Breastmilk: Here, There, Everywhere

My daughter and I got off to kind of a rough start.  I had an emergency c-section after 22 hours of labor.  She went on a nursing strike at 2 1/2 months old.  I was a brand new mom and had no idea what I was in for, with a crazy hormone cocktail to top it off.

We had to work at our bond.  It took months for me to be comfortable caring for this little lady, and even longer to remember to start caring for myself.  Now, I am happy to say, that we are extremely tight.  I get to hang out with her every day, and literally watch her grow into an amazing young lady.

breastmilk here there everywhere

Every child is different.  Every birthing experience is different.

My son and I have been smitten for each other the second he was placed on my chest after my VBAC.  He nursed like a champ the first time he tried.  I never experienced a disconnect with him like I did with my daughter.  I was able to handle the hormones better this time around.

Now he’s 11 months old and still nursing.

I’m thrilled we’ve made it this far.  My ultimate goal is a year and we are so close!  It has been an amazing experience.  One that I had to learn from on my own, because there are things nobody tells you about nursing.

baby in a moby wrap

Sure, we hear that it may hurt the first few weeks.  Maybe your nipples will crack, and there may be blood.

It didn’t just hurt.  My son gave me a little glimpse of hell those first six weeks.  Both nipples had OPEN WOUNDS, and I STILL had to feed him.  This little thing just HAD to eat every two hours.

Anytime he cried, someone in the room would say, “I think he’s hungry.”  My immediate response in my head each time was, “Fuck off, he just ate.”

But out loud, I would cringe and say, “Come here little Buddy.”  I remember that part well because it was very deliberate.  It was always in a sickeningly sweet voice too, “Come here Buddy, are you hungry?”

My eyes are watering just remembering the first latch of each feed.  The pain went all way down to my toes like an electric shock.

After six weeks, my nipples were completely healed.  Minus a scar on each that will never go away.  No matter, these suckers are for babies only anyhow.

A few months of pain-free nursing bliss followed.  Of course there were the cluster feeds with the sleepless nights, but who sleeps during the infant phase anyway?

Then there’s the new pain.

Baby gets grabby.  Not just your precious milk-filled breasts (which are super sensitive, by the way), but grabby at your face, hair and clothes.  I’ve had my hair up in a bun since my daughter was born, but somehow, the boy reaches around my head and grabs a chunk of hair and pulls it out of my protective bun.  All while nursing.

He also has nails.  I have scratch marks on my chest, face and arms.  Cut his nails, you say?  I file them.  All the time.

And lets not forget the teeth.  At 11 months, he has eight.  I know I am very fortunate on this part.  He has bitten me plenty of times, but I know it could certainly be worse.  He only does it once here and there and he always stops right away.  But, that one time still hurts enough to keep me on edge for the next feed.

As an 11 month old, he is very curious about EVERYTHING.  And he does not want to miss out.  He will eat for a second, then swing his head around.  Then eat another second, and try to flip over.  At least I get a good arm workout while I avoid dropping him.

When he’s playing, he’ll occasionally make his way to me, tug on my shirt and expect to eat for a second, then off he goes to play again.  Sure, my friend, help yourself.  I am here for you.

He isn’t one to comfort nurse very often.  He doesn’t usually fall asleep nursing, but when he does it makes everything worth it.  That and when he looks into my eyes when he’s eating.  He’s so happy and admiring.  Motherhood is a thankless job, but sometimes we get these moments where we can actually see their appreciation.

His newest thing while nursing is pulling away and pushing my boob at the same time.  When the milk starts flowing….and you push…breast milk is going everywhere in a steady stream.  All over me, his face, the couch.  It always seems to happen in slow motion, too.  All I can think is, “Nooooo!! You’re wasting it!!”

What are your favorite, and not so favorite things about breastfeeding?

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  • Reply godlessnurse

    I think my favorite thing about breastfeeding is when we strip down skin-to-skin and have a nice side-lie nursing nap. It’s so relaxing, and I realize this time just won’t last forever. My daughter is just shy of 4 months, and I am savoring it all…

    June 7, 2014 at 2:52 pm
  • Reply mamabyfire

    Skin-to-skin is such an amazing comfort for mama and baby-I love it! And, yes, time flies by so fast…

    June 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm
  • Reply shelahmoss

    It’s great that you are continuing to breast feed despite the discomfort. Go, mom!

    August 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm
  • Reply Starla J @ Pressing In and Pressing On

    Love the last pic! Look at those cheeks!! AHHH!! So cute! Thank you for sharing your real life ups and downs on breastfeeding and being a mommy. I tried to breastfeed but before I had kids I had a reduction. I didn’t have the support to really try to make it work or supplement. However, my kids are happy and healthy now.

