Breastfeeding ideals-the sequel-

Merry - posted on 12/05/2011 ( 27 moms have responded )

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So, this isn't a petfect world and everything breastfeeding isn't warm and fuzzy.
So......what specificly hindered you from reaching your idea?
Or even if you did manage to reach your ideal, what issues along the way were really hard for you to overcome or endure to continue to your goal?

What could have helped you reach your goal?

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Kellie - posted on 12/05/2011

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No Milk. It VANISHED.

Day 1, 2 , 3 and the beginning of Day 4 perfect, no issue other then me letting her latch lazy so big ouch for me.

Day 4 5am, feed beautifully, go back to bed. Feed 9am, WTF is my milk?! NOTHING, all gone. It vanished between the 5 and 9am feeds. I spent 24 hours pumping to no avail, tried getting her to feed off the boob to no avail.

It seems you can't get blood from a stone so formula it was, in the end Lactose Free Formula at that.

I suppose though with the attitude I've seen on here toward FF Mum's I didn't try hard enough, *shrugs*, my Mental Health and the Baby actually eating is more important.

Celeste - posted on 12/05/2011

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I did reach my goal and go beyond than I thought I would.

My twin boys were born at 34 weeks. Had a hard time getting them to nurse. They finally nursed but the nurses said the boys were losing too much weight because nursing took too much calories (I've learned later, that this isn't necessarily true :( ) So, they were supplemented with a bottle. Not only that, but their pediatrician was HORRIBLE.

One of my twins developed nipple preference (he refused to latch after getting a bottle-a bottle's easier than the breast). It took me close to 2 months to get him to latch. It was frustrating, just each feeding, trying to get him to latch and him crying. I really thought I'd be bottle feeding one and nursing the other.

Finally, he latched and we never looked back. Ditched the bottles (since I was a SAHM) and gave my pump to my sister.

I dealt with painful blisters, and not sure what that was caused by. They hurt like a mo fo!

Even with all that, I nursed them-one to 3 1/2 and the other to 4 1/2.

I credit my success to my breastfeeding support group!

Lise - posted on 12/06/2011

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I met, and exceeded my goal, but there were some bumps along the way. I was very lucky in having a great support system.

i had a horrible c-section and couldn't see dd for 4 hours - rough start.
dd was tongue tied and lost weight - 8.15 at birth to under 7 pounds in a week or two. I did not supplement with formula, but i pumped after each nursing during the day and then supplemented with it using a bottle.

I started with a nipple shield at the hospital due to inverted nipples. The IBCLC felt that was hindering her milk transfer, so I had to wean off that.

Then the pedi clipped her tongue (which was a life saver and had been noticed by my IBCLC), and lo and behold - she gained weight! a TON!

but... the supplementation gave her bottle/nipple preference. So, then my dd struggled with nursing. I ended up using an SNS with every feeding - what a pain! We dropped bottles cold turkey and offered nursing and the SNS. Took 2-3 miserable days, but it worked! She was back to breastfeeding.

Went back to work when dd was 3.5 months old and fought with dc (they were overfeeding her), which led to fussiness and the breast, stress, and worries about supply. I stood my ground and dc caved.

Then we had months of no problems! :) Just a little bit of fixing the latch here and there, some plugged ducts - nothing big. Then the teething started, at 10.5 months. She bit me until I bled about 3-4 times. OUCH! But we moved past that, too, and she is still nursing well at 25 months. :)

Katie - posted on 12/06/2011

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With my oldest I didn't reach my goal and it made me sad. I had hoped to go until 2 years with him, and tandem feed him and his brother who was born when Otto was about 18 months old. Sadly I had a doctor that was convinced that nursing while pregnant was a terrible idea and she pushed me to wean. I refused, until I started to have complications with my pregnancy when Otto was about 15 months old. I am fairly sure that breastfeeding had NOTHING to do with the complications but my doctor thought differently. After going into labour at 22 weeks and almost losing Myles I had to wean Otto because although I don't think nursing caused the problems, it wasn't making them better. Plus I had to relocate closer to a hospital with a better equipped NICU. I was away from Otto for three weeks, and sadly that was the end of our nursing relationship. We have struggled with 2 tongue ties, colic, reflux, prematurity, blocked ducts, ppd and a crazy overactive letdown. Luckily in the end it has all been worth it, Otto is an amazingly healthy 2 year old and Myles is 17 lbs of adorable chub at 5 months old.

