Infant Tips

Breastfeeding - Getting Through the Bumps in the Road

From the time I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. It was probably due to a combination of reasons – but mostly because I had done a decent amount of research on breastfeeding for work, and I know a couple of great moms (who also happen to be Lactation Consultants) who had shared their passion for breastfeeding with me and who have very compelling stories.

I did everything I could think of to prepare myself. I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital I was delivering at, I got my husband on board, and I loaded up on some key products – nursing pads, a nursing cover, lanolin cream, a nursing pillow, and a nice comfortable glider. I felt ready.

So when my son arrived and I tried feeding him in the hospital and time and again couldn’t get him to latch, it was like the world was crashing down. I felt like I was already failing at being a mom. Every two hours, I would need to call the nurse to help me feed him, and even with her help it still didn’t feel right. After a couple of really bad feedings (trying to get him to latch over and over) I was too emotional to be consoled by my husband, and I was in a lot of pain.

Finally, there was a shift change with the nursing staff and a very sweet nurse came in to see how feeding was going.  I expressed my frustration, sadness, and told her about what had grown to be excruciating pain. She had me try feeding with a nipple shield and I couldn’t believe it – he fed great and I had no pain! It turns out, this little shield that I had never even heard of was all we needed. I did the next feeding by myself and it was amazing. By the next day, I was leaving the hospital as a confident, breastfeeding mom.

We faced a couple other bumps in the road those first two weeks of breastfeeding, but getting over that first hurdle made me feel like I could handle anything. We got into a routine and by the third week it was nothing but smooth sailing for 11 months!

Did you face bumps in the road while breastfeeding? How did you get through them?

Your Comments

Comments
Cindy
Kinda of along the lines of what coastinganon was snyiag... I think the whole "to breastfeed or not to breastfeed" issue is, for most moms, the first time when you really have to pick your battles re: your LO.No parent is able to do everything they'd like to/for/with their child. It's just not possible. And I think that as your kid gets older, you probably get more accustomed to the fact that you have limited time, money, energy, sanity... and therefore you sometimes have to say "Well, while it would probably be great for little Billy's cognitive development if I were to sit here and show him stimulating high-contrast flash cards while singing nursery rhymes in Mandarin, I think that instead I will stick him in his swing while I take a shower and check Facebook for thirty minutes, after which I will be a much more excited mother and all-around pleasant person."And I don't know about you other first-time moms, but I was a crazy person those first few weeks post-partum, and it was really easy to get caught up in the idea that I still could do anything and everything that I'd ever wanted for my child! It wasn't too late! I could breastfeed and cloth diaper and do EC and make him bilingual and engender a love of vegetables and classical music!And while I can still catch up on the vegetables and Mozart, breastfeeding is a "do it now or forever hold your peace (at least with this child)" kind of thing. And it really sucks to want to breastfeed and then face all kinds of challenges and think "really? I'm failing at something ALREADY?" And I really, really, really do not believe that choosing to formula feed is "failing", but I do think that it's easy to feel like it is in those first couple weeks if it's something that you'd really wanted to do.
3/19/2012 4:22:19 PM

Agathe
Good luck with the baby!As to the question of tewhher your baby would be able to handle the combination- you can't be sure until she's born. Some babies can only handle breastmilk, some can only handle breastmilk if their moms eat a specialized diet, some can only handle specialized formulas. MOST babies will be fine with both.Any breastmilk you can give her will be a benefit (assuming, of course, that she can tolerate it). My advice would be to pump quite a bit in the first few weeks to establish your supply. If you only pump once or twice a day from the beginning, your supply might go away quickly. The first few weeks are really essential for getting it started, and you can freeze any extra for when you return to work. After that- it will depend on your body as to tewhher or not your supply will keep up- every woman is different. There are herbal supplements and teas that some women swear by to keep their supply up; for most women, pumping only once a day will lead to their milk drying up very quickly. My advice would be to pump as much as you can- it will probably be healthier for your baby, and much much cheaper for you to have more breastmilk than formula available.Also, consider putting her to the breast for the first few days. Before your milk comes in, your body will produce colostrum- a clear, yellowish liquid- that has enormous health benefits for newborns. You shouldn't have a problem then introducing the bottle if she is only a few days old.Again, good luck and congratulations!
3/17/2012 1:17:45 AM

Jade
I think it is great that you are talking about your journey as a first time breastfeeding mom. I also found the first two weeks to be really hard and was in tears quite a bit but, in the end, it was totally worth it. I don't think a lot of people are prepared for those first few weeks of breastfeeding and this post can help! Thanks! :)
3/7/2012 12:26:58 AM

K. Ryder
Breastfeeding can be both a challenging and rewarding experience for both mom and baby. I encourage new moms to try new positions with the baby or new products to encourage latching on and successful feeding because the benefits to the child are worth the trial and error
3/6/2012 1:02:55 PM

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Dr. Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing pediatrician, author, speaker, children’s health advocate, and father of four.

Dr. Levine

Dr. Alanna Levine is a New York based pediatrician and a mom of two children.