What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Breastfeeding

I didn’t ask nearly enough questions about breastfeeding before my baby was born.  I guess I just assumed that since it was natural, that it would be easy.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Breastfeeding is tough, painful (sometimes excruciatingly so), and often discouraging.  However, it does get better once you make it past those brutal first few weeks.  Unfortunately, I see so many women get down on themselves and throw in the towel early, even if they feel guilty about it and wish they had been able to breastfeed to whatever their original goal had been.

What I wish I had known about breastfeeding BEFORE my baby was born. Tips and encouragement for breastfeeding new moms. - The Soccer Mom Blog

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Before I go on, I just want to clarify that the purpose of this post is not to bash formula moms.  I’ll never know what it’s like to be in someone else’s place, so I’m not going to judge them for their decision on how and what to feed their baby. However, since I have exclusively breastfed my baby (through eleven months as I write this), I get asked all the time what it’s like, what’s my “secret,” and what it “should” be like.  I wanted to share what I learned through months of trial and error in hopes that I can help others get the answers they didn’t know they needed before their baby arrived.


First of all, and most importantly, there’s no secret and there’s no “right” way to breastfeed.  In those early days, I had no clue what I was doing (and half the time no clue what was going on at all due to my post-surgery meds) and merely stared as the hospital’s lactation consultant pinched and shoved my breast in my baby’s mouth.  That was about as comfortable as it sounds.

Throughout the next few weeks I suffered through upwards of twelve nursing sessions every day that sometimes stretched on for an hour at a time.  My baby seemed insatiable, and to top it off, she often clawed at me, writhed in my arms, and screamed between gulps.  My nipples were cracked and bleeding and she didn’t even seem to appreciate it!

Surely this wasn’t ok, this couldn’t be normal.  Breastfeeding was supposed to be this wonderful bonding experience– it wasn’t supposed to HURT!  Was I doing it wrong?  Was my baby getting enough to eat?  Surely she had to be, since she was on my boob literally twelve hours a day, but I did have one doctor suggest that I supplement.  My gut said no, and I pressed on, determined to make it work.

My mom suggested I reach out to one of my cousins for advice.  I was a little nervous and ashamed to ask for help– I seemed to be failing big time and who wants to admit that?  To my surprise, she commiserated with my pain, and encouraged me to hang in there.  She assured me that my body would get used to it, my baby would get better at it, and it wouldn’t hurt forever.

She was right.  It took about three months, but one day I realized that it wasn’t painful anymore, at all.  In fact, I kind of enjoyed nursing.  My baby was growing and thriving, and amazingly, she was a big baby (consistently 70th percentile).  That was a surprise, as both my husband and I are on the small side.  My body alone was nourishing this little being, and was actually doing a darn good job at it!  I was amazed and proud at the same time.


Going back to work brought a new challenge: the dreaded pumping sessions.  Twice a day I retreated to the third-floor (and not accessible to the public) bathroom where my supervisor had fixed up the handicapped stall for me with an armchair, table, and extension cord.  The cleaning crew thoughtfully mopped almost every day, even though I was the only one using it.

Pumping took at least twenty minutes and was mind-numbingly boring.  I would stay until I had replaced what I knew my baby was drinking while I was away.  Sometimes when I arrived home, to my despair, the baby had been extra hungry and dipped into a third bottle.  I then felt obligated to squeeze in a pump before bed to “catch up.”  Every night I had to wash and sterilize all the pump parts (I definitely recommend getting a spare set of parts– this is the set I bought to go with my Medela Pump-in-Style Advanced.) and pack my bag for work the next morning. And so the cycle repeated until I left that job.  It was an occasion worth celebrating when I putaway my pump for the last time.

Doctors don’t volunteer much information on breastfeeding– their primary goal is to get the baby out– and from what I can tell, a lot of women are either too scared to ask or like me assume it will all be instinct.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a lactation consultant until she stopped by to check on me a few hours after birth (thank goodness!)

What I wish I had known about breastfeeding before my baby was born:

  • Newborn stomachs are tiny, maybe they size of a marble, so it doesn’t take much milk to fill them up at this point (the “magic number” of 4 ounces doesn’t apply until much later.)  However, new babies aren’t very efficient and can take thirty minutes to an hour to get those few drops out.  That could understandably be frustrating, so don’t think you’re doing something wrong if your baby cries– a lot.
  • Breast milk digests quickly, so when your baby cries an hour after you last fed them, they ARE hungry.  This doesn’t mean that you’re not making enough milk, it just means that they’ve already used up the milk in their tummy and need more.  Your baby will nurse at least 8-12 times a day (and night) at first.  If your baby is making lots of pee diapers then they are getting plenty to eat.
  • Breastfeeding can be painful, almost tortuous, for the first few weeks.  Remember, you have a ravenous little person sucking on a very sensitive area for hours upon hours a day.  Lanolin is your friend– apply liberally after every session.  It can stain, so wear loose clothes, and nothing expensive…just in case you were thinking about dressing up…ha!
  • You will have people suggest supplementing with formula.  Remember that this is their opinion, and even a doctor is not necessarily an expert on breastfeeding.  It is ultimately your choice, so don’t let anyone pressure you either way.  When in doubt, look up a lactation consultant in your area.  They can show you techniques that might help or reassure you that you’re doing just fine.  It is worth the expense if it brings you peace of mind, and some insurances may cover the service.
  • It will get better!  It doesn’t seem possible– I didn’t believe it either, but breastfeeding DOES get easier, in fact, it can become enjoyable.  My baby looks forward to nothing more than mommy’s milk, and I treasure these precious moments where she needs only me.  I know that it will all be over too soon and I’ll probably miss it.

I won’t kid you by saying it will be easy or that you will love it right away, but if breastfeeding is important to you, then you CAN do it.  I’m so glad I stuck it out, through all the pain, exhaustion, and tears– though I definitely don’t miss those early struggles!

If you’re worried or feeling discouraged, there are lots of great resources available– two of the most well-known and respected are La Leche League International and Kelly Mom. La Leche League publishes a guide called The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and it is an excellent book on the subject. Also, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help or advice!  We’ve all been there, and all have different experiences to share.  Sometimes it helps just to simply hear that someone else has gone through the same thing.

Whatever the outcome may be for you, whether your breastfeed for over a year or stop after 3 months (I’ve known friends who’ve done both), remember that you have accomplished a great thing.  It’s no small feat to bring a baby into this world and it is equally amazing to provide (for any length of time) this perfect food your body created especially for them.

Please feel welcome to share your breastfeeding stories, advice, and encouragement in the comments below.  Your words could help other mamas!  You are also more than welcome to email me with any questions, as I’m happy to answer from my experience.

