100% Pleasant and Comfortable or Is It?

I recently read Fat Mum Slim's post about breastfeeding her babies.  That post tugged at my heart strings and brought up some not so happy memories of my breastfeeding experiences.  The last sentence in the first paragraph says it all, breastfeeding is hard.

I breastfed all four of my babies and all four were hard!  My first was without a doubt the most trying emotionally.  I was a new mom and wanted to share this special time with my new little one.  I remember being up during the wee hours of the morning trying to enjoy this magical feeding and bonding time with my firstborn.  Those magical feeding times were just like unicorns.... non-existent.  Those wee hours consisted of Logan crying, me crying and my sleep deprived husband rubbing my back and bringing me glasses of water.  We eventually got it together, but it was a r.o.u.g.h couple of weeks.

Cue the arrival of my second son just 23 months later.  I remember thinking it would be a breeze.  I'm a seasoned mom, wise in all things breastfeeding.  I experienced pain like you wouldn't believe!  I consulted with lactation consultants who assured me all looked good.  Went to a mom's breastfeeding group to get some much needed advice, only to find I was the only woman in the group to have this kind of trouble.  More tears, more emotional ups and downs.  What am I doing wrong?  We tried a bottle only to have Ethan reject it.  What now?!  This seasoned mom was in new territory yet again.

Along came our daughter.  I now had two completely different and hard breastfeeding experiences.  I was determined to act as if I was a rookie.  I went to a breastfeeding class.  I read books on nursing, again.  I told the lactation consultant about my other experiences and asked her to observe our feedings several times.  We talked about different holds, using music to relax and having the support of other nursing moms.  Not only did I labor through the delivery of my daughter, but I labored through a few really old nursing videos in the hospital.  I was determined for this to go smoothly and ready for any complication.  Ha!  At the risk of putting it all out there, I bled.  The pain was excruciating and the consultants couldn't figure out what was going wrong.  Seemed like baby was doing everything perfectly.  Oh the frustration.

When I found out I was pregnant with our fourth child, I remember thinking that I wasn't even going to try breastfeeding.  But I did.  And it was trouble.  However, I had an awesome lactation consultant (who is now my neighbor) and she was able to explain a few things to me.  We were able to get over the hurdles much faster this time around.

I remember saying time and time again, women need to tell their stories.  I want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly.  Misery loves company.  I would have benefited from knowing I wasn't alone.  The videos in the hospital say that breastfeeding should be 100% pleasant and comfortable.  That was not my experience. With all four babies.

Breastfeeding was important to me and I'm glad I was able to persevere.  When I read or hear stories like Fat Mum Slim's I just want to shout, "You're not alone!"  Don't feel like you are failing.  Sometimes it isn't 100% pleasant and comfortable.  I hope that my story will help a new mom who is having a hard time know that she is not alone.  It isn't easy.  Breastfeeding is hard.