Follow up to the breastfeeding post.

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in HEALTH, New Mom Experience

Also read:

Birth Story Part I
Birth Story Part II
Reflections on Birth Experience
Breastfeeding Journey
Breastfeeding Products that Helped 

First of all, I’d like to thank you all for such awesome comments on the breastfeeding post! One day it will be an invaluable resource and support  for some new mom who’s struggling just like we all struggled in the beginning.

As expected, there were a few things I forgot to mention in the main post, so I am going to address them here, along with some of your questions. If you asked a question about products and supplements that helped me, that will be covered in the next breastfeeding post, so hang tight. If I somehow missed your question, please let me know.

Nipple Shield

 

As I was trying to recall my first few weeks of breastfeeding, I COMPLETELY forgot about the nipple shield. The hospital LC reluctantly gave me one after Alexis so quickly destroyed my nipple and warned that it has the potential to diminish my milk supply. At that point I felt I had no choice but to use it. For the next 4-5 weeks I kept trying to get off the nipple shield, but as soon as I went a few nursings without it, the cracks and bleeding  would come right back and I’d have to use it again. I have to admit using the nipple shield and knowing it can mess with the supply definitely added to the whole “supply worry”. I kept thinking that was the issue: because I used a nipple shield, she couldn’t get enough milk and had to nurse every 30-40 minutes and was fussy because my supply was dropping due to the shield in addition to her bad latch. (that was wrong btw). So after we finally called a Lactation Consultant and she visited us in our home and showed me a few tricks, I was more determined to stopped using the shield. She also confirmed that my supply was absolutely fine ( I was spraying and Alexis was one heavy baby) and that I just needed to keep trying and get off the darn shield. I used 3 different brands of shields and will talk about them in the next post, each one was good for a certain stage. Finally, I was able to nurse on one side without a shield, with pain but bearable enough not to be deathly afraid of nursing. It took me A LOT longer to wean my other boob off the shield and I kept going back and forth. I’d use the shield, then try to take it off for a few nursings, decide it just wasn’t worth it, go back on it. Until soon enough I was nursing without. All in all, I don’t think shields are all that bad, IF your baby is nursing frequently and for a decent amount of time.

Attachment

I wanted to clarify a bit what was happening with Alexis when I would leave her for longer than 2 hours. It’s not exactly a bottle issue. We introduced a bottle early on ( despite my fear that I’d mess up her latch even further), when we wanted to figure out my supply and why she was feeding so often (I’d pump, we’d feed her and see how much she’s taking and whether she’s hungry after). Whenever I left her with Andrew, she’d take the bottle just fine, maybe reluctant at first, but well enough. She is also perfectly happy hanging out with her father, who she has a really good bond with, since she spends at least 2 full days during the week with him exclusively. She’s never had any issues spending a whole day with him and my mom as long as I am home (but doing work or otherwise occupied with something important). Now, I have a few suspicions for why this was happening. I think it’s a new development and it has more to do with her getting overstimulated and overtired, because both events happened at 7:30 pm and I noticed she is now getting very upset around that time if we don’t put her to sleep promptly (a nap, she goes to sleep for the night at 10pm). And once she’s THAT upset, noone but me AND the boob can really calm her down. That’s my theory in short and we’re going to test it out and see. I’ll update in one of the future posts.

Reader Questions:

“From what I read in the internet, there is a very very long list of products that you are not allowed to eat, and very short one of what you can eat while breastfeeding. What’s your menu? I’d appreciate to read about someone’s actual experience.”

There was only 1 change to my diet that I made prior to starting breastfeeding (2 weeks before, to be exact). I eliminated all cow’s milk proteins (dairy). It takes about two weeks to clear your system. There’s a multitude of reasons for it with the simplest to explain being, that if your child is going to have allergies, reflux, colic, tummy pain, the most likely culprit is cow’s milk. So why not be proactive and not  have to test to see if your child is the one sensitive to it? My full reasoning is a lot more extensive and serious than that. Cow’s milk is just a really really bad thing (especially the way it’s currently produced) and with infants having a “leaky” intenstine in order to let mother’s immune factors through, milk proteins really mess with their system. Once the intestines close up, going back to eating dairy shouldn’t be a problem ( around 4-6 months).

Once Alexis arrived and we discovered that she has a bit of reflux, I went ahead and eliminated foods that tend to make reflux worse, like tomatoes, fried foods, onions, citrus and garlic. I noticed that her reflux acts up if I eat fried foods, not sure about the rest, but I am not willing to test it out yet.

So basically, since I don’t eat any meat, but  eat salmon and sardines for their DHA content, my meals are pretty much vegan with the exception of above mentioned fish. Lots of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, salads and vegan soups.

