Breastfeeding Support

From Emily:

I’m planning to breastfeed our first baby in February. I’m not too concerned about that just because I know I will need to ask for help and I know it may not be an easy start, but it’s important to me to make it work. What I’m more concerned about probably is other people’s reactions to my breastfeeding. My husband’s parents have already made comments like, “Well, it might not work out. I [my husband’s mom] tried for a week and my milk never came in. So I had to quit.” That bothers me because it’s certainly not encouraging! So how do I deal with something like this?

I’m so excited for you, Emily!  I’m a staunch supporter of breastfeeding and know that it is absolutely the best nutrition for baby whenever possible.  That said, breastfeeding my first baby was near torture for about the first three weeks of her life.  I was just telling a new mom last week that the first three weeks were awful, the next three were tolerable, and it was a couple of months before it felt second nature.

Your attitude and commitment are to be commended and will be needed in those first few days and weeks.  As for the naysayers?  Ignore them.  It’s true that some moms are unable to breastfeed for whatever reason, and my heart goes out to them, but you don’t need their stories right now.  You need encouragement.  95% of women are perfectly physically capable of nourishing their baby without supplementation.

What got me through those first few emotional, painful days and weeks (and we didn’t really have any “problems”!) was my own determination (I *WILL* do this!) and support from other breastfeeding moms and my husband.  Surround yourself with women who make it work.  Read accounts of women who have overcome obstacles.  “Like” breastfeeding support pages on Facebook.  (KellyMom is one of my favorites.)

When the naysayers see your commitment to breastfeeding your baby, they’ll quiet down.  Most people will be quite impressed and supportive once your sweet baby arrives.

Do any of my readers have additional advice or resources for Emily?

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Comments

  1. Emily should also remember that there are natural and medical ways of helping her breastmilk come in more if she needs it. Don’t just talk to other moms if you’re having problems. Find a lactation consultant in your area if you need to! They were my saving grace with my daughter (also my first!) when my milk didn’t want to come in. I wish I’d known then that it was okay to talk to my doctor about it as well. My midwife was certainly considerate and kind (she had 10 children of her own and it was her who noticed that my daughter wasn’t eating well at my 1 week new mom postpartum visit), but I didn’t know to ask for medical reasons that my milk wasn’t coming in. She gave me a prescription that normally helps, but didn’t do much for me. We found out later that I was having postpartum thyroid problems at the time and that’s what kept my milk from coming. If I’d known then what I know now, I would’ve pushed for those tests and I would’ve been much happier and more comfortable. Be your own advocate, with doctors, with lactation consultants, and with your mother-in-law! Ask her to be encouraging and that it would help if she could be positive about your experience. She might just feel like she’s preparing you in case it doesn’t come easily (and it won’t), but it can feel like discouragement, especially when you’re pregnant or postpartum. Good luck to Emily!

  2. I’m a failed breastfeeder, so don’t take any breastfeeding advice from me! But I think people make comments like that for many reasons:
    1) So you don’t feel as bad if you don’t end up breastfeeding. Kind of cushions the blow.
    2) Sets your expectations that it will be hard. Knowing that it might be difficult helps you mentally expect it, even if there isn’t anything you can do ahead of time to physically start doing it before the baby arrives.
    3) Letting you know that they still love you and support you even if the breastfeeding thing doesn’t happen.

    Basically, I think they’re just trying to be supportive, even if they are clumsy at it!

  3. As a follow-up: Don’t take the fact that I’m a failed breastfeeder be just another naysayer. My story is just that: my story and not yours! I’ve had a breast reduction which complicated things AND I think I wasn’t as well prepared as I could’ve been. Your story will be different!

    Oh and maybe a 4th reason from above:

    4) If they communicate it’s hard, it could be their way of saying that they really respect that you want to do it!

