nipple confusion, long nursing sessions, comfort nursing and he not actively nursing at the breast now I’m struggling with a terribly painful yeast infection of the breasts.

So what is a Mom to do when it isn’t easy or painless? Give up? Call it quits? Pump exclusively so that he still gets the milk but it is easier on me?

Not this time. Not now. I’m not ready to give up even though this has turned into the most difficult experience of all three.

I have reached out to the local LLL gals in my area for help. I’ve explained my problems via email and asked for a phone call. I’m going to attend the meetings for one on one help. And I’m going to try some Thrush remedies that don’t require a doctor to prescribe them.

I so long for a long term nursing relationship with this child & I’m much more willing and determined to make it work this time around. Even knowing he is still getting the good stuff from my milk via a bottle I still miss the skin to skin contact and I know he does too.

(I’m still nursing him but it’s so painful that I’m giving him my expressed milk via bottle too. As soon as I get help from the LLL’s for the nipple confusion & I get the yeast under control there will be no more bottles. Hopefully within a matter of 2-3 days.)

I can do it, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it… right? :–)

I’d also like to thank Amy and Meagan Francis for their personal help and advice and resources.

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22 Comments

  1. Oh Nell! I hope this gets better for you. I am pregnant with my first and I so want to breastfeed her as long as she wants. This is one of the things I stress out about the most.

    Nilis last blog post..YUM!

  2. Oh, Nell! You CAN do it! I had struggles of my own in the beginning with Evie. My milk took forever to come in and when it did she just slept when she was supposed to nurse. Then she nursed for comfort and it took so long to feed her! I remember she used to take an hour to nurse, sleep for half an hour and wake up hungry again! And at six weeks she was diagnosed with a milk and soy protein intolerance, so I had to cut dairy and soy from my diet. And she never did take a bottle well. I used to cry at work when I called her daycare and they said she had only had an ounce or two all day. But I stuck with it and it was one of the most rewarding parts of being a new mom. I look back at how hard it was, and I am so proud of myself for this accomplishment.

    At the same time, I do want you to know that I realize it doesn’t always work for everyone. I have every confidence that you can make this work, but there is so much more to mothering than breastfeeding.

    I can’t wait to read that things have gotten easier, and you’ve settled into a wonderful part of your relationship with Dash – as a breastfeeding mom.

    SarahHub @ Oakbriar Farms last blog post..Sunshine

  3. I’m sorry to hear you’re having some struggles Nell. Looks like that nasty yeast beast has reared its ugly head again, as it likes to do during and after pregnancy. Just when you think you have it beat!

    Any chance this baby has a mild tongue tie issue? It can cause a lot of pain and damage to the nipple which of course leads to other problems. Does his tongue stick out past his lips?

    As for the thrush, I know you know what to do for that. I would also suggest that you try to get your hands on some Bubbie’s sauerkraut at the store – some larger grocery stores have it or you can get it at a Whole foods or other health food store. It’s raw and is full of the beneficial bacteria you need to keep the yeast in check in your gut. Might make an important addition to your daily diet. I eat a tablespoon every day and it’s wonderful for the digestion.

    Keep us updated!

    Carries last blog post..Smarter 2009

  4. Sorry to hear about your issues Nell. I completely agree that for some it is super easy and for some…not so much. I am one who always had it easy and I have heard that women with large boobs and nipples have a much easier time…not saying anything about you…just saying, LOL. I had size Ds by the time I was 20 and big nipples (sorry if TMI) and I never had a problem getting the breastfeeding thing to work….other than being afraid a huge boob might smother the baby. So IT IS much easier for some women, that’s sadly just the way it is.

    Congrats to you on your efforts. You CAN do it. I can’t offer advice cause I never had to research these issues…I just don’t that much about it but sounds like you are reaching out to some great moms. Hugs Mama!

  5. Oh Nell, I’m sorry you are having troubles with nursing right now but YES YOU CAN DO IT! 🙂 I had extreme pain with my little girl and considered giving up but I just couldn’t do it no matter what we were going to nurse like her brother did. (He nursed for 22 months and only stopped cause sister came 2 months later)

    We got through it all even as hard and painful as it was on me and she nursed till she was 22 months just like her brother had.

