6 Months of EBF: The Trials, Tribulations, and a Little Self Pat-on-the-Back

Cole is officially SIX months old today…. first of all, umm what?! I have a six month old son?! I’m truly not sure where that time has gone, but it sure has gone fast and it sure has been a beautiful adventure. I’d like to focus my blog this week on one important personal milestone: 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding/pumping. So, before you begin, just know this one is long.

Before having Cole, I figured I’d try breastfeeding because that’s what they say is best, and I wanted to try to do what’s best for my little man. However, I went into it with an open mind knowing that sometimes it just DOESN’T work, and knowing formula was always available made me feel better about giving it a try.

My breastfeeding journey started how most start, shortly afterward Cole entered the world. They recommended trying to get him to latch right away as they do in most complication-free natural births. Fortunately, Cole did not have issues latching fairly well or nursing (clearly, he’s a biiig boy). However, this journey was full of many bumps and curves, and I was so very close to jumping ship many, many times.

I’ll spare you all the graphic details about how painful those early weeks are when a particularly sensitive body part is now being sucked on for 20-30 minutes at a time every 1.5-2 hours, but just know that the resulting pain was at times toe-curling and produced many, many tears and cries. I felt like as soon as he was done nursing, I had less than an hour until he was due to eat again – and it felt like a never ending cycle of pain. It was physically and emotionally exhausting, and you truly feel like a cow. To add insult to injury, within the first few weeks Cole and I both ended up with thrush. And shortly after that, I experienced a very painful and frustrating milk bleb (Google it, not fun or pretty). So those first weeks were not easy, and there were HUNDREDS of times that I wanted to quit. DOZENS of times that I’d be nursing him in the middle of the night, crying in pain, and Mitch would wake up, walk in, and try to support me.

Our first day home from the hospital

I can honestly say without his support, I may have given up. I HATED breastfeeding at first, and I think that’s ok. Giving up would have been easier, no doubt. It also would have made life a lot easier when I wanted to leave the house, because planning a trip to the store or anywhere was very difficult around nursing (especially because I’m a private person, and not the type to whip out my boobs in public – lots of nursing happened in my car and in dressing rooms). But a particularly wonderful delivery nurse I was blessed to have, Kelly, told me to give it 6 weeks. She told me that after 6 weeks, it would get easier. And truly, it took a little bit longer than that for me due to the thrush and bleb. But, I’m so glad I stuck it out and pressed on.

A few little tips that helped me make it through:

1. Lanolin, lanolin, and more lanolin

2. Air, air, and more air (I used these cool little plastic shells that let the nips air out in between feedings

3. Cold and warm compresses before and after feedings

4. A good boppy pillow, a close-by remote, a full water bottle, and a comfortable recliner – because for the first few months I felt like I lived on there

5. Truly, give it time. After 5-6 weeks, assess how it’s going and decide whether to continue or not.

The benefits of breastfeeding far outweighed the negatives – despite there being so many of them in those early days. For me, it allowed me to lose the baby weight plus some pretty quickly. It allowed me to eventually build a strong bond with Cole, and feel a strong sense of importance as his mommy. For Cole, thanks to my antibodies, he has made it through half of flu season with only the occasional runny nose or minor cold (fingers crossed). And he’s growing and gaining weight like a champ!

6 months old💙

I’m hoping to continue nursing and pumping at work to get Cole through flu season, but if my body has other ideas (or if Cole gets teeth sooner) then I will give myself a pat on the back for a job well done and hang up the ladies. With that, I leave you with a little comedic relief. Below are some of the random late night thoughts I decided to jot down..


-My nips hurt soooo bad, I hope they won’t fall off or something

-Will I EVERRRRR sleep through the night again?!

-No one else in the entire world is awake right now, no one..

-*As husband snores loudly from the bedroom across the hall* I could shoot him, or smother him with a pillow, bury him in the back yard, etc. I’ve watched enough NCIS, I could probably get away with it, or have a jury full of moms who would totally understand

-*looking up stuff on Amazon* Hmm, do I need this ::insert random baby item I’d never use::? ::adds to Amazon cart::

-Will I EVERRRRR sleep through the night again?!

-That awkward moment when you realize that getting 4 hours of sleep is your new “well rested”

-I almost fell asleep standing up, I had no idea that could happen

-how the hell do people do this with more than one kid?

-………..wait, what day is it?

-One poopy diaper down, a million to go.

-Will I EVERRRRR sleep through the night again?!

-::Ellie walks in and lays by my feet while I’m rocking Cole back to sleep:: “I wonder if I could train her to hold a bottle…” 🤔

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