Many Moms May Have Been Taught to Breastfeed Incorrectly: Surprising New Research

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This article from Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA was featured in Holistic Parenting magazine, Issue 9 (May/June 2015).  Nancy is a wealth of knowledge and a light to many breastfeeding mothers!

During the more than 30 years I’ve been helping breastfeeding families, it’s been thrilling to see the rise in U.S. breastfeeding rates. In the early 1980s, only about 50% of American women breastfed even once. Now nearly 80% of new mothers breastfeed.

But this picture is still far from rosy. The sad truth is that most women today are not meeting their breastfeeding goals. Three recent studies shed some light on the issues. Here’s what they found:

More than two thirds of women intending to breastfeed exclusively for three months didn’t get there.

The most common reasons women give up on breastfeeding are:

  • latching problems
  • worries about milk production
  • nipple pain

During the first week after birth, 92% of nursing mothers reported significant breastfeeding challenges.

Sadly, most mothers who struggle with breastfeeding think the only solution is to try harder, but that’s frustrating and exhausting. Wouldn’t it be better instead to make breastfeeding easier? Rather than tackling every issue—latching struggles, milk supply, sore nipples–individually, why not use a single approach that addresses many challenges at once?

That is what a new approach called Natural Breastfeeding can do.

What is Natural Breastfeeding?

Let me back up a little and explain how this new approach came to be. By chance in 2008 I came across a U.K. study that rocked my world. It found that the breastfeeding positions we had been teaching new mothers for decades could actually be contributing to the ongoing epidemic of early problems. What did this study find? Human newborns’ innate responses are similar to those of other mammal species–including puppies, kittens, and piglets–that feed on their tummies. In other words, our babies are hardwired to be “tummy feeders.”

When I read that paper by Dr. Suzanne Colson (who calls her approach Biological Nurturing® or “laid-back breastfeeding”), my mind went first to the babies I’d seen in the breast crawl videos often shown in childbirth classes. The first breast crawl videos appeared in the late 1980s, when Swedish researchers found that when a newborn is laid tummy down on mother’s body, within the first hour something magical happens. Without any help, a healthy baby will crawl up the mother’s body, find the nipple, latch on, and begin breastfeeding. You can see this in action by doing an online search for “breast crawl.”

What Baby Brings to the Table

Not long ago, scientists believed that most newborn reflexes were useless leftovers from our tree-dwelling ancestors. But now we know better. We know these reflexes are key to early breastfeeding.

Every brand-new baby comes into the world with a whole repertoire of responses that are custom designed by Mother Nature to make baby an active breastfeeding partner. Baby is born with what’s needed so that–when conditions are right–breastfeeding and bonding happen easily and naturally. These responses work best when baby lies tummy down on mother with gravity anchoring baby there. I’d seen the breast crawl videos for years but somehow never made the mental connection between the babies’ tummy-down position and the ease with which they took the breast.

Enter Dr. Theresa

I began trying this approach with the breastfeeding mothers I saw and found that it solved many problems. But some were reluctant to try it. Thankfully, around this time, I began meeting with a local obstetrician Dr. Theresa Nesbitt (“Dr. Theresa”). No longer delivering babies, now Dr. Theresa’s primary interests are evolutionary biology and building healthy brains, so it’s not surprising that she turned her attention to breastfeeding.

In our discussions, Dr. Theresa added more pieces to our puzzle. She described the work of the Prague School, where scientists identified the “pressure buttons” on babies’ bodies that when pushed improve their coordination (they call this Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization or DNS). We discussed the work of Dr. Brian Palmer and why the act of breastfeeding is as important to newborn development as the milk. Dr. Theresa also shared key findings in the field of brain science.

Dr. Theresa and I devoted many hours to putting together these diverse but related puzzle pieces from around the world. What emerged is a new approach we call Natural Breastfeeding. It is “natural” because it takes advantage of what we know about the innate behaviors Mother Nature put in place to help women successfully feed and nurture their newborns. But while its concepts are solidly based in science, we knew from the brain research that for Natural Breastfeeding to catch on, we had to make it fun, jargon-free, and mother friendly. Images and videos would also be key, because that’s how people learn best.

Learning to Breastfeed

What does the brain and learning have to do with breastfeeding? A lot, as it turns out. A crucial aspect of changing current practice involves highly specialized brain cells called mirror neurons.

You may have heard the expression “Monkey see, monkey do,” which describes mirror neurons in action. When we see or hear something, mirror neurons record and remember it as if we are performing the action. Human mirror neurons are even stimulated by watching actions on a video. That’s why it’s quicker and easier to learn to dance, fry an egg, or ride a bicycle by observing a demonstration than it is to listen to an explanation or read instructions.

That is also why until very recently women didn’t need to be taught how to breastfeed. Their mirror neurons already knew. When they gave birth, mothers in the past were familiar with how to nurse their babies because they saw it growing up.

But most of today’s mothers don’t have this advantage. Many have never even seen another woman breastfeed without a cover. And the only breastfeeding images they usually see are of women nursing in sitting-up-straight feeding positions—positions that also make it impossible for newborns to help. In light of these influences, our epidemic of early breastfeeding problems makes more sense.

The Power of Observation

Pictures are very powerful, especially the pictures in our mind. One of the biggest barriers to a smooth breastfeeding start is that most pregnant women have an image in their minds of what they think breastfeeding is like that is fatally flawed.

Mother is sitting in a chair comfortably holding baby in her arms. Baby is suckling gently at her breast with his lips pursed around her nipple

In this mental picture, the mother is breastfeeding her newborn in what is essentially a bottle-feeding position, which causes problems. Sitting straight up with your weight resting on your bottom after having a baby is painful. Holding baby close–so there are no gaps between you–quickly tires your arms, causing head, neck, and back strain. Baby suckling with pursed lips quickly leads to sore nipples

If the image in a woman’s mind leads to challenges and pain, her dream breastfeeding experience can quickly become a nightmare. Yet this is not only how pregnant women imagine breastfeeding, this is how they are taught to breastfeed in hospitals and birthing centers around the world.

Feeding Positions and Early Breastfeeding

To understand why early feeding positions matter so much, let’s look at what we know. To activate a newborn’s internal GPS—so baby knows where she is and what to do—she needs to feel her entire front against her mother. This full frontal contact also activates the “pressure buttons” on a newborn’s ribs, wrists, inside of the knees, and tops or bottoms of the feet, which stabilizes her spine, giving her more control over her movements so can feed more effectively. You can make this happen when you’re sitting up straight. But why work this hard?

In the commonly used cradle, cross-cradle, and football/rugby holds, mothers and babies must fight the effects of gravity to get babies to breast level and keep their fronts touching. If gaps form between them (which can happen easily with gravity pulling baby’s body down and away), this disorients baby, which can lead to latching struggles. The pull of gravity makes it impossible for a newborn to use his inborn responses to get to his food source and feed. For baby, it is like trying to climb Mount Everest. Instead of mothers and babies working together as breastfeeding partners, mothers must do all of the work. Instead of being able to relax while baby helps, most mothers sit hunched over, tense, and struggling.

To complicate things further, in these positions, gravity can transform the same inborn feeding responses that should be helping babies into barriers to breastfeeding. Head bobbing becomes head butting. Arm and leg movements meant to move babies to the breast become pushing and kicking. Mothers struggling to manage their babies’ arms and legs in these upright breastfeeding holds have often told me: “I don’t think I have enough hands to breastfeed.”

How Natural Breastfeeding Can Help

In Natural Breastfeeding positions, baby rests tummy down on mother’s body, ensuring the full frontal contact that activates his GPS. Baby’s weight pushes the pressure buttons on his front, which improves his coordination for easier feeding. Natural Breastfeeding makes it possible for babies to be the active breastfeeding partners that nature intended. But it’s not just good for babies. Mothers can relax completely and rest while baby feeds, often with both hands free. And gravity helps baby take the breast deeply, so there’s no need to micromanage baby’s latch.

Natural Breastfeeding positions are appropriate any time, but they are especially helpful during the first few weeks, when babies lack the muscular strength and coordination to overcome gravity’s effects on their head. It takes a full year, after all, before babies can resist gravity enough to walk. But babies develop the head-and-neck control they need to fight gravity during breastfeeding much sooner—usually within four to six weeks.

That’s why many mothers who had sore nipples at first discover that as the weeks pass, their pain goes away. It’s not that their nipples “toughen up.” (Nipples don’t develop calluses like a guitar player’s fingers.) Over time, babies just get coordinated enough to latch themselves on deeply, even in gravity-defying positions. But why wait? In Natural Breastfeeding positions gravity helps babies latch deeper, so mothers can breastfeed in greater ease and comfort right from birth.

A New Normal

If humans learn mainly by seeing and doing and nearly all of the breastfeeding images women see today show the sitting-up-straight positions, then it’s not surprising that some mothers and breastfeeding supporters feel reluctant to try this this unfamiliar new approach.

Dr. Theresa and I realized that the key to changing perceptions about early breastfeeding is to make images of this new approach available to more women, especially during pregnancy. Our intention is to replace a lifetime of common but unnatural infant-feeding images with a “new normal” that will make it easier for mothers to meet their breastfeeding goals.

Please Help Spread the Word

We were very lucky that—for the benefit of mothers everywhere—the women featured in the Natural Breastfeeding program generously allowed their breastfeeding images and videos to be put online. Our basic videos are freely available in our “Natural Breastfeeding How-Tos” presentation. You can see more videos from the program on my YouTube channel as well. Please share links to these videos widely so that more women can experience an easier breastfeeding start.

