an ode to boobies

I was debating if I wanted to post about this or not...some people may be weirded out by it (well, boys maybe...but I don't think many boys read this blog...eh, whatever) and my mom will probably say "why did you blog about that?", but it's happening. Sorry Mommers. ;-) 
Because breastfeeding...the struggle is REAL. And if you've struggled through it or are struggling through it, call me. We can be friends.  
The last 4 weeks I haven't thought/read/researched so much about boobs. Though I'm a second-time mom, I definitely don't consider myself a second-time breastfeeder. With Jillian I had one of the most awful times of my LIFE trying to get that mess figured out. Though it IS completely natural, it definitely doesn't COME naturally (for most). 

The problems with Jillian started from the get-go. In the hospital when the nurses were helping me figure out how to get her to "latch", one of them pipes up and says "you have flat nipples..."
What the heck are flat nipples? They're just there- they've always looked like this...other people's nipples look different?
Who knew? 
Turns out you realize rreeaalllyyy quickly why they can't be flat when you actually gotta use those suckers.
That was struggle numero uno. Because of this I had to use a "nipple shield", (which I affectionately nick-named my "boobie hat"). That did help, but it introduced problem number 2: yeast infections. 
I didn't know what yeast infections were, or that I was even having symptoms until I got problem #3: mastitis. When the mastitis was diagnosed, they also pointed out I had a yeast infection. That happens on boobs?
Who knew? 
 And if you've never known the torture of having mastitis- don't even talk to me about pain. They say to "nurse through it"...I want to slap anyone who says that without any hesitation, because if you've had it, you know you'd rather give birth again than nurse through a mastitis infection. I thought all of the pain I was experiencing from the yeast infection was just a normal part of getting used to nursing at the beginning. 
It wasn't.

Once the mastitis was cured, the milk on that side completely dried up. The lactation consultants I was working with wanted me to do everything short of jumping over the moon to try to get it back, but ultimately it was just too stressful on top of everything else (what I'd already been through and Jillian was also projectile vomiting after each feeding- the beginnings of reflux).

So all of this combined made me throw in the towel with breastfeeding. It was for the birds. 
I hated it.
I didn't understand how people said they "loved the experience" so much or that it was "so convenient" or a "great bonding experience" because what I experienced was horrific. 
It wasn't convenient, or a bonding experience, and it especially wasn't something I loved.

If you've been there or are there, high fives and fist bumps. I GET IT. It's TOTALLY OKAY to hate it. You're not a bad mom. Heck, there are days when I think I hate being a mom and THAT doesn't make you a bad mom either- it makes you a human being. I had to learn that I could still be a good mom, heck, a GREAT mom WHILE give my baby formula at the same time. I gave breastfeeding a heck of a noble effort, and it just didn't work out. It happens! The lactation consultants thought I was Lucifer himself for giving Jillian formula (or acted like it anyway)...*insert dramatic eye roll*...but OWN whatever approach you take to feeding your baby- it's your baby. Don't let others make you feel bad if you have to go the bottle/formula route (or want to even). We're blessed to live in a time where formula is incredibly great and there are so many options/types of formula available. 
Sorry for the soap box...but it took me a while to not feel like a complete failure of a mother (and WOMAN even- "darn you boobies- you had ONE job!") for not being a successfully breastfeed my baby. No mom should feel like that. Having a newborn is exhausting enough as it is. So don't feel like that...k? 

I digress.

Flash forward to Olivia.
 This time I was going in with eyes WIDE open. I knew what some of my struggles would be (heeyyy boobie hat) so I was prepared to confront them head-on. I really wanted it to work out this time. I'm not sure why I...Because I want my body to just do what it's freaking made to do? Because I'm a perfectionist? Because I want to vomit when I think of how much money we spent on formula for Jillian? Oh...and because I wanted Olivia to have the "best" food possible, yadda yadda. That too. I also think I was seeking validation that "Yes! I can do this!"

