Breastfeeding Tips from Seasoned Moms

I know you’ve heard it. Breast is Best.  Breastfeeding is natural.  Breastmilk is the perfect food for baby.  Breastfeeding is easy. Wait right there.  Best? Definitely.  Natural? Yes.  Perfect food? Absolutely.  Easy? Notsomuch.

I’ll admit it; after nursing three babies I think breastfeeding is way easier than schlepping bottles and formula and all sorts of feeding paraphernalia around.  And you don’t have to look far to know that the nutrition and other benefits are superior.  But at first?  Hmmm, easy is not a word I would have used to describe the early nursing experience with any of my babies!

***This post is all about breastfeeding tips for a normal breastfeeding relationship. Some of you have had or will have much more serious struggles (thrush, mastitis, etc.) that we’ll address later in the week.***

As for my own personal experience, I put all three of my babies to breast immediately after they were born. As in, within minutes of their birth.  Before they were weighed, cleaned up, and “tested”, we took full advantage of that special “alert period” for our first nursing and bonding experience. I firmly believe that getting that early latch figured out (as much as possible) before mama’s milk comes in is a great help!

My milk didn’t come in for three days with my first baby. Fortunately, I knew about colostrum and I knew that my baby’s stomach was the size of a walnut.  A walnut, people!  Don’t stress about baby being hungry and start supplementing with formula when your milk doesn’t come in right away. Latch that baby on any time she is willing.  The colostrum is all she needs until your milk comes in.

The night of day three I was in tears.  Bawling, actually, (and laughing, too — oh, the hormones!) because all of a sudden my poor baby’s mouth was bouncing off of my (ahem) newly softball-sized (and just as hard as) breasts. Milk’s in, mom!  I was scared to death to pump because of the whole supply and demand thing (didn’t want to create even more milk!), but I could not relax.  She could not relax.  We were stressing!  That was a rough night!

Looking back, I should have tried harder with the pump, just enough to take the edge off.  We both could have relaxed a bit.  ;)

Breastfeeding was painful (I cried) for three weeks. It was uncomfortable for a good six weeks.  After that?  Smooth sailing (for the most part).  Stick with it!

A few other tricks I know to be true (in most situations):

  • Supply and demand is the name of the game. Your baby (in most circumstances) will not go hungry!  God made your body to create the perfect amount of milk for your baby.  Baby eats more = you produce more.  If baby is fussy (in the early days) try putting her to the breast.  Yes, again.  The “need to suck” is just as if not more powerful than the “need to eat” at this point.
  • Pumping is not as effective as breastfeeding. I went back to teaching part-time when my first-born was 12-13 weeks old, and needed to pump for her morning feeding.  The only way I was able to get a decent amount of milk to pump was if I pumped on one side while nursing her on the other side, at the same time.  That’s talent, people.  ;)  I did what I had to do.  All that to say, if you are exclusively pumping (and not letting baby do her job) you will most likely dry up in time.  *** More on that later.***
  • You can modestly breastfeed in public. We’re an on the go family, and I have never once given any of my babies a bottle.  If mama’s available, mama’s milk is available.  I have a super-awesome “nursing poncho” that was made for me.  It slips over my head and covers everything.  I guarantee you that when I’m nursing at ballgames or church or wherever, I’m much more modest than some of the ladies in their regular ballgame or church attire!
  • Schedule schmedule. Don’t stress about time between feedings.  Don’t stress about how long baby nurses on each side.  Two of my babies were fairly efficient.  One?  Notsomuch. Yes, there will be days (weeks?!) that all you ever do is nurse the baby.  That’s okay!  In the grand scheme of things, it’s a short season.
  • Seek advice/help/encouragement from moms who have successfully breastfed their babies! I was fortunate enough to have close family to look to in those early days.  Without their support (and my sheer iron will) ;) my experience could have been much different.  If you want a successful breastfeeding relationship, don’t listen to your friends and family who didn’t make it work.

Any other common tips that I would address can all be found in the following three posts from a few of my mom friends who have been there, done that.  Please click through and see what they have to say!  Different tricks are going to work for different nursing relationships.

Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips from a Former Reluctant Breastfeeder

…Nursing With Other Kids Around. Having a second child rocked my world. The hardest part of all was not having a quiet time in which to nurse. Lydia wanted to be entertained the entire time. Although I’m pretty super, it’s hard playing Candy Land while nursing a newborn. I finally got into the groove of preparing activities for my toddler while I nursed. And she finally got a clue about quiet and the necessity of this time. Here’s a vlog I did called Entertaining a Toddler While Nursing a Newborn….

Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms - (Including resources for increasing milk supply.)

…Nursing Tanks and Nipple Shields: I bought my nursing tanks at Target.  I love them!  They make b-feeding more comfortable and modest.  Nipple shields are wonderful to help newborns if they are struggling with latching on.  Also, the shields help with ouchies, if you know what I mean.  My fabulous lactation consultant suggested that I use a syringe with (baby) sugar water to “tempt” the baby to latch. It really helped!…

Breastfeeding Advice from a mom who is in her eighth year of breastfeeding!

…Expect times when it seems the baby wants to nurse constantly. This is a sign of a growth spurt and she is signaling your body to make more milk. Soon your production will catch up with her demand and she won’t need to nurse as often…

…Drink plenty of water…

***If you have specific questions or concerns after reading their posts, please do not hesitate to contact me.  If I don’t have the answers, I will put you in contact with someone who does.  I’m passionate about this, and want every mama to enjoy breastfeeding as much as possible!***

Did we miss anything?  What are your best breastfeeding tips and tricks?

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Comments

  1. Wow what great information. I wish I had had it with my two. Do not give up. I gave up with my first. She nursed and I pumped. I had to use formula sometimes but we made it. With my second. I had the time to hang in there. I think he tried formula once and did not like it. That was a true emergency. But the trick was, I let him “latch on” often. He is now a very happy little boy .

  2. Worst breastfeeding advice I ever got was to never use a pump lest I create more demand for milk. Just a couple of minutes of pumping can relieve SO MUCH pain and is so worth it.

    • @Carrie Isaac, I never really needed it after “Day 3, Baby 1″ but OH MY WORD, I wish I would have had a good pump at that time!

    • @Carrie Isaac, I remember feeling “afraid” to pump- fearing that I would make even more demand for milk and would end up more miserable than I was. So, I didn’t pump until my son was 3 weeks old. I’m glad to hear that others have used pumping in this way. I remember waking up after my milk had really come in and was in quite some pain, and my son really didn’t know what to do and had a much harder time getting latched on. We worked through it, but I think pumping a little would have helped.

  3. Just wanted to say that I LOVE that you’re focusing on breastfeeding this week and sharing stories/tips from so many other moms. I’m about ready to have baby #3 and it’s so helpful to have the reminder that all breastfeeding relationships are different. Thanks!

    • @maygan, Thanks for your encouragement! It is definitely important to hear from as many sources as possible. What works for me and my babies won’t work for everyone. :)

  4. Thank you for this post. I have been nursing my baby now for a little over 2 months. It has been a very rough go due to mastitis, thrust, plugged ducts, overabundant supply, fast let down, and food sensitives to dairy products. I’m still trying to figure out how to get her to stay latched on long enough to nurse longer than 5 minutes at a time. I have found breastfeeding harder than my major in college of microbiology but I have also seen my baby get bigger. She is a strong, healthy baby despite all the hardships that we have gone through. Thank you for encouraging moms like me to continue, I needed that today.

    • @Sarah, Bless you for sticking with it for your baby! My heart goes out to you… it sounds like it’s been a rough couple of months! I’ve got a few links/guest posts going up this week about mastitis and thrush. I hope they are helpful to you and others!

  5. My second baby is nearing 11 months old and I quit nursing him about a month ago. I came down with a nasty bout of stomach flu. I continued to nurse for the 24 hours that I was (ahem) sick, but by the time my body recovered, I was SO terribly dehydrated that my milk supply was almost completely gone. It was so upsetting. Have any other moms ever experienced this? If I had kept up with it a little bit longer, might my supply have returned before he starved to death? I still regret stopping, but fortunately he was a bit older, so I was happy to have done it for 10 months.