“This is question coming from someone who currently has no children but I am just really curious about the whole breastfeeding issue as having children is something in my near future. How does it hurt? That is to say, what is the baby doing that is causing the pain? Or is it your body just recovering from having a baby and your body just getting use to producing breastmilk so in turn your body just hurts and no matter what baby does it’s going to be painful? I have heard it can be painful so I am not doubting anything you (and the other commenters) are saying. I am just curious as to why. One would think with a newborn having no teeth they can’t bite you, but clearly that is not the issue. I know I’ll never truely understand until I am doing it myself but I’m just kind of curious anyway.”

I didn’t have any contractions or body pains (except for the first day in the hospital but those were very mild), however I have heard of women who have them REALLY BAD. The pain that most women are referring to is a searing type of pain on the surface of your nipple. Basically, imagine skinning your knee and then applying salt to it and pressing down and rubbing it in, then transfer that feeling onto something a lot more sensitive like your neither regions or your nipple. The baby’s tongue and lips rub your already sensitive nipple raw and then the continued suction and rubbing make it even worse. And it goes on for about 6 weeks. If you have a baby who tucks their top lip in, they give you a hickey on the nipple or areola which is really painful. And then add to that the fact that the pain doesn’t go away when you’re not nursing because you have to wear bras that rub on your nipples. If the latch is correct, after the initial pain, it should be fine, because the nipple would be positioned where it doesn’t rub on anything. But rarely can a newborn baby latch on perfectly, so the nipple ends up being rubbed by her/his tongue, the roof of his/her mouth, gums, etc. Many times the nipple is rubbed so bad, it gets cracked, you can see little “holes” and open cracks in it ( it was that way in my case). I don’t want to scare you though, it’s not that bad for everyone. Some women are lucky and end up with a baby who can latch well and a big well defined nipple.

There’s also pain during let down ( when your milk starts to come out/spray) in some women ( me including). It can be mild and prickling or strong and ache and feel like little tiny needles are poking through your nipple! Fun, huh? :)

Sarah: “Also, and forgive me if you have already answered this and I missed it, are you using nursing pads? If so, what kind? I’m small breasted/small frames and everything I try is too bulky and annoying, But I need something to stop the leaks!”

I tried a few nursing pads, including reusable washable ones and the only ones I liked were Simplisse ones. They’re thin enough and don’t tend to stick to your nipples like others. I was leaking in the beginning, then the leaking stopped, and now I’m back to leaking. In general, I find breastpad too much of a pain to worry about and since I’ve been staying home most of the time, I just change my clothes often :) lol

Lara: “Just have a question about pumping, cause it sounds like you did some of it quite early on. When did you pump? How many times a day? Did you pump on the side that Alexis didn’t feed from, or on the same side? (I’m hoping to introduce a bottle for occasions when I have to go out so I’m just seeing what others have done/do)”

Initially, I wanted to stay away from pumping because I knew it would lead to engorgement, possibly mastitis and oversupply. I didn’t need to build a milk stash urgently since I work from home, so I took it slow. I wanted Alexis to set my supply naturally.  At first I would pump because we were trying to figure out my supply and whether Alexis was getting enough. I’d pump until nothing would come out and feed it to her. Not much would come out at first: 1-2 oz from each breast.  Later once things started settling down I was pumping to have enough for me to go to my doctor’s appointment or dentist without having to drag both my hubby and Alexis with me, because she was eating every 30-60 minutes. Also, honestly, I didn’t have time to pump between her frequent feedings. The few times I tried when my supply was still establishing, she would end up wanting to eat literally 10 minutes after and I would have no milk for her. So I stopped until she started spacing out her feedings a bit more at night. I’d wake up with my breasts full, feed her on one side and pump on the other (in the middle of the night). After a while I collected about 20 oz by just pumping once at night, but I do believe it created a bit of an oversupply that I am somewhat struggling with right now. I don’t want to keep pumping since I really don’t enjoy being engorged and it’s a slippery slope. Plus she keeps chocking from the milk coming out too strong, so it’s not exactly great. I think for moms who mainly stay home, doing occasional pumping after the supply is established is the best way to go. Though, I’m sure it’s different for everyone, so see what works for you. If you can handle not going anywhere for longer than 1-2 hours in the first 8 weeks, then don’t worry about pumping. You can do that once your supply is good and set.

Also, I never got to mention it, because I haven’t done another postpartum post, but even though I avoided stretchmarks everywhere during pregnancy, after I started pumping and obviously getting too full, I developed stretchmarks on my boobs. I completely forgot that it can be an issue and didn’t moisturize at all (I couldn’t really with Alexis). Then around 8 weeks I started noticing them. It sucks that I didn’t pay attention to it, but at least they’re only on my boobs which are always covered up in public. So keep that in mind and don’t make the same mistake as I did :)

Engorgement

-I got a question about engorgement but I couldn’t find it for some reason. I didn’t struggle with engorgement much. It became very uncomfortable when my milk first came in, almost painful, but mostly very uncomfortable. I was saved from engorgement by Alexis’ feeding habits, which were a lot more frequent than normal, so I didn’t have time to get engorged. That is until recently when she started sleeping longer stretches at night. I am not bothered too much by it, but I know some women really struggle. It can be painful, uncomfortable and it definitely prevents the baby from getting a good latch or sucking effectively. Now that I think of it, I do remember being engorged in the beginning and Alexis having trouble sucking on anything but my nipple, which hurt like hell. The problem with engorgement is that the breast is so big and full and almost misshapen that the baby has trouble getting a good latch and removing the milk effectively, which can lead to more engorgement initially and an early weaning and low milk supply later. That was a big reason for why I was very careful with pumping. A few times when I’d wake up at night feeling too full, I’d pump for just a minute or so, because that doesn’t perpetuate the problem by stimulating the breast too much, but brings some relief.

