The Great Debate (Breastfeeding from the Breast Vs. the Pump)

Updated on November 11, 2010
V.W. asks from Rush City, MN
53 answers

I have been struggling with this question all day...

Since I had my son on Friday breastfeeding has been... Not my favorite thing. I know it always starts out rough, and I know I'm not the only one who has hated it.

I don't know how to tell if each breast is (I know he's getting plenty from the amount of diapers he goes through, but my breasts still seem like they have more milk in them when he's done)
I can't get my son to feed in any position except one but I know that if I don't I can get mastitis (Which doesn't sound fun)
When I have managed to get him to feed in a different position, I hated it because it wasn't as comfortable for me
I hate the idea of breast feeding in public (I have nothing against other people doing it, it just isn't for me) so when I take him out I can't be out for too long because I don't want to starve him

Yesterday I was begging my mom to call the insurance company to see if they covered a breast pump (They do) so I could just pump my milk and give it to him in a bottle. Today, however, things seem to have gone much better (Granted I didn't have to go anywhere). My breasts actually get soft for a while in between feedings (Before today they were constantly hard even after he fed). I still can't get him to feed in more than one position. Now I'm starting to think that I'll miss actually breastfeeding him.

So... Do you lovely women have any advice for me on how to:

1) Know that I'm doing it right and emptying each breast
2) Get my son to feed in more than one position
3) Enjoy feeding my son in more than one position

What can I do next?

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answers from Minneapolis on

I saw a lactaton consultant with my third child. There was one at the hospital I delivered at. The woman was so nice and extremely helpful! I just wish I would have gone with my other two kids! Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I never heard that you need to use more than one position - use the one that is comfortable for you. I only fed my daughter from one breast per feeding. This way it was "emptied" as much as possible. This worked for us for 11 months!

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answers from Eugene on

Congratulations on the new baby! First, your baby is brand, brand new--it take a few days to be able to nurse them in "different positions." I've never heard the "feed in more than one position rule" to avoid mastitis. I only fed my son in one position for awhile till we learned to nurse laying down (highly, highly recommend this)...but I didn't have any problems with mastitis etc. I don't think that the position has much to do with mastitis. I can almost promise you that that in couple of weeks that the engorgement will be all gone. I also wouldn't worry about how to know if your breast is empty--just look to your baby--when he stops sucking on one side you can assume it's empty. I had my second baby a week ago and while I breastfed my last for a year I can't believe how much I'm freaking out about everything (again!). I would highly recommend finding a good lactation consultant or LLL to answer all your questions and to give you some solid support. Breastfeeding is hard work in the beginning (I think), but it does get much, much easier...

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answers from Davenport on

Ok, first of all, you are doing fine!!! People make you think this breastfeeding thing is so natural and should just magically be perfect, but it is askill you have to persist at to be able to learn, BUT IT IS WORTH IT, keep it up!!!

Many of the things you are worried about are issues that are really non-issues! Breastfeeding has a learning curve, mentally and physically, for you AND your boobs, AND the baby!!! Four or five days is not long enough to master it at all! Give yourself and your baby TIME to learn about each other, and what works best for you both!

#1. MYTH - you DO NOT have to EMPTY each breast at each feeding! (especailly right now at the very beginning, it is totally normal to have some engorgement when your milk first comes in, while your body adjusts to his demand) You let the baby eat as much as he wants, leave him on the first breast until he stops on his own, don't switch heim at some pre-designated time, and then let him try on the other breast when he has unlatched from the first one on his own! If he doens't nurse form the other brest, or not much, make sure to start on that side then next feeding - I used to wear a braclet on my wrist and at the end of nursing put it on the side I needed to start with the next time - so I would remember in my sleep deprived state! Your breasts will ADJUST naturally, to what he needs, and get used to it, it will take a while. Don't make the mistake of pumping them dry each time, you will end up with oversupply issues, most likely, because you will be pumping more than he would drink, and then when you do try to nurse him, he will get flooded out, or get all foremilk and not much of the fattier/filling hindmilk.

#2/3. MYTHs. Everyone is different, but I nursed my 2 children, for 9 months each, and never used much of anything but the cradle hold ( across your lap, head in the crook of your elbow on the side they are nursing from). I NEVER got mastitis....some things I did do to make sure of this, I massaged my breasts, with my opposite hand, as the baby was nursing, I would push/rub downward from the top of the breast toward the nipple, all the way around, especially on the sides where their little gums and lips weren't massaging - concentrating on any milk ducts that seemed harder or fuller than the rest. I did try the football hold some, but didn't really like it, just couldn't get us comfortable. My first daughter did have some relux, so we did some weird positions, occassionally, with her kind of sitting up between my legs and leaning over to give her the breast, UNCOMFORTABLE for me, she seemed fine...LOL!

Yes, breastfeedding in public CAN be uncomfortable, because people in our Country are RUDE and think breasts are sexual...DUMB, not you , but those people. I was never really able to BF in public much either, because even as newborns, my kids would NOT eat with a drape over them, they would scream and cray and flail their arms and I would end up with a breast hanging out as I tried to comfort and calm the baby and get myself somewhat covered! If I HAD to feed while out, I would just make sure to wear a bigger shirt, with a nursing tank underneath, and just expose the very smallest part of my breast as possible - the baby covers most of it, and with the nursing tanks ( Target has them for good preices) your belly is always covered and then just pull the over-shirt over the top part of the breast, down to the baby's face.

When it was just too public of a place or too many people, we would just go sit in the car and do it, less distractions for the baby that way anyway. Unfortunately the answer to this is really just to mostly stay home, and if you need to go out, make it YOU time, and let someone watch the baby at home with a pumped milk bottle on hand for him, it will be good for you and the baby to do this. Or if you HAVE to , like taking the baby to the doctor, then try to bring some pumped milk with you, in a bottle for him. In a few more months he will be able to go 4 or so hours between feedings, and then you will get more of your life back, for now, nursing is a round-the clock committment, and that is part of the deal.

Also, I do reccommend having a pump, for those times you need it. But for me, personally, pumping full time instead of nursing form the breast is 2 times as much work! I only pumped when I HAD to. With full time pumping, you still will have the time for pumping as if you were nursing, but then add on the extra time for feeding it to the baby in the bottle, for cleaning and sterilizing bottles and pump parts, and warming milk, etc. Once you get the hang of it, nursing straight from the breast is really much easier!

My two were bottle resistant, and the only ones they liked were the MAM bottles, they have a flatter nipple, like a human nipple feels in their mouth, and they are anti-colic/gas, and self sterilizing, now! Just a tip for the time when you do start doing bottles: I got mine at Target .com, and in person at Baby Depot - even bought a few off eBay.

So, like i said, it will all come in time, keep woking at it, you don't have to empty both breasts at each feed, and you don't HAVE to do more than one position, do what works!

Good Luck!

