This post is sponsored by Medela.
“That’s not a crack, that’s a crater,” I stared at the lactation consultant in shock. I was 6 weeks into my breastfeeding journey and at every feed I was in toe-curling agony.
This was my second visit to lactation consultants in 6 weeks, I’d been to the doctor numerous times, and I was baffling everyone. No one could tell me what was causing the pain that was radiating across my chest between my breasts. Some were saying thrush on my nipples and others were saying mastitis.
Everything started well, after little E was cut out and placed straight on my chest; he was immediately searching for food. It was textbook and I knew he’d be a great feeder. During our 4 day stay in the hospital, all the midwives commented on what a great tongue he had (apparently this is important) and what great attachment he had.
Those first few days are a haze. We left the hospital against medical advice, they wanted to keep us in because E wasn’t putting on enough weight, all I wanted was to be at home with J. We were having daily midwife appointments, and he lost more weight, we were talking only 5gm. Then the next day he put on 100gm. Most nights, I was crying out in pain during feeds, and calling my mum for advice at 6am (she was a Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor for 10 years).
I was getting mixed advice from mid-wives, feed 3 hourly, feed 4 hourly, set an alarm to wake in the night to feed, just feed when he’s hungry. It’s tough, as a first time mum, getting told so many conflicting things.
At my 6 week check-up I visited a doctor who I hoped would become E and my regular doctor. She was amazing and diagnosed me having nipple thrush. The cure for this is a single pill that should, over a week or so, fix the problem. Today I am going to take my 3rd pill. And at $18 for each dose, I’m hoping it’s the last one and I don’t have to take a twice a day/14 day course.
I’m 9 weeks in now and the pain is easing, and the little that is there is definitely worth it. The time that I spend with E while feeding is beautiful, and to be honest, breastfeeding really does make life much more convenient (it made camping easy).
What I loved most about starting to breastfeed was that all of a sudden everyone shared their painful experiences. One piece of advice I was given was to rub a face washer over my nipple during every shower while pregnant, but I chose to ignore this painful piece of advice. Something I did hold on to, was that it gets easier, it really does. But while it’s not easy, hot face washers on your breast at the start of a feed to help with let-down, icy face washers to numb the nipples and even blocks of ice on hand to rub over them just before a feed, were all things that helped me.
Medela provides real solutions for breastfeeding mothers to get over any hurdles in the early days and to support their long term breastfeeding goals. Through its extensive range of breast pump products and other breastfeeding products, Medela is committed to promoting the benefits of breast milk and encouraging long term breastfeeding. For more information visit: www.medela.com.au www.facebook.com/medela.au