Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let's Help Me...

Breastfeeding. Oh the stories. Oh the opinions.

For me...oh the trauma. ;) Okay, maybe I exaggerate a wee bit.

Here's the deal: I know that most of us have an opinion on it. That's not really where I'm trying to go with this post. It's not where I'm trying to go at. all. I do not like blog debates, they make me cringe and leave quickly.

What I do enjoy, is sharing too much information with you and then you helping me. In your oh-so-kind-way :) Sound good? Good.

With my first and second babies I did not even attempt breastfeeding. I just wasn't interested in the tiniest bit. I know the whole "breast is best" but honestly, formula was pretty dang good, and I have some great boys to show for it. It was the right choice for me and them.

When I was pregnant with my third, I decided I wanted to give breastfeeding a try. So I read, and read and read and talked and talked and talked about it to pretty much everyone who would listen. I was ready.

Or so I thought.

I knew it was not gonna be much fun at first. I knew I'd have to stick it out for awhile before it got better. I knew it might be tricky and painful in the beginning.

What I did not know, is that after about a week, when Jake would cry to eat...I would cry because I didn't want to feed him!! Because the pain...it was like NONE OTHER. And then I would cry harder because I felt bad for not wanting to go pick up my sweet baby and feed him...and by day 13 I gave him a bottle. And from there it was happily ever after.

I felt no guilt with any of my boys. I still don't. I made an educated decision for what was best for all of us at the time and it all worked out.

Now, as I have about 8 weeks left in this pregnancy, I've got breastfeeding on the brain. I'd like to give it a try...again. Because between Jake and this one, I learned an important little lesson for me. Remember when I used to run? Do you? Because I'm finding it hard to remember...anyways, I've mentioned before that people used to tell me that working up to the first 30 minutes or 3 miles of running was the most difficult and after that you get in a groove. I was pretty sure they were either lying or my body was just the exception...but during 1/2 mary training I learned they were actually right. Who knew.

That was a physical lesson I learned, and whether it makes sense or not, I think it applies to breastfeeding for me.

The benefit I have this go-round, is that I've tried it, and I know where the complications came in for me. The last time, it was all book knowledge and no experience.

I've also signed up for a class to take (in March) at the hospital I will deliver at.

But I have some specific issues that I'd like your thoughts/expertise on. You know, what worked for you. And, if you'd rather not post it in the comments section, you can always send me an email at lifeintheparsonage@gmail.com

Here's where I'm going to get entirely too detailed for 300 of my closest friends...

  • I think "latching on" was the main problem. I got a pamphlet in the mail recently that said "Three easy steps to latching on" Pffffff. Easy, really? It didn't feel easy. Any tips?
  • How long does engorgement really last? I mean really? Because even when I quit on day 13 they were still super full (and I did try pumping some first) No wonder the poor kid couldn't latch on...it was like sucking on a kickball.
  • How long does leaking last? How long do you have to wear those disposable pad thingys in your bra?
  • Sore nipples. You heard me. How long?
  • Should I contact the local la leche league?
  • What's your take on nipple shields? You know, those clear things...I used them with Jake as an attempt to make it hurt less, and it kinda helped, but it was also another thing to get adjusted while trying to get him adjusted and latched on...
Whether it works out this time or not...who knows. No expectations. Either way, my baby will eat.

Alright ladies, I'm counting on you and your vast expertise...let me have it!


  1. Ok,you have some issues here. I had virtually no problems with nursing, but I'll add my 2 cents anyhow. I think you're right, latching on makes it all work--and a coach at the hospital might really help (a nurse specialist or la leche league leader). Being in a hurry can really get in the way, too--my babies were NOT interested in rushing much of any part of life, for that matter.
    As for leaking, I used those clear plastic things to leak into while baby was using the other side and then saved that for frozen bottles (no bottles until they learn to latch on). I never had to pump that way. After a couple months I didn't need the pads unless I waited too long--we had a real schedule going. I highly recommend la leche league--I found them very helpful. However, if it just doesn't work for you, don't let anyone make you feel guilty. Trust your baby. Best advice I ever got. Good luck!

  2. I wish I had some expert advice or answers to your questions. I don't :( When you said "when Jake would cry to eat...I would cry because I didn't want to feed him!! Because the pain...it was like NONE OTHER. And then I would cry harder because I felt bad for not wanting to go pick up my sweet baby and feed him.." I felt like I could of written those words after the birth of each of my three daughters. I longed so badly to be a breastfeeing Mom and then I felt like such a wimp when my girlfriends would all say "oh you'll get past it, just give it time" because I NEVER got past it and eventually turned to the bottle with all three of them. I liked your analogy to running because it has been three months almost since I started to work up to running and I still cannot do a whole mile. So I would like to think that if I just would of held on I would of eventually become a "breastfeeding Mom" So I am commenting to tell you to not get discouraged because Girl if you can run a half marathon YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!!!!

