"As for me, I'll take one baby marinated in a dish please"

Breast is Best – is there an epidural for that too?

Whoever decided that rubbing a towel on your nipples to “roughen” them up in order to prepare a woman for breastfeeding must have formula fed. I’m here to say that rubbing a towel on your nipples makes them red and if done hard enough, takes some skin off. It doesn't even deserve a place on the pain scale of 1-10.

Breastfeeding on the other hand, is an agony that starts at the tips of the toes before ripping through ones entire body and finally ending at the nipple. In fact, for me it started so painfully that when I had a clogged duct and had to go into my nipple with a sterilized needle to unclog it, it was a welcome relief from actually feeding.

The mouth that makes my nipples scream in agony every time they see it coming.

While the “experts” would say that most of my suffering was caused by an improper latch, judging by the picture above, my baby has no problem opening her mouth wide enough to clamp onto my raw and chapped nipple. Plus, I’m not going to re-try the latch four or five times when she’s screaming to get her eat on. Nope, I’m going to grit my teeth, clench my toes, squeeze my eyes shut and say to myself, “this can’t last forever. Breast is best, breast is best, breast is best.” And then I’m going to hold my breath and take the plunge.

At first, during the 30 or so minutes I had in-between feedings, I put lanolin on my defeated nipples to help them stop crying. But having the sophisticated palate that my newborn does, Ellyette the howling parahina Hummel, decided she didn’t like the taste of lanolin. Heaven forbid. She had no problems sucking on her hand, her blankets, her clothes, or sucking my milk back down after she spit it up, but the thought of a little lanolin made her rip off my nipple repeatedly and spit it out like a food critic eating pasta at an Olive Garden.

It got so bad that I quit using the stuff altogether and only stared at it longingly until I finally put it into a drawer so I couldn’t even temp myself anymore.
I’m sure the fact that it took my milk five exceedingly long days to come in didn’t help. The parihana sucked and sucked until low and behold a tiny bit of milk dribbled out on day five. And after that it was like a feeding frenzy. She couldn’t get enough. And the harder and longer she sucked, the more I suffered.

It was during those days that I realized epidurals should not be just for labor. While childbirth might get the gold for the most pain ever, breastfeeding is certainly on the podium- I know my nipples certainly deserve a medal for the abuse they’ve taken.

1 comment:

  1. Krista, it's Amanda, Steve and Liz's former housemate! They just sent me your blog and I'm loving it - I'm due in 5 weeks. Congratulations, too, on your beautiful baby! You guys look so happy. But it sounds like you got some seriously bad advice about breastfeeding. Has it gotten any better? (Fyi, my mom told me to scrub my nipples WITH A LOOFAH in preparation for breastfeeding. I ignored her.) Email me at!