Tips for preparing to breastfeed successfully? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I tried breastfeeding with my son. It didn't go so well. It seemed to take forever for my milk to come in and I felt so bad for him, he would latch on but get nothing and start crying! After the first night at home I was in tears, he was in tears and I sent DH off to the store to buy formula. My milk finally came in that night and I continued to breastfeed off and on for a few weeks, but formula was so much easier and so I gave up.

I want to prepare myself better this time so I can be more successful at it. Does anyone have suggestions for preparation or to help your milk come in faster? I really want to breastfeed this baby!

Heidi in Utah

Heidi, Married to my sweetheart of 13 yrs Kristopher, Mommy of 7 yr old Kairo, Expecting our sweet little girl Penelope 6/26/2010!
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:51 PM
 
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It's ok mamma.

I've realized that breastfeeding is way harder in the beginning but easier once it's established, but FF is easier in the beginning but WAY HARDER once you've switched over completely. Washing bottles, heating milk, money, time, etc...BFing is the way to go. Have you read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding? It's a good read and it helped me stick to my guns when things got tough in those first few weeks.

I know formula can be tempting, but just remember that formula is like potato chips, "you can't have just one (bottle )" Better to put it out of your mind completely, as if there is NO OTHER CHOICE for you to feed your baby. Sounds cruel, but if you really want to EBF, you can manage.

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Old 03-30-2009, 06:02 PM
 
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I would also recommend The Womanly Art of BF, although I wasn't a big fan of the non-breastfeeding related chapters, everything about BF'ing was sooo helpful. My dd was a great nurser, thankfully, but I think at least part of my success was due to that book.
Also, I hear what you're saying about formula being easier than nursing, BUT as a word of encouragement, I nursed dd for 7 months and then quit for a lot of dumb reasons and switched to all formula. Having done both let me just say: nursing is WAY WAY easier once you're established and have supply issues and pain issues under control. I am very much looking forward to nursing the full year with #2 now that I know from experience that FF is NOT easier (like I said, once nursing is well-established).
Good luck mama!!

Wife to dh and mama to : dd (7/08) and ds (11/09)
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:15 PM
 
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Well the first step is really wanted to breastfeed! Which you already have down..

Have a support system...even if you don't know someone in real life who has breastfed successfully, there are many online forums - here, and on cafemom and babycenter and others - with people who are offering help if you just post your question or problem when it arises. You have to also be wary of Dr.s and family members who are not supportive of breastfeeding - I know of many people who had family members who stayed w/ them and they would push the mother to give formula and create doubt in her mind every time the baby cried, and I've heard of so much bad advice from peds.

Know what is normal for newborns breastfeeding... you've already had one, so I'm sure you know this by now, but... The first few days are CRUCIAL. Try to establish a good nursing relationship early, nurse your baby within the first hour of birth if you can. They will constantly want to nurse - and this is NORMAL - it doesn't mean they are starving. It is their natural way to make your milk come in. Don't offer pacifiers or bottles, but continually make your breasts available even if you are thinking "I JUSt fed the baby, how can it be hungry again!?" This is why cosleeping is works well for many nursing moms...or it will be hard to get much sleep.

Just try to stick it out as long as you can...newborn breastfed babies only need a very small amount per feeding, but they do eat more frequently. They can lose up to 10-20% of birth weight in those first few days and be just fine. Think of all the positives of breastfeeding and negatives/risks of formula feeding and set small goals - if I can just make it to 1 week. Then you reassess and make another small goal, I just want to make it to 3 weeks, etc.

Well a friend of mine posted her ideas on her blog and wrote them much more gracefully than I did, anyone wanting to nurse their next baby should definitely check it out!
http://custommademilk.wordpress.com/...breastfeeding/
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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You've already gotten some great advice. I would add that if you are birthing at a hospital, to make sure they have lactation consultants. With ds, the lactation consultants had rounds with all of the new moms and babies so each morning we got some advice and hands-on help, which made a big difference.

We ended up going back to their offices for a consultation when he was a few weeks old. Our ped wrote a prescription for it (at our request) and so our insurance paid for the visit, although it was so helpful, I would have paid for it myself just to get a more in-depth lesson.

When ds was 9 months old, our ped told us that he wasn't gaining enough weight and strongly advised us to stop nursing and start formula. But since I had such a great nursing foundation built and knew that the resource was available, we had him write another prescription for more consultations with the Lactation ladies and as a team, we worked with the ped on a plan to increase his weight while staying away from formula.

