Ever since I can remember thinking about being a mum, I always imagined myself breastfeeding.
It never occurred to me that due to a variety of reasons many women don’t breastfeed and that I could be one of them.
I was indeed naive.
Only when I became pregnant and started researching all things mum & baby I realised that this was a big topic with so many ramifications. Going by what I was reading, breastfeeding was not going to be easy, but I still wasn’t prepared for what was to come.
So, how does my story go?
I remember so well putting Justin on my breast for the first time. It felt very natural to me and I forgot all about the things I read on those blogs and forums.
Fast forward a few hours later, my left nipple was literally destroyed! Justin was finding it difficult to latch on the other side, so I kept putting him back on the left. At some point one of the midwives came to check the baby’s hearing and when she saw me feeding him she was horrified by the way I was doing it, she told me it was way too shallow, the position was wrong and that was why my nipple was getting so sore already. Was I in pain, she asked … I was, but I honestly didn’t care. My baby needed to eat.
At his check-up we found out that he had a tongue-tie.
Breastfeeding will be very difficult the nurse said.
The pain was excruciating, a whole chunk of my left nipple came off. I carried on. Crying for the pain, for the fear of him waking up to feed, for the guilt of feeling that fear.
My husband also felt helpless. He wanted to feed him for me, so that I could rest. So that I could stop crying. So that he could bond with his son. I felt guilty for his feelings too.
I felt like giving up, but I was determined to do what I believed best for my baby, so I carried on. I’m no martyr. I just really wanted to breastfeed, with all my heart.
Meanwhile, we were waiting for an appointment to have Justin’s tongue-tie assessed and probably cut. I started feeling guilty for looking forward to him having this little procedure. Would he have to feel pain for me to be pain free? I did not like the idea at all.
One morning they called to book him in, but due to a series of circumstances, over 5 months later he still has a tongue-tie (believe me this saga demands a blog post of its own!).
The same morning my husband came home with some nipple shields….and ta dah! The breakthrough! No pain, easy latch, plenty of milk and most importantly time to heal.
We quickly got to the point where we didn’t need them anymore and finally breastfeeding was truly established, and it became wonderful.
I’m no longer naive to the fact that this is not a path for everyone, but I hope that sharing my story helps any mum out there who wants to do it and might not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am not afraid to say that after all that guilt I now feel proud, we have achieved this as a family, we made it through to the other side. The three of us.