    • @Jacque, We can only guess at “what might have been” so I say love on that little boy with no guilt or regrets! Staying hydrated is so important, but I’m not the one who was sick… so I can’t fathom how hard that was for you. My guess is that if you were able to stay hydrated, your body would have recovered and your milk would have returned, BUT 1) That’s a guess! and 2) No guilt! :)

  6. Awesome tips! That colostrum tip really helps put it in perspective. I saw something online yesterday that a baby’s first day of life the tummy is only the size of a small marble!

    Thanks for linking to me! :)

    • @oh amanda, That marble/walnut tummy… I wish more new moms knew about that. Of course it’s our instinct to FEED THE BABY when the baby cries, even if baby is simply crying because we have completely rocked his cozy comfy world.

  7. What an awesome compilation of tips from “been there/done that” mamas! So great to have all this info in one spot. Do most women really dry up with exclusive pumping? I’m not doubting, I’m just surprised. My first step into the world of breast milk was through exclusive pumping and my baby had my breast milk until her 1 year adjusted birthday (or almost 16 months, total). Now, I know this seems to come as a shock to many people, but I never realized that pumping didn’t work out for so many women. I’ll be fascinated to read what else you’ll be posting on the topic. :)

    • @JessieLeigh, Yes, on the pumping thing! I remember first discovering that you pumped for that long. I was in awe. You rock! ;) Most of us need the baby’s sucking reflex, which is way different than the pump, for proper stimulation.

      What a blessing that you were able to do that for so long!

      • @Amy, I pumped to keep my milk supply up (with my lazy-eater!) for #1, but then I didn’t pump at all for #2. I can tell you that when I pumped with #1, I often got a full bottle, but when I attempted to pump with #2, I got nothin’. I think it is because #2 was such an efficient eater!! Plus, I was just relaxed and knew that he was getting what he needed, so I didn’t feel the need to “test” my milk supply. God sure knows what he is doing!

        Thanks for these posts!! Makes me want to go for #3 . . .

  8. Love the focus on breastfeeding.

    As a momma who has had 10+ and counting years of experience, it’s still helpful to read about others experiences.

  9. I really enjoyed this post. Breastfeeding has been fairly easy for me once we get past 4 weeks. I would LOVE to hear more information about long-term breastfeeding. I have a hard time making past 10 months. It seems as though my milk dries up when my babies start eating and crawling around. Advice on this subject would be helpful :)

    • @Ann, Ann, I know everyone is different, but from my experience w/ three babies, I think they get distracted at the ages of 8ish-10ish months. I am sure our supply does drop at that time, but that is because the demand has dropped, and the babies have (sadly?) discovered life beyond mama! I think just taking them into another room and trying to get away from distractions helps somewhat, but also just knowing that they aren’t drinking as much as they used to, and it’s really ok! Also, some babies (umm, all three of mine) get some calories in the middle of the night bc they still like to night nurse at this age since they are so busy during the day discovering their worlds!! Hope this helps a little..?

    • @Ann, I only nursed mine until 15 months (I’m not sure if that’s really long term!), but I found if I didn’t nurse every 4 hours (except for nighttime) then I’d start producing much less. Do you still nurse them in the middle of their busy days? I would have to take my son to a room that was quiet and had less distractions to get him to nurse. I have friends who wore long necklaces for baby to play with while he/she nursed to keep them entertained while nursing so they could finish a good session of nursing. Just thought I’d throw that out there!

  10. Amy you and I are very kindred breastfeeding souls. ;) I could’ve written your post!

    I have a lot of trouble with supply. Or at least I thought I did with my first two babies. But looking back, I can see that my problems with my first two were totally related to pumping. I worked 20 hours as an RN (at night) when they were little and I am fully convinced my body dropped off its milk supply because a pump just cannot do a great job like a baby can!

    With my third baby, I was able to stay home full time and I literally pumped once with her. It was absolutely the ideal breastfeeding situation possible, and I am so grateful God blessed me with it!

    I’ve seen a million lac. consultants, but one gave me an interesting piece of advice. And it could not have been more true in my situation: If you have trouble with supply, feed the baby between 2 and 5am. This is when your body bulks up its milk resources. Even if your baby is sleeping through the night, you can do a ‘dream feed.’ In just a few days time, I could really notice an increase, and I only had to get up in the middle of the night about 4-5 nights in a row before all was well.

