Lessons Learned from Real Breastfeeding Moms

Determined submitted by Katie S.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. It was something I thought would be magical when I had my first baby. When my daughter was born at 37 weeks via c-section it was anything but magical. I hardly remember her first latching on and the blister I had after that was horrible. Yet still I was determined. I spoke with the hospital Lactation Department and they helped me threw the next few days and gave me great info to go home with. I went home with a nipple shield and was determined and ready to face the fight of breastfeeding. I had a million questions and thought everything was wrong as most first time moms do. I remembered the lactation specialist told me about a support group the hospital had and off I went. Every week got better and better. I looked forward to the support and they kept me determined. After fighting through colic, acid reflux, over active let downand an early ear infection we made it. No supplementation just me and my baby girl. It was then magical. I love taking ten to fifteen minute breaks every couple hours to nurse herand comfort her. I love looking into her eyes as she plays with her toes. I love watching my one year old toddle around and then coming to me to reconnect after a hard fall at the park, or a couple hours of playing. I love more then anything that she loves it and that I am nurturing her in the best way I can. Looking back now it was magical even through the hard times because I was making her grow, I was keeping her fed as I was intended to do. I stayed determined and still do nursing my little girl is the best thing I could have ever imagined.


Breastfeeding Frustration submitted by Heather R.

With my first child I was all set to breastfeed, unfortunately I found out in the hospital that I had no milk. I was there 5 days due to an emergency c-section and my son's jaundice. My milk never came in. After three frustrating weeks of a crying screaming baby whenever I tried to feed him I gave up on breastfeeding.

With my second child I went on-line while pregnant and researched low milk supply. I found out about mother's milk tea and fenugreek and ordered some. I took the tea to the hospital with me. I also brought a breast pump I rented but was strongly discouraged from pumping by the nurses who said it was too soon to pump, so I didn't. Once again my milk didn't come in. With the help of 6 fenugreek every time I breastfed, mother's milk tea and a breast pump for stimulation I was able to give my daughter a little milk for the next three months.

Now with my third child I am still struggling to breastfeed. She is almost at the three month mark and still eager for breast milk. Unfortunately, she too is on formula due to my low milk supply. However my little one came early and I delivered at our community hospital where I was encouraged to pump because of my history. Because of this early pumping I did have my milk come in. It is not alot but there have been a couple of times where my daughter is satisfied after feeding and doesn't require the formula. That has been enough for me to keep the struggle up. I still require fenegreek and formula but at least my daughter is able to get some breast milk too.

My final thing I have to say, is I have heard many breastfeeding mothers complain about feeding in public, they receive dirty looks or nasty comments. I have never experienced this, on the contrary I have been given encouragement when people have noticed my daughter eating in her sling, even when she is finished and I have to pull out the formula. On the other hand , I have noticed how many places have rooms set outside for nursing mothers and babies only. I have always ignored the signs and fed my babies their formula in the rooms anyway. I figure my bottle fed babies deserved a quiet place to eat too.

As frustrating as breastfeeding has been it has also been peaceful and a blessing. To know that I can give my children the protection they need from diseases is a good feeling. Maybe, I can't breastfeed fully but at least I am able to give my children some food. And that's a good feeling.


My Story About Breastfeeding by Suzan W.

I have a set of twins that I breast feed at times it gets overwehleming but I still do this because I want my children to have the best health that they can possibly have. Even though it's an challenge I feel that it's the best thing to do since my children were premieses. I love and adore my children. My girls are now one month old. They are challenging to feed at times but I really do love breastfeeding because I get to spend more time with them one on one that way. I'm an happy mother of two.This is my story of my beautiful baby girls.


Tips For New Nursing Moms submitted by Janine B.

I really enjoy breastfeeding my daughter. Knowing that I'm making and supplying the best possible food for her is such an amazing feeling. For those of you that are just starting out, it gets easier, I swear! Just keep at it and both you and your baby will get the hang of it. And if you're afraid to breastfeed in public, I really recommend . They can be worn under pretty much anything, and when you nurse, the shirt you have over top covers your breast and the tank material covers your belly so there's no peep shows at all!


In Celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2008 submitted by Renee S.

World Breastfeeding Week 2008 has arrived with a very timely theme, “Mother Support: Going for the Gold”. With the start of the 2008 Summer Olympics only 4 days away, this years theme has me picturing a new Olympic category – breastfeeding on the move. It would involve women running track with baby securely in tow in the latest baby sling or pouch. I mean if women can participate in a high heel marathon, why not breastfeeding on the move?

This celebration week always makes me reminisce about my own experience with breastfeeding. It was scary to look down and see that I had one breast that appeared to be twice the size of my baby’s head, and the other was half the size. What the heck was I doing wrong? I was allowing her to choose her favorite, the one that had the most milk flowing, far too often. I eventually learned how to fix that problem – pump and rotate.

I happen to have a lactation consultant in the family who provided the most valuable info of all – the secret of the cabbage leaves. Just when I was about to give up due to the pain of engorgement, she instructed me to break out the cold cabbage leaves. What a relief! Now, when I’m in the hospital and have the rare occasion to provide some sort of diet education to a new mom to be, I ask if they plan to breastfeed. If they do, I share that gem of info with them.

There are too many benefits and joys of breastfeeding to name, but I can discuss a few of my favorites. Breastfeeding is the greatest free meal plan ever created. To me, that alone should be enough to want to take advantage of it. Not to mention, no heating or bottle washing necessary, no trekking to the kitchen in the middle of the night, and all the antibodies your baby needs right there at your disposal. And of course the personal bond that you share with that beautiful little person who can look up at you like no one else on earth can, as they dig their sharp little nails into your flesh and eventually start to look away while gripping your poor nipple making you scream in pain. It’s just one more wonderful perk of being a mom.


Do What Is Right For The Baby submitted by Tam Lu

When my baby was born, she was healthy and had a high APGAR. However, my milk was slow to come in, and my baby got jaundice. We ended up checking her into Children's Hospital. The nurse told us that we can choose between continuing to breastfeed or supplementing with formula. Our lactation consultant advised that we should continue to breastfeed. She harped on the benefits and warned us about nipple confusion. With no experience with breastfeeding or jaundice, we followed the lactation consultant's advice. My milk still had not come in, but I tried to breastfeed. At the same time, our baby was not getting any better. The next day, our doctor came in and told us that there must have been some miscommunication. Breastfeeding was NOT an option if I was not producing any milk. He said that we had to supplement with formula. We immediately offered our baby formula, and the jaundice quickly cleared up. The moral of the story is do what is best for your baby. The lactation consultant kept pushing us towards breastfeedingeven when that was notthe healthiest option forour baby. I tell all new moms toignore pressure from people to breastfeed and to do what is best for your baby. By the way, I ended up breastfeeding for a year and a half.


Awaiting the Moment submitted by Sarah Z.

I'm pregnant now and due this October. One of the questions that I keep getting from people is whether or not I have decided to breastfeed. I am sure that I have the same concerns as other women when making this decision. Is it going to hurt? Am I going to be able to do it? How do I know if it's working? I have decided that I am going to try my best to breastfeed my baby for as long as I can. I know the benefits to my babyfar outweigh any discomfort or inconvenience of breastfeeding. Am I ready for this? Well, I'm as ready as I'm going to be. I have read several resources about techniques and tips. I have purchased some accessories including a nice breast pump that will be helpful for when I go back to work. I plan to hire a lactation nurse for when the time comes. I really hope that I am successful with this. I am looking forward to bonding with my baby!


The Best Experience of My Life submitted by Amanda C.

This is my story. When my son, Hayden, was born, I immediately nursed him. I felt an ethereal convalensence rush over me, as if it had always meant to be like this. The next morning Hayden wouldn't nurse because of all the drugs from him circumcision and from well, being born. The nurses were pressuring me and telling me that if he didn't nurse very four hours that they were going to give him formula no matter what I said. I cried and cried but eventually he ate. I told them that there was no way they were getting formula into my baby. I roomed in with him and slept with him at night.

Hayden got jaundiced when we went home, and my milk still had not come in so the pediatrician on call was pressuring me to "supplement" with formula. I refused it completely and Hayden gained weight and recovered. My milk came in 5 days after birth,mostly because I was induced.