Here are some of my Breastfeeding Essentials:

  • Lanolin to protect nipples
  • Simple cloth diapers to protect clothes from spit-up, drool, etc. (I tucked them into my bra while she nursed)
  • Extra set of pump parts (these are for the Medela Pump in Style Advanced, which worked very well for me)
  • Extra set of Medela bottles (the only ones Annabelle would drink from)
  • A good nursing bra (This one is so comfortable and even after over a year of use still is in amazing shape!)
  • Steam Bags which allow you to quickly & easily sterilize pump & bottle parts and even pacifiers in the microwave (these were a lifesaver when I was working and pumping to keep breastfeeding!)
  • Follow-up reading “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League

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Be sure to read my follow-up posts:

Pumping Breast Milk on the Job: How to Make it “Work”

5 Essential Weight Loss Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Where to Donate Breast Milk

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What I wish I had known about breastfeeding BEFORE my baby was born. Tips and encouragement for breastfeeding new moms. - The Soccer Mom Blog

Disclaimer: This post is based on my personal experiences– I am not a medical professional and this should not be taken as medical advice.

 

 

102 Comments on What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Breastfeeding

  1. dana
    April 19, 2015 at 1:45 pm (1 year ago)

    The thing that helped me most was pumping after breastfeeding, from very early on – it drove up my supply and gave me a healthy backup supply of little bags of milk. As soon as my babe was done on side 1, I would put the pump on it while she had side 2. After she was done (and typically sleeping), I would put the pump on side 2. Even if I only got a smudge extra, my body got the idea that there was more demand. I started that in the hospital, even. Never needed formula for either babe, even when I went back to work. First baby nursed until 1, second until 2 but the last few months were bedtime only and I no longer pumped after first bday.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      April 20, 2015 at 10:53 am (1 year ago)

      I started pumping about a month in to build my freezer “stash.” Your method sounds very efficient! I just waited until she was completely done, so it added a lot of time to the whole thing. Likewise, I only got maybe a half once a a session, but I was able to set aside a little stockpile. The funny part is once I became a SAHM she refused to drink bottles, so I have all this milk in the freezer she won’t ever finish! Perhaps there is somewhere local to donate!

      Reply
      • Crystal
        August 3, 2015 at 10:18 am (11 months ago)

        None of my 3 ever took a bottle consistently. I did pump and freeze milk in ice cube trays (in the hopes that one would give me a break!) After they stopped nursing (all of them at about a year), I used the cubes to put in oatmeal or mix in with baby food. If they started to get the sniffles, I’d drop a cube in their cow’s milk. Breastmilk is also good for pinkeye and earaches. I ended up using most all that I had saved up! ?

        Reply
        • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
          August 4, 2015 at 3:57 pm (11 months ago)

          That’s a great idea to freeze it in ice cube trays– I would imagine that cubes are a lot easier to thaw than an entire bag!

          Reply
      • Karyn
        November 22, 2015 at 2:57 am (7 months ago)

        I pumped and froze For my first. (lots of early feeding issues) When i had no room in my freezer I found Human Milk for Human Babies on facebook. It is a milk sharing website. As baby gets older your milk changes, so milk for a 3 month old isn’t the same as for a 7 month old. I donated 61 litres while exclusively breastfeeding.

        Reply
  2. K @ EatLoveLive
    April 23, 2015 at 1:07 pm (1 year ago)

    I could relate to this whole post! I was adamant that I would exclusively breast feed for 6 months and I went through hell to stick to this. In the end my baby decided not to take a bottle and formula so after a slow process I have just stopped. She is 8 months. I would do it all again in a heartbeat but it is very hard! X

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      April 23, 2015 at 10:39 pm (1 year ago)

      I’m so glad that you were able to meet your breastfeeding goal– that’s a major accomplishment! I feel the same way that I would definitely do it all over again, but it IS such hard work…and I’m not even done yet! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Rebecca Lynn
    May 7, 2015 at 11:56 am (1 year ago)

    Loved reading this. I’m 2 1/2 weeks in with my first baby and breastfeeding really is hard work. Not everyone understands just how hard and I’ve been getting very discouraged. This article is great reassurance. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      May 7, 2015 at 12:58 pm (1 year ago)

      So glad that you found this encouraging– that was exactly what I hoped for when writing! Congratulations on your new little one and making it this far! You’re still in the hard part but it will get easier I promise 🙂

      Reply
      • Hannah mulvihill
        September 28, 2015 at 8:48 pm (9 months ago)

        I agree with Rebecca! I’m on my second week with my first child and it’s so nice to know I’m not the only one that may or may not cry at 2am when my little man latches! Thank you!

        Reply
        • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
          September 28, 2015 at 11:19 pm (9 months ago)

          Hi Hannah, I’m glad that you found this encouraging 🙂 Those first couple weeks are just tough all around and it doesn’t help that no one is getting much sleep! Hang in there and be sure to reach out if it doesn’t get easier for you! The links at the end of the article for Kelly Mom and La Leche League are great places to start, and there are also some helpful reader suggestions in the comments.

          Reply
  4. Jenny
    May 19, 2015 at 9:07 am (1 year ago)

    This is a great article, and one I wish I could’ve read before I had my first son (who is now almost 4). I knew nothing about breastfeeding before having him. I live in the south and almost no one breastfeeds beyond 3 months. My goal was 6 months…which turned into 2 1/2 years!! It is amazing the myths and lack of information out there. When he was 8 weeks old, my boss was amazed that I wasn’t giving him formula. She said, “didn’t the pediatrician tell you he needs formula now instead?” People were always shocked that he only had breastmilk, and was a fat, healthy baby.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      May 19, 2015 at 11:20 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks for letting me know you liked it! Two and a half years is really impressive–especially without much encouragement! I’m not sure I’ll get that far, but who knows? We’re already at a year and she’s showing no signs of wanting to stop 😉

      Reply
  5. Margo, Thrift at Home
    June 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm (1 year ago)

    I’ve got a 1-month-old and as she is my 3rd baby, I can see that breastfeeding seemed to get easier for me around 3 weeks old. My nipples got toughened up (don’t use lanolin – it slows the process!) and my baby has gotten a lot more efficient. Even as an experienced mother, I have been on the phone several times with the lactation consultant from the hospital because it’s just so confusing in the first weeks and I always prefer to ask than assume!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      June 12, 2015 at 11:31 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks for sharing Margo! I asked family and friends who breastfed LOTS of questions in those early weeks, because you’re right– it is so confusing! A lactation consultant is definitely an excellent resource too– mine was very helpful in the hospital!

