For these blog posts, as part of the nursing series, I'm going to let the mama's words about their own experiences do the talking. Suffice it to say, it was an absolute joy to meet Zakiya and her adorable daughter and I'm honored that she was willing to spend a lovely afternoon in the park with me!
"I remember wanting to give up on breastfeeding the first week with my first child. I had my mother, husband, and midwife supporting me but I felt it wasn’t enough. I stayed up nights crying because I was sad that I could not muscle through the pain. My nipples were sore, cracked, peeling, and sometimes bled. It was traumatizing. It was a learning experience for both my daughter and me. I remember the breastfeeding being a lot harder than I thought because my breasts are so big.
Trying to fit my entire areola in her mouth was an impossible task. She had a challenging time latching which made my nipples very sore so sometimes I pump the milk into a bottle for her. I would rather her get my milk than formula. I know it's better. She can finally fit her newborn clothes. Although I don't think she will last very long in them. I don't get any sleep. That every couple of hours thing was so exhausting. I barely had time to wash up or eat. For the first full week, I barely slept at all because I would watch her sleep. Worried about SIDS and making sure she was breathing. Plus, she kept randomly throwing up her arms and legs. It took a while to learn her cues and to try various positions for this breastfeeding thing to go smoothly. I am not sure what happened exactly but after an infection of mastitis I regained strength and meditated on the thought of my healthy baby receiving her nourishment from me. I read stories on blogs and articles from different friends and found help with a lactation consultant. I found the will to fight through my pain and irritation with the process of breastfeeding.
One thing that was 100% true in my case was the saying “It gets easier”. It got so much easier and better the more time passed. With my mother and lactation consultant positioning her head and me learning to hold my breast for her, the process became very doable. It did completely stall any other errands I needed to do. My only regret is that a few times I supplemented formula. I am not sure if that caused my daughter to stop nursing sooner than later but I felt it had some impact. I am currently breastfeeding my second and it has been a breeze. "
- Zakiya with baby Tehmina