I didn’t “ease” into breastfeeding. It was one of the hardest, most frustrating, heart-wrenching things I’ve ever done. I stuck with it though, and four months later I have a healthy, entirely breastfed baby boy. With all the talk about how it is so good for you and the baby, and what a great bonding experience it’s supposed to be, a new mother feels guilty if she dreads each feeding and wonders if perhaps she doesn’t love her baby enough. Eventually she’ll get the hang of it, but the odds are pretty good that she’ll actually hate it the first couple of days — or even longer. — Libby Bollino, Abbeville, Louisiana
When I started breastfeeding, I felt like I needed two or three extra hands. I was so nervous about holding my newborn and supporting his head properly that trying to get him in the right position to latch on seemed impossible. It wasn’t until several months later that I got a breastfeeding pillow as a gift. It’s amazing. It props the baby up into the perfect spot so I can concentrate on the latching-on, which is the hardest part when you’re new to nursing. I wish I’d had one of these when I was learning to nurse and fumbling around with ordinary pillows and blankets and propping and leaning. — Laura Jaglowitz, Hedley, British Columbia ￼
The single most beneficial thing I did was to attend a La Leche League meeting while I was pregnant. I learned a tremendous amount and got to see other women nurse their babies, which I had never really seen before. After my baby was born, I continued to attend LLL meetings and have received a great deal of knowledge, support, and encouragement from the leaders and the other mothers. I also made some terrific friends. — Debbie Strelevitz, Rock Tavern, New York
My mother gave me a great tip for getting through those first couple of weeks when breastfeeding hurt: Drink very cold water through a straw as the baby is latching on. The cold water will help defer the pain. Other things that help include listening to relaxing music and minimizing distractions so that you can relax and focus on the task at hand. — Wendy Katzman, Seattle
When my daughter was born, I told my lactation consultant about my horrible experience with mastitis and bleeding nipples when I breastfed my first child. She recommended some products that have worked great: lecithin, for avoiding clogged milk ducts; blessed thistle, for increasing milk flow when I return to work and need to pump; and alfalfa, for enriching my milk. I haven’t had any episodes of mastitis. I swear by the herbs – they’ve made all the difference! — Ruth Tutterow, Greensboro, North Carolina ￼ ￼ Lecithin for avoiding clogged milk ducts.
Take all the help and support you can get. The lactation consultant got my husband involved in the learning process so he would know how to help me get the baby latched on until I was able to do it by myself. — Candice Gray, Paulina, Louisiana
The best advice I got for dry and sore nipples came from my doctor. She said not to bother buying those expensive ointments but instead, after breastfeeding, express just enough milk to spread on the nipples. It really does work with the dryness and cracking. — Anonymous<
During those early stages, I frequently got blocked milk ducts. When I could feel the full duct even after Doug had fed, I’d put on the warming bag (the kind that you heat in the microwave). I’d also take one ibuprofen tablet. The next time I fed him, I’d start with that breast and massage and “milk” the duct as he sucked. Sometimes I’d keep the warming bag on as he sucked. Usually after three or four feedings it would clear. — Laurie Reid, Toronto
I’m a mom of five breastfed babies, expecting the sixth this month. I think one of the hardest things is the constant demand on your time and body. It helped me to look at nursing as our special time together. You’ll have bumps in the road, but don’t give up. – eatonmem ￼
Make a nursing tool kit. Get a basket or tote bag and fill it with things you’ll want on hand while nursing: a refillable bottle of water (one with a pop top spout is great for one-handed maneuvering); an energy bar; something to read; baby nail clippers (it’s a great time to get those nails, especially if your baby dozes off); a pad of paper and pen (for jotting down all the things you want to do if you ever get a chance); your cell phone; lanolin for sore nipples; a burp cloth; and so on. – angelinasol
Relax. I continued to pump after I went back to work and was able to breastfeed my firstborn for almost a year. One day at lunch, I came home to pump and my husband was also there. We got into an argument while I was pumping. Normally I would produce plenty of milk in ten to 15 minutes. Apparently I was so emotionally distressed, my milk would not let down. After 20 minutes, I had less than 2 oz, and it was time to go back to work. When I explained to my husband why we didn’t have enough milk the next day, he was much more supportive during pumping time. I never would have noticed this unless I was pumping, so I wanted to share with all the breastfeeding moms out there. – Anonymous
When my son was born, we were told he was tongue-tied but his pediatrician said it wasn’t a big deal. I started breastfeeding, and soon I had sores on my nipples. It hurt the whole time he nursed, every time he drew milk out. A week after I left the hospital, I went back to see the lactation consultant, and she reiterated that my baby was tongue-tied. She said that he couldn’t extend his tongue far enough to suck properly, and that instead, he was chomping on my breast to get the milk. The next day, we had his frenulum clipped a little (he was fine right afterward, no lasting pain), and now he sucks just fine. – Sheri
My son was born rooting! But he was also born with a teeny tiny mouth and I have large breasts and large nipples, so we had a rough time getting started. I figured out that if I squish my nipple down, much the same way you squish a cheeseburger, he can latch on and eat to his heart’s desire! He is 3 weeks old and growing like a weed. I’m so glad I stuck with it and figured out what works best for us. – Molly, Goshen, Indiana
Expect the best. While these comments are wonderfully helpful in terms of tangible tips and support, I imagine that some readers who haven’t yet breastfed might read them and expect all kinds of difficulties if they choose to nurse. I just want to say that I delighted in breastfeeding for ten years straight (four babies in a row, each into toddlerhood) without a single snag. I’m not boasting – just reassuring readers that they won’t necessarily have problems breastfeeding! – Karen, Iowa ￼
Interesting isn’t it? Different mothers experience different difficulties and problems. Yet, breastfeeding is no difficult at all if you look at it as FUN!
So, keep on breastfeeding, supermommies!!! (^_^)