I'm new on this forum - just joined Bub Hub out of desperation for some support/encouragement/advice.
I am the new mum of a 6-week old baby boy....he's lovely and we love him dearly! I went through pregnancy determined to breastfeed for the first year of his life. But...I had no idea how hard it would be.
I spent five days in the hospital because he was small (2.5ks), and trying to get breastfeeding started was pure torture. He would not latch on, I was painfully engorged and had cracked nipples, and spending up to an hour and a half out of every three hours trying to feed him. Possibly the worst part was the conflicting and often directly contradictory advice I was getting from midwives. It was SO confusing and frustrating! Finally, on day four, a lactation consultant visited me and put us on a nipple shield. That seriously was the only way he would nurse, and he's still on it today.
Six weeks down the track, things are better (i.e. breastfeeding time is down, and he's getting plenty of milk and gaining weight), but I am really starting to feel depressed about the breastfeeding experience. Besides things like feeling like a milk machine and disliking my massive, leaky breasts (which is how I feel, but I wouldn't quit over those things), there are more substantial struggles: I am trying to wean him off the nipple shield but it isn't going that well, and he is quite resistant to the breast without it; I feel isolated as I can't breastfeed him in public (I'm finding subtlety impossible with the nipple shield, and I'm not personally not comfortable with just pulling out a boob in public ) so I have to go to a private room/bathroom or hurry back home if I go out so I can breastfeed; and worst of all, it is HURTING. I had mastitis at 2 weeks, and since then I've had what I suspect is an endless case of nipple thrush, which flares up and gets very painful at certain times. I feel I am either feeding, or feeling pain and discomfort in my breasts, so essentially my life has completely been absorbed by my breasts. The breastfeeding counselor I talked to on the ABA helpline yesterday suggested ways to get rid of nipple thrush; but it requires so much vigilance that I feel even more discouraged and that I don't have the energy to be constantly washing, boiling, replacing, applying, etc on top of everything else that caring for a newborn involves.
In short, I'm just feeling like I hate breastfeeding, and I really want to quit. And yet, I know it's best for bubby and I would feel so guilty quitting! I just keep thinking 'try to get to 6 months', but at the moment that just seems so far away. Today I've just been crying all day...I feel so down about it all, and wish there was some way out of it, or that it would get better. They say it gets 'established' by 6 weeks and gets better, but it hasn't for me, and I am just tired and in pain and really upset about the whole thing. I have a very supportive husband; he's probably the reason I'm still breastfeeding at this point. But I just don't know how long I can go on like this....a year, or even six months, seems so far away and I'm finding that I'm wishing the precious time away just to get to the age where I can wean our baby.
Has this been anyone's experience? Any advice or help is very appreciated!! Thank you ladies