  4. My sister in law gave me some sage advice when preparing for my first child. She told me that I’d want to quit everyday for the first 8 weeks but it got dramatically better after that. The babies know what they are doing and nursing doesn’t take as long. She was right! I had to talk myself out of quitting in 3 day increments. I told myself “if I still want to quit on Friday, you can” and then Friday would roll around and I’d feel fine. Then by Saturday or Sunday I was bargaining with myself to hold out for Tuesday or Wednesday.
    But I understand what you mean about negative family support. My own mother was less than supportive. I think if you tell them a few times that its really important to you to do this that they will back off. The hardest thing for me was getting comfortable bf in public. It takes some practice and the first few times are uncomfortable. You can do it. I never had any negative comments during the times when I was trying to discreetly feed a baby.

  5. My advice would be meet with the Lactation Consultants as much as needed. We had to meet with them twice after leaving the hospital it was as if they explained the same information in a different way. The third LC helped me the most. We also chose to use a Medela Supplementation Device with my expressed breastmilk because I was so determined to breastfeed my second baby since I failed with my first. I also used the pump in addition to putting my baby to the breast. So if need be please don’t shrug off pumping. Also, at 20 months we are still goin’ strong, even though the naysayers are still nay sayin’, we’ll wrap this breastfeeding relationship up when we’re ready, not when they’re ready. I figure we both worked hard to get on the right track.

    • “Also, at 20 months we are still goin’ strong, even though the naysayers are still nay sayin’, we’ll wrap this breastfeeding relationship up when we’re ready, not when they’re ready.”

      LOVE this!! Still goin’ strong here at 23 months! Keep it up :)

  6. Ugh, it’s so frustrating to have your support system be unsupportive before you even start! With my first baby (29 week preemie) I had colostrum the very first time they brought me the pump….maybe 10 hours or so after delivery. They were surprised, so…maybe I’m freak, BUT if you’re worried about having enough milk you gotta remember the whole supply and demand concept. My pumping situation kind of sucked and didn’t go super well so with baby #2 I made him eat about every 2 hours to make darn sure I had enough supply. It worked! Also I asked the lactation lady if I was doing it right and without even looking she brought me a shield. I’m mildly annoyed looking back but whatever…it worked, I had no pains or cracks and I successfully breastfed for 53 weeks using the shield the entire time. OK so yes I am a freak, but I met my goal, so I’m ok with that!! ;)

    • I don’t believe you’re a freak. Your body did what it’s supposed to and I had a similiar situation with my 31 week preemie. You are to be commended too because when we got home, and tried that shield about a week, neither of us was having it. So 53 weeks with a shield in my book is AWESOME!

  7. When I was pregnant, I went to a friend who had three babies she had nursed. I talked to her about my fears and she pointed out that if I kept saying, “If I can…”, I was settling myself up for failure. She said yes, some women cannot nurse their babies but like Amy said, 95% are completely capable. So she told me to go into the situation with determination and I was more likely to succeed. This changed my whole outlook on nursing and my healthy, happy 2 year old daughter has never had an ounce of formula (and still nurses on demand for comfort and as a way to reconnect with her working mama).

    As for the naysayers, one thing that got me through the difficult times was humor. Whenever I would get discouraged, I would think of some of the awesome pioneering mothers who went and cleared the path before me. Trust me, there are some gut-busting funny stories about breastfeeding out there. One of my favorites is about a woman who was nursing her baby in a crowded mall. Two teenage boys walked by and stopped and stared. One said, “Ewww, that’s disgusting!” The mother popped the baby off her breast, held the bare nipple out to them, and said, “Is that any better? Bet you’d rather have the baby on there now, huh?” Hahahahahahah!

    • The one thing I would add to the “95%” statistic, is that it may be technically true, but there are other reasons why breastfeeding fails. For instance, sometimes it is the baby and not the mother who has problems feeding. Also, physically being able to breastfeed is not always all it takes- moms have to consider their mental and emotional well-being and sometimes they are not in ideal situations where they have the support they need to make it through the difficulties of breastfeeding.

      That being said, being prepared ahead of time is a HUGE step, Emily! Blessings to you and your child.

