Milkmaker | Kierra Burns
We're so excited to share our latest Milkmaker story from new mama, Kierra Burns. Kierra's story sheds some light on those early weeks navigating breastfeeding and how addressing pain can make a world of a difference. If you're experiencing pain, please seek help from an IBCLC to address what may be causing you pain and get it fixed early on - breastfeeding should not be painful. Have a story you'd like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fear. That’s what my breastfeeding journey began with. All I ever heard about it was negative things, “you’re nipples are going to be so sore”, “they’re going to bleed and crack and scab”, “it’s always going to be painful”, “I didn’t last for more than a few months”, “my milk supply is awful”, etc. While all of these are very real problems, I was just amazed there weren’t more positive stories about it. I was definitely turned off by the idea from hearing so many negative comments but knew it was something I wanted to do, if I was able, so my little one could get the best nutrition possible no matter the pain.
On March 15th my precious little man was born. I wasn’t able to do skin to skin or breastfeed right away like I had planned due to complications. I had developed preeclampsia during delivery and was completely out of it and on a magnesium IV, which made me so sick. Because of this I didn’t actually get to breastfeed until the next day. When we eventually did try he latched right away and I was so surprised! Everything was going great the rest of the day and into the night and then my nipples started getting sore. I started to get scared and think of all the negative things I had been told and thought “great, here comes all the bad stuff.” And boy did it come.
The soreness quickly turned into cracking and bleeding. Every time he would latch it felt like my nipples were being cut off. I know, a little dramatic, but it did! I had an idea of what the pain would be like but I’d never been through it before so I definitely didn’t expect it to hurt that bad. The only thing that really helped the soreness were cold compresses and the lanolin helped with the bleeding and cracking. Those were my two best friends!
I was so concerned that this was how it was going to be the rest of my breastfeeding journey because, like I said, I hadn’t really heard any positives about it. I did not want to deal with that, so I was determined to make things better. I started googling everything! I found out that you shouldn’t be hearing any noises such as clicking or smacking while breastfeeding and to make sure they had the correct latch and that their tongue is positioned correctly. Well wouldn’t you know he was making both clicking and smacking noises every time he fed which meant his latch wasn’t right. I was so happy because I knew this was something I could fix.
After successfully correcting his latch things started looking up.
Two days later the bleeding had stopped and turned into scabs and that awful pain I got when he latched was now just a sore pain. The whole scab thing was really getting annoying though because it was just a continuous cycle of hardening and softening. I eventually just peeled it off and the next day they were completely healed and the soreness was gone! Ever since then, things with breastfeeding have been great! My supply is good, his latch is good, everything is good. I am so thankful to say that we no longer have any more issues because I know so many people struggle with it. I now actually look forward to breastfeeding. It’s such a great way to bond with your baby and really connect with them. Or you can just stare at them like I do 🙈☺️ sometimes I even just tell him about what we’ve been doing throughout the day, he loves listening to my voice, and just stares at me. It’s the sweetest.
My goal is to breastfeed for a year! Almost 2 months down, 10 more to go!
Looking back, there are a few things I wish I would have known before this process. One of those being the wonderful Medela soothing gel pads, those are a game changer! I used them when I was dealing with the soreness. Also, just more information on the latch and things that could be causing issues like little one being tongue tied. I had no idea that that was even a thing before I googled like a mad woman in the hospital! I definitely recommend doing research before you start breastfeeding that way you have an idea of why it may be hurting you. [Remember, breastfeeding should not be painful.]
If I could give you any advice it would be to remember this is a learning process for BOTH of you. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go smoothly at first and remember that it will get better! ❤️