Then, 2 weeks later, we find out he has a Staph infection, courtesy of the hospital, and is put on antibiotics, which make him feel icky. Then at a checkup a couple of days later, the pediatrician starts saying that Hayden is not gaining an ounce a day, is at risk for being underweight, and starts forcing me to give him formula. So again, I start crying and I get so upset I walk out. We found another pediatrician who we saw just days later and he said that Hayden's weight was fine, and he was even a little big for his size. I tell everyone that I know that if a nurse of doctor or anyone is telling you to do something that you know is wrong, stand up for yourself!

Hayden kept throwing up after he nursed and the days and nights blended together. We found out that Hayden was allergic to dairy, to calcium carbonate, and to artificial sweetners. After all of those things had been eliminated from my diet, he really turned around. Sometimes those ingredients can be masked, or take many different names, so there were many, many episodes.

Hayden is now 11 months old and has been exclusively breastfed the entire time. Not one bottle. We're going to start solids at one year, and let him gently wean himself when he's ready. If someone were to ask me "what makes it all worthwhile?", I would say it's when he looks into my eyes and he claps his hands because the "boo-boo" milk tastes so good. It really is the best start for every baby, and I encourage everyone to at least try it. It is really hard and easily frustrating, but it has been the best experience of my life. Breastfeeding isn't just the best start for the baby, it's the best start for the mother. It forces you to sit down and take a moment for yourself, which is something that most mothers don't do. Nothing on Earth is like it, nothing can completely describe it, but there is a reason why some mothers breastfeed their children into their toddler years. It isn't because they have to. It's because they want to.

Everytime I nurse him I ask God to please burn this moment into my brain so that I can never forget how he looks: all cuddled up, his little fingers grasping mine, his eyes peering deep into my soul, and hislittle mouth curled up into a smile; a drop of milk pouring out from the corners. Breastfeeding my son has been the best choice I have ever made and the best experience of my life.


Confidence in New Moms submitted by Tanya P.

New moms who choose to breastfeed seem to have similar beginnings, at least that is what I've been told. Even so, I thought that I'd be different, but when the day finally came, and I had my darling daughter in my arms, I was so enamored with her that I didn't sleep for quite some time. I just tended to her, and held her and watched her sleep. Well, lack of sleep after delivery isn't exactly doctor recommended, and when one of my nurses came in and expressed concerns about how much milk my daughter was getting, I immediately started to blame myself for not seeing that there might be a problem and fixing what was possibly wrong. In the end, I got so emotional that I gave up and asked for formula for my daughter because I was so worried that she wasn't getting enough to eat. At least the nurse had the good notion to advise me to try to breastfeed for at least five minutes before giving her any formula so it'd make it easier to go back to breastfeeding. In the end, a lactation consultant came by and I told her my concerns and she shook her head and said the nurse was over worrying, and that my daughter was getting enough to eat.

After she left, I was a lot more comfortable with breastfeeding my daughter, and she hasn't had a drop of formula since. I really think new moms should be better prepared for situations like that. I took the child preparation class and the breastfeeding class, and I still didn't expect what happened to have occurred. New moms should be encouraged to have confidence in the fact that they are providing for their child to the best of their abilities, and their child is going to thrive with their love and care.


Pumping on Mountain Tops submitted by Shannon B.

I wanted to breast feed more than anything. I skipped all the bottle feeding and pumping information in my baby books because I was just going to use my breast. I had seen others doing it before and it looked easy enough. I even pre-interviewed a pediatrician and decided not to use him because he was trying to push bottle feeding.

My baby came at 34 weeks. He had breastfeeding issues right from the start. I had lactation consultants come to my hospital room and helpful nurses trying everything they could. Finally, they brought in the pump. It looked like something from outer space. I said, "You want me to do what with that?" I was in shock as they hooked me up and oh, my how it hurt. I just looked at my husband and wished he could save me from this thing. Of course just then all the doctors decided to do their rounds and 4-5 of them came right into my room. There I was. No shirt, bare boobs, and this alien like machine hooked up to me. I was speechless, red, and sweating. Oh boy, this is not what I planned for.