      Reply
  6. Ashley
    June 12, 2015 at 3:28 pm (1 year ago)

    One thing I realized while nursing if it was hurt too much then baby was not latched on properly once I got baby to latch on completely then it was no problem at all, I still need to use the creams and oils also though! It is so much healthier for your baby to nurse even for the first couple of months anything is better than nothing, also is is a lot better for your body considering that’s what those things are for!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      June 13, 2015 at 1:54 pm (1 year ago)

      Once your baby learns how to nurse properly it is definitely much easier! It seems like anything else in life– it takes practice 🙂

      Reply
  7. kim
    June 19, 2015 at 7:35 am (1 year ago)

    I just want to say that its OK to supplement! You can always boost your supply later! My son lost a lot of weight and would not sleep more than 45 minutes and I was completely exhausted!! I supplemented with one bottle of similac supplementing formula at night and we were all able to sleep a little more… And low and behold my milk supply picked up! When you are too tired your supply will drop so it is imperative to get sleep! I got so much criticism for supplementing but after about two weeks of supplementing one bottle a day my son gained good weight, my milk supply picked up, I got more sleep, and our whole house was happier! You have to do what works for you and your family. I exclusively breastfed after the first month for six months and then he was ready for solids.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      June 19, 2015 at 10:28 am (1 year ago)

      Hi Kim, thanks for sharing! I had a close friend who did something similar (used one bottle of formula while she was at work) and it took so much pressure off her that she was able to continue on and meet her breastfeeding goal. You absolutely have to do what is best for you and your family! What bothers me are the doctors that are ill-informed about breastfeeding and pressure women to supplement without considering other options, or just giving mom and baby time to get the hang of it. I’ve known far too many women who have given up (and were extremely disappointed about it) because their doctors told them it “wasn’t working.”

      Reply
  8. noa
    September 4, 2015 at 12:48 am (10 months ago)

    Thank you for the beautiful post! I’m still feeding my id twin girls (13 months) as they refuse a bottle and they are worse than newborns at night at times…. needless to say I’m tired. the breastfeeding itself is a breeze at this stage but the hours are tough…. yes, i know they should be able to go through the night but they don’t. your dr won’t tell you that either?

    thanks again

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      September 4, 2015 at 12:07 pm (10 months ago)

      I’m so happy that you liked this post Noa! I’m right there with you on the night feedings…it seems like she is more attached to them now than ever! I love these special moments, but the sleep deprivation does get tough after a while. I can’t imagine with twins– you are awesome!!

      Reply
  9. Yogamama
    September 20, 2015 at 7:28 pm (9 months ago)

    Breastfeeding itself was pretty easy for me but not all the surrounding issues… With my first I had bad postpartum and I was going to school. I felt like exclusively breastfeeding was the only thing I could do right (the depression talking), and I was “failing”. Pumping was REALLY hard, it took like an hour to get a couple ounces. Our extended family ended up giving her formula when I was gone or just asleep and I got mad about it, like really mad (ppd again). She actually refused bottles of any kind after 6 months, though since she ate solids it wasn’t too hard to work with. After a year I finally acknowledged the depression & got help & that made the biggest difference. But weaning was emotionally hard too. I nursed longer than I really wanted to (almost 3 years) because my husband couldn’t handle her crying, I couldn’t handle them both crying and nursing was easy.

    With my second I had a plan for postpartum depression so everything was easier. Weaning too. Since he bit, and I was pregnant, I didn’t feel bad about stopping at 18 months.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      September 20, 2015 at 11:35 pm (9 months ago)

      Thank you so much for sharing Kristen! I’m so glad to hear that you decided to reach out and get the help you needed for PPD and were able to have a much more positive experience from then on. I totally understand nursing longer than you expected because it is “easier” haha. We’re still night feeding at 16 months, and even though she doesn’t “need” to eat in the middle of the night, it is much much easier to nurse then to have her cry (loudly) and keep everyone in the house awake. If it works for you and your family then that’s just what you have to do 🙂

      Reply
  10. Rosy
    September 26, 2015 at 8:51 pm (9 months ago)

    It REALLY doesn’t have to be this hard! If you want good advice on breastfeeding from a doctor read Babywise.
    good on this woman for sticking at it, but I am surprised she writes this experience like it was positive, it sounds like she had a RREALLY hard time, pain for months! And the baby feedjng every hour and screaming during feeds! This ia not normal. But it sounds like she just didn’t have the support she should have and that’s a shame. I am so impressed that she kept going, amazing job! What a devoted mom 🙂 But if this scared you and you want breastfeeding advice, read babywise and get the help of a lactation consultant or midwife or YouTube! For a better latch, and give your nipples a break, if you have to feed closer than 2 and 1/2 hours after the end of the last feed then maybe try and expess for that feed or if your nipples are cracked for every second feed

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      September 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm (9 months ago)

      Hi Rosy,

      That woman in this post is me 🙂 I did have excellent support from my family, but they just didn’t know a whole lot about breastfeeding themselves. My intention in writing this definitely wasn’t to scare anyone, but rather to encourage mamas who might be having a hard time. Just like childbirth is more difficult for some of us, so is breastfeeding. I just wanted other moms to know that they are not alone if they are struggling and that there are resources available to them to help make things easier. Thank you for reading and for your comments!

      Reply
  11. Lyn Hrivnak RN IBCLC
    September 27, 2015 at 4:12 pm (9 months ago)

    Stacy
    I loved reading your story and appreciate your honesty. I agree there is a lot your doctor doesn’t tell you, just know in many cases it’s because they simply do not know how to help you anticipate challenges, or how to deal with them. Normal human lactation does not get high priority in medical school, much less how to problem solve.

    I am sad that you spend two entire months in terrible pain, and admire your courage and determination. I have to say, as a practicing lactation consultant, that is just not normal. It should not have to be so hard. An evaluation by a lactation consultant on an outpatient basis might have helped you achieve comfort much sooner. I hope next time around if you have similar problems, you will be able to quickly find the support you need.

    Locating a good consultant you can trust (ask your friends) prior to delivery is an excellent strategy, especially for first time moms. That way, you know help is readily available. It’s also a good idea to go in for an evaluation by a lactation consultant 3-5 days after you are discharged, just to make both you and the baby are on the right track and reassure you that all is well.

    Lyn Hrivnak RN IBCLC
    BreastfeedingTips4Moms.com

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      September 27, 2015 at 4:46 pm (9 months ago)

      Hi Lyn,

      Thank you so much for reading and for your feedback. 🙂 I did see a lactation consultant in the hospital, but you’re right, I could have benefited from seeing one at home too. That’s why I made sure to suggest it in this post. (Before I had my baby I didn’t even know LCs existed!) By writing this I hoped to let other moms know that it doesn’t always come easy (like we might assume it will) and that there are resources available to help them.

