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Breastfeeding Miss E

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Can I just title this post “Breastfeeding Sucks?”  I mean literally, yuk yuk.  But then I’d get the crazy LLL ladies knocking down my door yelling “IT SHOULDN’T HURT IF YOU HAVE A PROPER LATCH!!!!”

Truth be told, breastfeeding doesn’t suck.  It’s actually an awesome miraculous thing, that a woman’s body can just magically MAKE food for another human person.  But it sure ain’t easy.  Breastfeeding is bar none, the hardest part of having a baby.  Even if it’s easy for you.  Because you have to do it usually about every 2 hours, day and night.  And it yes it WILL make you sore.  Your little nips will be so tender and sensitive that you have to lube them up with lanolin just to take a shower.  And I’m not going to even get into the real pain of clogged milk ducts and mastitis.

Breastfeeding has still been incredibly hard with Little E, but it’s actually working.  I had a plan of attack because I knew my problems:  My milk takes like a week to really come in and even the colostrum takes about 3-4 days.  So I always end up giving my babies bottles in the hospital so they won’t starve.  Not this time.

I decided to do those little tiny tubie thingys with formula running through.  I tried to tape it to my breast but that was a nightmare since she was barely latching on anyway.  So I finger-fed her for a couple days until I relented to using a nipple shield.  After my milk came in I still had to use a syringe to put a little formula in the shield to entice her to suck.  It took several tries after about a week to get rid of the syringe.

Week 3 I was using solely the nipple shield.  But I was going on vacation and didn’t take a breast pump, so my supply was iffy for the next couple of weeks.  I got her to nurse without the shield several times but I had to supplement even more afterwards so I realized she wasn’t doing a proper latch still and my supply dropped like a rock.  Finally I resumed using the shield and pumped and pumped to get it back up.  Then we flew home and I didn’t pump that whole day or barely eat the next day (no food in the house.)  So finally, at 6 weeks old, we are reaching normalcy.  Which means using a nipple shield.

And truth be told, it’s not that bad.  My nips aren’t as sore, I can occasionally walk around the do things while nursing, and I’m basically a pro at using one.  I’m tired though.  I’ve never had to be up every two hours at night breastfeeding.  It’s exhausting and I get so antsy waiting for her to finish.  She drinks so slowly when she’s sleepy that it feels like the nighttime feedings last forever.  I would love to hear tips or stories from you about nighttime breastfeeding.  Seriously.

44 Comments

  1. I have a 10 wk old daughter & breastfeeding does suck (literally)! It’s been a rough road between her starving in the hospital &the LCs all telling me different things and practically standing over me like school marms making sure we’re latched. We are using a shield still and while Kathryn can latch onto my protruding left nipple sometimes, she can’t latch to the right. I used to feel guilty (still do) but hey, at least she’s eating. Now, if I could only get my dog to stop eating the $8 shields…
    You’re doing great! Not that you need to hear that from me because E isn’t your first and I only have 10 wks experience. Bottom line: as long as they’re eating, we’re doing our jobs!

  2. I understand….I’ve only had one kid so far, and my milk took forever to come in. In fact, as a first-time nursing mom I had no idea he was hardly getting anything until I went to a lactation center and they figured it out. The next day we had to put him in the hospital because his body temp went down to 96 and he was sleeping all the time (wouldn’t even latch on). SO scary but thankfully we got him well again! I dealt with mastitis and then a case of thrush that took almost two months to go away. I almost quit since it hurt SO bad and I was always worried my kid wasn’t getting enough (not to mention a lot of pressure from people to just use formula exclusively). God gave me the strength and when my baby was a little over two months, we got into a good schedule, and I experienced nursing without pain for the first time! It still wasn’t ever a euphoric experience for me that it is for other mothers (he took 45 minutes at each feeding and I had to nudge him every few seconds to keep sucking!), but I knew he was getting the best I could give him so that was enough. Thanks for sharing the real side of nursing….some mothers have an easy time with it; their baby latches right on and it’s pretty much smooth sailing after that. But thanks for being a voice for those of us where it’s not picture perfect at first! :o)

  3. Your journey sounds so similar to mine, it’s almost creepy. First of all I just wanted to say that you are AWESOME!! Seriously, it takes an amazing woman/mom to stick with breastfeeding especially given the challenges you’ve had. If I had any words of encouragement I would suggest just focus on your supply & getting your sweet baby on a routine. Then, if you want, work on getting rid of the shield. I found the shield hurt my supply. But breastfeeding was such a challenge (next to impossible) without it. So I pumped & nursed with the shield until I felt more comfortable (1st time momma here). I really just wanted to comment to commend you & encourage you to continue to do what you know is best for your baby right now!!

