Welcome to our second Natural Family Living discussion; Baby’s Early Years; Breastfeeding. This discussion will key in on Part 2 – Baby’s Early Years; Breastfeeding from Peggy O’Mara’s book Natural Family Living.
Some of the topics we'll discuss are;
- Advantages to Breastfeeding
- The Politics of Breastfeeding
- Getting Started
- Nursing on Cue Versus Scheduled Feedings
- Worries About Milk Supply
- Overcoming Difficulties
- Drugs and Breastfeeding
- The Breastfeeding Father
- Sex and Breastfeeding (keeping it family friendly of course )
- Social Support for Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding in Public
- Breastfeeding at Work
- Special Circumstances
- The Advantages of Extended Nursing
- Fears About Long-Term Nursing
- Tandem Nursing
- Child-led Weaning
We would like to invite everyone to join us no matter where you are in your thinking or feelings. These discussions are meant to be nonjudgmental so please keep in mind when reading members' responses that this is a true discussion based on Natural Family Living and not a place to debate or criticize. Feel free to tell your story; what did you do to prepare for breastfeeding? Do you feel you have/did have a good support network? What have you learned (or what would you like to learn)?
We’re excited to offer these workshop and hope it will give our members a glimpse into the grassroots of Mothering magazine and Natural Family Living.
This workshop will be facilitated by our moderators race_kelly, shayinme and courtenay_e. They are here to guide the discussion and keep it on topic. They will occasionally post references or ask questions to keep the conversation flowing. Please feel free to contact them at any time with questions, suggestions or concerns. Please keep in mind our workshop guidelines and current user agreement at all times.
We are compiling a Natural Family Living Resources Sticky which we will update with each workshop. Please feel free to refer to it for more information. For articles and information on our current workshop, please see the Baby’s Early Years; Breastfeeding page.
One of the things I miss the most about having older kids now is breastfeeding. I certainly wasn't always easy though, especially in the begining!
I was very lucky though. I had lots of support in the form of my mother. She's an IBCLC. It never really occured to me not to nurse. It also never occurred to me the amount of time it would take to get a good nursing relationship going. Collin spent his first 11 hours in the special care nursery, so I missed that first window. But we picked it up somewhat before we left the hospital, and then my mom visited the night that we came home. She was wonderful and supportive and made me feel much more confident. Unfortunately at that point, I was already very sore and had to work through that. Collin also lost more than he was suppposed to, but luckily, I had a very supportive doctor at the time too who sent us home with a scale and the instructions to make sure he nursed "at least" every two hours. Lansinoh saved my life and my nipples!
That was enough. My milk increased and Collin and I got the hang of it. Collin was one of those babes who liked to hang out at the breat all day long. He co-slept and we got so that we were very in tune, me waking a scant few seconds before him and he would latch on laying down without even fully waking up and we'd gently drift off again.
I nursed Collin until I was pregnant 2 months pregnant with Jack. Collin was 17 months old. Jack and I got off to a more difficult start in some ways. He had shoulder distocia and spent his first few days in the special care nursery, but again, I had the lactation consultant with me and one of the neonatologist on my side. We were able to get through it without having to supplement. I was very very very lucky to get the support I had. I know that often in those situations, you don't. Once Jack got home, he was a business nurser. He nursed 15 mntues on each side and was done, thank you very much! I still laugh at that fact that I wasn't sure exactly what to do with a baby that didn't want to be held all the time or nurse all the time. He actually liked to be put down. Dh and I were always amazed by that. We just thought that all babies liked to nursed all the time. Jack nursed unti lhe was 2 and I was pregnant with Thomas.
Now's a great time to mention my biggest support in the whole process. My dh! He came from a family where out of 21 grandchildren, only my three were breatfed, but he knew the importance of it (thanks in part to my mom) and to the fact that we are both in the wildlife field and it just seemed to make sense that that was the way things worked. We were mammals, after all! He brought me water, did all the burping, diaper changes, took Collin out in the car for a ride when I needed a few peacful moments to shower. He stood between me and my in-laws and all their lack of support. For a man who came from an extremely mainstream family, he took to things amazingly well.
Thomas was a little from column A a little from column B! He'd hang out at the breast for awhile, but he also liked to be involved in whatever was going on around him. But he was my first baby that got to stay with me from the moment he was born. It was wonderful! Nursing him was a breeze. He just seemed to know exactly what to do and how to do it. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the fact that he got to nurse so soon after being born. I don't know. But I will always remember the look of absolute heavenly joy in his eyes as my milk came in and he started gulping it down. I can still hear those little gulps in my head when I think about it, and it makes me smile. He nursed until he was 3.5. Okay, yes, I just got teary eyed. snff.
In general, breastfeeding was a wonderful experience for me. Of course you have to take into account I haven't breastfed in a year, and I haven't breastfed at night for about 2.5 years. I'm sure I've blocked some of the more tiring parts of it (the sore nipples, the mastitis, the leaking when out!).
When I was pregnant with ds I knew I would breastfeed. Like you, I didn't think of other way to feed this baby, just assumed breastfeeding would work and all would be good
My ds was born with the help of the Kawartha Midwives in a hospital in Cobourg, ON. It was a difficult labour, although I didn't realize that until after -- being my first I just assumed it was supposed to hurt the ENTIRE time (he was posterior and came out with his fist held firmly to his face...worst pain of my life!).
But, within 45 minutes one of the midwives latched him on to my right breast and I wept. My dh was worried and asked if it was OK, and did it hurt?
I just looked at him and said,
Throughout my life my breasts have served a number of purposes...to fill out a shirt, look good in a bikini etc... but until this moment they have never served the right purpose. This just feels right.
It was wonderful! As I say to ppl, ds has been hungry since conception
He could stay on the boob for hours if I let him!
I only nursed him for 6 months. Truthfully, the reason was that I wanted my life back. I was 30 when I had him and missed being around friends and having time to myself. I figured that weening him and letting dh watch him overnight was the solution. To a certain extent it was. I went for weekend camping trips with friends that summer while ds and dh bonded -- but I did miss it.