All that to say, Lactation Consultations are great resources so find some near you that you're comfortable with. They are worth their weight in gold!
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2NovBabes View Post
Well the first step is really wanted to breastfeed! Which you already have down..

Have a support system...even if you don't know someone in real life who has breastfed successfully, there are many online forums - here, and on cafemom and babycenter and others - with people who are offering help if you just post your question or problem when it arises.

Just try to stick it out as long as you can...newborn breastfed babies only need a very small amount per feeding, but they do eat more frequently. They can lose up to 10-20% of birth weight in those first few days and be just fine. Think of all the positives of breastfeeding and negatives/risks of formula feeding and set small goals - if I can just make it to 1 week. Then you reassess and make another small goal, I just want to make it to 3 weeks, etc.
Want to say: : to finding a support system I wish SO much that I had had someone nearby who had nursed long term...well technically I did, but no one I felt really comfortable with or who could relate to my PT working issues with it (all my friends are SAHM's).
AND: small goals!! That's how I made it even to 7 months...I committed to 1 month at a time.

Wife to dh and mama to : dd (7/08) and ds (11/09)
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:49 AM
 
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I have had 3 very different experiences BFing-- here they are in a nutshell:

DD1: I had a LOT of pain (very unusual) until she was 8 weeks old. I suffered through that time, but she gained weight fine. I thought that was really hard, but I admit that I never considered FF because my mom drilled it into me that nursing was superior.

DD2: She was born with an extremely weak suck resulting in an inability to transfer milk efficiently-- she did not gain weight well. I worked my butt off night and day (researching, pumping, seeing LCs), and even LLL (La Leche League) leaders said she probably wouldn't be able to nurse. I was thisclose to saying, OK, we move to formula but our dedication paid off. By 6 weeks, she was nursing full-time and turned into a chubby baby.

DD3: My dream nurser. She latched on like an expert, had a good strong, suck, and I had no problems at all.

While in the first 2 cases, I had a tough time (esp. with DD2-- it was so hard in so many ways) but it PAID OFF-- but it did TAKE TIME. It can take a lot of time, a lot of knowledge, and a lot of support, or not, as in the case of my 3rd DD.

I read a study that said the father's opinion about BFing makes a huge difference in whether or not a mom sticks with it. My DH, while not opposed to FF, knew how important BFing was to me, so I am eternally grateful that he stuck by my side and encouraged me. That is what you need--- watch some videos on www.breastfeeding.com, go to LLL meetings, and get the # of an LC that someone recommends, just in case. You can do it!

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Old 03-31-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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A new book just came out Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy with amazing pictures. I had trouble -- sore/cracked nipples with my first but am now still breastfeeding after 2.5 years. I got this book and the pictures explain SO MUCH more and I can see what I was doing wrong.

https://www.lifeforcefamilyhealth.co...eding_book.htm
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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My saving grace was Star, my lactation consultant at the hospital. She showed me all the holds & offered tons of information and advice. But it wasn't until she actually shoved my baby's face into my boob & held him there that he started breastfeeding. She swore up & down that my milk had come in but it really hadn't, just colustrum (which is GREAT for baby). My milk didn't come in until a few days later. She also gave me gel packs, they really help with sore nipples.
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:21 PM
 
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In keeping with the DDC Guidelines, I'm moving this to our fabulous breastfeeding forum.

Flowers, fairies, gardens, and rainbows-- Seasons of Joy: 10 weeks of crafts, handwork, painting, coloring, circle time, fairy tales, and more!
Check out the blog for family fun, homeschooling, books, simple living, and 6 fabulous children, including twin toddlers

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Old 03-31-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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Make sure your partner is 100% supportive of your decision. It is NOT helpful to have someone barking at you that you should just give the kid a bottle when its 3am and neither of you have had ANY sleep for a week. I do not speak from experience on this, but I know women who have gone through it. You start to second guess yourself if the child's father is griping about how you made the wrong decision. So be sure to talk to your husband first and agree on a system ahead of time. If I were you, dont even keep formual in the house JUST IN CASE. And if he offers to run to the store in the middle of the night, say thanks, but NO THANKS, this WILL WORK.

GOOD LUCK and God Speed!
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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What they said, and I think bf'ing is going well for us because:

LLL - I started going when I was like 16 weeks, but it was a good place to ask questions/get support/make contacts

Determination - the decision just WAS, there was no discussion about whether

Power through - those first two weeks are mentally exhausting, but hang in there, I know you can do it!

