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Did you get off to a good or a rocky start?

Poll Results: Did you get off to an easy start breastfeeding?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 34% (45)
  • 40% (52)
    No. And I was prepared (read lots and talked lots to nursing moms)
  • 20% (27)
    No (I thought it was fairly uncomplicated and I was sure surprised when things got rough)
  • 4% (6)
    No (didn't really prepare for bfing)
130 Total Votes  
post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
How many of you had an easy start breastfeeding? How many of you ran into some road blocks (or maybe some duct blocks:LOL )?
For those of you who had difficulties, can you expand on why you had difficulties?

Did you get inaccurate breastfeeding advice?
Was it your first born, second, third....?
Was is it a mental or physical problem?
Did you have enough postpartum help/support?
What would you have done differently or do you think that there was anything that you could have done differently?
post #2 of 46
Thread Starter 
Ds#2 is waking, but I'll come back later tonight or after the LLL conference I am attending this weekend.
post #3 of 46
I think that most moms have a slightly rocky start with breastfeeding. Learning to position baby and worrying about nursing too much or too little or feeling opposition from friends and family.

But I think ALL moms have a rocky start. Lack of sleep and abundance of hormones make things challenging in the beginning of baby's life no matter how baby is fed.

That said, I feel I had as easy a start as is possible - with each of my babies. This is my third time nursing and I've never had mastitis or a plugged duct. I've had engorgement, which isn't fun (though my dh really likes the way it looks :eyeroll), but only the first two times when I thought babies had to be nursed on a schedule. Keeping baby #3 at the breast all day the first few days saved me from suffering through engorgement this time.

Anyway, for anyone who hasn't nursed who might read this thread (and the genuine woes of those who will share their experiences), please keep in mind that I think those who have an easy start generally say "It was good. I love nursing my babies." and leave it at that because they CAN, you know? We tend to talk more about something when we need help or need to offer help.

I hope I haven't trampled all over this thread, but I wanted to toss out a disclaimer for anyone looking at this board while in a decision-making process.
post #4 of 46
Did you get inaccurate breastfeeding advice?

Was it your first born, second, third....?
All freaking three

Was is it a mental or physical problem?
The first was early and had no suck reflex and #2 & 3 have a short frenulum and it is freaking impossible to find someone who will clip it.

Did you have enough postpartum help/support?
Yes, i think so. It would have been nice to have more though.

What would you have done differently or do you think that there was anything that you could have done differently?
No all three were out of my control. I think it would nice if these disoooorders were talked about more. I assumed f my baby was born breathing (we knew she would be early) that we would be able to go streight home. It never occured tome in a million years she wouldn't be able to suck. Since we didn't have insurance I almost decided to bottle feed because it would have saved us money., Fortunately the nurse that day was good and supprted BF.
post #5 of 46
I put no, and I was prepared for it, or so I thought. In my case, I'm pretty sure the universe was out to teach me a lesson about the value of humility....:LOL I had been so intolerant of mothers who didn't breastfeed (well, in some ways I still am but I can understand those who give up in the face of problems better now than I used to).

Before DS was born I took a bf'ing class taught by an LLL leader, I had read several books, I had found MDC and had read a lot in this forum, and I still ran into beaucoup problems.

DS is my first, and his birth was fine but he didn't latch that day or evening, and his respirations were high (potential sign of infection) so the midwives transferred us to the NICU the next morning. Between the rapid respirations, IV (so ds wasn't hungry), and teeny tiny mouth, ds wouldn't latch. Long story short (shorter than usual?) in the next 8 weeks before we finally got it down we went through cracked and bleeding nipples, yeast, mastitis, low supply, bottle preference, pumping exclusively, etc. and so forth.

I had an IBCLC LC come over for a house call the day after we got home from the hospital, and my midwives were very supportive and helpful. I also had the support of a friend who's an ob/gyn and had issues bf'ing her first.

I got bad advice from our first ped but I knew it was stupid and that's why I left his practice....my next ped practice had an LC on staff who was good, and my new ped is very supportive of bf'ing.