Here is a great website that helped me trouble shoot alot of my issues when learning to breastfeed my babies:


2 moms found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

Totally unpopular answer I am going to give, but here goes...
Breastfeeding is amazing, healthy, and wonderful...for SOME people. It is simply awful for others.
First, it takes about 2-3 (or more) weeks to adjust. Honestly, it can be harrowingly painful, embarassing, and awkward. You can do everything right and still have problems (nature of the beast). even worse (in my opinion). It is very hard to relax enough to "let down." So, unless you are just really lucky...if you think breastfeeding is bad, try attaching awkward plastic capsule to yourself, listening to the rhythmic wale or hum of a machine, and taking twice as much time with 1/2 the results. Believe me...unless you do it right, and can truly will sit forever, nipples aching, comparing your pump to medieval torture devices.

My this point breastfeed in ANY way that is confortable for you. The first few weeks you just have to "get through it" adjustment-wise. Once you get the hang of latching, emptying both sides, regular flow...all will be fine. It does get better and more natural...though, I am with you on the whole public thing (not my thing!!!).

The most important thing to remember is this (again going to get slack) - Breastfeeding is NOT for everyone. If you can do it...great. If not, don't beat yourself up - in the grand scheme of things you and your baby will be fine no matter what choice you make. As my lactation consultant repeatedly told me - even one day of breastfeeding is better than none, so do what you can or what works, and move on. Formula has many benefits, also. Do not let yourself be know what is right for you and your baby.

Hard breasts means you aren't letting down (engorged)...honestly for many...that is the hardest part (it does take time). Some people never quite master the fine art of relaxing enough to let down. Pumping makes that even worse. The more you think about it or pressure yourself to breastfeed, the worse it becomes.

Also, on going out...Bring some wet wipes, wipe down the seat in a handicap stall and feed in privacy. It worked great for me. I took as much time as I want, felt secure and secluded enough, and could go anywhere (used to make a couple dashes to the restroom during MN Wild hockey games). Last thing I wanted on the "jumbotron" was a veiny oversized aereola shot!!

You will be takes time...and if it still isn't working cut your losses, try a few types of formula, and rest easy...all will be fine!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

He's THREE DAYS old.
How long did it take you to learn algebra?
How long did it take you to fill out your college applications?
THREE DAYS is not enough time to learn
whether something is easy or hard.
And it DOES get easier.
As for changing positions . . .
with a little experimentation, you can find numerous positions
that will be comfortable for both of you.
Have you spoken to a lactation consultant?
Some of the discomfort may be from insufficient latching on.
Keep on keepin' on.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Just do both. Pumping will give you the freedom to go out and bring bottles with you as well as letting daddy and others help out and give you a break. I've also never heard that feeding in only one position will give you mastitis so I really wouldn't worry about that. Congratulations on your little guy!!!

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answers from Gainesville on

Hi V.! Congratulations on your new baby boy!

I had to pump for 12 weeks for my preemie son before he learned to nurse and I can tell you if you are able to nurse him-go that route! It is a lot of work to pump exclusively. I was able to nurse my daughter right off the bat and it was like a totally different world for me.

I want to address your concerns:

I can tell you from my experiences (nursed mine 16 and 20 months respectively) that you would miss nursing him. It's an amazing experience that you just can't have with a pump.

Your son isn't even a week old so what is going on today won't be going on 2 months from now.

1-When he pops off that breast, he is done with it. Breastfed babies have the amazing ability to eat what they need when they need it! When he pops off burp him well and put him to the other breast.

Your breasts may not feel "soft" between sessions for a while. If you massage them during nursing right now it could cause your let-down to be too fast for little man. Massaging during pumping is a great idea but not usually needed for regular nursing. For the next 6 weeks or so he will be regulating your supply. There are time when he might nurse like crazy and other sessions where he won't nurse much. That's ok! He will be telling your body how to make just enough for his needs.

Follow his lead! That is the best thing you can do with a breastfed baby.

2-Don't worry about getting him in more than one position right now. That will come. He is trying to learn about this great, big, over whelming new world right now and the position he likes for nursing may be similar to how he was nestled when he was still in utero. That's all he knows and that's what provides comfort to him right now. Being a new baby is stressful!

3-Again, this will come. Your body has just been through a lot and you are adjusting to a lot having your little man home!

See if there is a breastfeeding support group or a moms group in your area. My moms group was a life-line with my little ones when I lived in a town with no family near by.

As far as nursing in public-I nurse my kids anywhere, anytime, at any age and never once had anyone look at me, pay any attention to me or ask me to move. Never! I really think the idea of nursing in public, to some moms, is harder than actually doing it! Once you get the hang of it at home, it will be easy and very easy to do discreetly. Get a Hooter Hider or some other form of pretty cover-up and test drive it at a mom-friendly location like the play area at the mall or library story time. You'll be surprised at yourself and how easy it is. I also found wearing a nursing tank under my shirts in the early days made me feel better that none of my skin was showing.

The absolute best advice I can give you is to be confident in your ability to feed your baby! Follow his lead and you won't go wrong. No matter how crazy his lead might seem at the time. Breastfed babies will do all kinds of things to make you wonder lol-start nursing like crazy (growth spurt), start nursing for what seems like every 30 minutes in the evening time (tanking up on the fatty hind milk-this is usually a signal they are going to try to sleep for longer stretches Yeah!). Martha Seas has a good breastfeeding book with all the basics. I referred back to it many times.

Best to you and baby! Keep up the good work Mom!

Just wanted to add that we tried the nursing from one side and my son wasn't gaining weight well doing that. While he didn't "act" hungry after just one side I learned, once I realized he wasn't gaining weight, that if I put him to the second side he would nurse. He was my preemie though so he had a lot to learn along with mom lol!

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answers from Tampa on

Get a boppy or similar pillow - they help with positioning fatigue in the Mom when they use different nursing positions.

Do not get too stressed over whether you empty your breasts or not... your breasts will NEVER empty, simply because they are not meant to. Nurse one breast per feeding to make sure they get the hydrating foremilk and the fat and protein rich hindmilk. Next session, switch to the other breast.

Your newborn may not like some certain positions yet because his body isn't as connected to yours or he feels like you may drop him or have him slip. That may not be the case on your side, but the baby's first needs are safety, food and comfort/warmth from Mom's body.

Give it a few weeks, and if your nipples hurt - GET A IBCLC OR CLC!! Nursing should NOT hurt, your nipples do not have to roughen up. After the month mark, you'll be like a pro... just in time for the first growth spurt!! Don't second guess your body - it's designed for this and knows what to do. When growth spurts occur, the baby will cluster feed and you will feel like you aren't producing enough. That is not true. The baby MUST cluster feed to send messages to your brain to produce more milk. It's like priming an engine before you start, that's all.

Good luck and I know you'll do great - just keep it up! You may even start to feel more comfortable getting a sling and nursing in public when no one will know about it!

