Breastfeeding: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly | Anchors Aweigh

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Breastfeeding: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

I talked to so many mamas before I had my son. I googled, I listened to advice, and I mentally prepared myself for all things newborn baby. I was prepared to be sleep deprived. I was prepared for the crying. What I wasn't prepared for? The crazy thing that we call breastfeeding. Whether it's viewed as too personal or just taboo, nobody really talked about it, and man I wish they would have. Today, I am going to dish on the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to breastfeeding. 

For any male readers (looking at you, dad!), let's just stop right here and we'll be back with our regularly scheduled programming next week. 

The Good

Let's start with the positives: Breastfeeding is awesome. It really is. It's such a beautiful bond between you and your baby. It helps them instantly recognize that you are their mom, and it's pretty darn cool that your body can nourish your child's. Your body knows exactly what they need, and breastmilk is so, so good for them. Also, it's free. Monetarily, your baby is eating for free. I hear kids are expensive later, so breastfeeding for the win! So yes, simply put, breastfeeding is a really good, really beautiful thing that I am so grateful I was given the chance to do. 



The Bad

Oh my gosh, the pain. In the beginning, it's so incredibly painful. I feel like it was always portrayed as "a little painful at first" in the movies, and each time I had to feed my child in the beginning, I silently cursed anyone that ever made it sound easy. When he latched on, I would curl my toes so I wouldn't scream. I would make sure my palms were open and fingers spread apart so I wouldn't accidentally squeeze his head from the pain. He was usually hungry every 3 hours, and I would silently will the time to slow down so I had more of a break in between feedings. When I say it's painful, I mean it. Breastfeeding is no joke, and I understand why people quit. 



The Ugly

When I say the ugly, I'm looking at you, mastitis! Mastitis is an infection in the breast derived from a clogged milk duct. It's common in the beginning, and man is it crazy. I got mastitis when my son was 3 weeks old, and I went from feeling completely fine, to shaking, slurring my words, and crying hysterically in a matter of minutes. It's like the flu on steroids, and your breast is in constant pain. I was curled up in the fetal position crying nonstop for about 7 hours before my fever finally broke. The best word I can use to describe mastitis is "violent". It so violently took over, and I never saw it coming. Speaking of ugly, your nipples will be destroyed. Chapped, bleeding... the whole thing. And since something is sucking on them every 3 hours (or even more frequently), there isn't really time for them to heal. The good news is they will eventually heal and restore to normal (or the new normal). 



I am 3.5 months into breastfeeding and so grateful to say that it is going so well. I attribute it to three things: Jesus, my stubborn refusal to give up, and the nipple shield. That last one saved me and allowed me to heal while still feeding my child. I can't say enough good things about the nipple shield. 

I know this post may sound negative, and that's not my intent. I am usually all about looking at the positives and optimism, but when it comes to breastfeeding, I just wish I would have known how hard it can be. If we have ten more children, I will try to breastfeed all ten. I really do believe in breastfeeding and love, love, love that my body is able to nourish my son. 

If you quit breastfeeding, I understand why, and I would never judge someone for that. It's hard, and sometimes it's better for both you and baby to realize when something isn't working. Fed is best. If you're struggling through breastfeeding or about to go through it, know that it's tough, but you really can do it. The pain is temporary. It does eventually go away even though you can't possibly imagine it doing so. You'll get through it, and it will be worth it. 


4 comments :

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

Sending you all the *hugs* and co-signing all of this! It was such an amazing bond, and I loved how I was giving Serena what was best and it was FREE lol! However, the pain..... oh my goodness it's no joke! When she would latch I would silently scream! Between that mastitis when she was 3-4 weeks old, I almost threw in the towel. I powered through by moving to exclusively pumping. It's what worked best for us, and I stuck with it even after going back to work. She's almost 8 months, and I only just weined off the pump. I wish I could have stuck with it a little longer, but I listened to my body and it was time <3
Green Fashionista

Sara LeBlanc said...

Thanks for writing about breastfeeding! As a first time mom breastfeeding, I know how much this needs to be said! They really only tell you how natural it is and how breastfeeding is so good for mom and baby. It is, but that does not make it easy. I feel that if the hard parts were talked about more moms would be better prepared and less likely to quit. I love your blog. I am wife to a student naval aviator and mother to a two month beautiful baby girl!

Janelle Cook said...

I'm so glad it's working out for you! Yay! (Mastitis is awful awful awful... ugh. I had it at 6 weeks PP (very mild) and then SUPER bad at about 6 months PP. It was so miserable and just like you described. Awful. Ugh.) I'm soooo hoping this next baby will latch so I don't have to pump again (I don't know if I could this time, to be honest), but we'll see!

Jen said...

I'm so glad that it is working out for you despite the few hiccups. It was never something that I wanted to do and I knew that if I tried I would just be stressed out. I didn't want that for me and E. Like you said, fed is best. :)

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