Breastfeeding did not come easy to me. Olivia had a habit of tucking in her bottom lip which contributed to a very difficult and painful latch. The nurses in the hospital did all that they could to help me. I went to several specialists, lactation consultants and breastfeeding clinics. I sat topless in a room full of strangers who would aggressively grab my breasts and jam them in Olivia’s mouth to try and get her to latch. I felt like a failure as a mother.
But then I started to talk to other mothers and read stories online from so many women who were in the same position as me ― suffering from awful mastitis (a painful inflammatory condition often referred to as “Milk Fever”) and having issues with latching, visiting specialists and feeling totally helpless. Constantly pumping when they weren’t breastfeeding to make sure their little one was getting enough. I realized that I wasn’t alone and I felt so much better.
So one day I decided that I wasn’t going to stress about it anymore and that really helped. I regained my sanity and breastfeeding became so much easier. Olivia never really developed a perfect latch but she was fed and happy, thus Mama was happy. Olivia was strictly breastfed until she was 6 months, when I began supplementing with formula to give myself a break. I didn’t want to breastfeed past a year anyway so this was a great decision.
Anyway, I feel like I need to share my story so that any Mama’s (or Mama’s to be) reading this are aware and the only advice I have is to become well educated about breastfeeding. Take a class, chat with other mothers. So many things can happen ― trouble latching, undersupply of milk, oversupply of milk leading to infection. Being educated will help so you know how to handle these issues if they occur.
I also want to give a big virtual hug to all the Mama’s out there who are having any issues with breastfeeding or just struggling in general ― you’re not alone. Feel free to chat with me in the comments about your own issues and how you dealt with them.
I’ve compiled a short list of articles and courses to help educate you on breastfeeding, latching, mastitis, and so on. I hope this list helps all of you!