Should I Try Breast Feeding Again?

Updated on September 15, 2013
H.S. asks from Harrison, MI
24 answers

I am expecting baby number three, so you would think that I would know the answer to this right off the bat, but obviously, I don't.

Should I try to breast feed when my son is born? With my oldest child, my son Elijah, I was bound and determined to breast feed. I borrowed a pump from a friend (just got clean hoses and stuff like that) so when I returned to work, he could still get fed. Well, he had a bowel movement before he was born so the doctors had to suction him out quickly, and on top of that, he was born around 9:35 in the morning, my former in-laws arrived five minutes before that and did not leave until nearly 9 that night leaving me about 20 minutes alone time with my new son. He never wanted to latch on, and to keep him fed and me somewhat sane, I bottle fed him.

My second child, my lone girl in the bunch latched on right away. I did not call my former in-laws until she had been here for a few hours, only my parents who knew not to overstay their welcome saw her when she was only minutes old. My mother was in the delivery room, my father showed up ten minutes after she was born. I nursed my daughter for four months before I started having issues with milk production. I could nurse her for an hour, she would fall asleep and fall off. I would put her to bed and she would be up 20 minutes later, just screaming. She would latch on again, but only for about ten minutes and then stop sucking and fall off. After four months of being woken up every 20 minutes, I switched her exclusively to a bottle and was able to get sleep for a few hours at a time.

Now, six years later, part of me wants to nurse my new baby, who is due in January, because my daughter and I have a much stronger bond then my son and I do, and I think part of that was from nursing, but at the same time, I have two other children, a wonderful boyfriend (hopefully soon to be fiancee) and a house to take care of. None of which, can I do on just three hours of non-consecutive sleep a night. Do I try nursing again, at least during the day and bottle feed in the evening and night to help him sleep better, or do I just do 100% formula or 100% breast milk. I want what is best for the baby, for me and for the entire family.

Please no judgments, I know a lot of people are very adamant about breast feeding, I just want judgement free opinions.

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So What Happened?

I started out nursing, and it was horribly painful at first. He latched properly, but was like a Kirby vacuum. Sadly, despite him nursing for 45 minutes with a 20 minute break between feedings, he was not getting enough milk, and while he gained weight, and went over his birth weight, it took him 2 weeks to do so and it was only an ounce over. His doc put him on a high calorie formula to get his weight up. I still pump a few times a day, but only get a half ounce at the end of the day, but its better then nothing, right?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

If you start out breastfeeding, you can always decide it's not for you and switch to formula. But if you start on formula, and then decide a month later you wish you had breastfed, you've missed the chance.

So, I say go into it with breastfeeding in mind and give it a chance.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

First of all, bottle fed babies bond perfectly. No different than a breast fed baby. Sounds like you want to bottle feed. If so do it. Nothing wrong with it. You really have to be committed to breast feeding and it does not sound like you are. If you line up 10 babies, trust me, you cannot pick,out who is bottle fed and who is breasted. They all grow up to be happy healthy. Holden.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Third times a charm! That's how it worked with me anyway. My first I ended up bottlefeeding because I just could not get breastfeeding to work for me. My second breastfed for six months. I had to supplement with formula from the beginning because she was born a little early and so small. My third NEVER took a bottle, totally refused and breastfed for 22 months (a little longer than I anticipated but that's how it worked out). I would just try it and see how it goes. Good luck and congrats!

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answers from Phoenix on

I don't think it hurts to try. If it works, awesome! If it doesn't, then atleast you won't have regrets about not trying. I exclusively breast fed my 3 for many reasons. But the biggest motivators were the bonding experience, they say breast milk is better, it is free, and finally, all of mine refused the bottle. Good luck! And congrats!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding. I was able to successfully breastfeed all 4 of mine. The keys to successful breastfeeding is to relax with your baby, watch your diet, and get plenty of rest.
By watching your diet you need to be very careful in the first couple of months. I found if a food gave me gas it gave the baby gas, and they would wake up screaming from gas pains. Because the baby is so tiny they think any tummy pain is hunger so they want to eat again. You have to get the baby to burp sometimes 2-3 times at each feeding and between breasts. So feed on one side -- change diaper -- burp -- other side -- burp again. Because breast milk so easily digested they are often hungry more often than a formula baby.
One other benefit from breastfeeding is the hormones your body secretes to produce milk help to tighten up the uterus.