Enter dd. She's now three months old and a totally different nurser than ds! When she was born she cried for the first three days, I can only assume because my colustrom wasn't enough for her. She would frantically latch on and suck away to no avail...She lost close to a pound, and I felt totally inadequate. By day four when my milk came in, she relaxed and was a totally content baby!
Unlike ds, she'll nurse for 10 mins and pop off, smile at me have a good burp and she's happy!
I nurse her when ever she seems to want to, and I've decided to bf for at least the first year. I realize that it's such a special time, and that it will go by quickly; and even if I do stop -- I still have no life! just kidding!
Oh, as a quick aside -- when ds was born I just assumed we would circ him as dh is circ'd. Then, our mw gave us some info about circumcision, and the thing that stuck with me was that "studies have shown that babies that are circ'd have a difficult time looking at their mothers when they bf". I started crying when I read that and told dh that even if it wasn't true I didn't want to chance it; I loved bfing so much and that beautifully intense gaze that babies have when you look into their eyes as their nursing.
Now that I have researched it, I realize that there are MANY more reasons no to circ, but that was the catalyst.
I have to say that my dh is an amazing source of support. The first few months, he literally did everything! He cooked, cleaned, changed dipeys, and all while going back to school fulltime and working nights. He's come to my defense with naysayers and he's praised my bfing to his friends. He's a lactivist in his own right. The support from one's partner is key to nourishing a wonderful breastfeeding experience.
I love the bond that breastfeeding has facilitated between my son and I. We are very connected with one another.
And yes, there are tough times. He's always nursed everal times during the night, but we cosleep so that makes it so much easier. And then, there are tougher times, like this week as he is cutting his eye teeth and biting. But we truck on through it!
I love knowing that I am giving my baby such goodness! We will do clw and as much as he loves his milkies we may be here until he moves out! J/K, but ykwim!
We were lucky to find low cost BFing support groups which sustained me through the first three months. DS was colicky and just wanted to suck. But I had so much milk, he kept getting milk when all he wanted was sucking. I also had a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance so i had to pump off the beginning of my milk or DS would have never gotten to the hindmilk! BWing and a paci helped us through the beginning. Co-sleeping was great too, though now he sleeps better in his crib and I really do miss our nighttime cuddles. But he was never a good sleeper by any stretch of the means, and still is not. He will almost never settle down to sleep with us, he seems to need his space, (though i can occasionally nap with him when DH is at work if I get him into a solid sleep before I unlatch him) but even in his crib he wakes a lot and I go in and nurse which is draining on me. I have started sending my DH in 1 out of 3 times to just rub his back. This has been working. At some point I would like to nightwean to help with my TTC, but DS doesn't seem to be ready and I won't push him. I had always hoped to tandem nurse, but first I have to conceive, and it seems my body is just not ready though my heart and mind are.
As far support with BFing, I agree it is so important. My DH is supportive, thank God. I won't say he totally 'gets' it, but he knows it is important to me and he is 100% supportive of my motherly instincts. My parents don't really get it, and that is hard for me to take. My Dad all but tells me it is gross that I still nurse. My Mom tries to get it, but I think it makes her feel guilty about not nursing her own kids, so she struggles to think it might be a 'better' parenting choice. Thankfully, I have found message boards and some local Moms that share my views. This is where I turn when I feel misunderstood by my family. But I'm sticking to my guns on this, and I know in my heart this is the right decision for my family! BFing in public I'm okay with, sadly, it's BFing in front of my family that is difficult b/c their approval means a lot to me...
I really enjoyed reading your stories ladies, and can't wait to read more!
My milk came in like a flood. I was so engorged and I got mastitis twice. Worst experience of my life. My midwife visited me every day sometimes twice. We rented an electric pump and after every feed I emptied the boob he fed on. He was a one sider his whole nursing career. We got through that first week although I'm not sure we would have without my midwife. I am a nurse and I know the benefits of breastfeeding but I never really knew just how hard it could be. We even had nipple confusion to boot although changing the paci fixed that. Ds would nurse every 2 hrs and then every hour in the evenings.
We breastfed until 17 months when he self weaned himself. The last nursing he dropped was the morning one. I went back to work fulltime when he was 6 months and worked 12 hour shifts and a combination of days and nights. I sent pumped milk with him to daycare and we bought a bottle that looked like a boob for the night for dh to use to feed him.
Our nursing relationship was tumultuous much of the time. I would never have survived without my dh's loving support. He never gave up. His mother had 4 children and breastfed them all for at least a year. She was also a great support to me.
Now I know I can do it. I believe we had an extremely difficult start and hopefully the next will be easier. I still miss it and you know what my boobs still leak!
Before I had my son I thought nursing until 2 was normal, nursing to 3 was ok, I would if my child wanted to, but nursing to 4??? That I couldn't even fathom. Then I found MDC Being here, being with like minded Mamas... it's opened a whole new world in my parenting, and one of the things that has changed is my perception of "extended" breastfeeding (which I now realize and embrace as "normal" breastfeeding). I am now comfortable nursing until whatever age my child/ren are when they are ready to stop.
When my son was born it was a highly intervention filled hospital birth Much different from the gentle homebirth I had wanted but been bullied out of. He latched like a pro from the start though despite all of that, and we went home a happy nursing couple less than 24 hours after his birth (much to the upset of the staff at the hospital!).
Then the pain started. They had given me antibiotics during my labour without informing me and I had thrush I was in brutal pain every time he even came close to my nipple. He was full term and healthy and growing fast. He wanted to eat frequently and vigorously. All good things except when you feel like there is glass in your nipple. I pumped, I cup/spoon fed him, and I nursed when I could.
Thank goodness for midwives. And Dr. Jack Newman. They got me a script for his APNO. That started me on the course back to healing. I was taking probiotics like mad, keeping hydrated to help with pumping supply, and APNO on my nipples to heal them. Finally it worked, and I got him back to the breast full time.
