Breastfeeding – THEN and NOW

Breastfeeding has been a journey for us.  It started out very complicated.  There were so many unexpected twists and turns.  I wrote a post a while back explaining some of our early struggles (https://babylute2013.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/breastfeeding-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/feeding).  For a while I was almost exclusively pumping.  Even when I was nursing, I always had to use a nipple shield.  My best hope for where we’d end up was some sort of a pumping/breastfeeding combo.  I doubted I’d ever get to a position where I would be able to only breastfeed and not have to use bottles.

Never did I expect to get to where we are today: 100% breastfeeding AND nipple shield-free!  It feels SO AMAZING.

Breastfeeding

Ever since the early part of December, I have been 100% breastfeeding.  Pumping all day long is a thing of the past.  It feels great to finally be there for the past month and a half.  The last piece of the puzzle was this: having to still rely on using a nipple shield to get Winter to latch.  I have been wanting to ditch the shield for a while.  It’s an inconvenience to have to rely on a prop to feed.  I have to make sure I always have one on hand, washed and ready to go.  When I nurse in public, it’s just one extra thing that makes feeding more complicated in addition to using a nursing cover.  For weeks I’ve been trying to wean Winter from the shield, doing things like removing the shield halfway through nursing.  It never worked.  She would just get frustrated and scream until I put it back on.  Then BAM–on Saturday I tried nursing without the shield and she latched perfectly!!  I was so thrilled.  She literally stopped using the shield cold turkey!  We have been successfully nipple shield-free for 6 days now!  I am SO PROUD of her!  It is such a joy to be able to breastfeed my daughter and not have to worry about using a nipple shield.  We are finally 100% natural now.

One of my friends, Bree (http://littlemissprepared.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/breastfeeding/) did a post recently about how much she loves breastfeeding.  I could TOTALLY relate to her in this post.  In the beginning, I dreaded nursing sessions.  I was tired, my nipples were infected, when I was able to nurse, I had to use a nipple shield, and I had to rely on pumping almost exclusively for a long period of time.  For a glimpse  of time, the only thing that kept me from throwing in the towel was my stubborn nature not to GIVE UP!  I knew that breastmilk was best for Winter, so I was bound and determined to keep going in hopes that “it gets better as time goes on,” as I was promised by other nursing moms.

Well, guess what?  It DID GET BETTER!  In fact, I have done a total 180 from where things were.  Instead of dreading feeding my baby, I now look forward to it!  I absolutely LOVE breastfeeding Winter.  It’s such a special time.

Let’s take a look back at where we’ve come from.  Here is a comparison of the early weeks compared to now:

THEN: Breastfeeding took 40+ minutes every 2 hours in the beginning.

NOW: Nursing sessions are every 3 hours and she is finished eating in 15-20 minutes.  She is much quicker and more efficient at the breast.

_

THEN: My nipples were infected, cracked, bleeding and caused excruciating pain.

NOW: I’m fully healed and experience no pain.  Hallelujah!

_

THEN: For a period of time, I was having to pump almost exclusively and feed her bottles.  I had dim hopes that I’d ever be able to fully nurse her naturally.  My goal was to move to a 50/50 breastfeeding/pumping combo.

NOW: I am 100% breastfeeding!  The only time I pump is in the mornings after her first feed to pump and store extra milk.

THEN: I had to use a nipple shield to get her to latch on.  She got confused and angry when I tried to take it away.

NOW: We have been nipple shield-free for an entire week!  It’s amazing to not need a prop.  This was the last piece of the puzzle that I wanted to resolve…and here we are today, shield not required!  It’s an amazing feeling.

THEN: I hated breastfeeding in public or around other people.  I felt self-conscious and awkward, even with a nursing cover.  Because of this, I would always pump ahead of time and give her a bottle to avoid nursing in front of others.

NOW: I fully embrace when it’s time for her to eat and I’m not a home.  I use my nursing cover and will feed her without worrying about what other people think.  Breastfeeding is completely normal, natural, and it’s perfect FINE to do in public.

THEN: I dreaded breastfeeding in the very beginning because I was so tired, in pain and didn’t like it.

