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Things Moms Want to Know ( or Wish They Had Known) About Breast-feeding.

I'm preparing a breast-feeding class for new parents. I would like some insight on breast-feeding questions/concerns for mothers expecting their first baby, or what you wished you knew about this topic when your first baby was born. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your input. I will keep in mind and add the appropriate information in the class teaching plan.
Sincerely, M. S, RN

Featured Answers

Hi!

I am a very pro breastfeeding but I really wish that somebody had told me, "You are NOT a bad mother if you can't or don't wish to breastfeed.". I truly believe breastfeeding is the best thing for all babies and that every mother should give it a good chance. But, for whatever reason some women have a hard time or just don't want to and I think it's wrong that they are made to feel like bad moms for not doing so. I would much rather see a formula fed baby with a loving, cuddly, attentive, caring mother than a breastfed baby with a detached, angry, stressed out mommy.

1. How to pump properly (don't start on HIGH!)
2. IDing mastitis early
3. use of light/ lamp to heal and sooth nipples
Good Luck!

My daughter is 29 now, but I did breastfeed her back in the day! I think what most moms should know is twofold: one, it is definitely a commitment, and two, diet has everything to do with the process. That's because whatever you eat, the baby is going to eat (and eliminate), and, in my case, I didn't produce a lot of milk and eventually had to supplement my baby's diet with cereal a little early. Girls should not feel guilty for a low milk supply, however. I did attend La Leche League meetings that were very helpful. This is a wonderful thing you're doing!

More Answers

While I was growing up, my mother told me that breastfeeding was the best part of having a baby. So when I was pregnant for the first time, I looked forward to it. And despite the blood blisters in the beginning, the occasional pain, and my daughter's experiments with biting when her teeth first came in, it was definitely a wonderful experience. I believe going in with a positive attitude helps. Also, a midwife told me to eat a little piece of chocolate while nursing to make the milk sweet. I don't know if it's true or not, but it doesn't hurt!

1 mom found this helpful

1. Find a good lactation consultant who can help you in the first couple of days to make sure your latch is good. Not all of them are militant. I used Cindy Baylis in Long Beach, and she's excellent. You can find a guide with lactation consultants in the LA area at www.breastfeedla.org.

2. On about night 3 home from the hospital, the baby will be really hungry and your milk may not have come in yet. Be prepared to either supplement with formula or stay up all night until your milk does come in. It's better if you can avoid bottles and formula, but one bottle won't hurt.

3. Don't worry about keeping the baby's nose clear. I wasn't latching my daughter on deeply enough because I was afraid she wouldn't be able to breathe. My pediatrician told me they are obligate nose breathers, and they'll unlatch themselves if they can't breathe. You need a deep latch to eliminate the pain.

4. The best tip from the lactation consultant: if you take antibiotics while nursing, make sure to take acidophilus when you start the antibiotics and for 60 days after you finish the antibiotics to avoid thrush.

5. Starting around three weeks or so, pump for 5 minutes an hour after the baby's first morning feeding to start an emergency reserve. If you only pump for 5 minutes, there will still be milk if the baby wants to eat again.

6. Rotate through the oldest milk first so you don't have to throw anything out. I took a class at the Pump Station in Santa Monica, and they said that they follow the 5/5/5 rule - milk is good for 5 hours at room temperature, 5 days in the fridge, and 5 months in the freezer. I went back to work when my daughter was 3 months old; she's six months old now and we're still breastfeeding, with her sitter giving her bottles during the day. She gets fresh milk from me in the mornings and evenings, and either thawed or fresh milk in bottle from the sitter.

7. You can obtain a tea, Mother's Milk, and an herbal supplement, More Milk Plus, to increase your milk supply if you're having problems with low supply. Whole Foods carries both of these. However, be aware that they may cause the baby digestive distress. My daughter's stool was green in the afternoon, which the pediatrician said was a sign that something was moving through her system too quickly. It took me a while to figure out that it was the tea, which I was drinking every morning. One book I read said that these supplements are most effective only for the first six weeks, after which time your supply should be well enough established that you shouldn't need them.

8. Drink lots of water! One lady I work with said citric acid, which is present in lemonade, has been shown to increase milk supply. She specifically recommended Minute Maid frozen pink lemonade. I didn't notice an increase but I'm already drinking lots of water.

9. Unfortunately, breastfeeding starts out harder and gets easier as the baby gets older. I think too many people give up before they get to the good part!

10. Lots of hospital nurses will hand out nipple shields. I used one for a few days, and it did give my cracked, bleeding nipples time to heal. Lactation consultants hate nipple shields because they prevent the baby from getting a good, deep latch, and as a result the baby gets less milk, which can decrease your supply. If you have to use one, try to use it as little as possible (stop using it after the first five minutes) and work on correcting your latch.