Alyssa:  I do not want to start an argument, not at all. I think it’s neat to be able to provide food for your child without cost. However, with everything you said, why oh why oh why do you breastfeed??? It sounds so incredibly painful, it sounds hard, it sounds like you are trapped in your house until you are “no longer the only source of food”.Other than $$ that it costs to purchase formula, why NOT use formula? Anyone can feed the baby then, no pain on your part, baby still gets nutrition it needs (formula is not poison!). Win. Win. Win.I honestly am not trying to post just to create an argument, I legitimately do NOT understand women who go on and on about how painful it is and how you are the only source of food, and are engorged, and can’t leave the house, etc; I do not understand why not to use formula.For the record, I have two kids (1 and 2 years old), both drank formula 100% except for baby #1?s first 3 days. I “tried” to BF but I knew right away that it wasn’t for me. And there’s no question about “is baby getting enough?”  And no reason to change your diet (ie. eliminating milk products)

-No, formula isn’t poison, but it is definitely not the OPTIMAL nutrition for a baby, just look at the ingredients: corn syrup solids as one of the top ingredients. It also doesn’t have nearly enough DHA in it which is very important for synapse myelination in early childhood. We were made to feed our babies, our milk is created in a way as to give the perfect nutrition for human babies along with perfect emotional bonding. Our brains and system is developed specifically to thrive on breast milk and with breastfeeding emotional connections and closeness. Formula is a great answer for women who for some reason cannot or chose not to breastfeed, because without formula the baby would starve or be fed solids (cow’s milk, cereals, like in the days before formula) and possibly die from that. I don’t know the reasons for why most women breastfeed, but I would guess they are somewhat the same. For me it was never an option NOT to breastfeed. We went to such an extent to ensure  that during pregnancy I got the absolutely best nutrition and care possible, that it was just a no brainer to do the same once Alexis arrived.  I don’t need to bring up studies for why breast milk is beneficial and that very benefit is why women struggle and live in pain for the first 6-8 weeks. Then, of course, there’s the bonding experience like no other, the idea of giving your baby sustenance, the convenience, the savings- but all these were trivial to me, compared to the health benefits, emotional benefits and developmental benefits breastmilk has the potential to bring. As far as diet changes, the biggest one is giving up dairy and most women don’t do that, so in most cases that’s not an issue. If I were to feed Alexis formula, I wouldn’t give her standard formula that has cow’s milk, anyways.  I would feed her elemental formula that has all the proteins broken down into amino acids so there are no issues with cow’s milk sensitivity. Hope this explains it. I’m sure there are a lot more other reasons and benefits I have no time to think of right now.

Oh and also the question of “Is the baby getting enough” is not necessary. It’s only in our heads. I think if ALL women were to share their stories and experiences with honesty and in detail, and we had more of  breastfeeding society, the issue of “Is the baby getting enough” wouldn’t even come up, because we’d be confident in knowing how breastfeeding works and what’s normal and what’s not. I bumped into an awesome article about this syndrome of “low milk supply” that I would recommend anyone read.

Lindsey: “Random question, What carrier are you nursing alexis in, in the photo?”

-It’s the LilleBaby’s Nordic carrier. I’ll be writing about it and doing a giveaway sometime in the next month or so. I LOVE IT! It has a great head support, lightweight and not too hot. And as you can see, easy to breastfeed in.

Gina: “When you say she still sometimes chokes and has milk come out of her nose, do you know what that’s from? My son does the same thing (sometimes), I’m thinking it’s an over supply issue.”

-I’ve looked into this and have come to two conclusions. It’s either from reflux and their immature esophagus or from oversupply or both. I know she often chokes when the let down happens which is from oversupply. Milk comes out of her nose mostly when I am feeding her while lying down and I think it can be due to esophagus not closing properly and due to chocking from fast let down ( kind of like “went down the wrong pipe” deal).

Allyssa: “So are you a NIP without a cover mama or was the first photo just for the blog? I think it’s awesome when women do that. I’ll have to see how I feel when I have my baby. What is the carrier in the first picture? Do you have any other carriers that you BF in?”

