Breastfeeding successes

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2007
Breastfeeding successes
18
Fri, 07-02-2010 - 4:44pm
I know there are many of you BTDTs who have been successful at breastfeeding, despite setbacks and frustrations. For those of you who were successful, what kept you from giving up? What set you up for success? Was it preparation beforehand? Good support? Sheer determination? A genius baby with a fabulous latch? I ask because out of all of the family and friends I have who have tried to breastfeed, NONE of them made it more than a month. It's really important to me to breastfeed, but it's discouraging when so many try and then quit. I just had another friend give up after two weeks, so I'm just wondering: What's the key to success?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2010
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 4:11pm
Thanks everyone for sharing your stories!
Silly Expecting Siggy

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2007
Thu, 07-08-2010 - 8:29pm
Thanks so much for all of the good info, ladies! I loved reading about all of your experiences. This all made me feel better because I know how dedicated I am to making it work. Like Ella said, not breastfeeding really isn't an option for me, so I'm glad to know that with determination I should be a success--I'm about as stubborn as they come. :)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2006
Thu, 07-08-2010 - 9:39am
For me, it was sheer determination and a little bit of mommy guilt.

new siggy

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Thu, 07-08-2010 - 7:41am

"4) Cherish that time. Breast feeding is something only you can do, and it's a very special thing to share with your baby."

Aw, Mari, thanks for posting this! It's so true. Despite all the troubles that you have especially to start with, it is so rewarding and you form such a close bond with your baby.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Wed, 07-07-2010 - 10:34am
Hi Erin!! As most PP said. the most important thing is to be convinced in your heart that this is a good thing and you want to do it. Also a supportive DH is worth a ton!!
In my case, I had the support from both sides of the family and I still had to struggle a little bit!
Fede had a great latch right from the begining. So thank goodness I didn't have cracked nipples or pain. But i did struggle with my supply and with engorgement/mastitis.
My milk came 4 days after Fede was born, and for some reason, my left boob wouldn't "let the milk donw". It became rock hard and even had many sore lumps in it. To make matters worse, that's when fede was admitted in the hospital with jaundice. So whenever I wasn't in the hospital, I was pumping/massaging my breasts to release some milk. When he came home again, he was used to x amount of milk a day (the nurses give them extra milk to help the babies get rid of the bilirrubin faster). And I simply couldn't keep up. So I started supplementing with formula. Then came his second stay in the NICU, and since he was really in danger that time, I also had to struggle with a lot of stress, and my supply went even lower... So the next month I had to take supplements, and also give him formula. In time my supply went up, and now I've been exclusively BF for about 4 months.
Oh, I've also had mastitis, but BF actually makes you feel better, so that wasn't an issue.
What I learned:
1) Work on a good latch. Have nipple shields and nipple cream. Always consult BEFORE it really hurts.
2) If you need to use some formula, don't feel bad. But always offer him the breast and try to make him empty your breasts BEFORE offering the bottle.
3) Drink ridiculous amounts of water. And try to get some sleep. Without those, your supply will go down. Pumping after every feed also helps.
4) Cherish that time. Breast feeding is something only you can do, and it's a very special thing to share with your baby.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
Tue, 07-06-2010 - 8:57pm
I think one of the most important things is to promise that you will get to 6 weeks. A good support system is invaluable, but making it to 6 weeks is normally the turning point when everything starts to click. I didn't have many issues with Eloise other then a milk protein sensitivity, but with Desmond it was tough the first few weeks, I just kept going and once I hit 6 weeks everything just sort of fell into place and from there I have kept going nursing him for 3+ years. My main goal was making those 6 weeks and then 3 months, then 6 months, then 1 year, then as long as I could deal with it.











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Thank you for the sig Mary

Avatar for sandyc299
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2008
Mon, 07-05-2010 - 9:07pm

My son wouldn't latch on the first maybe 3-4 days. I was so frustrated. We gave him formula for a day as he screamed the first night we were home because the poor baby was hungry but I hadn't gotten my milk yet. So that next day I finally did. I ended up pumping until the pediatrician helped me with my son latching on. Everything went great. I then went back to work in February. My son was born in December. So I was then breastfeeding/pumping. So it continued until he went on solids. I then saw a decrease but I was determined to make it 6 months. I now am having to formula/breastmilk combo as I just can't pump enough. Not sure why my supply went down but it did. I got a new pump as the LC thinks it was since all of a sudden it went down when I didn't do anything different. Plus when I breastfeed him my breasts feel empty. I am going to try to make it a year but now my goal is 9 months and we'll see where we stand at that point.

My suggestion to you, consult the pediatrician, your OB and a LC if you have any questions. It's not easy and there were days I wanted to give up or was sore or no milk pumping or whatever. I now know why so many women do give up but I was determined. I am a little bummed I have to give some formula but I know I gave him almost all breastmilk for 6 months. I had to start supplementing about 4 1/2-5 months about the time I started solids. I also had issues with him around that time when I would breastfeed before bed he would sleep maybe 1-2 hrs and be up again so now he gets bottles usually of formula before bed. I do breastfeed him the rest of the day if I'm not working and if I am I breastfeed once I get home from work.

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Thanks for the wonderful siggie Heather


David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Sun, 07-04-2010 - 11:43pm

Erin,

A few things really helped me...we've been BFing 8 weeks now and we did NOT have an easy start.