    Hang in there sweetie, you will both get through it together.

    NanetteGs last blog post..Cinnamon Spiced Hot Mocha

  6. OH Nell, you can do it!!! Send me your address, I have some goodies I am getting together for you and I have to get you some great nipple cream that helped me out with the pain. YOU CAN DO IT!

    Miches last blog post..My Take on Cloth Diapers

  7. I am sorry you are having so much trouble!! But I am glad you contacted LLL. Having a breastfeeding support system really helps. I would have given up quickly if it hadn’t been for the people close that supported me. Are there lactation consultants at the hospital you gave birth at? The one at mine helped a lot too. Let me know if you need anything!

    Mommas last blog post..For all the breastfeeding mothers out there….

  8. Oh! I remember the first 6 weeks of nursing – it was aweful! 🙁 It always seemed to get better after 6 weeks. My girlfriend and I used to joke about using sandpaper on our nipples before birth just to get ready. It feels like you kinda shoulda, eh? 😀

    Anyhow, that lanolin edible cream helps with owies. (the kind from the pharmacy) And in my experience it is ALL about the latch! One of my 3 was a ‘lazy’ latcher, and it was painful EVERY time until she “woke up” is what the lactation consultant told me. After a couple weeks she was way better, apparently it takes that long to “wake up”. LOL In the meantime I had to take her off and re-latch several times during each feed!

    It DOES get better! Remember, you are all sleep deprived to boot, so things feel more devastating than they are right now!

    You’re doing awesome! I can’t believe you’re blogging after only 2 weeks! 🙂

    Blessings,
    Cathy

    Cathys last blog post..For the New Mom Regarding Grandmothers

  9. Oh! And if you can skip bottle, then skip it! Use that tube and a syringe (like the kind from the baby medicine bottles) and stick it beside your boob so he sucks from the tube and your nipple at the same time. It works so much bette r- you’ll need help to get it all set up though. And when they figure out that nursing gets them good milk, then they are more motivated to learn how to nurse. But the bottle is easy-peasy. A smart kiddo will go for the bottle every time! lol but the sucking is supposed to be good for them, for the muscles and for your bonding, and all those other good reasons.

    Oh, I so feel for ya!
    (Ok now I’m off to look at this place in IE, lol – I’m supposed to be working! )

    Cathys last blog post..For the New Mom Regarding Grandmothers

  10. First of all, hospitals make me soooo mad sometimes. I don’t understand why so many of them push supplementation and don’t offer other options for moms with babies in NICU.

    Second, I feel for you. Breastfeeding can be rough those first few weeks when you’re exhausted and recovering. But hang in there…it gets better.

    Third, good for you for reaching out to the LLL! You may also want to see a lactation consultant and/or attend a breastfeeding support group.

    Finally, I just noticed the new photo on your right sidebar. You look fantastic! I can’t believe you just gave birth.

    Stephanies last blog post..PhotoStamps: Too Cute to Use

  11. ((hugs))
    You CAN do it. Remember any breastfeeding is still good for both of you and just do the best you can. I think with the right support you are going to overcome this quickly. 🙂

    PS I would have posted sooner, but couldnt’ see your posts there for awhile.

    mama ks last blog post..Dinner Menu Plan

  12. Hi there!
    I am so sorry to hear about your struggles! Have you tried Motherlove’s Diaper Rash and Thrush and/or Nipple Cream? If not, if you send me your address, I’ll pop some in the mail for you. It would also help to take all sugar out of your diet, concentrating on fresh vegetables (and vegetable juice). I hope that things get easier (and more comfortable)! Good job for being so committed!

  13. I had this problem with my daughter since she was vaccuumed out & the lactation consultant said that babies that are vaccuumed can have problems latching. so i basically pumped then tried the shield but i didn’t want my supply to be affected. long story, short, I pumped exclusively for 7.5 months. I actually was very efficient (I had to force myself to stop since I was goign to be traveling again & didn’t want to have to pump while traveling). i probably could have gone the whole first year so part of me felt bad for forcing myself to stop. This time around, I hope I don’t have to pump exclusively since I would love the convenience of not having to pump then feed.

    Melissa Parlaman (Graco contributor)s last blog post..A Historical Day

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