Weeks turned into months. I had my weekly lactation appointments at the hospital and lactation nurses coming to the house. I think everyone must have seen my breasts during this time. I was pumping this entire time and learning how to navigate a pump in any situation. I pumped in the back of the car, standing up in stalls in the bathroom, chairs in hallways, you name it.

Finally, the lactation consultants at 3 months said, "I think you need to be happy that you are able to give him milk and resign to a full time pumping mama." So, I did just that. I can say at times that I didn't like that hard plastic sterile thing that didn't give me warm fuzzes or smiles of laughter. But, I was grateful I could feed him and that I lived in the age of the pump. I had to wonder what women did before they had pumps. I also decided to invest in a portable hand held and this made my life much better. I can say I have really pumped anywhere now. My philosophy is that if I were feeding him from my breast I would do it anywhere with a breast cover so why not the pump. I decided that if people didn't like it then they could not look or leave. Maybe I could even inspire others and start a new trend. I also bought a bra that has holes cut out in the front for double pumping.

I have cleaned rooms, washed dishes, vacuumed, taken the garbage out, given my baby a bath all while pumping! I have pumped everywhere! My best view ever was of Mt. Saint Helens in Oregon. There was no where for me to sit in the bathroom so I went to the observation/museum center pulled up a chair and looked at the spectacular view while pumping. My lovely husband took a picture of this one. I pump in parks on lawns, at the zoo, at restaurants. You name it. I encourage anyone to do what you have to do in order to do what is best for your baby. I had to throw out my embarrassment and learn to enjoy it. I try to make it a nice time for myself if I can and catch up on emails via blackberry or read gossip magazines.

What I found that works with pumping is to let the machine do the work and then in the last few minutes massage the breasts deeply before you are done pumping. I bought some flexible wrist guards to take the stress off of my wrists. I produce more milk and have less pain with engorgement. Good for you for pumping mamma's! Keep up the great work and know that you are not alone some where out there while you are pumping someone else is doing it too.


A Breastfeeding Story submitted by Kimberly E.

My name is Kimberly and I am the mother of a 3 year old girl. I was able to breast feed my daughter from birth to about 7 months old. I enjoyed the time with my daughter and the closeness that we still share. I believe it was a health benefit to her as well, because she has only had about 3 small colds since she was born with 1 ear infection that was gone in 2 days. I have 2 nephews that were not breastfed and they have had several colds each year. Also to my knowledge she does not have any allergies. She has been very healthy. I think that breastfeeding is best for both mother and child. I am wanting to have another baby soon and I plan to breastfeed that one too. Thank you for allowing me to share my story.


From Tomboy to Mommy submitted by Emma S.

I was never breastfed because I never had a mom. I grew up hating girls and especially moms because my mother left me. When I was in 7th grade I had a big fight with my English literature teacher who was at that time reading us through the famous mommy story of "mother in Manville". My point was 'whats so emotional and loving about mothers. Mothers are just like some bag for carrying the baby the first 9 months.' I got pregnant when I was 19 years old. I was still a tomboy, in college, l loved acting around all strong and 'dudely' and picked on all of the 'girlie' girls or anybody who loved pink. I didn't feel my pregnancy so much because iIwas still playing around and working. Her first moves in the tummy were amazing though! When the baby came out, it was painful. But when i put her on the breast, my 20 year old life suddenly changed that second. I felt my 9 month pregnancy, I felt the pleasure of it that very moment. When she started sucking i felt the virtue of being a girl, a woman actually! I forgot all my childhood frustrations and emptiness and loneliness. I felt honored, to have the ability to give birth and not only that, also fulfill this little creatures demands. I still want to be strong, but now not picking up heavy weights and fighting boys, but for feeding this child from what i have within me and nourishing and nurturing her. Being a tomboy I just had muscles, but being a breast feeding mother, I am nourishing a brand new human being with the best gift in the world. I dont feel bad being a girl now, and I am glad she is a girl, so she can do the same thing when she grows up. and besides, one more point, breastfeeding is what the boobies were made for, right???


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