I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of breastfeeding.  When I became pregnant, my fiance urged me to look into it more.  He had done his own research and saw the benefits of it.  He would never have pressured me to do it, but he wanted to make sure I understood all of my options about breastfeeding before I turned away.

So I did.

There were so many benefits to both the baby and I that I felt like I should at least give it a fair chance.

When my daughter was born, I was shocked, I actually wanted to breastfeed.  I think my mind raced when I realized that she was no longer inside of me and wanted/needed to be close to her.  As close as possible.

Though I was exhausted, shredded apart and starting to feel it now that the epidural had been removed, I tried.  When the nurse brought her in, she helped guide me as to what to do.  They put my daughter to my breast and saw a problem.  Apparently my nipples are small, so small that they feared my daughter would have a hard time latching.

How can the be too small?  Isn’t my body made to do this?  If we didn’t live in the times we did, what would my daughter do?  Starve because of my inadequate nipples? I didn’t like any of those thoughts.

They gave me nipple shield.  If you don’t know what that is, you can see it here. The thing basically forces your nipple to become larger and gives the baby a larger area to latch on to.

I hadn’t leaked before she was born, so I’m pretty sure those first few tries she didn’t actually eat anything. But we both still tried, together. Over the next 24 hours we had numerous visits from nurses with tips and helpful ideas, and a lactation consultant.  I thought we were doing well, I still wasn’t sure if she was actually getting anything, but we were making progress.

But then, everything changed.

Our third night in the hospital (I was kept longer because she was small) I remember the nurse waking me at around 3 am.  She had brought her in for me to feed.  I was fairly comfortable with breastfeeding at this point and knew what to do.  So there we sat, my daughter and I.  I was living through a kind of exhaustion that I had never in my life experienced.  My body screamed every time I made a  movement and I hadn’t slept in what felt like months.

My daughter starving by this point I’m sure.  We had fed her bottles to make up for what I wasn’t able to give her, but she wanted more.  I placed her on my nipple and she wouldn’t latch.  Everything that I had learned over the last few days failed me.  Nothing I tried worked.  She refused.  She began screaming and I began to cry.

I couldn’t do it anymore.  I don’t think my body could do it.

As I sat there with her, us both sobbing at our frustration my fiance woke, he had been sleeping in a chair next to the bed.  He must have been watching for some time.  He told me it was okay.  I sobbed “I can’t do this, she doesn’t want me” and it was like he understood.  We made her a bottle and she fell asleep.

That was the last time I attempted to breastfeed my daughter.  I decided that it wasn’t worth putting both her and I through such frustration.  For the next few weeks I pumped.  I decided if she wouldn’t take it from my body, she’d get it in a bottle.  After about 3 weeks she turned away from the breast milk and I let it dry up.

I’m happy that I attempted to breastfeed, and at least I know that my daughter got some of the benefits for the first few weeks.  But I never imagined it would be that hard. I thought it would be challenging, sure, but to get us both to the point of sobbing out of frustration, that I didn’t expect.

Did you run into challenges breastfeeding?  Share with us in the comments!

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