Breast Feeding Advice

Updated on May 16, 2009
J.W. asks from Kingston, NY
35 answers

Hello, I am currently breast feeding my daughter. We had a difficult time at first because I had a c-section and she would not latch. I had to use a nipple shield to finally get her to latch. I chose to use the nipple shield given to me by the lactation consultants over formula feeding longer. We have been feeding regularly w/o shield for over a month now.

I have been having difficulty lately as my daughter arches at the end of feedings pulling my nipple with her. It is without warning and it hurts a lot. It makes my nipples very sore. I am using lanolin which helps but doesn't cure. We are also not on a good schedule so I am awake most of the night feeding her. leaving me with an hour or two of sleep and feeling very exhausted.

I am going back to work full time next week and will need to pump during the day. Last night I broke down from exhaustion...3am still no sleep, she wanted to eat again, emotional about going back to work next week, sore from the day etc. (and of course HORMONES) My husband says that he does not see a problem with supplementing with formula now, especially if it is going to make me upset like this. I told my mom about it and she encouraged me to think about stopping breast feeding with going back to work and that it's okay to not do it all.

I am not sure what to do. I want to do what is best for my daughter so I want to keep breast feeding her but some days it is so hard. I guess I am just looking for some advice and encouragement. Thanks in advance.

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your kind words and support for whatever decision I make. It is so wonderful to see everyone write responses to my request. So today was my first day back and I made it through, with a few tears of course. I have decided for now to continue to breast-feed, but have also accepted that if the occasional situation arises where we need to supplement it is okay because it is what is best overall. As for the pulling, I think it is due to gas, as she usually farts around the time she is pulling. Not sure how to remedy that as I burp her throughly. I must say coming home to her after my first day of work and being able to breast feed her was quite rewarding so I am happy with my decision so far. Thank you again to everyone who put their hearts out there for me!

More Answers

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T.E.

answers from New York on

Dea J.,

My heart aches for you. I can't imagine going to work and leaving my baby. It has got to be difficult.

Don't suppliment for two reasons. One, it will decrease your milk supply, and Two, it is not healthy for your baby.

If your baby is not letting go, you can try various holds that don't allow her to pull far and also, put your finger in her mouth to relieve the suction, just as she starts to pull back. You probably know this, but it's difficult to give advice on breastfeeding without being right there. I would contact a the le leche league. There are support groups available and many of the women are so wonderful would love to help.

I was a career woman, but am now working at home with my children. I have 4 children, ages 16, 14, 5, and 4. You can ask me about how were are doing it.

Blessings to you dear,

T. E.
www.LovinLifeWithHomeBiz.com

1 mom found this helpful
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L.D.

answers from Albany on

J.,

You can make it work if you want to. I've nursed all three of my boys and had c-sections with all three (weaned at 13 months, 22 months, and this little guy is still going at 21 months). The tugging thing is normal though agree painful. It could be gas, perhaps she needs to burp, or she heard something that caught her attention. My little guy does it now still when he wants to see what's going on so when that happens, I just remove him for the moment.

You can successfully breast feed and work if that is what you choose to do. Have you tried pumping at night so your husband can give her a bottle while you sleep?

I also just followed my children's cues when they were babies. They eventually fall into a schedule. Keep in mind she is only 7 weeks old. It WILL get better but if you want to give her what is best, don't give up on the breast feeding.

Here is your advice and encouragement! :)

1. Sleep whenever you can, even if it's to take a nap when you get home from work before you make dinner or a nap right after. Whatever works for you!

2. Pump and let someone else feed her one of her night bottles.

3. Your frustration and exhaustion are normal!! You aren't doing anything wrong and neither is she. You both are still new to this and learning. Give both of you time and know that yeah, it may not be all blissful in the beginning but it WILL get better. :)

Best of luck to you.

L.

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S.T.

answers from Albany on

J., I know what you're saying and believe me I've had it difficult with my boys. My first son was 5 weeks early and wouldn't nurse but slept 24/7 and I had to wake him up to eat and couldn't nurse because it was hard to get him to open his mouth to eat and stay awake after sucking a few time then increased sucking several time and go to sleep. Then at some point, months later, he was able to wake up and cry to wake me up when he was hungry. I lost my milk by that time and tried pumping from the time was born and was not successful at it. It didn't increase my milk supply, it decreased it because it is nothing like the sucking. Then with my second I had so many problems one after another and was discouraged with nursing and thought if this is what it's about I don't ever want to nurse again in the future but I lost my milk by the time he was 4 months and had to give him formula. Then when my third came along and had blocked milk duct and alittle bit of mystatis if that is the correct spelling but cured it all and enjoyed nursing and missed it now. I almost lost my milk by the time he was 4 months too but the midwife I had at the time told me about Fenugreek (an herb, but took it in capsule I believe) which increased milk supply but the only thing I definitely could not eat was onions, he hated my milk and I was told that it makes your milk sour and I don't know about that because my second son did not mind me eating onions. This is what I see, if you can nurse, great, but if you can't that is fine too. You have tried and you're tired and if pumping helps great and have your husband help through the night with the bottle and nurse in the morning and at night if you want that bonding time and you can do more on days you're not working if you want to do it more during the day. I pray that Jesus gives you His Wisdom if you ask Him and understand that there is NO shame in breastfeeding and there is no shame in giving or supplementing formula. Yes breastmilk is healthier and great and cheaper but again, you have to do what you can and if you want to breastfeed in the AM and at night then great and breastfeed more on days you're not working and have your husband help out at night if he's willing to. Garlic and peanuts help increase milk supply and I eat natural peanut butter because of my allergies to the other junky peanut butter and that will be healthy for your baby and I don't buy what the pediatrician say about your baby developing allergies to it and I have allergies to it and was not breastfed and I eat the natural and healthy foods for my boys and with my boys now. Even 7 weeks is good and you have given her that time as well.