Ever since then we have been good to go. There have been some challenges along the way, but nothing medical related. He'll be two in August and still nurses many times a day. I wouldn't trade this relationship for anything
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
Before I had her, I don't think I ever saw a bfing woman. I knew I was going to breastfeed, but only because it was free. Then I started reading and gave birth. Now, I can't imagine it any other way. I also thought "Ok, I'll try until 6 months...then stop." But now I'm not letting her stop before 2 without a fight!
I've had wonderful support from Dh. He is all about what's best for her and does whatever I need to make that happen.
I love the bond I have with her and how nursing truly makes her happy.
Naked Baby is 14 months old, and we've had a practically perfect nursing relationship from the beginning, which I credit to luck, MDC, my partner, my midwife, and my mother.
Luck because I know even when we do everything "right", some rare times things still don't work out as planned, but they did for us.
MDC because I learned so much here, most especially the wide variation of "normal", and how to prevent or treat all the common complications of establishing breastfeeding: a gentle birth, constant contact and skin-to-skin time, lots of probiotics prenatally, and eventually block feeding to help with my plentiful supply and fast milk ejection reflex.
My partner, well, I can't sing his praises enough. He gets it, and he did everything right, from learning all about breastfeeding before the birth to offering all kinds of practical and emotional support throughout, and never, ever wavered in his commitment to us and to breastfeeding. I even wrote and drew a series of comics before getting pregnant, about Nursing Mother, Supportive Partner, and Amazing Babe (super heroes all, of course), about the things a supportive partner can and should do for a nursing mother, and he did them all and more after Naked Baby was born, as a matter of course, without thinking he was doing anything special. And I suppose he wasn't: his help was as miraculous and as mundane as nursing itself is.
My midwife because she exuded confidence in me and my baby and our bodies' abilities. Naked Baby was slow to start eating, and didn't really nurse for the first 24 hours. He was never out of my arms, though, and got lots of time at the breast, just smelling and nuzzling me, and sleeping of course. Rather than try to force him to latch on before he was ready, she just stayed in the background and held the space for us, creating, through her expectation that all would go well, the environment in which it could. It wasn't so much what she did as what she didn't do that was so helpful: she never suggested with her words or actions that that start was anything but normal for us, and thus I never worried about it, and indeed it was just fine, and after the first day, Naked Baby took to nursing like, well, a mammal to the breast!
My mother, of course, for nursing me for two years, for talking about breastfeeding as normal, and for raising me on the stories of how simple and wonderful nursing was for her. I firmly believe that breastfeeding is 90% a mindgame, and that one's conscious and unconscious beliefs about it are often the main determinant whether breastfeeding is ultimately successful, which is why breastfeeding awareness and education are so important, and why I believe nursing in public is a public service! I am endlessly grateful to my mother for setting me up for success through her stories and attitude.
I firmly believe that breastfeeding is 90% a mindgame, and that one's conscious and unconscious beliefs about it are often the main determinant whether breastfeeding is ultimately successful, which is why breastfeeding awareness and education are so important, and why I believe nursing in public is a public service! I am endlessly grateful to my mother for setting me up for success through her stories and attitude.
I absolutely agree with ALL of this (except the mother bit, unfortunately my mom didn't have the support, or desire to bf me but is very supportive of my bfing relationship with my dc).
Well...my support came in so many forms. My grandmother had 13 children and nursed them all until they weaned. My mother was one of seven sisters, and they all nursed their children. I grew up within a five mile radius of most of my 40 cousins, and saw each of my younger cousins at their mothers' breasts.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I think that I may have been accosted by my mother and aunts had I chosen NOT to breastfeed. But that thought never EVER crossed my mind. I would be a breastfeeding mother.
I read. I read every book published about breastfeeding. When I met my husband, right around the time we got engaged, I came across a family owned book store that was going out of business. They had a BUNCH of wonderful natural family living books for sale. One of them was The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. I would never actually recommend it to a new mother because it is just so fulllll of information...if you're looking at it at two in the morning trying to figure out why you have bloody nipples you might just give up. BUT it was just so FULL of wonderful information that I could soak up like a sponge when I had all that extra time (read: before I had kids! ). I learned that, had I NOT been considering a natural birth beforehand, I wouldn't do it any other way, because doing so made it easier to establish a strong breastfeeding relationship.
Then I found all the rest of the great books out there, the ones I WOULD seek out at 2am with issues and a screaming baby if I had to: The Nursing Mother's Companion and The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers were at the top of my list of favorites.
I sought out a midwife. My husband was from a medical family, so with my first I KNEW that it would be easier all around if we birthed in the hospital. The midwife I found I loved. We had a pretty darned good pregnancy. To make sure that I got that birth that I wanted, I read all I could, I took a hypnobirthing class, and I planned and practiced for a relaxed birth in active poses. I planned to have my mother and sister present along with my husband for support. It all went as planned. She was born to my chest, latched on, and nursed like a champ. She stayed there for two hours, until she latched herself off. Even when my milk came in and my DD pregnancy sized breasts turned into GGG post partum breasts, and I had an oversupply and overactive letdown...she nursed like a champ. Nary a blister, bruise, or crack in site. She LOVED to nurse and nursed constantly. She loved to be held, hated to be put down, and only slept if she was in contact with me. I was home, so I happily obliged. She nursed like a little vaccuum cleaner. Every twenty minutes for ten minutes at the most. Efficient, happy, content...as long as her needs were met.
Three weeks in, she started projectile vomiting when she nursed. She wanted to nurse constantly, but cried constantly, too. Her poor skin broke out in a horrible red crusty rash. I called the pediatrician at just after dinner time when she threw up worse than she had up to that point...it seemed like MORE than she had eaten! The doctor wasn't as concerned as I was and said it sounded like protein allergies to food that was passing through my milk. She asked me what I had had for dinner. I had had lasagna. She laughed and said that that was the top five allergens easily, all in one meal! She had breastfed her kids, too, and rather than suggesting that I quit breastfeeding (good for her! I would have left the practice that minute if she had!), she suggested that I go on a total elimination diet for a minimum of two weeks and then reintroduce the most likely to offend foods to see what it was she was reacting to. It worked like a charm. Within a handful of days of reintroducing foods, I figured out that she is allergic to milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, cherries, and chocolate.
