June 2019 Moms

Breast Feeding Discussion

Let's talk breast feeding. All of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

STM feel free to share your experience and FTM ask any question you may have. 

This is just meant to be informative. So don't bring "breast is best" even if that is your stance. 

The most important thing to remember is Fed is Best, always! 

Re: Breast Feeding Discussion

  • This book is amazing. It helped me through all my trouble with BF. It is very informative and has everything you need to know in it. I still refer to it for holds with a newborn. 

    Also, I gave this book as a gift to a friend when she was pregnant with her 5th. She tried BF her first 4 babies and was never able to. **TW Her 5th baby spent 1.5 months in the NICU......Tw** and she nursed that baby for a year. 
  • Feel free to ask pumping questions here too! Especially for those who might think about exclusively pumping. I had to exclusively pump for 6 weeks since I had a NICU baby and I learned a lot from that short experience. (IE: ways to increase your supply, how often valves and tubing should be replaced, etc). 
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  • I breastfed my son and just want to say to the boppy was my best friend.
  • FTM here. Out of the gate plan is to attempt BF. I am planning to go back to work around the end of September so I dont want to be pumping at work. I figured 6 weeks BF is my goal then transition to formula. Anyone here make the switch after a few weeks? My concern is it being a troubling transition to bottles. Would it make more sense to pump and bottle feed to save the baby confusion?
  • @canuckbaby in my experience, after only 6 weeks, your newborn should take a bottle no problem. It’s generally only an issue if you want to go back and forth between bottle and breast those early weeks before breastfeeding is established. Those little buggers are smart. And after a few bottles they realize food comes faster that way. 
  • @meatballs37 good to know. We got a baby brezza to deal with formula after the BF window passes. My DH is wanting me to BF but after hearing how it could be a struggle (ie its not going to work if it takes me 2 months just to get a rhythm going) i think hes more open to it not being able to happen 
  • I struggled a lot with my 1st DD. She stopped nursing at 6.5 months (she had only been night nursing for a month or so at that point). I had to supplement with formula & I felt like a failure. I tried everything I could to boost my supply, but with having to work & her not nursing anymore, my supply tanked. I pumped until she turned 15 months (out of guilt) even though I was barely getting anything those last several months.

    My experience with my 2nd DD was much better. I was able to stay at home, so I could nurse her whenever she was hungry. And I made sure to pump as often as I could. I would give her a bottle before bed & she would sleep for 5-8 hours before waking for a feeding, which helped my mental state significantly. 

    I definitely want to BF this baby. But I'm willing to exclusively pump if that's what works best. 

    Good luck to all of you on your breastfeeding journeys! It's a challenging road, but it's so rewarding, too!
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  • ki1244ki1244 member
    edited November 2018
    My initial plan (who knows how long this will last) is to go exclusively bottle, whether that's pumping or formula. I know there are some sacrifices in that, but once Baby is about three months old, any help I had from DH is gone because that's when basketball season starts and realistically I don't know how much I can count on him. If bottles allow me to share even a little of the burden (he'll be up MUCH later than me so if he can handle a feeding in the 9-11 range I can get a few hours of sleep then, or if it's passing Baby off to another coach's wife at a game to have a bottle so my arms get a break) it's worth it to me. Plus that gives him a chance to spend some time with Baby and bond a little that way since he won't be around as much for other stuff during the day/evening (in season he's gone at 8am, and if he's home before 7 something is weird, 6 and sometimes 7 days a week). And being the delightful combo of an impatient perfectionist, I don't go crazy in the process.

    Edit: I'm obviously a FTM, so STM+, talk me out of this if I'm being naive or nuts.
  • Similar to @meatballs37, I had a nicu baby and he wouldn’t latch due to prematurity and a tongue tie. Nothing worked for his latch, countless Lactation consultants, a tongue tie revision, etc. So I exclusively pumped for a whopping 13 months. Happy to answer any questions.
  • BF seems like a mystery to me as a FTM. Not because I don't know what it is or how it works, but I'm not sure I understand what the challenges could be to doing it. My mom BF me and my brother and she supplemented with formula I believe, mostly for convenience. I plan to BF as well, especially for the first couple of months. Once I go back to work, I plan to pump while at work and send baby to daycare with those bottles. So here goes some of my dumb questions (I'm going with the assumption that baby comes to term and doesn't have physical challenges making latching diificult):
    1. Don't they try to have you breastfeed while you are at the hospital after giving birth? I thought they would have a lactation specialist come by to help (I think I read somewhere else on the board that there are good and bad ones so that could be a toss up of an experience). For those people who had challenges, do you feel like you left the hospital still having issues BFing? 
    2. How long does a pumping session take? 
    3. Do you try to exclusively BF for the first month or two before you let DH try with a bottle?
  • So I have written before about how bfing didnt work for my son and I. I never got a supply. My son only latched one time ever. Other than that I was trying to pump. One of the LCs in the hospital told me that she was no surprised I was struggling based on how far my breasts are apart and the fact that I had little to no growth during my pregnancy. Does anyone know if that is actually a thing? 
    My plan is to try again without ideally putting as much pressure on myself.

