Let me start off by saying, this post is meant to be positive about breastfeeding. It is a fantastic way to bond with your baby, has been proven to fight off infection, and has been found to increase your IQ (study here)! I am lucky that little Bear was able to latch on correctly. I know how tough it must be for Mums who struggle to breastfeed!

However, I must say, the early stages of breastfeeding are very, very tough and I was not prepared for the overwhelming feelings I would have on a daily basis. My son is only 5 weeks old and I have been told it gets better, but I just want to be honest and share my experience. I have been struggling and wish that somebody  had told me breastfeeding can be a lovely bonding experience, but it is also very difficult!

Here is my experience and my tips for solving these problems.

1. You feel like you are trapped in a breastfeeding prison.

The first month of breastfeeding (and now veering into the second month) is constant. He feeds at least every two hours at night and during the day sometimes every hour! Nobody warned me of this so I think it’s important to let everybody know how time consuming and overwhelming this is. Solution: I have been getting out of the house at least once a day. Even if it’s just going for a walk with the pram. This is for my sanity. Even if he is awake and seems like he might cry, I stick him in the pram and he calms down right away…something about the movement. And even if I am absolutely exhausted, which most days I am, I still get my butt out of the house. I think I would literally go insane or be depressed if I did not. The other option is breast pumping, although  the NHS doesn’t recommend you bottle feed a baby until 4 weeks. I did this around 3 weeks and he was fine, he didn’t have nipple confusion and actually found that the milk in the bottle came out too fast for him so we bought a “slow flow nipple.”

2. For the first three weeks your nipples are very, very sore.

I would argue that they are still sore now (at 5 weeks) but it’s not as bad. The first week I was sitting around my house with my nipples out. I didn’t care who saw them! For some reason after week 2 I regained my self consciousness, I realised I probably should put them away. Solution: Nipple cream! But more specifically buy Lansinoh HPA Lanolin, the purple one. Seriously this is absolutely THE best and I thank god that the woman in Boots recommended this to me when I was 6 months pregnant. It’s like she knew what was coming but spared me the gory details… I also tried the Avent one but it is not as good. The purple bottle saved my life!

3. Mastitis….0r before you get Mastisis…..plugged milk ducts. 

Plugged milk ducts you say? Yes, this is a thing. I had no idea that your boob could be in so much pain. I also had no idea this exists or would happen to me. You basically have a lump in your boob that is extremely painful and is blocking your back milk from getting out. Yes, there is back milk and fore milk. The back milk is the yellow, high calorie stuff that helps your baby grow. Solution: Other than going to the doctor to get antibiotics. Invest in an expensive maternity bra. Okay it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive but just make sure the material is really, really soft and that the bra straps don’t constrict your boob in anyway. I bought this really cheap £5 bra online because I didn’t think I needed to get those £25 bras from Mothercare. Well I was wrong! The cheap bra constricted my milk flow and I believe caused the plugged milk ducts. I ended up buying a bra from Mothercare and it’s absolutely amazing, it’s comfortable, very soft and easy to unsnap when baby is wailing for milk and I’m freaking out trying to undo my bra! The other option is  heat and massage. Either taking a hot bath or putting a hot water bottle on the infected breast and massaging the plugged duct in circular motions. This may hurt but it apparently helps move the milk out of the breast.

4. You don’t sleep. 

I’ve somewhat already mentioned this one but it needs its own number. He feeds every two hours at night and sometimes after he feeds he wants to play! Solution: Everything should be dark and boring. Even if I have to change him, I try and keep the lights dim. He sleeps better this way and is more likely to keep on sleeping! I also try not to look at him because I know my face and interaction with him is very stimulating at this age. I think white noise helps as well. I downloaded this app called White Noise that plays it constantly for hours and hours.

5. You can’t do anything else except breastfeed!

Now this drives me crazy. I love watching Modern Family but for 8 hours a day every day, it is impossible! I start dreaming as if the characters are my friends. Plus I’ve already watched all of the seasons. Solution: A pillow fort. I put a “breastfeeding pillow” or “pregnancy pillow” around me then put a pillow underneath the pregnancy pillow on each side, then a pillow on my lap. And voila! The baby is able to breastfeed and my hands are free to type on my laptop. The other option is a sling but I haven’t mastered this yet.

