All Clogged Up

8 May

I wish the title referred to a toilet or the drain. Heck even my nose. Instead it is much worse. Milk ducts. Argh. Clogged milk ducts have been the recurrent theme of my breastfeeding life. I have an over productive side that has given me fits since the beginning. I’ve spent wee hours of the morning sticking needles in my swollen, aching, hard as a rock breasts while watching my baby sleep peacefully on the monitor. I’ve come to accept that if I want to continue breastfeeding this is just something I have to put up with every couple of weeks. Fortunately, I’ve only gotten an infection twice (mastitis).

And that’s my breastfeeding horror story. Lots of people have them. Despite the unpleasantries that often come with it, lots of us Moms keep on pushing through and shout to the rooftops about how great breastfeeding is. I know, it seems absurd.

I despised the thought of breastfeeding. It made me nauseous. I terrorized myself throughout my pregnancy worrying over it. I cried in my breastfeeding class. Yep cried. I read everything I could get my hands on about it, the good, the bad, the nitty gritty details. I really didn’t want to do it for purely selfish reasons. I also felt it was anti-feminist movement. Yet, I believed it was best for the baby so I felt it was necessary to give it a try (even though I knew I would hate it).

Fast forward to the evening of January 18th. I held Liam in my arms and the nurse asked if I wanted to feed him. I was nervous but knew looking at him it was the right thing. I broke down in tears as despite all my research I had no idea what to do in that moment with my real little baby. I had SO many cords coming out of me at that point that I could barely hold him much less latch him. It didn’t go well but left me determined to figure this thing out. The first few days were rough as we both navigated the waters. It was painful because I didn’t know how to latch him and he didn’t know how to latch (but not as painful as I expected). A different lactation consultant came by every day at the hospital and they all had some different idea. It was confusing. And they all latched him for me so it was great as long as she was there. But on my own I couldn’t get it. Frustration set in, but so did determination. After a few days things started getting a bit easier. I remember telling Jason one tired morning while watching Liam eat that despite how hard it was, I loved breastfeeding my baby. I was so glad that I gave it a chance.

We had struggles for the first week, things got better as I defied my lactation consultant who told me to use the nipple shield for 48 hours only and I kept on going to 5 weeks. That’s when my first round of mastitis hit. Ouch. Horrible. Using a shield puts you at higher risk for it. Oops. I lived over it. I weaned him from the shield which was no big deal at all. I had to go through the initial pain again as my nipples toughened up. But we trudged on. Since then things have been pretty smooth.

I am fortunate that I can breastfeed my baby. I feel blessed to have a milk supply that sustains him without supplementing (so far anyway). I love the bond that we share. It is the most empowering thing I have ever done. Quite the opposite of the anti-feminist thoughts I once felt. I am so thankful to my sweet friends who encouraged me to try it but were supportive of any decision I might make. They said “give a chance and if it doesn’t work out, so what!” It took the pressure off. On top of all those wonderful feelings, it allows me to be lazy! We’ve given him bottles of pumped milk and it is such a pain! The warming and the cleaning! Ugh! It is so much easier to just give him the breast! Haha! I never in a bazillion years thought I would be telling expectant moms to give it a shot, but here I am saying just that! No judgment to those who don’t at all because it is a very personal decision. But it truly is the most amazing experience, second to bringing the baby into the world, that I have ever experienced.

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3 Responses to “All Clogged Up”

  1. Melissa May 8, 2013 at 6:37 AM #

    I loved reading this about how you arrived at your decision about breast feeding. I’ll never forget your lingerie shower at my house in Springdale and you and Sarah talking about how you would never do that and that it was strange to think of. Isn’t it funny how circumstances and little important people in our lives change our thinking! I am beyond proud that you can say you love to breast feed your baby!

    • Charmingly Kristin May 8, 2013 at 6:39 AM #

      Haha I don’t remember that discussion but it doesn’t surprise me!!! So glad that you helped me through it all! I couldn’t have done any of it without your support! Love you!

      • Melissa May 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM #

        Awe! So sweet! I’m too emotional for sweet right now…pregnancy emotion is overcoming me! LOL! I love you too! So thankful for our friendship!

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