  8. I agree with Amy. Be prepared for the first month or so to be terrible. It’s hard and painful. But (this perspective comes as I sit here nursing my 4th child) those first few weeks will seem so short compared to the many months you will ENJOY nursing your baby once they’re over. It’s the same as anything about having a newborn (labor, nighttime wakings, etc). Try to find the positive in the hard parts, because it will seem so short when you look back later. And if you ever have other children, there’s a good chance nursing them will be even easier. :)

    And just be determined, no matter what anyone says (my family has gotten used to it, but my mom and sister still think its “gross”, and my mom spent my first two babies saying “maybe he/she just needs a bottle…” every time the baby cried.) :)

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Emily,

    I’ve not read above comments, but I wanted to encourage you in your efforts! Just last week I attended a breastfeeding conference that was very informative. Two of the best lectures presented were by the authors of these books: Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers; An Introduction to Biological Nurturing: New Angles on Breastfeeding (both can be found on amazon). After nursing 3 of my babies (and I’m currently still nursing my 3rd baby), the information presented was new to me, unlike what I had learned but did in fact find most natural by listening to my intuition and trusting in God’s design. Just as God has designed your body to carry your baby in your womb, so He has designed your body to nurture your baby outside the womb through breastfeeding. Trust your body and God’s design. Babies are designed to instictively breastfeed and when challenges require interventions by professionals, seek help but don’t give up!

  10. For me, having the support from my mom and a great lactation consultant made all the difference! They helped me get through some tough times (I had an abscess caused by mastitis surgically drained. The surgeon told me to stop nursing, but my lactation consultant helped me figure out that I could keep breastfeeding. I also ended up weaning my 3rd baby when I was in the hospital when she was a month old. Within a couple of weeks she was back to being totally breastfed). So even if you have obstacles, you can do it!!
    My go-to book was “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League International.
    Also, make sure your pediatrician is breastfeeding friendly! Even if your family isn’t supportive, it is very helpful to have the doctor on your side. I had several friends who ended up switching to formula because their doctor wasn’t supportive of breastfeeding. And it was always nice to be able to tell my MIL “the doctor says the baby is doing just fine breastfeeding” whenever she would give me her formula/solids advice.

    • I agree totally. Even when our pediatrician wanted to give the baby formula he encouraged me to give my baby formula AND KEEP BREASTFEEDING so baby would get the benefits of feeding at breast.

  11. All the above comments are great! I just wanted to add to stay very hydrated. You need a lot of water to produce milk!! Also Lanisoh (spelling?) helped with sore/cracked nipples. God’s Blessings to all moms in the newborn stage :)

  12. Find a friend who has breastfed a lot of babies for a long time! More than likely she would be thrilled for you to call her for any question and when you’re ready to give up.

    And you know what? It might NOT be that hard. Have confidence in your body and your abilities as a woman!

  13. I also want to add that a supportive husband is much of the equation; even if your in-laws or parents aren’t supportive, if your husband is, you’ve got it made!

    I wish Emily the best; breastfeeding was very difficult for the first three weeks for me the first time, since I had a colicky baby with a little neck strain from birth (found that out later) who was jaundiced (this makes it tough, since the baby is groggy, but the baby eating can help the jaundice to clear – a nice catch-22). After a fabulous lactation consultant (my third – don’t give up at the first and second consultant!!), I nursed, and nursed, and nursed!! My second baby was fine – I was more relaxed, there wasn’t too much jaundice, no colic, and no neck strain. Every situation is different, but I’m proof that you can get support and make it work (I thought at week 3 that I might not be able to hack it, but kept going).

    Also, don’t discount the major post-partum thing – remind yourself that you might be weepy and it is OK; you’d probably be weepy if you didn’t nurse, too. Hang in!

    If you do have issues, get a hospital-grade pump (a lactation professional can help you get one), and pump after your baby nurses (or tries to). This will help your milk to come in and boost your supply. Also, you can pump on one side while your baby nurses the other, if you can juggle it. Take fenugreek (get good quality kind from Whole Foods) – 3 capsules, 3 times a day to boost your supply and drink raspberry leaf tea and mother’s milk tea. Above all, lean on your lactation specialist and your husband!
    I’m guessing, however, you’ll be just fine; it’s great that you want to breastfeed!