      Reply
  12. Natalie
    September 29, 2015 at 11:43 pm (9 months ago)

    One thing I would like to suggest is for every new mother who is in pain during breast-feeding to have their pediatrician and lactation consultant check to see if there baby is tongue-tied or lip tied. I spoke with two lactation consultant in the hospital and neither of them even checked this – they just assumed I was not holding him or my breast correctly. Four days later, at my son’s pediatrician appointment, I told him I was having pain while breast-feeding and he immediately sent me over to the office lactation consultant. She said my cracked, bleeding nipples were textbook results of a baby who was tongue-tied. It would’ve been so helpful to know this in the hospital rather than have to wait!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      September 30, 2015 at 11:28 am (9 months ago)

      That is an excellent tip Natalie! It wasn’t my personal experience, but I know that having this checked (and fixing if necessary) has helped so many other moms! Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Reply
  13. Alex
    September 30, 2015 at 1:11 pm (9 months ago)

    It may hurt for weeks as you nipples get used to being sucked on 24/7…but it absolutely should not hurt for months. If that is the case please seek help from an IBCLC and/or find your local La Leche League group with wonderfully knowledgeable mommas.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      September 30, 2015 at 3:49 pm (9 months ago)

      Thanks Alex! The first few weeks can be rough, but you’re absolutely right, it should get easier over time! La Leche League is an excellent resource 🙂

      Reply
  14. Megan
    October 3, 2015 at 3:46 pm (9 months ago)

    Thanks so much for this post! I, like you, thought breastfeeding would be “natural”. It’s not! It’s HARD WORK! With my 3rd, my nipples were so cracked and bled so much that my baby would spit up pink/red. It scared me the first time it happened. I would grimace every time she latched in anticipation of the pain. When she was just a few weeks old I heard about Newman’s Nipple Cream. That stuff is MAGIC!! You have to get a prescription for it but literally my nipples were healed in 2 days and I haven’t had a problem since. If something doesn’t seem right, please ask someone (lactation consultant, OB, midwife, friend, etc)!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      October 3, 2015 at 11:48 pm (9 months ago)

      So glad you found something to bring relief finally! And you are so right– if something feels “off” then it is worth the peace of mind to seek help. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience Megan!

      Reply
  15. aj
    October 7, 2015 at 8:16 pm (9 months ago)

    Please, please, remove the statement that it will be painful for months. That is not a hard and fast rule at all. In fact painful breastfeeding is usually a sign that there is a problem. Making it out to be the norm is the kind of thing that can scare a person out of even trying. Words like “excruciating” and “brutal” don’t help either. Your experience is your experience and that is it.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      October 8, 2015 at 10:57 am (9 months ago)

      Hi AJ- I appreciate you taking the time to give me your feedback. I am a HUGE supporter of breastfeeding and I am still nursing at 17 months, so I am definitely not trying to discourage anyone from breastfeeding. In fact, I wrote this post after a friend reached out to me on behalf of a friend of hers who was struggling. I wanted other women to know that if they were having trouble that they are not alone, there is help available, it can get better, and it is worth trying to stick it out. I can’t remove words like “brutal” because that WAS my experience for a few weeks, and I have to stay true to that. (I do note at the end of the post, if it wasn’t clear from the text itself, that this is my personal experience). Thank you again for reading and for your thoughts.

      Reply
  16. Riana
    October 9, 2015 at 1:13 am (9 months ago)

    Just to let you know, breastfeeding SHOULD NOT HURT the way it hurt you. If it does, there is a latch issue or mouth issue. Lip and tongue ties cause so many issues including pain! Make sure to find a pediatric dentist who specializes in this for more information.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      October 9, 2015 at 10:28 am (9 months ago)

      Hi Riana, you’re right that there definitely could be an underlying issue if breastfeeding causes long-term pain. (This was not the case for us.) Though it is still totally normal to have some discomfort because a very sensitive area is being sucked on for hours a day. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment 🙂

      Reply
  17. Adeola
    October 12, 2015 at 6:43 am (9 months ago)

    I can relate to this post deeply. I was sore for weeks and my baby cried so did I. I thought I was definitely doing something wrong. I gave him cow’s milk for a week after bowing to some pressure but later returned to breast milk. I breastfed him exclusively for a year and eventually weaned him at 14 months in tears! It had become so enjoyable. I could breastfeed on stage if I was given the opportunity. I was loving every moment of it and so was he. I pumped thrice a day to keep up. I remember my pumping sessions at work, I had to wear easy clothes and I WASHED and STERILIZED bottle and pump parts! Everyday! The best advice that helped me during breastfeeding was pump at a particular time everyday. Your body gets the message and sends you a supply at that time. Just be consistent, you’ll have more milk than you need. 🙂

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      October 12, 2015 at 2:39 pm (9 months ago)

      Adeola, I am so glad that you were able to meet your breastfeeding goal after all! (And I don’t know who told you to feed cow’s milk to a newborn, but that is a definite no-no!) Thank you for letting me know that you could relate to my post and for sharing your pumping tips 🙂

      Reply
  18. Ansley
    October 13, 2015 at 10:12 pm (9 months ago)

    My saving grace was a group of women on Facebook dedicated to breastfeeding questions. It has helped so much to know what is normal and what is not. Tomorrow will be nine months! It was so hard at the beginning and I had a lot of pain (no lip/tongue tie, just shallow latch bc her mouth was so tiny)…but it can be done! Also, most Peds know woefully little about BFing. Definitely, if anyone is having problems, please contact a IBCLC (internationally board certified lactation consultant) to help you!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      October 13, 2015 at 11:27 pm (9 months ago)

      Hi Ansley! Your situation sounds a lot like what I experienced, and I’m so glad to hear you got through it! Our pedi was very happy that we were exclusively breastfeeding, though he always seemed very surprised at each visit when we told him that we were still doing it! Thanks for reading and sharing your story 🙂

      Reply
  19. MGW
    October 14, 2015 at 3:34 pm (9 months ago)

    Great post! I wish I had come across an article like this a few months ago. My baby is 4 months old, and BF was painful for me for the first 6 weeks (now it’s a breeze). I did a lot of reading on the internet and everyone said it would only hurt if there was a latch issue. I saw a lactation consultant, and the latch was good. I wish someone had told me that it would be uncomfortable for awhile!

    I know BF proponents (including some commenters – like the one asking your to remove the word “brutal” from your post) are worried women won’t breastfeed if they know it will hurt, but I would rather be prepared for what’s in store.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      October 14, 2015 at 4:39 pm (9 months ago)

      Thank you so much for your comments! It sounds like what you went through was very similar. I definitely felt that honesty was the best way to go and it’s why I used strong words to describe my experience. It WAS tough at first, but it gets better 🙂

      Reply
  20. Natalie
    October 15, 2015 at 10:33 pm (9 months ago)

    Wonderful encouragement! However, I think it’s important for new breastfeeding moms to know that bleeding nipples is NOT normal. Yes, they will be sore and very tender (only at the beginning), but if there is severe pain and bleeding, the baby is probably not latching correctly and it would be beneficial to see a lactation consultant as soon as possible. The younger the baby, the easier it is to correct their latch and make sure they are eating efficiently and that it is not (as) painful for mom.
    No matter your experience, breastfeeding is hard work, but is so rewarding for both mom and baby! All you nursing mamas – hang in there!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      October 15, 2015 at 11:17 pm (9 months ago)

      Hi Natalie, thanks for joining the discussion! The bleeding nipples only happened a couple times, but I wanted to be sure and mention it so other moms wouldn’t think that something horrible had happened. (It was pretty freaky when it happened and I was worried!) You’re right, if it happens frequently, you would definitely want to get that checked out, and seeing a lactation consultant is always a good idea if there is discomfort. Thanks again for reading and sharing your thoughts 🙂

      Reply
  21. Dianna @ The Budget Babe
    November 13, 2015 at 5:57 pm (8 months ago)

    Wow this is the best post/article I’ve ever read on the topic of breastfeeding! I can totally relate 100%. I joined a breastfeeding support group and that saved my sanity (and I made some great friends, too).

