The first rule of Breast Club is that you don’t talk about Breast Club. Books, midwives, health visitors, friends, relatives and people you meet in the street cannot prepare you for the nightmare that can be breastfeeding. I have been lucky, no mastitis, no cracked nipples and loads of milk but it’s still been a far cry from the pictures of contented mother and baby that grace breastfeeding literature. It wasn’t the pain so much as the feeling that I was a milk machine, a slave to a small screaming thing who would be obeyed by my leaking breasts if not willingly by the rest of my body. Small thing feeds on demand, and he is very demanding.
When he was 6 weeks old he had a growth spurt that had me feeding every hour, day and night for a week. I just wanted to hide far away from him at the time. But now he is nearly 3 months old and the bleakness of it all seems very distant. Yes he still feeds when he wants, sometimes for a minute, sometimes for an hour. But now my let down reflex is in good working order. It no longer hurts and there is nothing quite like the surge of pure love I feel for him when he breaks his latch to beam a big milky dribbly grin at me. So my advice to others in the same situation is to give up on trying to do anything for yourself and just pretend that you want to be a milk slave, it is your pleasure to drop everything for a feed. This mental switch is what saved my mental health. It’s worth the effort to give your child the best start in life and the difficult bit is not for ever, although it may seem like it at the time.
copyright Lisa Cole www.lactivist.co.uk 2005