Monday, January 9, 2012

Tell All Tuesday: Breastfeeding Challenges January 10th, 2012

I have been breastfeeding for just over four years. I managed to keep exclusively breastfeeding for 5 months while working full time and pumping while I was gone 10 hours a day. L1 breastfed until a few months after L2 was born, then even un-weaned 6 months later to continue until just before I became pregnant with L3. L2 continued to breastfeed until a few weeks before L3 was born, when we had to wean for personality issues (sessions were ending with me bruised and battered). I did attempt to un-wean after L3's birth, but he wasn't really asking anymore. Besides, L3 and I were having some issues establishing our breastfeeding relationship.

For about the first week of L3's life nursing wasn't quite right. I was sore, but it wasn't unbearable. She lost a bit of weight, and there was some concern. But, we took her to meet our chiropractor and get adjusted. Things got better. She gained almost 3lbs in the next few weeks. But, things went sour again.

After 4 years of breastfeeding being "easy" for me, I was in pain. Not just pain, but cracking and bleeding (can you even read that without wincing?). I called on the know-how of a wonderful lactation consultant, Marianne from Mother Nurture Breastfeeding. I have a "plan" worked out to get past the issues that could be causing the damage, but nothing is certain. Craniosacral Therapy with Bryn today, and another adjustment (really need to set up regular appointments) with our chiropractor, Dr. Matt. L3 and I are trying some different positioning techniques. We might need to explore a frenectomy for tongue tie. For the time being, L3 is satisfied breastfeeding on the side that is not in as much pain. I am using a pump on the damaged side so it can have time to heal so I don't get engorged or risk mastitis. Even that is going pretty well, my little single manual gets about 5oz a session.

All sounds so *hopeful*, right? Well, it is. But it also sucks. A lot. I feel sad, guilty, and embarrassed. Sad that I have to put my girl through the hoops to try and get things worked out (she hates the new positions). Guilty that I might have done something wrong, didn't teach her right, waited too long to try nursing, or didn't wait long enough (mommy guilt is a horrible thing). And embarrassed to share not just that my breasts were damaged and hurting, but that I have had the dark moments in the wee hours, while crying in the dark because of the pain, wondering if breastfeeding was really worth it. So far I have decided that the pain is not worth putting up with, but that doesn't mean breastfeeding isn't worth the efforts to try and fix things. I am SO glad for the support I have to remind me of that. 

So, share! The difficulties and triumphs. The challenges and rewards.  


  1. When I first started breastfeeding Zachary it hurt so badly, and I would get a big glass of ice water, and take a big drink as a distraction for when he was latching on. For what felt like forever.

    And then it stopped.

    I love you for being able to separate the pain and the breastfeeding.

  2. How was your Craniosacral Therapy?

  3. Have you ruled out thrush? Ever had it before? It can make you soooo sore and nursing so painful. It will make you cry. Different positions will help but then it will get sore again. Look it and see if maybe you have it. Try a wash if a tablespoon white vinegar to 1 cup water, sponge it on with a cotton ball, if this offers any relief, its probably thrush. Allow to dry before buttoning yourself back up.