Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our Breastfeeding Journey part 2

In case you missed part one of our breastfeeding story you can find it here.

Starting somewhere around month 2 sometimes while Emerson would be nursing he would just pull off and start screaming for what appeared to be no reason. I would burp him, try to soothe him, rock him, but to no avail. He usually ate for 50 minutes but he started screaming after only five or so and act like he didn't want to eat any more. I knew he was hungry so I just kept offering him milk. He would scream for the longest time and after a while finally calm down and eat. It wasn't every time that he would scream like this, just most of the time. I thought he might have a dairy allergy and I cut dairy out of my diet. It didn't help. I talked to his doctor and they said it could be a number of things: gas, slow or fast let down on my part, he's uncomfortable, I ate something he didn't like.... but of course they weren't sure what was causing him to scream and cry while he ate. I kept nursing and he kept screaming while he ate. It seemed to get worse and worse. I didn't know what to do to help him feel better or what was wrong with him so a lot of the time I just ended up crying along with him, praying for him to calm down and eat.

At one point during this time my milk ducts became clogged which made it more painful for me hold and nurse Emerson. I felt like even though he nursed and nursed it didn't relieve the clog. It was so painful. I read about all kinds of different ways to help relieve the pain, but really the only that worked for me was time. It took a few days for the pain to go away. Then it would happen again and again.

Then it got worse. I found out I had Mastitis and a new pain was being added to the mix. Whenever Emerson would latch on it felt like hundreds of tiny pins were piercing me. My nipples felt like they were burning and ripping all at the same time. I cried when I knew Emerson needed to nurse because it hurt so much. I didn't want to nurse him. When he latched on I cried. If he pulled off and then latched back on the pain would start all over again. The painful burning sensation along with the mastitis made me not want to hold Emerson even when I wasn't nursing him because my boobs hurt so much. I never used to give a second thought to my boobs, but not a moment went by that I wasn't painfully aware of them.

it is a good thing he's so cute!
I soon realized this burning pain wasn't only when Emerson nursed, it was intensified when he nursed, but it was present all day and night. It even hurt to dry off with a towel after my showers. I was in a lot of pain and didn't know why or what to do about it. It was horrible and I started battling with the decision to just start bottle feeding with formula because even pumping was too painful. I cried every time Emerson ate. When it finally got to be too much to bear and when I was about to call it quits I did one last desperate internet search. Come to find out Emerson had thrush and so did I.

We were both treated immediately and the relief was so sweet. My boobs and nipples didn't hurt all the time. I didn't cry when it was time to feed Emerson and he eventually stopped crying quite as much when he nursed. He was on medicine for well over a month to get rid of the thrush. 

Only now, nearly five months later, we have seemed to figure out the whole nursing thing. Emerson doesn't cry like he use to and the pain for both of us is gone. I wouldn't say it's perfect now. Although, it is tons better. He has figured out how to latch on properly and now seems to cry and scream only when he is gassy. But who knows... I'm just thankful it is bearable. I still can't nurse very well in public (with a cover) because he flails his arms like crazy which moves the cover and all sense of privacy is lost. Apparently he doesn't like being covered up. So, I try to avoid that at all costs.

But there it is. Our breastfeeding journey. I hope none of you have the experience I did and that your time nursing is all rainbows and butterflies! I heard so many women say, "nursing is so wonderful..." I truly do hope it is for you!

1 comment:

Susannah said...

Oh girl, I'm so sorry you had to go through all that! I'm hoping to breastfeed my future kiddos and it's stories like this that are so terrifying but also so good to hear. I'm so glad you and you little man got treated and are able to live without pain! :-)