I was on IV fluids for 3 days at the hospital so my already flat nipples were even worse off due to the excess fluid...hello nipple shield. Then when I went back for the clinic check, baby had lost the normal 10% weight, was slightly jaundiced (never went under the lights though) and my milk was just coming in...instead of telling me to be patient, put the baby to the breast as often as possible...they gave me formula. They also told me to supplement with pumped BM or formula after every feeding to get his weight up. So on bottles he went...which royally screwed up his already precarious latch (latching was already hard due to the nipple shield). After giving him just 4 oz of formula, I put my foot down and said no that wasnt the answer either. After being home for a week and a half, I was thisclose to giving up...it was so frustrating. My baby wasnt latching properly, I was so sore and every time that damn nurse came to our house to weigh him, it didnt seem good enough. She thought I had thrush because of the bad latch (diaper rash only), she said he wasnt gaining enough each day....I questioned my supply....grrr

Anyway, that weekend I said enough is enough....that weekend, Maxim was almost 2 weeks old and we practiced...and practiced...no more nipple shield, no more bottles....and it was super hard work. But I was absolutely determined to make it work. I said to myself that my body can do this, my baby can do this, its the best for US and I'm NOT paying for formula. Having my DH there cheering me on made all the difference. I had nobody but him...my mom formula fed and doesnt know about BF'ed babies and it was super hard.

So a few things helped me looking back:

First, I read up on BFing before and had information in the back of my head about normal BF'ed babies....the normal 10% weight loss, the normal jaundice occurring in some babies, the 3-5 day wait for milk, WTD about engorgement, WTD about cluster feeding and the growth spurts (2 weeks, 3 weeks, 6 weeks...etc etc). Having that information ahead of time really helped me because the nurses were inducing panic and I had to step back, shake the fatigue off and remind myself of what I knew and what is normal. When you're sleep deprived, it can be very taxing...so having that info in the back of my head sort of helped me out and forced me to rely on my mother instincts even when it meant going against so-called "good advice."

Also having a good support system in place...even a DH that is helpful can mean the world.

Finally, sheer willpower and determination. There were tears and lots of hours nursing...the cluster feeding in the evenings and growth spurts are NOT fun at all and my least favorite part about nursing but if you can see through it to the other side, it really helps. Lanolin, lanolin, lanolin!! Taking it day by day or even feed by feed helped me. The hard part doesnt last forever. And finally....even when it is really hard or exhausting...just remember to love and cherish the time with your baby...they dont stay little forever.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Sun, 07-04-2010 - 1:04am

Great topic!


I'm a combination of all of the above. Like some of the others, I had sheer determination to make BFing work, even though I didn't necessarily have the support of my family to do it long-term, but DH is totally on board with it.


DH and I took a Bradley class and our teacher gave everyone a copy of this book. It saved my life that first month! Now I recommend it to everyone I know.


http://www.amazon.com/Breastfeeding-Made-Simple-Natural-ebook/dp/B002BSGXQ4


Most importantly, do not give up! It will be painful in the beginning (Lansinoh was my friend!) but the rewards are so great once you and baby get the hang of BFing. I was fortunate that Selin had no latch issues and aside from being sore, I didn't have any adverse physical side effects.


Also, one thing no one has mentioned...check out your local La Leche League! I brought Selin to my first meeting when she was 5 weeks old and I still go regularly. Even though BFing is well established for us now, I still learn something useful at every meeting. For example, last week, the main topic for the meeting was Introducing Solids and Extended BFing. At every meeting, there is an open floor to discuss whatever is on your mind and it doesn't necessarily have to do with BFing. The annual membership for my group is $35 but they have yet to ask for any money because they know money is tight for DH and I right now. My group also has outings and playdates throughout the month. http://www.llli.org/WebUS.html


GL!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2007
Sat, 07-03-2010 - 9:21pm

Hm, when I started reading your post I thought you'd already had your baby and were having trouble. But, your LO isn't here yet, so you have a chance to get ahead of the game. So, while being realistic and realizing BFing is hard is great, I don't think it's bad to hope it'll go well.

I was super proactive about learning about BFing ahead of time. The #1 piece of useful advice I got was *always break a bad latch*. So many stories of breastfeeding going badly start with it being hard, and letting them nurse with a bad latch, and then having it all spiral. I highly recommend the My Brest Friend pillow which is great for keeping the baby near your breast without tiring your arms. And then just keep trying until you find a good latch (it may be sore, but it shouldn't *hurt*). It's tempting to let them nurse once they're finally on, even though it hurts. It's like a mother-sacrifice thing, but it'll backfire. Seriously, it took 30-40 minutes to get some of those early latches to be good, and it was insanely frustrating, and awful to pop him off when he finally started getting something, but it wasn't right. But, he and I both learned, and the worst I had was a week of soreness and one slightly cracked nipple.

I also had a doula to help me, and my hospital had LCs coming in every 8 hours. I also had the number for two independent LCs if I needed them. If you are having trouble getting a good latch, ask for help ASAP. And if you're not comfortable with the person helping you, get someone else. *Ask for help early*.

The other thing I focus on what having tons of water and juice and oatmeal.

So, that's my 2 cents. Someone else mentioned learning to nurse lying down, which is great, but I wasn't able to do hat until Patrick was older, no matter how hard I tried, so I think it depends on how you and your baby are physically configured :)

Best wishes,

~Lorien





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~Lorien





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