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Stop telling women that it's easy. - Page 6

post #101 of 116

I heard the reverse actually. Tons of horror stories and very little "it was fine/easy" before I had my eldest child. Thankfully, for me, it was easy. I think it's fair to say that for some women it *is* easy. For some women, it's really hard. And for many, it's somewhere in between. I have no problem acknowledging this. If it's hard or painful, you should have it checked out to see if there's anything that can be done. Sometimes there isn't, as other posters have said. Many times though, there are things you can do to make it easier. It doesn't mean you're doing it "wrong," it's not a test that you can pass or fail. It just means the positions can often be adjusted to feel better. Just like clothes, or bras can be adjusted. 

 

I'm happy to offer help when people want it. And I'm happy to offer support when people want it. But while I think nursing is great, if you don't wanna nurse, (or if you want to but it's too hard and the help's not helping you, and you decide you don't want to any more), then... don't nurse. I'm not you or your baby, so what business is it of mine?

 

I'll keep telling women that it was very easy for me, but that's not universal. If it's painful or hard, get it checked out by an LC or LLL leader, to see if adjustments or tweaks can be made to make it more comfortable. And that I found it very valuable to me and my children. But I don't think anyone should feel forced to nurse. 


Edited by LitMom - 10/30/12 at 11:32pm
post #102 of 116

I think we scared a woman out of nursing during a LLL meeting.  Somone said, "I'm not going to lie, it's tough."  We were trying to be honest about some of our hardships.  I heard this woman say, "I thought I'd breastfeed, but now hearing all these problems, I'm really rethinking it."

 

We all have different thresholds and tolerances. With my first, it hurt a lot in the beginning.  I went online and said, "Please tell me this gets easier."  People said, "Oh yes, it gets easier!"  That is exactly what I needed to hear.  Now it didn't stop completely hurting for months, and I knew she had a bad latch, but it wasn't that painful, it was just like a pinching feeling.  With my second, when things were going right, I knew then how bad things had been with my first. 

 

Now my children are 13 and 9, I haven't nursed them in years.  Being a mother is hard.  I would say that I would have liked people to tell me that, but I wouldn't.  I was going to experience it myself.  I didn't want to hear the horror stories of birth either.  Most women don't.  I definitely think women need to hear that it's a challenge, that it's tough.  Eventually if it isn't working for us, if we don't feel the challenges are worth it, we'll move to another way of feeding.

 

Before I had my first, I was mostly worried about it not working.  I grew up in a family of formula feeders, I wasn't sure if it really was possible in some part of my mind.  And it was possible, but it wasn't easy, and I remember thinking at one point that I had one month down and only 11 more to go, and I was so ready to be done.  But then it got easier around 9 months or so, so I kept on.  I've had to bottle feed many of my younger relatives, and I didn't like that either.  In fact, it was part one of the reasons I wanted to try breastfeeding.  My one niece cried all the time.  I remember getting up in the middle of the night with her because I couldn't get my sister to wake up.  I gave her a bottle, but then I had to pace the floor with her to get her to go to sleep finally.  Her father paced the floor with her for hours every night.  And then later, when she had her first baby, the formula caused this rock hard stomach with distention, and that wasn't easy either.  My niece, however, loved bottle feeding much more than breast, so she moved to that and never looked back.

 

I can understand the need for the OP's post.  It's kind of a vent coupled with a strong statement implying that breastfeeding mothers do tell everyone breastfeeding is easy.  Then the second poster makes her own strong statement in contradiction, saying that it *is* easy.  I understand how dismissive that must feel, but I think this illustrates the point well that every experience is different, and it can be easy for some, it can be really challenging for some.  I think we have to acknowledge that and tell people that breastfeeding as a biological function may not go smoothly, there may be problems, it may be challenging, it may open up a lot of feelings you didn't know you had.  But I think there are always pay-offs for the troubles.

post #103 of 116
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viola View Post

I can understand the need for the OP's post.  It's kind of a vent coupled with a strong statement implying that breastfeeding mothers do tell everyone breastfeeding is easy.  Then the second poster makes her own strong statement in contradiction, saying that it *is* easy.  I understand how dismissive that must feel, but I think this illustrates the point well that every experience is different, and it can be easy for some, it can be really challenging for some.  I think we have to acknowledge that and tell people that breastfeeding as a biological function may not go smoothly, there may be problems, it may be challenging, it may open up a lot of feelings you didn't know you had.  But I think there are always pay-offs for the troubles.