Natural Breastfeeding is like the training wheels on a bicycle. It helps you avoid unnecessary pain and struggle while you and your baby are learning. Natural Breastfeeding makes the early weeks of breastfeeding easier by taking advantage of the innate newborn responses that are stimulated by gravity and contact. By making the most of what baby brings to the table, Natural Breastfeeding allows you to use the behaviors built in by Mother Nature to help you successfully feed and nurture your newborn.

Natural Breastfeeding positions are how expectant mothers should imagine themselves feeding their babies. Please help us spread the word!

Nancy Mohrbacher lives in the Chicago area and breastfed her own three sons, who are now grown. She began helping breastfeeding families in 1982 and became a board-certified lactation consultant in 1991. For 10 years she founded and ran a large private lactation practice. She has also worked for a major breast-pump company and a national corporate lactation program. Nancy is author of the professional textbook Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple. She co-authored (with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett) the book for parents, Breastfeeding Made Simple.  Her tiny troubleshooting guide for families, Breastfeeding Solutions, is also available as the Breastfeeding Solutions app for Android and iPhones. Her latest book, Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple, debuted in 2014. Nancy speaks at events around the world. You can find her at NancyMohrbacher.com.

Helpful Websites

Natural Breastfeeding How-Tos – Freely accessible how-to videos

Videos of Natural Breastfeeding Positions in Action

NaturalBreastfeeding.com  – The place to enroll in the Natural Breastfeeding program, a course for women or care providers who need more help with this approach (course requires a fee).

NancyMohrbacher.com – Blog posts on these positions and other hot topics

Recommended Reading

An Introduction to Biological Nurturing

Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers

References

Colson, S. D., et al. Optimal positions for the release of primitive neonatal reflexes stimulating breastfeeding. Early Hum Dev 2008; 84(7): 441-9.

Odom, E.C., et al. Reasons for earlier than desired cessation of breastfeeding. Pediatrics 2013; 131(3):e726-32.

Perrine, C.G., et al. Baby-friendly hospital practices and meeting exclusive breastfeeding intention. Pediatrics 2012; 130(1): 54-60.

Wagner, E., et al. Breastfeeding concerns at 3 and 7 days postpartum and feeding status at 2 months. Pediatrics 2013; 132(4):e865-75.

Widstrom, A-M., et al. Newborn behaviour to locate the breast when skin-to-skin: A possible method for enabling early self-regulation. Acta Pediatr 2011; 100: 79-85.

 


117 thoughts on “Many Moms May Have Been Taught to Breastfeed Incorrectly: Surprising New Research”

  1. This is very good information, but I still don’t understand most of breastfeeding problems, except that women give up very easily. I had troubles with latching on, cracking, bleeding, pain, etc, but I would not give up and breast-fed 3 children for about a year, even though my own mother was unsuccessful. If you can get past the first 2-3 months it is smooth sailing. And there were not breast pumps readily available then either! Make up your mind to do it and “Don’t give up”, call La Leche and other support groups and stay home long enough to establish your milk. After all, the Internet gives you so much info, too.

    1. I appreciate your passion for breastfeeding but keep in mind some try really hard and it still does not take. I had twins and my milk didn’t come in for two weeks. They went into the hospital and needed to be tube fed because of weight loss. I would do my best to be there (one was on a 2 hour schedule and one was on a 3 hour schedule by dr. orders so there was literally one hour of the day where I was not attempting to feed) before formula was pushed. There were no BM reserves at this hospital. When I got them home, my midwife watched me feed, my mother had been an LLL counselor and was there and they both advised me and we agreed to cut down on formula by 10 mls a day until it was nil. The result landed me with dehydrated babies. We called in one of the top breastfeeding consultants in London, where I was, and paid her $300.00 (270 pounds) and at the end of her meeting she told me that if I was passionate I should continue to feed before giving formula but that sometimes, it just doesn’t work and that would probably be the case for me. I fed both babies for 45 minutes and gave them a bottle for 45 minutes every three hours for 4 months. My mother in law came overseas to visit me and made a comment that freed me. She said “I breastfed some of my children exclusively, bottle fed one, and mixed fed some. You tell me which was which. Your comment is insensitive. Sometimes it doesn’t work and harsh words like yours validate the worst thoughts of those of us who struggled, those of us who would be led to this page.

      1. Sarah, I LOVE what your mother in law said. I am an IBCLC based in a hospital and we see your story happen all the time. It is heartbreaking to watch, but my staff and I have found that when we see mom’s eyes fill with tears, or hear her voice crack, that enough is enough, and we ask mom “when are you enjoying your baby?” “tell us about your joyful moments and how you express them?” Immediately, moms dissolve into puddles of tears, because they haven’t felt joy yet. The mother baby bond should be joyful.

        1. The hardest thing I ever admitted to another human was that I did not love being a mother in a breastfeeding support group. My daughter from day 1 baffled LC’s, nurses, her ped and grandmothers by fighting every moment at the breast. I would spend 45min-hour every feeding trying to get her to latch, i would pump milk, use a medicine dropper to put some expressed milk in to a nipple shield just to get her to eat a few drops. I got to the point that holding my newborn filled me with anxiety and dread and she lost almost 1.5lbs & I developed mastitis and have such damage to the tissue I may never ebf. Comments like Mary’s make your question so hard to answer. I wanted to breastfeed and I put that before my true relationship with my daughter and we both suffered.

      2. Well said Sarah! I had 4 children and breastfed them all. My first was a struggle but I persevered for 4 1/2 months. There was no help available and no internet then. I had a huge milk supply but poor latching which I knew nothing about until years later. My other three were good latchers and I had no problems at all.
        My eldest had twins and she had medical problems herself with delivery, a poor milk supply and sore nipples. I encouraged her to drink lots to increase the supply but her poor babies were crabby and hungry. The same happened with my second daughter. If I had it to do all over again I would say, “If nursing is such a struggle, use formula. The health and well being of mother and baby if first and foremost. Do NOT feel guilty over your choice.”

      3. THANK YOU SARAH…Mary’s comment was insensitive. It isn’t as black and white as that.
        I too am one of the moms who despite every effort and desire to breastfeed my 3 children, ended up unsuccessful, and my next best option was to be an exclusive pumping mom (which comes with many struggles of it’s own).
        Not a second goes by when I reflect back on each of my babies first years that I don’t feel regret and guilt that I was unsuccessful at nursing them. Not because society says I should have, but because I WANTED TO SO BADLY… With each pregnancy, I again hoped that perhaps I’d be successful with that baby, even though I wasn’t with the one before.
        I saw multiple lactation consultants with each pregnancy, I suffered mastitis, cracked and bleeding nipples, blisters and every other challenge that comes with nursing. One baby despite all efforts even with lactation consultants on hand, would NOT keep a wide latch and would close her latch to a ‘slurp’ within seconds of starting to feed. Another one of mine arched his back and SCREAMED every time I tried to nurse him. He wanted nothing to do with it from day 1. You never know what a mother’s struggles are and I will always regret that I didn’t get to have that great experience of nursing my babies.
        I wish I had read this information 13 months ago when my last baby was born. Maybe she could have been my success story.

      4. I didn’t take Mary’s comment as anything other than encouragement to not give up too easily for those who really want to breastfeed. None of my 3 children were breastfed and i am not offended at all. Life is full of things that are easier for some people than others. Be happy she was able to breastfeed her children…be happy we have healthy options for those of us who don’t. It is not a reflection of a mother’s love. I was once told that breastfed babies bond better with their mom and yet I know several moms who could barely hold their babies because of the pain they were in. They were exhausted and went thru periods of almost resenting their babies…and it was worth it all for them. I admire their sacrifice, but am just as comfortable that my decision was best for me and my family. Moms are entirely too hard on themselves regarding breastfeeding.

      5. Yep, good reply.
        Apart from the the drying out, the cracking, the pain, the no sleep, the fears, the tears, the stress, the barrage of differing opinions, and eventually the mastitis… do you know what my wife’s biggest concern was?
        Thinking that she was letting me down!

        I can’t believe she put herself under that much pressure to try to conform to an ideology!
        You know what, she gave it a good go and it didn’t work. I couldn’t have been happier for her than the day we switched to formula. Not only did it allow her the time for her breasts to repair, but it also eased so much of the anxiety there is in having a new born at home (especially for the first time). It also meant that I could take a much more active role in the overall welfare of our child.
        Unfortunately #2 was a very similar experience, but we didn’t beat ourselves up about this time. And we’ll see what happens when #3 comes in a few weeks time.
        Congrats to those that can breastfeed, it’s a beautiful thing and I’m sure the majority of women out there who can’t would love to be able to. But get off your moral high horses… because there’s a damn site of things that I can do that you most likely can’t, and you don’t see me on public forums bagging you out for it!

        1. I love your comment Stuart!

          I am expecting my first baby in a few weeks, and getting very overwhelmed by everyone around me having opinions on my life and my baby. Feeling very pressured! I definitely intend to try breastfeeding, but I find your comment very freeing!

          Thanks

        2. “because there’s a damn site of things that I can do that you most likely can’t, and you don’t see me on public forums bagging you out for it!” Amazing! Love it.

      6. Good on your Mum. I am also passionate about breast feeding and it being the best start but sometimes it just can’t be done. My first daughter was bottle fed,second daughter breast fed and then both bottle and breast as I had to go back to work part time, and the third daughter had to be taken to special care unit where she was “topped up” during the night with a bottle. She got a thrush infection in her mouth (which i was at first blamed for and turned out it was the hospital’s fault) which she passed on to my nipples. Think knitting needles shooting through your breasts,agony!!! I tried to persevere with shields but when a mid- wife visited during feeding and saw the tears dripping down my face she demanded that I give up because it just wasn’t mentally or physically productive. All three of my daughters now have their own children and they have all been breastfed, some longer than others for different reasons. Stressing over it though is the worst kind of bonding experience for mothers and babies. Cuddle time is the most important.