[deleted account]

Oh many factors played in to why I didn't reach my ideal. But the primary reason was limited milk production. Even after seeking help from a lactation consultant, changing my diet, fenugreek, mother's tea, water, and a host of other tricks didn't make my body produce more milk. So when you bring home a baby at 4. pounds 13 ounces and and he keeps dropping in weight, how much more weight can this small baby lose? We started to supplement, reluctently, with formula at 1 month for 2 feedings a day after a nursing. My son thrived and I was trying even harder to produce more milk. But you just can't make milk out of nothing! But we settled into a nursing/formula routine for 6 months. Then I reutrned to work and had a great pump. I got a miserable 2-4 ounces pumped throughout the day. Nursing became a night time only thing, and then by 9 months I was utterly completely dried up. My period returned, and I think that's one of the reasons why-imbalance in hormones. I also have a progesterone issue, so that may also have contributed to the milk dry-up. Post partum depression, forced unexpected induced labor/delivery at 36 weeks, unsupportive nursing group, lack of bonding, failure as a milk machine all contributed to why I didn't reach my 1 year goal. Now someone earlier this year mentioned Raynaud's syndrome as one possibility for her failure to produce milk. I also have this and it's an issue with your extremities freezing to death due to constricted blood vessels. It's a vascular issue. I was wondering if that also hindered my milk-the sensation of the nursing may have constricted the milk glands to limit milk production if the blood vessels surrounding the milk ducts were constricted. One will never know! I never regret my decision to use formula and have a healthy happy beautiful almost 7 year old. I will not be having any more kids so I am at least grateful for the limited time I did have to nurse, even if those times were not the happiest.

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27 Comments

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Merry - posted on 12/06/2011

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Dyan, I've had a few instances where I was falling asleep while Eric nursed and if he fluttered my nipple with his tongue in his sleep just right it would turn me on and it made me soooo uncomfortable. Thankfully it was only his sucking when he was asleep, and only did it when I was sleeping or drowsy so I just avoided that as possible. But oh my goodness idk how I'd have continued if that was every feeding.
Lise, I'm so glad my midwife checked tongue tie at birth. It's awful I've heard when it's not clipped right away!

Rosie - posted on 12/06/2011

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so many things....latching correctly, which made bleeding raw nipples. i also got turned on by the suckling which creeped me the fuck out. PPD, lack of support at home, i had to go back to work RIGHT away (two weeks after i had him) to a place that is ridiculously hard to get a break to go pee let alone pump some breastmilk.

nothing would've helped me reach my goal after seeing that it turned me on. nothing would've made me continue. if i didn't have that...better work support, longer maternity leave, my sons father needed to be involved (i was overwhelmed with everything and him being gone of course increased my PPD), better help with latching at the hospital.

Merry - posted on 12/06/2011

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I think most women have multiple holes in their nipples........mine sprays from 5+ holes! A few point straight and some up, some down, lol hand expressi into a cup I usually can't catch one stream that always seems to go above the cup! But I have a pump so usually I just use the pump. Or my son, he's very good at helping me when I'm engorged.

Maree - posted on 12/06/2011

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Pumping in restrooms... I remember it well !!!

I worked on saturday mornings when my baby was very young and had to go and pump (by hand)...yes i'm serious...in a rather dirty toilet block. I had to actually express what i could,straight into the loo while admiring the loveliness of other peoples leftovers...Nice!!!

I didn't know pumps(especially electric ones) existed back then and even if they did,there was nowhere in the toilets i could have plugged it in and had privacy,also i would have needed several containers with the amount of milk i had.

My boobs would get so engorged that they would flood my top,in front of patients and my bosses (i am a dental nurse) which was so embarrassing but there was nothing i could do as i had to stay in the surgery.

Then i'd go home and express for ages,into a icecream container,the only thing i had that was big enough to catch the forceful sprays that happened at letdown.This was made worse by the prior removal of a nipple ring,causing there to be 3 holes in my nipple(the normal one and one on either side where the piercing hadn't closed over) It was like a boob sprinkler...seriously !!. My hands ached. It was awful.

Lucky this time round i had an electric pump right from the start. I have lots of stories but might save them for another day.

Michelle - posted on 12/06/2011

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What could have helped - better pumping situation at work. I could not let down in a restroom with others flushing all around, and contractors were not allowed to use the rooms set up for regular employees. If I used the disabled stall for more room, I was reamed out because "you're not disabled". Kudos to women who could do it but I soon found that tears streaming down my face, attempting to pump what became ever decreasing amounts of milk wasn't good for anyone. So we became a split: she got formula when away from me and breast when with me. It worked, she was over a year before she self-weaned completely but I do wish I could have been 100% for a longer period of time.

