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.
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.
Daughter of Him, Wife and Mother to them ,
One more on the way Fall 2013
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.
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.
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.
Wife to an amazing man , mommy to 3 wild dudes: ds1 (5/23/05 @ 30 weeks), ds2 (3/5/09) , and ds3 (9/26/10) . Part time librarian, full time mommy, occasional chef and maid.
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.
Fledgling midwife on hiatus, Wife to B, mama to C (c/s 12/04) and S (12/07), m/c (3/12) and expecting another bean 6/13 .
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.
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.
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.
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
Good for you! That is the best BF story I've heard!
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!
Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13
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.
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.
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.
WOHM to Leo (4/08) and enjoying the journey with DH
Announcing the arrival of Clara in August 2013!
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!
but it is still challenging! mothers are awesome.
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.
Rhianna momma to ds #1 - 9 & ds #2 - born 10/22/2012
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!
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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