None of the photos in the breastfeeding post were taken for the blog, I was really breastfeeding at those moments. I definitely have NO problems with nursing in public with or without cover. As a matter of fact, there were 3 golf carts passing by at that moment with people waving at us and saying hi (LOL). Breastfeeding is natural, boobs aren’t dirty or need to be overly sexualized, a baby eating the way it was supposed to isn’t gross but should be encouraged.  That being said, I am not going to walk around pulling my boob out wherever I want, but if Alexis needs to eat, I WILL feed her immediately. I have a few nursing tops and dresses, most from Boob Design, others are just nursing friendly (low neckline and stretchy), so I will always be discreet, however I make no bones about it, if I am not wearing a nursing top and I need to pull my shirt down and feed her where we both are comfortable, I will do so without trying to hide somewhere. I don’t think I will be using a nursing cover, I actually don’t own one. The carrier I am breastfeeding in is LilleBaby’s Nordic carrier. I also use Beco carrier to BF in, and plan on BFing in Moby and Balboa sling.

Next post: Breastfeeding Products that helped me get through 8 weeks and some breastfeeding goodies for you, guys.

Also read:

Birth Story Part I
Birth Story Part II
Reflections on Birth Experience
Breastfeeding Journey
Breastfeeding Products that Helped 

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Comments (60)

  • Haley Miller

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    I feel ya on the shield. I used it for 3 months and of course worried about it and whether it was affecting my supply or making my child spit up more. When I was able to wean from it, I knew just how silly those concerns were. I feel the way you do. It’s not ideal to use one and I hope to avoid it this time around, but I don’t think its horrible to use it, either. I highly doubt I would have been able to breastfeed my son at first without it (he was tongue-tied and I have somewhat flat nipples–bad combination!). Thanks for your honest posts about breastfeeding. It is hard at first, but it only gets easier. Good luck!

    Reply

  • Nate

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    Very informative post. However, you may not be uncomfortable feeding in public but others may be. The keyword here is public and unless you are in the comfort of your own home, perhaps using a cover would benefit all.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Breast feeding isn’t something to hide or something other people should feel uncomfortable with. No one tells a person to go eat in the comfort of their own home, why should babies eating process be hidden? Nothing is ever shown while breastfeeding and noone has to look close enough to see nipple. For a passerby breastfeeding in public should look completely inconspicuous.
      It’s a baby eating for God’s sake! :)

      Reply

      • Claudia

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        Thank you for saying this. I feel incredibly irritated when people say that breast feeding mothers should cover up in public because it makes other people uncomfortable. It IS just feeding a baby!

        Reply

      • jen

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        Amen!! I nursed my son in public until he was 2 and anyone who doesnt like it can just turn away. Elena you will get grins someday from supporters as if they are saying way to go:-)

        PS loved the spot on why not formula feed…couldn’t say it better myself. Whenever people ask me why we refuse cows milk I just tell them to Google it and once they find out what’s in cows milk they will be too disgusted to look at a container of it.

        Reply

      • Jess

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        Thank you for saying this!! When our little bundle of joy makes its grand debut this September, I fully intend to be a NIP mom. Given the ultra-conservative state that I live in, I’m almost counting on the stares and possible comments. I have every intention of being as discreet as I can be, but I don’t feel that I should run and hide to do it, or use a cover if either the baby or myself don’t like it. I wish ours was a more breast feeding friendly society, it’s not an unnatural, gross, or immoral act–it’s just feeding a baby. I don’t get why it would make others uncomfortable, especially since women (myself included, of course! lol) have shown way more in swimsuits, push-up bras, and lower cut blouses.

        Reply

    • Amanda

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      Please do some research before spewing this ignorance around. It is legal, natural, etc. to breastfeed in public without a cover. Why don’t you put a cover over your head while you eat and tell me how you like it? My son used to make more of a spectacle when I tried using a cover, because he hated it. It was so much easier to pull my shirt up and quickly latch him. You couldn’t even see boob, much less nipple.

      Reply

    • Ashley

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      I don’t ever comment but read your blog often. Just wanted to reply to Nate.
      Absolutely other people might uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public. I have a wonderful, fool proof suggestion for those folks. Don’t look. Problem solved. If you lack the self control to not look at something that makes you “uncomfortable” then I suggest you retreat to the comfort of your own home. Nursing mothers have a right to leave the house and feed their babies when they are hungry.

      Reply

      • Bree

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        I have to agree with her. If it makes you uncomfortable, just don’t look. I mean people look the other way at a lot worse things, trust me. If I were more comfortable with it, I would breast feed without a cover or not in the car. But for me, I don’t want anyone to look at me and my little one. However, I think that any mom and baby have the right to nurse without a cover, period and the laws agree with me thank goodness.

        Reply

    • Shannon

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      If other people are uncomfortable seeing a nursing mother, perhaps they should cover their heads with a blanket.

      Reply

  • Ruth C

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    This is an awesome post!! Thank you!! I had a couple questions and or comments.