  4. I wish I had tips for you for nighttime feedings. When my daughter was little she would nurse for 30-40 minutes, long, but not 2 hours long. I also did like the above posted, tickled her or nudged her to make sure she didn’t fall asleep and kept nursing. Sorry to hear your experience with LLL was not the best. I lucked out and had one of my good friends a previous leader, so she could tell when I had enough “help.” Yes, I do agree that even if they are latching on right, it HURTS! I mean something (baby or pump) is sucking on your nipples every two hours. Then on top of that… the leakage. Oh I hated that most of all. Do what works for you. I went with pumping and bottle feeding during the day (as I said in your last post) again with my daughter, because it was easier for me to know how much she was drinking. It made more work and dishes for me, but I could also hand her off to hubby to feed when I needed a break. Good luck, take care!

  5. I breastfed my beauties, and had “interesting” experiences with both. They suffer from severe food allergies, which meant an elimination diet for me. (If someone tells you a newborn is too young to develop food allergies, send them my way – I have two that will discount that theory!) While the elimination diet was horribly bland, dropping 20lbs in a matter of weeks was fabulous. I had to supplement with formula for the first (before we understood how severe her allergies were), and did much better with the second (until she developed more severe allergies). That being said, I drank a TON of Mother’s Milk tea, drank one beer at night for a day or two (the yeast actually increases milk production – they have non-alcoholic too), and bam – I was a faucet. Seriously. Even hearing someone else’s baby at Target made me let down and leak. One thing I did that worked for the night feedings: bring a wet washcloth with you, and gently cleanse her head and face. My girls hated it, and they drank faster and got done sooner. On the upside – there are a lot of infomercials to keep you entertained in the middle of the night…

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Oh no, allergies! No fun for you. Go momma for figuring it all out!

  6. My 3 year old was a slow eater as a baby. What helped sometimes for me was making sure she was wide awake when I fed her. I would change her diaper or walk around with her a bit, or even just let her cry for a few minutes before attending to her so she would be more alert and eat faster. Another thing that helped was putting a little heat on the breast as I was feeding. A little rice pack kind of heated up or a warm water bottle or something would help the milk to flow faster. I did that when I pumped with my 18 month old too to make the pumping go faster. The LC in the hospital said that is a myth and doesn’t really help, but it worked like a charm for me, and I have issues with most of the LCs I’ve encountered anyway. I don’t know if those will help you as every woman and experience is different. Good luck. Hang in there!

  7. I nursed all three of my kids, my youngest is still nursing because she just.won’t.wean. Anyway, for the first 2ish weeks I gritted my teeth at nearly every latch on. We had a good latch. But man it hurt. It will get easier and she will become more efficient.

  8. Anyone breast feeding should be told by their doctor about Newmans cream. If you haven’t heard of it and there is pain involved, you must ask your doctor for some. It is a miracle worker! Cures all kinds of pain

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Thankfully I haven’t had horribly sore nips but thanks for the tip!

  9. I’m about to have my 4th baby, 1st one I failed miserably to nurse. I’d pump and pump and pump, it took me 2-3 days to get a 4 ounce bottle and my (not so little) guy would suck that down in about 5 minutes! The next two I was successful at breastfeeding, at least I thought so. I was able to go for 4 months with them, but for some reason at 4 months they stopped gaining weight, both times. After looking around online a few nights ago, I came across this:

    http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=videos

    I watched every single video and it all made sense to me. I think I just had the latch wrong. I’d sleep with my babies and once they woke up to nurse I’d just put them on the boob and fall asleep, so I’d basically be nursing all night. I think that was the wrong thing to do, it probably taught bad latching. This time I am determined to get past the 4 month non gaining hurdle!

    I guess I don’t have any advice, unless the videos help you. Good luck and just know you’re trying, that’s great!!

  10. I used a shield with everyone of my babies I nursed. And everyone of them nursed well past age one. But I had to use a shield the first month or two. And oh how it hurt. The lacation consultants kept saying I shouldn’t use one, but after two, I just ignored them. It works for me and my babies.

