The true cost of breastfeeding, 4

Things seemed fine for a week. My cracked nipples healed. Or so I thought.

My left nipple did heal, and I could feed Lucas from there. I still had some discomfort, but I figured that was better than pain.

My right nipple cracked and bled again. It didn’t help that for about a week, Lucas decided to go for marathon feeding sessions. Once, he fed for two hours!

Fortunately we had ordered a breast pump, and it arrived by then. So, we decided that I would feed Lucas from the left, uninjured breast, and pump from the right so it would heal.

It worked for a few days. It seemed like the nipple was healing. With the pump, I was also able to store milk, for when I go back to work.

One morning, I decided to try and feed Lucas from the right breast. “Are you sure?” Oneal asked.

“It looks like it’s healed,” I said.

So we tried. And I wept.

When Lucas clamped onto my breast, it felt like a vise on my nipple. I gasped and cried out.

As the feeding progressed, the pain subsided. But then Lucas let go. After I handed him to Oneal for burping, I lay on the bed, curled up and sobbed. Pain radiated from my nipple to the rest of my breast. It felt like needles were snaking through the milk ducts. I clutched my breast, stroking the skin, as if I could make the pain go away. I had to take a painkiller.

Eventually I got up, and I could only look at Oneal and Lucas with despair. I didn’t know what to do.


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