    Your best piece of advice in this post:
    ” If you want a successful breastfeeding relationship, don’t listen to your friends and family who didn’t make it work.”

    So, so true.

    -Lauren
    (Sorry this comment is so long!)

    • @MamaLaundry, Happy to have your long comment! :) I would guess that in addition to having to pump, just the simple fact of working through the night (when mama’s are supposed to be sleeping!) may have contributed to your supply issues. You’ve been there… you know that the “adjusted” day time sleep just isn’t the same.

      Interesting advice from your lactation consultant. I’d not ever heard that, but it makes sense to me!

    • @MamaLaundry, I was given that advice about “2-5″ also. I guess that’s why I never minded that middle of the night feeding so much! I knew it could only help my supply! :)

  11. Great post. But watch the nipple shield! It was complete breastfeeding sabotage in our case. Had the nurses brought me a breast pump (to help my body respond as it should) we could’ve easily gotten my daughter to latch properly. The sheild caused my milk to come in pretty late (6 days post partum) and my daughter didn’t gain weight adequately. It also gave her terrible gas. One week after she was born, under the guidance of my local La Leche League leader, I began trying to re-teach her how to latch, minus the shield. We eventually got it, a week later, but it was a nightmare in the meantime.

    Only use a shield under the guidance of a trained lactation specialist. Premies often need these, but it’s rare that a full term baby will truly need it. Usually there are other means for helping the child latch.

    • @Gabrielle,

      I just want to echo your thoughts on the shield. While they are a great tool, they are for last resorts, in my opinion. We got a late start to breastfeeding with my son and he didn’t want to latch. We were handed shields within 24 hours as an easy fix. I’ll admit: it solved the latching problem, but created MANY more problems! It took me 13 weeks to get him to latch without it. They really did a number to my milk supply and caused my son TERRIBLE gas problems which we had to go on medication to resolve. If a mom is ready to totally give up breastfeeding, then try them. But if mom can press through without the shields, she should do it!

      • @Audra Laney, I was handed a shield within the first 10 minutes of trying to breastfeed. The nurse gave it to me, so I assumed she wouldn’t give me something that wouldn’t help, right? Wrong! In her defense, she was trying to help, but it was short term help, not long term help. A simple pump would’ve fixed our problem and prevented many others. The box says “Extended use of any nipple shield may affect baby’s ability to continue breastfeeding.” I read this when my child was 6 days old, and that’s when I knew something wasn’t right. They definitely create more problems than they solve. Here’s LLL’s opinion of the matter: http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVJunJul00p39.html

        • @Gabrielle, Great link! I wish I would have known more on this topic BEFORE having my son. I believe a pump would have given us the results we needed.

          I was advised after being given the shield by a nurse to “try to have him off the shield by 4-7 days.” Um…how exactly did she expect me to do that? He knew no other way to eat than with the shield! It was frustrating, to say the least. My best advice for weaning off the shield is to try to go without them for each feeding. Once baby starts getting upset, put that thing back on! I never believed it would happen, but one day he took the breast without the shield. I literally cried tears of joy! I’m so glad I have this information before my next little one is born. We’ll be avid users of the pump early on to achieve what the shield was trying to do!

  12. I would add, as someone who has nursed three kids myself, that if you don’t feel comfortable or you feel like you haven’t got it, please find a lactation consultant to help! With my first child, the lactation consultant at the hospital was in a rush and told me I was doing great, when it turned out that my daughter actually had a horrible sucking reflex, I had flat nipples, and even a week later my milk still hadn’t come in. There are medications to speed up your metabolism that help your milk come in if there’s a problem (I had a thyroid issue that kept it from coming in, as it turned out) and there are nipple shields to use to help baby. It was also the only time I’ve heard a lactation consultant tell me to use a pacifier! My daughter just didn’t know how to suck and needed more practice than nursing could give her. And I would never have known if we hadn’t gone to the lactation consultant when she had the time and made the time for us. She sat with me for more than a half an hour just watching and helping me correct what was going on. I just wish that we’d gone before my daughter was a week old and had lost an entire pound! Don’t wait!

