Breaking the Code

I am nursing Baby C for now, although last week I was ready to ditch the whole enterprise and go straight to formula. Heck, I would have gone straight to a chemical-laden, artificial everything, magical drug elixir if it had been an option.

Before I gave birth, all of my Mommy Friends said that breastfeeding "does take some getting used to." That's actually code for "breastfeeding is the most excruciatingly painful thing you will ever experience." It hurts like hell - and that's the G-rated version of what I was saying last week. It can involve blisters on places that have never seen the light of day. It can involve scabs on those same places. And blood. And you know the pain awaits you every two to three hours, and you have been scared by the LaLeche league not to even let your baby look at a bottle for fear of causing them "nipple confusion."

Add in some sleep deprivation and post-partum hormones and you have quite the recipe for fun. Just ask my husband, who made the grave mistake of trying to give me helpful breastfeeding pointers he remembered from the parenting class we took. Not helpful, husband.

Experts say that breastfeeding only hurts if you are doing something wrong, which means that on top of mind-numbing, white-knuckle pain, you feel like a failure as a new mother. Not helpful, experts.

Although I had no reason to trust my Mommy Friends, when I called them in agony, their new story was that the pain would go away after a couple of hard days. Greg, figuring I might not unleash my hormonal wrath on a complete stranger, called in a lactation consultant. She had a few good tips, but it was mostly a matter of time. We survived the initiation period. Baby C is gaining weight. Best of all, New Mommy has stopped crying. But don't say she didn't warn you.


  1. you are the only recent friend that I did not give a nipple shield to as part of your baby shower gift. I guess the whole book theme threw me. Anyway, I swear by this product (Madela for $6.95 or any good lactation consultant should have), I am certain it is why I didn't experience any of the trauma you described (though don't get me wrong, the nipple shield adds it's own set of complexities, like at 4 am when you're bleary-eyed and can't figure out how to fit the damn thing in place!) correctly...eegads!

  2. So what do I know about mothering and such ~ I have a canary. . .and four younger siblings. But I had always pictured the nursing scene as one of peaceful bliss, like the Madonna and child. So now do I understand correctly that it ain't necessarily so? ;) EE
    Thanks for a glimpse into reality...( My own reality here is that my favorite 4 year old orphan boy is now available to be adopted...both parents have recently released him. And I've been fantacizing about how easy it might be to at least care for him as a foster child...but alas... if it were only easy. Maybe I'll blog about it...someday. ;)

  3. Eileen, I think in those Nativity pictures, the Child was over two weeks old. :) How heartbreaking to read "both parents have recently released him..."

    Kyla - the nipple shield would have paralyzed me with fear. Actually, the thought of it still does.

    Jenny - you said it!

    But: it's better now. I swear. Now I feel like I violated a new mommy code by complaining so much...


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