However, I really could not fathom how difficult and painful it is! I am writing this post because if this is the stage of life that you are in, I want you to know that you are not alone! I was told by many people that if I was in pain, then I was doing something wrong. I really believed them when I was nursing my first child. However, now that I have had four children and had pretty much the same experience with all
four five, I’m thinking, I kind of know and yes it HURTS! I mean if you really sit down and think about it, how could it not? Aren’t your lips uncomfortable when they crack and bleed? I think that having that same condition on a more sensitive part of your body, would hurt more, and then add to the fact that they can’t get a break!
With every single one of my children I remember being in excruciating pain! My nipples were cracked and bleeding. I did everything that I was told to do: I put lanolin on after nursing and walked around with my bra undone to let them air dry (which somewhat helped). I tried to nurse more, but all to no avail! It hurt, it hurt so bad that I was crying (I’m sure hormones have nothing to do with this either! ) I remember sobbing while I was nursing and telling my child that I was sorry. I was sorry that I was hurting and I was sorry because I didn’t feel like a good mother. I mean, nursing is supposed to be a beautiful, natural thing, right?!
With my first, I remember it being very painful for about five weeks, my second about four weeks, my third about three weeks, and the last about two weeks. With everyone I remember looking at my husband with tears streaming down my face and telling him, “I’m not sure how much longer I can do this.”
That seemed to be the magical moment. I had to get to that point with each one, but after I got to the place where I was so close to stopping, it seemed to get better, slowly! Then after a few months, it wasn’t painful at all! For the most part, I really looked forward to nursing time. It was a time to bond with my child, a time to marvel at what a blessing they are, and a time to take in how little they are, how sweet they smell, and how soft their skin is. Towards the end of each child’s nursing time, I found myself crying again, because I wasn’t ready to be done, but my children were! With my last child I remember having the hardest time with this. When he was showing signs that he was done, I would cry. I was crying because I just kept thinking, is this going to be the last time I ever get to nurse a baby?!
With my fifth child, I was told to nurse for as long as possible because of his health issues. Since it had been so many years since I’d nursed and I felt that nursing was paramount, I decided to cut to the chase and just get some help. I took advantage of the free breastfeeding clinic that was offered at the hospital that I delivered at. They were a huge help and I kind of wish I would have taken advantage of this service with my other children. I left with a few supplies , more knowledge and more confidence.
Here is what helped me the most with my transition to nursing the fifth time (which was my easiest):
- air dry as much as possible
- Medela SoftShells Breast Shells For Sore Nipples
- Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads, 2 Count (cut these in half or fourths for more)
- the clinic also gave me a RX for a special ointment
- check and see if there is a breastfeeding clinic in your area and take advantage of their services, the sooner the better!
- have realistic expectations
Read my review here.