      7. I had the same problems but didn’t give up. I simply supplemented. I kept doing both until he was done at 5 months. He simply refused at that time. He has also grown so fast in his development by crawling at 5 months and walking by 10. I think that was one reason he stopped.

        1. But, I’m also saying that I wish I would have seen this article 8 months ago this would have been a great help!

      8. I’m sorry to hear about all you went through trying to breastfeed your twins. You certainly tried long and hard enough, and I’m sure you know that most women would not have gone to a fraction of it! Did anyone tell you about supplementing at the breast, through a tube-feeding device? I used the Lact-Aid in nursing my adopted babies. They got about 35-45% of their intake from me and formula from the device. For some reason, breastfeeding counselors who wouldn’t hesitate to suggest it to an adoptive mom don’t think of it with a bio mom who needs to supplement. You can provide all supplement at the breast without ever using a bottle, unless you want to. If you have any more babies, you may not have the same problems, but I wanted to tell you about that option, in case you do.

      9. Thank you. My son was born early and didn’t know how to suck and was tube fed. I tried pumping because after that he just wouldn’t take the boob and he was so small. I pumped for 3 months, and I got maybe 10 minutes of sleep every few hours between pumping and feeding and, well, life. I wanted to breast feed, believe me, but unfortunately it’s not doable for everyone.

    2. Yes, after my first child, I thought all mothers who gave up and turned to formula were quitters and used the ‘not enough milk’ thing as an excuse. I had read so many books that said if a baby sucks, there will be milk eventually. And it will meet all of his needs. And for 5 years I secretly thought the ‘not enough milk’ quitters were lying to themselves. Until I had baby 2 at 37 years old. At week one the pediatrician said your baby has lost too much weight, pay for a lac consultant. At two weeks the pediatrician called a lac consultant right in the office for me and asked me to give him formula because his weight loss was getting bad. On week three, after refusing to give my baby the ‘poison’ (formula) he said they were going to have to take drastic action if I didn’t supplement. I tearfully gave him the poison after paying almost $500 for different lactation consultants to figure out what was wrong and why he wasn’t getting enough milk. One in the hospital, two at home. We assumed it was his sucking, so I started pumping exclusively. I pumped for 9 months, 5 times a day. Each pumping session of 30 minutes with a hospital grade pump (rented from the hospital), I got 1.5 ounces. I overdosed on Fenugreek to the point that I made myself sick and my bowels have never been the same (still five years later). I tried beer as my doc suggested. I used Mother’s Milk tea, the lactation cookies. I was devastated but I refused to stop, that 1.5 ounces I could get out was 1.5 ounces less of formula that I could give him. My life revolved for 9 months on pumping and cleaning the pumps, I had to pump longer than most people. I wish they knew what the F was wrong with me…..and I wish I could have used milk banks or a wet nurse. My doctor should have tested me for something, but no doctors know what to test for because breastfeeding was still a lost art thanks to the formula companies ruining it for everyone back in the 50s. Anyhoo, thanks for reading if you got this far. I was one of those who ‘didn’t make enough’….but I refused to give up. And it didn’t help, but hopefully my baby got something out of it.

      1. I totally know what you went through. I found out with my youngest daughter that she had a posterior and anterior tongue tie and a lip tie. That is why she could not match and was unable to transfer milk. Doctors and Some lactation consultants are not trained to spot them. Even after revision my daughter continued to have problems sucking. She was almost at the failure to thrive diagnosis when I started pumping exclusively. I pumped for 5 months and just switched her to an organic formula. I wish we as women would be encouragers more than judges. You did your best with what you were dealt. we love our babies and so the best we can for them.

      2. Christina, I want you to know that you said exactly what I am feeling right now. After four children, and weeks upon weeks postpartum spent trying to establish my milk supply, I too was made aware that some women, even the most passionate just don’t produce enough milk!
        I spent thousands of dollars on lactation specialists and pumps but could only produce 2 oz max. Babies were never satisfied and needed to be supplemented with formula.
        With the last baby an experienced LC told me that there are now markers for some women who have some underlying characteristics such as unchanged breast size during pregnancy (possibly something to do with lack of glandular development ), shape of woman’s breast, if more pointy, rather than round, less chances of milk production and a last characteristic, uneven breast size, which I don’t really believe. I know many women with uneven breasts, and they successfully breastfed their babies!
        So I am still nursing my baby boy, for whatever I got. In all of an appetizer!! Then I give him a bottle of formula… He loves the breast, but I know it won’t last long, as he gets frustrated when the boob becomes soft. He is 3.5 months old. I’m glad I was able to give them at least something!!

      3. I also had a ton of problems and more than a handful of lactation consultants. My LO had a tongue tie which we had sniped at 2 wks at his peds office as well as a subsequent visit to an ENT who sniped again. We were about 1 month in and still aside from low supply I just couldn’t get him to take at the boob. I tried the nipple shields and had to supplement formula until I just moved on to exclusively pump for him thinking I was a failure for not being able to breastfeed like everyone else. My LO is 6months and it’s alot of bottle cleaning and pump parts as well as 6x a day pumping while working full time and taking care of my family. Kudos to you for even getting to 9months. I’m already seeing a supply drop recently and considering half half to get my LO through the remaining 6 months. If I ever get to #2 I’d love to try it again with this method.

      4. I, too, had similar issues. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed. I set my goal for 6 months. I swore I’d never go for the poison formulas. When my baby was born I was determined. I kept trying but she would latch and let go. We’d get a good start and then nope. The hospital nurses were not helpful. I finally managed to get her to latch pretty decently for 7 minutes and a nurse told me that wasn’t long enough to even count. I’d had to work her up to that! It was rather crushing. I used the pump in hospital and never got more than 15ml. We discovered that my baby has a very oddly shaped high palate that was making it difficult for her to stay latched, causing a weak sucking reflex. I refused to give her a bottle or anything else that might simulate a nipple, including pacifiers. They told me she would improve.
        After the first 2 days she had lost too much weight, they pushed formula(we were still in the hospital.) The doctor gave it to her from a syringe. Then told me that most of the weight loss was probably fluid.(C-section, another failure for me).(confusing; was she starving or just losing the fluid she should have lost with a “real birth”?) I kept pumping several times a day and trying to get her to latch. We did latching attempts, then syringe breast milk, then formula for every single feed. Every 3 hours.
        I met with lactation consultants who offered all kinds of conflicting advice. I picked one to stick with.
        After 4 weeks of this my lactation consultant said we should go ahead and try a bottle. I cringed. She took to it and then started screaming any time I tried to breastfeed. At 6 weeks, I gave up. It honestly became too emotionally damaging for me. I kept pumping and never achieved a total amount of milk more than 1 oz.; by week 10 it took 5 pumping sessions to get 1 oz. So I did, I failed. I gave up. “What kind of terrible mother am I that I can’t even feed my own baby?” . So, we’re fully on “poison” pushed by the companies now.
        I feel like there must have been some way to compensate for the shape of my daughters’ mouth. I am sure that there must have been something I could have done to increase my supply. There has to be some reason that I never produced more than an ounce. No answers. Just sadness and failure. I did try; I’ll never feel like I did enough. I have cried over this and the c-section so much.
        Kudos to you for making it 9 months. It really is quite an achievement.

        1. I feel so sad that you are so depressed over this breastfeeding issue. If more people could be less judgemental and we could be more accepting of what life throws us, perhaps we could find happiness. I often like to think of formula not as “poison” but as something that instead has saved some babies’ lives when for whatever reason the mother could not breast feed. While I am sure the companies do push it just to make a buck, we should be happy that we live in a time when our babies do not have to die of starvation over these issues. Same for C-sections. Your baby is healthy and hopefully happy….that is the goal!! Good luck to you.

        2. I felt exactly the same way you did when my son was born. What should have been a joyful time in my life was stressful and depressing. On top of the breast feeding issued and the c-section, he cried for 6 weeks every time I stepped more than a foot away from him. It took a long time before I felt like it was ok that things turned out the way they did. He is healthy and happy and 5 years old now so I must have done something right!

        3. Heartbreaking to read your emotions. Believe it or not, you have done more work than many many exclusive breastfeeding moms. I pumped & supplemented with my daughter, and felt a great sense of failure.
          Now I’ve exclusively breastfed my son for 6 months so far and hardly feel as bonded with him as my daughter. The excruciating pain I’ve experienced with my son had me resenting every single feed for weeks. And he hardly even looked at me or opened his eyes even during nursings for at least 2 months. I spent a lot of time playing scrabble on my phone. When I fed a bottle to my daughter I looked and talked to her the whole time. We smiled and interacted more.
          Pumping is far more difficult, time consuming, doubt/guilt inducing, and all around HARDER than breastfeeding. I’ve discovered there are many pros to bottle feeding (formula or breastmilk)… The biggest for me is the bonding my husband was able to have with my daughter as he could feed her. My son now is 6 months old and only attached to me. Which may be “natural” but not ideal for everything.
          I APPLAUD you for your dedication and perseverance.
          Please release yourself of the guilt and self-condemnation. It’s toxic. It will rob you of a beautiful time in your life. Loving your new baby is most important.