    1. A friend of mine heard about my similiar–to-yours first nursing experience, the pain and agony of nipple cracks & bleeding and shared a FANTASTIC tip!! She told me to use 100% lanolin cream 4-8 weeks in advance 2-3x a day, it would almost eliminate nipple pain and you will not have cracking or bleeding. I was desperate to try anything that might help so I used this with my second daughter. About 8 weeks before her due date I was religious about rubbing it in morning and night. It’s thicker like a honey/wax texture. After using it, I had to use breast pads to avoid staining and ruining my bras or clothes. http://www.amazon.com/Lansinoh-Lanolin-Breastfeeding-Mothers-Grams/dp/B005MI648C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333978225&sr=8-1 BUT the benefits were unbelieveable!!! I had not one crack or bleed in sight!! My nipples did get a little tender and sore, for the first week, but there was none of the searing pain and tears (from me) at feeding times. I’m pregnant with my 3rd now, about 7 weeks out from delivery and I have begun using the 100% lanolin. And I expect great things!! :)

    2. My question is this, I’ve heard the silicone Lily Padz are really great, have you tried those? Has anyone else who might read this, tried them? I really disliked the cloth pads because they were so bulky and they had a tendency to stick to my nipples.

    After being told we’d never be able to conceive again, this baby is a HUGE surprise, and since my older two are older now, I have LOVED reading/following your blog, as I feel like I’m having my first all over again! :)

    Reply

    • Megan

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      I use lilypadz now (I am a swimmer) and enjoy them! They are a bit expensive ($20/pair) and you HAVE to use their special soap with it.
      I don’t use them everyday, it’s nice to wear them once in a while though (massages, swimming, etc) They actually worked for me, and I leak a lot. Worth it to use once and a while, I wouldn’t suggest using them all the time. I use the lansinoh ones daily because they are thinner and don’t stick to my nipple.

      Reply

      • Ruth C

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        Thanks so much!! :) I’ll purchase a pair or so and see how I like them then. I already need something even though he’s not here yet. LOL I’ll try the Lansinoh ones too!! Thanks for that tip!

        Reply

    • Bree

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      I have Lily Padz and they are okay… I can only use them once though and then I have to take them off and clean them because the leaked milk has sat against my body, warmed (probably overwarmed) and then they smell a little funny. What’s nice about them is in that in those first weeks they sort of have a soothing effect to them.

      I also use the lansinoh breast pads on a daily basis, firstly because they are comfortable and secondly because they actually catch the dang leak! I tried the Nuk ones and I just leaked straight through them.

      Reply

  • Josey

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    I’m noticing the exact same issue around 7-7:30pm with my daughter (who is 4 months old). She gets overtired / overstimulated SO easily, and if we’re out and about, well meaning friends try to take her and calm her down, which pretty much drives me nuts b/c I know she just wants ME and the comfort of my breast.

    Great post!

    Reply

  • Elena C.

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    Love the picture of you in the brown top in the Attachment part! :)
    And I totally share your views on breastfeeding!

    Reply

  • Rachel

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    The first night or two in the hospital is when I experienced the most pain. I do not think he was latching correctly and I ended up with blood blisters. Once I mastered getting him latched correctly, it was pretty much smooth sailing. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait 6 weeks or so for BFing to be comfortable or I would have died.

    I tried using a breastshield but I could never get that darn thing to work right and didn’t feel like it was helping.

    And for others who wonder why would we breastfeed when it hurts, can’t leave the house, engorgement, etc. Besides the obvious and wonderful reasons that it is best for baby, etc etc. Everyone’s experiences are different. Not everyone experiences engorgement, pain, etc. I have never had the let-down feeling nor have I ever been engorged. My son was never a super frequent nurser and that allowed me to be flexible and get out. After the first two-four days after birth, nursing has never hurt. I actually find it incredibly soothing and I sometimes get that tingly feeling all over that you get when someone rubs your back. I have not had to cut any foods from my diet due to breastfeeding and my son has had no issues because of that.

    I find it incredibly ignorant that anyone should even question why a mother would breastfeed. I have a 1 year old and am still nursing him. It is an amazing bonding experience and I am giving him the best food/nutrients for him.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I do too find breastfeeding actually pleasant now with a good latch and already think with dread about the time when she won’t be nursing any more :(

      Reply

  • Amanda

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    Elena,
    I know you experienced 6-8 weeks of severe pain from nursing, but please know that it is not common for it to last that long. My pain lasted about 1-2 weeks, but I had a good latcher from the start. I feel you might scare some people off of breastfeeding by stating that the pain last 6-8 weeks in a general sense, rather than stating that it was your experience.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Amanda, I stated that it was my experience in the first post. This is a follow up. But based on the feedback from women, a lot of people have that pain until the baby learns to latch better at 6-8 weeks. I’m all for encouraging breastfeeding, but the pain is a big reason for why women quit, so if they expect it or are prepared for it, it might help them persevere.

      Reply

      • Amanda

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        Most women I’ve talked to (and from my own experience) have said the pain only lasted 1-2 weeks. 6-8 weeks IS a long time to be experiencing bad pain and it is not common for the pain to last that long. You had a poor/shallow latcher, though. It doesn’t take every baby 6-8 weeks to develop a better latch and some have a great latch from the beginning. My son was latching like a champ by the time we went home from the hospital, which probably explains why I had pain for a shorter amount of time. Some women are also going to have more sensitive nipples, which would explain longer pain.

