What was your biggest breastfeeding challenge? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-28-2013, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Help us compile a helpful resource for moms by telling us about your biggest breastfeeding challenge and how you overcame it (or didn't). Please share helpful tips, resources etc and we'll share them with the community in an article (we won't share your name in the article). 

 

Can't wait to hear your experiences! Thanks. 

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Old 03-01-2013, 01:29 AM
 
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Mine was being 'OK' with using the nipple shield. There is such stigma attached to it as if its some 'fake crutch' or you'll lose your milk... but it has been the only thing that finally gave me a successful breastfeeding relationship. At 4 months baby finally latched on with out it. 10 months old and still nursing. I never made it longer than 2 weeks before. 


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Old 03-01-2013, 03:30 AM
 
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Getting him to latch and nurse long. He would latch take 10 sucks then pull off. I would count and if I got to 15 I knew we were home free. But man that could take a long time.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:59 AM
 
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My inverted/flat nipples. Baby was never able to latch, not even with nipple shields and lots of help from a LC. I couldn't establish my supply through exclusive pumping, so we wound up formula feeding. 

 

I still feel sad about it because I was very motivated to BF and I couldn't make it happen. I'm worried that the same thing will happen with subsequent babies and that I'll turn out to be one of those rare women who'll never be able to breastfeed. 

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Old 03-01-2013, 04:23 AM
 
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The pain when the baby is latched on and pulls away. She does this several times a feed. When I started BF and my nipples were very sore the pain was enough to make me gasp. Now it still hurts when she does it but my nipples aren't as raw so I can handle it better.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:25 PM
 
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The nursing aversion. DD just would not nurse. I think the nurses and I at the hospital were pushing it too much and she would just scream when touching my skin greensad.gif. I started EPing, gave her bottles and after weeks of struggling with a now dipping supply, I saw an LC. At 10 weeks we were able to charm DD back to the breast! Kellymom has a great section on nursing strikes and using paced bottle feeding to give DD an experience closer to nursing and nipple shields to simulate the bottle nipple, we got her to latch! I'd give her a bottle then casually offer the breast an hour later. This way she wasn't starving and was relaxed and ready to try. Id also not let her get upset at the breast. If she started fussing, the session was over and id offer tiny bit of milkfrom a bottle. For weeks she needed the shield but at one point it fell off and she just kept going. She was about 12 or 14 weeks old by the time she was EBF but she's still nursing now at 23 months despite my pregnancy.
My biggest tip is to use any tools or resources you can find if you're struggling. I did it all: pump, nipple shield, LC consultation, bottles, finger feeding, formula supplementation, even domperidone for supply. It was a ton of hard work and I had a healthy term baby and no obvious physical problems. Nursing is a skill and although instincts can guide you and baby, there is no substitute for hands on help from an experienced woman who has been there.
I'm a different mom now and feel confident that my second child will have an easier start nursing. I have experience to draw on and know just how easy and how difficult breastfeeding can be. With my first I was in a vacuum. The women in my family all formula fed and had no pointers for me. I think a big part of many women's struggles with nursing is the lack of experienced role models in the family/community.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:28 PM
 
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Cracked nipples.  Oh, the pain!  It happened with ds2 and ds3 and with ds2 I called the crack on my right side the Grand Canyon b/c it was the entire length of my nipple and DEEP.  With ds3 it looked more like a hole. *shivers in rememberance* Anyway, I aired them as much as I could, used lots of lanolin, and just gritted my teeth through the pain (literally).  Really, that's all you can do.  Once you fix the problem that caused the crack (in my instance it was one long nursing session right after birth where I let them latch on improperly b/c I was exausted), it starts healing.  I think it took about a week and a half for the toe curling pain at latch on to subside.


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Old 03-02-2013, 12:59 PM
 
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Goodness... Reading the above makes me feel very lucky... For me it is the fact that I feel very "different" because I'm nursing past 1 year. I'm in Ireland and Breastfeeding past 6 months seems to be rare.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:04 PM
 
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My biggest challenge was getting thrush on my nipples that quickly developed into eczema when my nursing toddler was 2 years old. My healthcare practitioners would just tell me to stop nursing....after all my kid was 2 already. However, my kid was not ready to wean. And while not nursing would mean I wouldn't be in pain, the eczema would still be there. The skin on my nipples would get puffy, red, cracked, and slough off...especially after eating a bowl of pasta. This led me to a gluten free diet for about a year, which helped with the worst but it never really got better. It was horrible.