Good luck I know this is a very personal choice.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Well, the first milk out, the colostrum, is the healthiest, so at least nurse the first few days. And who knows, it might work out for you this time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I don't see any harm in trying. I wasn't able with my first (after a week or so of trying and failing and lots of tears from everyone and lots of bleeding from me) and I'm going to at least try with my second, hopefully soon to be conceived baby. I figure that formula worked great with my daughter, so if we end up deciding that breastfeeding isn't right for our family the second time around, I know that formula will be fine with the next one.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Bottle-fed / formula-fed babies bond just fine with their parents. Just look at adopted and fostered children. Ours will both be adopted in the near future through foster care ... Both were neglected early in their little lives. The oldest is nearly 3 and well attached / bonded with both my husband and I, as well as our extended family. He came to use at 5 weeks. The youngest is nearly 4 months ... She came a month ago and is already bonding well. Both formula / bottle fed.

If you can breastfeed, great. If not, please don't worry about the lack of bonding with your child. That will happen just through meeting baby's needs every time. Trust me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I see you have a ton of responses already but my 2 cents is simply to try. I had production issues with my first and was on all kinds of natural/herbal supplements and specialty teas and decided with my second, I wasn't going to press so hard if the production just wasn't enough. Lots of pills and teas along with non-stop pumping, then traditional feedings at night and in the a.m. got to be taxing. I lasted 5.5 months with my first and am 10 weeks into it with #2 but still shooting for the 6 week mark. I certainly believe it is the best thing you can do for your little one and to give it a try I think is the worth it. If it doesn't work,you won't go through the thoughts of "I should've at least tried".

2nd, the one thing that made me laugh was the in-laws at the hospital remark. When our second was born we only told my parents (mom & Stepdad) because they were watching our 1st and I went into labor around midnight so they kind of had to know. I didn't call my in-laws until about 7:30 the next morning (#2 was born quickly!) and my Dad & step mom until almost lunch time! While I know they are proud and excited, their ability to acknowledge boundaries escapes them during these times. HAHA!

Last thing, I would NEVER let anyone interfere with the feeding and bonding time.Tell them, ya gotta go, its boobie time! :o)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

My first baby did not latch and never nursed - my second latched in the OR and didn't unlatch for what felt like decades but was only 18 months:) He loved to eat! I highly recommend for information on breastfeeding if you want to give it a try. Even though you nursed your daughter, I would suggest that you read up on it again ahead of time so that you can have the best start possible.

It sounds like maybe your daughter didn't latch well so she wasn't getting the hind milk to get herself full. My son who nursed would nurse for 20-30 minutes and then sleep 2-3 hours. I had to sleep in those hours but it was manageable.

So my advice would be to try. Every baby is different. I have done both and I think it is so much easier and convenient to nurse if you are going to be with the baby. No bottles to wash, no formula to make - just unsnap and nurse. I learned to nurse wherever, whenever. I did cover up when my son was a newborn and then when he would pull whatever shawl, blanket, gauze, etc I was using to cover him up off - I just grinned and bared it:) If you want to try nursing, know that you have to nurse on demand for it to work - that means nursing 24/7. Consider getting a cosleeper at first so that you can nurse in bed and then just place baby in cosleeper until next feeding. I used to sleep while my son nursed - it would actually make me so relaxed that I fell asleep.

You will need to have a supportive partner and children to nurse. Educate them about nursing and your needs and then try. Fortunately, my husband remembered to tell the people in the OR to NOT bath the baby and NOT wash me so that we had that initial skin to skin time and baby had the very important mommy scent telling him what to do.

Call some lactation consultants and have at least one or two phone numbers on hand at the hospital in case you have trouble latching. You need to get help in the first couple of days - if you want to nurse. So you need these lactation consultants on hand immediately. You can have them come to the hospital - you don't have to restrict yourself to anything on the hospital staff.

IF your baby doesn't latch well and you decide it is too hard, you don't have to nurse. Remember that with a newborn, some things stop. Let your house go - it won't matter if things don't get done for 8-12 weeks. Your children will have to slow down as you shouldn't expose your newborn to EVERYTHING in the first few weeks. It is just part of expanding your family. Good luck! C.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You should Try. My first nursed well, my second I ending up pumping and bottling her.

My first, I would nurse for 15 mins each side, then pump for ten. for the first few weeks. After that I had a beautiful supply.

I was fortunate enough to breast feed both until 1 year old. You never know unless you try..

