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Please inspire a reluctant breastfeeder!

(122 Posts)
jasper Thu 28-Mar-02 00:05:53

What's so good about breastfeeding? ( apart from all the stuff that benefits the baby )
Please share your stories.
Eulalia/ tiktok, are you there?

I need inspiration.

Baby Jasper is nearly three weeks old, totally breastfed so far but I am finding it painful and difficult, and in danger of giving up.

PLEASE inspire me with stories about how the pain gets less ( bf counsellor has confirmed latch etc is good).

Even with no pain I can't imagine bf ever gets enjoyable so please convince me of this too.


SueDonim Thu 28-Mar-02 00:24:45

Oh Jasper, I guess you're up late and struggling. There really are benefits to bf your baby, it's good for your own health as well as the baby's and you achieve an amazing sense of satisfaction when admiring something that is 'all your own work' (well, maybe with a teensy bit of input from your DH to start things off!). It does get better - one day you realise you've just done a feed and it didn't hurt. And once initial problems are over, there is the sheer ease of bf - no need to remember to buy and make formula, worry over whether it's the right temp and of course, it's cheaper; when you go out all you need is a pack of baby wipes and a nappy.

Is the soreness the sole problem or is Baby J not putting on weight, either? I know bfc's are not generally in favour of nipple shields but have you tried them? They saved my bfing career and if the choice is between stopping bfing or trying shields, you've nothing to lose really.

Thinking of you - keep in touch and let us know how things are going.

bloss Thu 28-Mar-02 05:17:36

Message withdrawn

pena Thu 28-Mar-02 06:31:02

Same here, I wasn't crazy about it. At worst, attributed my miserable first 2 months of post partum hell to it, at best - very neutral.

Nightmare started in hospital - even tho' I attended bf classes I still ended up w/ really bad advice from bfc (first of all, she didn't even look like she has ever bf-ed, probably read it in a handbook). Told me that I had flat nipples & got me to use nipple shield, anyway ended up w/ cracked, bleeding nippes.

Out of desperation, I consulted another bfc who diagnosed it correctly as a holding/latch technique & was also very supportive. Anyway to cut a long story short, I was sorted by week 3 & pumping away (prefered espressing as I could get more rest & control the volume as well as stock up for rainy day & let someone else feed ds, but admittedly I also felt weird-ed out a bit having this thing attached to my boob. Had some flashes of maternal feelings & my sis-in-law also did say something that now I empathise with more - that the great thing about bf is that u feel important & special to the baby as you are the only one in this world who can provide on this front. Hope this helps, not exactly the most inpiring but a grounded view.

susanmt Thu 28-Mar-02 06:58:06

I loved bf the first time, but really struggled getting it established with my ds (having fed dd till 13 months). This time he seemed to be feeding all the time and at about 3 weeks I was ready to switch to formula, but my dh reminded me of how much I had enjoyed it the last time, and convinced me to keep on trying. He is now nearly 8 weeks old and the feeding is going really well and has become incredibly convenient as we have started to go out and about more, and he has started sleeping longer at night.
You are at the first and worst part of bf, and it really does get better from now on.
And it became really enjoyable for me with my dd - I only gave up because I was pg again and I hated stopping. And already it is becoming enjoyable with ds - last night he grinned this huge grin when he saw my nipple and I thought 'I'm doing something that is good for him but that he also likes!'
So please try to stick with it for a bit longer, and you will see it improve
Lots of luck, thinking of you!

SueW Thu 28-Mar-02 07:53:13

Oh Jasper, those hours are so awful in the middle of the night.

I agree with bloss - take it one day at a time. Don't struggle towards a long distance target that seems so unattainable.

I had a nightmare feeding my DD. I ended up with a nipple so badly mangled that it took 12 weeks to heal and I had to use nipple shields to allow it to do so. Even today it is still disfigured (so now you all know an intimate secret LOL!). Once we got past those 12 weeks though it became a breeze and we carried on for a couple of years (well, once I'd struggled so hard to get there, I wasn't going to stop a couple of months later!)

The only reason it got so bad was that I got to a point where I had had so much bad advice I refused to ask anyone else for help so didn't pick up the phone to NCT or LLL.

There's nothing wrong with seeking a second, third, fourth, etc opinion. In fact, I'd strongly recommend it.