  13. Darcy H. says:

    I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Target nursing tanks. I would wear them under everything, and it made nursing in public so much more comfortable for me – I wasn’t all self concious about showing skin, which was nice.

    Pumping did dry up my supply when I went back to work with both kiddos. With my second, I started pumping right at the beginning. I had so much milk, I could fully nurse her, and then get another couple of bottles of milk. It meant I started out with a huge supply of milk (which wasn’t exactly comfortable), but once I wasn’t able to nurse anymore, I had another 2-3 months worth of milk in the freezer to give her.

  14. Thanks for this post. I wish I had seen something like this before my oldest, my daughter, was born. I had such a difficult time with her in the beginning with nursing, no one had told me that it isn’t easy. I had been warned that it could be painful (and there is no other word for it then pain if you get a cracked nipple) but never that it was difficult. In the hospital they decided she wasn’t eating enough and scared me into supplementing, something she did NOT need. Looking back I wish I had known more. The way the nurses treated me about breastfeeding in the hospital definatly added to the stress of the first few weeks and the difficulties I had. Luckily I pushed through and we were successful. I was able to nurse her for 18 months before she self weaned.
    I agree that nursing is much easier than making bottles, and for those of us living on a small income it is MUCH more affordable!

  15. Leaving another comment b/c I was just talking to my SIL about your post. She gave birth to her 3rd child in Mexico w/a very natural doctor. She seconded (?) what you said about nursing ASAP after birth. She said her daughter still had the umbilical chord attached while she nursed. It was THE first thing they did. (She also said they kept the umbilical cord on until it stopped pumping b/c her dr believes that God designed the placenta/cord to give every single bit of nutrients that a baby needs. So, when it’s done, it’s done.)

    Anyway, now I wish I had nursed my kids as soon as they were born! Maybe it would have helped w/the latch problems we had!

  16. So happy you are doing this, Amy. You know it’s a topic I’m passionate about, and I am excited to read more this week. You’re right about not talking much about it to people who aren’t totally on-board. Overall, I’d say my best advice is never give up. I know there are some situations with exceptions, but 99% of the time, if you want to do it, you can. It can definitely take a long while for mama and baby to get it, but the rewards are worth it. :)

    • @Katie, Yes! I forget what the official statistic is, but something like 95% of moms are physically capable of breastfeeding, but a MUCH smaller percentage make it work. I’m amazed and inspired by the women who push through lots of difficulties!

  17. Great post, Amy! I’m a huge breastfeeding advocate and enjoyed every minute of nursing my son until he was 15 months old. My biggest piece of advice is to educate yourself beforehand. Just as you don’t go into labor or childrearing without some sort of education on the topic, neither do you walk into breastfeeding blindly. Educating yourself on breastfeeding can give you the confidence boost you need, the facts to back up your desire to breastfeed when others around you aren’t so supportive, and the knowledge base to turn to when you encounter problems. (And you most likely WILL encounter problems at some point…)

    “So That’s What They’re For” was my *favorite* nursing book–entertaining and informative! I took that book to the hospital with me when I delivered and used it as my main resource when we ran into problems. Unfortunately, not all hospitals fully support breastfeeding. Many claim to support it, but rush in with formula if a problem isn’t easily fixed. My breastfeeding friendly hospital wanted my son to eat 2 oz. of formula on day 2 since my milk hadn’t come in yet. Um…and HOW big do you think his stomach is?! So I always encourage my friends to take along your resources to the hospital so you can double-check information!

    I would also say another main thing I learned in the early days of breastfeeding was to try a pump before trying a nipple shield for latch problems. Once you are on the shields, you could be on them for quite a while and create other problems because of them. I support them as a last resort only!

    Thanks for these awesome posts!

  18. Being past breastfeeding, but not expecting to again soon, I still find this series EXTREMELY educational. But one question, can you change the ‘drink plenty of water’ to about a 26pt font in bold? Lol! I was never thirstier than at that time in my whole life!