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P.C.

answers from New York on

Boy Jen
You have a lot on your plate!
And going back to work so soon. It is so hard.
Ok, I will tell you that I was not successful with breast feeding b/c I had health issues after I had my daughter and had to go on medication. I could not breast feed her when I was taking the medication and some of the meds were diuretics, so my breast milk dried up. Even with pumping, it never reallycame back with any great volume. I was so very devastated. I only have one child and I felt I had failed her. (More so, I just loved the experience and didn't want to stop).
After the meds stopped, I went to a lactation consultant and she thought I could get my milk back since my daughter still accepted the breast and there was a small amount of milk with pumping when I was in her office. I came home with a whole bunch of tubes, bottles, pump equipment and had to pump every one and a half to two hours. It was impossible since my daughter became colicky at the same time.
All I know is that it was THE MOST STRESSFUL time in my "new Mommy experience. I still felt badly, but I did give up.
I am NOT saying for you to give up b/c your predicament is not like mine, but sometimes it is too hard to continue.
One thing I would have been very happy with was to pump and feed her with a bottle. It was wonderful to breast feed, but it was more important that she have my milk.
Why not pump and store it. You may be able to get more sleep and some help with feeding her if others can bottle feed her. (And then Daddy can take over a night feeding for you and you can get some rest!)
If you really want to continue with breast feeding, call the lactation consultant at the hospital and see if you can get advice from her over the phone. you may have to meet with her. There may be a fee for that?
I applaud you for wanting to continue nursing her. I think it is the most awesome thing a woman can do for her child.
But it is demanding and very stressful.
You know, years ago when all mother's stayed home and "just had babies", there was a lot more time to nurse and a lot less stress with the process. Today, if Mom's have to work, nursing can be very tough on them.
I wish you the best J..
Again, I applaud you for being so dedicated to your daughter. You are a fist time Mom and that alone is such an adjustment.
P.S. No one else in my family ever breast fed. Not my Mom, sister, Aunt's etc. EVERY ONE OF THEM told me to stop! Don't so it! Just give her the damn formula!
I really felt so alone and didn't feel like anyone understood the bond and the love I had for wanting to nurse my little girl. My daughter is 16 months old and if I think about it, it can still get me upset that I wasn't successful.
But she is in the 97% for her age and she is formula fed! :)
Good Luck and Take care!
P.

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N.G.

answers from New York on

Congratulations on breast feeding. Breast feeding your baby really is the best thing for both you and your daughter. If you REALLY need to stop nursing or supplement with formula, don't beat yourself up over it. Your daughter will still be perfectly healthy and happy. However, I encourage you to keep nursing her as much as you can. I nursed both my children for just over a year (after c-sections, too) and understand the difficulties that come with it. The nipple stretching/snapping thing is always unpleasant. First of all, your nipples will get used to rough handling. It is really painful at first, but they do eventually toughen up. If you nurse for a year, you'll be amazed at the end of it what doesn't bother your nipples at all anymore. You can try to be a little more pro-active about preventing the stretching.. hold your daughter tighter so she can't arch her back at the end and be ready to break the seal as soon as she does. You can try lowering your voice and telling her "No" when she does. They don't usually learn too quickly at that age, but they can figure out that something isn't appreciated. Are you still using a nipple shield? She may like the stretchy, rubber feel. You can try using a pacifier so she can use something to satisfy her oral needs. Another option is to start pumping more and switch her over to breast milk bottles as often during the day as you need. It is okay for you to feed her breast milk out of a bottle if it is easier for you. She'd still get the nutrition without abusing your body. Whatever you chose, good luck. Don't feel bad about whatever you chose. Your daughter will be happiest if you are happy and relaxed. If you continue breastfeeding without a bottle, just know that there will be lots of ups and downs and new issues that arise as your baby grows but none of these problems are permanent. Just work through them! Good luck!

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P.K.

answers from New York on

I do believe breast feeding is great. However, I do
believe when you are exhausted and it is not working out
and you have to go back to work, formula is a fantastic
alternative. You did a great job, but you also have to
think of yourself. Good luck.

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E.S.

answers from New York on

Hello J.,
I recommend doing what makes you feel good in the most holistic way. I am still nursing my 15 month old boy 2 times a day-nap & bedtime- but he used to be an all day snacker making it difficult for me to pump as well. When he was 4 months old, I started working a couple nights a week & on Saturday. I would try & pump during the day, but he was always wanting to nurse & I ended up exhausted, without enough pumped milk. That made me feel guilty and also angry for having to do it all (super-mom). But eventually, after giving up my personal guilt, when I worked his Dad gave him formula. It was fine. He nursed when I was around & had formula otherwise. He is very healthy, very active & very smart. Having the experience of doing both, I would have done that from the beginning, without the guilt!! Its also great for Dad to feel part of the feeding & if formula is Dad (and daycare) then they have their own thing together, making nursing time with you even more unique.
Hope this helps & take care of yourself,
E., Mama of 15 month Asa.