I honestly don't know what I would have done differently. Obviously I wish we had never gone to the NICU and had the whole IV/bottlefeeding thing but what was I supposed to do, refuse antibiotics in the face of a possible infection? Then when the overarching problem became his small mouth/bad latch I think it really was a matter of hanging in there until his mouth got bigger and he was able to latch on better.

I agree that the nature of this forum is that those with problems and issues post questions, while those for whom it's smooth sailing don't.

And I would do it all again if I had to, and I hope and pray it will be easier next time.
post #6 of 46
Thread Starter 
Okay, I'm back. Thanks to those of you who have answered so far. It's 4:30 am and I am up to start packing for the RI/VT/MA LLL conference.

I had problems with my first born. I had a C-sec after two days of labor and hours of pushing (my ds was transverse). I never thought I'd have a C-sec and neither did the doctor that worked so hard with me to try and prevent it. I was exhausted and I had a rough recovery (I VBACed ds#2, so I have something to compare it to).

My milk did not let down for days. I was so exhausted it was ridiculous. Ds#1 was tongue tied and noone realized it until he was 5-6 weeks old when his frenulum ripped on it's own (no joke). I had to use a tube w/ formula to stimulate sucking. I had bloody blisters from ds#1 poor latch. I was in the hospital for 5 days after my C-sec and the nurses gave me awful advice and the were impatient with me. I didn't get to see an LC unitl day 3 (she was helpful, but overextended). And so on....So I hired my own LC, called in my nursing friends, and I ignored the doctors and nurses.

I read and I talked w/ other nursing moms. I had recently helped a close friend (stayed with her to help w/ her ds after the birth of her dd) postpartum. I assumed that nursing would be tiring at first and that there would be a learning period, but I still remember those first few weeks with ds#1 to be beyond the normal level of hard.

Ds#2 was a great nurser from the get go. I did not have a C-sec with him, so I think that was a plus. There was the normal fatigue. I wish I had had more postpartum help around the house w/ ds#2, so that I could just sleep and nurse in the beginning.

Both times, dh was fantastic and my #1 cheerleeder and helper.

The only thing that I would have done differently w/ both dss is gotten some more postpartum help around the house for a week.

BTW, after the initial pitfalls, I loved nursing ds#1.
post #7 of 46
With my ds nothing seemed to go anywhere near what I had been prepared for!! He was delivered with a 2 for his first apgar and they took him staight to the nursery overnight. I didn't get to him to try nursing for almost 12 hours pp. right before we left the hospital the lc discovered that i had NO milk..... no colostrum.... nothing!!!
She sent me home with a pump and we went on the nurse/pump/FF(mixed with the milk i was supposedly pumping) regimen until finally after day 10 I realized that I still had nothing!! (yes i did check every way possible! even to go as far as nursing in the lc office and checking his weight in grams after... nothing!) With the help and support of this great lc I spent one day in bed with him, nursing constantly. After 12 days my milk finally came in full boar and we have been going strong ever since (15 months)!!

