I thought the second time would be easy. It should be shouldn't it? After all Wriggly was breastfed to a year and he had a pretty bad start, what with the elective caesar for breech, the lack of milk, the mix feeding, the pain, and a large weight loss on my part. This time was going to be better, because I was going to labour, I was going to know what to expect and I was going to be kinder to myself.
We're at ten weeks now and I have mastitis. It feels very unfair indeed. After weeks of pain and nipple shields and sterilising and cracks and blisters and fissures and tears and advice things were finally, finally, coming right and then the red flare comes up, the flu-y feeling starts and this morning my partner had to drive me to the doctor because I was too ill to go by myself. I nearly cried when I got there and the lift wasn't working. I did cry as I explained it all to the doctor.
I'm just not very good at breastfeeding a newborn. I can't get the latch right, and I hate just sitting around while I'm being sucked on. I need to read a book, or be online, or play a game, or make a phone call. None of which is conducive to good positioning. I do seem to have very sensitive nipples as well, and having already fed Snuffly's big brother for a year hasn't changed that.
I asked myself earlier on in this process why I was so determined to breastfeed; what were the actual reasons why I was persevering. Thinking hard there were two main ones; because it gives me a sense of achievement and because it is so much more convenient for my life than dealing with formula and bottles. Because of the nature of the way I live, Snuffly has been fed publicly many times already - in meetings, large and small, mainly. No one has batted an eyelid to date, which is good because I'd hate to have to be rude to them.
Last time I had to start giving Wriggly formula in hospital, as I simply didn't make enough milk. We mix fed until about three or four months, I can't really remember precisely, and then formula became a rarity, until I went back to work at nine months and had to be out a lot over the evening feed. On his first birthday he gave up, but my supply had been dwindling for months.
I swore this time would be different. My concerns about the pain have certainly been taken a lot more seriously than they were two and a half years ago. The fact that I have already fed one baby for a year seems to give me a bit of standing, plus my Lead Maternity Carer has been a revelation of good midwifery compared to the last one. But it was around this point last time that the pain lifted and feeding started to become an easy joy. And that hasn't happened yet.
It scares me - what if this time will be different because it will be worse? Now that I've got antibiotics for the mastitis it seems to be clearing fast, but what about the thrush which we seem unable to shake? Is this going to hurt forever?
And am I going to have to give up?