One of the biggest challenges I've faced these first 6 months of being a mom was breastfeeding. I thought I was well prepared, that I was made for this! Well, what we got was far from easy. First, my milk took 4-5 days to come in. We were set on not supplementing and believe that God had it under control, this process was designed by him. By day 4 we thought that Peanut was hungry and wanting more. I fed him often and pumped as much as possible to get my milk in. The first day home is stressful enough, this was horrible as new parents to know our baby may have been hungry and we couldn't give him more. We just had to keep reminding ourselves how small his stomach actually was. When my milk came in I was so relieved!
Then came the soreness, scabbing, & peeling. Nipples should not ever have to go through that. I knew his latch wasn't the best, but I just wanted to get it over with so I didn't really do my best in correcting it. Because I didn't take the time and effort (I was TIRED!), it took until about 5-6 months for nursing to not hurt as much. Luckily my midwife was amazing and prescribed me Jack Newman's Ointment. I credit it for never getting thrush or mastitis to this cream! I also did saline soaks to help prevent infection.
I also got PLENTY of plugged milk ducts during my first 4 months of nursing. Those were painful as well. It just took time to get rid of those-and lots of massage, heat, and nursing.
Besides the physical pains of nursing, I wasn't expecting the time commitment. Silly, I know. When the nurses told me I had to nurse every 3 hours, even in the middle of the night I remember being surprised. I just never thought about it. That first night when the nurse woke me up, I was SOOO tired. After the first night, I remember I would wake right about the time ready to give my feed my hungry little man.
Luckily he was a ready nurser, lazy, but ready. It was frustrating to get used to (and still can be at times) how often I have to nurse. It's surprising how little you can get done in between feeding times. Especially when you add to it changing him, bathing him, showering yourself, trying to eat-anything, and then putting him down for a nap. It feels like you just don't do anything besides feeding. If you want to add pumping in between feedings to the mix, well you can imagine.
Even with all the pains and frustrations. It's worth it. Every minute I hold Peanut while nursing is treasured. Even when I'm in a hurry, or clenching my teeth if it hurts, or falling asleep. I love my special time with him. I love that when he sees me, he knows food is near. I love that I can provide his food, his sustenance, the best nutrition possible for him. Breastfeeding is a brilliant creation by God.
So if you're having problems nursing-I can sympathize. Even if it's gone amazingly smooth for you, but you treasure it-I'm with you there too.