1 mom found this helpful

I wish I had been told that it was going to be the worst pain. That it was going to be so very horrible, I was going to bleed, crack and feel like my nipple was getting sucked off by a mouth full of razors. That it can be so awful you want to give up and quit. But with perseverence and dedication everyone CAN breastfeed. Yes you do have enough milk. That whole line ("I didn't have enough milk") is a crock! It is hard work, a full time job establishing your milk supply and learning to breastfeed, but once you get thru all the horrible it is the most wonderful. I want people to know too, that you have to figure it out yourself, you and your baby. It is a learning process. Lacation consultants are great, but you and your baby have to find your way together. It just takes a little time, for some of us it takes a little longer. And moms should know every baby is different. So just because you had a hellish time with your first baby doesnt mean your second will be the same.

The hospital needs to be a "breast feeding" place. No one came into help me till my baby was almost 24hr old. Luckily my sister came before that. He was rooting the second they put him on my chest after delievery,but I still needed help, of course.

Nipple Cream: have on hand right away to prevent sore nipples

Cover up babies even when you're nursing at home so they get used to it early on for when you're in public.

Buy 2 or 3 nursing shirts

Pump early on so you don't have to do it as often later

Find a place to donate milk to, there are a lot of milk banks, but I didn't find one till my son was about 8 months old. Nothing better than giving "life" to ICU babies...

Use many positions to feed early on so they don't get in a rut

Nurse both sides each feeding

EAT AND DRINK A LOT. This is hard for moms that want to loose weight, but really nursing burns A LOT of calories and they don't want to loose their supply
You are what you eat and so is your milk, think if the food you're eating would be appropriate for a baby, if not, don't eat it.

I never had the pain I'm reading about from other responses, if it hurts, unlatch them till they get the hang of it, it should never hurt. If the baby is hurting you, you want them to learn the correct way, so take them off till they get it right, it works. Especially if they ever try to use teeth...

Hi M.,
I wish I had known that babies only need to do 15 minutes per side. I would nurse my baby for hours. I also wish I had known sooner about breast shields to protect sore nipples. The last thing is getting the right size breast shields for the breast pump. I had no idea they came in different sizes and went for a month with two sizes too small for my nipples, ouch!
Good luck,
S. G.

I wish I had known that my milk may not come in at all and how to prepare for that. My milk did not come in and my baby was starving. He had nothing in his stomach for the first 3 and a half days until we gave him a bottle of formula. He lost so much weight the pediatrician nearly put him in the hospital with an IV. We hired a lactation consultant who recommended that I weigh him before & after nursing & I wasn't even giving him a quarter of an ounce. After constantly nursing & pumping I got up to 13 ounces a day but had to supplement the whole time. I also wish I knew all the flu-like symptoms of Mastitis. Good luck with your class!

Dear M.,

This is a little late . . . you hear a lot about cracked and bleeding nipples, but no one ever told me you could get blisters on your nipples - it was awful! I did fine with my first two, but blistered with the third baby . . .

Good luck with your new endeavor!
B.

It hurts more than you think, but only in the beginning and then it goes away. Lanolin cream is going to be your best friend. Warm compresses help. Be vigilant of feeding and pumping, don't learn the hard way about Mastitis.
Obviously these are things I didn't know, but I was successful with breastfeeding. I know I'm lucky. I'm wondering if giving all the things that I didn't know might be discouraging, which is why I didn't learn about them. In any case, I wish i would've known that it is painful to begin with and then it subsides. AND that is completely worth it. My daughter is almost 2 years old and very healthy. She has only had one minor ear infection and 2 bouts of croup. Other than that no other illness except for a couple of runny noses.
I breastfed until she was one and that was perfect.
OH I would have loved more info about the pumped milk and saving it. How long it is good for, etc...

With my first baby, my breasts were so full and my nipples were flat. After a lot a frustration I was told to use the pump first,then hold my baby in the 'football hold'. No more problems!

With my second baby, my body thought that I had given birth to multiples. I had an over-abundance of milk (and my boy was a healthy drinker!). Breast milk only lasts 3 months in the freezer. I was throwing a LOT of milk away. After I weaned I was told that I could have donated it the the hospital. I do not know if that is true, but I wish I could have done something with it! What a waste!

1. How to pump properly (don't start on HIGH!)
2. IDing mastitis early
3. use of light/ lamp to heal and sooth nipples
Good Luck!

Hello M., my name is Pam and I would like to say thank your for supporting nursing mothers. I have nursed all four of my daughters and I have found that they all benefited greatly for it. I now have a daughter that was born at 22 weeks and was only 1lb 4oz. she is a joy and i turely believe that she benefited the most from my nursing her. my only problem was and is my milk flow. i have found that even with pumping and taking medications that were prescribed to help with production i can't seem to keep my milk form getting lower and lower. my daughter has a track so i can not hear her cry so i have no stimulation from that and she is so hungry that she just wants to go straight to her bottle where she knows that she will get the most food. i just want to be able to breast feed my daughter for as long as possible so that she has a better chance of being healthy. do you have any sugestions on how to get my milk to come back and how to keep it flowing.