  14. I only skimmed through the above comments, but I encourage you to also seek out your local La Leche League group…even before your baby is born!
    Nursing my first daughter was tough for the first 3-6 weeks as well, but moms with my local La Leche League gave me encouragement, advice, and were a really awesome example for what was normal in the breastfeeding process.

  15. Courtney B says:

    Emily,

    I can totally relate on the naysayers and discouraging advice. My Mom never nursed me and my MIL weaned both of her boys between 6 weeks-3 months. I am still nursing my little guy and he will be 16 months in a week.

    It gets better!! Keep reminding yourself of that. The first 3 weeks were tough but then it got better. I set a goal of 6 weeks and when we got there my husband and I agreed to talk about if I wanted to continue. At 6 weeks it was a non-issue. I loved it, Jude loved it, it was free!

    These were a lifesaver to me and I used the religiously for the first couple of weeks.
    http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=231527&catid=182623&aid=338666&aparam=231527

    Get lots of support from your pediatrician and/or LC and you can do it! And if you can’t for whatever reason. Formula is not the devil!

  16. Emily– I’m right there with you! I’m pregnant with my first (also due in February!) and so excited about breast feeding, but heard more than a few negative comments from people. We are all in this together!! We can do it!
    I’m so thankful you sent this email to Amy! And thank you Amy for your continued honesty on these topics!
    Can’t wait to check out the KellyMom page for more info! And keep the comments coming!
    Suzanne
    P.s. thanks again to all of the women who encouraged me in Amy’s post http://amysfinerthings.com/if-not-now-when

  17. Go to a LLL meeting or other breastfeeding support group meeting now while pregnant. You will meet moms who will support and help you. And if you find yourself needing help in those first few weeks, it will be easier to reach out to to those you’ve already had contact with.

  18. Don’t be deterred by negative comments before you even start! I would recommend a lactation consultant, which most hospitals offer or La Leche League. The only problem I had was with my first one and she wasn’t latching on correctly and the issue wasn’t caught for two weeks!! Use the Lanolin ointment as well as that helps a lot (they usually give you samples). Prayers sent your way.

  19. I breast fed both of my kids for 6 months. It was so rewarding that the discomfort that is felt in the beginning, until the nipples are toughened up, is minor. I will say that I had to avoid chocolate, onions, and milk for the first three months since it gave them severe tummy aches! I used a nondairy substitute for the milk and took calcium supplements. I also didn’t eat ice cream.
    I also went back to work fulltime, 8 weeks after giving birth. I used an electric breast pump that was available to moms where I worked. I spent my lunch hour and my one other break pumping. I would get out a picture of my baby and look at it to stimulate the flow. I refrigerated the milk and gave it to the kids’ caregiver for the next day.
    I had two different bosses during this time, and they both discouraged me, even though they were both dietitians!
    Also, it is possible to nurse and be discreet and modest. You just have to be creative!
    As a dietetic technician I believe breastfeeding is best whenever possible!!

  20. I had no support from the hospital staff with our first child. The nurses would help half-heartedly (sp?) and the lactation consultant never showed up (and I was in the hospital for four days thanks to a last minute c-section). Thank goodness for my husband, he helped me position our son and would try to get help when I needed it.

    But what got me through it was my determination to breast feed. It is tough at first but it does get better!! When the baby wants to nurse, nurse and nurse and nurse. Watch all the shows that you never have time to watch and read books that you want to read and nurse. I loved it and nursed all three of our children with our last being nursed the longest. When I see babies now, I think of my children and the time that I nursed them.

  21. Deborah Jennings says:

    As a Mom of 3, my only regret was NOT breast feeding my babies. That wasn’t the “in” thing to do in the late 60′s early 70′s. I was also too young at that time to even know about breast feeding.

    I admire everyone that does breast feed. Oh and everyone is different! So just don’t pay attention to what happened to anyone else. Your experience is just your experience.

  22. When I was pregnant with my first, I ‘researched’ breastfeeding, reading books and blog posts. I also went to a breastfeeding class and brought my husband along with me. Yes, he was the only man in the class but he was there to learn because he was going to be my main support person.

