Breastfeeding: The Good, Bad and Ugly Truth

Of all the new things I’ve needed to learn as a new mom, I’ve found breastfeeding to be the most challenging; it took seven weeks, roughly 70 feedings a week, for everything to click and become easy for the first time. I’m not writing to complain about my situation; trust me when I say I’ve seen and heard of women going through much worse than I had to endure in order to breastfeed for any duration of time. The reason I want to touch upon this topic is so that if you find yourself, or know of a friend or family member going through similar struggles, you can at least know that you are not alone.

Just to share a quick piece of background, I was initially unsure of how long I planned to breastfeed, and because of that, I did little to prepare myself ahead of time – no classes, breastfeeding specific books, etc. I took the ‘natural’ and ‘easy’ tagline a little too literally and unfortunately, that was not my experience. Once my struggles began (after skin to skin and a successful latch in the hospital), I met with several lactation consultants, attended regular breastfeeding clinics and no one seemed to find anything significantly wrong with my technique (after some teaching and initial adjustments) or explain why I was still experiencing pain after so many weeks. When it boils down to it, I think I am naturally more sensitive than the average woman and it just took my body longer to adjust. Looking back, my only lingering frustration is that I never found a source, either online or a book, that explained breastfeeding as anything else except natural and easy after the first few days or so.  I’m not arguing that they do not exist, because I’m sure they do – but they are much harder to find.
Bottom line, if you are interested in breastfeeding, your baby is gaining weight and you do not have a supply issue – maybe you fall into the same camp as I did. If you find yourself experiencing problems or it just isn’t as easy as you were expecting, seek out a lactation consultant or ask around amongst family and friends, as I’m sure SOMEONE has had a similar experience. I think the hardest thing to deal with as a new mom is feeling like you are the only one with a particular struggle, so when it comes to breastfeeding, know that you are not. As for me, four and a half months later I’m still going strong, so there was a light at the end of the tunnel. 
I think it’s time to blow the lid off the breastfeeding conversation and start supporting other woman by sharing real stories. Regardless of your experience, good, bad or ugly – let’s hear it. What did you do when things were difficult? How did you make it through or when did you know enough was enough? Alternatively, tell us how smooth and easy it was for you, as those stories are just as important to share. Email me your short story and I’ll feature some on my blog!

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3 Responses to Breastfeeding: The Good, Bad and Ugly Truth

  1. Heather Tomoyasu June 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    It took baby and me a couple of months to get it right, too. By 3 months, it's felt like nothing could be more natural in the world!!I'll e-mail you a couple of my breastfeeding posts to see if you want to feature any ^_^

  2. lisa June 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    I had a relatively easy time breastfeeding – probably because Calvin was so agressive (ouch!). It was painful in the beginning (about 2 seconds after each latch for about 2 weeks), but after that it was fine. The toughest part was continuing to breastfeed while at work and needing to pump in between meetings, conference calls, etc. Maintaining my supply by pumping throughout the day AND balance work in an office was extremely difficult and stressful. I was determined to reach my goal to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months. Anything after that was bonus. Calvin self-weaned at 11 months as my milk dried up. It was strange because I was home with him everyday with him at that point but he just stopped showing any interest. We gave him formula after that as his solids diet was so wacky and occasionally he gets a bottle as a treat. Really I just want to get as many nutrients in him as possible which isn't always easy with a picky toddler!


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