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answers from Duluth on

I've breast fed two for a total of 43 months, and honestly, you can't ever empty a breast completely--there will always be more there; that's how your body accommodates a growing baby! Also, your baby is less than a week old, and your body is still trying hard to figure out exactly how much milk to make. Your breasts will settle down in the next week, most likely, and you'll be more comfortable. Keep feeding him what he seems to need, and chances are very, very good that you and he will be fine with that. I never fed either of my babies in alternate positions. I couldn't figure out the football hold or anything like that...wait...I take that back...I did feed my babies on my side in bed at night, but that was when they got a little older--3-4 months, probably, when they could lie on their sides, too. I had one clogged milk duct, but no mastitis, and all I ever did was the cradle hold in front of me. Lastly, my sister is VERY very modest, and I (who am pretty pro-breastfeeding) was concerned that her modesty would turn her off to nursing--because she likes and needs to go out and about, and they had twins. Turns out she's thrown that modesty out the window...not because she's no longer modest, but just she seems to see feeding her kids as completely different from wanting to be modest in public. took her a few weeks to get there; she did not nurse in public for the first month, and when she finally tried it, she did it with her husband, her sister (me) and my husband and kids all kinda surrounding her so that she was less obvious. Now she's pro. I'd really encourage you to give it at least 4-6 weeks to see how you feel then about nursing. I had horrible anxiety nursing my first--I felt claustrophobic and closed in, because he was so dependent on ME and I hated it. But it passed, especially when I realized that he was not going to nurse like that (every 2 hours, for about 45-60 minutes at a time) a matter of fact, that intense "I need to nurse ALL THE TIME" thing only lasted until he and I got in sync and he got better at nursing--about 2 weeks. Also, I was the type to be either one way or the other--if I'd done formula at all, I would have done it all formula, so I was very anti-formula...could you introduce formula for going out? Pumping is an even better option, but I know it's work intensive for some, especially if you are going to work at all, too.

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answers from San Antonio on

First let me commend you on choosing to breastfeed and not giving up! Also let me be totally honest-it's hard and it can take a LONG time to get used to it and comfortable with it. Not the day or two they seem to imply at the hospital, but sometimes, months!

If your breasts feel full, I would recommend nursing at the breast and then pumping for 10-15 minutes afterward to completely empty out. Nursing the baby at the breast is all part of the experience and will create a bond that is unbreakable. At first it's new for your both and difficult to get comfortable, but over time, you'll find positions you both like and it will become a very relaxing and tender time between your and your baby, don't give that up!

As far as changing the positions, you just have to keep working at it. My son was impossible at first, would only nurse in the football hold and even with the boppy, my back just ached. I had to slowly teach him that he could nurse in any position, it took probably 4-5 months to really get this.

Same with enjoying the positions, overtime, you get to know one another, you will anticipate what the baby needs and wants and it will become more natural.

The biggest thing with breastfeeding is that it takes time, practice, and lots of patience. It doesn't hurt to pump at all, just combine the two. Nurse at the breast for the full benefit and pump to clear out and maintain amounts and store any excess. I had a similar problem with going out, not that I didn't want to nurse in public, but that those around me (extended family, friends) were really bothered and stupid me always accommodates other people, so I would use a bottle or supplement...which if perfectly fine if that's what you are comfortable with. Or get a cover if you like, that works well too.

Just stick with it, I promise it's get easier, better, all of it. I wanted to give up so many times, but I was determined and committed and here we are at 22 months, still it's not impossible.
Blessings to you and your baby!

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answers from Austin on

"1) Know that I'm doing it right and emptying each breast" If his latch is good it won't hurt and you'll hear him swallow after a few seconds of hard fast sucks. He's bringing the milk down and it can take a little bit, but if he's swallowing he's getting milk. Breastfed babies will likely poop after every feed, if his stools are "seedy" mustard color then he's getting what he needs. The fact that your breasts feel soft are a great indicator that he's emptying them, in these first few weeks he'll be determining his needs so it's important that he nurse on demand. Staying home the first few weeks as much as possible is a good idea, but definitely get outside for a walk or a short trip to get fresh air and a break from being inside. After about 6 weeks you'll have breastfeeding down and then you can predict when you'll need to feed. I would nurse in the car because I also don't like to nurse in public, bring a pillow and a blanket to cover and you're good to go.
"2) Get my son to feed in more than one position" What position are you using? I used the "football hold" at the beginning because I had c-sections and it was a great position. Side laying to nurse is one that will take a while to learn, but the important thing is to get comfortable and bring the baby to the breast (use lots of pillows if necessary) don't bring the breast to baby because you'll nurse better if you're comfortable.
"3) Enjoy feeding my son in more than one position" Just takes time and pretty much goes with what I said above. is a great resource for breatfeeding mothers, here's a link to the latching/positions page.

Enjoy your newborn, the first few months go by so fast! Keep up the great work and Congratulations on your son!

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answers from San Diego on

I have nursed 3 children. My first until he was almost 3-through my pregnancy with #2 and for a couple months after my second was born, my second until he was almost 5 and my third is 17 months and going strong.
The best 2 books I recommend every breastfeeding mother have on their table next to them after having a new baby are:
The Breastfeeding Book by Dr Sears
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
3 wonderful web pages are:
Dr Sears
La Leche League International
The first few weeks are the hardest as everyone is adjusting and you're recovering. But it does get better very soon. Don't get discouraged. You can do it!
To answer concerns you have directly. In the first week you're going to get engorgement as your milk comes in. Breastfeeding is supply and demand. You baby triggers your breasts to make as much as it needs. In the beginning your body has no idea how much that's going to be and over does it. You'll find it coming and going in the first couple months as baby goes through growth spurts, thus needing more milk. Just nurse baby, alternating sides each feeding and your body will adjust as needed. If you start pumping too early you're more likely going to end up making too much milk and have more engorgement and you can actually end up with mastitis from that. If you're getting enough dirty diapers then you're making enough milk whether your breasts are hard or soft. They will get softer as your body starts making just the right amount of milk. Does not mean you're not making actually means you're making just the right amount. If your baby is coming off the breast content or falling asleep contently at the breast you also know that he's getting enough to eat.
Changing positions..3 kids later and nearly 10 years of almost constant nursing and I never use all those "holds". It's never caused mastitis. They all empty the breast just fine in the one and only way I hold them, which is pretty much what's traditionally called the "cradle hold". I've had mastitis a couple times but it was for other reasons and not until my third (I got really distracted and didn't notice and take care of a couple plugged ducts after illness when she was little).
Nursing in public. In the first couple weeks I had one of those covers everyone talks about. My son and I hated it to bits! It was all fussy to put on and he didn't like being covered ever. I would use it when certain people came to visit in the first couple weeks as I felt I was being politer that way but the fighting was so heartbreaking with my son. I did not use it when we had no visitors or with certain visitors that were good with it. You can nurse discreetly and no one will even know. I do it all the time now. I've nursed at Disneyland getting on and off rides even. Practice. Get a nice nursing bra and some slightly looser shirts that you can lift from the bottom and you're good to go. society has made something that is so natural and normal into something so dirty that people should be ashamed of. It's disgusting and a real disservice to our children.
I have never pumped a single time with any of my children. Never needed or wanted to. It can be done.
Congratulations on your new son. You're going to do just fine! :)

