I wanted so much to feel joy over breastfeeding. I wanted that bond with my son. I wanted him to be healthy and strong, and I really didn’t want him on formula. I had milk, plenty of milk. But dear God, so much pain.
I messaged my breastfeeding friends. Was breastfeeding really supposed to be painless? Didn’t they ever get cracked and bleeding nipples? What was I doing wrong?
I messaged Ros again, desperate.
Throughout the day, friends offered consolation and support. They reminded me to use nipple cream. They gave suggestions about breastfeeding positions. They shared their own struggles.
It was a relief to know that I wasn’t the only one confused and struggling with breastfeeding.
Ros replied, telling me that she would refer me to a lactation consultant. While waiting for the consultant to make a home visit, I resumed my work-around: feed from the left, pump from the right. Desperately I waited.
Two days later, I got a message from the lactation consultant, Carl. She lived in the same village, and promised to visit us on her way home.
Carl came by in the evening. She checked for thrush and mastitis, and found neither. I told her my woes and pains, and she told me about her own struggles, and those of others. She stayed for two hours, checking as Lucas latched, offering advice on positions, and sharing tips for managing my pain.
We felt much better after that. The next day, I got Lucas to latch onto the injured nipple without pain! I was so happy that I messaged all the breastfeeding friends I’d consulted.