        I am glad you’re encouraging other women to breastfeed. It just seems like you make generalized statements based upon your own experience. I’m sure I am doing the same. Our own experiences cloud what is actually common and we seek out those that have had similar experiences (like when you blog about it hurting, a lot of women with your same experience are going to commiserate with you), making it seem even more common. Like you’ve said, everyone is different.

        I also don’t agree with the other side of the spectrum…the books that tell you there should be no pain if you have a good latch. That’s a lie and I think a lot of women give up thinking they’re not doing it right because it hurts and “it’s not supposed to”, according to their research.

        Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          Agreed.

          I did read that 6-8 weeks is a milestone for breast feeding and pain. But i also read that it shouldn’t hurt after the initial 1-2 weeks.

          Reply

    • Ana

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      That’s awesome that you only had 1-2 weeks of pain! I wish I would have been like that, but 6-7 weeks of latch pain is what I had as well…and I have told this to all my pregnant/nursing moms that I know. Everyone is different. I think most soon-to-be breastfeeding moms will appreciate Elena’s honesty of her discomfort while breastfeeding. I sure wish someone would have been as honesty as she is when I first had my babes! I wouldn’t have been so bewildered as to why it hurt that long!

      Reply

  • Erin

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    Love your blog and the breastfeeding post, it’s great to get a bunch of different perspectives on things. On a totally unrelated topic, can you tell me what kind of stroller you have and how you like it? My husband and I are tall like you and your husband and we are having the hardest time finding everything we want in a stroller including height. Thanks so much for your insight!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Mutsy 4 Rider. It has a telescoping handle and is PERFECT for tall people. I adore that stroller. I don’t have time to get into it now, but I’ll be writing about it in the next month or so

      Reply

      • Erin

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        Great, thanks so much! I’ll look forward to your post!

        Reply

  • Samantha Rose

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    I love your blog. Seriously, there is absolutely nothing else like it. When I read it I feel like I am with a friend who isn’t afraid to spare ANY details. People want to know these things. It’s nice to hear things how they really are, firsthand, from a person that I was reading about before you were even pregnant. As someone who doesn’t currently have children, but we are going to be TTC in about a year from now, it’s nice to have this blog as a resource!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Samantha, thank you so much! It means a lot to me that what I do is appreciated and I am more than happy that how I write comes across as a friend talking to a friend because this is exactly how I feel about most of my readers!

      Reply

  • Megan

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    I agree with the pumping part. I was able to build up a HUGE stash just by pumping once a day in the morning (when I was most full) and doing it every day. I had like 45 bags prepared by the time I had to go back to work just from pumping once a day.
    I didn’t start pumping until about 7 or 8 weeks.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Meg, just wanted to say I got your email and will email you back as soon as I have enough time to answer those questions.

      Reply

  • Anna

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    Thank you for another informative post!
    And great tip about moisturizing the boobs after pregnancy, I totally haven´t thought about it!
    All the best.

    Reply

  • Verna

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    Great post! I especially loved your comment about why you breastfeed. It is a lot of hard work and is sometimes painful (we’re entering a biting phase here), but it is SO healthy for your baby! I have allergies and the main reason I breastfeed is to help my kids avoid some allergies. Being free and burning calories is a bonus. No (not as many) bottles to wash too. ; ) I’m not very brave about breastfeeding in public. Great job you! That is so awesome!

    Reply

  • Christine

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    Why all the concern about cow’s milk sensitivity? Do you or anyone in your immediate family have milk sensitivity? Of all the breastfeeding mamas I know, (and there are many) only one had to eliminate milk. Seems like a very drastic thing to do if you have no specific reason to avoid.

    Reply

  • Rebecca

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    Both of these posts have been so informative and great! Thank you! I have no babies of my own yet, and I do plan on breastfeeding once I do have a baby. My only concern is that my husband will feel left out/not have as much bonding time with the baby. Especially when you are BFing every 30-40 minutes! Does your husband feel left out? How do you deal with this? Thanks again! Rebecca

    Reply

  • Kerri

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    Reading about your experience really brought me back. My kid had a great latch and I still had pain about as long as you did. It wasn’t always constant but I’d say after about 8 weeks along it was smooth sailing from them. Yes it was totally worth it. I had a very colicky child and the ONLY thing that would calm him was the boob. So yes I stayed in the house with him and it was in no way a punishment. I was not about to ditch my newborn with other people just so I could go out and do my normal things like shopping or going out to eat. We make sacrifices for our children especially when we do what we know is best for them. Good job sticking with the breastfeeding. I know it’s hard. You’ll love it even more now you’re over the hurdle.

