Is breastfeeding easy?
Leading up to giving birth to Cameron, my thoughts on breastfeeding was that it would be a breeze, and I'd have no trouble at all. I thought it was a natural process between mother and child, so I thought I would be a natural at it. Well... how wrong was I?!
Cameron was born 4 weeks and 2 days early, which meant he hadn't developed a strong suck reflex, and I found it difficult getting him to latch on properly. The two weeks he was in the special care nursery at the hospital, I had to express breastmilk every 3-4 hours to keep up my supply and so he would have enough milk for top-ups too. He had a combination of tube feeding, bottle feeding and breastfeeding; but to be honest the breastfeeding was such a struggle.
There were days I was engorged and sore, and most feeds I felt more comfortable breastfeeding naked. I had midwives help me with breastfed feeds everyday, and saw a lactation consultant twice. They helped me with how I was holding Cameron and how to get him to latch on better, but I still felt like an utter noob and not a natural mother at all. I was putting so much pressure on myself to breastfeed him, that if he couldn't get much milk from me and had to be bottle fed or tube fed with my expressed breast milk, that I'd end up in tears. But each day Cameron got older, his suck reflex became stronger and I was feeling more comfortable with breastfeeding. He eventually put on enough weight and was able to be bottle and breastfed over a 24hr period without the help of a tube, which meant he could finally come home. And when he was finally home, it's like the training wheels came off and we both gelled into one.
In the earlier weeks, I still had the odd days where I was engorged and even got a blocked duct as well as a cut on my nipple because of a 'poor latch' on the one side. Although it hurt like hell to feed on that side, I persisted and made sure Cameron was latching properly (not lazily), as well as massaging my breast during warm showers and eventually the blockage went and my nipple finally healed (Although if you do have really sore nipples, Lansinoh is supposed to work wonders from what many other mums have told me).
Then there was an episode where I had low supply for a good 4-5 days because I had to take cortisone tablets for a severe allergic reaction I had to soap (Note: don't take steroid tablets while breastfeeding because even if you have over supply it'll drop dramatically). I was eating 2-3 lactation cookies a day, loads of oats, as well as mums special ginger pork broth to try, expressing milk in between feeds and had Cameron cluster feeding every hour to increase my supply. Eventually it did come back, but boy was Cameron not happy.
Now four months into breastfeeding, and although my milk supply has settled, Cameron's about to start teething which may become an issue. So while breastfeeding isn't easy, it definitely has it's challenges, it's absolutely rewarding. Being able to breastfeed Cameron has given me a connection with him that I can't even explain, but it's definitely something I will never forget.