Main things I wish I had known:

1) Use a breast pump and collect and freeze milk soon after your baby is born to build up a supply. The body works on supply and demand, it's much easier to create a good supply if you start early.

2) Even if your baby doesn't latch on initially, you can pump and bottle feed until they learn how (my children took 11 weeks and 5 weeks to actually learn to feed naturally). However, it's really important to keep up the milk supply early.

3) Learn many ways to relieve plugged milk ducts - massage, warm compresses, baby feeding, using a pump, hot shower, or soaking your breast in a bowl of warm water and massaging.

4) All of the benefits for baby - less food allergies, less ear infections, perfect nutrition that changes as the baby grows, higher IQ, better mother-child bonding, and the benefits for mommy - quicker weight loss, better bonding, no refrigeration necessary.

5) If you and your child can't master breastfeeding, it's not the end of the world.

The biggest thing I wish I would have known when my first son was born is that in the hospital (just hours after birth) if you tell the nurses you are breastfeeding only, and they take your little one to check their blood sugar levels, and they say they have to give them formula because their blood sugar is low, call the charge nurse!!!!! You can complain to them and your requests are usually met.

We had one nurse who did this to us and our son threw up the formula because she forced him to eat a whole bottle of formula. She was not a very good nurse, she would not even let my husband or I give our son the bottle, she sat there and did it, even after we asked to feed him the bottle.

We also learned very quickly that breastfeeding is not easy. Especially for new moms. It can become very frustrating, and then the baby won't eat at all because s/he is so frustrated also. It helped that in the hospital, my son was having problems latching on, and when we talked to our second nurse (since the first was an idiot when it came to breastfeeding), she came in and helped with different positions, and even gave me breast shields because my nipples were temporarily inverted, and would not allow a good latch on. She was willing to work with us and gave me the support and help that I needed, rather than just tell me to give up and give your child formula.

If you want to breastfeed exclusivly, and you are in the hospital, and you do not have a supportive nurse, ask for a new nurse, or speak to the charge nurse, they are there to help out.

After we got home from the hospital, breastfeeding became more natural, and we didn't have any problems, until we hit growth spurts and the baby wanted to nurse all day long and I could not get anything done because he wanted to nurse!

I think it is very important for new moms to know they can and should question the nurses when it comes to feeding your child. And if you don't like what they are telling you, ask to speak to the charge nurse- get a second opinion sort of speak! This is the best advise I can come up with because this was where we had the most problems.

Another thing that might be helpful is before baby is born, get to know several lacation specialists. I had questions once I got home and a couple of weeks later, and not one lacation specialist in my area called me back, even though I left several messages. I guess it would have helped to get to know them so they would have been more willing to call me back.

I wish you had been around so I could have taken your class! I wish that I had been told that the whole thing is no big deal and it's natural and it will all happen, don't worry. All the lactation specialists were so uptight and militant. I was already overwhelmed so that made the experience even more stressful. My daughter was HUGE and had to be in the NICU for a day. They gave her a bottle in the NICU and I was worried that would cause problems. Then I didn't make enough milk for my huge, hungry girl and so I supplemented and I was worried THAT would cause problems. In the end, I started making enough milk, the pain went away, my daughter ate breastmilk and formula and was happy and healthy, and it all worked out just fine. I wish someone had just told me that it's clunky in the beginning, but not to worry because it will all smooth out. It's a natural process, (but it is a process) - it's not as militant and complicated as they make it sound!

Marine, I breastfed both my boys for the first year of their little lives. I don't regret it one bit, in fact I tell all pregnant women that breastfeeding is the best for the baby's health and the mother's healing (it helps to loose all the weight gained during pregnancy, etc.) HOWEVER, no one ever told me that my breasts would never be the same. Before babies I had a "C" cup. During pregnancy my boobs exploded into a "DD". BUT after nursing two boys, now I am a saggy ... maybe "B" cup. If I had it to do over again, I would still whole-heartedly breastfeed my babies for a whole year, but I would know that it was normal that my boobs would become empty sacks when all is said & done. Good luck with your class. I read all of the other responses and agree that those issues mentioned also need to be addressed in your class. I had many issues (inverted nipples, mastitus, clogged ducts, etc.) during my breastfeeding experience, but was able to successfully breastfeed through great determination without any suppliments given to my babies. Tell them that every mom is capable of success in this area.