NOW: I look FORWARD to when she is ready to eat.  I love the bonding experience of nursing her.

It is truly a miracle that we are in such a good position today.  I never understood moms to said they “just loveddd breastfeeding.”  I thought they were wackos!  Honestly!  But as time has gone on, problems have resolved, I now understand.  I have actually become one of those moms who “just lovesss breastfeeding!”  Who knew?!  I am so blessed and grateful that things turned around for us.  I know that I’m not the only one who has had a rough road and had to stick it out.  If you are still in a rough patch, I encourage you — DON’T GIVE UP!  It will get easier and it will get better.  It’s so worth it.

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17 thoughts on “Breastfeeding – THEN and NOW

  1. Good job hanging in there. I’m only 3 1/2 weeks in and at first I had a hard time as well. She would only latch to only my right boob and she would latch wrong causing my nipple to crack and bleed. My left boob didn’t have enough milk yet. So the first week I was in pain and then I went to her first appointment and a breast feeding consultant helped me. I had to pump my left breast to get my milk up. Now It’s a lot better but it definitely has It’s challenges. I’m Happy you shared your experience and that I wasn’t alone.

    • Way to go for seeing a lactation consultant. That is awesome…they are so helpful, I’m glad you did that! Sounds like you are experiencing challenges… hang in there. You are in the toughest season in these early weeks. You definitely are NOT alone. I think most nursing mothers have been through somewhat of a rough road during their journeys. Who knew it would be so difficult?!? It gets SO MUCH BETTER after a while, so keep positive and stick with it. You won’t regret it. I hope you have a good support system of people who are encouraging you. I found that to be the most helpful.

  2. I completely understand! With Evelynn she had a hard time latching due to inverted nipple plus they bottle fed her in the nursey. They had to do ct scan as they thought they tore my ureter when they pull her out via cesarean and due to the dye I was unable to nurse her for 10 hours. We struggled to get her to latch even with a shield and had a lactation consultant at our house numerous times to try and help ro no avail so I exclusively pumped for 7 months.
    I thought we were going to have to do the same with Orrin as he had difficulty latching for the nipple problem plus I was overproducing. Tons of nipple pain and we would only have a successful feeding using the shield. Such a pain! He is 6 weeks old now and we are trying to wean from the shield but it is nice to only have to pump once or twice a day if that. I look forward to having him completely weaned soon.
    I still struggle with feeding in public even with my cover as I’m still gaining my confidence in exclusively breastfeeding!
    I am so proud of you and look forward to being where you are!

  3. Good for you, sweetie. I have been wanting to write a big, long breastfeeding post for my blog, and I think this is the push I needed to just sit down and do it some night.

    Let me just say, I am jealous. We too were using the nipple shield for a long time…and feedings took an hour plus…and my nipples were infected (with thrush — plus the girls had it once, too). We’ve only been able to resolve some of those issues: no more shield and sessions only take 45 minutes, if all goes well. But we’re still dealing with thrush…and we’re dealing with new issues: developmental milestones affecting appetite and fussiness while eating.

    I am hopeful it continues to get better, but I am where you were: I don’t usually look forward to nursing, and it’s the No. 1 cause of my stress and bad moods.

    But! — BUT! — you have reminded me that it does get better…and can still get better. Plus, I can always pat myself on the back for NOT GIVING UP! 🙂

    • I saw you posted about BFing and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and read it yet. I can’t wait to read more about your experiences. It’s amazing what a journey breastfeeding is…I can’t even imagine the extra challenges of breastfeeding TWO babies, wow! That is great that you’ve been able to wean from the shield. I felt such a relief when we finally weaned from it! Thrush sounds like NO FUN at all! Way to go for being strong and continuing to stick with it, especially when it’s causing you to feel so stressed. You are an incredible mother, and someday your girls will be able to thank you for your dedication to their health. You are amazing, hang in there!!

  4. So proud of you! All that hard work and struggles in the beginning have really paid off. Very happy to read that you love breastfeeding now… that’s exactly the way it should be! Such a special time for mommy and baby.