When she was nine months old, I got pregnant with my son. I had had one cycle. We nursed through most of the pregnancy, but she weaned (I now think it was probably a nursing strike, but didn't think about it when it happened) when she was almost 15 mos old. I had hit my third trimester, my mom taught her how to drink her rice milk out of her cereal bowl (the girl whou would NEVER take a bottle started drinking out of a CUP!), and we moved to a new house. I think there was just too much change.
My son...we planned a homebirth. The midwife didn't believe I was in active labor. Because I was a hypnobirther, I was being very calm during and between contractions. She my home, we left for the hospital, and my son was born an hour and a half after she left my house because I "wasn't in labor." Unfortunately, my son was born to my chest but not left there. 45 mintues later I had to remove the nurse-midwife's hands from the needle (I had torn, he was born very quickly without pushing), and threaten to get up from the bed and get him myself before they brought him to me.
He nursed for a good while, too, but I think that the damage was done. He had a poor latch for the next six weeks and gave me a blister within the first 24 hours. He was very different from his sister, too. He, too was MORE than content to be away from me. He was a slow-poke when it came to nursing. It would often take him more than an hour to finish up. Whereas I had been able to sit down for a quickie with his sister before we left for church so she'd be okay for the ride over, if we sat down before we left the house with HIM, we'd miss church by the time he was done!
When he was three days old, we were readmitted to the hospital because he had jaundice, his numbers were higher than the docs were comfortable with, and still climbing. When we got to the unit his bili levels were 23. We sat and nursed, and then he got down under the lights for three hours. THen he started his nightly blockfeed. I had to literally call the doc in at 2 in the morning to fight off the nurses and tell them that his numbers were falling (now 17!) and that he NEEDED to breastfeed to get the bilirubin to go down faster. *sigh*
When he was ten days old I hemorraged. I was rushed to the hospital, given an emergency D&C, and nursed him pre and post op (the doc was wonderful and made sure that the baby was brought to me as SOON as I was wheeled into recovery). I chose not to stay for a transfusion, because they told me he wouldn't be allowed to stay the night with me to nurse. I went home and went to bed...and stayed there for several weeks.
When my son was six months old, his father was found to have a tumor in his abdomen. The docs thought they were opening him up just to tell me how much time I had with him. In the end, they removed a 12 pound tumor. My husband was in the hospital for four weeks. During half of that time, the baby was allowed in the room with us, but the second half, when my husband was on a post op unit, the baby was not allowed with us. Luckily we had a HUGE support system, many of whom were happy to sit with the baby in the waiting room (and luckily, he was VERY different than his sister was as an infant and would LET me leave him with friends for an hour at a time) for an hour, and then I would come out and offer to nurse, and play with him for forty minutes or so, and then go back in. He would also take a bottle, which helped, as at bed time I would nurse him, and then my mom would take him home and put him to bed...when he woke up she would give him a bottle, and give me a few more hours with my husband before I had to go home.
He also showed allergies to proteins in my milk and I payed very close attention to my diet to figure otu what they were. Milk, eggs, soy, wheat, pea and tree nuts, berries...and the list goes on.
My son, who LOVED to nurse, who has always been a very happy, content child, who took his own sweet time to nurse...but who didn't really care if I held him or not in between...who was happy to look around and be involved in whatever was going on...nursed until he was 4.5. His sweet, sweaty hands and his big HUGE blue eyes looking up at me will stay in my memory forever.
My husband did everything in his power to make absolutely sure that whatever I needed and whenever I needed it, I got it (without asking he would get me water, make me dinner, bring me snacks, do laundry, whatever I needed)...because I was doing what he couldn't...I was nourishing his children with the most perfect food they could possibly get. He defended me against his family when they gave us a hard time about the length of time we nursed, the frequency of nursing...
We had a wonderful support system, and were very blessed to have the nursing stories that we had.
Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!
At my first midwives appointment I told my midwife that I was interested in exclusively pumping. Her response was "Why would you do that? I'm writing down breastfeeding". I told her that it was just my preference and she kept telling me that my breasts were mine, not my husbands. In the time since then I've done some mental "work" and have realized that I have reasons for that discomfort. Anyway, I felt kind of bullied and decided that I would breastfeed my baby (since it didn't sound like I had any other option) - the thought actually crossed my mind as she was telling me that I couldn't pump that I would change my mind completely and formula feed, though.
My baby was brought into the world with a beautiful homebirth. She was not put to the breast for quite some time though, as my midwife (who I DO love, but was not perfect) was concerned about giving me a shot of pitocin to aid the placenta delivery and giving me stitches than me nursing. That being said, I never asked to nurse, and when they handed the baby to me, I just wanted to stare at her... I could have used a gentle push when I first had her to nurse for the first time, though.
The first time my baby girl nursed was beautiful. She was a strong, alert girl, and looked so precious at the breast. However, I could have used a bit more guidance. When she stopped sucking, I assumed that she was done and I just pulled her off. I did this for at least 24 hours before my best friend (who came to help following the birth) explained that she would just stop on her own or it was necessary to break the latch. Damage had already been done to my nipples at that point. Lemmie was the type of nurser who would take a few swallows and then just sit there latched for what seemed like forever - especially when the pain was bad.
I didn't want to nurse my baby... I dreaded her waking up because she would want to eat again and it would be painful and she would just sit there latched without actually eating. I felt like the worst mother in the world.
I decided after 4 days that I needed to pump in order to allow my nipples to heal, and cup feeding was so frustrating for me... it seemed messy and unproductive. I pumped so efficiently that I made a quick decision that I would continue pumping for Lemmie and filled up that first bottle with breastmilk... she drank it... it was painless... it was beautiful.
My supply as an EPer was huge in the beginning.. actually it was huge until 3 months. I was pumping double what she was drinking in a day. Unfortunately, right at the 3 month mark I became sick with strep throat at the same time as getting my period back... I now am lucky to pump 10 oz a day. Thankfully, I have a freezer full of EBM.