    August 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire

      Thanks! Support has been the key to my success. There is no way I would have gotten past the first few weeks with out it.

      August 8, 2014 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Branson

    This post gives me hope that if we are blessed with another child maybe I will be able to breastfeed. Thanks for reminding me every child is different! It broke my heart when I couldn’t nurse my son and I sometimes just assume that will happen again. And yes… even reading about the pain and struggles I want to more than anything if I have the chance, lol

    August 8, 2014 at 4:14 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire

      I’m so glad it gives you hope! I know how disappointing it can be not being able to nurse. My kids have been different from each other since my sons birth-it’s amazing! Haha!

      August 8, 2014 at 4:38 pm
  • Reply liquoriceuk

    Great post. I can so identify with some of your experiences – the first couple of weeks of feeding my youngest was very similar – cracked bleeding nipples and not wanting to put her anywhere near the breast, let alone feed off it! We got there in the end though – and now she also has eight teeth and has a tendency to bite at times. The biting phases thankfully are short-lived though and I love the snuggles we have together whilst she is feeding. I think that is probably my favourite thing about feeding – that, and not having to sterilise anything.

    August 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire

      Thank you! Yes! The snuggles! I love it so much! I’m so glad we made it through the really hard times. My son is 14 months now and I don’t want to stop-it’s our quality time-it’s the only time my toddler isn’t all over me.

      August 19, 2014 at 2:54 pm
  • Reply Zena's Suitcase (@zenas_suitcase)

    I love that it is the one thing only I can do for my babies and that they are getting the very best start. It is fraught with challenges along the way, but I learned that with so many things the right thing to do is rarely the easiest thing to do. This is a great post and thanks so much for sharing it with #BFingDiaries

    August 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire

      Absolutely! Thank you so much!

      August 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm
  • Reply justamom8225

    With my youngest, we had a really a difficult time the first few days. I was sore on both sides, bleeding on the left side (which, unfortunately, is also the better side for nursing). I hand expressed colostrum into her mouth in between helping her find a position that was going to help her latch. I cried, she cried… but we never gave up. And here we are, 9 months later, and still going strong.

    September 11, 2014 at 9:00 am
    • Reply mamabyfire

      I have never been very successful at hand expressing, so I know how difficult that is. It’s amazing those first few weeks, all hopped up on hormones and trying to learn with a little one. So many tears and frustrations. Congratulations on making it through!

      September 11, 2014 at 9:06 am
  • Reply Alana

    What an awesome post. So honest, it’ll be beneficial for many to read. Breastfeeding is so worthwhile, but as my mom (who also described the pain as being like “an electric shock”) said to me repestedlt in those first days, “it a a labour of love.” It ain’t easy. And even when it’s routine, there are feelings that come up when you start to think about weening, and then weening isn’t easy. Again, great post!

    September 11, 2014 at 10:28 am
    • Reply mamabyfire

      Thank you so much, Alana!

      September 11, 2014 at 11:00 am
  • Reply maggiemaysgifts

    I hear you on all of that! I remember with my first how painful it was for a while. Once it gets going, it’s so nice. Convenient, cheap, sweet 🙂

    September 11, 2014 at 11:58 am
    • Reply mamabyfire

      It took us awhile, but now it’s so convenient. Love it!

      September 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm
  • Reply lflaute96

    I love the pictures. You have the cutest little ones ever! I am so sorry you had to go through so much pain. Maybe the experience will be different with the next one? 😉

    September 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply threeboysandamom

    Oh I love It!!! He and my son sound like soul mates haha! This was adorable! ☺ blisters, bites, pinches, scratches, hair pulling, arm work out and all…breastfeeding is the very best!!! Good for you hanging in there and still going strong!

    September 11, 2014 at 10:13 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire

      Thank you! Haha-so funny yours does the same! It is definitely the best and I will certainly not forget it!

      September 11, 2014 at 10:17 pm
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  • Reply alicia

    After a rocky, jaundicey start, we’ve had a pretty smooth ride with breast feeding up until about a month ago. My little fella was 8 months old and caught RSV. Around that time he stopped nursing well and I got a bleb on my right nipple. This caused a constant clogged duct (and immense pain). He chose to stop nursing on that side altogether except for a few sucklings at the end of a session. Now, I’ve only been able to produce half the milk I used to.

    So I would say my least favorite part is the constant worrying of whether or not my babe is getting enough milk from me.

    March 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire

      Oh, no! Clogged ducts are the worst! I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that pain! I remember the worry I felt not knowing whether baby was getting enough or not. Is he eating food too, or just nursing? That’s what always helped me, knowing he was getting food as a supplement. Bottom line, as long as baby is happy and gaining weight, you should be fine. Good luck! I hoped that clogged duct leaves you alone for good.

      March 4, 2015 at 5:28 pm

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