Once you find out you are pregnant it’s inevitable to start googling everything you are told and anything that worries you. When we spoke about breastfeeding the answer was simple, yes! Thanks to lamaze classes we knew about all the benefits of breast milk. We knew how the breast should be placed for the baby to latch on properly, about feeding on demand, etc. However nobody explained to us and nobody talked to us about the bumpy ride breastfeeding can be.
I’ve exchanged experiences with friends who have successfully breastfed until the baby was 6 months old or even more. I’ve also exchange day to day information with girlfriends who are currently going thru the same process I am and I’ve finally reached to a few conclusions as to why my experience hasn’t been the best and why many women fail on the way.
- Not having a crystal clear idea of exactly what happens once you decide to breastfeed. When you do, it’s you and just you. When the baby is less then a month the constantly need ir. If you don’t have someone to help you cook, look after the baby so you can shower and sleep when the baby sleeps it can become a very hard process. Dad goes back to work and it truly isn’t as easy as it sounds in theory.
- Not having a support group for breastfeeding mothers. Being able to share with other mothers who are going thru the same thing can be a determining factor. Not only for a successful breastfeeding experience but for your sanity.
- Your nipples cracking wide open. On lamaze clases we were briefly told:”your nipples can get irritated, make sure you use a special cream on them and carry on”. Ok, lets tell it like it is, your nipple cracks, wide-open. And every time I latched the baby on, it ripped a little bit more, obviously it wold bleed and hurt. Even though I used lotion it was not healing because I obviously had to feed the baby. This was very painful and here is were my dilema began. Every women I spoke to would tell me:”it will turn into a little callus”. And I would think to myself, that’s torture! When I came home from the hospital I hared a nurse who was also a specialist on breastfeeding and lactation so she would come and make sure that the baby was latching on properly. Everything seemed okay and I maintained communication with her because even though she is a mother of 4 and pro breast milk, she will not look at you as if you were a monster if you mentioned formula in her presence.
- Breast-pumping. This was probably the worst deception I’ve made so far in my short carrier as a new mom. When I felt I was about to cry when it came time to feed the baby, I knew this was not working and so one of those nights I panicked and asked for a breast-pump. I had a lot of milk since the beginning and I didn’t want to lose that rhythm ( lactation is not fully established until one month has passed by). I borrowed the machine from a couple who recently had twins and were kind enough to loan it. I though:”okay, I will used the breast pump until my breasts heal and I’ll go back it is. But, Surprise! A bottle is way easier for the baby to feed from the bottle so when it was time to go back to breast feeding, Mateo was not having it. He would latch on for a little bit and once he saw it was not as easy he would withdraw and cry. And this is how my little-huge obsession with the breast-pump began.I think even when Mateo is 30 years old we will still be having nightmares of breast-pump squeaking without mercy at 3 am on a cold winter night. We are regularly told: “sleep when the baby sleeps“, but in my case the baby sleeping meant I had to breast pump again in order to have milk for him when he woke up. Not only that I had to sterilise the bottles, try to “eat”something, anything I found in the kitchen ( I just began to detox from all the sugar I’ve been having), wash up and of course take care of all of the baby’s needs. This becomes unmanageable.
Of course there are moms who can manage absolutely everything I mentioned about, successfully and without any help ( and they should be canonised) but I am not one of the. More so because Mareo does not like to be left alone and I do not like to leave him crying. I am not a believer on the baby’s ability to manipulate an adult.
A two month old baby who cannot sustain his own head,does not have the mental ability to manipulate, yet. What he can do is differentiate the feeling one has when being held on the arms of someone we love, who loves us and being left by ourselves.
Anyway, next week Mateo will be three months old. Three months that I’ve been hooked to the breast-pump night and day ( I have no idea how it hasn’t flown out the window). Three months where, even though we were being told that Mateo would be invencible (invencible, well I’m exaggerating a little to get some sarcasm going) we just spent a whole week with the baby hospitalised due to bacteria. Bacteria the doctor has no clear idea how he contracted, he just did. No explanation, almost left to chance or bad luck. Probably it was bad luck but it doesn’t change the fact that Mateo has been drinking breast milk exclusively and still got sick. All my hard work had nothing to show for! I am not saying I don’t agree with medical evidence of the benefits of breast milk, I still believe no its benefits and the benefits of breastfeeding 100%.It’s just that for three months I’ve been killing myself, no sleep, barely eating and I still feel like a failure. I truly choose the worst option of all.