    Reply

  • Pearl

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    I’m curious if you’re giving Vitamin D. My doctor advised it, but I feel odd giving it to my little one who’ll be 11 weeks tomorrow. It just seems unnatural! btw I love reading your blog. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      No I’m not. I also don’t feel right giving an infant supplements. I remember reading about it And decided not to give but now I forgot why lol

      Reply

      • Ana

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        Vitamin D is a most for children and people who live in the north and are not exposed to the sun on daily basis. In those cases is not about feel right or not.

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        • C

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          Since you live in Florida you should get plenty of Vitamin D just from going out in the sun for a couple minutes. Where I live in Washington there are times in the year where we don’t get enough sun in the day so Vitamin D is essential for bone health and is recommended to supplement it here.

          Reply

  • guarderias

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    great article about the breastfeeding, i didn´t know a lot of thing about it. Thanks from Spain. ;)

    Reply

  • Zoe

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    Elena, I completely agree with your philosophy on breast feeding and avoiding formula where possible. I had very similar problems to you too, managed successfully to breast feed for 71/2 months following a very difficult first 2 months. Thankfully I did this as my daughter turned out to be allergic to cow’s milk protein but even that she grew out of. Breast shields didn’t work but I did find a super product called Lansinoh Lanolin cream which I used after every feed which reduced cracking. Like you I could write a major piece on breastfeeding! I didn’t change my diet and all was well for the two of us! I also have to say I was back working after 2 months and at this stage following an appointment with a lovely lactation expert, all went well!

    Reply

  • Shannon

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    Regarding the “why not just use formula” comment – I saw a great quote the other day. “Using formula because it’s easier when you are totally capable of breastfeeding is like using a wheelchair when you’re able to walk.” Great analogy, in my eyes.

    Reply

    • Michelle

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      Umm, that is a terrible analogy. What an eye roll worthy thing to say. THIS is where the breastfeeding/formula feeding wars come from. Self righteous statements such as these. Give me a break.

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      • Shannon

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        Breastfeeding (“walking”) is free, better for your health and baby’s health, and what your body is meant to do. However, it’s taxing on the body.

        Formula feeding (“using a wheelchair when you’re able-bodied”) costs money, is less optimal from a nutritional standpoint, and doesn’t provide the same health benefits for parent and child. However, it’s easier on the body and it ultimately gets the job done.

        Makes sense to me.

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        • Adge

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          Breastfeeding is not something that can be put into a small, neat little box. It can be very complex for a variety of reasons involving mom, baby, and even the rest of the family. There is no doubt that breast feeding is better for the baby (most formula containers even say that on the label) but you can’t compare such a complex issue to walking verses a wheel chair.

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        • Michelle

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          So….basically you’re calling formula feeding moms lazy. Aren’t you special.

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          • Gina

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            I think people are missing the “when you’re capable part” of the quote. I’m not agreeing with the quote, people just get so huffy about it. I’ve done both and my kids developed the same…no biggles. If someone is stating something to “ruffle your feathers” and then you let it ruffle your feather, it’s just feeding the cause. No matter how you feed your child, motherhood doesn’t really allow you to be lazy anyway. It’s the only job I’ve ever had that I can’t half ass on days where I feel crappy or just not energetic.

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    • Lori

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      Making statements about someone else’s breast output when you’re perfectly capable of keeping your mouth shut and minding your own business is like, well, being a mosquito: something annoying and unwanted that sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong and makes you itch.

      You never know why someone makes that call. You just don’t. Maybe knowing something about the 6-8 weeks of searing pain, potential for mastitis, etc., makes it scary. Maybe someone has breast issues because of some past abuse. Maybe she has an employer who doesn’t cooperate with pumping needs, or a job that just doesn’t make stopping to pump feasible. My mother didn’t because she had cysts. I tried but couldn’t because my husband ended up in the ICU for a week the day my son and I were discharged from the hospital, and the logistics just made it all fall apart.

      But moms, particularly new moms, spend most of their time wondering if they’re doing the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons. Why does anyone have to make it worse?

      Reply

    • Dena

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      Wow…what a self-righteous and asinine comment to make, Shannon. It’s comments like this that make mothers feel inadequate regardless of the fact that it does not matter HOW you feed your child, so long as they are being FED. And people wonder why there are such strong opinions on both sides. b/c people like you are spewing bullsh!t and inaccurate opinions like this where they don’t belong.

      And FTR, I’ve done both…and NEITHER is easy…for very different reasons. So before you essentially go around calling FF moms ‘lazy’ think about whether or not you’re comment is a) necessary; b) productive to the topic at hand; or c) accurate. In this case the answer to those questions is ‘absolutely not.’

      Sorry to bring this type of combative comment to your blog, Elena but comments like Shannon’s are obviously meant to ruffle feathers, and it’s tough to just let them go without responding.

      Reply

    • C

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      What about those of us that a) don’t produce anything and b) our children are born with medical conditions that prevent them from latching. I struggled to exclusively pump for my son so I could feed him strictly breast milk and at his first appointment with our cleft team I was told I was feeding him wrong. I went from getting a little bit to getting nothing because I was too stressed out to eat, drink or get enough sleep so that my body would produce milk. My son was nearly hospitalized because he wasn’t getting enough to eat and was severely jaundiced.

