real talk, real moms on feeding

real-talk-feedingThis month’s “real talk, real moms” topic is on feeding! After Archer was born, suddenly talking for hours and hours about my boobs was completely normal and showing them to total strangers was acceptable! OK, it was only two and they were technically lactation consultants, but still… “hi, how are you?… oh good, take a look at this (.)(.)” Anywhooo, I will try and keep that part to a minimum but so far this is how our feeding is going.

Months 1 – 3
PURE TORTURE!!! Well not all of it but a lot of it. Archer started off great. He came out of the womb, eyes wide open and when they laid him on my chest I swear he started doing push-ups. I, having been too terrified to hold any of my friends newborns, was beyond shocked at how strong he was. With a little coaxing from my wonderful doula, he was able to find the milk makers within minutes. He did amazing wanting to nurse right away and frequently, so much so, that by his first doctors appointment on day 4 or 5 he had already gained back his birthweight and increased it by a 6 ounces! So everything was going swimmingly until the pain… SO MUCH PAIN. It started with a cracked nipple that turned into a giant fissure… I thought half of it was going to come right off. I googled and googled and cursed the people that said if you are doing it right there should not be pain. I wanted to slice their nipples open and see what they thought. I had the lovliest lactation consultant (erica of the mama’s circle) do a house visit, as I wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. She was amazing, assured me that I was in fact “doing it correctly” but that I had “extreme nipple sensitivity”. Great. Basically it meant I had to suck it up, wiggle my toes and count to ten while the worst of the pain subsided when he first latched and carry on. He was doing so well and I had so much milk, I just didn’t want to give up and so I didn’t. And then guess what? THE PAIN GOT SO MUCH WORSE! No joke, I was on antibiotics for the first two weeks (because of the catheters) which messed up all my insides and led to a terrible horrible case of thrush. It was bad, so bad… Something like shooting out shards of glass, while burning on fire, while getting stabbed with a knife repeatedly every time I nursed… every two hours. I tried pumping and that was even more painful. My mom thought I had postpartum depression because I cried so much, but I was crying from the pain, I was crying because I dreaded feeding the little guy which made me feel like a horrible mother and I cried because I wouldn’t let myself quit as he was doing so well. Finally we got it diagnosed and got a prescription, it was a long road to healing, but we made it. I remember after the first month I just kept telling myself, I will tough it out for six months and then be done. Erica told me that some people actually enjoy nursing, that it can feel pleasant. I looked at her like she was insane.

Months 3 – 6
Just around the three month mark, it got so much easier. I felt like I was getting the hang of things and the pain was pretty much gone, slight discomfort at times but nothing like before. Archer was feeding about 6 times a day, he was gaining weight and growing like a champ and getting so much more efficient. We finally fell into a rhythm and turns out I have come to enjoy the quiet time in the rocker with just A and me. Erica wasn’t so crazy after all. I do feel incredibly lucky to be able to experience it and am SO glad I stuck it out. And now… here we are, a little past 6 months and I can’t believe how the time has flown by. We started introducing some fruits and veggies around 5 months old, giving Archer tastes here and there. Sweet potato was the first, then avocado, and banana. Now we have been feeding him solids alongside nursing 3 times a day, with a final solely breastmilk feed before bed. Introducing solids has been hilarious, see what he thinks of bananas here, and I don’t blame him since we learned the hard way just how constipating they can be for the little guy. And on that note… I think I shall wrap things up as there are five too many mentions of nipples,  one too many of poop (or the lack there of), and if I carry on who knows where it might lead.

And in closing… although not very informative, I hope anyone struggling with breastfeeding woes finds solace in this post and knows they are not alone. Oh and how freaking adorable is that little buddy in his highchair up there?

If you missed last month’s real talk on sleep, catch it here, and make sure to check out my other real mama friends chatting about feeding today, listed below:

Sacramento Street
Ave Styles
Parker Etc.
The Effortless Chic
Our Style Stories
Could I Have That
The Refined Woman

  • […] our exact journey. Today our wonderful group of mamas, including Amy, Erin, Alex, Hilary, Caitlin, Sarah, Rebecca, Sam and Emily are talking about our journeys in feeding these sweet babes we adore, […]

  • […] Etc The Effortless Chic Our Style Stories Could I Have That The Refined Woman Smitten Studio Online Sacramento […]

  • […] Effortless Chic // Erin of Apartment 34 // Sarah of Smitten Studio // Alex of AVE Styles // Em of The Refined Woman // Amy of Parker […]

  • This is an incredible story, Sarah! I’m so impressed you stuck it out! I had a similar situation to Caitlin from Sacramento Street happen to me when my son was born. He wouldn’t latch and I ended up exclusively pumping for 4 months straight and feeding him my milk via a bottle. After 4 months, I had to switch him to formula, as I was back to work and my office schedule didn’t allow the mandatory pumping routine I was on. I still feel like 4 months was a good run solely pumping (I hated pumping and cleaning all the parts) and my little man received 4 months of mother’s milk. I can already see my sacrifice paying off – he’s a healthy, happy baby! Us moms are doing are best we can! Love this series! Looking forward to seeing next month’s posts about the work/life balance. Something I’m still trying to figure out and my little man is 9 months old! xx

    • Hi Jill,
      I am always so impressed with people that pump exclusively. That is SO MUCH WORK. As if feeding a newborn doesn’t already take up all your day you then have to pump, and bottle feed, AND clean all those parts. I hope you had some lovely family around to help with the not so fun cleaning bit.