6. Your arm hurts after a while. 

I am so tired all of the time. I can’t deal with breastfeeding anymore but it is something I have to do because I believe it’s the best for my baby. (Sometimes I just want to quit and give him formula though) Solution: Breastfeeding on the laying down side position. This has saved my life (besides the nipple cream).  I’m able to feed him in bed when I am feeling extremely exhausted and want to give up. I have also been feeding him in the night this way and “co-sleeping.” I’m finding this is the only way I can get some sleep as it is a constant battle to get him to sleep in the Moses basket. For those of you don’t know this position….you lay on your side and put the baby on his side and bring him right up to the nipple and push him into you and POOF side sleeping position!

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22 thoughts on “6 reasons why breastfeeding “sucks”….and how I made it better ”

  1. The early days of breastfeeding are so, so hard, I kept reading that it shouldn’t hut so thought I was doing something wrong – but it just hurts until your nipples get used to it! It’s so much easier now – 7 months in and my daughter just latches on herself and only feeds for 10 minutes or so. Of course, we now have to deal with the distraction factor – she’s so interested in everything around her that it can be hard to get her to feed at all!

  2. I can relate to nearly all of this (I was lucky to escape mastitis, win!) I found that breastfeeding really did hurt at first, it wasn’t that we were doing it wrong (like you read everywhere), I found that it did just take a while for my body to get used to it. Breastfeeding is definitely a skill that you need to master, but you pick it up quickly because you’re doing it all the flipping time! It definitely gets easier – soon it seems like the easier option over bottle feeding!

  3. Breastfeeding is tough, I managed 8 weeks with my 1st and a few hours with my 2nd, I commend anyone who is successful. Great post and lovely to read, thanks for linking up! #bestandworst

  4. It’s always my overriding memory of that first few weeks of motherhood – cracking the breastfeeding. Nothing prepares you for it! I cannot disagree with any of this! When you’ve been there, you know xx Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

  5. OMG! I had Mastisis too! I actually thought i was having breast cancer and went to see the doctor – who confirmed that I had Mastisis. Relief but my god – it was still it was very painful! Great solutions – I wish I had known before. The doctor didn’t give me anything and said for me to keep bf at-the-time so the milk can flow out… I was in total pain for the next 3 days! #Thebabyformula

  6. Great tips! I have used many of them while I was breastfeeding as well. Thanks for sharing with #abitofeverything

  7. I feel you! I’m still breastfeeding my toddler at almost 22 months. It doesn’t get easy…just evolves. And you get used to it. She still gets up at least 2-3 times a night to nurse. I love the side lying position where she has access and I don’t have to move a muscle. Both of us end up sleeping well. Also, the Ergo baby carrier was (and continues to be) a lifesaver. Nursing on the go took some practice with it but oh boy! How it transformed our outdoor experiences!
    Congratulations on coming this far and I wish you much breastfeeding success!

  8. Yes, yes and yes. I love breastfeeding, and am still feeding my 18 month old, but all of this pretty much mirrors my experience exactly. It does get easier.

  9. So funny! I thought I had breast cancer as well and then I googled and freaked out about having Mastisis, thinking I was never going to breastfeed again and my boob was going to explode or something, tried calling the breastfeeding network helpline who didn’t answer and then called my doctor! It’s been a week now, the pain is gone but the lump is still there so I keep massaging it and trying to make sure I’m fully emptying my boob. Ha ha the things we go through!!

  10. Wow congrats! I don’t know if I’ll make it that far but I’m pushing through, I’m going to check out the Ergo baby carrier, still haven’t really breastfed in the outside world yet! : ) thanks for the tip

  11. I became a mom via adoption so breastfeeding is not something I can personally relate to but I have read a ton of blogs about it and have read many women struggle while others breeze through it. Thanks for linking up with the #FabFridayPost

  12. Oh you’ve hit the nail on the head! I didn’t expect breastfeeding to be easy and I didn’t expect it to be SO hard (though Baby H had tongue tie). But, once you’re through that first 6 weeks, it gets MUCH easier, I really found that I loved it and our time.

    Thanks for sharing, hope you can this week too #TheBabyFormula

  13. Oh I can relate and remember all this so well. While others got on with breastfeeding so easy it was so hard for me with my daughter and she was my second. I had mastitis about four times severely before I gave up and she wouldn’t latch on and bit me a lot and it was a long hard struggle. But with my son it did get easier and more enjoyable and we had a long year of lovely feeding. I think each mother and each child is a different experience. Go with how you think is best. You sound like you are doing great hun. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round of #sharewithme

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