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Confessions of a Lactation Consultant

When I became a lactation consultant (IBCLC) I always imagined I would love breastfeeding. Unfortunately, I can’t say that has always been the case. I felt it important to write this post to let moms know that it is common to have odd feelings of no enjoyment, even frustration or simply “I don’t like this feeling” while breastfeeding.

For me, there were a number of things that just drove me absolutely insane.

1. That weird flutter thing she will do with her mouth on my nipple. I just can’t handle it. Sometimes I can deal for a few minutes but not much longer and I’m done.  I can’t describe the feeling but it makes my skin crawl!!  Sometimes I just have to take her off and switch sides because it bothers me so much.

2. The times that she will pinch and squeeze my breast…with nails!  Yes, let me just tell you there are times my breast looks like it went through a war zone or I got into a fight with a cat because it is so scratched and beat up.  OUCH!  It hurts!  The only solution has been to tell her, “No, don’t do that. You are hurting mommy.”  BUT, that has been to no avail.

3. I hate pumping. I just hate it. I hate having to sit for 20 minutes and hold the pump flanges (yes, tried the hands free bra and it just isn’t worth it to me). I hate when you move just an inch, loose the seal, and milk spills everywhere on you! My saving grace has been changing pumps… that has helped with the feeling not being unbearably annoying.  However, admittedly, I pump only out of necessity and that is simply rarely.

4. When we have fed on both breasts and she is still hungry. Feeling exhausted and not wanting to switch and feed her on the other side…again! There are times that I will either give myself a minute and she may cry through that, or she will get a bottle as its clear she needs more milk in that moment than I have to give.

5. Sometimes I truly wonder how long I can go breastfeeding her. Sometimes I hate that it feels like all I do is feed her (some days anyway). We have gone nearly 5 months so far… we just keep trucking on day by day.

6. I don’t have that amazing, lovely connection when I breastfeed her.  Sometimes it just feels like a chore.  A duty.  I wish she would look at me with lovie eyes. I wish she would come off and just want to hug my neck. But, that is not the breastfeeding relationship I have. The best I get is that adorable “baby bird, open mouth” when she goes to latch because she is so excited for the food.

What am I ultimately trying to say?  Even for lactation consultants, breastfeeding isn’t always the most enjoyable.  You do what you can.  You breastfeed as long as you possibly can, knowing you are giving your baby the best you can.  Sometimes that is 5 days, sometimes 1 month, for some it is 15 months.  At the end of the day we are moms and we do the very best we can.  Know that not every relationship or situation is the most amazing and not filled with disappointment.  Just love on your baby and enjoy whatever you have with your little one.  They are only little for so long!

Hang in there mama!

 

Special thank you to Abby B. for letting us use her beautiful picture of her breastfeeding her baby girl.  This is a private picture that should not be used elsewhere without permission.