Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's been awhile, but today I enjoyed breastfeeding

Disclaimer: This post will contain too much information about my breasts. Turn back now if you do not want to know about my boobie troubles. 

The last two months have been absolute hell torture pain misery agony for me as I would nurse Lily. It turns out that a baby doesn't have to bite you in order to leave terrible gashes on both nipples that would sting, burn and then fade to throbbing ache every time she would suckle. No matter what I tried, I could not get these horrible gashes to heal. They were pretty bad. (Don't say you were not warned.) In fact, the gashes looked so long and deep, it was as if my nipples could detach at any second. I was sure that each nursing session would be the last time I and my nipples would be one, and Lily would end up accidentally eating one. I cried a few times it hurt so badly. I would cling to her during the first few seconds and curl my toes. It was worse than those first few weeks of breastfeeding. I would question myself. "Shouldn't I have the hang of this by now? Why won't these heal? What am I doing wrong?"

I examined Lily's latch. I admit we were getting lazy with making sure she was in the proper nursing position because for so many months (months 3-10) we could nurse how we wanted and it never hurt. The only times I would experience pain with breastfeeding was when I would pump and startle my body into making too much milk. Ouch engorgement! Needless to say, I was back to being paranoid about our latch. I tried would compress my breast and hold it in place for her and that seemed to help. I wouldn't do it every time though. I should have, because it seemed to help me. I also would apply lanolin and/or some antibiotic ointment to the sores to try to get them to heal.

Finally, after two months of suffering in silence (well, my husband knew, but no one else) I decided to ask my favorite La Leche Leader for some advice. She reminded me about using a correct latch, gave me ideas on how to make sure that happened and suggested new, more toddler-friendly nursing positions. I am happy to report that her advice is working really well and was just the nudge I needed in the right direction. After two months, one side is now completely healed and the other is nearly there. Today I nursed my baby without cringing, and without dreading the nursing session. I actually enjoyed the experience and fell in love with breastfeeding and with my baby just one more time.

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