    I was prepared for the worst and ready to endure a week or more of pain. With the help of the lactation consultant and my husband (personal lactation consultant!), we were able to get my son to latch perfectly from the very beginning, minimizing pain for mama!

    Breastfeeding is hard and is a commitment. I think knowing this before birth really helps a mama succeed.

    Also, drink tons and tons of water and eat a lot too! Don’t worry about losing weight at all, your body needs lots of food and water to establish an abundant milk supply! :)

    And, find at least one friend, acquaintance or even blogger (like Amy) to support and encourage you. Most breastfeeding advocates love to encourage new breastfeeding mama’s!

  23. I must second the advice on surrounding yourself with people who are supportive, have successfully breadfed and are currently breastfeeding. Meet NOW with a lactation consultant and find out how to contact her after you deliver so you can have a visit quickly to head off anything that might hinder successful breastfeeding. Attend any classes offered on breastfeeding BEFORE you deliver. Purchase a good pump, practice putting it together and become familiar with how to use it BEFORE the baby arrives. Plan on using your pump from the start. What is often suggested is to pump for a bit after baby has finished nursing. This will help increase your supply and also provide some breastmilk that can be stored. Knowing you have a supply of breastmilk stored will allow you to give yourself a break from nursing if/when you need one once in a while but will still provide your baby with breastmilk. Are you sensing a pattern here?? Do all of this BEFORE baby arrives because you will be a tired, hormonal mess and it’s kind of hard to interpret instruction manuals or have rational conversations in that state. (Not that I know anything about that, ahem). Also, look for a breastfeeding support group in your area. I was fortunate to be able to attend one with monthly meetings at the hospital where I delivered. Each month, one of the lactation consultants facilitated the meeting and often had a particular topic to discuss briefly but that best part was being around moms with children of all ages who were successfully breastfeeding. They had great tips, knew of tons of products that worked (and which didn’t) and really were just a comfort. It’s hard to let yourself get down when you in a room full of mommas and babies! Maybe if your town doesn’t have such a group, you could try to find a few like-minded moms to get together with on occasion. Finally, enlist your husband’s support. Tell him your worries and what your hopes are for this very special time in both of your lives. Ask him to play the role of interceptor and (politely) cut off any negative talk from friends or family. Have him practice a brief statement about the goals you and he have for breastfeeding (and child rearing in general, because you can be certain this is only the first of many situations where well-meaning people are going to be eager to offer “advice”). I have found a broken-record response puts an end to discussion quicker than any well-organized rebuttal ever does. Just remember to breathe, enjoy your new baby, and this amazing time in your life! You can do it!!

  24. Don’t be discouraged by what some people may say. Nursing my little one came super easy. She was a natural and a good eater so I was very lucky. My breast did hurt some at first but nothing to horrible. It was the most wonderful bonding experience. I would suggest taking a breast feeding class before baby comes. Also take advantage of the lactation specialist while you are in the hospital or through your pediatric office once baby has come. Good luck!!

  25. Good luck! I believe if you are determine chances are you will be very successful! I breastfeed and am still breastfeedit my first one. I had a horrible start because he was toungue tied and he didn’t latch properly. I was stress the first night I got home cause he was crying so hard. I was determine to breastfeed him. My mom suggested supplementing with formula and my hubby broke down and suggested that too but I refuse. We went to see a lactation consultant he next day and I was determine despite a rocky start. It still scares me thinking about how hard it was for me at the beginning. Now my little man is an “expert”! I love to breastfeed him so much that my friends think I will be the one that will have a hard time when I wean him off.

    Having said breastfeeding can take up a lot of your time and can be tiring. However no regrets! Is such a wonderful time you get to spend with your baby :)

  26. P/s: your husband needs to be extremely supportive and it helps a huge deal. My husband was very supportive despite asking me to give our baby formula when we were having a difficult start. I had extremely supportive friend because she was successful in breastfeeding her son. Now I’m supportive system to my friends with new born :)

  27. Lisa gave excellent advice above: get a good pump (try Medela’s Pump In Style) and know how to use it ahead of time. When your milk comes in, if your baby hasn’t figured out the whole nursing thing, you’re going to need to know how to use it, and yesterday!