    I was so lucky because Coyer and I were very successful with breastfeeding from the start. It wasn’t until I went back to work when I actually realized how difficult it could be. Pumping really is awful (is there anyone out there who actually enjoys this) and I’ve been struggling with clogged milk ducts lately. I’m like the opposite of you: instead of it getting better, it has actually been getting worse. 😦 But still, like I already said, I know how lucky I’ve been.

    My goal is to make it to 6 months (at least). And after reading this post and the difficulties you’ve overcome… it’s just given me the motivation that I need to keep going! So thanks 🙂

    • That is so GREAT that you and Coyer got an awesome start right from the beginning. That seriously is wonderful. I wish that would have been the case for us, but at least now we are in such a beautiful spot. I really can’t complain now.

      I’m so sorry to hear about clogged ducts, that must be awful! Truly awful. I haven’t had one officially yet (I think I might have had a small one in the works early on, but it got resolved before it was an issue). I hear those can be very painful. And I agree–who actually LIKES to pump??! NO one! It’s so much different being hooked up to a machine rather than your adorable baby who you are in love with. Way to be dedicated to breastfeeding even being back to work. You rock!

  5. Yes, yes, yes! I love breastfeeding now. I’m so glad to read this post because I know both of us struggled so much in the beginning. But now I, like you, look forward to it instead of dreading it. Such an accomplishment. I am so, so happy I stuck with it.

    • I’m so glad to hear you are in the same boat!! You and I had such similar struggles early on….what a miracle to bounce back from that! How awesome that you are loving nursing now. So glad you stuck with it! You are a great mom!

  6. So happy to hear how much better it is for you!! We think pregnancy is a journey but never would of imagined how much breastfeeding would be as well. Now since Winter is sleeping through the night do you get up and pump during the night?

    • LOL–so true…the pregnancy part of the journey was the EASY part! Who knew that what was to come after pregnancy was the part that would challenge us and test us?? Wow, it’s amazing to be able to get through those hard times and make a full recovery though. So glad that we stuck with it!

      With Winter sleeping through the night I don’t pump during the night. My body adjusted after a few days. I feed her around 10 or 10:30 and then she wakes at 7:00ish to eat. I am VERY full at that time. I nurse her and then as soon as she is finished eating, I pump out the remaining milk….I think this signals to my body to keep up the extra milk production. This is the only time I pump every day, but it helps my freezer stash get full:)

      • Yes I’m happy we stuck it out!! Even though we still have bad days it’s still much better and it has been such a rewarding thing!

        A full night of sleep seems fab, lol.. We are still working on getting a routine. Starting to let him cry it out at naps and it’s getting better ( taking 1-2hr long naps). However, at night he still wakes up every 2-4hrs. I need to go pick up the BabyWise book to get more info. I’ve just been reading different blog postings about it now.

      • That’s great that he is taking good naps! I think that really helps. Even if you don’t end up following Baby Wise, you should definitely check it out at least. I really think it has helped Winter to be such a happy baby — because she gets good sleep she is never fussy! I know some women who follow babywise are very strict about following every guideline. That’s not me…I follow the babywise principles and then I am flexible and do what works best for US. I love the flexibility of a routine, yet I like the predictability of knowing when she will eat, when she will nap, etc. The past two mornings, she has woken up at 7:00 on the DOT. Her body is on the routine like clockwork!

  7. I’m so glad breastfeeding has gotten better for you! It definitely got better for us as well…from Thanksgiving through the New Year, we were at 100% breastfeeding at well and it was awesome!!! I started to really enjoy the experience. Since I have gone back to work and reintroduced the bottle, it’s starting to become a struggle again…I am home 4/7 days and the nanny is here 3/7, so I think he is a bit confused as to what he’s supposed to be doing. I think he may also be teething, so that could have something to do with the weirdness around eating. Just goes to show, as soon as you think you have things figured out, something changes!

    XO,

    Gina

    http://www.popcornandpandas.com

    • How awesome that your breastfeeding turned around too. That is amazing! I’m sure it’s quite a transition going back to work for both you and Nico. Sounds like you are getting into a routine, and he will do great! The fact that you get to be with him 4/7 days is a blessing. Oh and I just watched your first 4 months video—SO SWEET!! I love it!

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