I'm still pumping (and washing bottles, and sterilizing bottles, and washing pump parts, and sterilizing pump parts, and replacing pump parts, and packing bottles, and packing pump parts), and trying to get every last drop of breastmilk for babe that I can.
Interestingly enough, my mother told me after I stopped breastfeeding that she had tried to breastfeed me, but she was a young mother and I was a month early and in the hospital. Though she tried to show up for my feedings the nurses would tell her that they had already fed me from the bottle and I assume that I had nipple confusion. She hadn't wanted to tell me because she didn't want to tell me a negative breastfeeding story.
If I have another child there are a few things that I will change. I will invest in proper support for the baby (a boppy pillow or something of that nature) and I will read a bit more. I also will NOT take baby from the breast just by pulling them off. I do want that breastfeeding relationship if I have another child.
Also interestingly enough, although I don't nurse, I have nursed a friend's 15 month old while watching her. So although my baby is 4.5 months old and exclusively pumped for, I have some experience breastfeeding a child who is over a year old.
So there's where I am on breastfeeding/exclusively pumping. I'm looking forward to reading more responses and possibly chiming in again.
I have 2 kids, my ds who is 16 and my dd who is 2.5. I did not breastfeed my son, he was born in 92 before the internet took off and at that time I had no one ever mention breastfeeding to me. Though looking back now, I do recall being in the hospital a day after he was born and putting him to my breast thinking don't babies have breastmilk? Of course with no help, it didn't happen, he didn't latch on and that was my first and last attempt at nursing him.
Fast forward to 2004, when I got pregnant with dd, I knew I was going to birth at the freestanding birth center, honestly not because I was a birth junkie but because I was a cheapskate . Well at my first meeting with the midwives in Dec 04, I was given a complimentary copy of Mothering, it had a cover of a Black mama nursing her baby, as a Black woman, that picture touched a spot in me, it was incredible. That said, at that stage in my pregnancy I figured maybe I would try breastfeeding but surely I would use formula, after all how could I produce enough milk to feed my baby? Silly questions but looking back I see how easy it was to have those questions.
As my pregnancy progressed, my MW's (one whom had recently had a baby) kept asking me was I going to BF? My goodness, she was pesky but I am so grateful she did pester me. I joined this board, started reading everything I could about breastfeeding, met some local Mamas one who at the time was nursing an almost 3 yo.. at that time I was stunned, I thought surely that Mama had issues, how could she be doing that? LOL (little did I know one day I would be her). I also got a copy of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and a few other books to read while pregnant. I devoured them along with just studying the boards here at MDC.
A few weeks before my dd was born, my MW had me talk to the center's LC who addressed some of my fears, by the time dd was born, while I did have a stash of formula, just in case, I made the committment to BF for at least 6 weeks.. mind you as a Black woman who had no relatives who had BF, this seemed huge to me.
Well I went into labor and due to unexpected circumstances ended up transferring to the hospital, I'll spare the details but as soon as dd was born, my MW put her on my chest and said get her on the breast. She latched on, so I thought all was good.
The first week at home was painful, her latch was not right but thankfully both my MW and the LC made a housecall and showed me how to latch her and well she has been nursing now almost 3 years.
I remember when I exceeded the 6 week limit, I said I will stop at 3 mos,then 6 mos then a year.. don't ask why, guess it was the fears in my head. Now while I am not 100% CL, to a large degree I am following her lead.
It helped me to have access to local support such as LLL, and the local birth community, plus a dh who early on brought the snacks and drinks when I was on the couch during the early growth spurts with dd latched on for hours. He also became the diaper master so I was not overwhelmed.
These days I tell all pregnant women who are planning on breastfeeding that they need to get information, connect with LLL and understand its a process and it may take a few weeks for it to feel natural (goodness the early days were anything but natural feeling).
I'll tell my story.
I knew I wanted to breastfeed even before I got pregnant. Incidently, I also assumed I'd cloth diaper--it worked for my mom, after all. Very quickly, we learned we were having twins. I was still determined, and my husband was willing to let be determined with out telling me I was crazy.
The boys were born at 38 weeks by c-section because one was breech. There's a whole different story and life lessons there, but I'll leave it.
The hospital honored my request for exclusive breastfeeding, and the boys nursed within an hour of my surgery. One nursed well from the start, baby "B" had a bad latch and behaved much like a... dinosaur. It hurt to nurse him. The lactation consultant in the hospital suggested a breast shield, which helped a bit. By day three, my nips were hurting terribly, but I was still nursing. Probably not frequently enough, in hindsight. Baby "b" was fussing lots, the dissatisfied baby fuss, and his latch was still poor, and it hurt to nurse him. He began supplementation on about day 5 post partum. He would get an ounce or so after my attempts to nurse him. I started to pump, too, in efforts to build up a supply and maybe even build a freezer stash.
After a day or so home, the lansinoh was working, and I was sick of the breast shield. "B" was getting pumped milk in a haberman feeder after nusring sessions. While he nursed, I pumped. It was exhausting. We sooned weaned him off the bottle, but I still pumped after most nursing sessions. We used pumped milk for one baby when we were out in public, as I couldn't figgure out how to nurse two in public, and there was no such thing as waiting with two hungry babies. Later, we started bring the tandem nursing pillow, and I"d retreat to the car to nurse them.
I went back to work 6 months post partum, as a teacher. I pumped twice while at work every day. I only worked that one year, and my husband stayed home with them. Except for the first two or three days, they had no formula. They nursed until 26 months, when they weaned due to my pregnancy.
My current nursling is 6 months old. She was born after 36 hours of labor that ended in a C-section. She nursed about an hour after my surgery. They were just "showing her to me" as I was wheeled down to my room, but I asked for her, and they gave her to me. She latched on instantly, and they were not going to take her from me. So she rode along, and I avoided the mandatory "get settled in your room first" BS.
