Breastfeeding is hard sometimes. It’s also very comforting and relaxing, most of the time.
I am 10 weeks post-partum and we have done great with nursing. But there has been a few things that have made it difficult and painful!
We actually did really well the first few weeks. He latched on easily and he caught on fast. Although at the hospital he didn’t know how to latch on the left, because that nipple was slightly harder to latch due to it not sticking out as much as the right. So that side hurt and engorged. However at our first pediatrician appointment, she helped him latch on that side and it was better. It hurts when your boob is full and needs to be drained. If it goes too long that way you can have clogged milk ducts and worse case scenario, you get Mastitis, which thank God that has never happened! Just look up what that is and its no fun!
Breastfeeding: The struggles
The #1 thing that is hard to deal with, even with proper latch, is sore nipples. It is hard to nurse when it hurts to do so!
Clogged Milk Ducts
I have had clogged milk ducts twice since Liam was born. And trust me, it hurts!
When this happens, your boob or boobs are too full and if not properly drained when they need to be, your milk gets clogged. So when you try to nurse on that side, the boob is sore, you can have hard lumps that you need to massage out, redness, and your nipple hurts like hell! I mean, it hurts so bad you will clench your teeth, curl your toes, and almost cry! But the good thing is, is that it doesn’t last long. A couple of days, which yeah sounds like long if you think about how many times you nurse, but it’s at least not a week. Eventually it feels better and all is good.
I also had clogged ducts a week ago, the second time and it hurt worse than the first time! But only last about 3 days.
Update: I recently had them again(I started this blog post a week ago or so) and I find that it’s because I also pump once a night. I decided not to pump because it’s messing with my supply and it can get hard to keep up and if you don’t, you can get complications such as clogged ducts.
How to get rid of clogged ducts:
Nurse, nurse, nurse! It will help it unclog! Make sure to nurse in different positions to unclogged all spots. Look up positions online.
Massage downwards/upwards towards the nipple while you nurse. It hurts but do it. Also while in the shower as well as you hand express.
Warm towel will help nipple tenderness and nipple cream!
Lastly, pump if you need to but only after 6 weeks post partum! Why? Because that way your milk supply has already been established. Remember if you pump you create more milk and if you do it too often or not consistent you can have issues so look into it before you do. Pumping also helps give your nipples a break since it hurts so much(it doesn’t hurt as much as them sucking).
I really enjoy breastfeeding! Besides the obvious, it is easy and don’t have to worry about warming a bottle. Also free!
This is more painful than clogged milk ducts! It it a very similar pain as above on your nipple but worse. I had to pump a little more to get relief from the pain. This lasts almost a week. The super bad pain lasted about a day and a half and gets better from there.
What is a milk blister? It is when your nipples are healing and milk gets suck in the process and skin heals over a opening that usually lets your milk out which also ends up having clogged milk ducts since the milk isn’t coming out the hole it usual does. So you will see white spots or spot on your nipple. Do not pop! It also can look like thrush but look at your baby’s mouth first and if not, it could be a milk blister.
How to get rid of milk blisters? Warm towel on nipple! Massage shower. Pump if you need relief. And nurse nurse nurse to help it out. Nipple cream seemed to help a little because your nipple feels so raw! If you get this, good luck! But I promise it doesn’t last long it just feels like it.
Cluster feeding/feeding on demand:
Breast fed babies feed differently than formula fed. Or bottle fed. We don’t go by oz or hours so we feed on demand. When they want it, they get it.
He typically wants it between 2-3 hours but when he cluster feeds and it can be sooner and more often.
Cluster feeding is when they feed a lot and are fussier. You think something is wrong but it is all good, they’re just growing and you have enough milk. It just doesn’t seem like it since they ask for it all the time. This phase usually lasts about a week or less. It is hard because I feel like he’s glued to me but it passes and he is back to his playful, happy self.
Pumping and bottle feeding:
We introduced Liam to a bottle with breast milk at 8 weeks. It is highly suggested to wait until at least 6 weeks until you use a bottle so they do not have nipple confusion, meaning that they don’t end up preferring the bottle over breast. If you still want to continue to breastfeed as well as use a bottle from time to time, wait 6 weeks.
Look up pace feeding!
Liam is taking a bottle well! He didn’t take the Tommie Tippie bottle well because the nipple is too fast so I used a Medela bottle I got from Ben’s co-worker wife and since it is slow flow, he did well with that. I may try getting the slow flow Tommie Tippie nipple to since we already have three bottles. But since I have the Medela electric pump(got from the same lady), it’s easier to use the Medela bottles.
I only pump once a day, at night and keep my stash of milk in the fridge and freezer so when we want my parents or sister/ brother babysit, we have milk to do so. We are practicing using the bottle once a day, usually at night.
Update: I am giving pumping a break since I’m getting clog ducts more often. 😦
Overall, we are doing great.
If you have any questions about our journey or anything else related, let me know because I want to encourage every mom to breastfeed since it is so healthy for your baby! It is a journey but so worth it.