I found the book "The Nursing Mother's Companion" to be an invaluable tool. It was a great reference for confusing times. Also, I didn't know that the breast would have to be squished flat like a pancake when you initially went to put it in the baby's mouth. I thought you just *directed* the breast but didn't realize you had to form it to help fit in their mouth. I had a very helpful doctor, who has just circumsized our son, reach over and grab me- it was shocking but helpful!
Also, be sure to tell the girls to wear nursing pads, because those were very helpful. And have them practice holding a blanket on their shoulder while pretending to nurse a doll- that was a hard trick to learn. They also sell these great nursing 'aprons' online which have a wire around the top to hold it open so a mother can see down to her baby but no one can see her nurse. Also, I was surprised to learn how long it can take milk to come in initially after birth. I just figured it would be there. It took 7 days for my milk to come in with my first son and I knew lots of girls who gave up before then.
Have fun teaching!

Yeah M.!!!!!!!

Its nice to hear some good new when it comes to hospitals and doctors supporting the mothers choice to breastfeed. I will give you my personal email address and breastfeeding hotline number, in a private note and answer any questions that you may have. If I don't know (nobody knows everything) I will find out for you. I welcome any questions regarding breastfeeding/ formula feeding or diet. I have been teaching at WIC for almost 15 years, been certified for 12. Can be very frustrationg at times but when you can help someone it is a reward.

Aloha M.,

I think it's awesome that you are putting that class together. Something that would have come in handy for me, especially with my first one, was techniques/tips on stress reduction, nursing while working, and improving milk production when it stops sooner than anticipated (I was dry by 7 months....and devastated about it).

I hope this helps,

Marie-anne
http://www.healthyohana.net

That it might be necessary to supplement with formula until the milk comes in

That the colostrum is not always enough (I ended up taking my son to the ER for dehydration the night he was released from the hospital)

Different positions - I love laying on my side because I can take the pressure of my lower back

I wish I had know how much it HURT and what to do about it. With my first baby, I used lanolin on my nipples but I didn't use it until I was already in a lot of pain. It was soothing when I put it on, but soon it would be time to nurse again and it seemed like I could never heal or get on top of the pain. Someone had told me to express a little bit of breastmilk then rub it on the nipples, but that didn't seem to help once I was already in pain. With my second, I expressed the breastmilk and rubbed it on the nipples after each feeding, before I ever got sore, and that seemed to be the trick. Maybe he was a different nurser than my first, also, but using the breastmilk each time, before it ever got uncomfortable, seemed to be the trick.

I wish I had known about the Hydro-gel pads. They heal your cracking/bleeding nipples in less than 24 hours. The visiting nurse that came out to my house the day after we left the hospital with our 2nd baby told me about them, but by the time I was in good enough shape to leave the house to go buy some, I didn't need them anymore. She said they were originally only used for burn patients and we could get them at the Medical Supply store, but they had gained FDA approval for nipples during breastfeeding, because they were all-natural, something about corn starch. I saw recently that Medela has some at Babies R Us, and there are other brands as well, but she said those from the medical supply store were best. From now on I will tell my girlfriends about them BEFORE they have their babies, or give them as shower gifts. I nursed 2 babies, they would have been handy.

I nursed my daughter 6 years ago, and I still have milk. But, most importantly, it's natural. It's not alot of milk at all, but I can still express a few drops. And every once in a while, I will get a "full" feeling, especially around my period. Oh, I know.....YOU CAN GET PREGNANT WHILE BREASTFEEDING YOUR BABY!!!!!

I didn't realize that not all babies will naturally latch with no problem. My daughter had A LOT of trouble latching, so I had to use a Medela breast shield to help her. It took about a month of using the shield for her to "get it" on her own. After that, she breastfed for 11 months with no issues:) I just wish someone would have explained that to me, and shown me what a breast shield was (and how to use it). I think that it's important to point out that not all babies will just "know" what to do. The hospital told me that some do, and latch right away, and some don't, and it takes more work. I am really glad that I didn't get stressed and give up.

My daughter is 29 now, but I did breastfeed her back in the day! I think what most moms should know is twofold: one, it is definitely a commitment, and two, diet has everything to do with the process. That's because whatever you eat, the baby is going to eat (and eliminate), and, in my case, I didn't produce a lot of milk and eventually had to supplement my baby's diet with cereal a little early. Girls should not feel guilty for a low milk supply, however. I did attend La Leche League meetings that were very helpful. This is a wonderful thing you're doing!

