I admit I seriously thought about quitting breastfeeding early on in the game. Other than the fact that it was un-intuitive, awkward and a serious learning curve, there are 3 reasons why I almost quit breastfeeding.
But it’s been 14 months and we’re still at it. Praise the Lord that we overcame those early hurdles and I got to experience an amazingly special bonding activity with my baby. That said, it’s been 14 months and I am absolutely drained. As amazing as it has been, there is a season for everything. This season of breastfeeding needs to come to an end for Rosie to mature and for me to replenish my body.
Today I’m reflecting on my breastfeeding journey and highlighting some difficult aspects along the way.
I pray that you will NEVER experience this. Mastitis took me on a nasty ride THREE times during the year, but I survived! The dull achy pain, the spontaneous needle sharp jabs and the engorgement really puts your boobs to the test. On top of that, the chills and fever put you out of commission before you even realize what hit you. The worst part (for me at least) was the mental and emotional wreck you become. My baby is going to starve. My baby is never going to want to breastfeed again. My boob is going to fall off. They’re never going to be the same size again (they get swollen)…
Rest up mama, things will be okay.
For the first-time mom who is already in the pit of exhaustion, several extra feeds in an already jam packed day will really do you in. As someone who rigidly adheres to her routine, the added surprise of cluster feeds made me into an emotional mess. Here I was, anticipating my “time off” from 4pm to 7pm but sitting on the couch from late afternoon to bed time with a baby stuck on my breast. I couldn’t help but be slightly resentful for the time I lost for myself. Will I ever get my boob back? How is it I don’t even get a break to go to the bathroom? I’m thankful for an accommodating husband who comforted me and encouraged me in the chaos. He even fed me dinner while I fed the little one.
Mama, slow down and soak up these moments because they will pass quickly.
Rosie sprouted 6 teeth before she turned 10 months old. It totally caught me by surprise as her teething symptoms were close to none other than the waterfall that poured out of her mouth. I was extremely nervous about feeding a little chomper mouth. After all, I had heard the stories of bloody and half torn off nipples . Fortunately, that is not my story. However teething did cause some ripples in our breastfeeding experience. Rosie always had a habit of nipping and gnawing when she was toothless; she continued when her teeth came out. Mostly it was when she was being playful or when she was distracted by a sudden noise. It took some courage, lots of patience and a commitment to negative reinforcement (a pinch) for Rosie to grow out of her little habit.
Stick with it mama, you guys can get past this.
These were the 3 reasons why I almost quit breastfeeding. They really put my perseverance to the test. If you are a new mama in the middle of all this, I hope you will be encouraged – keep at it and things will get better!
How was your breastfeeding experience? What were some of the difficult aspects of breastfeeding and how did you press on?