    Also, know that your attitude is very important too. In the beginning my baby wouldn’t nurse on my left side and it got to where I would get stressed out every time it was time to nurse on that side. I had to remind myself that each time was a new opportunity, to take a deep breath and to relax, because my baby could sense that I was agitated and that would make him agitated.

    Good luck!

  28. I haven’t read the other comments, so forgive me if I’m repeating! I lasted 7 weeks with my first baby and then went on to nurse #2 for 16 mos, #3 for 23 mos and I exclusively pumped for the 4.5 mos that #4 was alive and plan to nurse #5 for about 2 years. One thing that I have learned is that sometimes, you will do nothing BUT nurse for the first few weeks. SO many of my friends and family members will say “I just dont think baby is getting enough, my milk isn’t satisfying him/her, I will nurse for 20 mins each side and then 20 mins later, he/she is screaming for more” in the early weeks. So then they supplement. And then thier milk never comes in with as much as baby needs so they continue to supplement, which eventually leads to stopping nursing altogether. So, sometimes you do have to nurse constantly. You will feel like you are going to go crazy but sooner than you know it, the baby is going longer stretches between feedings. I gave up with my first, I just didn’t want the commimentment and then regretted it, so one thing I did with the second baby to ensure that i was not tempted to give a bottle was simply to just not have any bottles or formula. I was given formula “just in case” with the first and many hopsitals do that, and I feel like it is one of the biggest ways to sabotage a nursing relationship even before it really begins. Also, if you need help, contact a lactation consultant. most hospitals will offer a phone number for support and many will also have a LC call you at home a few days after discharge. Good luck! Breastfeeding is one of the very best parts of being a mom, in my opinion!

  29. I think sometimes the people who make comments like that are really trying be supportive (although clearly they aren’t doing a great job of it). It sometimes helps to understand where they are coming from. They probably wish they could have stuck it out and know how upset and disappointed they were when it didn’t work out, and are trying to help shield you from that in case you are one of the few who can’t breastfeed. Also, I think sometimes it’s hard to hear from someone who’s never been through it that you just have to “try harder” and you can just be determined and “make it happen,” so my they’re feeling bad or regretful themselves when they hear your talk about it confidently. That likely makes them feel like more of a failure and like they just didn’t try hard enough. (This is coming from someone who’s never had kids, but just observing from other areas of life.) It might be helpful if you really sat down with the people closest to you who are saying that and reassured them that you don’t think they did anything wrong but it’s not really helpful for you when they make comments like that.

  30. My best advice is to nurse every two hours at least for the first few weeks. My babies always end up being super-sleepy the first few weeks. I wake them every two hours while I am awake, and then at night they usually go 3-4 hours before waking themselves. If you have room, but a pack and play or bassinet in your bedroom for a few months. It makes it so much easier than going down the hall. They will eventually reach a stage where they “pop off” every few sucks to look around the room. I wish I could give you advice for that, but nothing I do works. I feel like some feedings just end up all over my arm and shirt, but baby seems happy, so that’s enough for me. I’m currently nursing a 4 month old. I nursed my first for 4 months before giving up due to lack of support, lack of help, lack of advice and lack of supply. (Remember the sleepy baby issue? I didn’t know what to do about that with the first. I just let her sleep.) While in the hospital, the nurses gave me a supplementer and told me to give her formula, instead of helping me. I nursed my second for 8 months before I gave up. I’m hoping for a year with this one. So far, she refuses a bottle (of pumped milk), so we may have no other choice.
    Every baby is different, and every baby will have different needs. Between my three, there are few nursing similarities. Good luck.

  31. Moms and Moms-In-Law are not always the best people to ask. Breastfeeding wasn’t all that popular when they were raising babies! Most of them didn’t even try, and those who did might have done so half-heartedly. My daughter goes to Catholic school (lots of babies, many per Mom…) Someone’s always got a baby at their breast- never see a bottle! Most women must be successful at it! I only had one baby and am so grateful for the experience of breastfeeding!