I read up as much as I could to prepare for the challenge of breastfeeding. Most of my resources quoted mother's who said it was tough, but I got through it. All of my reading materials provided information on how to obtain support, but what I wish was mentioned more was that (no matter how read or prepared I was) a first time breastfeeding M. WILL doubt and second guess every step of breastfeeding. Also that people will be quicker to give you reasons to give up breastfeeding than to provide you with morale support to continue. My family accused me of hogging the baby all to myself during breastfeeding, because they couldn't hold the baby!

all in all our brest feeding experience was awesome. home birth. awesome midwife. i wish moms knew -
1. that part of the equation is true relaxation. the "let down" of milk seems to me, not a nurse, to be so complex and primal. if there is stress then the survival mode goes on and it's not time to nurse.
2.support moms body with pillows under the arm holding baby or by lying down so the baby isn't being held up by mom's shoulder and neck muscles. how can mom relax holding 10 ponds for 20 minutes at a go?
3. self care. mom is so busy internally. bathe, get help, nap with baby. this is so importannt for milk production and flow. clean the house next year. last time i checked dust bunnies never killed anyone or took over the house. and for as much as others may not understand the disheveled house your kids will more than 10 fold benefit from your presence. actually be with them. just being in the same room cleaning does not count as being available in their eyes. the dividens are enormous. i have 2 teen age girls who do not hate me. it's worth it.

Hi M.,
I did not do very well with breastfeeding, I only lasted a week. I did everything that I could, I went to classes after my son was born, I bought a pump and rented one from the hospital, I spoke to lactation consultants at every feeding while my son and I were in the hospital for 4 days, but it was still just horrible. My son did not latch on properly and rubbed my nipples raw- to the point where when I pumped it was more blood than milk. I felt horrible and the nurses and staff at the hospital that I delivered at made me feel bad when I asked for a bottle for my son. My only advice that I think would be nice for new mommies to hear is that if they are unable to breastfeed or don't feel comfortable doing it, it is nothing to be ashamed of and they should not feel bad. I was told that I was not giving my son the best I could but I dreaded feeding him because of the blood and the pain and it was not a bonding experience for us. When I fed him with a bottle and could actually open my eyes without crying, that was a bonding experience. I just hope that the new mommies know that if they decide not to breast feed or try and have too many problems like I did that they should not feel ashamed of it. They are and will do the very best for their child. I wish I had more support when I decided to stop breastfeeding instead of the horrible looks and disaproving shaking heads- all the lactation consultants and nurses wanted to help me when I was attempting to breastfeed but when I decided to go to a bottle, the support and help stopped and that is just horrible. I hope you can express to your mommies that it's okay to not breastfeed- of course we all know it's better but sometimes it's just not an option and that is okay. Hope this helps- and sorry if I came across a bit harsh but it was very upsetting for me.
Take care =)
H.

Please tell moms, dads, (and mother-in-laws) that it is NORMAL for babies born at 8lbs (or whatever) to drop a little weight as Mom's milk waits to come in. This does NOT mean you need to give baby formula supplement, this does NOT mean you're a bad mother, this does NOT endanger baby's health.

Also, nursing takes time and practice (for mom & baby) and it's not initially comfortable and can even be painful for some with sensitive nipples. But once you get past all that newness, and you heal and get into a rythmn, it is truly a wonderful experience. Stick with it!

I am the mother of fraternal twin girls whom I breastfed. I actually wrote a paper titled, "What I wish they would've told Me."

I'm not sure how to attach it, so send me your email and I'll reply back with an attachment.

Y.

Hi!

I am a very pro breastfeeding but I really wish that somebody had told me, "You are NOT a bad mother if you can't or don't wish to breastfeed.". I truly believe breastfeeding is the best thing for all babies and that every mother should give it a good chance. But, for whatever reason some women have a hard time or just don't want to and I think it's wrong that they are made to feel like bad moms for not doing so. I would much rather see a formula fed baby with a loving, cuddly, attentive, caring mother than a breastfed baby with a detached, angry, stressed out mommy.

When I took my class, I was never told about products available to help with my dry cracked skin or resources available to help afterwards if I had trouble breastfeeding after leaving the hospital. I had to seek out friends for advice instead.

Also, I got pregnant with with my daughter when my son was 6 months old. I wish I'd known I could nurse through the pregnancy and then nurse them both after my daughter was born.

Give the baby the breast as soon as possible after birth and the baby will know what to do.

If a duct starts to get sore, place a warm washcloth on your breast (be prepared for a fountain).

Relax and enjoy.

You can get pregnant while you are nursing.

V.

Well twelve and a half years ago when my son was born, I wasnt' shown too many positions to breastfeed. I didn't immediately breastfeed after birth (which I wish I had). He was given formula at the hospital and I had little to no support or enough information about it before he was born. (this was due to the docs etc) I was using a syringe filled with formula and a tube that I would lead to my breast for some reason to get him to latch on (it all seems so silly now) that was recommended by the lactation consultant I met with. We even tried nipple shields to get him to latch on. When he finally did latch onto me it was without all the devices they set me up with but I was dry or almost dry. No one told me I could restart it, no one told me about increasing production by pumping, fenugreek, etc. I think the most important thing someone could have told me was I could restart my milk and it would be okay to do both. I wasn't told how to use the pump (they have gotten better since then).
With my now 18 month old daughter, I nursed her right after birth. I think that was very important to do right away. She wasn't given bottles but she was given a pacifier but again my milk supply was a little low a few months in and I was told after seeing a great lactation consultant to supplement but to maintain pumping while I supplemented so my supply would go up. Taking the mother's milk tea, knowing about fenugreek and also knowing that although the first few months may be hard, if I stuck it out, it was worth the transition trouble we both had. I decreased the amounts I supplemented little by little so that I didn't lose production and stayed focused.
She's still nursing even now and it was support, knowledge and determination that helped me. I think we need to know that it may seem hard at first but it's so much easier in the long run and the bonding you obtain is so completely worth it.

