By this point I couldn’t physically put my son to my breast and my mum or husband had to latch him on while I pulled at my hair, kicked my feet and grimaced with tears rolling down my face. I didn’t understand why I found it so painful, everything I had read said it should be pain free if you were doing it right. Therefore I either wasn’t doing it right or I was a wimp.
I honestly thought I was a wimp and I just wasn’t designed to breastfeed normally. After 2 weeks my husband was ready to go out and buy bottles and formula as he couldn’t watch me be in so much pain. My mum was desperately searching the Internet and we resorted to trying breast shields. Many phonecalls later to all supermarkets in a 30 mile radius at 1am in the night resulted in having to wait for the shops to open the next day. I remember the feeling of utter hopelessness, My body was letting me down again. I hadn’t been able to give birth naturally and now my body was too much of a wimp to let me breastfeed.
The shields were a god send and even though every feed still hurt I didn’t cry every time and my poor nipples that were missing chunks had a chance to try and heal.
At 2 weeks I finally got to a breastfeeding support group and the lactation consultant saw my nipples and watched me latch on and again said the position and latch looked ok and asked if he was tongue tied. In my mind I assumed I would have been told if he was tongue tied or it would be really obvious so I said no! She said she could check after he had fed but then after seeing all these other mums feeding so easily I felt even more depressed so just left.
I continued feeding and got treated for thrush, I was still in pain and now used the shields at every feed and was convinced I could never feed without them. I got insanely jealous seeing women feed ‘bareback’ And just felt cheated and useless. How would I ever be a good mother of I couldn’t even breastfeed properly.
Finally I went back to the support group when he was 10 weeks old and broke down in tears that it was still hurting and he was checked and found to have a posterior tongue tie. I was so relieved! It wasn’t my body letting me down!
We got referred and the tongue tie was cut a day short of him turning 3months. We still used the shields until he was 5 months old as by that stage he had got so used to them and to re learn how to breastfeed without them.
Im proud to say he is nearly 9 months and still breastfeeding bareback and I have no intention of stopping any time soon.
I am still dealing with those initial feelings of failure and my nipples are still recovering and probably never will completely but they serve as a reminder of our journey and I’m proud of myself and my body.