I finally found a dermatologist at a new healthcare system when I switched my insurance to have a birth center within the university hospital for my 2nd baby. He quickly determined that in fact I did start out with thrush, and the thrush medication just did not work so I developed eczema within a week and it just got worse from there. The dermatologist prescribed me something like a triple nipple cream: out of the shower first apply the cortisone cream, then antibiotic ointment (but it turns out I'm allergic to that now, as well as lanolin), then an emollient like Vaseline. We also discovered mold in our laundry room around this time and had it remediated. A few weeks after the mold in our home was gone, and I had been applying the cortisone cream and Vaseline twice per day (on very clean skin out of the shower) at least an hour before nursing, I was able to eat gluten again with no problems and the eczema has not returned. Yay!

I quickly discovered after the birth of my second that I absolutely cannot use lanolin. I developed a rash right away. So I used olive oil instead.

Oh, and a minor problem I had when starting out nursing my first is that he just did not want to latch on. He would arch his head the other way and get all fussy, like he just didn't want anything to do with me. But I was way too tired to even consider pumping and bottles. So I would let him suck on my pinky then carefully bait and switch with my nipple. Totally worked.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:45 PM
 
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Posterior tongue tie. Was very hard to catch- most pediatricians can't figure it out. Saw three LC's- the third figured it out. My DD's latch was incredibly painful until I got her TT released. My nipples looked like the tips of lipsticks. Ouch! Dr. Dahl in NYC did the first release, but didn't cut enough. Dr. Kotlow, a ped dentist from Albany, NY, who is a saint in my opinion and works closely with LC's doing research, repeated the TT release using a laser at 11 weeks and we never looked back. Still breastfeeding at 25 months. Thank you Dr. Kotlow!
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:49 AM
 
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Yes! Tongue ties, especially hard-to-find posterior tongue ties, are the culprit in sooo many issues. My son had an undiagnosed one that caused tons of nipple damage and pain and I have had lots of clients with babies who needed revision. Unfortunately, most peds don't know enough about the subject to identify them and/or don't think they are a problem. I have also met mamas who have had problems because a tongue tie was released insufficiently and needed to be re-revised. PLEASE consider doing an article on tongue tie - it would be a huge help to so many women. In fact, I'd be willing to write it if you need someone! Dr. Kotlow would be a great resource as well as Jennifer Tow, IBCLC.

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Old 03-03-2013, 10:51 AM
 
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For us it wasn't one big challenge, but about a dozen smaller obstacles all at once.  The first week was very rough, then our midwife got us some excellent advice from an awesome LC, and this put us on the right track within two days.

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Old 03-03-2013, 11:06 AM
 
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We had a difficult beginning, with flat nipples, oversupply, forceful let down, mastitis, thrush and cow's milk intolerance all cropping up in the first four weeks. By 8 weeks we had dealt with all of it with the help of a wonderful pediatrician and lots of support. Transitioning back to work and pumping full time was surprisingly not difficult. And we settled into a very comfortable breastfeeding relationship for the rest of the year.

Perhaps a bigger issue arose in the second year when my husband, who was never truly comfortable with breastfeeding, really started to withdraw his support and push for weaning. I had to rely a lot on the support of friends and family most significantly my mother in law and we made it to 2 years. Of course it changed the relationship between myself and my husband but the experience help to increase our communication skills and trust each other.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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Had multiple issues. Milk came in too fast and became engorged (ow). Took two weeks to be able to get my supply sort of going with pumping and trying to nurse. Pain from cracked and bleeding nipples (allergic to lanolin) - mothercare and earthmamaangelbaby both make a fantastic lanolin free nipple cream. After things had sort of settled... my son had been on formula and pumped milk. Over the next month worked on weening him off formula and just nursing. He had a painfully strong latch at first that hurt so bad. (Also during those two weeks had mastitis and thrush- yay). But through tears and sheer stubbornness to want to exclusively breastfeed... at week 6, my son was officially exclusively nursing. And has been ever since. Im so thankful smile.gif
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohemianmama21 View Post

Pain from cracked and bleeding nipples (allergic to lanolin) - mothercare and earthmamaangelbaby both make a fantastic lanolin free nipple cream.

I had no idea there are other products for nipples. My husband was actually the one to realize I had a lanolin allergy after reading a Mothering article about allergens in cosmetics, lanolin being a top one. I had the worst rash on my nipples on top of the thrush/eczema. Thanks for the product info.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohemianmama21 View Post

Had multiple issues. Milk came in too fast and became engorged (ow). Took two weeks to be able to get my supply sort of going with pumping and trying to nurse. Pain from cracked and bleeding nipples (allergic to lanolin) - mothercare and earthmamaangelbaby both make a fantastic lanolin free nipple cream. After things had sort of settled... my son had been on formula and pumped milk. Over the next month worked on weening him off formula and just nursing. He had a painfully strong latch at first that hurt so bad. (Also during those two weeks had mastitis and thrush- yay). But through tears and sheer stubbornness to want to exclusively breastfeed... at week 6, my son was officially exclusively nursing. And has been ever since. Im so thankful smile.gif

Good for you! That is the best BF story I've heard! smile.gif
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:56 AM
 
