Boobie Talk

Sarcastic Mom is hosting a boobie day today. No, it's not for you men out there. It's a time and place for women of the world to regale the horrors that are known as breast feeding. Read on, men. And be in awe of what Woman can do.

When I was pregnant with my first, breast feeding was making a huge comeback. I was not that comfortable with the whole idea, however. I am the most modest person on the face of planet Earth and was not thrilled with the thought of using those things. But I'd heard all the arguments in favor of, and they were good. I decided that I'd give it a go, but when it didn't work I was giving my newborn a bottle.

Did you get that? When it didn't work. Not if. I went into the whole "breast-is-best" thing knowing that I'd hate it and quit.

After birthing my firstborn I did what was expected of me. I nursed her. After 20 some minutes at the same boob, I asked the nurse how long you should nurse on one side before switching to the other. She said, "about 5-10 minutes for the first few times." Oh. So I switched sides and timed it. Done. That was easy.

A few hours later it was time to feed the little one again. She latches on. And then it happened. I saw fireworks flash before my eyes. I heard a rushing in my ears, then dead silence. I jumped so high that the baby nearly landed on the floor. Tears were running down my face and the searing pain throbbing through my body just wouldn't quit. It seemed to be focused on the boob. The nipple to be exact. I put the baby on again and we start over, this time I brace myself for the pain and breathe through it. (Lamaze did nothing for childbirth, but the extra focus did help for breatfeeding.) Thankfully after the first minute or so the pain deadened. I think I had a numb boobie. But it worked and we were both happy.

Thank goodness that was over.

Only it wasn't. That happened every. single. time. I nursed her for 4 months. Turns out she must have sucked skin right off the end of my nipple the very first time she nursed, and every subsequent nursing did nothing to allow that to heal. She sucked the scab right off and continued to further irritate the again-open wound every 3 hours for 4 months.

You'd think I would have quit, huh? Especially with the mindset I had going into it. But something maternal inside me clicked. I loved it. And yet, I couldn't do it. She continued to lose weight after she went home and it was determined that I didn't have enough milk for her. I had to supplement with formula. I am amazed that she nursed for 6 months anyway. I never had much milk, and pumping produced nothing more than manufactured pain. It took me exactly two days to lose my supply once she decided she was done.

I nursed the second child for 7 months before he decided it was more work than the bottle. He needed supplemented despite nursing every 30 minutes for a day to build up supply. It did nothing. I nursed the 3rd child exactly 6 weeks. I'd said I was too busy to nurse for 40 minutes only to have to feed a bottle anyway and if I couldn't exclusively nurse him I was cutting him off at 6 weeks. At 6 weeks and 1 day I had zero milk. So much for engorgement, cabbage leaves and all that. Micah never nursed at all, but that's another story for another day.

I cannot fathom why on earth stupid people want to pierce their nipples. I've had enough pain associated with them to last a lifetime.


caramama said...

Good for you, nursing through that pain! And doing it again with subsequent kids! This breastfeeding thing is not easy, but we are pretty amazing to do it at all. :-)

Melissa said...

Due to the medication I was on I couldn't breastfeed. I have to say I'm pretty thankful I didn't have to make that decision. Between the breastfeeding and the PPD I would have driven my car into a telephone pole for sure.

You must be a saint for continuing to try even against the odds you had going for you! Impressive, girlie!

Lori said...

thanks for posting your stories... breastfeeding is NOT as easy as people want to make it out to be

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine having skin ripped off. The cow factory I was on the pump was bad enough. OUCHIE! I think we are opposites. I'm always told to be more modest!

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

You managed to perfectly describe the misery that is latching on for the first few weeks. Thankfully, it went away for me. Maybe because my kid didn't suck my skin right off (thank goodness). Or maybe because the darn things finally figured out to just block everything out and turn into numb blobs. Whatever.

You are amazing for sticking to it.

Kellan said...

I never breastfed any of my babies and enjoy hearing the stories from those that did. I'm sorry you had the pain - ouch - but the fact that you suffered through it for so long, shows the kind of wonderfully, committed mother you are - good for you Karen! TAke care - Kellan

Pam said...

Breastfeeding is the craziest thing. I nursed Ashlyn only out of guilt because everyone said it was best....I had to go back to work after 6 weeks so she didn't nurse exclusively for long. Riley I am breastfeeding so we can save money. He only take formula at his sitter. Here I am almost a year later with the little man still latching on....I was surprised I didn't quit or give it up.

Flea said...

Wow. See, to me, breastfeeding is like homeschooling. There are nazis out there who believe that there's a right way to do everything, even if that way doesn't work for everyone.

Both breastfeeding and homeschool nazis try to convince everyone that there is no other way to go, that you are a BAD MOMMY if you do otherwise. I've encountered both types way more than once.

My first child had to go to a bottle because she kept losing weight. I still breastfed for 4 months. And pumped. The boys, they did well and weaned themselves at 9 months. So I've been both successful and unsuccessful at breastfeeding. My cousin has no milk and can't breastfeed. She's heard all the militant lectures and felt the guilt. Sad.

Homeschool? You've been there too. It's not for everyone. Neither is breastfeeding.

Sorry to rant. Must be my day to have my buttons pushed.

Jennifer said...

You know I have 7 kids. I tried to BF one of them. My first 4 I was happy to bottle feed, and really had no problem doing it. It was the plan for Johan too, but my DH asked me to BF and I love the man to much to say no, LOL. So I tried. He did well as soon as he was born. It hurt like crap, but he did well. The second feeding, I couldn't get him to latch on right, or at all, I can't remember now and at some point I called the lactation consultant. She brought me one of those crazy powerful pumps and told me that due to my inverted nipples, I would have to pump each side for 10-15 minutes to draw out the nipples, (AT EACH FEEDING) then let him nurse on each side as well, and then follow up with a bottle for him as well. Um, he was number 5, and I had a 1 yr ols and a 2 yr old at home, as well as my older two. It wasn't happening. Sometimes I like to think I would like to BF, but really, that so isnt me. I agree with flea. It aint for everyone. I am one of those everyones that it aint for ;)

I do have a BF nazi though in my family. My sister in law. Her favorite past time while I am preggo is to try to convince me to BF.


Tootsie Farklepants said...

I did both bottle and boob for all 3 kids. Boy-Child#1 was the biggest challenge. He had the biggest appetite and my body took FOREVER to catch up.

Shellie said...

You deserve a medal for that, woman! I sorta had the opposite problem. I'm a milk cow in disguise. Weaning was impossible!

Colleen said...

I know this sounds bad, but I'm glad someone else had supply problems. Mine were slow to refill and held small amounts. It was a fight for all 7-1/2 months. I outlined my BF'ing woes a few months may or may not have seen it. Maybe I'll forward the link to Sarcastic Mom.

Cecily R said...

Okay, you are a STUD! I would have given up after day two!

By the time Isaac left the hospital three days after he was born he was sucking down more than 4 ounces of formula per feeding. There is no way I could keep up. I tried with all of the kids. And failed. Whatever.

I am convinced that I gave my extra milk to my sister somehow. When she was pumping while her twins were in the NICU she stored over 60 ounces a day!!