It makes me so sad when friends of mine try but don't have the right information and FF. If only they knew what they were missing!! All you need is patience, good support, and a darlin little babe!!
post #8 of 46
I have to say that I was very lucky. Nursing was very easy for us. Dd latched on as soon as she was out of my body. I was surprised by the strenth of her latch and suckling. She nursed for 25 minutes while I delivered the placenta and got examined. She really helped my uterus contract back down. She has nursed like a little champ ever since. My milk only took 2 days to come in and I was engorged for about 15 minutes. I just kept offering to nurse for relief and she just went for it. I must add that the nurses at the birth center were very supportive of nursing and they typically won't let a new mom leave until she has it down.
post #9 of 46
I voted for the second option.
I read every book I could get my hands on about birth, breastfeeding and parenting. I read "The Womanly Art", like, six times before I gave birth.
When DD was born, she would not latch on or eat. At all. For three days. I was so panicked I couldn't even sleep. I called LLL, my ped., my nursing friend, hired a L.C., all to no avail.
Finally, she started nursing. Then my nipples cracked, bled, etc. etc. This lasted for about two months. I bawled my eyes out through every painful nursing session. Then I got thrush. OOoh, that was fun! Basically, for the first three months, I cried. It sucked. I had LLL people and two different L.C.s come check us out; she was latched on perfectly... my nipples are just extremely sensitive.
I nursed her for 25 months, and weaned her four months before her brother was born. It was getting waaay too painful again. When he was born, I was extremely sore for two weeks but used Lansinoh like it was going out of style... like, every ten minutes all day and night. It really helped. Then I got reoccurring thrush that came and went for months. That really sucked, too.
But, we're fine now. He's ten months old and still nursing like a champ
post #10 of 46
I'm still in the middle of what Candiland describes, though I'm not crying anymore. I'm just so glad that ds is gaining and thriving. I read books, read on the net, met with a lactation consultant before birth. Then when we had trouble, I talked with two lactation consultants and my midwife in the hospital, the pediatrician, three lactation consultants on the phone, one lc who did a home visit, and the LLL leader. And I'm still doing that! and still posting questions here!

I didn't expect to have all these problems with breastfeeding because my mom bf'ed me and she didn't remember having any problems. In fact she poo-poo'ed my desire to be super prepared, because she learned "by following the pictures in Dr. Spock". Of course, she also didn't have any problems with her labors, either! I'm pretty sure that the reason my ds didn't latch on at birth was that I didn't go into labor after my water broke and had to have an absurd number of medical interventions. One LC told me that a lot of babies who have long labors with an epidural often have latch on problems like my son did.

Even with all the problems, I'm very happy every time we nurse because I wanted to have a baby so much. And because of those first tense days when I was afraid he wouldn't learn to do it--he's grown so much and is so beautiful!
post #11 of 46
well, let's see! I thought that I was adequately prepared. With #1, I attended LLL meetings and hijacked an entire meeting to ask my questions and the leader even got out a video to show me about latching on...brought out the breastfeeding doll, and had me sit next to a nursing mom to watch how she positions, latches, etc. I read books and figured I was armed with info, motivation and the numbers to the LLL leaders, so it had to work. Ds had a 1 min. apgar of 4. he was born blue and limp and not breathing. They took him right away to the warmer where he stayed, crying on and off for 3.5 hours. Stupid me thought "well, if the doctors say he has to be there......" When I finally got to see him and hold him, we were both so tired and just couldn't get a latch. ( I also had multiple interventions with this birth). We kept trying, but everytime I thought he was latched, he would just sit there and not suck. the nurses gave him pacifiers saying that he needed to learn how to suck ??? They also came in every couple of hours to ask if he'd eaten and when I'd say no, they brought a bottle of formula and told me he needed it. I knew better than to touch them and just kept trying with the nursing. then he had some problems and ended up being transferred to the NICU where he stayed for 3 days. I continued trying to nurse him and pumped during the day to leave the milk for him at night when I'd leave him to sleep. So, he had a bottle anyway
we got off to such a rough start and I was so exhausted and worried and tired. oh yeah. THEN when he was 6 days old, I learned that my epis. site was infected and ended up in emergency surgery. They advised me not to nurse him for 48 hours. so with IV's in both arms, I used a manual pump every couple of hours to keep up my supply. I couldn't walk and had to call for a nurse to come and dump the milk and clean the pump. DS had formula for these 2 days as we were NOT prepared for me to have surgery and had no milk pumped for him. I was so stressed out about the whole thing that I told dh if he didn't latch on and nurse when I was able to try again, then he would just stay on formula. smart baby!! I put him on and for the first time he nursed like a complete champ..this after 48 hours of nothing but bottle and formula!