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Congrats on your son! It was hard and painful to breastfeed in the beginning but it gets easier as time goes on. I was so uncertain in the beginning, but like you said, I knew my son was getting enough based on diapers. My son loved to fall asleep at the breast so I felt like I nursed him 24 hours a day. I thought for certain something was wrong but he kept thriving. He just needed me as his pacifier. As for the empty feeling, I don't think you would notice that just yet since your milk just came in, your gonna fill up right away!
I don't think this was the most popular way to nurse, but the way I did it was empty an entire breast in one feeding and then start him on the other breast the next feeding. Sometimes that would end up hurting some, but it wasn't long before he was nursing again in the beginning anyway. That was just easiest for me.
As your son gets older, you can try lying down on your bed and nursing him that way. Check out a book from your library, or look on Kellymom, or LeLecheLeague and they will probably have some helpful information reguarding positions. The cradle hold always worked best for me.

I never pumped because I am a stay at home mom and it was really just too much of a hassle to pump. If I needed to nurse my son while I was out and about, I would do it in the car, a dressing room, etc. But I really would just feed my son and then jet out the door and get whatever I needed done and get back to feed him quickly. In the first 6 months or so I usually could be out for an hour or so before I had to get home.

It will get easier as time goes on. I weaned my son at 15 months old and occasionally I miss that bonding. Good luck. See if there are any support groups in your area. I actually went to one that the hospital held and I felt very reassured after I went.


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answers from Minneapolis on

You're right in that is does continue to easier and more comfortable for both you and baby as time goes on. But while you are trying ot figure out what works best for both of you, why not do both, the pump and the breast? When you know you want to be out for a couple hours, pump a couple bottles and take them with you. Check with La Lache, Ameda or Medela, but if I remember correctly, freshly pupmed milk stays good for, I think, around 6-8 hours. Good luck and keep up the good work!! P.S. The Boppy pillow was also a life saver for me. It takes a tremendous amount of pressure/strain off of you, particularly your lower back, and makes feeding so much easier.



answers from Minneapolis on

1. Some books really emphasize only feeding from one side per feeding in order to ensure this "emptying breast." Thing.
2. You could gently massage your breast while he feeds. That will help with mastitis and decrease the need to get him to fo multiple positions. My LO is 13 months and has never changed positions. We found comfort and went for it!
Lastly, public BFing, you have a nursing cover, right? I never loved nursing in public either, so often I would run back to the car if we were out. Then we could both relax. Otherwise I was too tense about teh whole situation. Just an idea.



answers from New York on

I never switch positions and I have not had mastitis. Just think if you pump and feed then it will double your time feeding. Noone even looks at me when I am feeding my 5 month old son. I have a cover I use sometimes but not every time. You don't have to empty each breast just make sure you let baby eat until they are done. If he is not crying and fussing then he is satisfied. You might be overthinking it. I really recommend you find a La Leche League in your area.



answers from San Francisco on

You have lots of great responses.

"1) Know that I'm doing it right and emptying each breast"

you will know by how your chest feels and that pins and needles feeling will be less dramatic as time goes on.

"2) Get my son to feed in more than one position"

as others have mentioned it really doesn't matter as long as you try to alternate breasts so you don't end up in pain.

I nursed my first child for 2.5 years and I am currently nursing my 13 month old. My first didn't latch until she was 4 months old and it was a looooong 4 months because pumping exclusively is a great deal of work. It is so much easier not to have to pump at all. No bottles to carry around, no feeling like a milk cow.
I did use the pump to take some of the engorgement away in the first month but I just froze the milk in case I needed it (never did but better safe than sorry). After that my body had adjusted to the baby so the pump just sits in the closet.
As for nursing in public, yup, do it all the time but I am discreet about it. However, it really does depend where you live and how tolerant people around you are...I don't think I would do it if I was surrounded by people that made it a big deal.
Nursing tanks are the best- glamour mom makes really nice ones.

Good luck with your newborn!!!



answers from Los Angeles on

I have never heard of the different position thing - I only fed both my kids in one position EVER, it was the only one I could do, I have inverted nipples and breastfeeding was hard for me - though I kept it up for 7 months.
Just feed with the one breast until he comes off himself, then at the next feeding switch over to the other one. your milk supply will wax and wane according to how much he feeds.
you have only just had your regular milk supply after colostrum, so it will take another week or two for supply and demand to really kick in.
just feed in the position your comfy in.
and use a boppy!



answers from Minneapolis on

Is your son peeing and pooping? Does he seem content after feeding? Then you are doing it right! :)

My daughter couldn't figure out what she needed to do to latch on so we just fed in one position for months. She got enough.

When she couldn't figure out what to do it took herculean efforts to breastfeed--every two hours! I was in despair. My husband told me to give up. I said to myself, "Women all over the world are doing this--it has to work, somehow!" I wound up breast-feeding for 14 months (tapering down in later months) and I am prouder of that than anything else I have ever accomplished.

Please don't give up! You can do it! Get support from La Leche League, as others advise, or, if you can afford it, a post-partum doula for a little bit (I can recommend one). It is a work in progress. Gradually he will get into a routine, it won't be so physically uncomfortable and as he becomes more mobile, you guys will naturally move into a different position.

All the best to you both!



answers from Minneapolis on

Don't worry about changing positions. I breastfed by daughter for 18 months and only ever used one position. It never caused any problems for us. If you find a position that's comfortable for you, I think it's ok to just stick with it.

Give breastfeeding a little more time, it can be rough at the beginning, but it will get lots easier and even enjoyable. Pumping is a lot of work (I had to pump during the day when I went back to work) and it's also a lot harder to maintain a good supply. I'm afraid if you switch to just pumping you'll soon switch to formula. But occasional pumping so you have some bottles to feed when you're out and about or when you're away from you baby is a great way to make breastfeeding work.

Good luck!



answers from Duluth on

Nursing consultant or La Leche League would be a big help. Be sure he gets the whole aureola in his mouth, not just the nipple. If he is latched just on the nipple, that hurts! Put a finger in the corner of his mouth to pop him off and reposition his mouth. If my breasts were too full to allow that to happen, I hand expressed some milk before starting nursing. It softens up the breasts and you are ready to nurse!



answers from Omaha on

WOW! I read this and it brought back memories of me at home with my babies - I had so many of the same questions!! I lived for my lactation consultant - she was really helpful!