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V.M.

answers from New York on

I'm not sure I have any real advice. Each Mom must follow her own heart regarding her child. But.. if it makesyou feel better, I didn't breastfeed either of my daughters and they are almost grown up and are fine. I think you should do what works best for you. Working full time is really hard, especially with children. Do whatever makes your life easier so you can enjoy your life and your child.

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M.S.

answers from New York on

Don't fret. you may be able to breast feed exclusively by pumping your breast (while still feeding your daughter and freezing your milk. That's what I did for all five of my children when I went back to work. This will give you a head start. Also check your diet because what you eat is being passed along to your daughter and could be part of the reason she may not be getting full and feeding frequently and causing soreness. Hope this was helpful. Good luck

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E.S.

answers from New York on

First of all, just by seeking advice you are doing what is best for your baby - you obviously are committed to breastfeeding and thats the most important thing! You are doing a great job, despite all of the sleep loss. I'm sure you have heard this, but it does get better. When my DS was about 1 month old, I was at the end of my rope with BF'ing and feeding all night long. A few days later, it got better and his latch improved.

Don't let what other people say persuade you to stop breastfeeding. There's no need to go to formula if you don't want to. I think people usually think that it's easier, but can you imagine having to wake up at 3am and start mixing formula and sterilizing bottles?!?!

Im no expert, but I did a lot of reading on line and went to La Leche League meetings to ensure that I did not have to supplement with formula. You shouldn't have to supplement if your supply is still ample, which it sounds like it is. I would go to kellymom.com and post to their message board. Everyone on that site seems totally committed to breastfeeding despite the road blocks and hurdles it takes to get a successful relationship going. Also, try contacting a lactation consultant. They are really good with special circumstances like BF'ing after a C-section and going back to work.

You can do it - your body was made to do it! Hang in there, mama...

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A.S.

answers from Rochester on

I completely relate! My first never latched on so I pumped exclusively and gave her my milk in a bottle instead. The 2nd baby was fine...whew...but I came prepared 2nd time around and did research, got the name of an awesome lac. consultant, etc...

Babies DO go through growth spurts where they may feed more often, so that may be a possibility.

It does sound like you could benefit from seeing your lactaction consultant OR a La Leche League member - don't delay! Ask them for help! They WILL be more than happy to help...

kellymom.com is a great website for advice...

You DO need to have your sanity too - so if Dad can give her a bottle of expressed breastmilk once at night so you can sleep, you CAN do that... :)

Hang in there - it WILL get better...this is only temporary! :)

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A.N.

answers from New York on

J.,
I am a first time mom to a 6 1/2 week old girl who also pulls away from my nipples at the end of most feedings. If it weren't so "unpleasant" it would be comical the way she treats them like straws! I too am on Lanolin which works fairly well as long as I keep up with it. Also, let your nipples air dry a little when she is done, which is supposed to help. As far as sleeping a little more, sometimes when I am really exhausted I breastfeed her while laying on my side, which is a lot less strenuous on me in the middle of the night than trying to sit up. May sound lazy to some people maybe but if you need some sleep, it may help. I don't have any advice unfortunately other to say hang in there.

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N.H.

answers from New York on

Hi.
I have had alot of experience with breastfeeding, with 4 kids. While breastfeeding, I would suggest a NUK pacifier (not a straight nipple that the hospital gives you, they are different from the breast and causes problems with latching on) to hold her off of feeding for at least a couple hours, to get her on a schedule. And you wont feel like she is nursing all the time.
Night-time feedings; when she wakes up to eat, change her diaper, make her comfortable, nurse her 10 minutes on each side, burping after each side, then put her back into her crib, even if she is awake. Turn on a music box, or something so she wont feel alone in there. She wont like it at first, and she may cry herself to sleep, but she'll get used to it in a couple of days. If she doesn't stop crying after about 5 - 10 minutes, go to her, hug her, talk soothing to her until she stops crying, then try to put her down again. (It works better with a pacifier)
Another suggestion, get some sleep while she is sleeping, whenever she is sleeping!
If you are planning on supplimenting with formula, or going to pump your milk for her during the workday, make sure that whoever feeds her the bottle uses a NUK nipple for the bottle. The shape of the nipple is most like your breast, and will not confuse her with the different shapes. (most hospitals do not carry these anymore, you will have to find them in a store, I always found them in Weis Markets.)
With going back to work, it is not really a choice between work and nursing your baby. You can do both, and without difficulty. You just need a schedule for your baby's feedings, and your pumping, should be on the same schedule.
Good luck.

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C.T.

answers from New York on

CONGRATULATIONS!! The committment you have already shown towards breastfeeding has already given your darling daughter a great start.

First and foremost, do not feel "guilty" if you need to take a break or change your routine to be more accomidating for you. What makes a happy baby is a happy mommy!