Good luck, and congratulations.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

Give it a go! Have some formula on hand if you need it, but don't stress out about it. I nursed my son for almost 5 mos. My daughter, only 4 weeks due to horrible mastitis that ended up being mrsa. The drugs I had to take to fight off the infection were VERY strong, and I had to take them for a couple of months. So I had to switch to formula. They thrived on either breast or formula. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
Play it by ear, and do what works for you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I would definitely try again. Even if you only do 4 months that would still be great. And now you have more help so you don't have to shoulder it all alone.

and tell the nurses ahead of time to kick people out of your room if you don't want them there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Try nursing and see how it goes. If it isn't working for you, switch to formula. Changing your mind is perfectly okay. Do what works best for you and your family and ignore anyone who tries to make you feel guilty for your choice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Give it a shot! Put your foot down about those first hours with the new baby. This will be the only time you have for that first, one-on-one bonding, so cherish that quiet alone time! You probably have some tricks up your sleeve from breastfeed two others, but don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Contact your local La Leche League. They have lots of moms with about a million tips for any possible challenge, just ask! Don't stress about it now. And definitely don't wed yourself to a schedule right now. Committing to 50/50, or 100% anything, or whatever is just setting yourself up for disappointment. Start out breastfeeding, see how it goes and for how long, use the resources available to you, and go from there.



answers from Dallas on

Go for it. Find a lactation consultant that you like, one who is pro-breastfeeding but not anti-formula. I had one and she was great. I got shingles right after I had him and it screwed things up. It took 3 months to get back on track, but then I nursed till he was 2.5 years old.

Re. the family - you need to get them all on board now about ALL of you taking care of the home. It should not be all your job, newborn or not. There is no guarantee that bottle feeding will help the baby sleep - their stomachs are small and they wake when they wake. Every baby's sleep habits are different.

Every baby's personality is different. Don't tie up breastfeeding/bottle feeding with the differing bonds you have with your kids. My MIL breastfed 2 out of 3 of her children and each relationship is completely different.

Don't assume you'll have the same breastfeeding experience with the new baby. Every child is different. Breastfeed as long as you can to get the most out of the nutrients and immunities in your breastmilk. There are some awesome co-sleeping cribs out there, where the baby is in the crib, but it's basically attached to the bed - you can roll over and nurse without getting out of bed.



answers from Phoenix on

If you want to breastfeed, be sure to schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant within a week of delivery. She will help you and answer questions about maintaining milk supply. I nursed my daughter until she was 15 months old (she weaned herself) and I hope to nurse my son for at least that time as well. Ultimately do what works best for your family (feeding your baby with love is the most important) but I can say from personal experience that breastfeeding was the most joyous decision I made in those early days of motherhood. Good luck!


answers from Santa Fe on

I had a really hard time with breastfeeding. It takes forever for my milk to come in. My first born had a hard time getting a good latch and I did not know what I was doing! Luckily I had some great lactation consultants who came to my house every other day. I had to pump in between feedings and supplement with formula for 4 months with my first baby. It was exhausting. At 6 months I quit when I my milk started drying up rather than start pumping again...mostly bc I was just exhausted and gave up! With my second again my milk was slow to come in. She was great at latching on and was hungry but again I just didn't have milk. I gave up after 6 weeks. Someone told me it is rare, but maybe I don't have many milk ducts or something like that. Anyway, to answer your question, I say YES! Give it a try again! Get a lactation consultant to help you. I had the most wonderful woman who could answer all my questions...we are friends to this day. Maybe this time it'll go well. It's worth a try. If I were to have a 3rd baby I would definitely try again. Good luck! I have my fingers crossed for you! :)



answers from Detroit on

I say you should give it a try. there is nothing wrong with trying and deciding that it doesn't work for you.

with my almost 7 year old, I wasn't able to nurse. I tried, but failed miserably. it was painful, it was stressful, and I didn't know anything about taking care of myself so I could take care of my baby. my second son was born late last month and I am nursing him successfully. I had s breast reduction at 18 years old and at 32, when I am able to get my son to latch and nurse. and put on weight, I cannot describe the joy I feel.

if it works long term for us, great, but if it doesn't I'll try to pump and give him expressed milk.

so, try it. if it works, great. if it doesn't, don't beat yourself up about it.



answers from Washington DC on

Why not try? And make it a family goal. Your older kids are 6+ years old. They can do things. Like get their own breakfast, get their clothes on, find their own shoes. They can understand that you only got 4 hours of sleep and are cranky mommy so please, please just do x and y without whining. And BF? He can pitch in, too. Even if you don't use a bottle, he can ride the herd while you get a power nap. Nothing says a man can't change a diaper, bathe a baby, play with or hold a child. My BIL slings babies like an old pro, when before his son was born he acted like they were alien beings.

So, twofold. 1. Get informed, maybe go to the lactation center in advance for some tips and tricks and 2. make it KNOWN this is what you are doing and you will need help around the house/with the kids. My DH was my biggest supporter and I will forever be grateful for him waking up at 4:30AM, no questions asked to take the baby when I was so tired I was in tears. THAT was a baby issue, not a nursing issue.

Also, give yourself permission to not keep the same standards for a while. You know how hard it is to bathe and clean a house and all that in the first weeks after having a baby. So cut yourself some slack and see where they pick up. Maybe everyone will be surprised. (And maybe hire someone to clean once a month to help you.)