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      November 13, 2015 at 11:40 pm (8 months ago)

      Thank you so much Dianna! It is a little intimidating at first when you share such a personal experience, because not everyone can relate. I’m so glad that you connected with this post — that was my hope in writing it 🙂 You’re right about the support group, whether it’s friends, an online group, etc. VERY helpful to find others where you can get ideas and encouragement.

      Reply
  22. Eva
    November 21, 2015 at 2:53 am (7 months ago)

    I think it’s great you write about this. One thing though: breastfeeding should NOT hurt at all. When I had my son 8 years ago, it hurted so so bad. I thought it was part of it and had to accept it. So I did, for 7 months (that was when I stopped). My daughter is 2 months today, and it didn’t hurt a bit. I live in the Netherlands, where we get a nurse in the house to help with the newborn the first 8 days, and she told me it should not hurt. So, we tried, and she was right. Granted, my daughter drank for a very long time (still does, sometimes), but it shouldn’t hurt, not when her mouth is in the right position (lips outward). I think it is great that so many women breastfeed, even when it hurts. But as you said: it is one of the most natural things. And I don’t think that if it hurts so bad women would have done it for so many centuries.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      November 21, 2015 at 6:21 pm (7 months ago)

      That is wonderful that you get a nurse for the first 8 days– what a big help that would be! I’m amazed that you breastfed for 7 months in pain because you’re right, it shouldn’t continue to hurt for that long. Thank you for sharing Eva!

      Reply
  23. Karyn
    November 22, 2015 at 3:04 am (7 months ago)

    A tip for pumping at work. If you have a staff fridge or can set up your own to store that precious liquid gold at work. Ziplock bag your pump parts and place in the fridge. you wont need to wash in between sessions just at the end of each day.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      November 22, 2015 at 1:49 pm (7 months ago)

      Thanks for sharing Karyn! Great tips about pumping at work if you have access to a fridge. I didn’t, so I used a cooler to store my pumped milk until I got home and I had an extra set of pump parts.

      Reply
  24. Emilie
    November 22, 2015 at 12:05 pm (7 months ago)

    Small comment here–The title of this excellent post includes “your doctor won’t tell you.” As a physician, I would like to point out that we can be your greatest ally in the sometimes tough breastfeeding battle. We know that breast is best. The data supports it. Many physicians are working moms juggling the same pumping, feeding, work-life balance as their patients, often without the support of their coworkers or hospital (it’s a traditionally male dominated, hard-core culture). In addition to finding a quality lactation consultant, I would urge readers to discuss their breastfeeding concerns with their physicians. We have access to some strategies others don’t (e.g., prescription galactogogues). We can help fight unfair workplace policies and fill out the necessary paperwork to support breastfeeding mothers. I would also suggest a new title for this article. I’m sure you can find one that sounds interesting, but doesn’t imply that physicians have some secret agenda against breastfeeding.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      November 22, 2015 at 1:59 pm (7 months ago)

      Hi Emilie, I definitely didn’t mean the title to offend, it is simply based on my own personal experience (and that of those close to me who had similar stories). Fortunately, my midwife is very pro-breastfeeding (one of the reasons I chose her over my previous healthcare facility). However, I have heard some incredibly ignorant things from friends that they were told (or not told) by their own doctors. I agree, that new moms should have an open dialogue with their physicians, but I also wanted to let them know that if they have any doubts or feel like they want a second opinion, there are many other valuable sources of breastfeeding information. Thank you for reading and for sharing– I wish doctors like you were the norm! 🙂

      Reply
  25. Lauren
    November 22, 2015 at 8:14 pm (7 months ago)

    I found this very encouraging – thank you! I only disagree with your advice about not listening to your pediatrician if supplementing with formula is necessary. I had a c-section and my baby had all kinds of problems early on. So while they helped me get my milk in and my baby was steadily losing way too much weight, formula sustained him. I’m solely breastfeeding now, and really glad to be, but very disappointed that you would advise others not to listen to their medical professional.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      November 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm (7 months ago)

      Hi Lauren, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts! This post based on my own personal experience, and in my case, the doctor that suggested I supplement did so blindly. It was the first time she had ever met me or my baby — she was wrong and my mommy instinct knew it, so I got a second opinion. From talking to friends and other readers, I know I’m not the only one who had doubts about being told to supplement when their baby was doing well already. I also know there are cases where formula is absolutely necessary and I would never try to make anyone feel badly for feeding their baby, however they do so. My hope was that this post would encourage others who might worry that “they must be the only ones” to have trouble early on (which is how I felt at first.) My suggestion about supplementing was to seek other professional advice if you have worries or doubts about what one doctor might have said that didn’t sit well with you. I’m glad you found the rest encouraging though 🙂

      Reply
  26. CrystalG
    December 18, 2015 at 9:08 am (7 months ago)

    My LO just weaned at nearly 27 months. It’s been emotional for both of us, but we’re having another baby in a few months and “dry” nursing now is very reminiscent of those first few weeks with a newborn you speak about. I’m just not up to it, but very content with the run we had and bond we now share.

    I was very lucky in finding my Pediatrician. I took Little Man in hysterical at about 5 days old convinced he was jaundiced and dehydrated from my milk not having come in yet. Our Dr checked him out and assured me that there was NO reason to supplement unless we went 2-3 more days before it did. Had it not been for his reassurance I would have started supplementing. I very much disliked the lactation consultant at the hospital who told me breastfeeding my newborn for 45 minutes was fine “if you want to be a human pacifier”. No way I would call or trust her.

    For me, things became immensely more comfortable once that milk arrived. After returning to work I successfully pumped for the first year. I ONLY left enough milk at daycare each day to cover scheduled feedings. It’s important to keep to 4oz or less bottle sizes as most women have more trouble with pump response as they close in on a year. Otherwise it’s easy to get discouraged.

    Our Pediatrician’s office has an IBCLC on staff and is immensely supportive and knowledgeable about breastfeeding. My recommendation is to talk to friends and family, search the Dr’s name on social media, talk to them etc. before baby is born to get a feel for their knowledge and support level. It is SO much easier working with a Dr who shares your philosophy on both breastfeeding and approach to medication, etc. It’s hard sometimes to make thoughtful decisions when you are emotional about your child’s comfort, so it’s important to feel you can depend upon their guidance.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      December 26, 2015 at 2:05 pm (6 months ago)

      These are wonderful tips Crystal! I’m so glad that you found a pediatrician that was supportive and helped you get through those first few days which can be scary as a new mom. 27 months is amazing! We are at 19 months, which is longer than I expected, but “mommy time” is a special thing that obviously means to much to her. I’m not sure how long we will go, but I know I will miss it 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us!