  3. Disposable pads in your bra....I had to wear them for 3 months. But I did get to a point where it was more for my 'comfort' than necessity--I just didn't want to 'spring a leak' in front of 300 of my closest friends ;)
    Engorgement lasts.....2 1/2 weeks max. It is horrible, but push through it! It is definitely worth it! Pumping to take off the edge was the only thing I could do....and the FREEZE the extra...you will never have more than those first few weeks.
    I found that I gave up nursing at about 5-6 months, different reasoning both times....and could I have gone longer? Probably, but I wasn't determined that it was going to work longer, and I think that's part of the key...if you aren't sold that you're gonna do it....you may for awhile, but you {please know this 'you' is a big generalization} will resort to the bottle.
    Definitely involve a lactation consultant....especially with problems.
    Sore nipples.....ugh. 3 1/2 weeks? I never used the shields, but I did use the cream that they give you...it does help.
    For my next baby *ahem* IF we have another baby, I want to nurse for a year...no pumping {other than the engorgement thing}, no chickening out...really going for it. It is just so expensive to bottle feed. So expensive...and I also have 3 health boys to show for the whole formula thing, but sometime I want to feed my baby as 'God designed' {and please understand me I obviously am not against formula feeding}
    Sorry, I think you're going to have a lot of long comments today :)

  4. I have ZERO advice, obviously, since Josiah is adopted, but I just have to say that this totally made me giggle (And is it bad that your bullet points made me kinda thankful that I will never breastfeed?! *Grin*). You're adorable and your honesty is very refreshing.

    I hope you get some very helpful tips...and you're right, baby will eat no matter what. :-)

    Good luck, mama!

  5. Latching on: move the milk to the baby, not the baby to the milk. A really good LLL or nurse should sit with you for a bit to make sure you have the hang of it- makes ALL the difference in the world! (lol Trying to keep G-rated.)

    The position also matters. For us the football hold and side laying were the best positions. We just couldn't get the others to work.

    Engorgement: It's been awhile for me, but I'm recalling as long as I made sure I "let down" with each feeding the first few days were the only rough ones. And yes, sometimes supplemental pumping was necessary.

    Pads were needed the first few weeks and then during the weaning stage.

    Soreness- honestly I cringe telling you this because I fear you were at the peak and only headed for brighter skies... 2 weeks. Don't discount it wasn't an agonizing, toe curling two weeks, because it was lethally brutal. But magically on day 14/15 all was great- for me personally at least. I also used a great deal of the Lansinoh creams and gels though to help alleviate as much pain as I could.

    The downfall to contacting the LLL is some of them are diehards and will try to convince you, at all costs, to not give up. If you can find a good one- even in the next county it's worth it. Ask around first. The advantage will be the support and wisdom they can provide!

    Shields didn't work for me. I like the "soothies gels". They are like nursing pads, but they are tacky gel pads with an uber comfy cooling, soothing gel on them. Reusable for up to three days or whenever they become too filled with milk- whichever comes first.

    I think it's great that you are willing to try again! I think your attitude is terrific. If it works fabulous, if not then really it is okay!

    We have barely five weeks left. Though I was successful with nursing the last child, and plan to with this one too, I have no set timetable for length of time to nurse- let alone "exclusively". For all I know one day I'll wake up and decide I'm done. lol Or I may find this one and I do not work together on it.

  6. I did it exactly like you did. First two, no desire, bottle fed. Healthy kids, no problem!

    Third one, tried. Did. not. work. Bottle by 2 months, easy breezy.

    Fourth, successfully nursed but had milk production problem and had to start supplementing at four months.

    I leaked FOR EVER. Always had pads in the bra, always.

    Cold compress for the engorgement helps alot. I even heard cold cabbage leaves are convenient. Just make sure it isn't red cabbage or your boobs turn purple! Don't ask me how I know this. :)

    I heart the nipple shield. It saved my life. Or it felt that way. I finally figured out that my baby liked to tuck his bottom lip under when he latched on and that was the cause of the soreness. The shield forced his lips to push out and gave me time to heal. I feel your pain. I did cry every time he latched in the beginning.

    Motherhood sells gel pads that suction to you, you can clean them and they dont show in your bra...called lily padz. I liked them alot.

    All in all, I agree with the first post. Do what you can, don't feel bad. Breastfeeding is good. Happy home is better!

  7. ((HUGS)) Oh how I love breastfeeding - I cried when both my boys self-weaned WELL before I was ready. It's my dream to be a breastfeeding counselor one day, after I complete my doula certification, lol

    * I think "latching on" was the main problem. I got a pamphlet in the mail recently that said "Three easy steps to latching on" Pffffff. Easy, really? It didn't feel easy. Any tips? -- Without showing you in person - after baby is born, tell the nurse you want to talk to a lactation consultant ASAP...and KEEP BUGGING them til they get one in to talk with you. Most nurses are trained to help, but there is NO help like that of a Lactation Consultant (check at your pedi's office too to see if they have one on staff).

    * How long does engorgement really last? I mean really? Because even when I quit on day 13 they were still super full (and I did try pumping some first) No wonder the poor kid couldn't latch on...it was like sucking on a kickball.
    --Engorgement depends on the person - before nursing you can try expressing some milk (by pump or hand) to make things easier for baby to latch on. Also, you know those sexy mesh undies you get after baby is born, take a pair, cut out the crotch and make a tube top - wear that around the house under a t-shirt or whatever -- it'll help relieve any extra pressure during engorgement and prevent clogged ducts.

    * How long does leaking last? How long do you have to wear those disposable pad thingys in your bra?
    --Again, depends on the person - I have to wear them the whole time I'm nursing (but I use cloth ones, so I'm not wasting money, lol) but I have friends who after just a couple weeks are done with them. I hear a baby cry and I start leaking, lol

    * Sore nipples. You heard me. How long?
    -- Honestly, should not last long at all. If It's more than the initial few days, you need to call someone to have them look at baby's latch. Also, you can buy Hydragels - HEAVEN in a gel pad. They were made for burn patients to speed healing. My second son had a HORRIBLE latch and I left the hospital...in a mess (LITERAL booby mess, lol) a nurse gave me the gel pads on the way out the door, within HOURS my nipples were back to normal! And the gelpads stay cold -- amazing little boogers, lol

    * Should I contact the local la leche league?
    -- YES YES YES YES YES!!! Even before baby comes!

