I breastfead for 5, almost 6 months. That was my goal. It was something I always wanted to experience, and when I became pregnant it became clear.
Throughout your pregnancy you hear everything, everyone has opinions, everyone shares their experiences. Women who had bad experiences. Women who decide to breastfeed until their babies are one or two year old. But I also heard about women who simply chose not to breastfeed. That’s a choice. And I believe that no mother is less of a mother because of the type of milk they decide to give to their babies. And health wise, I’m a healthy person, and my mother didn’t breastfeed. So, if you are pregnant, about to decide if you want or not to breastfeed, follow your instincts and what your heart says, and don’t let people move you from your decision. It’s your life, and your baby.
Anyway, i just want to share my experience.
When Constança was born, she was immediately given to me to breastfeed. First time I didn’t think much about it, because it just happened naturally. And because it was colostrum, it didn’t hurt much.
Once I was in my room (along with 3 other new mums and their newborns), the regular feeding started. Thankfully, the midwives were always present to support me, to ensure the latch was done correctly. It was then that I started becoming frustrated, because obviously, you’re not born knowing these things. The midwife was very straight forward, and a bit brute. I cried and cried because of the pain. And tiny little Constança, the only thing she new was to suck, and nothing else. Thank goodness, she only did for a few minutes. But I was already dreading the next feed. Later, a different midwife came, who sat next to me, showed me how to position my baby, and at the same time, comforted me, because she new exactly what I was feeling.
Once home, and breastfeeding every 2 or 3 hours, I was starting to get very uncomfortable with the pain. I cried all the time! No disclosure…. nipples completely raw, and nothing that helped to fully recover the skin in 2 hours, so they were ready for another go. However, I do recommend Lanolin, which soothes things a bit. And if you are at home, stay topless or wear something light, because it’s the air that will help dry any cracks you have.
But this was all very confusing and overwhelming for me because, in spite of everything you hear (that it hurts, that the first weeks are horrible), I felt that it wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Later that week, I was having a visit from the health visitor, so I wanted to know what she recommended. In the meantime, I bought those silicone nipple covers, to avoid getting mine even worse. And it helped a lot.
The health visitor came and had a look at Constança and noticed she had a tongue tie (the strip of skin that connects the baby’s tongue to the floor of their mouth), which meant that her tongue movements were very reduced. It actually affects between 4-11% of newborn babies. So, the health visitor suggested to go to the children’s hospital to get it looked at, and cut. And she assured me it would definitely get better.
The day came, and I had an appointment with two paediatricians. We had a chat and they observed how I breastfed. They told me they were both amazed by Constança’s ability of adapting. She really made an effort to feed properly. Wow! I was amazed too!
So they cut the tie (which is not very nice to watch, poor little thing), and obviously it bled, and they said to breastfeed her immediately because the milk would stop it. They sat down next to me to help me with the latch.
How amazing is it that from that moment, breastfeeding became a pleasure than pain?!
Is it strange to miss that feeling where your baby is totally dependent of you? I miss it. I really do.
I enjoyed every single moment. It’s just you and your baby, sharing that love, the warmth, the moment. I really miss it.
Share your stories and experiences. We need to turn these subjects more transparent, more positive, and if you are willing to share, don’t be afraid. Just think that there are so many women in the same situation, with no help and support, and by talking about it, we might be able to help them.