I so wanted to breastfeed. We went to a class. I read all the books. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but knew I wanted to try. In the hospital you latched on right away like a champ. The nurses all laughed at you because you were such a greedy and noisy little eater. The lactation consultants visited us twice during our hospital stay and both said what a great job you were doing. We had a wonderful nurse that came in with each feeding on our second night to help me. I started calling you Little Piggy because that's the sound you make when you're hungry. You're so eager to latch it's hard to get you to do it right, but we kept at it.
Then we got home and I started to call you Baby Jaws because that's what it felt like with each latch. Your eyes would get wide and you'd start snorting away. It would take a few times but eventually you'd get it. You almost always poop when you're eating. You grunt and try to twist your head and then we have to start all over. By our second night at home I knew something had to change. My nipples were covered in friction blisters and I dreaded every time I put you to my breast.
At your first visit to the pediatrician she asked me how I was doing and if I was going to get help. I already knew the answers and she gave me information for an additional lactation consultant in case I couldn't get in with the ones I intended. I called them the next day and they saw me within the hour. We worked on it. I knew what we were doing wrong, you just weren't getting enough into your mouth and that's what was causing all the pain. We worked on technique and I felt better when we left. We did ok the next two days. We're great on one side, but not on the other. I thought I could feed you from just the one side until the other healed and would just use a manual pump on the injured side. Then when I pumped on the injured side and the milk was dark red with the blood from a cut I didn't even know I had, I knew we had to try something else. I was so upset and sore and oh the emotional roller coaster of hormones, I ended up having John give you your first bottle.
We went out and I bought gel soothies and a nipple shield hoping those would work. The soothies felt fantastic and after several tries we still can't get that darn shield to stay on. We tried new positions and that seemed to help. I started getting up to feed you in a chair rather than in bed. I spent an entire afternoon watching videos on how to get you to latch correctly. I practiced with you between feedings. We were doing better but all our attempts were still leaving me in pain.
You like to fall asleep after a few minutes of nursing. I try to keep you awake, but you often jerk making us start the latching process over. If you've gone longer than five minutes you often don't want to latch on again. I wait. I burp you. I undress you. I change your diaper. You latch on for a few more minutes. We repeat this process. At 2 am and 5 am after already doing this from about 9 until midnight each night is leaving us both cranky and tired. I know you're not getting enough to eat because I'm often just giving up on you and hoping you'll at least let us sleep for a little while. After 3 nights of this I know I can't keep doing it, but don't know what else to try.
Each feeding I look at you just hoping that this time we'll get it right. This time it won't hurt as much. The pain and burning that I feel all day makes me cringe each time you wake up hungry. Each feeding I think, "I don't know how I can keep doing this." I'm dreading what should be a happy bonding moment with us.
Finally today, I break down while feeding you. I call to your dad from the other room and ask if I can show him how to make a bottle. I tell him that I think I just want to pump from now on. That I am in so much pain and can't go on. You're dad, who has been so wonderful and supportive through everything, just hugged me and told me it's ok. We're still making the right choice for you and for me. That there's no breastfeeding police that are going to come get me if I choose to give you my milk from a bottle. That you're still getting all the benefits from my milk, you're just getting it in another way.
These are all things that I know and understand, but I can't help feeling like I've failed you and I've failed us. I feel like I'm giving up too easy. It's been 8 days and I'm already ready to throw in the towel. I feel like there's more that I can do and should be doing. I know that I can't keep dreading feeding you. I shouldn't walk into each feeding with fear and pain.
I fed you that first bottle and I cried the entire time. I've cried with every consecutive bottle, but it's getting easier. I'm feeling better and am healing, you're getting fed, you're gaining weight, and you're getting so big already. Pumping isn't exactly fun but I'm doing it at each feeding to keep up and build a supply. I'm already pumping more than you need each time. I hope that this isn't the end our our breastfeeding journey because I so want it to work. Once I heal we'll try again, and we'll continue to work on it. I'll seek out additional help, and I know this is just one of our hurdles in this journey together.