our breastfeeding journey, week three

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 Ella at two weeks with her great grandmother, Marina, age 79

Ella at two weeks with her great grandmother, Marina, age 79

Going in, my confidence level was very high. The women in my family breastfed their babies no problem and so would I. In the first two weeks I found myself googling lip ties, lip blisters, and "when does nursing a newborn get easier?" I saw a lactation consultant when you were 6 days old and the week that followed was smooth sailing. I felt empowered.

And then the week after that it got harder. My breasts hurt more than they did before. We had one hellish night where you wouldn't latch and I was in pain, frustrated, and exhausted. I felt angry with you and I asked myself, "is there a way I don't have to do this at night?" and was instantly overwhelmed with grief and guilt and shame. I dreaded feeding you and it broke my heart. There were a lot of tears. My sweet baby, you didn't ask to be born with a lip tie and a tongue tie and a tiny little mouth. 

I wanted to love nursing and thought I would. I didn't expect breastfeeding a baby to be more painful than childbirth. Every time you latch on I have to consciously unclench my teeth, relax my shoulders, and remind myself to breathe.

Things I'm grateful for: You are thriving—pooping, peeing, and gaining weight like a champ. I don't have a supply issue. My nipples aren't damaged. You are a great sleeper. I reached out to other moms and found solace in their stories and shared experience. They assured me that it does get easier. 

And then all of a sudden around the 18 day mark we had a breakthrough. I am no longer so reliant on the positions we worked out with the lactation consultant. Your mouth has grown and you have an easier time latching. We're not quite out of the woods yet and haven't completely ruled out corrective surgery, but at this point, surgery would be more beneficial for me and my nipples than for you, and I think I can go without. Because being able to nourish my child is everything.