1) Arching - You said this is an unexpected action. Does it seem to happen after 5 minutes or 10 minutes? Maybe you could try limiting the time at the breast so she does not get to this point. It could be gas - in which case, a burping and switching sides may prevent her from doing this. If the side she left still feels full, you can either offer it to her again or pump off the deep hindmilk to maintain your volume and supply. This might also be from boredom or maybe she suddenly gets uncomfortable. Have you tried side nursing or changing locations or distraction with a toy? These are the only ideas I have for this.

2) The hurt nipples - Using warm compresses should help keep you supple. I also found it necessary to massage the breasts (as well as the nipples) to keep things loose. I usually let hubby do this for me as I knew where things hurt and was too gentle. I told him I would probably squirm and cuss a bit as I was in a lot of pain but once he was done, things felt better. Use a lot of lotion but make sure you wash it off prior to the next feeding. I believe you can still take Tylenol to take the edge off the pain too, but you may want to check with the Doctor.

3) Schedule - I fed on demand, but I hear I was lucky. My little girl gave us three to four hours right off the bat at night. Try alternating feedings between BM and formula at night only. Or try pumping off exttra BM during the day that can be warmed up by Daddy. I've heard that you need 5 hours of straight sleep to be relatively alert. Let Daddy handle the bottle feedings. You did not mention the sleeping arrangements so if baby is in another room and you insist on BM at all night feedings, have Daddy do pick up/drop off duty including the diaper changes so that you can stay in a more relaxed state. Try to keep things very low key at night - use a motion sensor light to light the room and changing area, do not put the music box back on, don't talk alot to the baby, etc. Also, as much as it stinks, got to sleep when she does. I use to hit the hay at 8pm. Sometimes you need to just forget about the dirty dishes and stuff and treat yourself!

4) Your support system - I am sure that your husband and mother are not trying to be negative. They think their words of advice are in your best interest. Since your husband probably has the most contact with you and the baby, start with him. Spend some time thinking about what BFing has meant to you, does mean to you and why you are so committed to it. Talk to him about the benefits but also tell him how it stresses you - emotionally and physically. Talk to him about your concerns for work and then ASK HIM FOR HIS SUPPORT AND HELP. I found that I initally expected my poor hubby to read my mind and that neither one of us knew as much as I thought we should. Parenting is not some automatic activity found in our genes. You grow and learn together. There were plenty of hormonal breakdowns that I had where all I could do was cry. I simply asked that he hold me until I was done. I told him that afterwards, once I cleared my head, we could talk about the trigger(s) and work towards a resolution. Once you feel the home front is being semi-managed, have a similar discussion with your Mom. Tell her how you need her to support this decision and give her specific tasks to help achieve your goals.

I wish you the best of luck. And, again, make the decisions and changes that are best for you and your family. Don't try to be super-Mom. In our kids eyes, we already are and as long as we are happy, so are they.
~C.

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M.O.

answers from New York on

Hi J.,

While formula is not the end of the world, is IS distinctly inferior to breast milk. And supplementing is not your only option right now. As others have suggested, I really recommend contacting La Leche League and/or a lactation consultant.

On the arching-back thing, that could be a sign of a food intolerance, especially if your daughter also has frequent stools, or if she's a big spitter-upper. If so, you may need to take something out of your diet. Milk, wheat, soy, nuts, and eggs are the most common culprits. I took myself off all those things (except wheat, but that was b/c I wasn't properly educated about it) from when my son was 10 weeks to when he had his first birthday. It sounds draconian, but it is possible to have a very healthy, satisfying diet without these things, and I loved the weight loss that came as a result.

For more on food intolerances, try consulting with someone at La Leche League, a pediatric gastroenterologist, or a naturopathic physician.

Good luck! You sound like a great mom, and like you do important, meaningful work.

Mira

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K.P.

answers from New York on

I will be honest with you and say that in your position you will have a very difficult time stopping to pump every 2 hours for 30 minutes. The nature of your job is not likely to allow for scheduled breaks this frequently and privately.

I went back to work when my son was 13 weeks old and had exclusively nursed him up to that point. When I went back to work, we supplemented with formula at my doctor's suggestion. I nursed him when we were together (morning, evening and overnight) and pumped as often as I could at work. On average, he had 2-3 formula bottles while at "baby school", but the rest was BM. This worked well for us and I was able to have him on some breastmilk for 6 months.

Don't feel guilty either way. Try to pump as often as you can, but be prepared to supplement. Your daughter has had the benefit of breast milk for almost two months and you will be able to provide that for her on some level for months to come.

Focus on what works for you as a family. For me, I couldn't keep up with pumping consistently and my supply diminished significantly and quickly.

Just a suggestion, but our pediatrician suggested that if we were going to supplement, we start giving our son one bottle of formula each day for the week or so before returning to work. In case he didn't do well with it, he wanted us to be home to deal with it rather than trying to get into a routine with work and daycare and getting a phone call.

GOOD LUCK! I cried my eyes out the first few days back to work. I was anxious and convinced that he would resent me forever (seriously). Needless to say my one-year-old LOVES baby school, LOVES his friends and gets upset when it's time to stop playing and go home. He's very social and I attribute it to being around people other than me each day!

Take care and relax. You will both be great.

