We have survived our first week as parents, and I must say we make a pretty good team! We educated ourselves to the best of our abilities and then let our natural instincts take it from there. The first couple of days I was overly concerned with doing everything by the book and making sure we were on schedule with feedings, diaper changes, and napping, but I have learned that Ellis is running the show, and I’m just here to give her what she wants. There are two things that have made this past week difficult. I would say if it weren’t for them, taking care of a baby is a breeze, but breastfeeding and hormones have made this one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had.
First, let me say that breastfeeding sucks, and I mean that figuratively here. My life revolves around my boobs and feeding my child. I know it’s supposed to get better with time, but right now it’s the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, and it’s emotionally draining. Even when it’s not hurting, I still don’t find it a fulfilling, pleasant experience. But I won’t give up. Ellis is my one and only job right now, and I’ve got to do it for her. I just wish that all of the books and classes on breastfeeding would have been a little more upfront and honest about the situation. I want to stab in the eye the person who said or wrote, “Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. If it is, it’s because you’re doing something wrong.” That’s not remotely true. The first few weeks are agonizingly painful as both baby and mom learn the ropes and the breasts “toughen up” to being handled every couple of hours. I’m glad Ellis doesn’t understand language right now, because if she did, she would know every curse a sailor ever swore. Right now, Motrin gets me through the pain while I wear Ellis’s tiny wash cloths and then nursing pads underneath my bras. Why nursing bras aren’t just created with a waterproof barrier, I don’t know. But the nursing pads alone are scratchy and painful, so the wash cloths provide a softer barrier between my sore, bloody, cracked nipples and everything else. I would just leave my boobs out and exposed, but then I’m raining breast milk everywhere.
Week 2 Update:
I developed Mastitis in my right breast Friday evening. Nothing would pump out of it. Ellis wouldn’t take it, and I went to bed feeling ill with body aches and shivers. I woke up Saturday morning feeling feverish and like I was going to die. I was completely dehydrated, and it took great effort to get out of bed, pour a glass of water, and sit on my bathroom floor to drink it (because I almost puked). After pouring a second glass, I went back to feed Ellis and then took my temp – 100.6. I called my OB and had a prescription for an antibiotic filled. I would have to take four pills for the next seven days and continue trying to nurse Ellis or pump on the “bad boob.” Fortunately, the breast didn’t hurt; it just didn’t work. After pumping consistently every two hours, eventually some milk “snot” started to come out. Yes, my milk had a mucousy consistency instead of a liquidy one. Nice. Five days later, the breast is doing better, and Ellis is nursing off of it again, but I’m still hating breastfeeding. I’m considering pumping exclusively and will be talking to the ped about it tomorrow at our appointment.
This woman speaks the truth: Breastfeeding – My Little Slice of Hell