I posted this in the breastfeeding stories thread, but am just so pleased that things are going well that I thought I'd post it here too. Hopefully my story will help someone else who is struggling through similar issues.
I have been hoping to one day post a success story in this thread, and today I feel that I can (but believe me, I'm touching wood as I type!!). I didn't breastfeed my first baby for long. We had attachment issues, I had emotional issues, and it was just all too much for me at the time. I regretted my decision, and vowed to myself that I would breastfeed baby number two. I did an ABA course, and joined the organisation in preparation for my journey. My son was born in a drug free, very fast labour and things seemed to be going well. On day three, my breasts were sooo huge and painful, and the attachment issues began again. I was expressing before feeds so he could actually grasp the breast, but it was painful and my nipples were cracked and VERY sore. Later in the night on day three, I found myself crying in the hospital nursery because things were very much the same as with my first son. A lovely midwife sat with me and told me I was putting too much pressure on myself. She helped me attach him, and told me to take things one feed at a time. Every feed from then on I told myself, "Just get through this one, just get through this one".
I had a massive oversupply of milk, and a very forceful letdown so attachment continued to be difficult. My son would come off at the start of every feed coughing and spluttering. I was feeling awkward and uncomfortable, and could only feed if I was sitting in a particular chair with strategically placed pillows. At night, I remember sitting on my couch with my baby in my arms nearly crying with the thought of attaching him. At three weeks, my son was hospitalised for three days with bronchialitis. He refused to feed, and if I tried to attach him, he pull at my nipple and gum me. The doctors said he would have to be tube fed if he didn't feed soon. He did feed after they siphoned the mucous out of him, but I felt like I was back at day three. Sore, blistered nipples and a baby who had seemingly forgotten how to attach.
Back home, we started feeding well again when I began getting really sore breasts. I called an LC because I was just OVER it. She told me it was vasospasm, and I started using panadol before feeds and heat packs. Apparently this is common if you've had damaged nipples. Anyway, I was finally feeling on top of this when I got mastitis. Antibiotics cleared it up in about three days, but I couldn't believe how terrible it made me feel. I was shaky, achey, hot, cold and nauseus. The ABs gave me thrush and by this point I was beginning to hate breastfeeding.
In a last attempt to save everything, I called the LC again and she was very encouraging. I also bombarded BH and several lovely hubbers (Beany, the_queen, Demeter, MilkOnTap, Funky, Ziggie and many of my other lovely pink friends) with questions and moans of "When will it get better?"
Well, it is finally better. I feed without pillows, my supply has settled down, and my baby is now smiling at me after feeds!! It took nearly nine weeks, and lots of agony, but I feel like we're there! So hip hip hooray!