 

Whilst I agree with a lot of what you wrote here, I think you're missing that the third poster said it is easy and feels good and if it isn't easy and doesn't feel good, you are doing something wrong.  That is a completely different message than simply sharing an experience.  That was a declaration to all breastfeeding mothers and it is helpful to no one.  That said, I recognize that breastfeeding is easy for some and I think that's wonderful.  I had two amazing, fairly easy labors and deliveries.  I would never assume everyone had my experience and if they didn't, they did something wrong or didn't do something right. 

post #104 of 116

I feel like one of the big points is here is to say:

 

It can be really easy, sometimes even from day 1;it can be a struggle at times, even after many months; 

either way, its a learning process and rarely your fault.

Above all it's important to have both technical and emotional support, at every stage.

It's worth it,

we're proud of you.

post #105 of 116

There's no one magical thing you can tell all women that will be the right thing to say in every case! For instance, my sister-in-law just had a baby and was having a lot of trouble breastfeeding. It always seemed like there was this or that problem; nothing was going right; she was doing it wrong; the baby was doing it wrong. They were on the point of giving up, and her doctor said, "Well, you know, for some women, it can be really hard," which is exactly the WRONG thing to say.

 

I got one of my friends, who's a lactation consultant, in her house and they just had a lie down on the couch. She basically needed to be told that the baby was fine, that there was a wide range of "normal" ways to nurse, that both of them just needed to relax and let it happen and not worry about what other people said or thought. She needed to be told it was easy! And all of their "problems" just melted away.

 

Sometimes being told it's easy *is* the right thing.

 

But not every time.

 

I'd say take it on a case by case basis!

post #106 of 116

YES!!!

 

Finally someone who feels the way I do.

My co-worker and his wife just had a baby, and they go on and on about how "easy" their baby is and how "easy" bfing has been.

I met his wife, and when I told her I had a really hard time for the first month, she completely agreed, and told me how overwhelmed she felt.
WTF?! Why do people do that? IT's ok to say it's challenging and horribly, horribly HARD WORK. but work every single second.

I see breastfeeding as a labor of love. No it's not easy, no I can't say my boobs feels great or look great, but i know it's what's best for my daughter.

 

Thanks for the great post!joy.gif

post #107 of 116

Well said namaste.gif
 

post #108 of 116

Never trust the husbands version :-)

post #109 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

I feel like one of the big points is here is to say:

 

It can be really easy, sometimes even from day 1;it can be a struggle at times, even after many months; 

either way, its a learning process and rarely your fault.

Above all it's important to have both technical and emotional support, at every stage.

It's worth it,

we're proud of you.

 

I love this approach.

 

I did have an overall pretty easy experience breastfeeding all of mine and through many different variations (through pg, tandem, triandem, etc), compared to what many mamas face.  BUT I would never tell anyone that "it's easy" because I know it's not for everyone, and I would HATE HATE HATE someone to give up because they thought they were doing something wrong because it WASN'T easy for them.  :(  I definitely would approach it with a positive attitude, but a realistic one as well.  I just tend to stick with the "it's totally worth it" phrase. :)

 

That said, situations can also change at any stage, any time along the way.  Like for us, we did it with zero troubles for a 2.5 years and then about a year into my tandem experience we got thrush, and then we had it off and on for THREE YEARS from that point on (8 months straight when DS was born). 

post #110 of 116

I just took the moment to peek in on this thread, and I have just read the first post.  I'll come back to the rest bit by bit but I just needed to reply.

 

Mulvah, even after almost 8 years since I began nursing, and 6 years since my first daughter was weaned, I am in tears reading your post.  It was that hard.  Everything short of mastitis that can make nursing difficult happened for me and my first child.  And I'm still crying about this.  I'm done nursing, and I still am crying about this.  DD wound up with allergies while EBing, and I didn't recognize it because nursing was already that bad, that unpleasant, that frustrating.  It started on the day she was born and only got worse.