    • {I’m the Emily who asked} I agree – the only thing is that I’ve never asked for her advice! :)

      Oh, my in-laws give advice on everything. You MUST have this item. You NEED this item. You WON’T SURVIVE without this. Yeah thanks…we’re doing just fine. We live in a tiny 2 BR condo with zero storage space…a baby bath tub or large swing (or whatever other ideas she has) are not at the top of my list currently! :)

      My mom passed away almost 7 yrs. ago, so sometimes I think my MIL is trying to fill a gap. And I don’t want that. (I don’t want my stepmom to fill that gap either, but she’s not trying…currently.) My MIL has already been told she can’t come to the hospital until after our baby’s born. I’m sure she’s miffed about that but oh well…she will live. They are only 2.5 hours away!

      • Emily ~ With our first baby, we didn’t even tell anyone we were in labor OR at the hospital. When we called, it was to say “Baby’s here!” about an hour AFTER she arrived. The time alone with our little one was BLISS. ;)

  32. My breastfeeding experience was hard at first. We had twins and we were going down to one income after their birth so breastfeeding, in my mind, was a must (not just for financial reasons, but also for nutritional and relational reasons). I had a good friend who also nursed her twins and was successful. I used her as a sounding board. She was great help. I was able to get to the point of tandem nursing alone while my hubby was at work! THAT was a work out! But it worked.

    After 3-3 1/2 months, I quit. Honestly, I wish I would have tried harder to continue. I think if I had a better support system and/or a lactation counselor, it would have helped. Many people on here have suggested a counselor and educating yourself more before having your baby. (I wish I would have also taken that part more seriously.)

    But throught it…you go on. You CAN do it. The first few weeks were not great and I cried a lot (had a c-section at 34 1/2 weeks and that slowed production). But eventually, it worked! And it felt great that I could do that for them…provide their first bits of nutrition out of the womb! :)

    You’ll do great! Blessings on you and your family!

  33. It’s so awesome to me to see this outpouring of support for a mom-to-be who wants to breastfeed her baby! Thanks, Amy, for making it possible. I’ll add/reiterate a few things from my breastfeeding experience.
    1. Make sure your husband is on board. Studies have shown that his support is crucial and matters more than anyone else’s; they’ve also shown that, if he’s not 100% on board, it can be a deal-breaker.
    2. Get practice ahead of time. My doula brought along a newborn-size doll to my last few appointments and gave me and my husband a hands-on breastfeeding class. It made a world of difference. If you don’t have a doula, you can meet with a lactation consultant or attend La Leche League meetings (LLLers LOVE moms-to-be!).
    3. Start building your support network now: seek out friends and family members who have breastfed successfully and/or will unconditionally support and encourage you, join an LLL group, buy a good book (I used The Nursing Mother’s Companion), and bookmark some websites. It will be much, much easier to lean on a support network that already exists than to try to build one while the challenges are coming thick and fast.
    4. As someone else said, ignore the naysayers. It doesn’t really matter why they’re naysayers–just don’t listen. The only thing you need to listen to is encouragement and practical advice for how to make it work.
    5. As soon as you can, start pumping about once every 24 hours (but not more often, and not at the same time every day). This helps with a lot of common breastfeeding problems (engorgement, plugged ducts, low supply, etc.) and helps you to build up a supply of breastmilk in the freezer in case of some unforeseen separation from your baby. E.g., I unexpectedly had to have breast surgery at 6 weeks postpartum and needed that breastmilk stash to get through the first 24 hours post-surgery, while the anesthesia worked its way out of my system.
    6. From my breast surgeon: Unless you are HIV-positive or on chemo or radiation, there is no medical procedure, illness, or medication that requires you to wean your baby. If a doctor tells you there is, seek out a breastfeeding-friendly doc and get a second opinion.

  34. A few months before my son was born, I shared with a friend (who had nursed one child and was close to delivering baby #2) that I was scared that breastfeeding would hurt. And she said, “It will. A lot. But it won’t hurt forever. It will be worth it.” I am so thankful for her blunt response. It was great preparation for me.