Hi M.,
I think it's great you're doing this!
I wish I was warned of old wives tales. I wish I knew more about supply and demand and the dips in the childs damands throughout the months. I stopped nursing and simply pumped by 4 1/2 months because I was being told by friends and family he wasn't getting enough. It was untrue. I was raised with all siblings, nieces and nephews being nursed with no problems and so when my son seemed fussy during feedings I listened to those around me, (the ones I was raised with are out of state), and gave him a bottle. I had NO experience with bottles and gave him way too much and it made him projectile vomit. All I could do was cry.
Plus the pain I had was horrible. I was never warned of pain and never given any solutions.
I'm now 4 1/2 months pregnant with my second and would LOVE to learn the right way to nurse. If you could send me some information on your class I would be very interested. Great job and good luck with it all.
~A.

Experiencing breastfeeding success has a lot more to do with the child than the mother. My first child 10 years ago, a boy, was a voracious nurser. He latched on like a pro right out of the womb and knew right what to do every time. I didn't even have to see what I was doing. My new daughter, 3 months old, is a completely different story. I can't feed her directly off of me without my milk production going down considerably, because she chomps instead of sucking. When she was first born I had to continually waker her. I was afraid she was going to think her name was "keep eating." I have to pump every meal for her. I also have to add 1/2 tsp. rice cereal to every ounce of pumped milk or she has large quantities of mucus-filled spit up. Once a pro nurser, not always a pro nurser. And it's ok!

I would have loved to have known that, although ideally it would have been nice to start breastfeeding very soon after birth, the fact that I couldn't for the first day or so would not hinder my future nursing relationship with my baby. I pumped & dumped due to the medication I was taking and my baby used formula in the meantime. Having heard that my baby needed to have no formula and should only nurse, not use a nipple, caused a lot of unnecessary stress. He was a nursing champ from the beginning! Fortunately I already knew this my second time around, but I would have felt the same then since my twins were 35 weeks and were not immediately able to nurse effectively.

I am still breast-feeding my baby now 11 months old (and he has only had one cold that lasted only 2 days!!!) It is the most wonderful experience and I wish the best for all new moms. One thing I wish I had know was that it will hurt at first. I took a class and was told that it should not hurt and if it does hurt you are not latched on right. Well, it took me 6 weeks before it stopped hurting. I saw a LC for help, but it still just took time. It wasn't until after talking to other mom's did I discover that I was not alone. Truly one morning I woke up to feed him and it didn't hurt anymore! Good luck gatherign yur info

Hi M.,

1. I wish I had known that there are some physical problems in babies that can interfere with breastfeeding and how to identify them. Our little one just screamed and became completely stiff and every time I tried to get him to latch on in the hospital. We finally figured out that he did have a physical problem which made it painful be horizontal. BUT the nurses didn't help much- they just gave their standard suggestions and made vague references to him being a "high need baby". My dear husband finally figured out a way he would nurse- which we called "the flying football hold"(don't ask- it requires two people:)). I just wish someone could have told me that what we were going through was beyond normal and wish I would have gotten more help in methodically figuring it out.

2. I wish I would have known how much I would need every ounce of emotional and physical encouragement and concentration that my husband could offer. Thank God he was my hero and just jumped in. In the end- I nursed my son in an upright position successfully for almost one year- and by the tenth month he had grown out of his problem.

3. Also wished I had known how to deal with recurrent plugged ducts. Around the 11th month, my right breast was getting a new plugged duct every other day. For weeks, I tried moist heat and pumping, but the plugs kept coming, and eventually it became so painful to breastfeed that I gave up. I later heard I should have tried lechitin and some herbs (can't remember what). I wish I would have known more about these more obscure remedies to try before giving up.

Thanks for putting so much thought into your class. I wish I could have taken it!

S.