I breastfed both my boys. The older one for 4 months with a huge mix of breast, pumped and formula - things just didn't work out with him to exclusively breastfeed, but I liked the bonding time so I kept trying. He's now a happy and healthy 5 year old. My younger son I breastfed for 6 months, but had pumped up enough of a supply that he didn't have formula until he was 9 months old.

I remember having that "full" feeling for the first few days - it was almost like my body needed to get itself figured out and figure out how much milk my boys needed. After those first few days the feeling of fullness started to subside.

I never could get the different holds figured out and fed both my boys in one position for a total of 10 months and didn't get mastitis - my line of thinking was that this was a time for us to bond and we couldn't do that if we weren't comfortable :)

I also just couldn't bear the thought of breastfeeding in public - I think it's a great thing for women who do feel comfortable doing it, I just couldn't. I did however find out where "bf friendly" stores were that had private areas with couches and gliders for women to bf and made sure to plan my errand running around those places :)

Wishing you the best of luck and congratulations on your new son :)



answers from Atlanta on

I wasn't able to 100% breastfeed or breastfeed successfully for longer than 4 months. I always had to supplement. People can say what they want to, but some women simply do not produce enough milk -no matter what! In your case, you should call your hospital or OB's office and get the number of a lactation consultant. They can even come to your house and help you out with breastfeeding. You can also talk to them about when the optimum time to start pumping would be. Every woman I know who succesfully breastfed (and myself because it was the only way I could keep any milk going) has pumped. You hear of nipple confusion, but my boys never had it. I know many women with a good supply who enjoy pumping, freezing and then having surplus in supply. It's also fantastic to pump so Dad or someone else can feed the baby in the middle of the night! And it takes care of feeding in public, BUT you will have to do something with your breastmilk. Your breasts are going to fill up whether you're in public or not!


answers from Huntsville on

You do what is best for you, but I will give you my advice as a full time son and I only latched when he 'missed' me...becuase we had such bad latch problems in the hospital. It wasn't until I went back to work that we actually start latching at night. BUT, I pumped all the time and it wasn't bad. He got what he needed and I was able to establish a supply in my freezer. He is 6 months old, I have weaned from the pump and I have milk to last at least 3 more months.

I do know that you do not HAVE to feed in more than one position but it does help empty your breast completely. Becuase even with pumping you dont empty all your ducts.

You do what is best for you and your baby, Momma you are doing well!!



answers from Green Bay on

I just wanted to commend you for choosing to breastfeed and/or pump! Honestly the hardest part of having a newborn was the nursing, even though it was the most rewarding. It does get a little better, but it takes a lot of time & it is still a "hassle". I did get a little jealous of those that could just pack up and go with their little one, and just simply make a bottle when he was hungry. SO easy! But I really, really did miss the bonding/experience when it was over, even though things were so much easier.

And, like others have said, I never used different positions with my daughter. Just the normal cradle hold for both sides. No football hold or anything else. And I didn't get mastitis either. I did find it quite hard to keep things on a good schedule with nursing & pumping, since newborns really just feed whenever they want. Then out of the blue they'll sleep 5 or 6 hours at night, or wouldn't drain me good & I'd be hard as a rock & leaking all over. Or I would wake up knowing I was too full, but how much do you pump to release some but leave enough for the baby to nurse? LOL. Seeing as how you really just gave birth, I hope you hang in there for a bit and hopefully things will get better! Don't worry so much about the diff. positions, just do what's comfortable for you & your baby. Just keep in mind that that time does really pass so fast & before you know it, he'll be a toddler ;-) Try to enjoy it if you can. Good luck!!



answers from Chicago on

No one actually discusses how hard breastfeeding is. it is hard. It took me three months with my first before it got easy. With my second, however, it took like 2 seconds. Because of how easy it does become, I highly suggest you keep at it. The pump is a pain in the *** if you ask me. Breasfeeding is so...nice and cuddly. I cried for a week when I stopped breastfeeding my daughter. My son will soon wean and I am sure I will break down then too. You truly will never be as close to your child as when they cuddle against you in that matter.

Go to a LLL meeting. Get support, but give it a real try. It gets easier, and then you have nothing to worry about, you can just grab your kid and feed him --no supplies, nothing to wash, etc.



answers from Duluth on

well, i guess theres no way of KNOWING that your breasts are empty; because your breasts are ALWAYS making milk.

you have a baby who is less than a week old. you are tired. he is new at EVERYTHING: breathing on his own, having to feel hunger, having to suck to eat, the ENTIRE existence of him is brand new. hes not even a week old. give him a chance. give him some time. give yourself some time. you are only a few days in. its normal common and expected to be at this point wondering what on earth is going on.

you will get to feed in different positions soon. just do what you can do now to get your baby nursing. the more he does it the easier it will be to learn to do it in different ways. the first month is the learning period, and some moms/babies take longer than that too. you need to breathe, relax, and just nurse nurse nurse.

i will tell you right now, you dont want to do the pump thing. you just dont want to do it. you need to be establishing your milk supply, you need to be making sure hes doing the stimulating (the pump wont do it as well, if at all). also with pumping you can run into the issue of not getting enough of the hindmilk, which is fattier, which can cause a lot of issues for him like gassiness, fussiness, green stool, almost diarhea like stool, etc.

you can pump once a day if you feel you have to. this will help you to have a bottles worth to take with you out in public. im sorry that you feel afraid to nurse in public. the one thing i did when i had to nurse in public was to wrap a blanket around my stomach (to eliminate shown skin there) and keep my shirt down as low as possible, and i just turned my back to "public" or went to a low traffic area. sometimes that was the family bathroom, other times it was the back corner of a store, sometimes it was the dressing rooms, whatever. nursing in public isnt the horror some people think it is, and when you close yourself off to comment (by focusing on your baby, not the people around you, or just turn your back completely) then you are good to go. no one ever said a word to me about nursing my son, and i nursed him for 20 months. :)

what you can do is contact a local or nearby la leche league. search for a group near you, and contact the leader. she will have real mom tested advice for you, or maybe a book that will help

but the number one thing to remember right now is that you are both new at this. its hardly been a week yet. keep up the good work nursing him, even if you dont think its working. breastmilk is determined by demand, so if you feel you have too much, dont worry, his nursing will let your body know how much to make. in a couple weeks he will have a growth spurt, and he will catch up to what you are making. if you are pumping it off, you wont give your body a chance to determine supply by your baby's demand. dont worry so much, you are doing the best possible thing you can for your baby, and you are new at it! give yourself and your baby a chance. you will likely miss breastfeeding him, but if you just keep at it, you will NOT regret a thing. :) :)

*HUG* its not easy to be a new mom, and breastfeeding doesnt come easy either. but if you just keep it up for at least a month or so, you will find it does become the easy, beautiful thing we all say it is. :) :) dont hesitate to contact me if you have to talk, or whatever. and get ahold of a la leche league. ;)!!



answers from New York on

Hi Mama-

Congrats on the Baby Boy!! How wonderful. Also, congrats on taking the steps to ask questions about BFing. I will not lie to you, it is not an easy task but it sounds like you are starting to get the hang of it. I would recommend holding out a bit longer. That said, on to your questions...