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M.B.

answers from New York on

I know your situation - I was in the same situation a while ago. My mother said one thing to me that was very helpful in putting it into perspective for me - feeding your baby should be a wonderful time...you shouldn't be upset when you start to hear her cry because you know that you have to feed her again. So I did two things:
1. I moved to pumping only and feeding through the bottle. This helped me because I knew how much she was getting and therefore when she woke up an hour after feeding, I knew that she wasn't hungry and needed something else or would just go back to sleep with some rocking. The challenge with this is that I was effectively double feeding - taking the 30 - 45 minutes to pump and then an additional 30 - 45 minutes to feed. So it did feel like I was always either pumping or feeding.
2. I also supplemented with formula to spread out my breast milk. I gave her one feeding a day (usually the 11 pm feeding) that was formula and then pumped extra and saved it in the freezer. When I stopped pumping, I still had another month's worth of breastmilk frozen which enabled me to quit pumping earlier and still feel like she got the health benefits for longer. I also did a bunch of things to limit throwing out of breastmilk, including creating four ounce bottles and then adding an ounce at a time if she was still hungry. This led to much more frozen milk as well.

Having said all of this, my second and third children had colostrum only and then were on formula because it was the right thing for our family. I hope you find a good balance that works for you.

I hope that helps. And good luck with the sleep! Take care

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R.S.

answers from New York on

Hello J.,
I know u want to breast feed only but want to say that it is ok to supplement with formula. I have a 2 week old that I am also nursing but supplementing with formula. Just like your daughter mine is hungry all the time and is not getting enough from me. It is ok to give them formula. It fills them up and lets the babies sleep longer so u can rest. U need your rest, especially before you go back to work. Don't feel bad about giving your daughter formula, it is ok despite what others tell you!! Breast feeding is a lot of work, not everyone can keep up with the supply and demand of a growing infant. In other words, don't beat urself up over it, you are doing the best u can giving her whatever breast milk your body is making. But do give her formula, especially at night so you can get the rest u need to function. Good luck and hang in there, you're a great mom!

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B.H.

answers from New York on

hi!
just wanted to let you know that at about 8-9 weeks, breastfeeding got A LOT easier for me. i was really still having sore nipples right up until then. i remember the arching back/pull thing. you could try to hold her head a bit more firmly and if she starts to pull- if you can manage to, they're quick little buggers when they want to be;) - try and push her back into your breast so she'll let go of the latch. it's just a thought. it helped a lot when my son would bite down- whee! if you feel you need some support in maintaining breastfeeding, there's always the la leche league- which may have a chapter near you. don't, however, get down on yourself for whatever YOU decide to do. one other quick thought- if you haven't already, start pumping and bottle feeding now. that way your husband can help out with those pesky night feedings, your daughter will start getting used to the bottle, and you can see how it feels to be pumping! take care and best wishes!!

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J.M.

answers from New York on

J. -- You can do it! You've received some great advice already, and I just want to add some words of encouragement.

I, too, had many issues when I began breastfeeding my son, combined with the exhaustion and returning to work. So I can understand how you are feeling. There were times when I didn't know how I would ever be able to continue. As another poster said, nursing does get easier with time. Sometimes it gets harder, too -- such as when they have a cold and are too congested to be able to suck properly -- but that, too, passess.

My son is now 10 1/2 months old and approaching the point when we could transition him to cow's milk at a year. As we approach this milestone, I feel myself becoming sad that the experience might soon be ending. (Disclaimer: I know there's no "rule" that says one has to stop at a year...or even make it to a year in the first place -- only recommendations, and an understanding that each woman must do what's best for her.)

Good luck to you! Best wishes.

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C.F.

answers from New York on

feeding your baby is supposed to be a fun, bonding experience REGARDLESS of HOW you do it (breast or bottle). Do what works for you. We were all bottlefed and we are all fine!! She's had all the important "stuff" in the breast milk (antibodies, etc). So, don't feel guilty if you decide to stop.. do whatever works for you.... good luck!

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J.M.

answers from New York on

J.,

You have a lot of good advice here. I am also a first time breastfeeding mom to a 7 week old. It has been soo rough, so I completely understand what your going through. My son is colicky and also we just found out two weeks ago has reflux. So on top of all the normal breastfeeding problems I've run into, he is very fussy all the time. I've had to cut all the dairy out of my diet, and he's still cranky and I don't know why. As of last week, I wanted to give up. My mom, and friends didn't breastfeed, so nobody understood how I felt. They just kept telling me to stop, but my husband really wanted me to breastfeed. I found myself crying because I was just soo exhausted and didn't know what to do. My husband finally said, forget it, you tried, just formula feed him. So thinking that I would finally get some rest, I went out and bought formula. After only feeding it to him three times, I really missed the bond, and I started breastfeeding him again. I think part of the problem with me was the fact that I felt like I HAD to BF and I had no other options. Now that I know that its ok to supplement when I want to and I can stop whenever I want, its becoming a more pleasant experiance. The more stressed you are, the baby will be able to tell. You made it this far, do whats right for you. Thats whats best for the baby. Good Luck

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D.