When I was in the hospital with my first child, I apparently didn't let my newborn "latch on" properly. Like I knew exactly what that was supposed to feel or look like. When you first begin to nurse your newborn, there isn't usually much discomfort or pain because no damage has been done to your tissue... yet. I also didn't know that because of my nationality and being fair skinned, I had a higher chance of problems. In one day, the damage was done. The baby wasn't grabbing hold of "enough" (the entire nipple and surrounding areola.) I left the hospital thinking all was well, and hadn't a clue what was actually happening to my breasts. Within a week, I had gaping holes all around my nipples and my mammary glands were infected. I couldn't believe it. But I was told to continue nursing. That the milk was the best healer. I was told to wake my daughter up every two hours to nurse, in case she wasn't getting enough milk. (This was a big mistake. I should have listened to my mother and not worried about that.) After nursing, I had to hydrogen peroxide my nipples, (into the open wounds), and blow them dry. Every time my daughter woke up to eat, I would cry. When I heard her waking or crying, I was a wreck, because I knew how much pain I was about to be in. I felt like a horrible mother, and I was more exhausted than would have naturally been the case. The hospital even took photos for their journal. I did manage to nurse my daugther for 6 months. But emotionally, it did leave its mark. Thank God, I didn't have a problem with my next two children.

If you want further information or guidance, please just get in touch and I'd be happy to converse.

how about cracking, bleeding, stretch marks (gasp!), pain and LEAKING!!! Also, my kids were very sensitive to what I ate, so I resorted to keeping a journal to figure out that MILK was the culprit. Friends of mine did the same thing and found that tomatoes, eggs, and soy were issues with their kids. This was a surprise to me, I had never thought that my diet would need to be altered to keep my baby comfortable. Info on how to soothe gassy tummies will be helpful as well.

I'm mother to a 2 1/2 year old who I nursed for nearly two years and a 3 month old who I'm curerntly nursing.

I wish someone had told me that apart from all hte information - foremilk, hindmilk, letdown, etc. - that nursing comes naturally once you trust yourself.

When I think of the stress I put myself through as a first time mom I have to shake my head and laugh. It's so much easier this time. It's great to have all the knowledge as a foundation, but you need to trust the naturalness of it.

Good luck with your class. I think that every mom should breast feed, though I know that it's not right for everyone.

It's worth it to buy new nursing bras if you end up unexpectedly increasing in size after the birth. Otherwise, the tightness might increase your risk of getting mastisis. If you start feeling flue symptoms out of nowhere and your baby seems to not like nursing on one side, it's possible you have a plugged duct. Just start using a warm compress right away and always start the baby on the unliked side. Hopefully you won't get to mastisis.

If your baby seems to be losing too much weight, having consistently cracked lips or dry skin, or generally looking dehydrated in the first week, it could be having trouble with nursing. Don't be afraid to supplement with formula: it's better than a trip to the ER after the baby is totally dehydrated--trust me. You can get back to only nursing when things get smoother. Another sign of trouble (that I missed) was the baby not sleeping well after feeding, never seeming satisfied. She could be distracted to sleep, but we were naive thinking that her lack of sleeping at such a young age was ok. She was just very hungry and couldn't communicate it to her first-time parents.

In the end, no matter how many mistakes you feel like you're making, know that you ARE doing your best, you ARE a good mom, and your child will survive and thrive!

I have a pretty cool breastfeeding story:

My baby girl did not latch on in the hospital and we continued breastfeeding via a nipple sheild and/or a SNS system (by Madela). She would not latch on to my nipple and her suck was very lazy. It was a very frustrating 6 weeks and I was about to give up on it until I went to a breastfeeding class for new moms and shared our frustrations. It was then that a teacher, like you, told me to get into the bathtub with my baby and try to nurse in the tub. She said it would be like a "new birth" experience for her and she may take my nipple. IT WORKED!!! To my surprise she latched on and began nursing normally until she was 15 months! I am forever grateful for the advice that my teacher passed along to me so that I could continue breastfeeding my daughter. Feel free to use this story in your classes. Good luck!

I went to a breastfeeding class and found it incredibly helpful! What was most helpful was when the instructor had visual aids of how much milk baby drinks on her first couple of days i.e. marble, walnut, little medicine cup, etc. I have heard SO many of my friends say that they never had enough milk and gave up... when you see how little a baby can take it puts it in perspective! And tips for how daddy can help with nursing... good info. And encouragement/ compassion for those who either change their mind about nursing or for some other reason, can't nurse.

Really the one thing you can't get until the baby is there is the latch--in theory, yes; in practice, it requires the baby. :) That took a little work, so it's really helpful to know about lactation consultants. I felt very fortunate that they were available in the hospital.

There's a lot more I could say--I've been nursing my daughter for 40 months, and while she's slowing down, she's not done yet. It's a wonderful relationship to have.

I wish I knew to prepare for pain from sensitive nipples the first three weeks and how to care for it, lanolin, nipple shield, pump from the painful breast, feed from the other side until the pain's gone. Also, clogged milk duct and how to get rid of it, how to prevent it. And why do they sell underwire nursing bra if it causes clogged milk duct? And please stress that you HAVE to drink water to make milk, no other aid is necessary. Drink at least 5 or six glasses a day and you're fine. Also, it's important to get the baby to latch on properly or your nipple will be very, very sore. Finally, the first few months are hard but by the third month, everything will be awesome. So let the new moms know, to make a commitment to not quit in the first three months.