 

I had no idea how many problems I had with my first daughter until my second daughter latched on like a vacuum and nursed away.  That easy?  I'm sure I cried then, too.  I know I was in pain of a different sort because she nursed so hard my nipples were sore and cracked for nearly 2 weeks.  

 

I just can't believe how much my experience affected me.  That it is that close to the surface, still.  

 

I'll read more.


Edited by SweetSilver - 11/8/12 at 7:34am
post #111 of 116
Breastfeeding for me was hard at the beginning and it also hurt (not OMG hurt, but significant) at the beginning too which in talking to women I know is pretty normal. Once I got past the first month, yes it was easier than bottle feeding for me as I had no issues really. When I went back to work FT, it would have been much easier not to pump, that was work to do that especially since my supply was always tight (damn efficient body!), but it was worth it.

I 100% agree that I wish there was more sympathy and help offered than just sort of a casual brush off when women have problems breastfeeding. And the expectation that everything will be sunshine and roses is not realistic for most women, at least at the start. Sometimes it is easy from the start, but IME that is the exception. More support and less platitudes would go a long way. I know if I hadn't done my research and had my awesome online support, I would have quit BFing early as what my doctors and nurses and whatnot had to offer me was just the typical "Breast is best!", but no real clue how to navigate problems.
post #112 of 116

I have the answer from the milkman

post #113 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

It is much harder to bottle feed and care for a child when you don't have magic breasts that calm the child.

Bolding mine.  This post has been picked into a million pieces, but this is what is so frustrating for me.  I only got my Magic Breasts for child #2, who even named them.  We had a good nursing relationship and it was, indeed, easy (excepting a toddler smacking her on the head...)

 

But those breasts were not magic for my oldest.  She would start screaming and keep screaming through the let down (big let down... all over the place of course because she was screaming).  I could only nurse her once I got her to sleep (and lying down).  Touchy supply issues.  Shortish arms, largish breasts that made holding her securely difficult (and discovering, quite embarrassingly that Boppies are made for mamas with 24" waists).  And nursing made my legs twitch and my nerves all frayed.  It was not relaxing at all--and forget sleeping while nursing.  Not sure why I'm wired that way, but there it is.

 

It was hell.  Yes, there was something wrong, and I sought help from people who would know.  "You're doing fine", (LLL) or "What makes you think there is a problem?" (LC).  Bad advice also from my "trusted" ARNP (who made me worry about her weight and the worry made my supply drop because it was that touchy.  But, "why do you think that?" from the LC).  

 

The help I received was no help at all.  I had no internet.  And I had no Magic Breasts.

 

Looking back as an experienced mama, I see that she had weak muscles, I had flat nipples.  She had trouble getting a letdown from me, and then....whooooosh!  She had a slight overbite.  She was easily "put off", meaning one little movement and she was done nursing (and...screaming!).  Years later, the dentist said she noticed dd swallowed "wrong".  Yes, she had allergies too that I didn't pay attention to.  But I had received help, and everyone said things were "fine".  I knew they weren't fine.  

 

Any normal person in my shoes would have given up, but I didn't.  I often think that I did the right thing, nutritionally, for my daughter.  But I wonder whether we would have had a better relationship had I bottle fed her.  She has allergies, but tolerates soy.  I wonder whether her belly would have been more full (because she usually stopped nursing out of frustration, not from fullness) whether she would have had fewer eating difficulties as a toddler (she didn't learn to associate food with hunger until she was 4.5yo, probably due to pain issues in infancy), whether her extreme neediness would be muted.  

post #114 of 116
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

I just took the moment to peek in on this thread, and I have just read the first post.  I'll come back to the rest bit by bit but I just needed to reply.

 

Mulvah, even after almost 8 years since I began nursing, and 6 years since my first daughter was weaned, I am in tears reading your post.  It was that hard.  Everything short of mastitis that can make nursing difficult happened for me and my first child.  And I'm still crying about this.  I'm done nursing, and I still am crying about this.  DD wound up with allergies while EBing, and I didn't recognize it because nursing was already that bad, that unpleasant, that frustrating.  It started on the day she was born and only got worse.