      Reply
  27. Patty Hahn
    December 29, 2015 at 4:12 am (6 months ago)

    I admire you very much for “no judgement” either way. This is the most honest and comprehensive blog I’ve seen on this subject! Bravo!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      December 29, 2015 at 12:52 pm (6 months ago)

      Thank you so much Patty! Breastfeeding discussion can bring out very strong emotions, but I wanted share my own personal experience in case there were other moms going through the same thing.

      Reply
  28. Concerned nurse and nursing mom
    December 30, 2015 at 3:39 pm (6 months ago)

    Having been trained to be a certified lactation counselor, I’m an RN, and I’m currently exclusively breastfeeding my 5 month old son I have a few comments. First off, breastfeeding should NEVER be painful. If it is painful your baby’s latch needs to be monitored and adjusted. Contact your local lactation department. Secondly, lanolin is the leading brand for causing bacterial infections. If your baby has a correct latch you should have no need for lanolin. If you’re pumping, the flanges may need to be adjusted to the proper size. Thirdly, pacifiers are vectors and are associated with your child getting sick with illnesses including diarrhea and pneumonia.

    Everyone needs to do their research and not listen to aunt Kathy’s advice who has no medical training or children of their own.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      December 31, 2015 at 1:46 am (6 months ago)

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts– I’m always glad to hear from lactation counselors! I absolutely agree that everyone should research and reach out to those who are trained to help achieve breastfeeding success. One of the reasons I wrote this was for moms to know that not all doctors fall into the category of breastfeeding expert, or even supporter, and to get a second opinion if they have any doubts. I can only write from my own personal experience, and I wanted to share the struggles I went through, as well as what worked for me. Fortunately, we never had any problems with pacifiers. My little one loved hers, but wasn’t addicted to it and suffered no health issues (we sterilized frequently and replaced them when they showed any sign of wear). She was over them on her own at 6 months. Thank you again for taking the time to read and comment!

      Reply
  29. Susan
    January 5, 2016 at 10:38 pm (6 months ago)

    I appreciate you sharing your experience. I breastfed all three of my children exclusively, each one for over a year. People seem to think this an impossible feat and are shocked to hear I never bottle fed any of my babies. I was lucky enough to stay home with my babies. All you Mommas that have to pump I admire your dedication. To those struggling, hang in there! It’s possible and the bonding experience with your child is like nothing else.

    Reply
  30. Braxton's momma
    January 9, 2016 at 1:26 am (6 months ago)

    I breast fed my son for 3 weeks before my milk ran dry. The day it ran to I cried for hours because I felt like I had failed as a mother. I never want anyone else to feel like that so I just want to say it is OK not to meet your goal. No matter the reason you can’t make it it is ok!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      January 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm (6 months ago)

      Of course, I would never want anyone to feel badly about the length of time they breastfeed (or don’t). I’ve known friends who did it for 2+ years and some who did it for 2 months. They are all still fabulous moms!

      Reply
  31. Mindy
    January 20, 2016 at 8:06 pm (5 months ago)

    They also don’t tell you about flat/inverted nipples, tongue/lip ties that can make it all even harder if not impossible until dealt with. Breast shields can also be a great tool, but some hospital staff will insist your baby will not nurse properly due to nipple confusion if you use them for a while. For me it was better than quitting all together. I also had no idea that having a c-section could make your milk take longer to come in.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      January 21, 2016 at 11:26 am (5 months ago)

      Good point about the breast shields. I was also discouraged from trying them (so I didn’t), but if it makes the difference in successful breastfeeding and giving up, then I’d say go for it! I’ve heard that about c-sections, though I have nothing to compare it to (I’ve only had a c-section so far). It took a couple days, but my midwife assured me that babies are designed to get by on colostrum and their own fat stores until your milk comes in.

      Reply
  32. LL
    January 31, 2016 at 7:42 am (5 months ago)

    Really? I doctor isn’t an expert? Insinuating mothers shouldn’t listen to their doctors. What irresponsible advice!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      January 31, 2016 at 9:32 am (5 months ago)

      Hi LL, I’m not sure if you read the post or are basing your comment on the title alone. This piece is actually focused on encouraging new mothers through the early weeks of breastfeeding, which can be difficult.

      Reply
    • Lyn Hrivnak
      January 31, 2016 at 4:38 pm (5 months ago)

      Actually very few MDs have adequate (if any) training in the support of breastfeeding mothers. That is beginning to change but if you need expert breastfeeding support you need an IBCLC. If you’re very very lucky your doctor might also be an IBCLC. I know of a few!

      Reply
  33. Anjie grady
    February 1, 2016 at 7:59 pm (5 months ago)

    Thank you for your honesty. I am currently nursing my 12 month old and we both have thrush. It is even more painful than those first weeks of nursing. Have you experienced that? We have tried the prescription for thrush but it isn’t seaming to get rid of it. I have used gentian violet on previous babies and it worked much better but stained and ruined everything the baby was wearing and my bras too. Have you a solution?

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      February 2, 2016 at 12:19 am (5 months ago)

      Hi Anjie, sorry to hear that you’re going through that! We never have had thrush, so I can’t speak from personal experience, but if you’ve gotten the prescription to treat the yeast, then you’re on the right track. From what I’ve read, it can take a couple weeks to clear up, especially if you both have it. I always keep a towel handy to dry off thoroughly when we’re done nursing, and that can help prevent future problems. Hang in there! (And check back with your doctor/pediatrician if it hasn’t gone away within a week or two)

      Reply
  34. Heidi
    February 15, 2016 at 9:44 pm (5 months ago)

    This is exactly right! I wish that I would have read this before nursing my first baby! I was so worried I wasn’t doing something right! I hope lots of first time moms read this and find comfort and encouragement! Thanks for writing this.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      February 16, 2016 at 1:05 am (5 months ago)

      I wish I would have read something like this too before I nursed my daughter 🙂 Thank you for letting me know you appreciated this post Heidi!