answers from New York on

Do you have formula on hand. If not I would suggest getting some. You don't know how much you are going to be able to pump (I could never pump enough to supplement fully). And I'd rather you not be rushing around at the last minute. The first few months are hectic like this. I wouldn't try to get her on a schedule. Feeding on demand really is the best way. My kids weren't on an eating schedule until they started cereal. Next, you want to get more sleep...I suggest this to every mom and believe me it works. During the night, when she wakes to nurse, bring her into bed with you. Lay on your side and put her on her side so your laying belly to belly. Then get her to latch on, and then you can go back to sleep. I did this with both my kids and it's a life saver. Also, with the pulling on your nipple, try to break the latch before that. If you stick your finger in her mouth between your nipple and her tongue you break the seal. This is a good time to burp her and then offer up the other breast. She may be doing this because there is no milk left and she's still hungry. Also, yes breast feeding is best, but it isn't for everyone. And if you can't do it fully, what you can do is better then nothing. Both my kids were breastfed for the first couple months until I went back to work. Then I formula fed during the day and breast fed when I was with them. And it's o.k. Their perfectly happy, smart and healthy. You really want to know what is best for your daughter...whatever works for both of you. If supplementing with formula works for both of you, then that is what's right.

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S.F.

answers from New York on

Your daughter is getting a lot of great things from your breast milk and I feel that the 7-8 weeks that she gets from you is better than nothing at all!! BUT, you have to look at what will make you all as a family happier. I went thru a similar thing with my son at 3 mos. We eventually switched over to formula and we all slept better and we happier. Bottom line, dont feel guilty - from now on, you will be doing whatever it is to make your family happiest!

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J.G.

answers from Rochester on

I just want to encourage you that if you want to continue breastfeeding you can do it and if you don't for any reason you are still a great mom.
The first 8 weeks were very hard, mostly because of being so tired, no schedule at all, hormones and other personal things going on at that time. Once I got past the first 2 months it really started to get easier and less painful... I was able to breastfeed till she was 15 months old, but I also didn't have to go back to work and deal with pumping. I wish you luck and your baby will be fine either way because she has such a loving mommy that wants and worries about what is best for her.

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A.R.

answers from New York on

Hi J.,

I have been where you are and I feel for you. If it is any consolation, you are probably in the worst of it right now. In about a month, things should begin to get better, both from an exhaustion and breastfeeding standpoint. That said, it will probably be several months before you feel truly well rested again. What to do in the interim?

Based on my own experience, I have a few suggestions. First off, if you are not still in touch with a breastfeeding consultant, you may want to reach out to one again. She might be able to help you address the specific issues you are dealing with now. Your pediatrician or the La Leche League may be able to point you in the right direction. There is also a very good book on breastfeeding called The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins.

In addition, you may want to consult your pediatrician about the possibility that your daughter has acid reflux. The back arching is a classic symptom of this disorder, although not a definitive one. If your daughter has reflux, she may be in pain when she eats, which could cause her to take less milk at each feeding, making her hungry more often. There are several reflux medications that have been used safely for years in infants. If your doctor suspects your daughter has this disorder and the first medication prescribed does not seem to work, don't be shy about asking to try a different one.

While breastfeeding offers clear advantages to babies over formula, there is something to be said for a happy and well rested mom as well. And one of the advantages of formula is that it keeps babies satisfied for a longer period, which means if you use it for one of your night feedings, you may actually be able to get a good chunk of sleep in. That said, you should be aware that the introduction of formula usually spells the end of breastfeeding over time.

The challenges of pregnancy, delivery, and early motherhood are profound, and we embrace them with a committed heart and the best of intentions. If on occasion we do not live up to the expectations we have set for ourselves, than so be it. Breastfeeding is clearly best for a baby, but no matter what the breast feeding bullies out there say, your child can be fed formula from day 1 and grow to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted child.

In my case, my son (who is now 19 months old) was never satisfied with my milk supply, had wicked colic (crying beginning at 11 am and lasting well into the evening, no naps), and acid reflux. I introduced a small amount of formula in the evening to satisfy his insatiable hunger and allow me a few hours of uninterrupted of sleep. Over a period of several months, the amount of breast milk I produced slowly decreased and the amount of formula he took slowly increased and at 5 months I was producing so little milk it seemed pointless to continue with the breastfeeding. I was disappointed in myself, but 5 months of breastfeeding was far better than none. I am currently 7 months pregnant with my second son, so these issues are top of mind at the moment as I consider how to avoid the pitfalls I met with the first go round.

In your situation I suspect that if you can keep at the breastfeeding with a little help for the next month everything will fall into place. But if you opt to supplement with formula or stop breast feeding entirely, the world will not end, you will still be the same caring and devoted mother you have been, and your daughter will continue to thrive. Be kind to yourself and have confidence that whatever decision you make is the one that is best for you and your child.

I wish you all the best. It will get easier and you will feel better in time. But is sure is a tough road when you're on it.

