Thursday, December 22, 2011

Woe is me

I wish I had known how hard breastfeeding was going to be for Jo and me. I don't know what I would have done with that knowledge, but at least I would have been a bit more prepared. We struggled so much at the start I totally understand why many mothers make the switch to bottles and formula. Jo and I stuck with it though, and it's finally paying off.

Baby Jo initially had some crazy latching problems -- enough to cause major "nipple trauma" (as our doctor calls it). For some reason I like the combo of the words nipple and trauma (it sounds super serious). I don't, however, like how nipple + trauma actually feels. I'll tell you this: it's not very fun. Two and a half months later after multiple sessions with our doc and midwife and lactation consultant and two rounds of antibiotics and two jars of Dr. Jack Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment and even trying a nipple shield (sigh) and tons and tons of pumping, I'm finally on the mend and even enjoy wearing a bra. I honestly thought this day would never come. When my nipples finally heal I will be throwing a party. Seriously. Yay!

Quite frankly, I was prepared to put up with the pain and the open sores for as long as we planned on breastfeeding. Crazy? Yes. I am insanely committed to breastfeeding. I'm also a hardcore, stoic Swede with a high tolerance for pain (we choose an un-medicated home birth). 

Did I mention there was also a time during the first week of Jo's life that she decided not to latch on at all? Yeah, that wasn't fun. After a frantic call to our doula who told us to start pumping, Nick ran out and bought a pump (we didn't have one yet). Our midwife suggested that we use a syringe/tube to feed instead of a bottle so we forged on with feedings with what my sister-in-law called a "medical procedure." Finally during a middle-of-the-night feeding attempt, Jo finally latched. It was magical. 

Oh yeah, and then I thought we had thrush, but it just turned out to be an infection. Gross. 

I'm still dealing with vasospasm  which means my nipples turn white and then red after and in between feedings, so I'm taking a high amount of vitamin B6 to help with that (it also turns my pee bright yellow and my breast milk a light shade of green -- neato). It's supposed to go away once the nipple trauma has officially healed. Fingers crossed.

Who would have thought that I would ever talk about my nipples this much?

This may sound crazy to many of you, but all of that struggle was totally worth it! Now that I can nurse pain-free I actually look forward to it and I'm amazed with the fact that my body can still make plenty of food even after all of that.  Jo loves to eat (as evidenced by her ever-growing chubbiness) and I love to feed her so it's totally a win-win. Yippee!!


  1. This deserves a comment. Kudos!!! Breastfeeding is wonderful, but I sure as heck am thankful that it was easier for me, as I am not as Swedish. :)

  2. Yay! I'm so glad it's better! And, seriously, she's so chubby! I love it.