      Reply
  35. Emily
    February 23, 2016 at 1:12 am (4 months ago)

    Thank you very much for sharing your story and tips. I had extremely frustrating and discouraging nursing experiences with both of my babies. My oldest refused to latch, ever, without a nipple shield and my youngest refused to latch at all for the first six weeks. Both experiences had a severe negative effect on my supply. I took numerous suppliments, avoided foods that could dry me up more, ate foods to help, tried medications, pumped after each session and again in between. You name it, I tried it. I had two different lactation consultants tell me that they have never seen anyone work as hard as I did to get my supply up and make nursing work. I had to suppliment with formula for both my girls along with breastfeeding. I nursed my oldest for 8 months before I finally dried up and my youngest decided she was done with me at 6 months. Sometimes, there really is nothing you can do. It still breaks my heart that I wasn’t able to nurse my babies (my supply never got above 2 oz at my best). I have had many people mention “breast is best” to me or make other little comments when I pull out the formula when they really don’t have the first clue of what I have done and how hard I tried. I’m praying with all my heart that the next time around will be different.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      February 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm (4 months ago)

      Hi Emily, thanks for reading and sharing! I’m sorry to hear that you had a disappointing experience and that anyone would feel entitled to comment on how you feed your baby (because you’re right, they don’t know what you’ve done and tried!) It really does sound like you did everything in your power, and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself because you did provide what you were capable of for 6 months and 8 months. We all as moms have things that didn’t go the way we planned (for me, it was my childbirth experience), but we are all doing the best we can with what we have. I’ve known mamas that nursed for 3 months and some that nursed for 4 years, but the important thing is that they provided for their babies. I’ve also known mamas that struggled and stopped before they wanted to with their first baby and had a much more positive experience with their next. I’m hoping that you might as well!

      Reply
  36. amber
    February 25, 2016 at 6:41 am (4 months ago)

    Great article! Yes, a lactation consultant helps so much. My daughter didn’t latch properly at first and she knew it right away. The nurses were pretty clueless, they all tried to give me tips but I don’t think they were experienced (nipple shields are stupid). We got the hang of it by week 2 after my pass to drive after c-section, but that was the start of colic. It was a nightmare. I still nursed but she’d stop and start screaming which triggers more letdown of milk. The pump was my friend then, as my boobs were so full. Don’t let anyone guilt you into believing your milk is the cause of colic. Their bodies are developing & if you’re concerned go to the dr. 10 weeks later she was over the colic mostly (I went to work at 6 weeks and pumped). I found that it helped to look at her pictures and watch cartoons while away and pumping. I know the frustration of just having enough stored as while I was gone she went through my milk like diapers. Pumping after nursing helps. Your body will produce more if tthinks the baby is taking more. It was a major adjustment & I didn’t take the easy road. My advice though, if you’re too tired, call off…I was trying so hard to prove I could do it all & there were times I was so tired I didn’t remember driving. I weaned her after 6 months. That was difficult, she didn’t like any formula & the smell of it made me gag. I’d say I wished to nurse longer but I became pregnant with my son then. 🙂 p.s. before me, noone pumped at work. Now, I advocate this & if anyone needs help (or backup to go pump if we’re busy, I’m all over it!!)

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      February 25, 2016 at 11:35 am (4 months ago)

      Hi Amber! I love how you encourage and support your coworkers in their pumping– that would definitely make the experience so much easier! Thank you so much for sharing your story and advice, especially about colic, which we were fortunate not to deal with so it is not something I touched on in this post.

      Reply
  37. Kate
    March 16, 2016 at 3:28 pm (4 months ago)

    I managed to breastfeed only 2 and half months , when it just stopped although I had the teas and the pumping too. I still do not know why. Did anyone experience the same?

    Reply
  38. Katharine
    March 16, 2016 at 4:10 pm (4 months ago)

    My daughter is two months old and I’ve been pumping since day 2 of her life and supplementing with formula since she was about 2 1/2 weeks. My pediatrician is really for breastfeeding and left the choice up to us. It ended up being our lactation consultant who recommend supplementing with formula because my daughter continued to drop weight, remained stagnant for a while and then gained very slowly while we supplemented with breastmilk only. Doctors like to see a baby up to their birth weight by 2 weeks old, my daughter reached it around 1 month. She was 6lbs 3oz at birth and two days ago (at exactly 8 weeks old) weighed in at 8lbs 6oz. She is only 2lbs heavier than she was at birth. At first we went in twice a week to weigh her and now once a week she is weighed when I see the lactation consultant. She is finally gaining weight consistently and we are starting to wean her off the formula.

    I started producing colostrum almost 2 days after birth ( I pumped at first to encourage it), and my milk came in right on schedule. My daughter was pretty insatiable but had a hard time latching because of her maxillary frenum (it still gives her a little trouble but we’ve both learned to work around it), only one of my nipples bled at the beginning and healed up pretty fast with lanolin. We started supplementing pumped milk at about a week with a syringe type thing and then switched to a tube on our fingers and didnt do a bottle till 3 weeks. My daughter loves to sleep on and cuddle the boob. Ideally she would just live in front of it I think.

    I was heavily against supplementing with formula and the only thing I wish a doctor had told me was that it didn’t mean my goal to exclusively breastfeed would become impossible.

    I did a lot of researching about breastfeeding. The colostrum, the discomfort, bad latching, bleeding – none of it suprised me. The idea that my daughter could continually loose weight for 10 days while I breastfed did.

    I have a very different view now. Personally, I had to give my daughter formula, so I’ve lost the ability to say she was always exclusively breastfeed. But because of the formula I’ve been able to enjoy breastfeeding and was able to relax about being unable meet her needs. Less stress = better milk production. Now I can slowly switch back to exclusively giving her breastmilk.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      March 17, 2016 at 8:15 pm (4 months ago)

      I LOVE your outlook on this Katherine! Thank you so much for sharing your story and your supplementing process to help your daughter gain weight and help you produce more milk in the long run. I really think this could be inspirational (and useful!) for other readers!

      Reply
  39. Casey
    March 22, 2016 at 10:11 pm (3 months ago)

    I feel like I could’ve written this post! I wish I could share it without all the passive aggressive remarks from mommy friends who weren’t able to breastfeed! I just hit a year with my baby last week and it was the most incredible feeling. It’s still hard a lot of time… Like today when my almost 25 lb baby was asleep, on he boob, with a blown out diaper – at Walt Disney world animal kingdom!!! It was a sight to see! Hahahaha! The only thing I’d add – the medela hands free pumping bra! That thing makes life (and pumping) much easier!!! Thank you for writing all of this! I really hope it helps some mommies to pull through! It’s so worth it.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      March 23, 2016 at 12:48 pm (3 months ago)

      Hi Casey! I bet that was something to see! (Or go through haha!) It does make me sad that there can be so much resentment among moms when comparing breastfeeding experiences. Having shared my story very publicly, I have gotten some not-so-nice responses from total strangers! However the overwhelming majority of readers are thankful to know that there are others out there who “get it” and have struggles too. It makes you feel much less alone when you’re still waiting for it to get easier. Thank you so much for letting me know you read and liked my post 🙂

      Reply
  40. Britney
    March 31, 2016 at 8:38 pm (3 months ago)

    Hi. I loved reading your experience. I am a 3rd time mom about to give birth in about 7 weeks. I am a stay at home mom now and plan on exclusively breastfeeding. I did try to bf my other 2 with not very good results.my first child about a month. My second child i only lasted about 4 days after leaving the hospital. I had similar experiene with severe pain and bleeding cracked nipples. I was uneducated on breastfeeding i thought it would be easy and natural but i would cry from the pain every time i fed. I also thought my baby was “always hungry” so i thought nothing was coming out. Discouraged i gave up. Now after reading many articles and blogs i see what i did wrong and what is actually just normal. I am more confident now and know alot more than i did before. Thank you for your post!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      March 31, 2016 at 11:02 pm (3 months ago)

      I’m glad you have found support and encouragement online and that you feel more confident this time around! If you find yourself struggling after your 3rd is born, don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or any of the resources I listed. It makes a world of difference to know that just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean you’re failing at breastfeeding.