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Go you! You always have to just figure out what works for YOU, despite what anyone else says is BEST.

  11. First of all, way to go Mommy! I didn’t have any problems with mastitis or blocked ducts but we had problems latching as well and had to use a shield so that my daughter could find my nipple. I was so grateful when she found the nipple on her own when I was taking too long to get the shield on one night! One thing that I wish I had figured out earlier was nursing in bed. As soon as she was latched on I would fall back to sleep and then when she was done with one side I would switch her and go back to sleep (and sometimes we both just be completely out and we wouldn’t switch sides). It was definitely better than sitting up with her and trying to stay awake and I felt like I was able to get better sleep, plus I loved having her tiny little body next to me!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Thanks!! I had horrible clogged ducts with my second, got them like every day. With this one, so far, none, yay!!

  12. I can relate although my bf experience had its own horrific issues (oversupply! Sounds like a good problem to have but it was a nightmare and I cried about it a lot. Did everything I could to get the amount to go down. Also plugged ducts-mastitis-abcess). Re. tips/ tricks: I also tried to make sure my son was awake enough to eat normally during the night. He would fall asleep on the breast all the time (not being awake long enough to get the filling hindmilk). I would nurse him sitting up in my bed, with him propped up on a pillow across my legs (indian style). I think I sometimes dozed off into a light sleep this way in the beginning weeks.
    Eventually he just slept longer b/w feedings. It was on his own-nothing I did. Good luck, I know it isn’t easy!

  13. Stephanie C says:

    One thing I would do when nursing my newborn at night was when he would fall asleep nursing, I would pull him away from the breast just a little and it would wake him up enough that he would think I was taking it away and he would start sucking again. My friend said she would do that too. Don’t pull too hard though! I know how sore you are already. I would flick his feet also but that didn’t seem to wake him up and I felt bad doing it but they have to eat! Good luck and hang in there!

  14. i love how honest you’ve been with these posts!! nobody told me how hard bfing would be with dd. my nips cracked and bled, and every time she latched it hurt so bad my toes would curl. luckily with the shields my nips finally healed and ultimately we nursed for 15 months, and i loved it. i’m currently 26 weeks pregnant with dd #2 and fully expect this one to be as crap at the beginning as it was last time, lol! as for night feeding, i learned to nurse laying on my side and would often doze off myself while she ate. not as much at the very beginning but after a month or so. mama’s gotta stay sane somehow 🙂

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Thanks!! I want to be truthful and real because it’s not all sunshine and basking in the glow of our beautiful babies. I wish it was!

  15. sleeping would get my boys’ ears tickled or back rubbed in such a way that would wake them. As for the every two hours, well, they grow out of it. I did a lot of falling asleep in the rocker while nursing.

  16. My saving grace to night time breastfeeding was learning to feed laying down. I would lay on my side and baby would be on his side and then he would nurse and I would sleep. Its the only way I could survive at night. For the first few months it was in my bed with the bassinet beside me so I would transfer babies when I woke up and then I would keep a matteress on the floor by the crib so I would feed them on that then put them back in the crib and go back to bed. Breast feeding was so hard for me with all 3 of mine, it didnt get comfortable til they were around 3-4 months old. I was all hamburger nipples until then and the latch was just fine according to one million LLL lactation consultantsandmy midwives. super. I was able to nurse mine for 9 mons for 2 of them and 6 for the other. There is a light at theend if you just keep truckin…the older babies get the more efficient they are! GL!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      I have tried nursing lying down but I feel like its more interrupted sleep, like I’m waking up more, worrying about where the baby is and I think she wanted to nurse more. So I abandoned that idea!

  17. I hear ya!!! I have a three week old and oh do I hear ya!!! In fact it’s six a.m. Where I am and I have a wide awake baby:) the every two hours is just hard!!! Hang in there! Let’s hope it gets better and easier!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Yes, having newborns is just hard work! But thank goodness for them right?

  18. When I breastfed my boys at night I always did it on the couch in the living room. I would bring them out, prop pillows all around get them latched and then go to sleep. I know it’s not “ideal” because they didn’t spend too much time in their crib in the beginning and one could argue they became dependant on my boob but I never found that. For my oldest I would pop him off and replace me with his sucky and with my youngest, he just fell off once he was done and fell back to sleep so I’d just move them back to their bed and then go back to mine. I also co-slept when they went through growth spurts and ate a bit more. I’d leave my shirt off and then I could just roll over, pop them on and go back to sleep. It wasn’t the most comfortable sleeps I’ve ever had but I was way less exhausted once I started sleeping while they nursed then when I stayed awake and waited for them to finish.

