First off, keep in mind that I’m not an expert and that everything I’m saying is based on my own experience breastfeeding. If you need expert assistance, find a lactation consultant – I found mine (eventually) through my son’s pediatrician.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let me give you the brief version of my experience. Quite frankly, the first month was so tough, there must have been at least 50 to 100 times when I said I was going to give up. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t. I think I was feeling so bad about everything (due in part to postpartum depression) that I knew I would feel worse if I couldn’t make breastfeeding work. Having said that, I also have to say that if breastfeeding is going so badly that you’re not enjoying your baby, then there’s nothing wrong with switching to formula. Both the pediatrician and my therapist (the one who had helped me through my miscarriages – I called her once out of desperation, that’s how bad it was) thought I should go with formula, or a combination of formula and breastmilk.
In fact, for the first month, my milk supply was insufficient and we had to supplement with formula (you’ll get so many free samples from Enfamil and Similac!). The supply issue was by far the worst for me, but I also had latching problems, blisters, cracks, and overactive letdown. Tomorrow I’ll post about the milk supply problem and later in the week about the other problems.