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Mine has been dealing with painful slices in my nipples! Not just little cracks, but open sliced skin! Scabbing, oozzing, itching...My first baby who nursed until 2 yrs (she is now almost 4) there was not one problem, so when I had my second, only 3 months after I had stopped nursing my first, I thought I'd just breeze right into it! That was not the case! From day one it has been exrutiatingly painful, I talked to my doctor, midwife's, pediatrician, and lactation consultants. Tried nipple shields, ointments, pumping, thrush treatments, NOTHING worked and no one knew what the problem was??? At 3 months I had a culture taken from my nipples, it came back positive for a mellow case of staph? But no one seemed to be too worried about it...except for me..the one in pain! I finally got a prescription for what they call APNO triple nipple ointment..gold in a jar..I have been using it for almost 18 months now, if I don't use it for even 1 day, my nipples start to itch and next thing you know, their cracking open again! Ouch! Anyways, to shorten this up a bit, breast feeding my babies has always been such a bonding and special thing, also I feel the healthiest choice I could give them, so just because I was and have been, in pain, didn't mean I could just give up! So I've just been taking it a day at a time, which believe me, it flys by!!!! So past the tears, biting, teething, and pain! I've still managed to stick it out!!! 18 months and going strong! If any one else has had this happen it'd be great to hear about! No one else I talk to has ever even heard of it! Which makes it hard to figure out!!! Thanks
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:35 AM
 
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I had pretty painful engorgement after about three days that lasted a little over a week. Was superpainful, very swollen and hot. I used icepacks after feeding and hot compress beforehand. I tried to pump but it made thiings worse so I just waited it out. Eventually it went away. My second challenege has been forceful let down. It literaly gags my LO greensad.gif I did a lot of research and now I feed on one side about 1-3 times or a four hour period then switch. Initially i would switch with each feed. After about three days it seems to be working. If one breast is a little engorged I hand express (it literally used to shoot across the room!).
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:56 AM
 
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Cracked nipples and associated pain at the beginning with my first, and also persistent oversupply problems,
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:07 AM
 
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At the start, my sleepy & small (5lb4oz at birth) newborn had a hard time staying awake at the breast and had a hard time latching onto my one flat nipple too. She would latch onto the other like a champ, but then would give a few half-hearted sucks and fall asleep. And at first, being a new nursing mom, I didn't realized that those sucks were really just comfort sucking, not nutritive sucking, or I would have started sooner to try and get her to wake up and really suck. I do wish I had gotten a LC in to see us right away, she didn't get in until I was about to leave the hospital as I gave birth on the weekend and I think with immediate LC help I might have avoided the problem entirely. I did end up supplementing her with formula for a few weeks, but we stuck with the breast too and slowly weaned off formula not ever to have to use it again! I think knowing what I know now, I would have tried harder to pump for her instead of supplementing, but I was so tired and overwhelmed, I dunno if I would have been able to. I'm glad I knew enough to feed her at the breast first always at each feeding and only supplementing after if she still seemed hungry so I didn't sabotage our nursing relationship!

My other challenge was I went back to work FT at 16 weeks and pumped milk for her while she was at daycare. Keeping up was challenging at times as my body liked to be very efficient. I am glad I was lucky enough to have an awesome pumping setup and I even was able to pump the few times I traveled for work while she was still BFing. Doing my research ahead of time, the occasional Fenugreek & power pumping, renting a pump while they replaced my still under warranty pump that the motor died on, and making pumping a priority all made it so I was successful. I never had a big freezer stash, but I always had enough for my DD!

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Old 03-04-2013, 01:05 PM
 
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After 3 months of nursing I started having trouble producing milk from my left breast. I went to the doctors, got the tests done etc with no idea what was wrong. Now I have only one milk producing breast. I have been EBF for 8 months. It can be done. I want people to know you can do it. It was and still is very hard. Because she nurses to sleep and naps and for comfort my one breast gets very sore. Also, my one breast is always so much bigger and it looks awkward. I am sometimes very embarrassed. This has been a very big challenge. But there was one more challenge. At about month two I really felt like I was 'confind to my rocking nursing chair'. I want people to know that that period ends quickly you get better at it and so does your baby and it then takes very little time to nurse whenever and where ever. 

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Old 03-04-2013, 03:08 PM
 
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I had a sleepy baby with a disorganized suck, a horrible LC, conflicting advice, uncooperative breasts, little support, and probably a bit of depression thrown in there about it all.