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Thanks for your comment! Good to know that lots of moms just did what they could to make it through the early days!

  19. Congratulations! I have been reading your blog and am usually just a reader, not a commentator, since I have to click through to comment. But this post definitely made me want to write. I really hope breastfeeding works out for you. There are no right or wrong answers to how to do it the “correct” way. I have three girls, all of whom slept in our bed from a few days old to age 2 or 3. It was great for breastfeeding, but hard on getting them to sleep by themselves, even now that they are older. I noticed you said you were going to move Ellie to her own room. So we come from two different views, so I think you just have to figure out what works for you. Don’t let anyone tell you how it should be done…you’re the mom!!! That said, there are lots of message boards out there with advice and techniques. I spent a lot of time reading through them, but the most important thing for my ability to breastfeed was the support and love I got from my husband. I cried many a time when it wasn’t working right, saw the lactation consultant (a waste of time for me, she was really uptight and didn’t even show for our first appointment–lots of crying that day, too), but he would just give me time with each baby and encouragement, and I stuck with it. I breastfed my first two until each was 2, and I have a 13 month old I am still breastfeeding. I’ve had a couple breast infections, but my ob would see me each time immediately and put me on antibiotics, for which I am eternally thankful. And also, I invested in a great pump–Medela Pump in Style–and used it whenever I felt engorged and needed to decompress a little to be comfortable. Once we got a rythym my supply evened out and I didn’t need to pump anymore. Best of luck to you and your baby is absolutely beautiful!!!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Thanks for commenting Jamie! I do co-sleep a little bit but I get much better quality sleep when I can teach my babies to sleep in their own beds. Since I wrote this things have actually gotten quite a bit better!

  20. Nursing is always hard for me in the early months and I have nursed all four of my babies to age one at the very least. It always got better and I had to constantly remind myself so. Each one has been different and with each one has come different challenges. One trick that has worked for me is to warm my breast with warm water right before nursing because this stimulates milk flow. As soon as my babies get a double chin or evidence by their little fat rolls that they are gaing weight I begin to cut back my night feeding. How?? By hearing them scream and then thinking okay, if the baby is still screaming in 20 minutes then I will feed her. There really is no fast and hard rule because every baby is so different:) I am sure you have received lots of great advice and all you can do is what works for you:) Good luck mama!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Thanks Amy, that is good to hear. I have never made it to the point where it ‘got easier’ so I guess we’ll see!

  21. Love the pics of your sweet baby! So cute!!!

    I breastfed my three children till they were each 14-15 months old. I had great advice from LC’s…some were better than others and after talking with one (my favorite that I saw with the last two…she corrected some things I was told from the previous ones.)

    To help with infections (never got one maybe due to this advice)…when ever I felt a lump form (hard area) I would nurse the baby on that side (across from the area that hurting: ie, football hold or cross cradle…) and then massage out the hard spot on my breast. It hurts but is much nicer once you are finished nursing. It’s also important I found especially in the beginning few months to rotate the positions you are feeding the baby so they are pulling the milk from all areas to keep from getting clogged ducts.

    For night feedings: As soon as you feel you have a good latch going I would work on side by side nursing where you are laying down. It’s the best thing I ever did with my kids. Took me longer to figure it out with my first and I did it as quickly as possible with my last two. As they are nursing and you are laying down you can sleep at the same time. I found night time to go more smoothly and I was more rested because i could sleep while the baby was still eating. I also kept they baby in a bassinet right by the bed so I could just lift them out and lay down and then lift them back in afterward without having to get out of bed.

    I totally agree with the prior post. You are the Mom! Go with your instinct. You most likely will be right every time even over doctors and nurses. Glean from what people have to say but do what you feel is best. God gave you that precious little spirit for YOU to raise and He will guide you in doing what’s best for her and for you.

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Great comment Sarah! Thanks for the advice.

  22. Try taking Blessed Thistle to help milk production. My midwife recommended this to me when I had to go back to work after having my first born. It make a huge difference for me.

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Good call, I will look for that!