She has done well, except for a period in her 4th month. For some reason, at that time she became very particluar about when and where she would nurse. Only side-lying, in bed. She'd take a pacifier anywhere, even if hungry. I ended up doint the bait and switch on her lots-- once she was asleep with the paci, I'd switch to the breast. THis lasted about a week, and it was a very hard week. I felt minimized by the preference to the paci, and exhausted from trying to comfort a hungry baby who wouldn't nurse. In those moments, I could see why someone might turn to a bottle.
This time around, I'm also pumping, but for my sister. She's got a baby 4 months younger than mine, but is unable to produce milk due to a reduction. I am able to pump about a third of his daily needs. Of her three children, this is the first to have milk. And I'm so happy to be able to help.
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my babes. When I was pregnant with dd#1 (Emma) I would daydream all day long about holding my newborn and nursing for hours. I never thought we'd have problems bf, but unfortunately we did!
Emma was born via c-section due to induction (I just didn't know to question coming in to the hospital immediately for a slow leak!). I begged to bf on the table but of course the answer was no. We were able to bf briefly in the recovery room but they whisked Emma away to the nursery because "I needed to rest" *grr!*
My nipples cracked and bled, I had mastitis and blocked ducts, and I saw our N.P./LC in the ped's office every 3 days or so, until one of them finally gave me a nipple shield. I used it for 3 months, working to wean off of the shield and we finally did it! I LOVED the feeling of Emma breastfeeding without the shield; I finally felt like a natural mama! When she got her teeth, at 5 months, her latch changed and my nipples slowly started to crack and bleed again. I was suffering with severe PPD and the stress of this was too much. We went back to using the shield and she weaned around 12 months (I was about 2 months pregnant with her little sister). I believe that she could definitely sense how painful it was for me to nurse her with her poor latch, the shield hurting me, and my breasts very sensitive from being pregnant with her little sister.
Flash forward to dd#2 (Savannah):
With Savannah I was once again bound and determined to breastfeed, only this time I had some experience! I had a wonderful, empowering VBAC and breastfed immediately. She nursed for 11 hours straight after birth and my nipples were so sore, her latch needed a lot of work, and I asked for a nipple shield. I used it with her for a few months and worked daily to wean her off of it, and we finally did it! She was exclusively breastfed for almost 9 months (she's about 10.5 months now) and despite her latch changing when she got 6 teeth almost all at once we've worked through it and haven't had to use a shield (a big victory for me!). I look forward to nursing Savannah for years to come - however long she wants!
I can't wait to use my breastfeeding knowledge and experience while working as a birth doula! I am passionate about bf and NIP and love spreading the correct info and facts to my friends who (some of them anyway) dont' have a clue about bf!
I am the first person in my family and my husband's family to breast feed. I feel very proud of this accomplishment. I was able to nurse two healthy girls and I am very proud lactivist of it. I went into nursing thinking "Well if it works out fine, if not, then I will use formula." Once my first daughter was born and after five minutes after delivery I had her sucking at my breast, that was LOVE. It was so incredible to see a chubby baby growing because of ME and what I was producing in my body. It was more amazing to me than pregnancy. I felt such a huge responsibility and pride and joy in nursing. After the birth of my second daughter, I suffered from extreme placenta accreta and I had to have an emergency hysterectomy. I waved off morphine and took Motrin just so I could nurse her. I knew how vital supply was to a tiny baby and I didn't want to NOT nurse her. I suffered through the pain and I am so glad I did. Now, with her on strike I was not ready to wean her by any means. But, I am thankful for the time I had nursing. It is a special time in a woman's life and it can't be relived. It should be cherished because that time flies by. I will forever and ever remember those quiet early morning hours when she would nurse and fall asleep and I would tuck her in with just a little milk running down her tiny chin. I smile and cry at the same time when I think of that. My heart still hurts because I want to nurse her, but you can't force them, babies are, after all, human.
DD (16 months) is the first child I have nursed. I am currently 16 weeks pregnant.
My supply has dropped (at least this is my guess) and she is incredibly PO'ed at the lack of milkies at bedtime. (At least this is my assumption as to what is going on, she is all of a sudden very ticked off when she tries to nurse to sleep.)
She is frustrated and so am I. Nothing I do seems to help her most nights. Last night, she finally collapsed on her tummy and fell asleep with me patting her back within about 5 minutes.
I think I made a mistake by not starting to transition her to another way of falling asleep and another sleep-place outside of my bed sooner. (like maybe when I found out I was pregnant?)
I sometimes feel like maybe the idea to not use other BC was the mistake. (don't get me wrong I want and love this baby too, but DD is SO NOT READY to quit nursing to sleep and the situation has been forced upon her...)
I transitioned DS (not nursing but co-sleeping) slowly to sleeping alone by me starting to leave his bed at 10 months. He was fully alone-sleeping at 18 months or so.
DD has NEVER spent a night outside my bed.
I don't know what I'll do with a third. Now that I've experienced this, I wonder if I should start a transition when I get AF back? (with DD that was 9 months)
Is one year better?
I know I can't go through this hell of forced pregnant bedtime weaning again.
lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
Ds, now 3, was born in a hospital, with a midwife, and other than an episiotomy, everything went exactly as planned. I nursed him pretty quickly after birth, maybe 10 minutes or so. He latched on like a champ and nursed for about an hour before he seemed done. The nurse took him to do the wash him up thing, noticed he was very shaky, and figured out his blood sugar was very low. She cup fed him some formula, and held off on his bath because he was also a little cold. We were transferred to our room about 3am, ds had to go to the nursery because he was still cold, low sugars. 3 hours later ds was still in the nursery, I went to check on him, there were half a dozen people around him, some I recognized as I work in this hospital, and I was scared. His blood sugars were low, temp was low, they were working him up for everything. The next time I got to attempt to nurse was about noon the next day, his blood sugar was 27 (critically low) and the nurse told me to try to nurse him while she arranaged a transfer to nicu, but the low sugar made him lethargic, nursing was pointless.