  19. I love spreading the word about breastfeeding! :) I figured up I’ve nursed for 60 months of my life and counting! I would tell any new mama to make sure the pump is good and ready to just release a little bit of milk for those babes as they transition from colostrum to the full meal deal (as Amy mentioned). I did that all three times I had babies. I noticed my first son was having a hard time latching on once my milk came in, so I had my handy hubby hook up the pump, and it was the perfect solution! I just expressed a little for a couple of days until things “evened out.” I was lucky and never had any trouble, but I think the main thing is to just remind yourself that this is what your body is designed to do and it WILL work out, and also repeat to yourself over and over, “This too shall pass” if you are having trouble w/ nipple pain, etc in the first couple of days. I remember with my second and third children, it really hurt when my babies latched on for a few days, but I wouldn’t have dreamed of stopping because of that. I KNEW it would go away. and it did! :) Rub a little breast milk on your nipples in between feedings. It really does help! As for the pumping issues, I think everyone is different. I was always able to pump a large (surplus) amount, and I think a good pump is imperative for those needing to spend time away from babies.

    • @Sarah C, Even my cheapskate self says “Don’t skimp on a good pump!” Totally worth the money.

      • @Amy, How long do pumps typically last? I have the medela advanced. Does anyone know how long I can expect it to last? Is it 1 pump per baby or will the motor last through more than one baby. I used it quite a bit- pumped an average of 3 times a day 5 days per week.

  20. I love this topic. I just finished nursing my 3rd babe, who also never touched a bottle–wouldn’t take it. Nursing, to me, is so much easier than dealing with bottles. I’m here to tell you that even under difficult, challenging circumstances, you can make breastfeeding work. My first babe was three weeks early, didn’t have a sucking reflex, and I have flat nipples. We had a complicated feeding process for the first month (pump to bring nipples out, try to get latch on using nipple shield, pump, feed baby pumped milk with a tiny cup). After a month of this process, babe latched on. Nursing my other two children was so much easier because I knew how the process worked for me and I knew how my body worked. It helped that my husband was very involved with the process.

    In my experience, some lactation consultants can mean well but come off as pushy–making me more tense. If you don’t feel comfortable with one, try to find another one. I couldn’t have made it through my first breastfeeding experiences if I hadn’t had a great lactation consultant!

  21. Haha I love your “schedule schmedule”point. ;-) I completely agree. I tried a feeding schedule with my first, and we were both unhappy, so I gave up on that. With my second, we nurse whenever we want to, and we are both very happy, plus he is a much chubbier baby than his brother was.

    • @Jessica, That whole “schedule” thing is such a stressor for many moms. How often does the baby eat? How long does the baby eat? How much does the baby eat? WHO CARES?! As long as baby is happy and gaining weight, all is well. :)

    • @Jessica, I agree too- and initially i was really freaked out because I didn’t know how long he should eat on each side, how much he was eating, etc. I could recite the info in the books about counting wet diapers, etc. but still worried about if he was getting enough, eating enough and eating often. The point about the schedule gave me more confidence.

  22. I love this series, it’s so great. I did breastfeed my twins for 8 months, while going back to work and pumping at work, it was hard hard work. I laughed at your milk coming in, I had the same reaction, except mine were like cantaloupe, yikes and my milk didn’t come in till day 5, I blame it on the IV and hospital meds for pre-e. But once it did there was no stopping it, luckily I had enough milk supply for both my boys, and I always fed them at the same exact time using the football hold. Breastfeeding one baby is something, but breastfeeding twins in public is practically impossible. Just because of the logistics of holding them and covering at the same time. So when we went out I would breastfeed in my car (with dark tinted windows). I so enjoyed breastfeeding it is such a special bond between mother and baby (ies). If any twin mothers read this my best tip for breastfeeding twins is keeping them on the same schedule, always always. If one wakes up to eat, wake the other baby, and vice versa. I also switched breasts with babies every feeding because one of my breasts supplied slightly less. In the beginning I would feed till they fell asleep, (20-30 minutes) then I would burp change diapers and feed another 10, it was almost like when you switch breasts except they went back on the same one, this helped them get a full belly and keep my supply up.

