‘The nurses told me EVERYONE can breastfeed. I expected to be that same blissful mother, but I wasn’t.’

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“When I was pregnant with my first child, all I saw was blissful photos of mothers breastfeeding their newborns with such an amazing bond-looking contentment. I was excited for that.

It wasn’t a matter if I couldn’t breastfeed, the nurses told me EVERYONE can. I expected to be that same blissful mother, but I wasn’t.

My first wouldn’t latch, something I didn’t think would be a problem. I learned about tongue ties, something I didn’t know existed – all three babies have had them. I learned about thrush and the daggers it creates when you feed. Positions that creates flat nipples, bleeding nipples, cracked nipples. Pain that is worse than labor. Nipple shields, Night sweats.

There’s spacing out feeds at the right time, feeding on demand, pumping to build supply, topping up with expressed milk and sometimes pumping and getting nothing at all. Worrying about nipple confusion, about weight loss or hearing the words ‘failure to thrive.’ Using formula because you just want your baby to be fed, happy and healthy. The sadness that all of it brings, the anxiety it all brings. The guilt and exhaustion.

It’s not easy. It’s not at all. It’s actually really tough. Physically and emotionally. It’s not something as simple as feeding your baby.

And you so, so badly want to give your baby the best. You’re told everyone can do it, that it’s easy and a beautiful bonding moment, and when it’s not, you wonder, ‘Why am I failing? Why can’t it be easy? Why is this so hard?’

Each child I thought I would be prepared, but I never am. Your body does what it wants, your baby does what it wants.

I don’t have one nice breastfeeding selfie of those first few months. Never have. But I know it gets better. I’ve been there. I know all of these problems will be a distant memory, but this is my reality now, and it hurts.

So if you’re struggling know that it gets better. It’s a long, tough road to walk through, it might work out and it might not. It might never be blissful, but the guilt subsides, you realize your happiness matters. You do whatever works best and your baby loves you regardless.

I know it and I know the dark cloud will lift, but these days are hard and right now breastfeeding sucks.”

Laura Mazza

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Mazza of Mum on the Run, where it originally appeared. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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