      5. Bless your heart, Christina! I have had two boys now and made myself and everyone around me crazy because I was committed to breastfeeding exclusively. And when it became apparent early on that exclusive breastfeeding would not be possible, I was still making myself and everyone around me crazy trying to breastfeed as much as possible. With my first, he lost so much weight that he was diagnosed with “failure to thrive” until we started giving him as much formula as he wanted after nursing. It was so frightening as a first-time-mother to see my baby so thin (at three weeks old he weighed only 7lbs 10oz after being born at 8lbs 14oz). I was on a crazy cycle of nursing for 45 minutes or more, bottle feeding, pumping, washing everything and then starting all over again, waking up in the middle of the night to pump while my son slept. It was awful. Then, with my second son he, too, lost too much weight (more than 10% of his birth weight), and I had to supplement with him from the very first week. To this day I don’t know why I can’t make enough milk to feed my babies, and it certainly doesn’t help to have every source I’ve ever consulted say “every mother makes as much milk as her baby needs.” Every mother but me, apparently, and God knows I’ve tried. But I thank the Lord anyway, because my sons are healthy and strong and happy. And if formula is what it takes to make them thrive in their first year, then that’s just going to have to be ok.

      6. Oh, ChristinaB! My situation sounds almost exactly like yours, but this happened with my first child. With my second child breastfeeding went a lot better. My mom had 9 children and two of us she did not breastfeed, including me. She told me when I was having problems that I should do what I needed to do, if it be go to formula feeding or a little of both. I so appreciated her advice! I breastfed, pumped, gave formula and combo of all three with my first son but it was my choice. My second boy was different and him I was able to breastfeed until he was a little over two. My sister also was a great help. She is not a lactation consultant, but she is a breastfeeding educator and dietician. I believe in my case that with my first one it wasn’t that I did not have enough supply it was his sucking issues that he had. I was a great example of supply vs. demand. He did not suck well therefore I wasn’t producing well. There are so many factors to consider when having issues with breastfeeding, but my best advice is like my mothers’, do what you need to do to feed your baby and let no one make you feel bad if you decide not to breastfeed.

      7. Like I said above, I did everything I could. I also tried all the methods you used (including the fenugreek) and actually kept bf and formula. I figured even if I had a little he’s going to get it!

        1. By the way I must also add that he latched perfectly almost every time from day one and I didn’t have hardly any problems with nipple. They were sore at times believe me but that wasn’t a problem for me, so I really believe it was milk production.

    3. This is quite insensitive. My son isn’t even 3 days old and already breast feeding has been a nightmare. I spent a solid hour this morning at 3am trying to soothe him because he wanted to nurse, but got himself so worked up that he just couldn’t. While I am not giving up, I can very easily see why women do. It’s not for themselves. It’s because when a newborn can’t latch on and becomes so frustrated that he screams until he can’t breathe, women have compassion for them. Mothers would rather ‘give up’ and pump or use formula and switch to a bottle than force something that isn’t coming natural to their baby. Nursing should be a peaceful bonding time, and when it’s not, mother’s look for ways to change that. It’s not ‘giving up.’ It’s wanting to find something that works for them and their baby. It is killing me to push through this phase of breastfeeding because it is angony for my son!

      1. I understand what u mean. First 4 months were agony to me as well. My daughter has stage four lip and tongue tie which made breastfeeding unbearable. At first i wasnt aware of the lip tie and supplmented with formula becuz she would refuse the breast as she got so frustrated not being able to latch. I had bleeding nipples from the wrong latch and mastitis and a crying baby out of hunger and frustration inwas at my wits end. And she would wantt o nurse and stay at my breasts for hrs ….Going thru for two weeks i was at the edge, was gonna give it one more night or i was gonna give up. That night i removed all the formula from the house sat on my bed with her held my breath and just kept repeating “pain will go but health will stay” to remind myself why i was pushing myself… It was one of the toughest nights ive ever been thru so far… She kept unlatching but i kept helping her latch on again. I tried allllll the positions, laid back was the easiest as well as side laying. What helped the most was skin to skin. I was topless and she was in her diaper… It calmed her down so fast and shed just lay there hands on my breasts and latch again when ever she was ready… The outcome of that night is now a 9.5 healthy baby i got the chance to breast feed exclusively..

        Try skin to skin when he gets fussy might help calm him and hang in there. The phase will pass and u will look back and be proud.

        Every mother snould be proud weither she breast feed or had to formula feed or bottle feed. Its not how u feed ur child but what u did to make sure they had a healthy start. We are all in the same boat, motherhood, and its never an easy sailing, amd we get enuff critizisim most of all from ourselves and each other. No matter how hard we try we will always feel guilty for something we werent able to do but we know we did all we could. So support the mother who supplemented or breast feed u never now the struggle they went thru… We in this together.

      2. I’m going to ignore the word ‘holistic’ (aka fake fairy science) here, and just focus on the article itself.

        One big reason for poor milk production is a bad diet, something I note you fail to mention at all (if you believe that is a myth, then there are plenty of sad news articles out there from vegan mothers who didn’t eat enough, and subsequently, accidentally, starved their breastfed babies to death). A good healthy diet is quite vital to good lactation.

        Also, you talk about being ‘natural’, as if we’re living in caveman times, or something. I watched a few ‘breast crawl’ videos and although babies can do it, the amount of effort they’re having to put into it is insane. Not to mention in this MODERN world, many women can’t just say ‘oh well I better lie on the floor in the middle of this cafeteria and take my clothes off, baby’s hungry’.

        The angle which your baby approaches your nipple is not the reason he or she can’t feed. Some baby’s – as people have said above – simply cannot do it, and there is no further reason required. They get frustrated, they can’t suckle hard enough. The mother may have a narrow milk duct and can’t produce enough, meaning she gets physically hurt by the pressure of it (I saw a newborn only yesterday sucking his dummy so hard that he had a red imprint of it on his face).

        My point, this article is judgmental. Some babies take to it, some don’t. Same with mothers. There’s no right or wrong these days with feeding a baby, as long as they’re getting the nutrients they need and are loved, who cares about 500 year old methods?

    4. I feel like a lot of women say that, and the truth is that you weren’t one of the ones who had problems big enough to make you stop breast feeding, and that’s great. But you just cannot understand problems that you don’t have. My son was born extremely prematurely (weighed 850 grams at birth) and never breast fed successfully. I had cracking, bleeding, blood blisters, mastitis, supply changes, I tried to get him to latch properly twice a day for about 2 months starting when he was 34 gestational weeks old, we saw lactation consultants, and it killed me every day. I was NOT able to be the best mother I could be doing these things. I now pump 7x a day, and it is harder and less fun than breast feeding so trust me when I say I tried my very very best to make it work, but it didn’t.

    5. I agree that generally people give up too easily in our culture. We’re a society of living for the now and convenience. I have four sisters, so there are five of us girls. Two of us breastfed, and my three other sisters chose not to for some of the reasons Mary mentioned in the above statements. I would NEVER judge my sisters because I understood that breastfeeding was a little daunting at first. Plus, one of my sisters worked outside of the home, and the truth, according to her, was that pumping at work was a hassle. Honestly, I couldn’t even imagine how she managed a full time job and the baby, so I never thought badly of her for giving up breastfeeding because the timing and inconvenience made sense. I, on the other hand, LOVED breastfeeding, but I had the opportunity to not work outside the home. It was easier for me.

      I felt like Mary’s comment was more motivating than critical. However, if you’re self-conscious and/or defensive about breastfeeding, I can see how you could find her comments insensitive.

      1. There’s nothing motivating about the comment because she personalized it rather than being helpful. She brought nothing new to the table for these mothers who had/have breastfeeding issues. Even after reading the article Mary stated, “I still don’t understand most of breastfeeding problems” which means she wasn’t trying to be motivational and certainly, not supportive.

        To every single mother out there, it’s hard enough with pressure from friends, family, society and most of all, from YOURSELF. Your children will always see you as supermom whether you breastfeed and/or give them formula. Only you can decide what is best for your children and people will always have an opinion. Lean to supportive people around you and listen to your instincts. The physical and mental health of both you and your children is most important. As one person mentioned, can you guess which kids have been breastfed versus formula fed?

        Personally, I had absolutely no problems with breastfeeding. I pumped up to 15 ounces of milk at a time. I ran out of freezer space to save all of my milk and it pains me to say, I had to throw some out. My sister, on the other hand, she had the opposite issue as me- no milk supply. She did everything that all the mothers here have tried and it caused her an enormous amount of anxiety. She felt she was letting everyone down and was a terrible mother. I felt so much compassion for her and I wanted to take away the stress. Right now, we are both pregnant at the same time with our second one. We have learned a lot from each other’s bf experience; therefore, we will wait to see what happens before deciding whether to bf or not.

    6. This was such an encouraging article. However, in response to Mary- I have not felt such fury as I have upon reading your comment. You may have meant to be helpful, but instead you are condescending and dismissive of the very real and often severe struggles women can experience when learning to breastfeed. You referenced that you experienced a few struggles, but you insinuated that you are such a far superior, hard-working and devoted mother, that you soldiered on and became even better than your own mother by successfully breastfeeding.

      Good for you! How is the view from your high horse? For women with limited means, limited experience, and/or limited knowledge who desperately seek for a solution to the crying, the jaundice, and the very real possibility of their starving child wasting away to nothing, we will do ANYTHING within our capabilities to nourish our child.

      Mary, we are all mothers. We are fiercely protective of our little loves, and we are all capable of putting our pain aside to do what is best for our children. Your opinion that women give up too easily, that they need to stay at home long enough to promote milk production, and to search the Internet is presumptuous, at best. For women that are not afforded the station of privilege to which you are accustomed, they may need to return to work early on, lack education or even a car to get them to the resources they need, and they may not have a computer in their home to seek out the Internet for answers.