ETA: if you are concerned about being modest, try a bebe au lait shawl (they are big). I had 2 that I swapped. I just kept one nearby and whenever the stepkids were home I used it. I did it for ME since it was awkward for me to nurse DD with a teen SS in the house. Keep an eye out. They often have sales and they are good. Just hang dry vs using a dryer, IMO.



answers from Honolulu on

The thing is, you cannot predict... how it will be with THIS baby, per breastfeeding and how well or not a newborn sleeps.
Because, each baby is different.

I nursed both my kids.
My daughter would NOT take ANY bottles at all, of pumped milk, no matter how many bottles and nipples and brands, and methods, I tried.
My son however, would take a bottle. But then, he gradually ONLY wanted a bottle and got tired of nursing directly on breast. Sucking from a bottle is easier.
But both, had HUGE appetites, and I had ample milk production and they both were champions at latching on and nursing right away after birth.
And I nursed, on demand. Which means, day and night.
And that means, less sleep for me. But for me, that is a given with a baby. You do not get sleep, whether or not they are breastfed or bottle fed or Formula fed.
Newborns and babies, wake. It just is.
Bottle feeding at night does not mean a baby will sleep better or that it will make them sleep better at night.
And then there are other things like gas pains, or teething that can wake baby.

I nursed both my kids, but my son would take a bottle, and it did not affect any "bonding" I have with them.
Bonding with a child, does not result from whether or not you breastfed or if you used a bottle or not.



answers from Detroit on

From my perspective, breastfeeding was awesome b/c I lost all the baby weight with the 5 of them. I could FEEL the uterus contract as I breastfed, so I imagine bottle feeding would leave women with extra fat longer, and who wants that.

Bottle feeding is hard. You have to mix them and hold the bottle. I have 5 tiny ones plus the house so I had to breastfeed since it was easy. I'd always have a hand free. No mixing of anything. It was free beyond the extra produce, etc. I ate.

Bottle feeding (had to do it once while on meds for a weeks for a surgery issue) is a major PAIN at night. Nursing, you get much more quality sleep for sure. Pretty much I've nursed to age 2. But not just because it's easy. I truly think it's best for my baby, as in giving him/her the greatest shot at living to 100 and having a life free of disease (and no ear infections), plus all the intelligence benefits, etc. There are just so many, so it's been an easy choice for me. My one child only nursed until 10 months and I know he is compromised for it in the longterm (this was when I had surgery and he would not go back to breast).
My kids also don't get ear infections and we never go to the Dr. beyond well checks. So, happy mama!



answers from New York on

Absolutely try. There is never, ever any harm in trying.

I also really recommend working with a lactation consultant, and going to some La Leche League meetings, so you have a support network. The website Kellymom also has suggestions for just about every breastfeeding problem anyone has ever had.

And, since it sounds like modesty issues might have prevented you from breastfeeding in the past, I recommend investing in a nursing shawl and just in some loose, floppy t-shirts. The shawl has a weight on it that holds it to your shoulder, so you can tuck the baby under it and no one sees a thing. After a while, I found I could just as easily tuck my son's head under my t-shirt. He didn't mind a bit, and these shirts had the added benefit of covering the post-baby weight.



answers from Topeka on

I did not nurse my first two but decided to try with my third. He came early and was life flighted to a hospital different from the one I was in so I pumped and my husband brought the milk to him until I was discharged from hospital. I continued to pump b/c while he was in the NICU we had to know how many ounces he had at a time and it worked really well for us. I pumped for about 8 months. My older two just knew that Mommy was making bottles. My son was 7 so he kinda knew what was going on and my daughter at the time probably knew but never questioned it. I may get bashed for saying this, but I dont' feel like I am closer with my last one b/c I breastfed him. I feel I'm close with all my kids, just in different ways. Maybe it was b/c I exclusively pumped and not actually bf. The pumping worked for us though. Hubs could feed the baby while I got to do other things with the older ones. Good luck and do what works for your family.


I did not nurse my first two but decided to try with my third. He came early and was life flighted to a hospital different from the one I was in so I pumped and my husband brought the milk to him until I was discharged from hospital. I continued to pump b/c while he was in the NICU we had to know how many ounces he had at a time and it worked really well for us. I pumped for about 8 months. My older two just knew that Mommy was making bottles. My son was 7 so he kinda knew what was going on and my daughter at the time probably knew but never questioned it. I may get bashed for saying this, but I dont' feel like I am closer with my last one b/c I breastfed him. I feel I'm close with all my kids, just in different ways. Maybe it was b/c I exclusively pumped and not actually bf. The pumping worked for us though. Hubs could feed the baby while I got to do other things with the older ones. Good luck and do what works for your family.

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