Good luck. And I hope it all looks a little brighter this morning.

robinw Thu 28-Mar-02 08:18:14

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Joe1 Thu 28-Mar-02 08:29:24

I too had quite alot of pain, not initially, but after a few weeks which lasted a couple of weeks if I remember rightly. You should have seen my face everytime ds latched on, agony. But I kept going, sheer determination to carry on doing something I really wanted to do. I also had trouble with ds not putting on the weight they wanted him to do, but still carried on against all the bashing of putting him on formula. Im glad I did, it has been a wonderful experience (still freeding him occasionally at 18 mths), extremely handy when you are out and about (btw it gets really easy to know when they want a feed before they cry and you can sneak them under your jumper your shirt and nobody would know), and something I will always remember when he is a srapping lad playing rugby. Good luck Jasper it does get better and try just a little bit longer if you can.

Marina Thu 28-Mar-02 08:54:43

Jasper, I haven't posted before in direct response to your difficulties, as you are getting such good support from breastfeeding experts here, but I should think all of us have been thinking of you lots, especially after you posted your fantastic, smile-inducing birth story.
I had a hateful C-section that went badly wrong, I spent ten days in hospital, breast-feeding was excruciating and I even had the midwives there asking me to reconsider my insistence on b/f. My son lost quite a lot of weight, he was mildly jaundiced, he had to have supplementary bottles, etc. I felt such a failure.
When I got home, I still found it agonising, I had cracked nipples and my visiting mother told me I was mad to continue. Only my husband and a h/v friend gave me unqualified support. My own midwives and carers continued to imply that I was upsetting myself too much.
But around week four of my son's life, it got easier. It stopped being painful, I could start to hold him better as my scar healed, and yes, as his weight gained and our bond grew, I really started to enjoy it. From this grim start, I went on to feed my son happily until he was 2 and a half. And, while I have never subscribed to the blissful feelings attitude to b/f, I would describe it as enjoyable.
As others have said: your little fella won't get constipated, you don't have to faff around with bottles and sterilising them, he is much less likely to get sniffles and gastroenteritis, etc.
I think you are such a star to keep persevering when it is still so difficult but from a similar perspective, can I just say that the sense of achievement when you do get it cracked is possibly the best in the world.

ChanelNo5 Thu 28-Mar-02 09:08:56

Jasper - Ultimately you've got to make a decision that's right for you and Baby Jasper. If this means giving him a bottle, than so be it. It's nothing to feel guilty about and he'll do very well on it. It's very hard work looking after a new baby and 2 other kids, especially when you're up a few times in the night with baby and then up early with the other 2, totally knackering! I must admit, I did breastfeed my 3 until 7/8 mths, but I did it because it was the way that worked for me, and I was fortunate in that I never had any major probs. But if bottle-feeding was the thing that worked for me and baby/ies then I would have done that. Nobody benefits if you are feeling tired, fed-up, and in pain. I'm not trying to sway you either way, I just want you to find the way that works for you and there's lots of support on Mumsnet for those who choose to bottle feed too. Good Luck and keep us posted!

Demented Thu 28-Mar-02 09:18:19

Jasper, I really feel for you as well. I too remember the pain, I also remember a feeling of panic on a Sunday night knowing that there would be no shops open if I suddenly wanted to get formula.

I remember the cracked nipples, there is no pain like it, but also I remember that eventually it did go. I found that a mixture of breast shields (when the pain was excruciating and I couldn't avoid feeding on a sore nipple), Kamillosan (don't know if that is how you spell it) cream, even although the HV said this was not necessary I found it quite a relief, and Savoy Cabbage leaves that had been in the fridge seemed to work a trick.

Hold on in there the pain does subside. I regretted for a long time giving up breasfeeding (at 16 weeks, ds unknown to me was teething and things had become difficult again but if I had known it was teething I'm sure we could have dealt with it). I didn't realise how awful it would be having to get up early morning to warm a bottle listening to ds screaming when all you do when you are breastfeeding is lift them and give them what they need. Every trip out becomes an expedition. Do we have enough bottles? Will there be somewhere to warm the bottle? Do I have something to keep the bottle cool in until it is needed? etc, etc. Then there is the price of formula, I couldn't believe how short a time a tin of formula lasted, when I had been producing it all for nothing.

You must be feeling exhausted but please remember things will get better and as others have said you should feel proud of yourself that you are doing it and you will feel even more proud of yourself if you continue. It will get easier!!!

Enid Thu 28-Mar-02 09:20:00

I had painful nipples for about four weeks, I actually used Bach's Rescue Remedy cream on them (which I know you aren't supposed to do...) between feeds and it helped.

I am such a cheese-parer I just couldn't bear to pay money for something I could give my baby for free! Also preferred not to have the bottle hassle...and bf produces lots of happy hormones (allegedly!)

