Those three things ruined breastfeeding for me the first time, but I didn’t let it happen the second time around. Find out what they are and how you can overcome these breastfeeding difficulties and succeed at it.This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my babies when I had them. In my mind, it wasn’t even a question. There was just no doubt at all. I didn’t even consider bottle feeding them.
What I never imagined, was how hard it would be to actually accomplish it. I knew my mom wasn’t able to breastfeed any of us, and I knew of some other women who also didn’t succeed at breastfeeding.
And, honestly, do you know what I thought? I thought that maybe they didn’t try hard enough. I thought they just gave up the first chance they had.
And you know what happened? When it was my turn to breastfeed my first child, I wasn’t able to. The one thing I thought was going to come naturally to me, now seemed to be the hardest job in the whole world.
At that moment, I understood all the pain the other moms went through. The pain of wanting to offer the best food for your child, the one your own body is supposed to produce and not being able to.
Feeling like your body failed you… And you failed your baby. It was awful.
But when my second son came, I was determined to change my mindset, my actions, and overcome these obstacles. And I did.
None of those things would have been possible without the many prayers my friends and I said to the Lord. All glory be given to Him, because He had grace and allowed me to have this incredible experience with my second son, Daniel.
So, my first advice is, pray and trust in the Lord.
And my second is, persevere and do your part here on Earth. And that’s what we’re going to talk about now.
Related: Wondering what to feed your baby, who is just getting started on solids? Here’s the one baby food cookbook that helped our family!
How to overcome these 3 things that could ruin breastfeeding for you
Yes, pain. Most people don’t talk about it because they don’t want to scare other moms, but the truth is that for some of us, breastfeeding will be painful in the first few days (about 12 days). And it will be VERY painful.
I didn’t expect the pain to be that much. I wasn’t ready for it.
With my first son, I decided to stop breastfeeding and only pump the milk and bottle feed him. What happened is that my breasts became incredibly engorged and the milk just didn’t come out anymore.
It was so bad, that the doctor told me to stop. I stopped in the 10th day and that decision was really hard for me because breastmilk one of the things I was sure I wanted to provide for my baby.
With my second son, however, I knew that it would be painful and if I wanted to breastfeed him, I would have to overcome the first few days one way or another.
My stepmother told me about these breast shells that she used that protected her nipples and kept them from touching her clothes. It was seriously the best investment I could have made to help me with the pain.
Putting a bra on was really painful, but the shells kept my nipples from touching the bra and I couldn’t feel the pain.
I used the shells for the entire first month and maybe part of the second and there was no way I could have done it without them.
The one time I tried using cotton pads to protect my nipple, they stuck to my nipple and it was even more painful to get them out. (So I never did it again until later when my nipples were completely recovered from the soreness and cracks.)
Now, you might be thinking, I read somewhere that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt and if it does it’s because there’s something wrong. Ok, I agree with that and I believe it’s true.
But if you think about it, of course, there will be something wrong in the first few days. You and you’re baby are both learning the perfect position, how to do it, how to connect to each other. You and he are just finding your rhythm, so I also believe it won’t be perfect right away.
There’s a learning curve to everything in life and it wouldn’t be different from breastfeeding. So be patient and allow yourself and your baby to learn together in the first few days. Be strong, you can do this.
Be sure to look for a lactation consultant to assist you and your baby on the process and help you find a groove.
You can find the breast shells I was talking about down below in the Amazon widget:
How to survive sleep deprivation in the first few months with baby
I couldn’t have underestimated sleep deprivation any more than I did with my first baby. Yes, everyone tells you to rest and sleep while you’re pregnant, but you just have no idea of how much that will affect you when the baby is actually born.
I’ve always enjoyed my sleep very much and always had a hard time getting up in the morning. I’ve always needed my 8 hours of sleep to feel okay to go about my day.
So when I was faced with having to wake up every two hours in the middle of the night with a crying baby, that almost drove me crazy.
I woke up angry and mad that I couldn’t get my hours of sleep. I was mad at my baby for simply needing to be fed and loved in a scary world that he barely knew.
This whole sleep deprivation affected me more than I ever thought it would and it had a huge part on why I wasn’t able to breastfeed.
The first few months are really tough, then it gets better and your baby will eventually learn how to sleep through the night. [Here’s how you can help them learn faster.]
With my second son, I knew exactly what would happen and I knew that if I wanted to be successful at breastfeeding, I would have to have a different mindset.
So I chose to wake up when he showed me the first signs of hunger. I chose to come to him before he started crying hysterically. This way, we were both calm and breastfeeding was enjoyable to us both.
I also chose to wake up happy because I was nurturing my little boy who was just learning how to live in a totally different way than he knew how.
You know, friends and family are always the best supporters you have, but sometimes, they give too much unsolicited advice. And, if you don’t filter through it, you might end up completely confused, not knowing what to do.
By all means, listen to your friends and family, take what they say into consideration, especially if they have experience in what they’re talking about.
But don’t ever ignore your own maternal instincts just because of something they said.
They do have the best of intentions, don’t get me wrong, but ultimately, you’re the mom and in your heart, you might just have a feeling of what’s better for your baby. Believe in yourself!
Persevere and you’ll be thankful that you did. Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience.
The more practice Daniel and I had, the more we learned together how to navigate this beautiful journey of ours. He learned how to latch on and I learned the best positions that worked for us.
The first 10 days were notably painful, because like I said, we were both just learning together. Even wrapping a towel around my body was painful. The breast shells really helped me endure these first few days. And after we got past that, it got better and better.
We started connecting through breastfeeding and he was really attached to me. Breastfeeding was a beautiful experience and 100% worth it. The love and bond that came with it were just amazing.
Do you have a breastfeeding success story? Or did you have obstacles in your breastfeeding journey? Share ’em in the comment section with us! We’d love to hear it all.