 

I had no idea how many problems I had with my first daughter until my second daughter latched on like a vacuum and nursed away.  That easy?  I'm sure I cried then, too.  I know I was in pain of a different sort because she nursed so hard my nipples were sore and cracked for nearly 2 weeks.  

 

I just can't believe how much my experience affected me.  That it is that close to the surface, still.  

 

I'll read more.

 

hug2.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Bolding mine.  This post has been picked into a million pieces, but this is what is so frustrating for me.  I only got my Magic Breasts for child #2, who even named them.  We had a good nursing relationship and it was, indeed, easy (excepting a toddler smacking her on the head...)

 

But those breasts were not magic for my oldest.  She would start screaming and keep screaming through the let down (big let down... all over the place of course because she was screaming).  I could only nurse her once I got her to sleep (and lying down).  Touchy supply issues.  Shortish arms, largish breasts that made holding her securely difficult (and discovering, quite embarrassingly that Boppies are made for mamas with 24" waists).  And nursing made my legs twitch and my nerves all frayed.  It was not relaxing at all--and forget sleeping while nursing.  Not sure why I'm wired that way, but there it is.

 

It was hell.  Yes, there was something wrong, and I sought help from people who would know.  "You're doing fine", (LLL) or "What makes you think there is a problem?" (LC).  Bad advice also from my "trusted" ARNP (who made me worry about her weight and the worry made my supply drop because it was that touchy.  But, "why do you think that?" from the LC).  

 

The help I received was no help at all.  I had no internet.  And I had no Magic Breasts.

 

Looking back as an experienced mama, I see that she had weak muscles, I had flat nipples.  She had trouble getting a letdown from me, and then....whooooosh!  She had a slight overbite.  She was easily "put off", meaning one little movement and she was done nursing (and...screaming!).  Years later, the dentist said she noticed dd swallowed "wrong".  Yes, she had allergies too that I didn't pay attention to.  But I had received help, and everyone said things were "fine".  I knew they weren't fine.  

 

Any normal person in my shoes would have given up, but I didn't.  I often think that I did the right thing, nutritionally, for my daughter.  But I wonder whether we would have had a better relationship had I bottle fed her.  She has allergies, but tolerates soy.  I wonder whether her belly would have been more full (because she usually stopped nursing out of frustration, not from fullness) whether she would have had fewer eating difficulties as a toddler (she didn't learn to associate food with hunger until she was 4.5yo, probably due to pain issues in infancy), whether her extreme neediness would be muted.  

 

Thank you for sharing.  I am really comforted by what you wrote, specifically the bolded.  I have had this problem with both of my children and though it is possible they both had sensitivities to dairy, I am beginning to wonder whether I am just wired differently than many (most?) women.  

 

Lastly, you wrote, "I wonder whether we would have had a better relationship had I bottle fed her" and that is my current struggle.  I wrote on this very forum about the lack of bond I had with my first baby (now toddler) because breastfeeding was such a struggle.  We did eventually bond, but it took a while.  I bonded much easier with my second baby because I knew what joy a child was from having my first, but I still feel twitchy when nursing and I do not enjoy it.  I often wonder if this does or will impact our relationship and it breaks my heart.  I wonder if it is really worth it. 

 

Anyhow, thank you for sharing your story.  smile.gif

post #115 of 116

on just that point of having a better relationship by NOT feeding at the breast, i can see that being the case for some folks. neither of my twins got super good at nursing till they were 6 months, so i did lots of pumping and bottle feeding, so i can tell you that theyr are ways to bottle feed that leads to more or less bonding, just like everything and i think that you can get amazing closeness and wonder as you sit and cuddle a baby and attentively feed them a bottle, yes absolutely. ou can get skin to skin, they can still gaze up at you and for many who struggle, it can be even a much more peaceful time, where you can totally concentrate on giving to your baby and not maybe fretting on what is being taken or put on you. 

i loved feeding directly from my breast once we got there and yes i was heartbroken by our early issue, but i know i loved watching them eat and grow and get full, no matter the form

post #116 of 116

I, too, have a nerve in my foot that pings when I nurse on the right side.  And one that pings in the roof of my mouth when I nurse on the left.  You aren't the only one who has some funky nerve connections.

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