Get support - make sure you have someone checking with you within a few hours to be sure it's going well. Latch can be a pain really fast!

Drink lots of water.

Mama to Nov '08 and June '10
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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I haven't breastfed yet, but I am really enjoying The Nursing Mother's Companion.

Alicia, wife to an loving and faithful DH, and mama to three fantastic though nutty children (cs, then an HBAC, then a VBAC!!).
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:09 AM
 
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I'm going to echo the advice about getting a lactation consultant. If you're giving birth at a hospital, they may have lactation consultants, or the nurses might be trained as lactation experts, which is really helpful- but I recommend finding one specific lactation consultant on your own as well... I found that I got different advice from every nurse at the hospital during my three day stay, and if I hadn't had my own lactation consultant who I trusted above all others, I might have felt overwhelmed and frustrated.

I also recommend finding some kind of breastfeeding support group- it's just great to connect with other moms, hear what they're going through, share stories, etc.

I don't have any suggestions about getting your milk to come in more quickly, but I think a comfy mama is a mama who is more likely to continue breastfeeding, so make sure you have plenty of nipple cream, some really nice nursing bras, and some hot/cold compresses. Stay hydrated, eat well, and all that good stuff. Hope it goes well this time around! Kudos to you for wanting to try again!
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:54 AM
 
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Awesome advice you have received so far.

I agree a lot with determination and really setting it in your mind. When I was pregnant and started receiving formula sample and coupons I gave them all away. I didn't want any of it in the house.

Equip yourself with a TON of knowledge. This way when any nay-sayers try to talk you into FF you can offer up information as to why BF is important and better to do. I have found knowledge has kept me more sound in standing my ground.

Good Luck!!!

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Old 04-01-2009, 10:27 AM
 
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Just wanted to add that it will make it a lot easier if you don't have the baby circumcised. A traumatic experience and a painful open wound on his genitals will make it harder for him to nurse.

+ = and .
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:37 AM
 
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The first thing is to understand that babies who are just a couple or few days old need almost nothing to eat. Their tummies are the size of a fingernail. They nurse to get what little colostrum you have - which is PLENTY for them - and to stimulate your breasts to make milk when they're ready for that. There is no reason to give a baby that young formula.

Second, I would get some lanolin and starting from day one, put some on your nipples EVERY SINGLE TIME after the baby nurses. I did that this time and it was SO much easier than last time. There was still pain, but not nearly as bad. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Let a tiny baby nurse as often as he/she wants. Don't limit or look at the clock.

Let your breasts get air as much as possible in addition to the lanolin.

And go to LLL meetings and see a lactation consultant - preferably one not connected to a hospital - for advice.

It is hard, but it's only hard for a few weeks. If you can get through those few weeks, it will be easy.

I really like the book "So That's What They're For" because I love how fun it is to read in addition to how good the information is. It's good great information and is just a well written book and entertaining.
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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hi!
congrats to you!!!
my advice is this:

be naked with your baby on you. get wild. don't use perfumes or heavily scented shampoos. drink lots of water. eat good food. have your baby on you most of the time. get rid of clocks, watches and any time-measuring device. expose your nipples to fresh air. wipe with only water after feeding. let your baby suck as long as he wants, don't worry about switching to the other breast after so many minutes. don't expect him to follow any particular rhythm.
did i say be naked as much as possible? let hormones do the job. watch your baby suck. babymoon as much as you can!!!
having your partners support is also esential
good luck to you mama!!
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:18 AM
 
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Have support.! even if its from strangers! make sure that you have numbers to call.

Also dont have formula in your mind at all! If they tell you to supplement... you do not have to listen.. just tell them that its not an option!

come here!! and get some encouragement and advise when ever you need it!
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:28 PM
 
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And go to LLL meetings and see a lactation consultant - preferably one not connected to a hospital - for advice.
I think it depends . . .the hospital LC helped me AFTER I was discharged. She ID'd the problem other LCs did not, and then helped me find a specialist LC, who ultimately solved the problem via cranial-sacral therapy. We probably wouldn't have succeeded without this referral.

 2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11 wave.gif

 

 

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Old 04-01-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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Well the first step is really wanted to breastfeed! Which you already have down..