    * What's your take on nipple shields? You know, those clear things...I used them with Jake as an attempt to make it hurt less, and it kinda helped, but it was also another thing to get adjusted while trying to get him adjusted and latched on...
    -- I never used them, but heard from many friends that they hindered more than helped.
    Set small goals for yourself instead of saying, "I'm going to breastfeed." Start with, "As long as we're in the hospital..." and move to a couple weeks, to 3 months, etc...

    I don't know if you have a chiropractor around you - that helped us immensely with #2's latch, as it was a bone issue - no amount of help from a LC was going to help since his jaw was misaligned.

    The early days are so hard. With #1, I didn't have any other "responsibilities" - just sat around and fed him all day. With #2, I dreaded nursing. I was fine during the day, but when I was so tired and exhausted, I would just sit and cry. I finally told hubby that I was done. No more nursing, he was wise in knowing how much I would truly regret that and offered to do a bottle for #2 in the evenings and let me rest/shower/take care of ME (which is BEYOND crucial!!!) I didn't think that would help...but low and behold, it helped SO much, just taking the pressure of ONE feeding session off my shoulders while we adjusted.

    And as someone above mentioned, what ever you decide, do not let make you feel guilty about the decision YOU make!!!

  8. Before I throw out my experiences, I will say that I never would have breastfed my daughter if I had not been told this: "Decide beforehand if you are 100% committed to breastfeeding or not. If you're not, then you won't. It is uncomfortable, and can be very, very challenging and time consuming. My best friend who nursed her twin boys gave me that insight, and I found it to be totally true.

    I don't think there is a thing wrong forumla. I just decided that I was 100% committed to wanting to breastfeed, and I am not even sure why, but I just wanted to.

    Enjoy your new baby!!!!

    1. I think "latching on" was the main problem. I got a pamphlet in the mail recently that said "Three easy steps to latching on" Pffffff. Easy, really? It didn't feel easy. Any tips?

    What worked for my daughter was running my nipple on the outside side of her mouth and then over her lips. Sometimes I would even squeeze a little milk out before doing this, so that there was something for her to taste and realize she was about to get to eat.

    2. How long does engorgement really last? I mean really? Because even when I quit on day 13 they were still super full (and I did try pumping some first) No wonder the poor kid couldn't latch on...it was like sucking on a kickball.

    I think my engorgement lasted from about Day 3 when my milk really came in, until sometime late into week 2, or early week 3. My MIL, a post-partum nurse, reccommended that I get a wash cloth or hand towel, and squeeze off what I could before trying to nurse during this engorgement. It really helped to release pressure for me, deflate the boobs so my kiddo could eat and latch on. By the reccommendation of my peditrician, I did not try pumping until after 1 month of nursing so that my supply could regulate itself. Pumping right after you milk comes in could lead engorgement to last longer, because your body thinks that milk is being used, and therefore needs to keep producing that much volume.

    3. How long does leaking last? How long do you have to wear those disposable pad thingys in your bra?

    I wore nursing pads nearly the entire 10 months I breastfed my daughter. I also highly reccommend getting the washable kind - I found them to be softer and more economical than the disposables. The longer I nursed, the less frequently I needed to swap out the pads. For months I think I changed into a fresh pair every time after I nursed. I also preferred a lined, underwired nursing bra and found great, affordable ones at JC Penney online.

    4. Sore nipples. You heard me. How long? I would say several months, maybe as long as 3. That Lansiol (sp?) cream really helped, as well as making sure my kiddo had more breast in their mouth and not just the nipple. I finally realized that when I put more boob in the mouth, it hurt less...I think I was making it more painful by mostly just putting the nipple in.

    5. Should I contact the local la leche league?

    Personally, those ladies are a bit Breast-Nazish for me. I found that taking the breastfeeding class at my local hospital footed the bill. Most people who teach those classes are La Leche League members anyways, so you will hear some of that perspective.

    6. What's your take on nipple shields? You know, those clear things...I used them with Jake as an attempt to make it hurt less, and it kinda helped, but it was also another thing to get adjusted while trying to get him adjusted and latched on...

    I never used 'em. I found that shoving more of the boob in the mouth worked just as well.

  9. I breastfed for 11 months with my first and only daughter (so far), my best advice is take advantage of lactation consultants in your hospital and stay in the hospital as long as you can so they lactation consultants can teach you. I think pain comes from poor latching. You want the baby to get a whole mouthful, meaning getting part of the areola in its mouth as well. His or her mouth should flip out like a duck kinda. I took a breastfeeding class as well before baby and it was helpful. Good Luck, breastfeeding was truly one of the best experiences of my life.

  10. I went into breastfeeding w/ an attitude of "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I refuse to have a breakdown over it." That mindset relieved me from unnecessary pressure. I took the breastfeeding class & kept my lactation consultant on speed dial. She was my hero!!!

    My goal was to b.feed for 6 months, but when I started I realized I needed to take it month by month because 6 months seemed unattainable at times. I b. fed my 1st for 11 mos.. He self-weaned. My 2nd is 9 mos. & still b. feeding.

    My 1st was a champion breastfeeder. It was still painful, but nothing compared to the 2nd who tucked his bottom lip under & refused to untuck it. Ouch. My lactation consultant gave me nipple shields to use w/ him. They helped, but they were aggravating. The product I heart the most is Medela TheraShells. I used them constantly in the first few weeks to keep my bra or tshirt or anything from brushing against my nipple.

    I think a Boppy pillow is great, too. I got slack about using mine w/ my 2nd & my lactation consultant recommended that I use it every time I nursed because baby's weight adds to mommy's nipple pain. Duh. Why didn't I think of that?

    With my 1st I tried to follow all the rules & it made it a little more complicated than necessary. This time I feed on demand & I never pump. That works for me.

    Breastfeeding in the beginning was the most excruciating pain I've ever experienced in my entire life. However, it passes.

    Whatever you choose to do will be the best thing for your baby!!

    I really enjoyed Fried Okra's pregnancy blog when I was pregnant w/ baby #2. www.foundapnut.blogspot.com

  11. Oh girl, i think it is so different for every momma. I was a go- by-the-book girl. I was SO determined that it would work and nothing would stand in my way. It was NOT easy at first. It took a while before my milk came in (5 dys to be exact). I didn't give any kind of bottle until over two months of strictly breastfeeding. However, I do not recommend that because then my little one wouldnt even take a bottle. Ever. So for the first year I was her nutrition. Anyway, I just want to say GO FOR IT girl! I totally think breastfeeding is the way to go. No one told me it wouldn't be easy. I wish they had. It was a tough first couple of weeks. But after your body and baby work out all the kinks, it's soooo simple. I think it takes a while to get used to it, but after that you are golden. Sorry I cant help with many of your questions because I never leaked, was engorged, or had any latch on problems. I just know breastfeeding was hard work! Don't give up!

  12. I'm not even going to attempt to read the other comments you've gotten because they're too long and I'm lazy, so let's hope I'm not duplicating advice here :)

    First, I've only had one child and I breastfed her for a year so I'm far from an expert but I've got some experience.

    1. I've heard if the baby is latched correctly it shouldn't hurt but whoever said it was EASY...obviously had never done it before :) It took quite a bit of work to get Lily latched properly and the fact that your "hu-ha's" (to put it delicately) are the size of basketballs doesn't make it easier :) I got a lot of help from the lactation consultant at the hospital...pretty sure she was probably sick of hearing from me :) But honestly, I think it just takes some time to get the hang of it -- both for mom and the baby. Once we got it, it WAS easy and Lily could practically do it in her sleep, but the first several weeks were trying.

    2. I don't remember how long engorgement lasted...I want to say somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks? Pumping definitely helped.

    3. Leaking. Oh, I leaked for what seemed forever. I wore the pads and a bra to bed (ugh) for what seemed like forever, just to be safe.

    4. Sore n*pples -- I used the lanolin and that helped some but they were sore for awhile. After the engorgement stopped, it seemed like it got a lot better, honestly. And again, I've heard if the baby is latched properly, it doesn't hurt...I don't know how true that is.

    5. I didn't use a n*pple shield but I've had friends who did and loved them.

    One book that I've heard is SUPER helpful is "The Nursing Mother's Companion". I think they sell it at Barnes and Noble and though I haven't read it, I've flipped through it and I think it would have been nice to have while I was nursing.

    Good luck! Like you said, your babies will get fed either way, but it sure is more cost effective to be able to bypass the formula :) I hope for your sake that it's easier this go-round!

  13. Oh, man. This post made me laugh because of all the memories I have of me. I remember those nipple shield thingies making me look like Madona. Oh the pain of the first go-around. I only lasted for about two weeks and cried my way through. Second time around was really easy for me. I have NO IDEA why. Helpful, huh? I still only lasted for about 4 months and the only reason I went SO long was because it took me 4 months to get my daughter to suck from a baby bottle.

    Whatever you end up doing, I know it will be best, because it will make you and baby both happy. Best of luck to you and I do hope the class pays off.


  14. My first had a hard time latching on until I used the nipple shield you mentioned. The shield was annoying to use, but it was the only way he would nurse at first! I stopped using it after a few months and breastfeeding never hurt. It might have been because we were giving him bottles too, so my nipples had a chance to recover.
    I was not prepared with the pain I had when I tried to nurse my second. I think he must have been latching on wrong because I had huge gashes in my nipples. I quit after 2 weeks (although it felt like years).
    My third is 10 weeks old now and I'm nursing her exclusively. It hurt A LOT for 2 weeks, then a little on one side for one more week, but now it doesn't hurt at all. I put lanolin on my nipples after every feeding and they didn't crack nearly as much as with my second baby. I didn't wear a bra for the first couple weeks either; I think that helped because there was less pressure on my nipples. Also, my sister gave me the advice of hand expressing a little milk before getting the baby to latch on. That way the baby gets the milk right away and doesn't pull away and latch on over and over (which is the painful part). Good luck!

  15. dnag you have more info here than i could ever offer.. but you are going to have a baby :) !!!!
    did i mention that i think it's a girl..
    ok ill shut up.
    ive done a little of both.. bottle and breast, because some of my babies just didnt like me as much as others..
    but with one i did use the shield & loved it, i can't remember which one, but it reduced the pain. i know that each one was different..
    once you get past the first few months it's awesome. really. i hated leaking, it drove me nuts. but after that it was more freeing than the bottle.. it's just that first period to break through!
    i havent figured it out in running yet tho...

  16. Wow! Look at all that advice. All I can share is my experience. 4 babies, breast fed all, never really enjoyed it, it was cheap and easy.

    What ever you do...just feed the baby in a way that works for your family and you. You seem very active and busy and adding breast feeding to your additional kiddos might be too much. If so, that is OK. No guilt.

  17. Woo, girl - here comes my book! LOL

    You have gotten some really great advice from what I have read - so I may repeat a few things - please forgive me if I repeat.

    I really struggled that first month with my first daughter. I ended up not nursing exclusively for that reason, we supplemented a lot toward the end with her. I think part of the problem is that (especially with first time moms) we're released from the hospital within 48 hours - and our milk isn't even really coming in yet - sorta like giving us a car to drive with very little gas. Then we get home with a baby who is really hungry, and we feel a little overwhelmed and want to give up. Also, the movies/TV make it look like we can just put the baby to the breast and it just magically happens - not necessarily so - it is a learned skill for you and the baby, and takes work to get the thing going! If your hospital has a lactation consultant - USE HER HELP every chance you get while you are at the hospital. Tell her your issues that you had last time - and she can help you work through those. The class is also a good idea, because you can ask questions, and get some more "learning time" before the "road test," so to speak.
    Go and get some Lansinoh cream, and use it after every feeding. It helps. Another great thing are Soothies. You can get them @ Walgreens and CVS, and maybe Target. They also help with the pain - they are little reusable gel patches that can be placed over your nipples between feedings and really are great. You get 2 in a pack, but I cut mine in half and got 4 that way. I also kept them in the fridge, it was great during those early weeks as the cool pad helped soothe the skin.
    As far as leaking, I didn't notice it much after the first 6 weeks or so, unless it was first thing in the morning after the baby and I had slept all night and the tanks were FULL. To me, the nursing pads helped protect the sore nipples, too - kept them from rubbing against the skin.
    I will tell you that my second time around was a BREEZE compared to the first time - I felt armed with more info, and since, like you, I knew where I struggled before, and I knew what I wanted to avoid. We never had to supplement with formula once. She nursed until she was 15 months - something I never planned, it just sorta happened to work out like that. I planned to wean her at a year, but she was still into it a few times a day, so we dropped a feeding here or there (she was only nursing for a few min 4 times a day) until she was completely done @ 15 mos. She did get expressed milk when left with someone, and I agree that freezing the milk is so great - b/c even if the baby doesn't "drink" it in a bottle, you can use it to mix in their cereal when they get a little older and start solids. Freeze in 2 oz portions, so if baby doesn't drink it all, you won't feel like you wasted a lot of milk.
    Lots of back/pillow support helps with latch - use the Boppy and however many pillows it takes to get you comfy and baby @ a great angle.
    I never found the nipple shields to help - they sorta hindered the baby from getting all the areola in her mouth.
    One other thing - start early using a blanket/nursing cover with your baby - that way, when you're out somewhere and need to feed, you won't be flashing everyone with a baby who isn't having the whole "being covered up to eat" idea. If that's all they know - it won't be that much of a struggle. I made that mistake the first time around and almost flashed one of the main entrances to a large mall. LOL
    Another great book is "So That's What They're For." Very practical, and great advice.
    You can do it!!!! It will save you so much money, and really is easy once you get the kinks smoothed out.

  18. Rachael in AustraliaFebruary 16, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    Eek, LOTS of advice!

    I am a mother of 6 in Australia. All of my babies have fed until 18 months (youngest is 16 months and still going!)

    You're right, LATCH is the key. If a baby is on incorrectly, then I don't allow them to continue even if they are starving. Just one feed with bad attachment equals PAIN for next time/s.

    Here is what I do. NEVER try to move your body towards the baby. The baby needs to come to you. I have the baby lying in the crook of the arm on the feeding side, then using my other hand I put it over the back of the baby's head and use this to guide baby into correct position.

    I brush baby's mouth over my nipple so she opens WIDE and then I quickly put that big mouth over my nipple (I can do this because my hand is moving baby's head). Baby needs to have as much as the surrounding area of the nipple in her mouth as she can (called aerola??) Her lips need to be curled out towards her face.

    Making sure I had this attachment every time meant I had very little pain. Nursing is one of those things that is so unnatural and fiddly to begin with and then eventually becomes something you do without a thought.

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    Rachael in Australis

  19. OH - and BONUS - Breastfeeding totally helped me lose the baby weight, and then some! :)

  20. My first i did not have any milk for! I cry and cry and was so disappointed. My mom couldn't understand because she never nursed herself so had no idea.

    For my second I know for a fact that that milk never came in. You not deyne when it does! I had never had such feelings nor such big breast! lol Both my girls have been on only 2 antibiotics... they are so healthy so as far as giving the baby what people say is best for them... it's which ever one you choose! I have one of each and the formula baby was just a healthy as the breastfeed baby.

    The greatest bonus is for you mom! Taking all that weight off! I was back down to less than what I was when we got married! Back to a size 1. My hubby would say to me... what happened to your butt. Where is your shape. I told him don't worry it will all come back! It did. I'm back to normal but i dropped 40 plus pounds in less than 9 months.

    good luck with whatever you choose!

  21. So, it's been a loooong time since I nursed my kids (they are 13yrs and 15yrs)-of all the things about them being babies that I miss, I miss the nursing the most.

    Lanolin was a godsend for the soreness! We still use it on sore noses when we have colds.

    Latching on is the key to successfull breastfeeding. It's hard to describe in words, but baby's mouth needs to be WIDE open and you bring baby to breast. If I hadn't had the help of a lactation consultant and LLL I may not have lasted as long as I did.

    I don't remember the leaking lasting more than 2-3 weeks unless I went too long between feedings. It helped not to let yourself get too full or latching on is more difficult.

    It's worth a try again. Attitude is a huge part of it....and if it doesn't work, better to switch to formula (or pump and bottle feed for a while)than be frustrated and have an unhappy baby and mommy.

  22. It's been a LONG time since I nursed by babies, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world! It wasn't easy at first with either of them. And I do remember thinking that it felt like someone was stabbing a knife into my nipple every time my daughter tried to latch on. Here's an old fashioned tip to help with the sore nipples. Soak tea bags in warm water and them apply them for a while after each nursing. There is tannic acid in the tea that is very soothing. It sounds weird...and looks even weirder.. but it helped and that's all I cared about. Good luck and kudos for being willing to try again!

  23. It took me 6 weeks to really get comfortable nursing my first child. My hubby just encouraged me and even got up with me during night feedings to help me. I think the key is to commit, just like your running commitment, and ask your hubby (and maybe a friend) to be your biggest cheerleader. You can do anything you put your mind to doing! Plus, just think of all the cute clothes you could buy with the money you will save from not buying formula!

  24. I feel your pain, truly. I attempted to nurse my first (lasted 2 weeks) but when I started to resent feeding him, switched to a bottle.
    With my second, I really wanted to try again, and I had almost no trouble. But the difference between the two babies was huge, my second would stop crying when I picked her up and actually let me take the time to get the latch right.
    (I managed to nurse my third because I had gotten experience from the second.)
    Sore nipples? 2 months (but only really really bad for the first 3 to 4 weeks)
    Leaking? I found that once they were on a pretty regular feeding routine it stopped, until of course they had a growth spurt and started eating more and then just a feeding or two until about 6 months.
    Hot wash clothes (or really warm shower) work really well for engorgement (if you have access to a sauna that's the best!) First 2 weeks were really bad, but heat help (I would sleep with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel)
    I never tried nipple shields.
    Just remember that both you AND baby are learning, it takes patience, but it's also NOT worth your sanity or the feelings of wanting to run screaming in the other direction because it hurts SO much (been then, totally relate)

  25. I am with you... if it works great, but if not, your baby will be just FINE.

    It has been 8 years since my last baby... so the memories for me are distant... but I just read this link and it made me LAUGH OUT LOUD.


    Hope you enjoy it after all the long advice comments.

    Good luck... either way... I know you will do what is best for you! :-)

  26. i thought i'd give breastfeeding a try when i was pregnant, but when i had to schedule a c-section at 38 weeks because the girl was breech, i became DETERMINED to breastfeed our daughter for at least 6 months. i think because that was something i could control, where her delivery was taken out of my hands.

    i never imagined how painful it would be. within 12 hours of her birth, i seriously had these deep cracks in my nipples and my toes would curl when she'd latch, it hurt so bad. i went to the nipple shields and they saved my life, but i also have flatish nips and with the engorgement there was just nothing for her to hang on to. i made sure i put a little breastmilk on my nips and air dried after she nursed, they healed up beautifully. the lanolin stuff was just sticky and ick for me.

    i agree with someone else who said that it's something you really have to decide to do and go for, like you did with the half mary. it's not easy at all, no matter what any book or person says, and there is a learning curve. it probably took my girl and i about 3.5-4 weeks to get into the groove with it, and bottles would have been a jillion times easier. i just decided that i wanted to breastfeed, and so we did for 15 months and i wouldn't trade it for anything. it's really a beautiful time of bonding just you and your baby, in all the hustle and bustle it's time to just go away and take a minute for yourself, although i learned fairly quickly how to nurse on the go in a sling :D

    good luck whatever you end up doing!!

  27. I hear your heart and love (again) your honesty! If you decide to give it another try, you MUST have the hospital send the lactation consultant up right away. Tell her your past struggles, she will get right in there and without modesty make sure all things are going right. THEN, schedule a lactation consultant to come to the house when you get home. La Leche is great and they have the experience that you need. Just find the right person there. I'm going to pray that this kid has "read the book" and is a natural (I had 1 out of 3 that did that).

  28. I am NO expert. But I am a mom of three. First two, I tried to breastfeed with much crying and pain and, well UGH! Last one, went to the lactation specialist who said that "we were not necessarily a good match" (the baby and me, that is). She said that I could breastfeed by exclusively pumping. And I did. And I LOVED it. I pumped for the first 9 months, then went to the freezer reserves for the final months. If I ever had a number 4 (which would require a miracle) I would pump again. Why did I love it so much? Well, it's cheap for one. And, it's convenient. I could pump 4 times a day, when it worked for me. Also, I'm a bit of a control freak and I liked knowing how much my little one was eating. I couldn't measure the ounces coming from me, but from the bottle - ah ha! I know not everyone would choose to pump, but it worked for me and I didn't even know it was a practical option until my third. Wish someone would have told me with number one.
    And I completely agree with Jill - Whatever you decide - no guilt. Feed your baby in the way that works best for the baby, you and your family. No guilt.
    Good luck!!!!

  29. you are so brave to "put yourself out there" on this subject. One thing before you have your babies do you prepare your breasts for nursing? That really helps in keeping you from getting sore, which causes the pain. Just a question. Also the first week is always, always the worst in nursing, emotions, newness, wanting a routine, etc. you just have to tell yourself to relax, don't worry about all the "stuff" that needs your attention,let it go and enjoy those first few weeks, letting your body recooperate. Let your family help, give your boys some chores before the baby comes, so after he/she comes they will continue to do them, let them wash dishes, dry, etc, fold laundry (it won't be perfect but it will be done, at least towels), vacuum, etc. Each of them are old enough to pitch in and if they know they are really helping out their mom, they will LOVE it. Having 9 boys in a row and pastor/husband I know what your going through. Boys love their mama and they want to please so let them please you by doing simple tasks. If those are accomplished you can relax and enjoy bonding/nursing with your baby. Your already a GREAT mama!

  30. I had problems with breastfeeding the first time but I think you learn a lot from that try that you can use in the next one. I was very sore too and ended up with painful thrush (that was bleeding and felt like needles when I nursed) around the nipple. What they didn't tell me is if you have to be on antibiotics for any reason, you and the baby can get thrush so want to watch for that, it is very painful. All you do if you get that is to put a topical cream for yeast on it before and after nursing and it clears up super fast. Using the lanolin after each nursing really helps too, love that stuff. It is tough the first few weeks, takes about 3 to 4 weeks to get into the swing of things and for your nipples to be used to nursing. I found the second attempt way better. It has been 6 yrs since my last so I don't remember how long the engorgement lasted but if it seems to be an ongoing problem, you might find that going back to the same side with the next nursing will help. I actually ran out of milk at 7mos with my first and that was because he was filling up on the letdown and falling asleep. He wasn't getting the hind milk because the next feeding, I'd go to the next side. I found if I went back to the same side for a bit and then switched over, that really helped. I wore the nursing pads the whole time. I did switch to washable after the initial craziness calmed down. Then it was just for those times where I waited too long in between feedings and letdown occurred. I thin it is great that you are willing to try again, maybe try to tough it out another week or two longer than last time and then see if it still doesn't work for you. There's nothing wrong with bottle feeding too!

  31. breastfeeding...the topic pulls at my heartstrings. I can relate to you one million times over and give you so much credit for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    I had the exact same situation as Kris...breech baby, scheduled c-section, feeling completely out of control. I wasn't as lucky with the nursing..my little girl had a terrible latch, I ended up with battered boobs early on, and once the hospital gave her some formula it was game over. We kept trying for 3 weeks but finally gave up to pumping and supplementing after many many tears.

    But....she is happy, healthy and perfect!

    I am hoping to try nursing again whenever baby number two arrives. My husband and I are hoping to have a midwife instead of an OB this time around. I live in Ontario and the post-natal care with a midwife is phenomenal (6 weeks, come to your home). I am hoping this might give us a hand.

    I know I didn't help with any suggestions but I wish you the best of luck with the baby. I think whatever happens, the right choice is the one that is right for you and your family. Good luck!

    Thank you so much for the post. You are a wonderful inspiration.

  32. Your comparison to running the half is totally true. You can do it! And you will love it, it's so, so convenient once you get past the rough first few weeks. I don't really have anything to add to the discussion, everyone else has said it all so well.

  33. you've gotten some really good advice and comments so far. sorry if i repeat anything, i didn't finish reading through everyone. and mine will probably be long too! (sorry for that too!)

    i have had 2 babies (one is now 10 years and one is 20 months!) and both were so different.

    first baby was 10 weeks early. breastfed for about 3 weeks. my milk supplied dried up so i was unable to continue. we switched to formula because it meant the difference between her coming home or staying in the hospital longer. second baby was 7 weeks early and we did great. he was exclusively breastfed for a little more than 10 months (was put on a prescription that made me have to stop). weaning was most difficult mainly because he would NOT take formula or any milk. didn't have any milk until he was almost 13 months old.

    *engorgement with baby 1 lasted almost the whole 3 weeks but wasn't that painful and as long as i pumped a little she could latch one. had no engorgement with #2
    *#1 had no latch problems. #2 had problems mainly because my breasts were bigger than his head!
    *when latching on, it helps to place one hand under your breast to lift it up some. i also found if you lay the baby on your lap and bring the breast down to baby that helps as well. also both baby #2 and i found laying down to feed enjoyable.
    *leaking- na with #1. with #2 i didn't leak for the first month and then i started to. i used pads for about 3 months and then that was done. they also have pad type thingies that are designed to catch the milk when you leak and allows you to save it.
    *for sore nipples use the lanolin cream they give you in the hospital. it does help. mine didn't really get sore with #2. just a little irritated at times.
    *you can as they do give some great advice and encouragment. i had issues with the lactation consultant in the hospital with #1 that makes we weary. but with #2 the lady was great. so just realize that they may not always line up with your beliefs/feelings/judgements. above all trust yourself and your baby!
    *i used nipple shields with #2 for about 5 months. i think towards the end it was more for my peace of mind than his need for them. but in the beginning they were a lifesaver and i think that without one i would have given up sooner. just make sure you always have an extra or two in the diaper bag for trips out if you are using one because it is unnerving to realize you forgot it and you are 2 hours from home and the baby wants to eat. this may sound weird but if you wet the inner plastic that rests agains the breast (either water, spit, or milk) and then fold it back towards the nipple part, place that over your nipple and then fold the shield part back against your breast it should stay in place while you adjust the baby. that is what worked for me!
    *make sure you are drinking plenty and eating good meals too
    *it is said that oatmeal helps with milk production. and not sure it does or not but when i ate certain oatmeal products it seemed that the next day i was fuller. but who knows for sure
    *trust your instincts. also find someone who will encourage and support you no matter what. that you can go to with anything

  34. Hi Sarah,

    I'm Sheena, LLL Leader in Waverly and RN at Covenant, I work on the mother baby unit and help in the Breastfeeding Support Services on occasion. You have great questions and I would love to help. Give me a call sometime or email me. My email is jscarnes1995@gmail.com and my phone is 319-939-2779. My biggest suggestion right now is to attend a La Leche League meeting, our next on is March 15th, there you can get questions answered by moms who have been there and encouragement.

    1. Latching? Make sure baby has mouth wide open before latching, don't let baby get so close to your nipple that she "slurps" it in. I find that letting baby lay on your chest bare in her diaper and on your bare chest really helps with the latching, babe's feeding instincts are heightened and they can smell your milk. When baby opens her mouth, quickly push her onto your breast, so they are not just getting the tip of your nipple in the mouth. If it hurts, take them off, and try again. Pain that lasts more than a minute is not normal. For the pain, work on the latch, dab your own breast milk on your nipples and let that air dry. Lanolin can also be helpful. A product called "Soothies" can really help with the pain. They are a gel pad that is sold in the Woman's Place store at Covenant. I think some pharmacies also sell them.
    2. Engorgment? If baby is nursing well, this only lasts a few days after your milk comes in. It may have lasted longer with you, due to the baby not latching well and not properly draining the milk. Cold compresses between feedings help and warmth before and during the feeding help. I suggest to moms a bag of frozen peas or cabbage leaves, only use cabbage leaves for a day or so, wash them off and place in your bra. Warmth helps more milk come out and it feels good...also massage your breasts while baby is nursing.
    3. Leaking? This depends on your body. I know some moms who hardly leak at all and some who really are heavy leakers. From talking with mothers it does seem to lessen after 6 months of nursing. It just really depends on your body.
    4. Soreness? Sometimes moms have a breaking in period of soreness, this shouldn't last more than a week or so, IF you are also working on correcting the latch and treating the soreness at the same time. Most moms that i talk to say that nursing does get a lot easier after the first month. Its a lot like learning to ride a bike or learning anything new, just stick with it and eventually it will get easier, but that is ONLY if you are getting the help you need and trying to correct any underlying problems. I know a mom who was able to nurse successfully, but she never got any help, her sorness lasted a lot longer than it needed to, but she persevered, my point is this; getting help will shorten the time you are having problems or pain.
    5. LLL? I say yes, they were a HUGE help to me with my first daughter, and then I went on to become a leader :)
    6. I am fine with nipple shields, but not until baby is 24 hours old. Your colostrum is very thick and will not go through the holes very well. Breast milk gets thinner around 24 hours and so it will go through the holes. Some moms find the shield a nuisance, so they will try to wean away from it once their pain is better. Occasionally a mom will also have milk supply issues with the shield. Basically you have to watch the baby to see how they are growing and its really how you feel about the shield.

    Hope that helps. Sorry it was so long. Let me know if you have questions :)

    Your friend Mandie told me about your blog, hope it was ok to answer the questions:)

  35. As I mentioned yesterday, I only breastfed for four daysish. I thought it was terrible, it hurt and I like you didn't want to feed him because it was such an ordeal to set everything up. After just four days my boobs were soar, raw and bloody. I think it's partially due to the shield. The nurse had told me my nipple (sorry it's me, you know you'd get detail) wasn't long enough so I had to use a shield, so then I had a complex plus a plastic deal stuck to me that slid around and Angelo ended up using as a pacifier! So I don't know, I think the whole thing just turned me off. I really wish I'd had better luck and could be more positive. I'm pretty sure I won't even try with the next one (due beg. of Sept. btw!!) I'm just to nervous about it.

    So let me know how it goes. Maybe you can persuade me to try it again because you'll have such luck, and you'll save tons of money...or you can probably get Carnation formula for nothing anyway!! haha!

  36. You've gotten so much great, specific advice here, Sarah. I can't think of anything I'd really add. (Although I would give a HEARTY second to the Hydragel patches. Ask your nurse for them in the hospital. They are AWESOME. Much better than Lanisoh and all the other stuff.)

    I would offer this encouragement, though. Breastfeeding is REALLY painful for me at the beginning. I bleed, I crack, my toes curl, I sweat. But after the first few weeks, of perfecting the latch with THIS baby and getting my breasts back into shape, the pain goes away and it's all bliss. Breastfeeding is cheap, easy, portable and wonderful. (For the record: It helps me lose weight initially, but eventually, it also forces my body to stop losing, because my body wants to hang on to some fat in case the world collapses and I have to nurse! So I never lose the last 10 pounds until I wean.)

    I nursed all 3 of my kids (so far) until they were a year and then some. By no means should you beat yourself up if it doesn't go well. But I bet with some perseverance, you'll do great and be amazed.

  37. Obviously I have nothing to add, but I am grateful to read all the comments! I have read SO much about breastfeeding at this point that I'm just ready to give it a go already! I hope it works out better for you this time, Sarah. I'm certainly hoping to BF for about a year.

  38. I am way behind on my bolg reading so I was just going to skim to catch up but this made me stop. I had the most excruciating pain when I nursed each of my kids at first. I would have to bite onto a washcloth so I wouldn't scream and scare the hungry baby. I dreaded feeding them and felt totally jipped by the the world for feeding me some fantasy of gently humming to my nursing angel as we rocked in a lovely, softly sunlit room. I had every lactation whatever try to help me and nothing made it better... for about a week or two. Then it just got better on its own. Seriously.


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