He spent the next 5 days in the NICU with low sugars. I had many frustrating encounters with nurses. When DS was awake I would want to nurse him, the NICU was on a strict 3 hour scedual and ds needed to have a sugar check before feeding, by the time I convinced the nurse to check, ds would be starting to get lethargic, and shock, sugar was low. I did get some support from the ped and lactation after loudly complaining. So DS finally came home at 5 days old, I had to go home without him, but slept in a chair in the NICU at night because I didn't trust the night nurses. So I was emotionally and physically exauhsted. The ped said to continue to supplement with formula due to low sugars, but try to gradually decrease the formula amount. So, for each feeding we would nurse 10-20 minutes on each side, then bottle feed for about 15 minutes, start all over less than 2 hours later. In the end my milk never came in. I went to see a LC, she gave me a hospitla pump, got a prescription from the midwife for reglan, and tried to increase my supply. For the next month our schedual went something like this: nurse 20 min each side, bottle feed 15-20 min, pump for at lease 15-20 minutes. It was exauhsting. DH would bottle feed while I pumped if he was home, otherwise I was on my own. We tried syringe feeding with the tube attatched to my breast so he would nurse, what a nightmare to get a good latch with that.
After about a month of exhausting myself, I decided to give it up. I stopped pumping. I continued to nurse for every feeding, then gave a bottle after. The few times when I had to pump because ds was not around, the milk output was pitiful. Les than 2 ounces each feeding. We continued nursing and bottle feeding about 3 months, dh hit a big growth spurt and had no patience for nursing.
In all our trouble we never had latch or diet problems. Once I relaxed I realized how much I loved nursing, it felt so right and natural. The only explanation I got from the lactation consultant for my lack of milk was that my breasts are small. I thought that didn't matter? I am now pg with #2, I have already learned so much on MDC, I am hoping that maybe this time I will have some precious milk for my babe!
I had a great nursing realtionship with dd and she weaned near her third birthday a few days before ds was born. She was a very sweet nursling and it was lovely.
When ds hit 9 months- he was an almost compulsive nurser. He bit through my nipple one day, blood everywhere. I was in tears a lot and could not take him nursing and biting. He also had a lot of allergies and I had cut so many foods from my diet.
Several people told me to wean him to formula so I could eat, and that he'd be less allergic to formula than my milk.
I was too stubborn and kept at it. It was very hard. We had many struggles but I kept up and nursed him until he was 6 years old. I never thought I'd nurse a child that long. But it was very natural and I support extended nursing.
with DD1 i was sheer LAZY. i jsut didnt wat to do ANYTHING for the baby let alone feed her, so bottles it was (she was 10 weeks old) with in a month i was pg again and my molk dried up so any chance of me relactating went out the window, then i had my OH MY GOSH WHAT HAVE I DONE moment, i was at home alone with a screaming baby, 3 month pregnant, a active toddler running at my feet adn i had to make up a load of bottles, and all that that implies and i just broke down and swore i would not botle feed again, when DD1 was born DH was home fulltime no job, he got a job when she was around 6 month old so it was a sharp slap in the face for me.
DS2 was born, straignt to boob, and he wasa business feeder, 10 mins each feed to start then 10 mins each boob and off he went. i felt FORCED to "Just let him cry so you can get on with the house work" by my Health Visitor and Social Worker so the first 6 months of DS2's life are a bit of a blur. i tried the whoe let him cry thing about 3 times and said sod it babe needs me and jsut kept telling HV/SW htat baby was feeding lots and lots so thats why my dishes werent washed/etc and that i would get on top of it as soon as i could, they didnt like it but tought.
DS2 got 14 months, i weaned him on a monday. 2 weeks later i was PG again.
DD2 is a champion feeder. was born after 12 hours labour, was on the boob with in 5 mins stayed that for a WHOLE HOUR and took BOTH breasts. the MW's were shocked at her. she feed off and on for 3 whole days at least twice an hour, i thought it was a bit much but she had a bit of a tramatic birth and if I was a bit out of sorts and feeling the way i did i could only imagine how she felt so i jsut hugged her feed her hugged her some more and fed her some more she even ended up co-sleeping with ym inteh hospital bed.
when my milk came in she gave me a look that said "oh yes at last oh yeah gimme gimme gimme" and got that Drunk On Milk face. she fed every 2 hours for first week and now at 7 months is still going strong.
my main support is DH who in early days did the nappy changes, dealt with the older 3, made meals, fetched drinks etc.
now i have done a whole about face from being too damn lazy to BF to too damn lazy and too tight to FF. its easier for me, its cheaper for me, DD2 is thriving off it.
i jsut love it
I had always planned to breastfeed and when I was pregnant with ds1 I was determined to nurse him for a year. Several people, including my ex-mil, told me that it would be a hassle and that we wouldn't make it a year. Being a little bit stubborn, their lack of confidence helped keep me going. I just had to prove them wrong.
My first husband halfheartedly supported me nursing ds1. He knew it was healthy but wanted to bottlefeed ds himself. When ds1 was six months, xh moved us out and his girlfriend in. I remarried when ds1 was 20 months, to a guy who was not only a great dad, but really supported the nursing. He wasn't totally comfortable with nursing toddlers in public and would still rather that we not nurse the 2 1/2 year old when we're out. But it's not as big of a deal anymore.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds 11yo dd 9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds
They were also a little antsy about me getting DS circumcised in the hospital. I decided that we'd had enough cutting, so we took DS home uncircumcised. My pediatrician only asked about it during the first visit, then he let it go (love that guy!).
We still don't sleep well, DS has always been one of those not-so-great sleepers. The problem is that we EXPECTED to sleep well because of what all those baby books tell you. Sleep through the night at 3 mos? HA! I also have never done the cry it out or Ferberizing approach because I don't think it would work for DS and it seems really inappropriate IMHO. I actually sleep better when I'm at least close enough to DS to hear him breathe. That sound still lulls me to sleep at night.
DS didn't talk a lot until just before two. I was almost ready to take him for testing, then his communication exploded. Several of my friends kept hounding me to get him checked for autism, I did my best to ignore them. He still isn't the most clear talker, but he communicates very well now and his teachers tell me he is fine.
I was really worried about potty training since we had some disastrous false starts, but when DS was ready, he was totally ready. He reliably goes in his potty--and it only took a week (and he is only 2.75 yrs).