      In summary, ladies, you should not do what I am doing, and ignore Mary. Use the resources that are available to you, try your damndest to breastfeed your child, and take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. I do not judge you and have faith that each of you will do everything in your power to nourish your child in the best way that you can, to ensure they thrive.

    7. They give up too easily? I tried for 6 months but I never had enough milk. People made me feel bad for using bottles and formula, even though I spent half my day attached to a pump to desperately try to build up my supply. After 3 months I could finally feed my baby straight from the breast, but still never had enough. I tried to keep a brave face, but I felt like a total failure, EVERY DAY. Eventually after 6 months I had to give up so I could learn to enjoy my new motherhood. Those months were awful, and when I read your comment I felt angry at your narrow minded umbrella comment that we must give up too easy and it will be “smooth sailing” after 3 months. Glad it was for you, but that’s not always the case.

      1. From another Amy:
        My story echoes yours, other than mine was fully breast at 2 months, but then by 3 months my supply started dropping. By 5 1/2 I gave up the minimal 1.5 oz I was able to get for her. Switching to formula relieved that stress, and it took a while to get past the guilt. I have PCOS which caused infertility problems. My baby is a product of IVF after years of trying, poking and proding. My body failed me on making a baby “the natural way”. I had a natural birth and was determined to breast feed. But my body betrayed me there too. I would never say I gave up easily. I fought and fought. But once we moved to formula, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, friends all got to help feed her when she needed it an as a result we have a happy healthy THRIVING toddler who loves to share food with those who fed her. We all got to have loving bonds with her. I am glad for the breastmilk she got, but I am thankful that there was another option.

    8. You contradict yourself, Mary! You just listed problems you had, that lasted 2-3 months. And yet you say you don’t understand problems other than giving up! Not everyone’s problems resolve after 2 or 3 months though. At what point is giving up okay? I had chronic blocked ducts for six months due to undiagnosed tongue tie. I also suffered cracked nipples – split apart might be a better description! Thrush which made it into my milk ducts, vasospasm which literally made me cry it was so painful. And more.

      I didn’t give up. But I was LUCKY! I am blessed to have supportive family and friends, a husband who did a LOT to ease the load on me, and finances which allowed me to take all that time off work. After six months it got easier. But had it not been my first baby, I wouldn’t have been able to keep going. If I had been a single mum it would have been impossible. If my baby’s growth hadn’t been okay it wouldn’t have been possible. Tongue ties are often missed, and can lead to baby losing weight and the very real need for supplementation. As I said, that wasn’t the case for us, but we were so lucky.

      I would hate to be one of the MANY mothers who are giving their absolute all to breastfeed and still not able to. They don’t need to see a comment like yours. Breastfeeding my son for that first six months was the hardest thing I have done in my life. I didn’t give up, and I am proud of that. But it was NOT smooth sailing after the first 2-3 months. My baby could not extract milk effectively and at least once a week I would have blocked ducts requiring hours of work to clear. My baby hardly slept and yet when he was finally down in bed I had to start up the process of heat packs/pumping/hand expressing/cool packs repeat. It would take round the clock maintenance per several days to hold off full blown mastitis.

      I’m so glad not everyone has it so hard. It’s wonderful when breastfeeding just works. But if you had a little bit of trouble, don’t write off those who couldn’t continue when their circumstances were different to yours.

    9. I agree with Sarah. I guess you can say I “gave” up with my daughter. I was barely 24 and did not really have a good support system from the start. This was 2006 and the hospital even had me give my daughter a bottle before we even left. I didn’t know better. I was not educated. Looking back on it, I wish I knew more. I suppose in that regard it is my fault. I ended up trying to breastfeed for 11 days after also having a c-section. I also tried to pump during that time and thought I didn’t really have a milk supply as I wasn’t pumping much. I know better now. With that being said, my DD is almost 9 and healthy!

      Fast forward to 2014. My son was born and once again I had breastfeeding issues. I was able to have a VBAC so I feel that was helpful in trying to establish a breastfeeding routine. He just did not have a good latch. He lost 15 oz from his birth weight. I met with LC’s and attended meetings along with renting a scale for a month so I could do weighed feedings. In the end, my pediatrician strongly advised me to supplement with formula. I really had no choice as I needed to get his weight up. When he was around 2-3 weeks old, I started pumping and quit supplementing formula. I did so 6-8 times a day for over 2 months along with still nursing and bottle feeding! Lo and behold, 1 week shy of 3 months, he just got it and has not had a bottle since then. He’s now 13 months and thriving. I worked my butt off but I’d be lying if there weren’t times when I wanted to throw in the towel. I had a great support system this time around which kept me going.

    10. I have a two week old baby girl who has had severe thrush for the last week. Our first week of breastfeeding went very well, but when the thrush took over her mouth she refused to latch. I began to pump and ended up cracking both of my nipples and ripping one as well. I’m in a ton of pain, my daughter won’t latch and all I can think about is my milk drying up before the thrush is cured and she wants to latch again. Breastfeeding moms put enough pressure on themselves without the needed pressure of the peanut gallery. Sure you breastfed and there werent breast pumps(have you ever used one?)as you put it, but no two women are the same. Remember your comments are read by moms who are exhausted and very stressed. Breastfeeding is a wonderful choice, but it isn’t the only correct choice.

      1. I Got Thrush With All 3 Of My Babies It Was horrible!! With my first I could never get rid of it it just kept going back and fourth from me to my baby for weeks we tried everything the doctor prescribed to us. Then I read that GSE (grapefruit seed extract) would help I bought it at a health food store put it on my nipples and rubbed a few drops in babies mouth and it cured us within days I wish I would have started with that. If your struggling getting rid of thrush I suggest trying it. Thrush is horrible and hurts so bad!

    11. Totally agree, although i never worried about my milk supply, they warn you it comes in a few days, i did struggle with many issues, giving up was never an issue. I had all sorts of infection from my early teething daughter biting me so bad, i got strep! Was painful, bloody & had pus for weeks, milk clogged & coming out of my armpit

    12. I wish it were that easy….. I was DETERMINED to BF my baby for a year. My sister hadn’t been able to and I thought she just didn’t try hard enough…. Didn’t want it badly enough. I would be different! I would be better!! But…. It didn’t work. I saw LC’s. I had his tongue tie clipped. My latch seemed good. I took fenugreek. I ate lactation cookies. I fed on demand. I pumped to boost my supply. I gave him back everything I pumped via SNS. I read books. I went to support groups. But my baby kept losing weight. I weighed him before and after he nursed (I thought well) for 45m and he only got 0.2 oz. I finally had to give him “evil” formula, and he finally turned around. I ended up quitting BF altogether after 3m. And because I “knew” “everyone can BF if they try hard enough”, that meant it was all my fault. I felt like such a failure. Less of a woman. I felt guilty. I was a terrible mother. I “failed” at delivering him (needed a c-section after 20h of labor) and now I failed at feeding him. My poor formula fed baby was going to be sick all the time and have a lower IQ because I failed and he got terrible formula instead of magical breastmilk. Needless to say he’s 18m now and thriving. And looking back I regret spending the first 3m of his precious life stressed and miserable about breastfeeding. I guess my point is- it’s great to encourage women to keep trying. But, sometimes it just doesn’t work, and we shouldn’t be made to feel like “less” for that. Sorry for the long OT rant. It’s clearly still a sensitive subject, haha. But I’m hoping it goes better next time, and I will certainly try this laid back technique!

    13. I, too, “pushed through” the painful issues – plugged ducts, mastitis, cracked nipples, consulted with numerous bf consultants and mentors etc etc and nothing helped until he was 5 months old (NOT 2-3 months), and at that point he wasn’t even interested in the breast, he wanted to play. He preferred the bottle (dad and I split childcare responsibilities). We made it to 8 months before I began school and by that point, pumping so often nearly drove me crazy. You tell me, is THAT healthy for me, baby, or husband? Even though I didnt quit right away, I would never pass the sort of judgment that you are. Everyone’s body, their past, their circumstances, their emotions, their pain tolerance, etc is all different. Rather than cast judgement, be thankful that YOU were ABLE to “stay home long enough” to develop your milk supply, or that you had the support, or mental strength to push through. Those are things not everyone has. Reach out and help someone maybe but please leave the “know it all” spirit at home and realize everyone lives their own experience.

    14. Ah yes the old “I managed it so why can’t you?” attitude. so helpful. I b/f my three children but with the first one we couldn’t get the latch right, then I wasn’t holding him right so my back got sore. i thought i just had to keep trying, try harder etc. After three months I chose to move to formula and almost instantly my baby and I bonded, there was a love and attachment there that was able to flourish because we weren’t both preoccupied with the stress of breastfeeding. My second child self weaned at 14 months and my third is only seven months old. It is different for everyone and sometimes different with each baby. there is already so much guilt and shame linked to breastfeeding/not breastfeeding, how about we step back and give each other support to make an informed choice rather than forcing the issue.

    15. Mary, I know what you mean. I am glad you didn’t have any issues breastfeeding your children. I can agree with what you’re trying to convey. I read a lot about breastfeeding before my daughter was born, to the point where it changed my whole lifestyle. But when she was born, I realized that I actually did not know what to do. She didn’t latch, and nobody I asked had any tips other than nipple shields. So we did shields for a month, until she finally latched. In addition, my letdown was so forceful, I didn’t dare to feed publicly for almost 10 months, because milk was shooting out and baby wouldn’t stay latched. you can imagine how difficult that would be with the milk filling the shields in a matter of seconds, while trying to put a squirmy baby to the breast. That somewhat confined us to the house and the car, as she also wanted to nurse once an hour since she was 4 months old.

