Oh breastfeeding, where do I even begin...haha. First off, I'm Megan from Mackey Madness and I have a 5 month old precious little girl named Emory. We are still exclusively breastfeeding and I feel super blessed that we have been able to continue for this long. My goal has always been 6 months and it's nice to see it getting closer and closer. That being said however, make no mistake, we did not have an easy road and in the beginning I didn't think we were going to make it. But we did...and I am so glad.
My first few days of breastfeeding in the hospital were great. Emory latched on right away and we did fine every single feeding. I was thinking that I was one of the lucky ones. Once we got home, though, things took a turn for the worse during the second week...my nipples started hurting SO bad. I'm talking worse than contractions, I promise. Or at least it felt like that at the time. I began to dread every single feeding and I would start crying when I knew it was time to feed her. The latching on was the worst and the pain got better as she nursed, but it was still so painful. I tried a lot of things to get relief and nothing really helped. On top of the pain, I felt like the worst mom because I was dreading her feedings. And trust me, when your hormones are crazy postpartum, the last thing you need is something making you feel even worse!
It took about 3-4 weeks for the pain to completely disappear, but it did get a little bit better each week. I reached out to friends who had breastfed or were currently breastfeeding for support and encouragement. That was the biggest key to us making it through the pain - the encouragement. I knew that if I could just keep hanging in there, the pain would go away. I took it one feeding at a time...I would think, "if we can just make it through this feeding, we are doing good." I spent a lot of time praying while she nursed, too, which definitely helped to take my mind off of the pain.
Now here we are, 5 months later and doing good. I don't want to scare anyone with writing all of this, but I do want to prepare anyone who wants to breastfeed. I definitely wasn't fully prepared for how hard it was going to be. On top of the pain, it's hard to get used to the schedule, dress for nursing, leave the house in time to do something before it's time to feed again, and get the courage to nurse in public. But y'all, it is so worth it. The bonding time, the snuggles, knowing that I'm giving her the healthiest thing...it's so worth it. If anyone ever needs any advice or encouragement, I'd love to help! Feel free to contact me!
The biggest things I've learned: it's okay if you don't just LOVE it in the beginning. It's a little awkward and takes some time to get the hang of it. Just because you have pain, doesn't mean you are doing something wrong. My pain was severe and we had the perfect position and the perfect latch. My lactation consultant said sometimes you just have pain. Try not to pump too early. You don't want to create an oversupply. Buy nursing bras!! You need them. And some tank tops to wear around the house. Easy access is nice. : ) It gets better with time. It becomes more natural and there's no pain at all. You can do it!!
One thing I do want to add, though...is that everyone's story is different and we should never ever judge a mom for whether she chooses to breastfeed or not. It's hard enough being a mom without all of us judging each other! Plus, there's no telling what problems she might have had with it. We are all doing the best that we can!
*all pictures via Lindsey Caroon Photography
Thanks Megan for sharing your story! Make sure you catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar.