Breastfeeding- what WORKED for you? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi mamas!!

I was talking to a few friends of mine whose babies are around the same age as my son (abt 4 1/2 months). Unfortunately, most of them are no longer breastfeeding, mostly due to problems like milk supply, etc.

I was thinking how blessed I feel to be successful this far (i know, only 4 months so far, but God-willing it will continue good) I am attributing this to breastfeeding education and support!

I was just wondering, what things did you mamas do that you think helped you to be successful in breastfeeding...

here are my things so far (dont know if these are really the reasons, but i am thinking they helped) :

-no pacifier
-waking the baby every 2 hours when he was born to help milk supply
-co sleeping!!!!
-feeding by breast- no bottles
-exclusively breastfeeding (not supplementing with formula or cereals)
-feeding EVERYWHERE AND ANYWHERE!! (I realized the importance of this when i started BFing! I can in=magine it would be very difficult and frustrating if a mother were not willing or not able to do this!)
-feeding "on-demand"
-support from mamas on

I am excited to hear what worked for all of you and especially on any tips that might help me be successful in BFing long term (at least 2 years).

Faiza married and with , mama to DS (09.23.08) and with #2 (due in June 2010).
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#2 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 05:39 PM
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In the early days, I had tons of support from my Mom and DH. They cleaned the house, cooked the meals, and ran the errands. All I had to focus on was learning to BF. I also had a wonderful LC, who kept in touch with me to make sure I was feeling good about BFing.

In the beginning I had to use nipple shields because DD had damaged my nips with bad latch. They saved our BFing relationship! It was just really hard to get DD tiny mouth to properly latch-on. We finally weaned off them completely when DD was 3 mo.

When I went back to work co-sleeping became a necessity, because DD was reverse-cycling.

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#3 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 06:03 PM
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For us, lots of help and support from DH was key. Not only did he cook and clean, he came to breastfeeding class and could help with positioning and emotional support. Even buying some books with beautiful pictures of mothers breastfeeding their babies helped a lot. Just boosted my confidence. It also helped that my SIL had really struggled to make breastfeeding work a few months before DS was born. That made me realize that it might be challenging - but also that the payoff for getting through the challenging time was enormous.
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#4 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 06:06 PM
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Great Q! I second these:
Originally Posted by MuslimMama View Post
-no pacifier
-feeding by breast- no bottles
-exclusively breastfeeding (not supplementing with formula or cereals)
-feeding "on-demand"
co-sleeping didn't help for me because I couldnt' get side-lying BFing to work until DS was 5 mos old! So I had to go sit up with him in my lap anyway.

And I absolutely would not have made it if it weren't for this one:
"-support from mamas on "

I didn't need to wake DS up, he never slept longer than 3-4 hours in a row at first. But I knew that I should wake him if he sleeps more than 4 hours as a newborn.

I attribute my good, sufficient milk supply to strict refusal to supplement, & feeding on-demand for however long DS wanted. So I think those are important.

Otherwise, when my nipples cracked, I think my healing was helped by:
  • Dr. Jack Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment
  • Medela "soft shells" hard plastic shells you wear in your bra so nothign touches your nipples.

I attribute my good latch to:
-asymmetric latch (more boob at his bottom lip than top - aim nipple for roof of mouth, not tonsils
-"Flip/roll" latch technique
-everting the lips

But the single most important thing that made me successful at BFing in spite of my troubles: INSANE STUBBORNNESS!
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#5 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 06:18 PM
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My biggest piece of advice is watch where you get your advice. If your mom FF fed you and is telling you to give you baby formula because he must be starving because he is eating every 2 hours. I'd say discard that piece of advice. Take advice from moms who are successfully BFing thier babies.

Mama to L (7) and A (born 7/15 by VBAC)
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#6 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 06:21 PM
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The big one for me was education. If I hadn't learned so much about the typical stages of BFing (THANK YOU MDC!!!) I probably would have thought something was wrong the way DD wanted to nurse 24-7 the first month or so... and every evening from like 6-10 until she was about 3 months old. Thank goodness I knew that was normal and right and could counter all the doubtful comments I got from my mom, my MIL, and even my supportive DH who thought it was unnatural for a newborn to have to eat all the time (ie she can't possibly be hungry again!). That knowledge made all the difference.

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#7 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 07:50 PM
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I second the education one. I think most women just don't have the info or have the incorrect info. Such as small chest women can't make enought milk - which is what my MIL was told when she had her kids and so she never even tried

But for me was simply that I made up my mind that no matter what I would BF my kids - I just simply put my mind to it and did it, no matter what others told me. I'm not a person who even remotely cares what anyone else thinks and so if people thought I was weird - so what. I think bf is 95% mental - if you can get past the first couple of weeks - everything else falls into place.

We use pacifiers - I have VERY mouthy kids and my nips would not have survived being a paci. Co-sleeping doesn't really work for us - we all disturb each other and don't get enough sleep, though I have done more "co-sleeping" with DS#3 than any of them. we also use bottles on occasion but don't start them till after 6 weeks. For my own sanity I need an occasional break from the kids and I can pump and leave milk for LO. We pretty much eat on demand but I never wake a sleeping baby! I know from my past kids that they will wake when they need to and that sleeping is a blessing in disguise that is fleeting.

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#8 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 07:59 PM
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Hmm, what worked for me:

Not listening to the women in my family, all of whom ff their babies, all of whom gently (and later FIRMLY) pushed me to supplement so I could "get a break"
Doing LOTS of online research (on MDC and elsewhere) and getting support from all the wonderful mamas on MDC
Icing my nipples when they were sore after a feeding
Lansinoh and Medela soft shells to keep anything off my nipples
Not wearing a shirt for the first 5 weeks pp
Driving for over an hour to meet a wonderful LC who worked out of a pharmacy in a Wal-Mart and who worked with me for over an hour and a half.
The "hamburger hold"!! : Once I figured this out, breastfeeding got so much easier.
No paci or bottles
Side-lying, so I could get some much needed sleeeeeeeep
Having DH and then my parents provide me with everything I needed in those first crucial weeks so I could focus on establishing a good bf relationship while still taking care of myself.
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#9 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 08:21 PM
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I read like crazy. I read Jack Newman and Theresa Pitman over and over again. I had practically memorized. I also read compulsively about the evils of formula, and the evil marketing practices of formula companies.

The obsessive reading was good and bad. On one hand, it made me paranoid about everything. On the other hand, it made me very confident and motivated. I would do whatever it took to keep formula out of baby for six months (by the time baby was born I was very wound up about the whole virgin gut thing on Kellymom).

And in the end, it was the confidence that was most important. I actually had breastfeeding issues, and needed to ignore the standard template of advice they start people out with, but my issues weren't diagnosed until after the fact. I just followed baby's cue, and ended up nursing laying nearly flat on my back, and only offering one breast per feeding, and letting baby only nurse for ten to fifteen minutes per feeding. But since I did this in response to baby, I never even knew that I had over active letdown and mild oversupply.

I also think it helped a lot that I delivered at a very pro-breastfeeding hospital. My SIL, who insisted on formula feeding, complains that the hospital is too pushy about the breastfeeding. The vast majority of the babies delivered there do leave the hospital nursing, it's just a matter of how long they keep it up.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#10 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 08:32 PM
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My Mom, sisters, and other breastfeeding Mothers. Women who have had successful breastfeeding relationships with thier babies were the best support and education. When My DS was born my arms where shaking and so tired (I had been on my hands and knees in the birth tub for hours) I couldn't even hold him. MY sister climbed into bed with me held my breast up in one hand and helped support the baby with the other. It was my boob but basically she did the rest! I shudder to think what would have happened if I had not had her support in that moment. He probably would have ended up with a hospital bottle!

Jenese Mama to Elliot 8/05 and Millie Jane 7/07 and Cecilia Kate 1/11
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#11 of 22 Old 02-13-2009, 08:31 PM
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I think the biggest asset for me was my attitude and that of those around me. I never really considered formula an option so I was determined to Bf successfully. I was lucky to have the support of great midwives who helped me with latch issues in the early weeks with #1 and was able to draw on that knowledge again with #2. Its also lucky for me that my mom breastfed me for almost 3 years and my brother and sister too. BFing is the norm in my family so I'm lucky.

I suspect a lot of women give up on bfing because they don't have the commitment and support that is required.
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#12 of 22 Old 02-13-2009, 08:40 PM
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The absolute keys to my success were my unwavering desire to do it, and support from those around me (family, friends, and you guys). If I had had any thought of "giving it a try" or "seeing how it worked out," or if I had kept a stash of formula on hand "just in case," or if my DH had not encouraged me when I was struggling, I would not have been successful.

The first time around, BFing was so easy, but this time it was awful -- my nipples looked like raw hamburger and the pain was unbelievable for about 3 weeks (one nipple was actually starting to become detached from the breast at the base -- it was terrifying to look at), and then, although my nipples healed, the pain only improved to "searing" for the next 2 months. It was a long, slow road, and then I ran into more problems around 7 months when I had surgery and couldn't nurse for 10 days. Again, the only things that kept me going were support from those around me and my steadfast desire to continue. And here I am with a beautiful 9.5-month-old girl who still doesn't use formula and nurses 7 times per day! I'm so grateful, proud, and happy.

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#13 of 22 Old 02-13-2009, 10:11 PM
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At about a week - with super-painful, cracked and bleeding nipples - I called my cousin, who has breastfed five babies.

She told me that it's okay to push down on her chin to get her to open wider. It's okay if I have to reach in and pull her lips out to flange them properly - that was HUGE! I couldn't find anything online that said that was okay. She also told me that it's b.s. that it won't hurt at all if she's latched properly - I will still be sore for a while because my nipples are getting used to the near-constant stimulation. So while the actual cracking was indicative of a problem, I shouldn't panic if I was still a little sore for a while.

That phone call was a bigger help than anything I found online or anything my midwives had told me. Everything I'd read was telling me to unlatch and re-latch if she wasn't latching correctly - but that wasn't helping since she latched wrong EVERY time. Now, at five weeks, she still doesn't always flange her lips properly - but it's no big deal for me to adjust them, and our BF relationship is going great.
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#14 of 22 Old 02-13-2009, 11:57 PM
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-co sleeping!!!!
-feeding by breast- no bottles
-exclusively breastfeeding (not supplementing with formula or cereals)
-feeding where ever the demand was made.
-feeding "on-demand"
-support from other nursing mothers.
-lots and lots of fluids.

MB, mama to three, soulmate to one, pioneering cloth to many since 2002!
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#15 of 22 Old 02-14-2009, 03:25 AM
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I agree with the other mama's: SUPPORT! My daughter was born in a highly pro-breastfeeding hospital and that fact alone was incredibly helpful. I was under the impression breastfeeding would be instinctual but I was wrong. Breastfeeding can be fraught with challenges and recognizing issues as well as knowing where to find solutions is important to breastfeeding success. The LC's who stopped by room every three hours imparted this to me. Other factors contributing to my success thus far include:
  • Not listening to mainstream mother's under any circumstances. Mine is one of them and has been hell bent on convincing me to pump so I can take breaks. I find bf'ing is my break time. I get to sit around and watch movies or read. I sometimes take naps while bf'ing!
  • Proper Nutrition. The LC's at the hospital told me diet doesn't have much influence over the quantity and quality of breast milk. This assertion was the one thing I completely disagreed with. I think diet very much influences both quality and quantity. I frequently refer to a book titled Mother's Food. The author discusses foods, herbs, oils, and other factors that are lactogenic (milk promoting)
  • Feeding on-demand
  • Co-sleeping for the first three months
  • Drinking lots of water. I also stir 4 tablespoons of brewer's yeast in rice milk with a little honey about twice a day. Sometimes I'll have my brewer's yeast drink three times a day.
  • Taking my supplements such as pre-natal vitamins, flax seed oil, cod liver oil, fenugreek and marshmallow.
  • EBF and avoiding bottles except for when DH looks after our LO while I get my haircut or during faculty meetings, etc
  • Advice from mothers on MDC! This discussion forum is so important to me! The other moms helped me get through my pregnancy and now with bf'ing and life with a new baby!
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#16 of 22 Old 02-14-2009, 03:32 AM
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The biggest thing for me was that I wasn't going to "try" to bf, I WAS going to bf. period. that determination got me through, and is getting me through it all

Danielle, wife to John, mama to Valley9.24.07
expecting our miracle babies around 5.12.10- praying that baby B grows healthy and strong!
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#17 of 22 Old 02-14-2009, 02:47 PM
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Co-sleeping and feeding on demand at the breast.

Mom to a bright & energetic 6 y.o. boy  blahblah.gif   With my sweetie for 10 years now  blowkiss.gif  Registered nurse  caffix.gif

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#18 of 22 Old 02-14-2009, 07:10 PM
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I'm only at 3.5 months breastfeeding but what's helped me keep going so far is:
DH is fantastically supportive, I don't think I would still be exclusively BFing if not for him
My mum, sister and MIL, as well as lots of other family members - I'm very lucky to have support all round from my family
A good breastfeeding book
Endlessly reading posts on MDC has really really helped, and continues to be v important to me as different issues crop up
Lansinoh in industrial quantities
Side-lying, which I managed to crack when DD was six weeks, so I can feed in bed
Partial co-sleeping
The fantastic feeling when it all goes right and I feed DD peacefully and she strokes me with her hand while eating, or looks up at me and smiles halfway through
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#19 of 22 Old 02-14-2009, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
But the single most important thing that made me successful at BFing in spite of my troubles: INSANE STUBBORNNESS!

plus co sleeping, LLL, and MDC

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#20 of 22 Old 02-14-2009, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Danielle13 View Post
The biggest thing for me was that I wasn't going to "try" to bf, I WAS going to bf. period. that determination got me through, and is getting me through it all
Yeah, that's me, too.

We literally cannot afford formula or disposable diapers, so while breastfeeding and cloth were my preference in the first place, it helps to have a little extra 'incentive' to make it work!
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#21 of 22 Old 02-14-2009, 10:22 PM
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the boppy, LLL, feeding on demand, my dh, who helped me get ds positioned when I was recovering pp (esp for side-lying - you need so many hands!)

I should probably be doing something else right now.
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#22 of 22 Old 02-14-2009, 10:28 PM
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Having support. Seriously. My mom and MIL both breastfed, and I'm part of a local AP mom's group where virtually everyone bf's. It means that when something does go wrong, I can get good advice right away.

Starting within the first hour of birth, and making sure the latch is good straight away.

Feeding on demand.

Co-sleeping, so that I can feed on demand at night.

Interpreting most of baby's grumpy cues as demand early on.

And especially starting with the basic assumption that my milk is fine and my baby is eating enough- unless strong and convincing evidence otherwise should present itself. Not doubting myself.
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