      I guess what I am trying to say is, it is a shame indeed that women seem to be struggling with breastfeeding so much more nowadays. I think it is mainly due to 3 factors: misinformation, lack of information and discrimination. Do I think that some women give up too soon? Absolutely. Unfortunately, not everyone is as resolute as you and I. But society is also making it hell sometimes. We’re all not used to seeing women breastfeed anymore. As a result, women don’t learn how to, and others feel it is inappropriate to do in public.

      Sadly, who suffers most here are the babies who don’t get the chance to do what they would naturally be able to do. They are fed another animal’s breast milk instead and weaned way before they should be. The only way to change this is by educating until people can’t hear it anymore. And I think Nancy is doing an awesome job. I wish I had read this a year ago. We may not have had this many issues now…

      All the best to you!
      Regards,
      Ana

    16. I am currently breastfeeding my youngest; the one out of my 4 children I was actually able to breastfeed. I won’t go into details, but believe me when I say it wasn’t for lack of effort!! Reaching out for insight/help is one thing, but feeling like you have to explain your actions to defend yourself is just unfair! I applaud women for at least trying! Different methods work for different families. In response to this article, lying side by side will achieve the same effect also! Additionally, I found I have a less forceful let down in this position & in turn, my son feeds calmly & doesn’t end up fussy after a feed as he has sometimes in the past.

    17. You should be empowering women, and not making them them feel bad. I had a mom try to make me feel bad for bottle feeding, and I informed her of my health issue that stopped our nursing. She felt like an ass for running her mouth. You don’t know what every woman goes through on her journey. shame on you!!!!

    18. i gave it up after abt 8 weeks bc i was TOO TIRED id be nursing aND START TO DOZE OF AND GET STARTLED, WHERE THE BABY WAS IN FEAR I SMOTHERED OR DROPPED HIM im not anti breast milk but i dont agree with nursing too long or for the purpose of comfort.

  2. When I was still an LLL Leader I encountered a number of moms who were having difficulties with latch. I explained the biological position to each of them. To a person it resolved the painful nursing. One mother didn’t continue breastfeeding because this position was less discreet and she had a teenaged son whom she was uncomfortable seeing her uncovered, however, she admitted that the position did work to resolve her pain. The other moms treated it like it was an absolute miracle. To a person these moms had been instructed in using the football hold in the hospital Nurses like that position because it gives them a lot of control in getting the baby latched on. What they don’t realize is how difficult that position is going to be to maintain as the baby gets older, and how little that position actually utilizes the baby’s own instinctual behavior. I am so impressed with this article and the fact that this information is getting out to an audience beyond simply a few lactation consultants and LLL Leaders. Kudos, Nancy!

  3. I love this! I discovered laid back breastfeeding quite by accident. My son and I were having so much trouble – he would just scream and fight at the breast trying to latch and stay latched (eventually diagnosed a tongue tie). None of the common positions taught worked. Then I saw a video of a newborn baby bobbing his head around trying to latch. So I tried it and it was bliss! It looked so weird and cute at the same time. But I was afraid I was doing something wrong and hurting his head with all the bobbing. When my IBCLC came to visit and saw and said it was fine :)

  4. I have a question…might this position also minimize problems with reflux and gas by helping to push gas out easier and also allow gravity to pull the milk into the babies belly more effectively. My oldest didn’t have reflux and was bottle fed but both my breastfed babies did and we nursed up wright.

    1. I bet it would help. I have a very strong letdown and this position helped a lot with the choking and spitting up.

  5. why does it have to be evolutionary from our tree dwelling ancestors? Why can’t it just be the way we were built, but we lost sight of it?

  6. *my post was directed at Mary. I was not referring to this article. I am actually excited to try this method.

    1. Same here! I am still breastfeeding, actually as I am typing this laying down with him tucked in my arm. He (DS 9 mo old), actually taught me this, as the other positions were uncomfortable for both of us. Now if I even try to nurse him upright he will fidget and squirm until I lay down. Then he gets into his little nook and feeds for however long he wants or falls asleep. If I ever have another baby, this is the way I’m feeding from the beginning, it is just easier and happier for both of us.

  7. Perhaps we need a renewed interest in the arts. My son hated the cradle hold, and it helped me tremendously when I realized that his preferred position was the one pictured in most ancient artwork/sculpture. :)

  8. Have you had any experience with mothers who have inverted nipples? Mine are extremely inverted which caused major breastfeeding issues with both of my children. I’d definitely be interested in trying this with my next baby, but I can’t imagine the baby would be able to latch when nothing is sticking out. I’d love to hear success stories if you have any.

    1. Have u tried using a nipple sheild? That way the child has something to latching onto and suck? Just my own opinion, a family member of mine had one inverted nipp,e and one normal she didnt breastfeed for long… And my mother in law also has inverted nippls but she said she pumped from the get go for one month and then formula… Ask a LLL leader, im sure they have something up their sleeves they van suggest

  9. I read about laid back breastfeeding while I was pregnant, and I was very excited about trying it. It didn’t work at all! My milk came in on day 10, I had latch problems, excruciating pain, and saw a lactation consultant on day 6. The football hold saved my life! Laid back was just not working. I am still nursing 13 months later. She outgrew the football hold in time. I advise doing whatever works for you and try to feel good about it..

    1. Laid-back was the worst for me too but for me it was the standard cradle that worked the best and as a second laying down on my side having the baby laying on its side next to me. For the first time laying down only worked on one side but after a couple of weeks on both sides. Laid-back only worked when she was 6 months+.

  10. Fantastic article. Love the passion. I Brestfeed both my girls, I have thyroid disease ( I didn’t know it) until I was almost dead).. I was not Perduring milk, I ended up having to stop, I have huge breast as well so just breast feeding alone was a HUGE challenge for me..HOW Would you explain that to someone with huge boobs how to have a baby latch on?

  11. I am so excited to read this! My nursing days are behind me but I love to help women who need support and education in this and I’ll be excited to help my daughters when the day comes……I nursed a total of 4 years combined with the 3 of them and had terrible issues in the beginning with each…..excruciating pain *tears falling on their little heads* and infections and found out as they’ve grown (and as more information has become available on it) they all have lip and tongue tie issues…..I did the baby crawl with my youngest , born in 2010. She spent her first 2 hours outside the womb at my breast and it was incredible. I wish I had had this information through those years as it would’ve saved my back and helped in many ways (it would take me up to 2 hours to GET my middle dd to latch her first month… I definitely felt like I needed 2 more hands of my own AT LEAST!) …..definitely sharing this and hope the word spreads in the breastfeeding community. Thank you so much for this…..

  12. Does this apply to side laying breastfeeding? I breastfeed my baby’s 90% of the time laying on my side in bed with baby pulled in snug against me. I believe all of the same pressure points would be activated, correct? My Mom did the same with her 5 babies and I have done so with my 3 and neither of us had a single nursing problem. I’m just curious if this might be an additional way to teach this principal that would be easier for some women.

    1. I did the same thing with my dd for 3 years and 11 months! :) Not sure how I would pull that off if there was another kid running around, though! At family gatherings I would politely ask which bedroom I could nurse my child in, and they would almost always try to score me a rocking chair…felt like no one understood, so glad to read your comment.

  13. I had issues the first week and a half. The latch was off. He kept slipping of my nipple. We couldn’t figure out why, I ended up buying these nipple shields thinking it was because mine weren’t big enough ( and trust me they were big enough) it didn’t help. Finally I “phoned a friend” to come observe (as it was my first baby and she had already breastfed 4 of her own, successfully) She noticed he was tonged tied! We had no clue what that even was. He had lost a pound at this point and I was feeding him by bottle 1 oz per hour for 2 days per Dr’s orders until we got into the ENT. They clipped his tongue and it was smooth sailing from there until 1 year (when I stopped because my nipples were cracked and bloodied).

  14. Love the natural breastfeeding plan. My issue was never the actual breastfeeding…as soon as I had to go back to work and start pumping my supply went south and crashed. Any ideas for this? Expecting girl #3 in September!

  15. You missed a big benefit of this position that no one EVER wants to talk about but it is a huge deal: Hemorrhoids. My girl was a champion breastfeeder–she latched great and she wanted to feed ALL THE TIME. Let’s be honest ladies: in those first couple of months, sitting up for hours on end is just not going to happen. Despite breastfeeding going perfectly, I was often tempted to hand dad a bottle just so I would not have to sit in “the breastfeeding position” any more.

    That’s when I discovered this laid back position. I had no idea what it was called but it made it possible to let my baby be on the breast as much as she wanted to, and sometimes it was the only way to get her to calm down and stop crying. I don’t think it’s “better” than any other feeding position. I’m in the “whatever works” parenting camp. but I definitely think it needs to be taught as part of a new mom’s repertoire.

  16. This article is informative, but as others state sometimes it doesn’t happen. My mother is a very active member of LA Leche League & I exclusively breastfed both of my girls. My 2nd was fine until 6 months. She started dipping in weight. By 12 months old she LOST 4 lbs and the Dr said I had to stop breastfeeding and start giving formula. I tried everything during that time. She was latching, getting enough (or so I thought). My mom said she was fine and not to “give up”. I felt like a failure & she treated me like one. 3 years later I was diagnosed with agressive thyroid cancer. They said I most likely had it during both pregnancies and it was my 2nd who made my tumors grow faster, which depleted my milk supply. I couldn’t believe it! To this day, my mom still won’t admit she was wrong. It’s sad bc we always judge and never think there might be a reason why mothers do what they do.

