Michelle’s Breastfeeding Journey

My breastfeeding adventure has had both extreme lows and wonderful highs.

The first two weeks were horrible. I hated nursing. I know that is not what mamas are supposed to say, but it’s true. I even told my husband that I didn’t feel like I was bonding with Elizabeth while she nursed because it was so miserably painful.

On a good day, only the first minute would be painful and I would just clench my jaw and count til the pain went away… but most days it was white-knuckle, teeth clenched, eye wateringly painful for the entire twenty to thirty minutes it would take my sweet newborn to nurse on one side.

From day one, Elizabeth had a fantastic latch, but feeding her on my left breast was painful, even in the hospital. Painful, as in a shooting pain that was worse than my contractions. By day three, the entire side was all plugged up and I could only pump it because even just her latching on made me sob and shake with pain. On and off for the first three weeks of her life I fought plugged ducts and ended up getting mastitis (on Christmas… of course).

The one thing that made it worth it during those first few weeks was Elizabeth’s weight gain. She was born at 6.10 lbs, went down to 6.4 when she was two days old, and by day five she was back up to 6.10. It was such an affirmation that, despite the pain, I was doing something right.  Our baby was growing and thriving —thanks to my milk.

After a month, I began to feel like we were bonding while she nursed and just the first few seconds felt uncomfortable, not painful. My boobs still hurt to the touch, but that was really the only lingering issue.

By month three, I actually forgot I had boobs! I never thought that day would arrive and that I would spend the rest of my breastfeeding life always conscious of them. It no longer hurt to wear a bra, shower, accidentally bump them, or most importantly, sleep on my stomach!

I had read plenty of blogs and talked to many friends about how hard/difficult/painful breastfeeding could be at the beginning, but I really didn’t understand the pain part of it. How could I?

My husband was my biggest supporter, which I believe made all the difference.  He knew breastfeeding was very important to me and saw how hard I was working to feed our baby. My friends were also great cheerleaders and made me feel like my struggles were normal and that one day breastfeeding would not hurt at all.

We are now going on month 13 of breastfeeding and every day I am so thankful that we stuck with it. I love feeding my daughter. I love how she stays awake through feedings and I get to watch her look around and see her beautiful blue eyes. I love how peaceful she looks when she falls asleep while eating before bed. I love when she is tired or when she just needs some extra cuddles how she will sign ‘milk’.

It has been an amazing journey and it was worth all the pain and tears. 

7 Responses to Michelle’s Breastfeeding Journey

  1. The first month or so of our breastfeeding journey was absolutely horrid. I dreaded feeding my baby but was bound and determined to make it work. My husband was a HUGE support. He frequently took her and gave her expressed milk so I could get a minute to myself. She gained weight but spit up like a garden fountain and cried out in pain while eating because of her reflux. She still spits up some and we still have moments here and there. But on the whole I love it now. It was definitely worth sticking it out through those first awful weeks.

  2. G, I’m so happy to hear that you stuck it out!! It sounds like we were in the exact same boat, which, although it’s hard, it’s such comfort knowing other mamas go through the same struggles.

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  4. It is always so helpful and encouraging to read other people’s journey with breastfeeding and know you are not alone. I have a 2month old and I had NO IDEA how difficult/painful breastfeeding was going to be. I think we all can be thankful for patient and supportive husbands! I do not think I would have stuck with it had I not had his daily encouragement.

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  6. What a great story, thanks for sharing! It is nice to hear that the struggle doesn’t last. I’ve heard the first month is the most difficult. I’ll be sure to have a bunch of cheerleaders when I’m going through it like you did. Support makes a difference.

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