So, anyway, my point in mentioning all this is to (hopefully) calm the nerves of some of you out there and to give you the confidence to follow what you believe instead of what others tell you. Enjoy your babies, moms and dads!
i nursed my daughter until she was 14 months old and my milk dried up due to another pregnancy, she still nurses (at 17 months) but not as much any more.
I pumped every 2-3 hours every day for over a year and it was worth every second.
i had to schedule meetings around pumping sessions. i had to pump during webinars, i missed going on trips due to this, but it was sooo worth it.
trottin', pole dancing, Norway and Sweden lovin' , ,WOHM Kiddos born 12/11/06 and 08/09/08
with #3 EDD:01/2013 So in love with my sweet Swede and my bonus-son 10/25/98
After we got married, well before we even thought of children, DH said to me "you will breastfeed our children, RIGHT??" So he was of course on board. He joked breastfeeding is great. The baby would cry in the night, he would reach for her, put her at my breast, roll over and go back to sleep- whats not to like about it? He shared this with his expectant SIL and brother one day, I was in the other room. His two other brothers and father chimed in the same.
Liz was born May 24th 2002 (our 5 yr wedding anniversary). She was put to the breast right away which started off our 2 1/2 year breastfeeding relationship. I never planned to nurse that long- who does? I thought, I will give it 6 mos. It came and went. Well at a year, I can wean her. It came and went. 18 mos, 24 mos. Never an ounce of formula, great nursing relationship. I was very lucky. At 2 1/2, she upped and weaned one day and never looked back. I am a strong minded person, so no one would dare to say dont breastfeed here or anything like that. Also, I nursed in public dozens and dozens of times. Sometimes people would comment how my child was so calm and quiet. She was nursing! Then- oh you were, I just thought she was a quiet baby!
Once my brother asked my to cover her up with a blanket. It was 100 plus degrees outside. I said I would if he also put one over his head during dinner. If anyone asked me to go to a bathroom, I would say only if you eat in there too.
I gave my self 6 mos of no nursing and no pregncy and then we tried for Maggie. It took longer to conceive, but Maggie was due late May/june 1 2006. At 24 weeks, I started having issues. At the end of 24 weeks I suddenly had to deliver this tiny baby! I was being rolled into the operating room to have a c section. I remember telling the nurse when we got back to my room, there would be a medala hospital grade pump there. She asked why? I yelled- because I nursed my first one within 20 minutes, I need to get that going since I will need to pump for this one!!!
So after they rushed my beautiful 810 gram baby off to another hospital nicu, I starting pumping. And pumping and pumping. 48 hours at discharge, I had 8 little bottles of colostrum. The nurses changed their tune on what to tell early pregncy deliveries. Of course, I had nursed one already, so my milk came in fast and furious. It smelled different, was thicker, stronger, smelled like iron. It was full of stuff my body knew the baby needed to thrive. I continued to pump exclusely for 7 weeks until Maggie was ready to be put to breast. I remember the nicu watching me, not knowing I was nursing her already and asking me if I wanted screens, what I needed. I explained she had already nursed for a few minutes.
After a bout w apnea, fighting not to have supplements, you name it, I took my then full term baby home. We had to supplement, but she nursed for a year after.
Maggie was a busy body- had to check everything out, could not miss anything. So sitting in mommy's lap to nurse for hours like her sister was not in the cards. She upped and weaned around 1 yrs old despite her mamas protests.
All in all, I had a lot of support for both of my nurslings. I was active in LLL, joined a local breastfeeding mamas group, plus my activity here. I was so blessed to have such a strong knowledge of this when I had MAggie because if I didnt, who knows how well she would be doing now?
I used Mother's Milk tea with ds1 in the begining because he lost so much weight and I wasn't sure I was producing enough milk, but I don't know whether it was the constant nursing or the Mother's Milk Tea or both that did the trick.
I work at whole foods and have noticed many many women (and their husbands) coming in because they have low milk supply. I usually suggest Mother's milk tea and lactate support (it's got a lot of galactogogues in it). Did anyone use those things successfully? And do you have any other suggestions I can give to moms with low milk supply? I also suggest nursing as often as possible, not on a schedule.
I used Mother's Milk tea with ds1 in the begining because he lost so much weight and I wasn't sure I was producing enough milk, but I don't know whether it was the constant nursing or the Mother's Milk Tea or both that did the trick.
btwn. a doula friend, the lc and the ped. i got a lot of good advice on nursing.
my ped was very supportive of co-sleeping to facilitate nursing, nurse-ins (all day marathon nursing sessions) and telling my dh 'you take care of the mama so the mama can feed the baby'. she also told me that in the beginning babies nurse a lot and can take a long time at the breast to get their needs met. once i knew that, mentally, i was more prepared for basically having the boob out all day!
the doula was very good at giving me that confidence i needed to stick it out. she came to my house and saw that i had a boppy and a comfy nursing station, checked ds's latch and advised me on the water/fluids. she was very very kind and said just what i needed to hear as a first time mother - 'you are doing great. you can do this. stick it out for 21 days and you'll be set.'
the lc told me about the fenugreek. she was the least warm and fuzzy but the most specific.
our nursing relationship got off to a tough start. i had a blood transfusion for a hemmorrage after i gave birth. it's very dehydrating to lose a lot of blood and even with the transfusion your body sucks all moisture to feed your own body and build up your blood supply (not make milk). i was really determined to do it. i'm kind of a quitter so it still amazes me i stuck it out and i'm happy i did!
Momma to DD (12/04) and DS (11/09) .
I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!
The capsules are more effective for low supply than the tea...the tea is better for a little "boost..." but the capsules are for true support of low supply.
I would ask (you may not feel comfortable doing this...but you might, too!) if they have had somebody evaluate the latch, and suggest a LLL Leader and an asymmetrical latch. If the supply is compromised there is generally a reason why, and usually that reason is poor latch. With a poor latch the breast is often not drained sufficiently to create a large demand on the breast, so the supply will diminish. Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle will help to support that supply until they can get the latch perfected.
Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!