      It pains me every time I see someone start going off on how formula is for those who are lazy. Not all of us are lazy. Don’t judge people on what they feed their child until you have walked in their shoes for a day. We have done one surgery and are getting ready for his second surgery in 2 weeks and if I hadn’t switched to formula I may not have a son to call me mom.

      You don’t know the things that went through my mind when I had to concede and formula feed. I felt like a failure, I cried for days on end because I was doing what had to be done. I always thought that I could have done this or that but at the time it was what I had to do to save my son and to keep my health. So, again, please don’t judge a mother by what she feeds her child.

      Reply

      • Gina

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        I think people are missing the “when you’re capable part” of the quote. I’m not agreeing with the quote, people just get so huffy about it. I’ve done both and my kids developed the same…no biggles. If someone is stating something to “ruffle your feathers” and then you let it ruffle your feather, it’s just feeding the cause. No matter how you feed your child, motherhood doesn’t really allow you to be lazy anyway. It’s the only job I’ve ever had that I can’t half ass on days where I feel crappy or just not energetic.

        Reply

        • C

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          But the point is that you don’t know if they are or are not capable of doing it. I have been side eyed numerous times and questioned about why I formula feed. They don’t know that every time someone asks me questions like that it breaks my heart a little more and makes me feel like a failure all over again. Unless you personally know the person there is never a good time to judge a mom for feeding her child what they need to survive.

          Reply

  • Seza

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    Great post! Just wanted to add two things.

    I had a very very easy time BF both my boys. And what you say may be very true – I have very large, dark nipples and both my boys had big mouths. Never had an issue with latching or pain and one of the BF consultants I saw (we had them in our hospital regardless or problems or not) said my nipples were ‘made for breast feeding’. So not every woman has issues. I BF both my till they were 12 months. And often in public – beach, mall, shops, even in church!! The only people that had an issue were my inlaws who practically ran from the room the first time I popped a boob out… but they got over themselves after a while.

    WRT the cows milk issue.
    My first was intolerant to cows milk as we discovered after he vomited violently to cows milk formula (topping him up when I was tired and ill) and later to yogurt. We learned that it was a cows milk protein intolerance. We took him off all diary till he was 2 (except to test his reaction every 6 months or so) and now he can tolerate it fine.
    However – and this is quite telling – I never removed cows milk from my own diet and he never had any reaction to my breastmilk – no reflux or colic, anything. He was always calm and settled and was and always has been over the 97th percentile in height and weight. So, whilst I agree that cows milk has its good and bad points I’m not convinced at all that removing it from your diet makes any difference to your BF baby. It certainly did not affect my cows milk intolerant baby in any way.

    Reply

    • Ana

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      I agree. I EBF my daughter since she was born, she never was colicky or have reflux, but when she was around 10-12 weeks old she started to have this green poop. I though and woked on BM unbalance, food allergies, I even eliminated dairy. When I talk to her pediatrician she told me babies poop ccomes in all shades of color, she was gaining weight properly and was above 70% for weight and that I didn’t have to eliminated anything from my diet, because my baby was healthy.

      Reply

  • Agustin Giroir

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    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

    Reply

  • Chris

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    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your post.
    My first daughter, born ten years ago, latched perfectly on day one and it never crossed my mind that it wouldn’t be just as easy with daughter number two, ten years later. I cannot believe how wrong I was.
    I found your posts about breastfeeding ten days ago, when my daughter was four weeks old and I was Googling “shallow latch” while sobbing and thinking we were done. The pain was too much and I just didn’t think I could take any more or that it would get any better.
    I read your post over and over and it really gave me hope that if I could just take it easy, heal and pump and keep on trying, that it would work out. If we could just make it another week or two or three.
    Well, it’s been 24 hours since I pumped last. Her latch has improved over the last few days. We take two steps forward and one step back, with a good nursing session, where the pain is bearable to kinda almost gone, to a session where she latches and I want to vomit from the pain that starts immediately. But it’s better. It’s really better! And we nursed all night last night and all day today. And I think I can see light at the end of this tunnel.
    I know I’m rambling (sleep deprivation) but I just wanted to express my gratitude for you sharing your experience and helping me (and others, I’m sure) power through and get where we want to go.
    I had two pediatricians and my ob tell me to just “drop it”, “get over this and use formula” and “don’t be ridiculous”. Screw them.
    I know we’ve still got a ways to go before my daughter’s latch is pain-free, but without the help of my husband, friends, two lactation consultants and YOU, I might be struggling with the guilt from giving up right now. Again, thank you.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Oh wow, Chris! I am sooo soo soo happy, this post helped! Seriously! That is why I share my experiences! I am glad you persevered! I know how hard it is, I remember clearly! So glad that you had enough positive force in your life to help you succeed!
      Thank you for your comment!

      Reply

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