Hi dad, dudes, and other people who do not like to talk about boobs. This post is not for you. Please enjoy this lovely cat video instead.
I nursed both of my older kids for 12+ months each. Nursing for the third time should feel like an old hat by now. In fact, Huck took to the breast faster than either Nolan or Leah did since I got to nurse him during my c-section. He demonstrated a healthy appetite almost immediately. I was already becoming engorged when we left the hospital two days earlier than we had before. My body instinctively prepared itself for nurturing my third baby. If only nursing had stayed that easy.
Huck was eating about every two to three hours since the day he was born, and though it made for a tired momma I was happy to have so many quiet moments to snuggle up with my littlest love. There were a few times that I noticed it was a bit painful. Then there was bruising, and then cracking and bleeding. And then a milk duct in my left breast was blocked and swollen and just would not drain. But I was going to power through until the time I looked down when nursing at my sweet Huck’s face and it was spotted with blood, my blood, from my nipples, like some kind of baby Hanibal Lecter. It. Was. Awful.
At that moment I lost it. Blame it on the hormones (and those god-awful hot flashes, too) but I had about decided to give up on nursing all together. I cried wet, hot, heavy tears about how difficult breast feeding had so quickly become. It was hard enough trying to recover from the c-section. No matter how naturally the milk was coming before, no matter the 24+ total months previous breast feeding, and the praise we got from the nurses and lactation consultants at the hospital, in that moment I felt I was failing my son.
I just wasn’t ready to throw in the burp towel just yet on breast feeding, so I slathered on a generous layer of lanolin and made a few changes. Like taking a break from the breast and pumped for a while. Pumping has always been a part of my breast feeding journey since I was working full time with my older two kids and I never had an issue with my milk supply decreasing. In fact, I almost always had extra to donate in the freezer before, but this time I was worried it would be different.
Finally, I started to heal. My body once again proved to be resilient. I was nervous to try breast feeding again with Huck, part out of fear he wouldn’t like it anymore and part out of fear it would physically hurt again. Because, ouch.
Then yesterday afternoon I was holding my precious infant boy and tickling the dark hairs that lay on his neck, when he started rooting against my arm signaling he was starting to get hungry again. I thought for a moment to call out for another bottle but decided to bring him in and try to nurse this time.
He took right back to it without skipping a beat as he closed his eyes and finished his meal. I sighed out loud with relief and smiled. Finally, I was able to relax in the moment, joyful that we had overcome this little hiccup and thankful for not have given up.