  • […] more from  Amy, Erin, Alex, Hilary, Caitlin,Sarah, Rebecca + […]

  • Thank you so much for sharing, Sarah — your words bring encouragement and support to other mamas out there. And kudos to you for toughing it out! My little girl is 4.5 months, and for the first three months I was counting down the days when I could be done with breastfeeding. We’ve gotten into a groove since, so I’m finally enjoying the special time we spending together while I still can. All the best to you and your family.

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Sarah!!! It’s been SO fun reading everyone else’s! It’s made me remember bits of my story that I’d forgotten….like the “wait ten seconds until the pain subsides” nonsense. IT STILL HURTS, I’d yell at my mom & midwife. lol…so glad those days are over and it had gotten easier!

    • Haha! Exactly @rebecca. I STILL sometimes catch myself counting and don’t notice I am doing it until I reach like 45.

  • so honest and funny…thank you! nursing my little ones were challenging for me b/c they would NOT latch! I pumped for weeks trying to get my one daughter to finally latch. After using one of those nipple shields and being super persistent she finally latched (2-3 months later) and then 2 months after that we didn’t need the shield any more which was a huge relief. I think in part b/c i was pumping initially and then using the shield – it helped me to not have any issues with chaffing or cracking etc….i was super lucky in that respect so when i could finally nurse it was really pleasant. But honestly figuring out nursing was one of the hardest things i’ve ever had to do! glad you can now enjoy it a bit too!

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story, despite how painful. My little guy had trouble latching and was a chewer rather than a sucker and it made breastfeeding very painful and inefficient. I ended up pumping 6-8 times a day and supplementing with bottled breastmilk for weeks while continuing to try and breastfeed. I nearly threw in the towel as I felt it would never get better but I persevered and I’m so glad I stuck with it. He’s nearly 3 months old now and almost exclusively breastfeeds but I still pump once a day to stock up the freezer and give my hubby the opportunity to feed him a bottle here and there. It’s so comforting to know us mama’s are not alone, the struggle is REAL! Not enough women talk about this stuff so thank you and cheers to you for sticking with it through so much pain :) You are an inspiration!

    • So amazing breanna! Good job mama. I forgot to say I also pump once at night now to stock the freezer up too. Liquid gold for reals. :)

  • I don’t normally comment but have to say this post hit home as I am trying to nurse my 1 month old. I knew it wouldn’t be easy or feel great but it is so much harder and mor painful than I expected. Hopefully as we continue we can get to where you are now!

    • Hi Katie! So glad you did. Nipple shields didn’t help me but they have helped others. Also I ended up having to change archers nursing position everytime to give the worst of the crack a break. Ie football hold or side lying. That helped at least a little in the beginning! Good luck and know it gets better and when it does you forget so quickly how it was before. X

  • oh my land. this brings back memories. I too had a cracked nipple and mastitis and pushed through . SO MUCH PAIN, so much so that I would of rather given birth again then latched onto that cracked nipple. ouch!! glad you found your groove with breastfeeding it can take a bit of time. thanks for sharing :)

  • I can totally relate! Nursing has been terribly painful in the beginning with all 5 of my babies. I crack and bleed every single time. With my last baby I got thrush in the beginning, and you aren’t kidding, the pain was absolutely horrid. I too would rather deliver the baby again- than go through the pain of cracked nipples and thrush! But I managed to stick it out, and it was so so worth it. I tried prescription meds. And they didn’t help at all. So I bought a (expensive) quality probiotic, and took it orally a few times a day, made a paste with it, and let it dry on my nipples once a day, and ate no sugar, dairy, or grains for a month. I also changed my bra, bath towel, and sheets every day. Oh, and the only prescription that did seem to help was Newman’s all purpose nipple ointment. Phew! It was a lot of work, but now I am pain free, and nursing is going so very well. I’m enjoying it so so much now!! It was for sure worth the first 6 wks of misery!

  • I usually don’t comment, but I just had to–my second is 5 months old and I thought nursing him would be a cinch since I was able to persevere through nipple shields, mastitis, and a colicky baby with my first (and still I nursed her for over a year). But the second presented all kinds of new challenges–a high palette which meant that I was in crazy amounts of pain since we didn’t quite “fit” together and then we also shared a horrific case of thrush. I never knew it could be that painful–crying throughout every nursing and then all the nonsense of trying to clean everything so much to avoid reinfection even when you’re sooooo tired. So congratulations for sticking with it–I was able to push through too and I’m so glad I did. Now our only challenge is that he refuses to take a bottle and so when I’m at work he has to be fed breastmilk with a dropper. A tedious process for sure, but like everything else, this, too, will pass. Thanks again for sharing!

  • Girl you crack me up. Kudos for turning something so traumatic into something humorous. I still remember the day Carter fed 16 times in 24 hours and I thought I was going to throw him across the room
    – and my nipples didn’t even hurt! Breast feeding still isn’t my fave, even sans pain, but you’re getting me excited to introduce solids!

  • Jen Pinkston

    I completely forgot how painful latching was in the beginning until I just read your post! Oh mama! I’m so glad things got easier for you and so happy he is such a great eater!

  • I am so glad things are going better for you. I had something very similar happen to me with my first born (not as severe) and he ended up getting thrush in his mouth too. I remember feeling so alone. Everyone else who was nursing or had nursed had no pain. I just thought it was me. You sharing your story will help so many women and make them realize they are not alone. Thank you for that!!

  • Marissa

    This is just what I needed to read at 2 weeks postpartum right
    Now! Wow, breastfeeding is a labor of love. I’m so happy to be
    Able to do it for my little gal, but honestly I’m glad to hear it gets easier!
    What a relief to hear.

  • Love this post! As an expectant mother it gave me lots to think about. I also love that high chair – Can you tell me where you bought it? Would love to get that for my little one!

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