Have a support system...even if you don't know someone in real life who has breastfed successfully, there are many online forums - here, and on cafemom and babycenter and others - with people who are offering help if you just post your question or problem when it arises. You have to also be wary of Dr.s and family members who are not supportive of breastfeeding - I know of many people who had family members who stayed w/ them and they would push the mother to give formula and create doubt in her mind every time the baby cried, and I've heard of so much bad advice from peds.

Know what is normal for newborns breastfeeding... you've already had one, so I'm sure you know this by now, but... The first few days are CRUCIAL. Try to establish a good nursing relationship early, nurse your baby within the first hour of birth if you can. They will constantly want to nurse - and this is NORMAL - it doesn't mean they are starving. It is their natural way to make your milk come in. Don't offer pacifiers or bottles, but continually make your breasts available even if you are thinking "I JUSt fed the baby, how can it be hungry again!?" This is why cosleeping is works well for many nursing moms...or it will be hard to get much sleep.

Just try to stick it out as long as you can...newborn breastfed babies only need a very small amount per feeding, but they do eat more frequently. They can lose up to 10-20% of birth weight in those first few days and be just fine. Think of all the positives of breastfeeding and negatives/risks of formula feeding and set small goals - if I can just make it to 1 week. Then you reassess and make another small goal, I just want to make it to 3 weeks, etc.

Well a friend of mine posted her ideas on her blog and wrote them much more gracefully than I did, anyone wanting to nurse their next baby should definitely check it out!
http://custommademilk.wordpress.com/...breastfeeding/

Mama to lovely twin girls 1/08
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:34 PM
 
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hi!
congrats to you!!!
my advice is this:

be naked with your baby on you. get wild. don't use perfumes or heavily scented shampoos. drink lots of water. eat good food. have your baby on you most of the time. get rid of clocks, watches and any time-measuring device. expose your nipples to fresh air. wipe with only water after feeding. let your baby suck as long as he wants, don't worry about switching to the other breast after so many minutes. don't expect him to follow any particular rhythm.
did i say be naked as much as possible? let hormones do the job. watch your baby suck. babymoon as much as you can!!!
having your partners support is also esential
good luck to you mama!!
:t humb

Mama to lovely twin girls 1/08
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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I found it helpful not to have bottles or formula in the house at all. My ds's second night he was crying and I just KNEW he was hungry. If I'd have had formula in the house, I'd have probably broken down and given him some. And, b/c my dh was sleeping just as little as I was, I felt too guilty to send him out to get any. The next day my milk started coming in, so the problem resolved itself.

Wife to an amazing man love.gif, mommy to 3 wild dudes: ds1 (5/23/05 @ 30 weeks), ds2 (3/5/09) hbac.gif, and ds3 (9/26/10) hbac.gif. Part time librarianread.gif, full time mommysupermod.gif, occasional chef and maid.

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Old 04-01-2009, 03:43 PM
 
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I think it depends . . .the hospital LC helped me AFTER I was discharged. She ID'd the problem other LCs did not, and then helped me find a specialist LC, who ultimately solved the problem via cranial-sacral therapy. We probably wouldn't have succeeded without this referral.
There certainly are good hospital LCs, but I've met some who are hospital employees first and LCs second. I think the odds are better you'll get a good one if you get away from the hospital. In the hospital, it's potentially just a means for a nurse to get advancement. (I've seen that, too.) Outside of the hospital, it's a job someone probably only took because she has a strong interest in breastfeeding.
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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I've realized that breastfeeding is way harder in the beginning but
:

Yup. Just accept that it may be a miserable experience at first. (Not necessarily... I said it "may" be.) It will get better! IOW, just "suck it up at first." BFing was the single hardest thing I've ever done.

Yes, beware negative people who may sabotage you.

I'm going to go against the grain here & say - also, beware bad Lactation Consultants who could also make life worse. I had awful LCs. (Yes, they were all hospital-based.) They made things much worse for me. There's no doubt in my mind I would have been better off if I'd just done a ton of reading & internet research & posted here from the start.
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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I'm going to go against the grain here & say - also, beware bad Lactation Consultants who could also make life worse. I had awful LCs. (Yes, they were all hospital-based.) They made things much worse for me. There's no doubt in my mind I would have been better off if I'd just done a ton of reading & internet research & posted here from the start.
I was to afraid to say this, but I agree 110%. I have never found any use for any LC I have ever met. Thats not to say that I think their arent any good ones out there, but I gave up with my first child, and had consulted three different LC's. With DS2, I am still going strong with nothing more then advice and encouragement right here from the ladies of EXPERIENCE at MDC!