  23. I have an 11-day old, and am working through sore nipples. C was born tongue tied, so we had to get that taken care of (clipped her frenulum on day 5), but by then, she had developed a shallow latch. I’m fighting through that now, but it’s still rough. No real advice, other than maybe try “laid-back” breastfeeding, where your recline and baby lies on top of you to feed. Helps with the latch, or so “they” say. I’m still trying to figure it out, which is nuts because I had such an easy time with my first. So no real advice… just commiseration.

  24. Natalie Mitts says:

    Addie is 11 months old and I am counting down the days until I can stop breastfeeding! Although it is much better now than the every 2-3 hour routine you are dealing with. I hope it gets better! The nipple shield saved me. I honestly used it for about 7-8 months! Every time I tried to do it without she wouldn’t latch or it would hurt me too bad to do it without. Then one day I tried again and it finally seemed to work. Addie slept in a bassinet in our room for about 7 weeks and then we moved her to our crib. I never really nursed her in our bed and I think that was good since she usually was awake. For us it worked to keep a sleep/eat/play routine so that I wasn’t nursing her to sleep each time and she was more awake if she had just finished a nap. But I didn’t figure that out for several weeks or months!

  25. yes.. but it is so so worth the effort! I nursed my 8 babies..all kinds of issues, like my 2nd daughter just wanted my right breast..crazy?! I am your newer follower..pls follow back if you can!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Thanks for following! I’m excited that it’s finally working with this one, despite all issues.

  26. Paula Bergeson says:

    So, here are some random thoughts from my experiences over the years: I didn’t have a hard time at the beginning with my healthy babies but I did have plenty of challenges starting at about 3-4 months with just about every child. It is just plain hard to exclusively breastfeed a baby and takes a lot of commitment. But remembering how good this was for them helped me stick with it and be more determined the next time if my baby weaned early.

    I did find that my milk came in faster, the more children I had. It was incredibly fast with Susanna–like 24 hours. It’s like my body remembered what to do. I have no great advice for those night feedings; those are just exercises in endurance. Some babies are easier to sleep with than others so I have done both although I usually didn’t sleep well with a baby in my bed. I found pregnancy easier than having a newborn and that first year was never my favorite.

    That Newman’s Ointment is really good stuff if you’re super sore. I suffered so much with one of mine when I had a tear (this baby had a very strong latch and suck) and it hurt SO BAD for about a month. I was bleeding and the baby would spit up blood! I’d just clench my teeth and hold my breath whenever he latched. That was before I knew about the Newman’s. This was the same child that went on a complete nursing strike for about 24 hours when he was about 5 months (no other food or drink!) and I had no pump–huge amounts of pain. And I think I already told you how I had to use a shield with Mindy for about two months (after pumping for one month) but then we got off the shield and that was probably my most successful nursing experience after that.

    More randomness: I’ve read that, for most women, one side usually produces only about half what the other side produces. Which explains why a lot of babies will strongly prefer one side. Anyway, good luck and I hope it will continue to work out for you! It will be hard-earned success and you wil appreciate it that much more. And you can feel good about the sacrifices you have made for your baby.

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Thanks Paula. I know you all didn’t have a perfect time–but you are my idol when it comes to breastfeeding. You just do it relentlessly! Didn’t you nurse Mindy like 22 hrs a day?! I think all my issues have worked out now–no more shield!

  27. Sharon Palumbo says:

    When I had my son 7 1/2 years ago, I thought that I was the only one who had issues breastfeeding. My issues were that I have been blessed with inverted nipples. Yikes..I never knew such a thing existed until I was shown pictures of these beautiful breasts that looked just like Playtex nursers. Yeah, I didn’t look like that! Well, it made it more difficult for the baby to latch on, so I had to use a shield to help me resemble a Playtex nurser. I was given the advise of using a Bopy pillow while nursing and it made a great deal of difference, plus it made the feedings more comfortable. The first several months you are just tied to the feedings and nothing else. It was well worth the effort, but my son was also colicky for the first three months. I didn’t realize that some of it was my fault because of what I loved to eat-so a word of advice, stay away from the cabbage family (broccoli, cauliflower, etc) they cause gas in the baby. Try using a bopy pillow and to bring up your milk supply there are different ways to do that too.

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Great job! Thanks for the comment. And the tip about cauliflower! I ate some two night ago and the next day my little girl was very fussy. No more of that for me!

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