I had lots of support from hv, partner and mother, but I never enjoyed bf in public and I was glad to give up at 7 months as I was exhausted and I enjoyed being able to hand the feeding over to someone else.

What I am trying to say is, please persevere for another couple of weeks but don't beat yourself up over it - if you find its really and truly getting you down then perhaps you should think about stopping.

I agree with robinw that one day at a time is probably the best way.

Good luck jasper, thinking of you.

Demented Thu 28-Mar-02 09:24:33

Just read ChanelNo5's posting. If bottlefeeding is right for you then you should go for it. But you should really think about it and decide whether this would be a decision you would regret, if you do decide to bottlefeed it would be extremely difficult to change your mind again and go back to breastfeeding when you are feeling a bit more positive again.

JoAnne427 Thu 28-Mar-02 09:54:42

Jasper, I want to congratulate you on sticking it out this far. It hasn't been easy for you, and you should feel great about what you have worked through.

How well I remember that time! I was three weeks into it - and decided to give up. I was exhausted, and absolutely nothing seemed easier to me than the thought of warming up a bottle and handing it to dp, and letting him deal with it. But instead, I opened a pamphlet the hospital had given me, and there it was, in black and white - it said that the three week mark is when most mothers, who are not feeling good about b/f, give up. I wish I had the booklet in front of me so I could quote to you why, etc., but just reading that made me determined to not be part of that statistic, and convinced me that it would become better so I decided to perservere for another week. And then another, and am just now stopping(dd was 11 mos. yesterday).

I became quite good at feeding her lying down - when I think of all the midnight feeds that I just snuggled her in between the two of us, rather than having to get out of bed, go to kitchen and make a bottle - i'm so happy I stayed with it. And when I did go back to work at 4.5 mos., I knew this was definitely something nobody else could give her.

And the time passes so quickly! It is hard for me to remember that dd had a time that all she had was breast milk - and it seemed as though everything in my life was about b/f - if I wasn't feeding her, I was getting ready to, or had just finished! And the pain - in my nipples, in my back, etc. No time to feed myself - all hot meals got eaten tepid at best. And in a snap of the fingers, that singularity of focus is over - the feedings become more spread out, and before you know it you are handing the jasperling a banana to chomp on...

So best of luck - and as I was often reminded, any bit of breastfeeding is better than none. That kept me going for a long time, as I just kept pushing out stopping b/f one week/month at a time, rather than committing to a long time frame.

Pupuce Thu 28-Mar-02 10:15:00

Jasper....a lot of women who find bf painful (like I did with DS) say it lasts 6 weeks. The first 4 are hell and then it does slowly become easier... and eventually it is pain free. There was a heavy debate a few months ago about the lack of recognition by health professionals and bf counsellors that bf is painful (regardless of the latch)....
Basically - a lot of us suffer serious pain for about 6 weeks... and we feel proud for having stuck by it... it does become enjoyable once it is pain free. Having said that bf isn't for everyone. One of my friend is successfully bf (I don't think she is having any pain) but couldn't wait to give her baby a bottle (from 16 weeks onwards)...
You MUST do what suits you best - no one (here at least!) will criticise if you want to switch to bottles but as Joanne says- if you can stick by it - it WILL get better...
Good luck xxx

tiktok Thu 28-Mar-02 10:46:17

Jasper.....there's already some good stuff posted here, and I would just say, do get another opinion. Yes, very occasionally the pain is a mystery and has to be lived with until it goes away....or sometimes there can be underlying scar tissue from a now-healed up crack that hurts for a while as it stretches. But you may need to see another bfc...latch can almost always be improved a bit at least. Almost all the mothers I see with long-lasting pain can be helped - I don't say all of them, because that wouldn't be true, but truly, almost all. I saw a mother this week who'd been told her positioning and attachment were fine - I made two tiny suggestions, and the baby took the breast and she had a totally pain-free feed for the first time in 2 weeks. OTOH, maybe it isn't the latch but something else.

Without pain, you may be able to see it all in a different light, and enjoy it....I really really hope you get good help.

Viv Thu 28-Mar-02 12:07:49

Jasper, I would just like to put another point of view, I stuck with breastfeeding until dd was 4 months old and switched to bottle on the advice of Health Visitors, and BFC's because dd was alarmingly underweight - despite all their best efforts (and mine) my supply was low and she wasn't getting enough. To be perfectly honest I really didn't enjoy it either, yes the pain (which to be fair did go away after the first few weeks), and simply the worry about her weight. I felt a real failure and the relief I felt when I gave up at 4 months was immeasurable, I cried on and off all that day because I felt at last I was doing what was right for me and dd and not doing what was expected of me.
I'm not trying to advocate bottle over breast or vice versa, simply say that each person should do what is right for them, as a happy mum makes a happy child. Dd slept better and was far more contented after the switch - how much was due to the putting on of weight and how much my no longer trnasmitting anxiety I don't know.
Whatever you decide, good luck and I hope it all works out for you, give my love to Baby Jasper.

