"It took me 3 attempts, and. 5 years before I was successful with breastfeeding. With my first daughter I tried to nurse and had some battles: acid reflux, and the common nipple pain. Because of acid reflux I was worried that my daughter wasn't eating enough and so I began to feed formula.
With my second daughter I had built a support system and was ready to finally breastfeed. Unfortunately, nipple pains returned. We had a horrible latch, and I had no one to tell me how to fix things. Eventually my daughter suckled chunks away from my breasts. Due to the immense pain it would take me near 15 minutes to get the courage to feed during each feeding. I didn't want to nurse her and I felt horrible. Eventually I began to feed formula, and with every bottle, I cried
With my third daughter, I had enough personal failures. I was determined to succeed. I created an online support group, and did a ton of research. Within the first week of being home from the hospital, I realized we had a horrible latch, yet again. Thankfully, I had become friends with someone who was a doula and had experience with breastfeeding. I contacted her and she offered to come to my home and assist us with her latch. To this day, I say she is the reason I was able breastfeed. She helped us with positioning and latching. I was able to breastfeed my daughter until just over 24 months.
With my fourth daughter I was not worried at all. I was confident that I would have things under control. Surprisingly I, again, experienced nipple pain due to poor latch. But again, thankfully, I knew resources to go to. I went and spoke with the local Lactation consultant and she was able to help us latch pain free within an hour. I have now been nursing my daughter for 18 months.
Women often hear that breastfeeding shouldn't be painful. But most of the time, especially without education, it is. Throughout our breastfeeding journey I have experienced and learned so much.
I now know that you can pay attention to diaper output to tell if your baby is eating enough. I now know that there are Lactation counselors and consultants that are here to help with questions and support. I have experienced pumping while being a full time working mother.
I have experienced painful and bleeding nipples, engorgement, clogged milk ducts, mastitis, breastfeeding while pregnant, weaning a toddler, breastfeeding in public (and being harassed), using donor milk, losing my supply, increasing my supply, breastfeeding while having 3 other children to take care of....and I have made it through it all. It hasn't always easy, but it has absolutely been worth it! " - Heather Marie