[deleted account]

I wanted to start weaning my daughter around 15 months. Taking my time and trying to be done before she was 2. Instead I found out I was pregnant when she was almost 13 months and had to stop cold turkey. I have a problem staying pregnant as it is, so no matter what I would have stopped then (even in the perfect senario). I still lost that one.

Sherri - posted on 12/06/2011

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With my first he was very ill at birth and they were forced to raise his blood sugar immediately with a bottle as his wouldn't even read. So he never would latch and utterly refused to breastfeed.

With my second I had to go back to work

With my third I got strep and the antibiotics dried my milk up.

So here is hoping for the best experience with #4.

[deleted account]

"Wow Sharon that's alot to fight through!
Yeah I've heard Reynauds can affect production.
I don't think moms have to 'try hard enough' but if they did have some trying quota to fill I think you topped it!"

Thank you Laurelai. Your kind remarks are appreciated and shows a lot about your character as well as your ability to show empathy towards others :-)

Merry - posted on 12/06/2011

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Wow Sharon that's alot to fight through!

Yeah I've heard Reynauds can affect production.

I don't think moms have to 'try hard enough' but if they did have some trying quota to fill I think you topped it!

Lisa, what a quack dr. That's sooo frustrating! I'm so very glad my dr never said a peep about my milk when Eric gained above and beyond the 100% as a baby. She never even made a peep when he dropped down to 26% and then back up to 75% she just said its all so variable. H could have just had a growth spurt before the dr visit or he could be due for a growth spurt the week after the visit!

His height has always been steady between 75-100% so she's never worried about his weight. He just was a chubby baby who burned off all the fat when he started moving. Sounds pretty logical to me!

Jen, lol I read your comment 'they were fine with me nursing but not on their furniture' lol I was like what! Haha

But yeah I've heard bigger breasts make it so hard to find a good position :-/ I guess I should feel lucky I have small boobs.

Just curious for helping moms bf in my new job, what position worked best for you? I'm a peer counselor in wic so I'm sure I'll come accross moms with large breasts struggling with positions so maybe you could give me a clue as to what to suggest.

Minnie - posted on 12/06/2011

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Hmmm....I'm thankful and surprised I nursed Evelyn for 12 months. I had a lot of pain the first two weeks and nearly threw in the towel one week into it. It was the price of formula that had me back-pedaling quickly.

Then when she turned 6 months she dropped sharply from the 50th percentile in weight to the 5th. Her doctors weren't knowledgeable about the differences in growth rate between breastfed babies and formula fed babies. They insisted that I was not nourishing her enough.

She vomited all the time for the first four months- no one had any clue about oversupply, foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. They just constantly caused me to doubt myself.

Her weight gain didn't 'improve' the second half of the first year and I finally weaned her at 12 months because they flat out told me my milk wasn't good enough.

Low and behold, her sister followed the exact growth pattern but I am still nursing her at 38 months. In fact, she weighs the same as her sister did at her age, but is 3 inches taller than she was. Clearly, my children are just wasting away.

I hope that there are loads more doctors who have just a smidgen more knowledge than my daughter's did. They have no right being pediatricians dolling out the advice they did to us.

[deleted account]

I had to stop breastfeeding at 6 months for 2 very specific reasons. I had to be put on very strong anti-depressants help me get over my husband walking out on me. Second, I had moved in with my parents. They were fine with me nursing but none of their furniture was conducive as I had HUMONGOUS breasts and could only nurse in 2 positions. Therefore I made the gradual switch. Of course I missed it but it worked and I'm a practical gal.

[deleted account]

I'm really lucky that everything went well for me. I'm still breastfeeding my almost 15mo son. I have one milk-producing breast (I had cancer in the other one, and radiation therapy destroys milk ducts) -- but apparently one breast is enough for my son. :) I guess that makes sense since women can breastfeed twins.



I just feel awkward sometimes because I'm really lopsided. One breast has been reduced in size due to a fairly large lumpectomy, the other is engorged due to breastfeeding. I just hope it's not super noticeable to other people.



I had problems with overactive letdown for the first 6 months at least. It made me extremely self-conscious about breastfeeding in public. I didn't want to be somewhere and then soak myself and everything around me. I just stayed at home A LOT.



I also have reoccurring milk blisters which I HATE.