Hi, M.! So good to see someone putting a class together for nursing moms. Nursing moms need all the support they can get!

I wish I knew/though to go to the nursing support group a few weeks earlier than I did. I didn't go until my son was 4 weeks old and then I only had another 5 weeks to go before I went back to work (and the group only met once a week). But I'm glad I went as the advice, support and friendship were quite vital.

Like other posters here, I wish someone had forwarned me about the pain!!! My word!!! I now tell new moms-to-be that they should keep in the back of their minds that the first 6 weeks may be sheer hell, but that this is the learning process for nursing and it passes quicker than they realize and by the end of 6 weeks everything should be just fine.

I also would have liked a little more instruction on the pump. I did fine, but it's a learning experience to get the pumping down to a science once you go back to work.

I'd also tell new moms that as long as you believe, in your heart of hearts, that nursing is best for you baby then stick with it! Don't let anyone try and talk you out. And people will try! I was amazed and flabbergasted at the number of people, even within family, who thought I was out of my mind for exclusively nursing my son (I did that for the first 6 months, then solids and nursing...all told he nursed for 16 months). This is your child (or children if you have multiples) and YOU are the best judge of what feels best for you and YOUR child.

Don't give up. It hurts in the beginning and even if you are doing it wrong, get an expert to come help you. After the hurdle, it was the most wonderful experience for the next 11 months!

I wish I had known about breast pads in the beginning! By baby number 2, I had it down to putting the disposable ones inside the washable ones inside my bra for leaks. Also, still wish I knew about how to avoid breast infections (happened with both my boys (my first was a girl)). OUCH!

I breastfed my first daughter for 10 months and my second for 5 months. (My milk dried up prematurely with my 2nd)

The best advise I got was to drink ice water during nursing. It blocks out the pain of milk letdown and of those initial suckles...don't ask me how but it really works! And Mama is getting her fluids for the best milk production.

I did get a little bit of a blister, but never a sore or bleeding like some women have suffered with. I used Lasinoh saline wipes ointment after most feedings and I think that helped a lot.

Another piece of advise is to have lots of support...physical for your back from a pillow or Boppy and emotional from your significant other. Encouragement from a significant other is so important and will help a new mom get through those initial weeks of discomfort and for the long haul.

First aid stations at zoos or theme parks are good (air conditioned/heated) places to breastfeed. The staff at all of the places I've been in encourage their use. Other places I've been like department stores or malls have Mama/family rooms with rocking chairs, heated wipes, microwaves, even toys and tv. Ask a sales associate or mall information on your way in to see what's available to you.

I wish I had known how much it HURTS!!! I was told that it's completely natural and should come naturally, but for me it was an entirely different story. I was told after I quit breastfeeding (I only made it 11 days with my first because I cried the entire time I was feeding him) that there was a breastfeeding support group at the hospital where I'd given birth. If I had known that, I may have hung in there.

I breast-fed both my boys for one year. Starting the process was SO difficult. My littles one had such a hard time latching on. Little did I know that nipple size was something of significance despite the fact that I had huge breasts. I wish I had known about nipple shields which my baby had a much easier time latching on to than my own nipple. Most importantly, I wish I had known about lactation experts from the beginning and that the nurses in any delivery hospital were not the end of my search for help. Also, I am REALLY glad that I did not give up despite all the hardships and stuck to it.

I wish I had know earlier that,at night, I could bump my baby before I fed her and let her nurse back to sleep. When I found that out, it was so much easier to night nurse. Also, support the breast if the baby is having some issues nursing.
R.
Also, how much time is involved with breastfeeding. That generally isn't mentioned, but I know my cousin decided she wasn't making enough milk because her baby wanted to eat all the time.

I wish that their was more emphasis on how BAD of a replacement formula is for breastmilk. Cows are not anything like humans and the nutrients present in cows milk are severley out of line with an infants true needs.

I read a GREAT book called Milk, Money, and Madness and one of the statistics in there said that if mothers would just breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months of life that hospital bills would be cut by either 34 million dollars or 34 billion (I can't remember but it was huge) and this was a statistic for America. Think of the worldwide impact!!

I wish someone would have told me how much my diet contributed to my fussy colicky baby throwing up, nursing every 45 minutes and screaming for hours on end. I wish that medical professionals would let new moms know about dairy intolerance instead of denying it vehemently.

I wish someone would have told me that "I'll just pump" when I go back to work is a lot harder than it sounds. And you need to be committed and have a plan.

I wish someone would recognize the role husbands have in our success or failure. At 2am it's daddy, not the Lactation Consultant who is offering support. I was successful after 5 months of struggles because of my wonderful husband.

I wish someone had told me about oversupply/overactive letdown so I could have gotten it under control early on. Instead everyone was so "thrilled" about this overabundance of milk. I almost quit because of it.

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