PS. If your LC tells you "if it hurts, you arent doing it right" she is lying through her TEETH! Its going to hurt at first. PERIOD.
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:15 PM
 
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I was to afraid to say this, but I agree 110%. I have never found any use for any LC I have ever met.
In their defense, i think a lot of hospital LCs have to walk the line between promoting breastfeeding and "customer service". Although what I needed to hear was, "it's going to really be hard at first to adjust" but they have to sorta "sugar-coat" it to sell it to moms who might be hesitant to try it at all, kwim?

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I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!

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Old 04-01-2009, 05:31 PM
 
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I was to afraid to say this, but I agree 110%.
I've never been a lady who's afraid to say anything. As a matter of fact, I think my LCs were so awful, I wrote a detailed letter to the hospital to outline precisely who I think they're services were inadequate. I posted it on the Birth Pros forum for feedback too.

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Originally Posted by Barbie64g View Post
PS. If your LC tells you "if it hurts, you arent doing it right" she is lying through her TEETH! Its going to hurt at first. PERIOD.
YES! EXACTLY! THIS is why I say they made things worse. This is a synopsis of my interaction with my LCs:
  • My nipples hurt so bad. I had a totally natural birth, this is way worse!
  • OK, sore nipples are due to a bad latch. Let's see your latch.
  • <Meg demos the latch she's been using from the start>
  • Latch looks good!
  • Um... ok... but the pain...
  • The pain is due to a bad latch.


Honestly, I started to feel like I must just be an IDIOT because I was in pain. Or there must be something WRONG with me or my nipples or my son's mouth. It was frustrating. They just added emotional distress to my physical pain by making me think it was my fault, but not helping me fix it.

Not only that, but they didn't give me tips to relieve the pain. How anyone with a heart can look at a woman in tears in pain & not give her ONE FLIPPIN' LITTLE TIP on pain relief is beyond me! I found out about gel packs & Medela "soft shells" from my DH Googling "sore nipples" for me. I've got a great man. When MULTIPLE trained pros (4 total) are less helpful than a man with Google (and NO other prior knowledge), I'd call that a problem.

If I'd just known a head of time, "It may be painful for weeks, just suck it up & deal with it, it'll get better." the experience wouldn't have been nearly so traumatic.

ETA - Not shy as I am, I even TOLD these ladies how frustrating it was that they kept saying, "Sore nipples are due to a bad latch." because it made me feel like I must just be a - up and they STILL said it minutes later! I think I audibly growled at that & then stopped going back to see them...
Then I went to an LLL meeting after that & one of them was there. So I won't be going back there either.
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShwarmaQueen View Post
In their defense, i think a lot of hospital LCs have to walk the line between promoting breastfeeding and "customer service". Although what I needed to hear was, "it's going to really be hard at first to adjust" but they have to sorta "sugar-coat" it to sell it to moms who might be hesitant to try it at all, kwim?
Good point about why an LC might not admit the truth that some pain is totally normal when she is, for example, teaching the BF-class to PG mamas at the hospital.

But there's no excuse for the behavior of the ladies I dealt with. I went back to them about every 2-3 days during my DS' first 2 weeks. I TOLD them I was stubborn & not giving up. I TOLD them how frustrating it was to hear "It shouldn't hurt." because when it DID continue to hurt, I heard that as, "Meg, you're a screw-up."

They could have finally admitted to me that my experience was within the realm of normal & once my nipples were cracked, I would continue to have pain for up to 4-6 more weeks while continuing to BF.

My experience was so traumatic that, to this day, 8 mos later, I still doubt that it was the right decision for me to keep going. It was THAT horrible. If only they'd said, "yeah, it sucks, I'm sorry, but it's like natural birth - often painful, but worth it in the end. Keep on keepin' on Mama!" What a world of difference that would have made.

It was only Alegna on here who said she had lots of pain for a full 6 weeks & just stick with it. I'm still grateful to her for posting. That was such a comfort.

Sorry to rant on... just hopefully someone learns from reading about my miserable experience so they can avoid it.
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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I have heard many times, "I had to quit. I saw the lactation consultant at the hospital, and she said my latch must have been wrong because it hurt. He just couldn't seem to latch right, so we stopped nursing." Very common.
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