  17. I love how many women were willing to share about their struggles with breast feeding. They had wet nurses in the old days for a reason. There are many readon’s it just doesn’t work out. I am thankful that we have to many alternative choices now. However, in case there is a first time pregnant mom reading the post I would like to give some encouragement. First off, c-sections do not trigger the milk production. My first was born vaginally and my milk was dripping almost immediately. My second was a c-section. He screamed and sucked and screamed and suck for 2 or 3 days. After a night of him sucking for hours I finally begged the nurse to take him away long enough to get a nap. After a 3 hour nap they brought him back because he screamed the whole time. But, thankfully I woke up painfully engorged!!! He was finally satisfied and we both got some sleep. He did lose over a pound by the time we left but he was 11 lbs 7 oz. when born. So they weren’t concerned. I nursed both kids for over 2 years each. When my nipples were sore I squeezed more milk out and rubbed it on them after every feeding. This solved the problem. When the kids had an ear infections I dropped a couple if drops in their ear 3 times a day. Cleared them up in a couple days. If you only get a couple of ounces save it to use as a topical medicine. It’s liquid gold. Good luck!!

  18. I tried this when my 4.5mo old woke up from her nap and ran in I some questions… (She did seem to like feeding this way, and her latch looked better than usual.)
    -What about large breasted women? With this face down approach, she seems smothered by my breast.
    -What about babies older than newborn? Between her being wriggly and bigger, it is hard to get her positioned.

  19. Having gone both routes formula with the first, breast with the second I can say I haven’t seen any long term differences. It’s funny for my first child I had it all planned out! Birth plan (I was going all natural) then breastfeeding only! After 22 hours of labor I was heartbroken when told I was getting a c-section. Any surgery is traumatic I felt like a failure that my body couldn’t deliver my baby and then add on top of that later on I couldn’t produce enough milk to keep my child thriving. A failure on my bodies part again. But looking back on my first born I love how her daddy was able to spend time feeding her, and just because I wasn’t nursing didn’t mean she was getting the closeness every baby and mama needs! Then with my second born I had a planned c-section (she was over the 90 percentile in size so it was very recommended I get one). Funny c-sections aren’t as bad if you plan on having one, I threw order and planning out the window (something very hard for me to do!) I was almost resigned to the fact that I would be formula feeding as well! It took almost a week for my milk to come in during that time i supplemented but when it did it came in full force! I passed the 6 month mark and made it past a year with breastfeeding! I feel that with each pregnancy your body is different, responds differently. So even if you can’t nurse one child maybe it will work the next time! But ultimately time and closeness are what’s best for your baby, sure breastmilk is awesome but if it’s coming at a great cost to you and your baby it’s just not worth it! When I look at my girls I don’t think about which is bottle fed or which is breatfeed I see two unique kids that were totally worth the stretch marks and c-section scars! I am now 9 weeks pregnant and I am looking forward to seeing how this one will go! Hopefully no c-section this time but if I do I know it will be worth it! Just because you had a c-section DOES NOT mean your body failed you! I mean you made that baby with your body, housed it for 9 months! You made a person so unique and different that no one else could! Be strong mamas! Parenthood is hard enough without us doubting ourselves!

  20. I had actually heard of this when my youngest was born 3 1/2 years ago. I really wanted to have him do the breast crawl & then do laid back nursing. I’d even seen pictures of both.

    But none of those pictures ever included women with ginormous breasts like mine, where when I lay back, my nipple is in my armpit. I just could not figure out how it could possibly work. So I didn’t do it. I’m still sad about that.

  21. I nursed my 1st 5 children for about 3 years each and had my babys spaced 2 years apart so for about one year each i was nursing 2 babys at once.I just “naturally” came upon this position for nursing them all without ever seeing anyone else at the first later i learned of le leche league and saw freinds relaxed and nursing this way-we didnt realize we were doing anything right or wrong -it was just relaxing for mom and baby.Yet as experianced as i was and as much as i enjoyed it and helped others to breast feed, my 6th baby HATED it and i was thankful that we do have options . I tried for 2 1/2 months and then expressed and began bottle feeding and finally used formula.I was sad about missing this close bond that i had with the others, and seemed strange to still be nursing my 2 year old while bottle feeding my infant-but his joy,peace, and thriving was what mattered and we were able to find many other ways to bond of course as i accepted the situation.

  22. My first baby wouldn’t latch. 11 years later, I was determined to nurse my second. My nipples were inverted and it was hard starting. I had to get shields initially. After about 6 weeks, I could nurse without shields and I nursed him for 3 years because he gave me hell to stop. But for every feeding of those three years and in every position possible for a toddler, it HURT. Granted, the pain lessened over time, but it always felt like glass shards inside my milk ducts ripping my body inside out. Which is what kinda happened because I no longer have inverted nipples though I still find intimacy on the nipple uncomfortable. I know I nursed by sheer will and determination and not for lack of trying everything, did I do so for 36 months in discomfort. I am a strong supporter of breast feeding coaches and natural birth, and yet I think sometimes there is a tendency to gloss over the truth- that for some women it just hurts.

  23. Can someone direct me to videos of positions to do this after having a c section? My son had severe lip and tongue tie and we didn’t know it until he was 4 months old. I think the cradle and football holds just made it worse but how do I acknowledge all babies natural instincts when i won’t really be able to have her on my tummy.

  24. When I was breastfeeding, I had a lot of difficulty with my son arching, pushing away, etc. we thought he was in pain. I ended up finding that what worked best for my son was for him to lay on his back on the floor and I basically was doing a forearm plank over him. I thought the gravity helped the milk flow; I don’t know, but he seemed to be much calmer and would latch better that way. I know it sounds crazy. I wonder if your method would have been more effective, almost makes me want to have another just to try it out.

  25. I’m skeptical of any method that claims to solve everyone’s breastfeeding problems because every mother and baby is unique there can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution. I don’t understand how this method works before the baby is able to hold it’s head up. I tried breastfeeding on my back out of sheer laziness but it didn’t work for precisely that reason. I found side-lying v comfortable and effective though, especially in the first days.

  26. What a great article.

    I had every intention of breast feeding all three of my children, that was until it happened. I was clueless in the art of breastfeeding, I had a drug fuelled 45 hour labour with 2 nights of no sleep due to my waters breaking a week early and my labour not progressing. The hospital induced me after 12 hours my waters broke, giving 500mg of paracetamol, made my sister and birthing partners leave me scared and alone. So I was offered stronger meds which I accepted and slept. Basically I had a rotten labour with more drugs than I liked/wanted which also crossed over and made my son sleepy when he came out. He didn’t feed until 7 hours after I had him as he slept, the nurses didn’t seem concerned and offered formula. I wasn’t shown how to feed him and my friends never breastfed so had no clue how to. When I asked my “pro breastfeeding” hospital for help to show me they offered formula as they were too busy! I left after 2 days with bleeding cracked nipples and a frustrated baby. I called the breast feeding helpline and they said the “pink milk” I expressed was still ok to feed him, gave no help that I could see working, my milk did not come in at all. I can say this and know it didn’t as I have the other two to compare to. My son ended up with formula full time from 4 days old, I was upset but not kicking myself as I tried my best, obviously not as much as others did but I don’t care, he is alive and healthy.

    My daughter was another induction but I didn’t have drugs in labour bar 3 puffs of gas towards the end. She did however have fluids across the placenta as I had them. I had awesome staff who assisted me to feed her, attached her and were brilliant when they came to my home, they explained better than the previous hospital. After babies 7 day check, the nurse attached to the doctors surgery said I “must be starving her” as she lost that much weight! So she ended up taking formula too due to bad advice and incorrect latch (nipple shields rock!) But we kept up mix feeding until she refused me at 5 months old.

    Cue third baby and I was THE mama bear….you couldn’t tell me anything if I thought you were wrong…I took all my experiences from babies 1 & 2 and when someone “tried” helping I thanked them with a smile and did my thing. I had the raspberry tea, fenugreek, brewers yeast fron baby 2 still so the times I felt empty I’d have fenugreek/cookies to boost my supply, I also had domperidone left over from baby 2 so used that too. My third had fomula at 7m when I returned to work as I didn’t express enough, but he would hang out as long as possible until I returned then fed as long as possible.

    I loved my feeding journey, I wish it worked better for my older two but hey ho I still have healthy kids. I must say though it is my breastfed baby who has had the most sickness/bugs …not sure if that’s because he’s been at day care longer than the eldest was?

  27. I am very different from a lot here, I never tried nor intended to try breastfeeding. I knew that emotionally I would not have coped with that and therefore I ignored the breastfeeding Mafia who always made me feel bad and bottle fed from day one, their father fed both of my lads first. I was being dealt with with after birth issues both times. I bonded fine with both. I would not have done if I had been bullied into breastfeeding. I would have been a bad mom. You know of course they are now tall, intelligent well brought up young men.

    I’m just so disappointed to see another article saying breast feeding moms are doing it wrong. All moms do their best, no one is doing it wrong if they are trying their best, and that is really good enough. I have supported my friends during breast feeding tribulations, taking on household chores so they could really spend some time to get it together without worrying. They did awesome jobs of it. What works for you is ok by me. Well done for loving your child.

  28. I sleep on my stomach with my arms under my pillow, and so I discovered why our boobs face out sideways. I put baby under my armpit and went to sleep on my stomach and during the night I woke up and found that he has found my nipple poking out under my arm and latched on. LOL!

  29. By the way. I was very tense about feeding my first one. The la Leche league lady arrived to help and poured me a large port to calm me down and put me to bed with baby. It wasn’t long and my milk came down, I think if I hadn’t had this good experience I probably wouldn’t have continued, as I really didn’t enjoy the feeding experience, I liked the idea, but found it quite painful. Both my babies had very strong sucking reflexes and early teeth!!