1a) You are feeding Baby correctly if he is not hungry, having wet diapers and in general seems content between feedings. Right now, this might be hard to determine since he probably passes out after feeding (or at least, mine always did!)

1b) How to tell if you are enptying each breast? This one is a bit harder. Baby's tunny is really small right now so this may not be occurring. It usually took my kiddos (I have 2 with 1 on the way) till about 6 or 8 weeks to do that for me so, I would pump. Some mamas have told me this is not good, that I should allow my body to self-regulate based on baby's needs, which you can do, but I am a working Mom and need that surplus milk to freeze for future use. I would let the baby nurse till content/full and then either finish the breasts off (in order to really drain them and capture the "hind-milk) or if the baby only feeds on one side, I would drain the other completely. When I would do this - feed one side and pump the other, I would then start the baby with the side I pumped off. The baby is way more efficient than the pump could ever be.

2) Feeding positions are a partially preference, partially technical (IMO). I have always nursed the baby the same way and never had a problem. For me, the most comfortable has always been in a chair with the BreastFriend pillow snapped around my wasit and baby laying on the pillow. I could roll the baby towards my belly and control the head movements more easily when I wasn't trying to balance the baby's whole body. This mimics a cradle hold. The only time I used a different hold - a football hold - was when they were tiny tiny (like a week or less till about 2 or so as then they became too heavy and long for me to "tuck" into place). I do favor laying in bed too but I am not sure this counts as a "different" position.

3) Not sure I can help with the positioning aspect (see above), but to enjoy nursing in general, don't let others judge you and what you are able to do. Also, relax, especially when doing the actual BFing. Make the time special - a special nook, a special CD/music, whatever and just enjoy them being tiny. It does not last forever.

Feel free to ask me any other questions and lots of luck.



answers from Madison on

I wouldn't worry too much about different positions. I've never heard that mastitis is caused by only feeding in one. I would advise that if you don't feel that your breasts have been completely emptied after a feeding, that would be a good time to pump. Good luck! I know that it can be frustrating if things don't seem to be going the way you thought, but try to relax and enjoy the bonding time with your son. It really does end all too quickly.



answers from Dallas on

Congrats on the baby!!

I breastfed in only the cradle position becuase that is what felt good for me and the baby nursed better that way. We nursed exclusively for 11 months this way - and no infections. As for the breastfeeding in public thing - invest in a nice cover up - makes it much easier.



answers from Rochester on

Don't stress about trying to nurse in more than one position. Both of my babies were c-section and I could only nurse in one position. I never had any problems. If you massage your breast while you are nursing that will also help to get the milk out. If my breasts still felt full after I has nursed, I would pump a little. You can freeze your milk and then use it for bottles when you so go out. Find what works for you. A lot of what the "experts" told me about breastfeeding just didn't work for me. Once I found what worked I was much happier and so were my babies. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

First, make sure if you are going to pump that you get a really good quality pump (like Medela), so your breasts are stimulated enough for milk production (baby sucking from your breast naturally produces a stronger response than pumping does). Second, check out La Leche League for more support.


answers from Minneapolis on

V., I see you already have a lot of responses and I didn't read through them all, but I just wanted to encourage you not to stop. It can be challenging to get a rhythm going, but it is SO worth it! It took 5 weeks before things started to get easy with my son and I nursed him for a year. My daughter nursed well from the beginning and we are 10 months in so far.

I know new moms worry about everything, but I would just keep doing what you're doing and don't worry about it. Your milk supply will adjust the more you nurse your baby. And there is no need to nurse in different positions. I never do.

If you're able to nurse successfully and you enjoy it, don't quit. It is so much extra work to pump and then bottle feed. I pump while I'm at work and I hate it. I would much rather be holding my daughter and experiencing that wonderful bond between us. And it's so much faster!

As far as nursing in public, I agree, it's not really for me either. But I've never let it stop me from going anywhere. I just feed in the car. She's done in a few minutes and it's not a problem. Things are very new right now, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you both will become. I highly encourage you to continue breastfeeding for as long as you can. You won't regret it. Good luck!




answers from Milwaukee on

If you're up for it, I'd give yourself at least 3-4 weeks before you decide to stop/pump only. This has been my advice to all my friends who are trying breastfeeding for the first time. I nursed each of my kids for 12 months, and the first 3 weeks or so are tough, but it's so worth it. Once you get the hang of it, it's easier and faster than pumping and then giving a bottle. Also, a pump can't empty you out as well as the baby can. At first they don't eat a whole lot in one feeding so you always feel full, but as they get bigger that gets better. I never nursed in more than one position, and I never had a problem with mastitis or anything like that. I've never heard that you need to nurse in more than one position.

I was never really comfortable nursing in public either, but I was always able to find somewhere a little private to go when I needed to, even if it was in the car.

Good luck to you, and congratulations!



answers from Boise on

1. You can feed on just one side at each feeding, or if you need to pump after feeding if you need some relief. You are so new to this your breast need to get used to how much your son needs, so that will get better.

2 & 3. I haven't had mastitis before, and feed in one position. I tried others, but can't say it made any difference. I would suggest a breastfeeding group from your local hospital. The lactation consultants should be able to help with that.

For feeding outside the can go back to the car if you need to. Also, a hooter hider is great, and so is either a nursing top, or a Blush topless shirt, to help hide the belly so that you can be more comfortable.


1. You can feed on just one side at each feeding, or if you need to pump after feeding if you need some relief. You are so new to this your breast need to get used to how much your son needs, so that will get better.

2 & 3. I haven't had mastitis before, and feed in one position. I tried others, but can't say it made any difference. I would suggest a breastfeeding group from your local hospital. The lactation consultants should be able to help with that.

For feeding outside the can go back to the car if you need to. Also, a hooter hider is great, and so is either a nursing top, or a Blush topless shirt, to help hide the belly so that you can be more comfortable.



answers from Milwaukee on

I haven't read the other responses, but here are my two cents. I nursed my daughter for 2 1/2 years pretty much only in the cradle position (occasionally side lying); no mastitis. My son is now 1 1/2 weeks old, only nursed in the cradle position. Position doesn't give you an infection.

You are still new to breastfeeding; in the early weeks your breasts are trying to figure out how much milk to produce. So, they tend to overproduce at first to make sure the baby is getting enough. By 6 weeks, you, the baby, and your breasts have it pretty well figured out, and you should notice that your breasts don't feel so full. If he's wetting enough diapers (and pooping enough), you are doing it correctly!

