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Breast is best but breast ain’t easy

mmm that's good milk

By Eden Milne, June 2015

Think of the day you hold your first newborn. It’s a light and airy fantasy, no? For our Eden this is now her reality. She opens up on the mysteries of motherhood.

Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby. The benefits include increased immunity for your child, and help you to regain your girlish figure. As a type-one diabetic, there are even more advantages, so throughout my pregnancy I was convinced breastfeeding was for me, and had dreams it would be easy and perfect. But when my husband brought our newborn daughter over to me, instead of crying with sheer happiness, I lay there in shock staring at her. 11lbs 3oz and strongly sucking on her little hands, the future of my nipples looked painful and sore.

Furthermore, she was born hypoglycaemic and put on a dextrose drip. I had added pressure to succeed with breastfeeding. Suddenly the C-section didn’t seem so bad.

When it came to feeding, it appeared we were doing it right because she was sucking and swallowing. The fact that I was sore and my nipples were cracked seemed wrong to me because everyone says: ‘breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt;’ ‘if it hurts for the first few seconds then passes, it’s ok.’ For me the pain lasted the whole time, but I was too embarrassed to say anything.

Overloaded with leaflets and booklets regarding breastfeeding, I soon learnt it was apparently all about technique. So when my daughter screamed bloody murder I felt like the worst mother in the world. I would cry and pass her to her dad. My husband tried to be supportive by telling me to persevere, but he had no idea why I felt like a failure. My midwife was no help, she sounded just like the information leaflets and as I didn’t take to her anyway, I didn’t feel like sharing.

Five weeks on and I’m still breastfeeding and it still hurts . So, why am I doing it? My sister-in-law made me feel normal. She said that it was agony for her too. I just had to keep going and it would get better, but yes it’s still painful. (Finally, some truth!) It also helped that she was also breastfeeding my 3-month-old niece, so she knew what she was talking about.

So what’s my point, you’re thinking? If you want to breastfeed, my advice is perseverance and a high pain threshold. Perhaps talk to a mother currently doing it. Ask them for help and advice – hopefully they will normalise your thoughts and feelings. For me it did get easier, so much so that now I can breastfeed in public. Breastfeeding is now quicker than heating a bottle and I can enjoy a peaceful coffee at the same time!

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