  30. Please revise your title for this article. I’m sure you can think of a more helpful wording than to tell moms they breastfed “incorrectly”. Mothers with trouble breastfeeding do not need even more guilt about it.

  31. My first was tongue tide and my second has one hell of an appetite. I was induced both pregnancies and my breasts never filled during pregnancy or leaked. I fought for weeks with my first. Never got past foremilk. So many nights crying feeling like a failure as a mother and a women. My son cried and cried and I got very depressed. Everyone told me I wasn’t trying hard enough and to keep going. Finally after going back to the doctor for a third time and reading lots on the internet, it was decided that I had a hormone imbalance. My body did not produce high enough levels of oxytocin for going into labor or producing breast milk. Second baby same problem. Almost 42 weeks when I was induced and still only foremilk. So she gets that and I nurse as long as she will tolerate and then she gets formula for the calories. I will be trying this method from now on to see if it helps keep her latched longer but it is only a matter of time before she prefers the bottles flow to me and refuses to latch as my son did and I’m OK with that. We are still building our bond and she is still receiving some important stuff from what little breast milk she is getting.

  32. Breastfed 7 children successfully this way! A hospital lactation consultant got very upset with me one time when I wouldn’t do it her way, 😛

  33. I agree with the ideas in the article but would like to share another reason why breast feeding is often a struggle and unsuccessful: the wearing of bras. Having worked as a doctor in a developing country I noticed that women who were too poor to wear bras under their clothing seemed to have less difficulty breast feeding. This is because the nipples are used to being chafed by clothing and the skin is tougher. Thus they seemed to be spared the difficulties of cracked nipples and soreness more Westernised women faced.

    1. Dorthy I’m sure you mean well, but i don’t wear a bra and still had issues. The bra isn’t the problem nor is it the solution! So of us can bf problem free like a cousin of mine and other’s have issues like me. It’s just the way life is!!

  34. I had much difficulties with all 4 of my kids and expect no less from my 5th due soon. The first one I was to sore due to latching issues. The next 3 babies I didn’t have enough fat in my milk. Nothing could or would change this. So what did I do? I supplement because I wasn’t going to kill myself over this. I loved bf my lil ones and bonded with them but I didn’t let my issues stop me from going on. I just look at it as I improved it! Supplementing isn’t the end it’s just another tool to make our lives easier!! So with that… good luck and don’t fret over what is out of your control!

  35. Well I breast fed sitting up and laying on my side and my bottom didnt hurt i used a V SHAPPED PILLOW to rest my arm on and the weight of my baby I had no problem’s.

  36. I love this. I actually just had my second son 9 weeks ago but I’m still nursing my toddler son who is two years old. When I talked to the lactation consultant about tandem nursing she actually brought up natural breastfeeding and showed me how to do it. I didn’t find it to be perfectly easy to do but I was happy to learn a new method. Old habits die hard and I still breastfeed the old way but I haven’t had any problems with my first son or this son. I’m very lucky.

  37. Sadly, I don’t have time to read all the comments… I have successfully breastfed all 3 children, but would NEVER make comments suggesting other moms “give up too soon” or are “making excuses”. I myself was a formula fed baby. When my firstborn came along in 2003, no one was supporting my choice to breastfeed; in fact, my own mother (who OF COURSE knew everything, lol) constantly encouraged me to use formula even while I desperately tried to establish a breastfeeding relationship in those early days.

    Luckily, I kept at it and nursed my oldest son for a year. My second son latched correctly from the start and I breastfed him for two full years. As a BFing “pro”, naturally I looked to nurse my third child — a daughter — but she was born with a tongue-tie, shallow latch, and she had a painful biting reflex!!! My nips were cracked and scabbed, which made for painful feeding… By the second week, I was wincing and crying at the start of every feed. She had newborn jaundice & wasn’t gaining her weight back, and I remember opening a sample of formula for her. I sobbed the WHOLE TIME she ate, feeling like a failure. A nipple-shield helped me nurse while my skin healed, and after a week we were nursing without it — currently fourteen months and counting!

    I’m VERY proud of this. But I remember the misery I felt before the problems resolved: I was sad, disappointed, and devastated that I might have to use formula (which was foreign and new, even as a veteran mom). I felt like a failure, unabke to nderstand how a seasoned breastfeeder couldn’t manage to do it a third time! I’m lucky enough that my daughter found a way, but because I can understand how emotionally hard it is to not be able to breastfeed — even with a network or supportive friends — I would NEVER make condescending comments to a mother about how she feeds her child.

    Yes, breastfeeding is the most natural. But the BEST way to feed is with love, be it from breast or bottle.

  38. Ladies (and some wonderful gentlemen), thanks for sharing your stories. Until reading this page and your comments, I wrongly accepted the “not trying hard enough” theory. Now I know better. I also understand more of what my mother suffered when I transmitted a staph infection to her breast while nursing in my first week of life. That must have hurt her both physically and emotionally, especially having to stop breastfeeding after having nursed her six previous children successfully. (It might encourage some to learn that baby #8 had no trouble 18 months later.) Thanks to the research reported here, and to all of you, I will be more compassionate with new mothers’ struggles. I’m glad my niece read this piece and referred me to it before her baby arrives in October.

  39. It was harder because of the medical community. My first child, 17 years ago, was breastfed and doing wonderful but I still had doctors 3x tell me I should try formula. With my 2nd child, now 14, we never got a visit from a lactation specialist. When I had my third child, now 11 years old, I was told that if he didn’t nurse for 20 minutes, they were giving him a bottle. He was about ten hours old. My fourth child, 3 years old, was given formula when they couldn’t quiet him for some business with the circumcision and a shot and he was away from me. At that time, he was maybe six hours old. And, now, when you try to leave a hospital, with your newborn, security comes after you to keep the baby. Mom can leave but not baby even though a checkout was requested 12 hours prior. I don’t understand why, with all we know, why they are still in the dark ages.

  40. Hi, this is the first time I have ever commented on any website! I was so interested in the article and I have been thinking I would like to share my positive experience of breastfeeding in the hope that it might be useful to others. I am still breastfeeding my son who is 3 years old last week. He took to breastfeeding immediately and I always fed him lying on my side on a bed or sofa with him lying next to me bodies touching. I couldn’t sit for a few weeks so lying down was the best option, it worked so well we continued. I got more rest time and he seemed so comfortable and fed well. I would change sides every half hour. I’m sure that, from speaking to friends who had arm, neck, elbow ache from sitting, that lying down is beneficial. It does seem to challenge the image people have though so people seem a little doubtful when I suggest it. I’m not advising what the best position is but wanted to share this as it seems very relevant to this article. It certainly helped me get more rest which I’m sure then helps the milk supply. I could feel the relaxing hormones being released and as I was lying down I could respond physically by fully relaxing. I also decided that I wouldn’t try and get thin and instead I ate a drank lots of diary and lots of heathy food. Sometimes half a tub of natural sugar free yogurt before bedtime so I had lots of milk during the night. It seemed to work for me. I put on a bit of weight (about a stone) but lost the weight later. When I ate less I found the milk supply reduced and the feeding was a bit less comfortable. My Italian grandmother said I was ‘a good cow’ and I felt very proud to be that:) There is a lot of pressure on women to get thin very quickly but I don’t think there’s a rush and I felt my body was asking for more food so I listened to my body and ate more:) I hope someone might find this useful for ideas. I feel very grateful for my breastfeeding experience so I would love to help other new mothers if it’s possible.

  41. Thank you so much for this. It’s enough ting for me that we are mimicking the bottle feeding position still. More moms need to nurse in public or in front of their families uncovered–not only for the comfort of themselves and their babies but to show other moms what is normal and to open up a community of support and example. I will do my part to be an example in a loving way. I shared this article on fb and in the various groups I’m in. I might not see a big change in my breastfeeding days but if I can make it better for my children, I will try.

  42. I work in a neonatal intensive care unit, and help premature babies begin to breastfeed. How would you recommend helping the mums and babies there?

    1. I work in a NICU in my job as a hospital LC. We have obtained recliner chairs that can be rolled to baby’s bedside. Post C/S moms are especially comfortable reclined. It’s easy to put the baby on his belly, skin to skin in this scenario. Even the tiny ones generally start rooting and scooting toward the Breast. Parents are amazed and proud!!

  43. This is interesting and I think it makes total sense. When my baby was first born laying on my back with baby laying on me just felt completely natural. My plan was to let my brand new newborn crawl up and find my breast on her own, naturally. However the nurse in the hospital had another plan moving my bed up to an uncomfortable upright position. I told her I hated it, didn’t want to sit up, but she wouldn’t listen. “This is the best way to do it!” Also, my baby was little (5.5 lbs), and the hospital staff “needed” her to eat RIGHT away. My husband ended up telling the nurse to back off and to let us try it on own for a bit. We laid back and baby girl latched right away. 15 months later we still prefer to nurse laying down.

  44. No excuse for this… breastfeeding is natural and very EASY!
    If a new mum interacts with her own mum/grandma (if they were proper breastfeeding mums of course), midwife and other successful breastfeeding mums, instead of doctors, useless public-health nurses and so-called ‘lactation consultants’, her breastfeeding experience works out great… just ask my daughter smile emoticon

  45. Perhaps it’s more natural, but my lower back was in agony (I suffer from sacroiliac joint dysfunction) when I tried this position at the behest of my lactation consultant, and my very tiny baby couldn’t properly latch onto my very large breasts. I also was unable to work at a computerFor us, it was a disaster.

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