If you are still concerned, contact a lactation consultant. They can help rest your fears. Please remember that breastfeeding, especially the first time, takes about 40 days to master. It's a learning process for you AND the baby. But it's so worth it.

Congrats and best wishes!



answers from Minneapolis on

Don't worry about the postitioning - I always have used the same position and have never had an infection. I do like to lay down once in a while just to change it up and cuddle more so you should try that. When laying down, put your arm up under your head or pillow so you're not laying on it. You'll know that you're giving him enough milk if he contiues to gain weight. Please stick with breastfeeding for two more weeks before you decide to pump. Pumping gets old real quick and ultimately takes twice as long to feed. The first couple of weeks are hard but if you stick with it, you'll be glad you did.



answers from Minneapolis on

No, you're not going to get mastitis if you only feed him in one position! I fed both my sons in the exact same position every time, the first for 17 months and the second for 13 months, and never got mastitis. One thing that really helped me was massaging the breast while they're feeding. That empties it quicker and prevents clogged ducts. It sounds like a weird thing to do, but it really helps. And the pain and discomfort will go away!!! Breastfeeding was never my favorite thing to do either, but it gets soooo much better, after just a couple of weeks. It takes longer with the first one (but I was dismayed to find out it hurts like the dickens with the second too!) Definitely if you're not already using it, lanolin on those things as soon as you're done nursing, and then nursing pads (because you don't want lanolin all over your clothes!)



answers from Fort Smith on

I would breast feed him as long as possible. It will get easier and soon you'll be able to watch t.v. and not even know he's feeding, kidding of course. I would suggest that you go ahead and get the pump and use it a little between feedings. It will do 2 things. It will make you produce more milk which will be the best thing for when he starts feeding more, and also you can store it for when you need someone to watch him for a while and not have to give him formula.



answers from Minneapolis on

Congrats on the new baby! Give yourself and your baby some time to adjust to breastfeeding. It will get easier. Your milk just came in, so you will feel really full yet for a little while. Then your supply will adjust to baby's needs. I am assuming your hospital was Fairview Lakes, the Lactation Consultants name is Sheila. She is very helpful and knowledgeable. Give her a call. I used to work there. In answer to all three of your concerns, give it more time.
Take care,



answers from Omaha on

1) you can't make your son eat more than he is. At this age they eat if/when they're hungry. It will take a little time, but your body will adjust based on a supply and demand. You can also express just a little to ease discomfort if you want, or pump the rest and freeze it for future bottles or in case of emergency or anything like that. But if you pump to empty your breasts you will not make a lesser supply.
2.)I have 3 kids and none of mine have nursed in more than one position. I have never heard that NOT nursing in more than one position can cause mastitis. Just make sure if you get any hard spots on your breasts you massage them out as baby boy nurses.
3.) just enjoy this time. I always think it will get easier as it goes!



answers from Milwaukee on

Give it three weeks and I PROMISE it will get better!

These are all super common issues in the first few weeks and they do go away! Good for you for keeping it up. I had problems as well and got an infection and was ready to give up, but my mother said the magic words "THREE WEEKS" and I did and I am forever glad that I listened :)

You were engorged and now your body is regulating and that is why your breasts are getting softer. You and your baby will find better and easier positions as you both become more accustomed (I promise!). And you will feel like it is one of your greatest accomplishments when you breastfeed your child through his first year.

You can do it, Mama! You've already paved the way :)



answers from Duluth on

The first few weeks are rough. Your body will begin to adjust itself to your son;s feedign habits. Eventually it will produce the amount that he feeds & you will be empty. It take some time, be patient.

Changing positions is somthing can try later. Right now do what is comfortable for both of you. If later on you are both ok with it, try different positions. Remember if you BOTH are not comfortable it will not work. Comfort first. Some people don't/can't change positions, do not feel bad if you cannot. My son liked one position on the side & another on the left. After time & he grew some we were able to add new postions but he always had his favorite.

Keep it up, in the long run it is best for baby & mommy. Plus it is a time to bond like that you cannot experience any other way. Cherish it for as long as you can.

As for breastfeeding in public, that is a totally personal decision & again if you are not comfortable with it he will know this & be uncomfortable too. Just remember that, unless you become a hermit, there are times you will have to breastfeed in public places. Just try to relax as best you can & find a place where you can have some privacy both for your modisty & to keep baby from getting distracted. I became an expert at nursing in the car, which is surprisingly private even in a busy parking lot. Remember most back seat windows are tinted & hard to see into.

Good Luck & Bless you & your family!



answers from Lincoln on

Your insurance company also covers a breast feeding nurse that can show you exactly what is going wrong and what you are doing right.

When you start to breast feed, your body automatically produces much more milk than what is necessary because your body is different than your baby's. The fullness and hardness will now relax some as your body gets used to how much, or how little, your baby needs. There will be times over then next year that he will require more milk and times when he will be needing much less than what he is taking just now. Your body is made to adjust to that fluctuation, but there will be times when it will feel like he is sucking you dry and other times when you will "worry" that he must not be getting enough because there is so much left over. It always balances out in the end.

I commend you on your breastfeeding choice. Most moms either don't want the inconvenience or they try and find it too difficult and quit, but breastfeeding is the best thing for you and your baby. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks for both of you.

The breastfeeding coach your pediatrician recommends can help you with all three of your questions much better.



answers from Minneapolis on

Call the La Leche League, stat! They can send someone over to coach you and support you in breastfeeding, and help you with all three of your issues.

Note, however, that should you decide to stop breastfeeding, the LLL could be hostile, and will put lots of pressure on you to continue.



answers from Lexington on

Congrats on the new baby!!! It does get easier!! For the first 2 to 3 weeks I nursed exclusively. Then I pulled out the pump and introduced the bottle. Once they took to the bottle, I would pump during the day (unless it was more convenient to nurse them during the day) and nurse only at night. You can start to stockpile and freeze the milk for future use. This worked for me with all 3 of my babies! And one more awesome reason to keep at it, you loose that weight very quickly!!! Good luck to you!!



answers from Tampa on

Possibly, I am seconding some others. I breastfed my son for 19 months. This was my experience. In the very beginning I had a ton of milk...I was never empty but eventually your body adjusts to how much your baby consumes and makes less. I was only comfortable bf'ing in the cross cradle position in the beginning. The football hold, for example, always felt extremely odd to me. I never had mastitis and until this post, never even heard of nursing in one position contributing to it. Eventually, I discovered how easy it was to lay down on my side beside him and let him nurse that way. I napped with him a few times from this position and often thought I wish I would have thought to try this position early on when an hour of sleep was such a luxury. Unlike most of the BF’ing mothers, I too, never nursed in public. Like you, others can if they want but it was not for me. I took a bottle of pumped milk with me when we were out. Others will tell you this may harm your supply (skipping a nursing session/not pumping during that window). I am sure it is something to consider but I was lucky and did not have this issue in the very early months.