Inkpen Thu 28-Mar-02 12:12:14

Jasper - God, how I feel for you! I remember one dreadful night when, sitting downstairs in tears, trying to feed, I swept all the shiny pink New Baby cards off the shelf as they seemed like a bad joke - all these remarks about bundles of joy when my nipples were bleeding, I was in agony, baby wouldn't latch on, was losing weight ... That was probably about three/four weeks too. I got through it one feed at a time, never mind one day and at seven weeks or so, it finally became OK. I loved those snuggly night-time feeds, where no one really even woke up, as I just lay in bed with her tucked under my arm and fed her (brings tears to my eyes remembering!) and the sleep saved my sanity. But I did have to mix feeding with bottles for a while - for her sake and mine - and still managed to feed successfully till about nine months. You'll find a way through too, whatever it might be.
PS. Plus you can read or write while bf-ing - with bottles you have baby in one arm and bottle in other and all you can do is watch TV!

Demented Thu 28-Mar-02 12:19:27

Have been thinking about breastfeeding all morning (2nd baby due in 10 weeks) and remember some other things that helped me with ds.

I found the pain subsided once he was latched on and feeding and sometimes if the pain was bad used to put a couple of ice cubes in a freezer bag and put them on the nipple prior to the feed, not only did it numb the area but helped with my apparently flat nipples and meant no pain latching him on. The other thing I remember helped was using good breastpads if you are leaking milk. I noticed the supermarket own brand ones were plastic backed and not very absorbent and left the nipples sort of soggy and more sensitive than usual. The best ones I found were Johnson & Johnson, nice and absorbent with no plastic backing, obviously it is best to leave them to the fresh air but there are times when this is not practical. Hope this may be of some use.

All the best and I agree with the others don't look too far ahead, just take each day as it comes and I'm sure things will get better in no time.

bundle Thu 28-Mar-02 13:36:51

Jasper, I really feel for you. I had a terrible time until about 10 wks in,when the mastitis stopped, the sun shone and all of a was pain-free. I think it was a combination of blooming good bras, rest, good food, relaxing a bit, not carrying a bag across my chest etc etc - and I'm still breastfeeding (just mornings) and dd is now 21 months...and I do it simply because I love it and get so much pleasure from having that kind of closeness with her. Struggling so much at the beginning made me even more determined to make a success of it, and now she's huge, healthy and not (despite what many think about extended breastfeeding) clingy. good luck and I'm thinking about you & baby Jasper.

pamina Thu 28-Mar-02 13:42:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

meadow Thu 28-Mar-02 14:40:47

Jasper - my personal experience from bf is that I lost 2 stone, weighing less than what I was before I was pregnant. I bf for 9 months and the weight dropped off 2 months after starting.

I hope this gives you some sort of incentive.

Rosy Thu 28-Mar-02 15:07:41

Jasper - on the one hand I want to tell pg friends that bf is really easy, but also, I have to say that it is painful for a bit, however well you're doing it. It does get easier though, as your baby gets to know what it's doing as much as anything. I never thought I would do anything other than bf, especially as all the babies in my family had been bf, so I never thought about giving up. I think some of the perceived downsides of bf are just downsides of having a newborn. eg.You can leave the baby with someone else - only if you have babysitters nearby, which we don't. Your husband can get up and do the feeds in the middle of the night - but does he? And once you've swapped onto bottles you have to leave the baby crying while you get the bottle warmed up. I know that I could just never have put up with all the faff (and expense) of formula, never mind the guilt when I gave dd gastroenteritis! I never found bf to be the sublime experience other people describe, just a natural & convenient way of getting dd fed. (I also weighed a stone less after stopping bf than I had before I was pg, though I have no idea if the two facts are connected.)

Pupuce Thu 28-Mar-02 15:18:23

Several of us seem to have lost plenty of weight during bf.... I also have.... but I know others who haven't at all.... strange

Joe1 Thu 28-Mar-02 15:31:49

I didnt lose (I suppose a good stone without trying) much but I think some of us make the mistake of eating extra for feeding, I wont do that with number 2, just healthy eating.

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