Abby

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L.L.

answers from New York on

I'm sure most women will tell you to keep breastfeeding and pumping until your nipples fall off because most are opposed to formula/bottle feeding, but incase you do decide to go with formula- which sounds like you might, I wanted to tell you that it's perfectly fine. My son is 23 months old and has been formula fed from birth. He's not stupid, obese, or sickly-looking like a lot of people would assume. He's thin, healthy as a horse, and the smartest toddler I've met yet! :) So please don't let people make you feel horrible if you decide to stop breastfeeding. It's just not worth it, and it's YOUR business.
Lots of luck to you, I hope you get some rest soon!
Lynsey

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M.L.

answers from New York on

J.,

Congratulations on your new addition and for keeping up with breast feeding so far. That being said, doing what is best for your daughter is like doing what is best for you. Having had 2 children (boy 3 3/4 yo and daughter 11 mo) I found nursing to work the first time and not as much the second time. I fed my son breast milk (pumped and bottle fed) exclusively (who BTW did not sleep through the night until he was 6 months old) until he was almost 9 months old. He was in daycare from when he was 4 months old. He still got sick all the time and had 5 ear infections before his first b-day (even with all of the breast feeding). With my daughter I only breast fed her for about 10 weeks (then she was placed on prescription formula for an intolerance to milk protein) and I was happy she was on formula (she also slept through the night at about 16 weeks). It was alot easier to get around, esp. since I had an almost 3 yo to take care of as well. She is still home with my mom (I will be starting her in daycare in about 2 weeks, just shy of her first b-day) and has only has 2 ear infections and been sick alot less then my son.
Basically what I am trying to tell you is to do what works best for you. If you want to continue to breast feed then do so, but don't feel like a failure or like you give up if you find formula to be easier/more convenient/better for her (and you). As long as she is thriving, she will do fine either way. You are a wonderful parent and will always do what is best for your daughter.

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E.C.

answers from New York on

J.- Going back to work is incredibly difficult- I'm going back in 2 weeks and I've been stressing out about it for weeks now. I think you need to do what works- bottom line. If you need to supplement formula- perfect. If you need to transition to formula all around- perfect. You've already breast fed for 7 weeks-you've done an amazing job. Pat yourself on the back and then do what will keep you sane. It will be nice to have your hubbies help once you're working if you decide to supplement. Good luck- you're doing awesome!

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R.Q.

answers from New York on

What is best for your daughter is to have a healthy and rested mommy. Breastmilk is "The best" source of nutrition for her, but there are times when that is not an option--especially when it interferes with the mother's mental/emotional/physical health. Right now you are totally exhausted and you need to focus on getting more sleep before you have to start work.

Do you co-sleep? Not having to get out of bed to feed your daughter is a huge plus (even if your husband can bring her to the bed at night and take her back to her crib it'd help), because you can feed her laying down and half doze while she is nursing. If this still doesn't allow you to get enough sleep, see if your husband can take one of the night feedings with a bottle/cup (I prefer cup feeding over bottles, but many people find bottles more user friendly) of breastmilk. Taking naps during the daytime with your daughter while you are still off work is also important to recharge your batteries--have everyone else take care of the housework for now.

The arching and fussing during/near the end of feedings can be caused by several things most of which center around the belly :D : hunger (more mommy--this one's empty), gas (upper and lower); full bladder/need to poop.

With my daughter it was because she had a lot of allergy induced stomach problems--we removed soy (many people find dairy to be a problem) from my diet and she stopped pulling at my breast. It can also mean that she wants to feed more, try to catch her before she starts to pull and switch to the other breast a bit earlier. My daughter would nurse at each breast a minimum of 2 times once my supply regulated itself.

The last and most overlooked reason that comes to mind is the need for the baby to relieve herself/being wet or dirty. Near the end of the feeding take her off the breast before she starts to fuss and talk to her gently encouraging her to pee (if you are really daring remove her diaper and hold her over a potty/bowl or something) then when she settles down offer her your breast again. (Check out EC: elimination communication for more information on this.) More than half of all babies relieve themselves near the end of a feeding or soon after and a lot of fussing at the breast is because of this (imagine how you feel trying to eat and drink with a full bladder!) :D

Hmm, full-bladders can also be a reason for night waking in infants ;) They wake themselves up having to pee and fuss. Most caregivers assume they need to eat and feed them. Baby falls asleep with an even fuller bladder and the cycle starts again. Try changing your daughter at least once during/before/after you feed her at night and encourage her to relieve herself and see if she'll settle down for a deeper sleep after that.

When it comes down to it, remember that your health is the most important thing right now and if that means adding in a feeding or two of supplementation (whether it is formula or breastmilk from a friend) or switching to formula altogether it'll be what you need to do at the time to be there for your daughter.

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D.R.

answers from New York on

there is typically a growth spurt at around 6 weeks. she might very well be pulling to get more milk faster and to increase your supply to keep up with her growing demand, which will work, that is what it does naturally if you keep feeding on demand. your supply should increase quickly and she will likely stop pulling. help out by drinking plenty of water and eating well and please try to somehow get some rest, i know how impossible it can be. oatmeal can help increase your supply too, eat some with some maple syrup, the fake kind, it has fenugreek in it. if you do want to continue breastfeeding, this is an important time to keep nursing rather than introducing formula, at least for the first couple of months. as for the pulling, i recommend feeding her with one hand firmly at the base of her head so you can hold her firmly and keep her from pulling back.
J., i know how hard it can be, especially if you dont have support from those closest to you. throw in sleep deprivation and pain and it can really make you want to give up. you have to think about what you want to do. if you decide to stick with it, you can get lots of support here, email me anytime, i will be your personal cheerleader if you need one :) i have been there. the first couple of months is the hardest. if you go with it, it really does settle in soon, you are just about there. and if you really cant take it, if you are truly miserable and dont want to do it, know that you have already done a great job, and in my opinion it is more important that your time together be happy, especially when you are nourshing your baby, regardless of how you do it. do a little thinking when you arent at your worst time, and make the decision that works best for you. i will help you if you need it. best of luck to you.