#1) If your child has enough wet diapers each day, you know he is getting enough (I think it was 10-12 that young but I am sure you can find that out for sure elsewhere). Don’t worry about how full your breasts feel. This is actually a great time to stock pile pumped milk in your freezer.

#2 and #3) Feed in the one position that you both like and don’t worry about adding other positions.

Good luck and enjoy your new little one.



answers from Stationed Overseas on

As for what works for me, I only pump either when I feel as though I have to or when I want to freeze the milk. It took me awhile to adjust too. I've always told all my friends to give it at least 2 months to adjust. I also don't buy the "many positions" theory...we choose what works. I was always told that as long as you are emptying your breast you should be fine...if your not that may be a different story. Proper breast care is also ESSENTIAL! If you use pads change them often, keep the breasts clean and don't use soap, etc. I would DEFINITELY contact a lactation consultant. We have one attached to our hospital and it is completely FREE. She even came to our home for a one-on-one session. They are on hand for any and all questions/concerns and can help you find what will work best for you. I hope this helps. If not, I hope you do find something or someone who can help you. This can be such a beautiful bonding experience and I know that it became even more important, for me, after my second pregnancy. (I didn't attach immediately with the new baby as I did my was devastating at the time but given all the time we spent together from nursing that soon changed. Just means a lot to me to have had that opportunity.) I wish you the best!!!!



answers from Milwaukee on

I'm sure you already have tons of great advice posted. I just wanted to say that every breast feeding experience is different and it WILL get easier! Please talk to a lactation consultant, and best of luck!!!



answers from Minneapolis on

You are doing great! First – it takes a few weeks or more for your milk supply to establish itself, so you may actually have more milk than your son needs. After your boobs get used to how much he needs, your supply will level off so that you only have the amount of milk he needs. Also – don’t worry too much about mastitis. I always nursed my kids in a cradle hold. Always, always. (Except at night when they lay next to me). I never gave any thought to changing-up my nursing position, and never got mastitis. You don’t need one more thing “to do” or “to keep in mind”!! RELAX and trust your intuition and common sense!! If you are breastfeeding him regularly and often, you won’t get mastitis. Mastitis is more common in 2nd time moms who have a toddler to chase around and can’t sit down as often or as long to breastfeed as much as demanded or needed.

Also – know that the feeling of breastfeeding will get more comfortable. The first couple weeks it CAN be painful (even though you always hear that it shouldn’t painful). My experience after 2 kids and LOTS of breastfeeding is that the first couple weeks was a bit painful as my nipples got used to the new latch and as I got used to the feeling of let-down. That initial tingling feeling on letdown can actually be sort of painful at first! That, too, will feel less dramatic over time.

Also know that there is nothing wrong with exclusively pumping. It is just as nourishing for your son as breastfeeding from the breast. Know, too, that it isn’t an “either/or”… Work out a rhythm where you breastfeed him at home and bottle-feed him your expressed milk when you are out in public. Some babies take some getting used to using both a bottle and a breast, but most babies will eventually be able to drink from both a bottle and a breast without trouble. Expect it may be a little difficult at first, but certainly achievable. Breastflow bottles by FirstYears are highly recommended as a bottle for babies who are also breastfed. I think Tommee Tippee (sp??) is another brand recommended for breastfed babies. Both have a nipple that resembles the shape of a breast, and Breastflow uses a technology that mimics the suction/compression method of breastfeeding.

ALSO- while your son is still such a newborn, it may seem you are nursing him every 20 minutes or more! But in a few weeks or less, you will notice your son develop his own feeding schedule, which likely will mean he wants to nurse every 2-3 hours – enough time for you to go out shopping on a few errands without expecting that you will have to nurse him in public.

Craigslist is a great place to find gently used breastpumps for dramatically cheaper than you would find new, and they are generally every bit as good. Get a Medela pump-in-style. ESPECIALLY if you will be exclusively pumping. But if your insurance will cover the full cost of the pump, treat yourself to a new one! =)

Good luck and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by all the “should” and “should not” information out there!! Much of it is useful and helpful, but let it be just one more “tool” at your disposal – not something that paralyzes you into not trusting yourself and your son’s unique signals. Cave women were able to raise their babies without any “What to Expect” books at all. Trust your instincts and when in doubt, ask yourself “What would a cave woman do?” That has served me very well in my own motherhood journey so far…



answers from Madison on

I'm sorry to say I don't have much advice on your specific questions, except to say that they sound pretty typical for someone with a <1 week old. For example, having lots of milk is totally normal at first... your body is trying to figure out how much it is supposed to make, and lucky for your baby it is more than enough right now. Actually, it sounds like you are doing really great for just starting out, and congratulations and good for you for doing this for your baby!!! I would say to really give breastfeeding a solid 6 -8 weeks before you give up (assuming you really want to breastfeed). At that point, don't beat yourself up if you can't hack it. But the one thing I would really tell you is to not stop nursing thinking you will pump and bottlefeed. It is SO much more work to pump and bottlefeed. Like, 3x as much - instead of just nursing, you are now pumping, bottlefeeding, washing your pump. Seriously... that is so much work, and thinking about the sleep deprivation and lifestyle changes with my first newborn... well, it just exhausts me to think of it. And once you start bottlefeeding regularly, your baby is going to prefer that bottle (faster flow) and there is no going back. And you will want to, believe me.



answers from Los Angeles on

I just want to add that you sound EXACTLY like myself when I started nursing each of my daughters. With my first baby, I made it to 4 1/2 months and detested nursing the whole way- for all of the reasons you mentioned- I was uncomfortable nursing in public, couldn't tell if she was getting enough, and due to my large chest, I never felt like I could get the right position. On top of that- I had perpetually sore nipples.
I changed my tune for my second baby- I told myself I wanted to commit to 6 months. And the beginning for me was the same, all of the same issues came up but I persevered. I went to a lactation specialist and she weighed the baby before and after the feeding and told me that she was getting "plenty." That put my mind to ease about emptying my breasts. She told me I didn't need to nurse in public if it wasn't for me. So I found my way around it- pumped, nursed at home or went into the car with the A/C on. Something greatly shifted around 4 months- nursing became easy and enjoyable. I stopped pumping and became comfortable to nurse her anywhere I was. I began to read her cues of when she was full from a feeding. I also always nurse her in the same position every time. My baby is almost 9 months now and we are going has been such a good experience. I told you my story b/c I understand the conflict of struggling with nursing but feeling like something is missing with just pumping. There is nothing wrong with pumping- your baby will still get the benefits of breast milk but as it seems- you want the benefits of the mother/child contact.
Hope you can hang in there- and I am sure you will pass the hump of the difficult early stage and feel more pleasure from nursing as time goes on. Congrats on your new baby and good luck!

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