with dd...I had a completely natural birth and held her from the beginning. She was still NOT interested in nursing and flat out refused to try. I did everything I could to encourage her to latch on, but she didn't seem interested and just wanted to sleep all the time. This time I had a super supportive doc and when he came in to check on me I told him my concern (She hadn't latched on EVER and she was almost 24 hours old) he looked at her fat cheeks and said "she's got plenty of fat stores in those cheeks! she'll do it when she's ready, don't give up..keep trying" Of course, I was still nursing ds who was 2 at the time, so I didn't plan on giving up! This continued after we got home except instead of showing no interest she'd show signs of hunger and when I'd try to put her on, she arched her back and screamed like I was hurting her! She did this every time I was getting very engorged and she STILL wouldn't eat. I finally went to the ER with her because she refused to nurse for 18 hours and I knew the ER doc that night was also my LLL leader When she finally got around to seeing us, dd had JUST latched on and for the first time was nursing peacefully...I thought my problems ended there, but they didn't...we still went through syringe feedings and cup feedings to get her to eat, since for some reason she wouldn't go near my breast, and when she was a few weeks old, they dx her with Failure to Thrive and told me I HAD to supplement because I wasn't making enough milk and I was starving her. Again, I knew better and didn't give her a drop of formula. I actually nursed her and then supplemented with straight hindmilk that I got from the pumped milk after it seperated. I also followed all the advice to make sure she was getting enough hindmilk. She still grew very slowly and was dx again at 12 months with FTT. This time I was told to wean or else!! made no sense to me, so she is still nursing strong at 28 months! Ds made it to 4 years before he weaned himself!!

I've got a new baby coming July and I'm hoping the third time's a charm and it'll go smooth....
post #12 of 46
Thread Starter 
tandemmama, I hope the third time IS a charm for you.
post #13 of 46
I voted that I had an easy start, but it was still tougher than I had planned. She was so little and it took both my husband and me to get her positioned. the football hold was the only one that worked until about 2 weeks. I think these little trials i went through are pretty normal, and thats why nature has designed babies not to get hungry and mom's milk not to come in for a few days.
post #14 of 46
I felt I was well prepared when my DD was born, although I wouldn't say we had an easy start, or even a rough one. What we went through is fairly normal, although it did cause me to get some help for those first few days.

I had some nipple pain for the first few days, and then it subsided after we worked on her latch and positioning. I had some discomfort from engorgment and lack of sleep, but that got better with time and I found comfortable ways to cosleep.
post #15 of 46


I thought I was well prepared, but then split my pelvis during birth and lost a LOT of blood, turned out to have one inverted and one dimpled nipple, plus my daughter was tongue-tied (meaning her frenum, that thing under your tongue, was attached all the way to the end, so she couldn't suck). So it was INCREDIBLY hard. Unbelievable. But now dd is almost three and we are still bfing. My postpartum doula saved my behind after many home visits from the lactation consultant. I had a pile of help and was lucky to have such great resources
Thank Goddess.
post #16 of 46
I thought I was well prepared (attended LLL meetings, a hospital BF class) and had read practically everything I could about preg, birth and BF. I got a doula, planned on an intervention free birth but instead had an incredibly painful back labor with no progress and had to have a c-section. Then the problems started... The Dr had told me I could have someone bring me the baby while I was in recovery. She had to be 4 hrs in Observation nursery but they were just monitoring her vitals every half hour. Her apgars were 8 and 9! Well no one would bring me dd, they kept fobbing me off, husband wasn't pushy enough too I think. After recovery room, they parked me in a antepartum room cause postpartum rooms were full. Then 5 hours after birth, they wheeled baby in and left her there. No postpartum staff to help me, I was tied to the IV and catheter... Didn't matter much cause baby was sleepy for next 24 hours. When she did awake, dh wasn't around, I couldn't find the buzzer to get the nurses, by the time anyone came, she'd gone back to sleep. She did latch on several times but I was so out of it on painkillers (I'm sensitive to them - had to reduce the dose - they were knocking me out).
Someone had put a BF time sheet on the bedside table which would have been useful but I couldn't reach it and had no pen. I couldn't keep track of when she was BF, lost all sense of time. LCs visited me briefly and were helpful but in hindsight I needed more help. By day 4, dd had lost 11% of her bodyweight. I now think if I hadn't had to have those painkillers, I could have managed the feedings better. Or if I had had staff who noticed what was happening. She was also a really sleepy baby and I didn't have any help dealing with that. Just nurses saying "you have to wake her to feed" I'd wake her, she wouldn't feed....?? Then what? I didn't know what to do then. Staff also didn't keep me informed about her weight loss - I had no idea until discharge day. Now we've had 8 weeks of pumping, bottles, every supplemental system under the sun.... still havent' got it yet.
post #17 of 46
Thread Starter 
Oh wombat, Have you found the support that you need yet? I admire you for keeping at it. It is worth it in the long run. how is your dp helping you right now? Do you have any family or friends to help you? Please let us know how you are doing.