    I was determined to make breastfeeding work and didn’t really let myself consider anything else to be an option. This mindset, reading & talking to friends who had breastfed their babies and the support of my husband were what got me through those first few painful weeks. At about the three week mark, things got exponentially better. It took another three weeks for nursing my son to be comfortable. And a few more months until I got to the place where I actually enjoyed our nursing relationship. He weaned at 13 months. I was pregnant and having some issues, otherwise I would have liked to continue on.

    Now I’ve been nursing baby #2 exclusively for almost eight months and have no plans of stopping any time soon. The best things you can do are educate yourself, talk to friends who have nursed their children and, like Amy said, ignore well-meaning family members who offer unhelpful and perhaps even negative advice.

    Also, don’t give in to pressure to give your baby supplementation if your milk doesn’t come in in the first day or two. With both of my children, it has taken 3-4 days for my milk to come in. And they’ve both lost a less-than-average amount of weight in the first couple weeks.

    Do skin-to-skin contact with your baby AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after he is born. Let your baby suckle at your breast as soon as he wants to. And having a natural birth will help your baby be more alert and better able to nurse.

    Good luck!

  35. You got some great advice. I think that something that helped me…I was away from my mom, living amongst my husband’s relatives that thought no woman could make enough milk to feed a baby. I have to say the comments made me more stubborn. I had a severely colicky baby for my first and I heard every comment that I should do, or might be doing wrong…believe me. I would say that being determined to do it, is a huge plus for you. If you think you have no other way to give your baby nutrition, you will do amazing things to make it work. Read up on why you want to.
    I would not want to put down any of the wonderful people whom have encouraged you, but I never used a pump and breastfed four children. I tried a couple times and it was a miserable experience. Pumping does not have to be part of your breastfeeding relationship and have seen people that believe it is and it can causes sabotage sometimes as sometimes bodies do not let down for pumps like they do for babies and it can discourage.

    Make sure you eat enough and drink enough. This is the biggest problem I have seen with moms that end up with supply issues. It is usually when mom starts feeling like losing weight, is exercising without enough calories, sees the numbers on the scale go down…and then realizes baby is not as happy or satisfied.

    Another thing that happens is mom is busy caring for baby, visiting with friends, going, going, going and milk supply can suffer. Make sure you don’t do this. It is so easy especially the first weeks to have lots of friends and jump into an active life. Also, sometimes you can forget to eat.

  36. Before I got pregnant, a friend told me, “Breastfeeding is really hard, but stick with it, because it’s worth it.” I am new mom and have been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter for almost 4 months now. I have held on to that comment a lot and replayed it over in my mind. It is normal to feel that BF is hard – that part was reassuring. But, stick with it, because it’s worth it. I keep telling myself that part: “stick with it, because it’s worth it.”

    One thing that bothered me was that I kept hearing, “If it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.” That’s not really true. The truth is, if it hurts, it’s because you’re new to it. It DOES hurt for the first few weeks. It hurts when the baby latches and the entire time he/she is feeding. And, even after that, it hurts when the baby first latches on. But, it doesn’t hurt at all now – not during the latching or the feeding.

    I found two products to be very helpful in dealing with the pain – lanolin cream and those soothing gel pads you can stick in the fridge. The cold pads were the best!! I didn’t need them after about the first month, but they really helped me to manage my pain so I didn’t give up on BF.

    At first, I felt like I needed 9 hands and I was all elbows. It took me AND my husband to get my daughter on the boob. My daughter constantly had her hands by her mouth so not only was her mouth hitting my sore nipples but her hands were too. It was my husband’s job – at first – to keep her hands out of the way! But now, I can feed her by myself, in the dark! LOL it does get easier..MUCH easier. I eventually just learned to try to get everything I need at my “station” before the baby starts to get hungry, so I’m ready to go! I make sure I have a drink, my phone, the remotes for the ceiling fan and the tv, etc. Oh yeah, and get a BOPPY pillow! They really make everything easier.

    Best of luck! Stick with it!

    • “Breastfeeding is really hard, but stick with it, because it’s worth it.” < ——– SO very true for most of us! Thanks for chiming in! :)

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