 

I ended up EP'ing with the help of domperidone and being able to produce some milk for 10.5 months before I just couldn't physically and emotionally do it anymore.  He got about half and half breastmilk and formula.  I could have done worse.  shy.gif

 

Hoping this time around is better, of course.  My breasts are waaay fuller for this pregnancy I'm going to take that as some sort of sign.  Don't tell me it's not.  lol.gif


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Old 03-04-2013, 03:55 PM
 
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GISDiva, you are amazing. I was going nuts with 10 weeks of EP; I can't imagine what it was like for you! Big hugs!
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:31 AM
 
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I could only produce 3 ounces a day. That's it. We started seeing LC's from day one and everyday for two solid weeks, including the great Kathleen Huggins herself! We tried supplements, I drank the tea, I pumped after nursing every two hours, and drank so much water. My husband worked 13 hour days ao i was alone most of the day, everyday. After three weeks of this I was so heartbroken that I could not feed my daughter. I ended up being put on medication and that's when I decided to EFF. My little girl is a healthy, happy, 9 week old beauty. I feel like I'm a better mom because I'm not falling apart all day trying to feed her now. However, I don't think I'll ever fully get over not being able to give her the best
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:26 PM
 
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right now!

tandem nursing a 3 year old and a 3 month old.

the boys love to nurse, but sometimes the sheer time and patience it takes from me to be nursing both boys on demand (im stay at home mom & a solo parent!) is very tiring.

 

i know this is the best thing for them & i am so glad that i am able to provide these years of moments full of unconditional loving mothering care.

i hope that someone will read this and see that you can nurse through a pregnancy & beyond if your children need you to.

and nevermind those odd stares you get on the park bench. your kids are worth more than some strangers' uninformed judgement!

ha

 

but it is still challenging! mothers are awesome.


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Old 03-06-2013, 12:16 PM
 
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LOVE your post kyne! :-)
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:00 AM
 
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For my first ds, I also struggled with him taking my right breast and he ended up only nursing from my left breast for almost 4 years.  So yes it can be done but it sure did a number on my breasts.  I struggled with uneven breasts and trying to get them to 'look right' which was a battle but my vanity didn't stop me from nursing exclusively for the almost four years.  Our other struggle was that he refused a bottle so I couldn't return to work as scheduled.  I had to go back PT and only my mother and sister could watch ds since he refused to eat at all if I was away.  He would go 6 hours between feedings at 4 months during the day so I was at least able to go back to work.  As the primary income for the household, it was a huge financial stressful situation.  Lastly, with ds not taking a bottle, paci, just my left breast, I would experience resentment regularly because I was the only source of food, comfort and security for ds.  He was very high needs and I had accept him for who he was/is which 9 years later, he is an amazing young man.  

 

For my second ds, an emergency csection, slow to come in milk supply, breast aversion, fatigue from my 'advanced' age (lol) since it was 9 years since my first son was born... all contributed to a rough start.  I worked HARD pumping around the clock to get to almost 100% ebm for my son.  We still go through cycles based on my ability to produce where he'll be sometimes getting 50% ebm 50% formula.  My hormone levels seem to affect my production a lot.  So certain times of the month, I'm pumping 1/2 of what I may pump the next week.  I'm happy to say we've made it 4 1/2 months now and my goal of EP till 6 months may get pushed to 9 months because I'm so used to pumping 7-8 times per day and it works for us.  

 

I went through some really rough emotions coming to grips with my lack of bf'ing ds2.  But he has a whole different expectation for his emotional needs and how he prefers to be comforted.  I've also never had a baby that would SLEEP in a crib, let alone NOT in my arms... one that is comfortable fussing for a few minutes then putting himself to sleep and can end up fussing MORE if I'm holding him.  The amazing difference between my boys has opened my eyes to the extreme personality differences and how I can appreciate both boys for who they are.  


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Old 03-07-2013, 01:05 PM
 
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Hands down, biggest issue was milk protein allergy with my first child.  I was a serious dairy drinker/eater and it was really hard to adjust at first, and then exhausting to maintain the label reading, cooking most of my own food, etc. that came along with it.  But I did it for almost 18 months until she could tolerate some dairy in my diet (we nursed for 28 months total).  And it led to a lot of positive dietary changes in my family, we eat very little dairy now and follow a mostly plant-based diet.

 

I also struggled with pain from cracked and bleeding nipples due to poor latch in the beginning- but changing my diet was harder!

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Old 03-07-2013, 01:09 PM
 
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My biggest challenge was having a premature baby. I was determined for her to have breast milk only. Emotionally it was so hard to sit in my hospital room and pump instead of being able to nurse my baby. She was able to come home after 2 weeks in the NICU but still wasn't strong enough to nurse until she was 6 weeks old. Every 2-3 hours I would pump then try to nurse her so she could get the hang of it. It was the longest 6 weeks of my life but in that moment when I knew she was latched on and was really nursing it was such an overwhelming feeling of joy! Never give up!
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:11 PM
 
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These are so helpful! As a soon-to-be first-time mom, I am trying to prepare for anything and setting up LC resources in advance. Of all the new adjustments, I think I'm more concerned and overwhelmed by the issues that can crop up with BFing. 

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