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J.S.

answers from New York on

Hi! First of all congrats on breastfeeding and following through when the going was tough in the beginning! Second, recognize that this is still the beginning! Although you may feel like you've had your little girl forever (my son is only 5 months & I can't remember life without him) it's still so new. I went back to work part time at his 8 week mark and I cried the week before because I was still having trouble getting out of bed before 11am. You are definitely still full of hormones and the exhaustion does not help at all. Plus, with breastfeeding a little one under 3 months, you do really need to still feed on demand and know that she will tell you when she's hungry.
Of course, breastmilk is the absolute best food for your child until at least the first 6 months, but this isn't feasible for every mom. My suggestion would be to try pumping exclusively for a couple of weeks and then see how you feel. I know that when a friend of mine went back to work, her baby wouldn't take the bottle much, and they found out that as long as mom allows nursing as much as desired by the baby when she gets home from work, there is nothing wrong with only having a few ounces during the day. Eventually, her baby got used to having the bottle and warmed up to it.
Your husband and mom are both trying to alleviate your worries & stresses as a new mom, but what it really comes down to is how you feel about giving formula vs. your own milk. If you feel ok with giving a little formula, then by all means, follow that feeling. If you don't, and would feel better overall about being a working mother if you knew your baby was getting your milk, then that determination will see you through. Allow yourself a little time to think that over, and make your decision based on your own gut.
Whatever you choose,know that it DOES get easier, & I wish you the best!!!

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A.W.

answers from New York on

Hi J.,

I'm sorry that you are having so much trouble nursing. I also had problems breastfeeding my son (cracked, bleeding nipples and a clogged milk duct), and also went back to work when he was two months old, so I feel your pain. I spend many nights crying and exhausted. I felt a lot of pressure to quit breastfeeding and offer my son formula. I'm sure my husband, some friends and even some nurses at the hospital all meant well but their advice for me to give my son formula just didn't feel right to me. That being said, there were many, many days that I felt like giving up. Ultimately, I nursed my son until he was 23 months old. Nursing did get easier with time, but it was really hard at first. We were BOTH new at it, after all.

So my advice to you is to take it one day at a time. I used to wake up each day promising myself to breastfeed for that day only -- the next day was all new. It relieved the pressure tremendously. Trying to relax is easier said than done, but it will do a lot to put you and your daughter at ease.

Also, if you know that your daughter is going to jerk her head back at the end of her feelings, try to anticipate when she's nearly finished nursing and take her off the breast yourself. You might also try giving your daughter pumped breast milk or perhaps one bottle of formula per day, so that you can get some additional rest for a week or so. You sound like you're utterly exhausted. Try to pump while your husband gives your daughter a bottle and save the expressed milk for a nightly feeding. Ask your husband to get up for one nightly feeding so that you can sleep for a longer stretch of time. It's amazing how much perspective you can gain when you've gotten some sleep. Hang in there!

Your daughter is blessed to have a mother who wants to do what's best for her. Whatever decision you make, it'll be what's right for you and her. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty, and don't beat yourself up, okay? I hope this helps.

A little about me:

I am a mother to a 9-year-old son and an 18-month-old daughter; I work from home part-time. My husband and I have been married for almost 13 years.

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C.V.

answers from New York on

Hi J.,

It sounds like you are dealing with alot right now! It also sounds like breastfeeding is very important to you, but you need to find a way to better enjoy your nursing relationship. My advice would be to call you local la leche league leader and ask if she or someone on her team could consult with you. She may be able to come right over or have you to her house. Additionally, you could reach out to a professional lactation consultant. If you'd like to contact me offline, I might be able to help you find a great one in your area. Another great resource is mothering.com's discussion boards. They have several boards related to breastfeeding, and might get better anwers from moms on that board.
Sending light and love,
C.
[email protected]____.com

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J.C.

answers from New York on

Hi J.,

Whatever you decide is ok--it's whatever works for you and your baby and makes for a happy duo. That being said, it's possible that she's pulling and arching because your production is high and your flow is strong, which does 2 things: it overwhelms her and it gives her mostly foremilk, which is gassy. I had this issue, and it took a little time to resolve, but the advice I got from a lactation consultant was to feed only on one side, that way you slow production and the baby gets the hindmilk, which is where most of the nutrition and less of the gassiness is. It is very odd when you're used to emptying both sides each feeding, but your body will adjust faster than you'd think. The other component is that your daughter needs to learn that she's not going to be gagged every time she eats, and that will come with repetitive feedings this way. Whatever you do, do NOT pump off or relieve the other breast in any way--you must wait until the next feeding (if you want to pump off a little right at the start of the feeding just to slow the flow a little, you can do that, but not much and try to taper that done asap).
Good luck!
J.

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