Tuesday, February 1, 2011

working through breastfeeding

There are many things that I tried to "educate" myself on before the birth of our daughter. Breastfeeding was one of them. I read The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears (love!) and familiarized myself with the basics of nursing.

But breastfeeding, as it turns out, is just one of those things that can't really be learned from a book.

After all of Niblet's blood tests (she had a trillion, thanks to meconium), the nurse brought her to me at 3am, and she said goodbye. I thought "Oh boy, WHAT do I do now!?" And just like that, all of my breastfeeding knowledge went out the window. I tried to get her to latch. Failed. Mark called a lactation consultant in immediately. She spent about 10 minutes with me and got Adalyn to suck her finger. Eventually we got the "football hold" down smashingly, and she enjoyed her meal.

Adalyn literally seeing me for the very first time.
A very very special picture to us!

But then we got home. And I filled up with milk.


And then I had to "toughen up" as she kept nursing.

DOUBLE ouch!!

Holy mackrel, who knew that breastfeeding could be so painful!? I'm talking like my toes would curl and I would hold my breath as she would latch. I'm fairly certain that my latch was good, but my body wasn't used to nursing yet. If Mark only had a nickel for every time I told him, "I just want to give her formula!!! PLEASE!" then he might be a rich man.

And thank God for my husband, because he encouraged me and kept me sane through the pain of breastfeeding. He's a real prize, that one!

I'm nearly certain that Adalyn developed a "shallow latch" resulting in "lipstick nipple." It was so painful that I recall my eyes watering in Moe's as I nursed her in the restaurant. Ow. Painful memories.

And not only that, but plugged ducts?! I got a plugged duct every other day. I'd read about them, but I (naively) skimmed over the paragraphs in books talking about mastitis and plugged ducts. Basically, a hard mass forms in your breast and it hurts.really.bad. It's so tender, and you have to massage it while nursing to get it to go away.

I still get those from time to time. Sigh.

But here we are today, at (almost) 15 weeks, and we're still going strong. I wish that someone would have told me how utterly painful breastfeeding can be. This post has no purpose, really. But a lot of my friends (readers) are pregnant, so I just wanted to "warn" you. Maybe it's just me? But it took a ton of determination to get here today. And, I'll be honest - the ONLY reason I stuck with it during those painful moments was because breastfeeding is free. And I didn't want to deal with bottles. Ha.

But I'm so glad I did. And I have my husband to thank. Thank you, lover, for encouraging me and listening to me whine and cry about the pain. You're my greatest inspiration.

And now? Why, I've nursed...
..high in the sky on an airplane
..at every restaurant known to man
..through a church service
..while I slept at night
..at the movie theater through Harry Potter
..going down the interstate
..while blogging!

Here's to 9 more months (I hope!) of breastfeeding.


  1. Shannon I REALLY appreciate you're honesty about breastfeeding, I think woman are scared to admit when they struggle because they think people will judge them. I'm sure you've helped many women feel like they're not alone.

  2. That's awesome! Breast feeding was hard for me. I think it hurts in the beginning because it's preparing you for when they get teeth! Now that hurts! I'm bound to teach Josiah not to bite me b/c I'm really stubborn and don't want to quit nursing because I've gone through soo much to keep my milk supply.
    Good post! And I hope you stick with it! It's awesome!

  3. Breastfeeding is SO hard. I have to remind myself of all the benefits to keep going sometimes. But it is all worth it in the end.

  4. Found your blog tonight.....

    what beautiful pictures of your girl - i love the first one -- what a precious moment!!

    i've seen you several times at church, but we haven't been formally introduced. hoping we can do that soon.

    AWESOME job nursing!! Keep it up, it is such a wonderful bond. We just stopped at 13 months, even though I was a little sad, it was time!! :)

    Very cute blog!

  5. Although Owen hasn't been able to nurse I'm still pumping for him around the clock. I can totally empathize with you! I had such a hard time getting my milk supply (which still ins't that of a nursing mom) that I just can't give up now! Kuddos to you for keeping it up. So funny she didn't like the formula...girl know what she wants!

  6. Gorgeous photos!

    I like your list of unusual places you have breastfed. :P