  23. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I am pregnant with our third, and I had 2 unsuccessful breastfeeding experiences with my first 2. My first had horrible latch problems (the lac consultant had to work for a solid hour just to get her to eat!), then I developed thrush. I fought it for about 6 weeks and could never get rid of it. It was so incredibly painful to nurse or pump, so I had to quit before she was 3 months old. With my second, he latched very well, but he was the most colicky baby I had ever seen!! He screamed night and day, nursed every hour and a half, and nursed for a solid 45 min-1 hour. He screamed while he was nursing for a solid month. Every feeding was nothing but screaming. The lac consultants kept saying, “just return the baby to the breast……” I wanted to punch them! He just screamed and wouldn’t eat. Latch…..scream……latch…….scream. I had a fantastic pediatrician who had 6 kids of her own, and she encouraged me to keep going since he was gaining about 4 ounces a week and obviously getting food. But I just couldn’t take the screaming. I could never pump enough, so I just quit before he was even 2 months old. I’m already praying for a good nurser this time around – with 2 little ones already, I could really use a good baby :) So thanks for the encouragement. I desperately need it right now!

  24. My advice would be to not leave the hospital without a breast pump! Either buy one ahead of time (go ahead and leave it in the box if you’re not sure you’ll need it), or rent one from the hospital. But you don’t want to be searching for one if it ends up you do need a pump.
    I found myself in this situation because I thought I wasn’t going to pump, but when my baby had jaundice and I HAD to supplement his feedings, I was running around to the different stores trying to find a decent pump (so I wouldn’t have to supplement with formula).
    Oh, also, I made the mistake of only buying one nursing bra ahead of time, because I didn’t know what size I would be. I don’t recommend that. Buy a couple (three!) adjustable nursing bras or tanks to have on hand because they get dirty (leaked on!) a lot at first.
    I guess while I’m at it, then, I’ll add nursing pads and Lansinoh lanolin cream to the list of things to have on hand before baby gets here. And the book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” helped answer some of my questions more than a few times.
    Hope that helps!

  25. Have you seen this product? My pregnant daughter sent me the link, what an amazing idea, and I wish they had these around when I was nursing my kids 21, 18 and 13 years ago!
    https://www.mymilkies.com/
    I am definately going to be gifting these from now on!

  26. I just want to say that breast feeding does not always get easier with each child. My third had a weak suck and it was a constant struggle to get him enough to eat and keep my supply up. My fourth was a nightmare from the start because should couldn’t latch on. She would roll her tongue up into the rough of her mouth for comfort and suck on that. It was a constant struggle the entire year I fed her. BUT I found it still very much worthwhile to breastfeed and it is so important. AFter a few weeks you will figure out each baby and make it work without too much effort. Each child is different and each breastfeeding relationship will be different too. Take it is stride, don’t expect it to always be the same or always get easier, but keep plugging away at it and you will get it.

  27. Thanks for your thoughts on the shield, ladies. I have no experience with it, so I appreciate you chiming in!

  28. Thank you so much for this post, Amy! I can say from personal experience that posts like this make a big difference. When I gave birth to my daughter, I knew only ONE person who had breastfed successfully for more than just a few weeks, so I had to look primarily to sources like blogs and books for advice and support. You are so right to say “Don’t listen to the people who didn’t make it work!” And I did make it work–my daughter nursed for just shy of 2 years and never had a drop of formula.
    I’ll add a couple of tips that helped me:
    1. Make sure dad is on board with breastfeeding. Women with supportive partners have something like a 90% better chance of breastfeeding successfully! Especially since I didn’t have much of a support network, it meant the world to me that my husband was just as educated and enthusiastic about breastfeeding as I was.
    2. Related to pumping to relieve engorgement: According to The Nursing Mother’s Companion, you can add one pumping session to your routine every 24 hours without triggering an increase in milk production. I lived by this rule for the first year of my daughter’s life!

    BTW, I had some major hurdles with breastfeeding–complications in L & D and then breast surgery at 6 weeks postpartum. I’d be glad to share my story if you’re still looking for contributors!

  29. I wonder about this too. Even if he was getting nutrition from bottles at that age, I was hoping to at least continue breastfeeding to put him to sleep during our quiet time at night but we never could work out how to taper very well, and then before we knew it milk supply was really diminished.

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