• Chane Brown

Breastfeeding Struggles


What can I say but ouch!

To me this was almost as painful as labor. I mean I did have an epidural but still, breastfeeding was a struggle for me and all I wanted was to get it right. I craved to have that mother/ baby bond that breast feeding provides, however, all I was getting was incredible agony. It made breastfeeding a real struggle and so many times I wanted to give up but I didn't. It does get better, so don't give up either. If I needed any advice from others it was these two things:

  1. Buy a nipple shield and take it to the hospital with you.

  2. Give yourself time to get it right.

It took Ryton and I a month to start getting this right. We were slow learners and starting at the hospital my nipples were so incredibly sore that it made getting it right even harder. Once I was at the cracked and bleeding nipples part, it was very difficult to fix a latch, so let’s start at the hospital.

My first piece of advice is buying a nipple shield and taking it to the hospital. This is probably the worst advice I’m sure and lactation consultants are probably getting their pitch forks out to skewer me with but this little bit of advice would have made my issues so much easier. Let me explain.

Before you ask if I went to a lactation consultant, I did. I phoned her up to try and get a session booked but she was going out of town and referred me to another woman. She also provided me with a lot of information and videos to watch to help my predicament. I watched all the videos and I did find that the flipple technique is the one that has really helped with our issues. I made the appointment for the next day but then that lady fell ill and so Ryton and I were on our own to sort it out.

From the very beginning Ryton was very aggressive with going after my nipple. He would scream his head off, violently moving his head back and forth (rooting) while I am trying to aim him and work him into position. I was watching all the breastfeeding videos in the world and I couldn’t relate to them because they would use a doll or the worlds most patient child when demonstrating how to obtain the deep latch. There should be a video on how to obtain a deep latch with an already fussy baby. This task was much harder than all the videos provided. He still does this every now and then, where he stretches his body long and pushes away from the nipple. Either that or his hands would get in the way and he would start sucking on his own fist rather than my nipple. This led to him being even more frustrated as milk wasn't coming out of his fists and filling his stomach, go figure. Several times, I was crying at home asking why? to my newborn when it was in the middle of the night and his preferred his technique.

Another factor that we were dealing with was Ryton being 2 weeks early. I think he struggled with opening his mouth wide enough in the beginning and so every latch was a shallow one. No matter what position I put him in, every time I put him on the boob was just the most painful experience. I mean I was sucking in air and taking deep breaths just to breathe through the pain.

This is where the nipple shield saved me. While Ryton was getting older, the shield forced him open his mouth more and that helped us starting out with fixing his latch. It also gave me a bit of time for my nipples to heal and because my nipples were now guarded, we could practice the techniques properly.

I say to take the nipple shield to the hospital with you because it is better to have it and not need it, than to go through the pain and suffering that I went through. It took me a week to finally order the nipple shield and all the stores were sold out of them around me so I had to order online. Online took another 5 days to get to me. My nipples were bleeding and when I pumped I could see the trickle of blood mixing in with the milk giving it a pinkish hue. So just get the nipple shield. They aren't expensive and they can be a life saver.

Now come to find later that my nipples, especially my right one, are quite flat. That is why we were having such difficulties and that is why my nipple shield is my life saver. Ryton and I still use the nipple shields every now and then. These mainly consist of him having a bad night and looking to comfort feed constantly but for the most part we are off the shield and the bonding experience that I have with him is so special.

So take your time if you are breastfeeding. You will find what works perfectly for you and your baby. Don't give up. Get the advice that you need and look into different techniques. Try them all until you get one that works for you and your little one. It will happen.

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