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Breastfeeding: The First Three Months

Hey there! I'm Shushu and welcome to my blog (and my first blog post!). I live in my hometown of Montreal with my boyfriend Dang, our dog Romeo and our newest little addition, Quinn. I want to use this space to share my thoughts, the things I love, recipes, personal style and everything in between.

The one thing I learned on my breastfeeding journey is to do your best to avoid going down the internet rabbit hole of tips, tricks and advice. From nipple pain to how long to nurse, the internet is full of the answers you want to the answers you don't want. Ask ANYONE but the internet.

I can still picture myself, slumped in front of my laptop, boobs hanging out and ugly crying. One article contradicted the other while all websites blamed latch. I would mentally scream at the screen, "His goddamn latch is fine!". I want to know whose nipples are able to go through the first weeks of breastfeeding without wanting to fall off?

My milk came in a bit late and I wish I had known about fenugreek so I could've started it earlier than I did. I hear it doesn't work for everyone but it did for me. I started the pills at around 3 weeks postpartum and my supply increased tremendously. Just make sure that you're able to pump/nurse on schedule at this time because the engorgement can be intense and can create blocked ducts (which did for me).

To ease the pain of the first weeks of breastfeeding, the only product that gave me any relief and I really can't recommend it enough are the Medela's nipple shells. It creates a space between your skin and the fabric you're wearing, so no rubbing and whichever nipple cream you put on is protected and not transferring onto your top. Although they say you can wear them outside discreetly, I wouldn't recommend unless you DGAF.

My friend Sarah generously lent me an assortment of baby items, two of which were breastfeeding support pillows. I live in a small loft and I hate buying stuff in excess because we have no space for it but I know my life would've been a lot harder without these two items.

1) My Brest Friend: You fasten this around your waist and become a breastfeeding wizard. Easily transition baby from cradle to football hold for a happier experience.

2) Nneka Pillow: This pillow is more like a bean bag that you can mold to your liking. In the beginning I would use this under the My Brest Friend to prop it up as I wanted, but once Quinn was able to support his head better, I'd prop the pillow up like a seat for him so he could nurse against me while sitting up but honestly the sky is the limit.

It took a good 6 weeks until I could function properly with my nipples. It's a "wrap a towel around myself, sleep on my stomach, nurse in whatever position" kind of functioning. After that I felt like a divine mother goddess, nurturing my baby boy with my elixir of life. Unfortunately, my cockiness kicked me in the ass and I started losing milk supply. Let me tell you... once it drops, it's not as easy to build up again.

I tried my second round of fenugreek with no success. Drank Mother's Milk and Ovaltine daily... no dice. Made lactation cookies with brewer's yeast, flax meal and oatmeal... all it did was fix my sugar craving. Poppy seeds, nope. Blessed thistle, nope. Pumping after nursing, nope. Finally I got a prescription of Domperidone and that has been helping a little bit. After my first two weeks of the medication is done, if it's not back to normal I'll go for a stronger dosage (currently only 10mg 3 times a day).

So this lead me to shed my divine mother goddess self and expose a tortured mother who wants to fight the big bad bottle of formula. I was extremely hard on myself for not being able to provide for my son naturally. Most of all, I wasn't ready to give up my breastfeeding journey. I would miss the closeness of it all. The way he holds my fingers when he nurses and stares at me intently.

But those moments were few in between as nursing was starting to become fits of rage, screams of hunger and cries of insatiability. I needed to get over myself and feed this baby!

My boyfriend was a pillar of strength for me every time I had to face a hurdle. I met him with resistance at first because I had that stubborn, new mom, "I know what's best" thing down pat. I have a memory of myself in a t-shirt stained with breastmilk and tears, taking a much needed nap... my boyfriend turned off my alarm, let me sleep and fed the baby a bottle. When I woke up, I was so angry. As if he fed Quinn a bottle of poison. How crazy is that? It took me until the end of a good cry session to realize he did it out of compassion. The baby is hungry and mommy is tired. Sometimes it's daddy that knows best.

So now I nurse him until I see cues of irritation from him and then I offer him a bottle. Although bottle feeding him is also problematic as he doesn't like it nor does he like formula, so he really has to be super tired or super hungry to take the formula and the milk I pump and freeze are for the days he's just not having any of it.

It's not what I imagined where I'd be with breastfeeding, but it's what I can make of the cards I've been dealt. At the end of the day, all that matters is that baby is fed.


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