Edited to ask how you c-sec recovery is going, wombat.
post #18 of 46

Very Frustrating Start For Me

It is thanks to my DH that I stuck with it.

DS was born 3 1/2 weeks early by c-section. The nurses forgot to check the chart where the pediatrician had stated to watch for low-blood sugar. So by the time the nurses had clean DS up and given him to me his blood sugar was too low and he wouldn't latch or even eat from a bottle. The ped was pissed. He took DS to the nursery to tube feed him.

After that my milk came in just fine but I am EXTREMELY big chested. I went from a D to a G while pregnant and to an L when my milk came in. I also have small nipples so I went completely flat. MY DS also remained a VERY lazy eater and had to be awakened to eat for 3 weeks.

MY DH was wonderful. I would pump and he would bottle feed and each session DS and I would work on it with a shield and without. DH kept telling me to hang in there until DS at least reached his due date and give him a chance.

Finally 3 weeks after he was born he latched and stayed on.
post #19 of 46
I think I fall into the category as a breastfeeding mom even though I technically don't breastfeed. I have been exclusively pump for my daughter for over 9 months.

While I was pregnat, I did a lot of research on breastfeeding because I knew I wanted to do it and I was going to possibly encounter some problems because I have inverted nipples and the LCs also called it keyhole nipples. I even wore those breat things that helped pull out the nipples(can't remember the name) Right after dd was born she would not latch. She kept pushing my breast out of her mouth. W/in an hour I had a visit w/ an LC and she had me start pumping. DD never latched and the next day I had the nurses and my husband them give her formula and whatever I pumped by bottle. At first dd would push teh nipples out of her mouth. Anyway, to shorten the story, I had spend several several hours trying to get dd to latch w/ the help of 9 nurses and 3 LCs.

For the next 8-10 weeks after I was discharged fromt he hospital, I had regular visits w/ the lcs who provided me w/ various items such as feeding tubes and breast shells. The LCs said she had a severe habit of thrusting her tongue, which she would to do anything that entered her mouth, including a bottle. I did get dd to bf for 10 minutes a couple times, but it took 20 min for me to get her to latch. Finally, I threw in the towel because the stress was reducing my milk supply and dd was not happy. This was ruining our bonding moments. We have been happy ever since.

I have tried every once in a while to put dd to my breast to see if she will latch. She either screams or she will laugh.

I don't feel bad anymore that I can't breastfeed because I know I have done everything in my power to try to breastfeed. I can have the same mother and baby bond when I hold her during her feedings.

Happy mommy makes a happy baby.

Jenni and Helon 6/29/02
post #20 of 46
I count my lucky stars that it was relatively easy for us. There was one small piece of bad advice from the nurse at the hospital about my nipples being flat and needing to use nippleshields. This was set straight the day after I got home from the hospital. A friend, who actually hadn't bfed, suggested that I wasn't flat, but full. That was really the issue.

Sam latched like a champ (or chomp if you prefer) and we are still going strong 3 years 2 months later.

Everytime I hear that someone has problems or has had problems I want to rush over to see if I can help with something, even if it is do some chores so they can relax and focus.

I think every mom who tries should be commended.
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