This isn’t one of those glowing stories about how much I love breastfeeding and how bonding it is, because the fact of the matter is: I HATE BREASTFEEDING. I didnt breastfeed my eight and six-year-old boys for a variety of reasons. I like to tell myself it’s because I was on high-dose steroids and didn’t want them to get that through me. When really–if I was being honest with myself–it was because I didn’t care about the benefits, nor did I even want to breastfeed. The thought of a child sucking on my boob seriously creeped me the hell out. I eventually got over my ridiculous denial about how beneficial breastfeeding was and decided I was going to breastfeed Seven.
I read every book, I watched videos, I talked to other moms, I talked to my midwife. I was bound and determined that I was going to nurse this little girl I was carrying…and not just nurse her, but let her wean herself whenever that is. I dreamed of the lovey dovey breastfeeding bonding we would do, and how wonderful the nursing would be and how much I would just love it. I saw my clients have those wonderful nursing moments and I longed for those. I was so excited for this nursing relationship that I heard about from everywhere and saw on all sides of me. Not once did I hear a mom tell me she hated breastfeeding. Oh of course I heard the guilt from moms who couldnt breastfeed for whatever reason, or moms who wanted to so badly and were heartbroken it didnt work out….but never did I hear someone say they hated it so of course I went into it with these super dark rose colored glasses.
The first time Seven latched on it felt like fire. My whole nipple literally felt like it was on fire….my nipples became bruised and bled within the first couple of days postpartum. Her latch was fine and so I kept slathering my boobs with lanolin praying that this good awful pain would go away. I was starting to resent this choice I made, but told myself it was just the early stages and my nipples needed to get used to it and it would get better. I would have that lovely dovey unicorns poop rainbows moment of “breastfeeding is awesome!” Days turned into weeks and my nipples healed but the nagging pain that came with each suck she took had me resenting this little creature that had taken over my breasts. I knew intellectually that it was the best thing for her, but Oh how I wanted to stop. The battle I had with myself was epic. My brain told me it was the best thing for her and my boobs were literally screaming at me to stop. My brain won over and I continued to nurse that sweet child.
Weeks turned into months and everytime she wanted to eat I literally cringed. I prayed to the flying spaghetti monster that she would be quick so we could get it over with and not have one of her favorite things…a marathon nursing session. The pain had lessened but was still there. A nagging gnawing pain deep in my breast. It was all part of it now and I didnt really even notice at this point but the lovey dovey relationship never came. I dreaded nursing her. I wanted it done and over with ASAP and I hoped she’d wait a few hours longer next time. It was an awful existance…but I did it for her. To give her the best start. At 8 months I got thrush. I tried EVERYTHING to get rid of it…nothing would work. It refused to stay away. She was asymptomatic thankfully…but if you’ve had thrush you know what a nightmare I was dealing with. I would literally cry while she nursed. Beg her to hurry up and cry again knowing she’d want to nurse later. I gave up when she was 10 months old after having non-stop thrush for 2 months. I stopped nursing, gave her formula and let out a giant sigh of relief. I finally had a valid excuse to stop.
I thought it would be different with Dexter. That it was just her, that it was a unique situation. It wasn’t. I hate nursing now just as much as I did then. I don’t think nursing will ever be “for me” but it will be something I do because I know it’s what’s best. I know I will nurse the next baby (whenever that is) just like I did the last two, but I can tell you without a doubt I wont enjoy it. Not one little bit. And I’m finally okay with that.