      Reply
  41. Alissa
    April 11, 2016 at 9:33 pm (3 months ago)

    Great article about sticking to it! My nipple were sore with all 5 of kids, sometimes bleeding. With my last one I got a plugged duct, thrush, and horrible painful feedings. I went to a lactation consultant 3 different times trying to figure out what was wrong. After 3 weeks of pure torture, my nipple healed and he was nursing like a champ. It is worth the battle, but no one tells you it can be!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      April 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm (3 months ago)

      That sounds a lot like us! There was no serious underlying issue, it just took time to get better at it!

      Reply
  42. Athena
    April 26, 2016 at 4:32 pm (2 months ago)

    You got lucky. We didn’t have a lacataion consultant till the next day so I got a nipple guard thrown at me by one of the nurses. I wasn’t shown how to use it and it was quite literally thrown at me (tossed, whatever). Then I was shamed by a very important family member who wanted me to stop and “just go to formula” so she could hold my daughter more…after three weeks of breastfeeding I succmed to the pressure. My daughter is almost 2 and I still haven’t gotten over it.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      April 26, 2016 at 4:54 pm (2 months ago)

      Athena, I’m so sorry to hear that you did not receive the support you needed. Unfortunately, I hear stories like this so often, and I know it must be hard to argue with family, especially when you are so exhausted and still recovering from birth. I hope that you will be able to let go of the guilt, because I’m sure you did the best you could in that situation.

      Reply
  43. E Hansen
    May 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm (2 months ago)

    The Dr will probably also tell you that you don’t make enough milk to scare you to supplement. That’s what happened with me and I got scared and did it and now my baby refuses the breast. Turns out I did make enough milk for him and would have probably been ok without formula given a little more time. I’ve tried and tried to get him back on the breast with no success so far.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      May 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm (2 months ago)

      I’m sorry to hear that was your experience, and unfortunately it seems like it happens to many new moms. Just because someone has the title of a doctor does necessarily mean they are knowledgeable about breastfeeding. One of my goals with this post was to let moms know that it is ok to get a second opinion, and if you really want to breastfeed successfully, it will help to have a doctor that supports you. Thank you for sharing your story!

      Reply
  44. Amy
    May 2, 2016 at 10:22 pm (2 months ago)

    I’m currently breastfeeding my 6th child. I have bf 5 of my 6 children. This was a must for me and my kids bc of severe milk allergies that I learned with my baby I didn’t breastfeed! 😣 I can’t even eat dairy nursing it’s so bad. I’ve only known nursing, so I’m out of tune bottle feeding lol. But to each their own bc we all have different lives. I can say, even now with my 3 month old and even in my past bf days there were plenty of days I wanted to wean and stop bf. It’s very demanding at times. It can be brutal in all honesty. But if I could ever offer anything, is to hang in there! The rewards outweigh the demanding, sleepless, homeless looking periods you will go through. I love nursing my babies, it truly was and is the most precious moments me and my children have shared!

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      May 3, 2016 at 12:49 pm (2 months ago)

      Thank you so much for sharing Amy, and for your words of encouragement! The rewards definitely are worth the sacrifices we mamas make!

      Reply
  45. Stwphanie
    May 9, 2016 at 2:42 pm (2 months ago)

    I wish someone had told me with my first that it was OK to top up with formula while waiting for your milk to come in during those first few days. My first experience at the hospital was horrible, the guilt I felt because my baby was crying and the pressure to pump and continue feeding with cracked nipples from the hospital staff was so stressful I succumbed to formula. My milk didn’t come in until I left the hospital. Once it came I never had any problems with my supply so with my 2 other babies I decided that I wasn’t going to let the hospital staff or anyone else pressure me to pump or make me feel guilty about not producing actual milk the minute baby was out. Yes, there was colostrum and I topped off with formula at the hospital but once my milk came in I breastfed my babies exclusively until they weaned themselves around 1 year of age (#3 is almost 3 months and going strong!) I hope someone finds my experience helpful.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      May 11, 2016 at 11:33 am (2 months ago)

      Thank you for sharing Stephanie! As a new mom you can definitely feel the pressure from others to “get it right,” but I’m glad that you planned ahead to stick up for yourself with baby #2 and #3.

      Reply
  46. Jenn
    May 25, 2016 at 1:38 am (1 month ago)

    I am so glad I found this through Pinterest. My daughter and I are in our third week of nursing and I finally feel like we’ve got it together. So many times in the first days, I sat and cried with my husband trying to help me and I wondered why this wasn’t coming naturally. Your blog is refreshing to read in that it’s not preachy and gives me the motivation to keep on. I am setting short term goals, started with two weeks (that we exceeded) and now I’m going for two months. My ultimate goal is 12 months, but going back to work scares me. I’m saving this page for when I need to remind myself that everyone (or most everyone) struggles with the art of breastfeeding.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      May 26, 2016 at 9:29 am (1 month ago)

      I’m so glad you found this and that it was what you needed to hear Jenn! I wrote what I wished I had known or found when I was in those early days 🙂

      Reply
  47. Rachel
    May 26, 2016 at 8:21 am (1 month ago)

    You know that it’s okay to supplement, right? My baby lost 11% of her birth weight which was scary. I felt like it was my fault. So we supplemented. I don’t regret it. At 2 months old, my baby weighed 12 lbs! Just remember, a FED baby is best. Not everyone is able to breastfeed.

    Reply
    • Stacey aka the Soccer Mom
      May 26, 2016 at 9:31 am (1 month ago)

      Of course! Every mom/family has to do what is best for them! I wrote from my personal experience, and I haven’t used formula, so I can’t write from that perspective. However, I’ll never make a mom feel bad if that is how she feeds her baby, whether as a supplement to breastfeeding or as the sole source of nutrition. My goal is simply to encourage moms who want to breastfeed, but may be struggling or facing outside pressure to give it up.

      Reply
  48. Kim
    June 3, 2016 at 4:27 pm (4 weeks ago)

    I will just say that lanolin is not every mama’s friend. I am actually allergic to it and have heard of many others that are as well. I recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter. It’s has Coco butter and coconut oil and some other things that are great for those who are allergic to lanolin. Amazon.com has it

    Reply

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