Before we left the hospital I could already tell the symptoms of the yeast infection was rearing it's ugly head again. I was able to get the prescriptions for that fairly quickly. Fortunately I had an awesome nurse before we left who helped get Olivia to latch sans boobie hat! YAY! (I hate the boobie hat...'tis neither fashionable nor comfortable). 
I was feeling good about where things were going. I was already light years ahead of where I was the first time around. 

I've Googled so many things with "breasts" in the search field I'm hoping my work doesn't flag me for something inappropriate (my computer is from the school district I work for)...
 How to get a good latch
How to get baby to open mouth wider
What is a nipple abrasion 
Treating sore nipples
What should a nipple look like when you're done breastfeeding
Symptoms of plugged milk duct
Why is my baby fussy while nursing
How long to nurse baby on each side
...and the list goes on...

 But KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! And an overabundance of knowledge can make you crazy and invent problems for yourself that never really existed.

I've called my mom so many times over the last couple of weeks and the conversation goes, "MOM! Did you know (insert random breastfeeding factoid)?!" And my mom will say, "Nope. We just did (insert random breastfeeding technique) back in my day and it worked just fine."

I've forced myself to stop the Google. I don't know that it was really helping much of anything but raising my stress level about how things were "supposed" to be going this time around. 

So where are we now? Things are going well, overall. I keep reminding myself that we're both pretty new at this- we gotta ride that learning curve together. We've overcome the latch issues and the yeast infection- wahoo! Points for us.
Just recently Olivia started showing signs of reflux (something I recognized right away) so we've been able to start her on Prevacid and I'm hoping that will take care of that. 
So it's not going perfectly, but it's going.

BUT I can say that I'm starting to see why women do say they love the experience- when it's 2am and the house is quiet, and the only ones awake are you and your sweet little babe that's cuddled up close to you in the rocker, as you're giving them something no one else can. I get it now. 
I think I'm glad to have experienced both sides of the fence, because I don't know I'd feel that way without experiencing the terrors of trying to feed Jillian. 

Moral of this story? I dunno, it was mostly a "If you have felt this way, I have too" kind of monologue. 
If you're having a hard time and want to throw in the towel? I get it.
If you love it and plan to do it for the rest of your babies? I get it now.
If you're trying incredibly hard to make it work but sometimes really hate sitting down to a feeding session? I especially get that one.
And it's okay- all of it. 
 Like I said, call me. We can be friends.

Momma on.


  1. I hear ya sista! I have flat nipples (yeah didn't even know THAT existed) and had to use the boobie hat which I then had to wean him off of and eventually supplemented with formula and then had to wean him off to exclusively breastfeeding at 5 months. It is an ordeal. This breastfeeding stuff is harder than giving birth and I see why some women give up. I prayed so many times that I wouldn't have it become more complicated with mastitis after attending a La Leche League meeting and hearing about a woman going through that. I'm thinking of pumping the weeks before baby #2 comes around so that my nipples aren't so flat. That helped elongate them in the beginning of breastfeeding. Tough stuff. We are still going with breastfeeding and I am so glad I stuck it out. I'm also so glad you are enjoying it. You may notice that it makes you extra tired this time around because making milk and breastfeeding make you work double time. Don't worry, it will also be worth it when you see the baby fat melt away faster. Now go eat some chocolate. You deserve it! (sorry, that was the mother of a teething baby talking right there).

  2. I didn't produce enough milk, so I was taking stuff that was supposed to increase milk supply and pumped after every feeding, so I felt like I was either pumping or feeding and doing nothing else with my life for the first month or 2 and I never had enough milk to make him full. And then the painful breasts! And Logan always immediately fell asleep when I started to feed him, so it took forever! I was doing both breastfeeding and formula until he was 4 months old, then I gave up. It was just too hard. I am going to try again when the next baby comes along, but I totally understand! And I'm glad someone else does too! It was hard to talk to women who think breastfeeding is amazing because it makes you feel guilty that you can't. But it was more important for Logan and me to be happy and healthy then unhappy and hungry! Thanks for sharing!


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