My son also nursed every 1-2 hours for the first 8 months or more.



But all of these problems are trivial. I have extended maternity leave until my son turns 4. My husband makes enough money for me to stay on it (though I think I will return to work when he's 3 and starts pre-school). I feel very fortunate.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 12/05/2011

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My ex not being a complete tool would've helped the first time.



Kellie, my left one is inverted. I mess with it myself before feeding Lilli

Celeste - posted on 12/05/2011

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Yeah, Ronin is the one who quit first and the one who had a hard time latching. I have a picture of Ronin bottle feeding and my friend who's an IBCLC joked that he made up for lost time! LOL

Merry - posted on 12/05/2011

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So, who quit first? The one you thought would never latch again? Or did he go extra to make up for his loss early on? :) amazing story Celeste. You don't hear too many twin sucess stories like that!

Kellie - posted on 12/05/2011

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Oh and my Nipples inverted, it even took 15 minutes of pumping before they'd make an appearance!

Horrible Horrible experience.

Kellie - posted on 12/05/2011

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It was horrible I was a mess, by the time she finally got fed (Formula) it had been 6 HOURS since her last feed! I was flipping out, she however, was fine lol My patient little bubba! She knew she was going to get fed and here's Mummy blubbering all over her!

I just think it was because I was in too much pain, her birth was difficult, she was Stargazing and required forceps, I lost 400ml of blood, and had 3rd degree tearing. When I fed her at 5 I didn't take my Panadol (I was taking it 4 hourly to manage the pain), I couldn't remember when I took it last and didn't want to double up, BIG mistake, when I woke for that feed that wasn't a feed in the end I felt like I'd been hit by a car, I think the pain was too much for my body and it shut down my supply, my body simply couldn't cope with making milk too.

I was never engorged, even when I decided to let it 'dry up' it was no issue, and clear in 2 days, no engorgement, no pain. Quite simply there wasn't fuck all there! I so hope it's different with the one I'm carrying now, I definitely don't want that happening again!

Merry - posted on 12/05/2011

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Kellie have you ever figured out what happened?
That's definetly not normal milk behavior!
Most moms would wake painfully engorged after going such a long time between feeds!
We're you taking any medications? Some meds have been known to stop all milk production like that.
I've heard many stories about bf but that's a new one! Very interesting :-) sorry to pick your mind'

Merry - posted on 12/05/2011

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Yeah I wasn't too pleases with the LCs at my hospital either they kept pushing the cross cradle hold and it felt WRONG. It just felt awkward and weird and I didn't like it. I liked the traditional cradle hold with my other hand sandwiching the breast. But they kept trying to grab my hands and moving them and I was like no I don't like that! Thankfully they never touchd my boob or I'd have smacked them!

My training as a bf peer counselor through wic has told me that mom should be allowed to position herself. Don't suggest position changes unless she asks. Only ask, does this position work for you? And if she says yes leave it be. Fierna I've had to lay back and do a reclined cradle hold for her reflux. It's just not cool to try to make bf moms fit into a box. I hear ya on that.



Incidentaly I've never found the clutch to work at all! Ive tried it for the heck of it but it just never really feels good. I only do it if I'm tandem feeding the kids together. Then it's ok but I don't like it much.

Krista - posted on 12/05/2011

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I had a breast reduction 20 years ago. So my supply was extremely limited. I pushed through 6 weeks of pumping, and nursing, and crying, and pumping, and nursing, and having to supplement 99% with formula anyway, before deciding that I'd done my best, my baby had at least had some colostrum, and that it was time to call it a day.

One of the issues that didn't help was latching. I have large breasts (even after the reduction), and the LCs at the hospital didn't even MENTION the clutch hold to me. They kept trying to push me into a cross-cradle hold, and it just wasn't working, and I was getting badly abraded.

It was my sister who finally mentioned the clutch hold to me, and it was like night and day -- I felt so much more in control of things, and it was so much easier to position boob and baby properly.

So what could have helped would have been for the LCs to let go of their ideal vision of breastfeeding, and to actually look at ME and MY situation, and adapt their advice to fit, instead of trying to push me into a one-size-fits-all ideal.

Merry - posted on 12/05/2011

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I've been able to reach my goals so far, but the things that could have made it easier along the way are.
Less pain! Better latches and better help from the hospital. Better books, not the 'what to expect' that talked a lot of crap. And more friends to talk to in the beginning! And maybe some more supportive family members although theyve been fairly decent :)

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