    @chrssyms- The hospital I delivered at told me that they had a nurse specially assigned to help you BF right after delivery to set you up for a good bf relationship. And that may be true if you give birth during the day but I gave birth at midnight and there was no one around. I tried to just stuff my boob in his mouth and hope for the best because I had no clue what I was doing. It didn't work out. The hospital I was at had 2 shifts worth of LCs but they had about 14 new mom rooms, apts that they made during the day for moms who had been discharged and they run BF support groups. So total I got about 15 mins per shift per day I was there. Every LC that I had told me to do everything different. I am hoping that I just had a bad experience and that everyone else's wasn't the same. I am delivering at a different hospital this time so I am hoping it is different. When I was pumping I pumped for about 20-30 mins (depending on time of day) every 3 hours. I got nothing out of my pumping sessions though. I 100% left the hospital having no clue what I was doing and tried to just wing it. 
  • chrssymschrssyms member
    edited November 2018
    @dntstpbelieveing well that scares me a bit. ha Maybe I will not rely on the hospital to necessarily help. I might ask my SIL because she said she had a good experience with the LC at her hospital. I will probably also get the book that was recommended above. I don't know if your breasts being far apart is actually a thing, but there are physical "symptoms" that suggest you could have glandular issues (from the little googling research I've done) that could impede milk production. It seems like one of those things where it could suggest a woman might have issues, but doesn't necessarily mean a woman would have issues. So for instance, the fact that you saw little to no breast growth during pregnancy, could be a physical symptom that could have indicated you would have challenges, but didn't necessarily mean you absolutely would. But I'm not a doctor and obviously not an expert. 
    Thanks for sharing your experience though, that's really helpful!

    Edit: Wanted to include this link to an article I was reading. I think a key takeaway is that you might get a lot of questions about "have you tried this?" which could be frustrating, but it's really well-intentioned. https://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/insufficient-glandular-tissue/
  • @ki1244 I will say exclusively bottle feeding is significantly easier with formula than with BM. Dealing with cleaning the pump parts in the middle of the night, plus the sheer time it takes to pump is a huge pain in the ass. Its significantly easier to just dump some formula in the bottle and have that be the end of it. Plus transportation of BM if you’re out and about can be more difficult as well. I exclusively pumped with DD because she was in the NICU and breastfeeding without the bottle was significantly easier. Definitely not impossible, just more complicated than exclusively bfing or formula feeding. Pumping moms amaze me. 
  • @chrssyms I am really hoping that my experience is just a shitty one from a local hospital and not the majority of what people encounter. I am just a big fan now of being over prepared. I will say that since my son was a month premature I did not get the benefits of going through BFing at the same time as my follow bmb girls but when they were going through it together they were a huge support for one another and the amount that they were able to assist/teach each other was awesome. I had not read any books or done any classes prior to my delivery because I was under the impression it was all natural and easy. Now I think people are nuts when they say it was easy. (though I also admit that I am not the most mothering/nurturing person so a lot of things have had a learning curve for me)
  • @dntstpbelieveing yeah I think I would have been in your boat of "it's natural and easy, right?" But this discussion thread has made me, not really worried, but just more interested in possibly asking more questions and maybe trying to get ahold of some resources to just feel a little more prepared. Best case scenario, it ends up being super easy, but if it's not, then I can feel confident and prepared and give myself a break. 
  • This is a great idea; thanks for starting the thread @emeraldcity603. I have a couple questions:
    —for those who pumped at work, how did you keep the milk cool for the rest of the day? We have pumping rooms here, so maybe there are refrigerators in there? I should investigate.

    —I think I’ve heard something about insurance renting pumps, which concerns me slightly for sanitary reasons, but I could have also made this up. Basically, how did you acquire yours and any brand recommendations?
  • @Bababatty I am a FTM, so I don't have any recommendations or experience, but I do know that my insurance will cover the cost 100% of a breast pump. So you might want to check with your insurance company to confirm that benefit, but it's probably purchased not rented. I don't think you get much of a choice of brand if you do it that way, but you do get a free one. 
  • @Bababatty I used a small cooler bag to store my pump parts and my milk during the day.  Unfortunately my school doesn't have a great setup for pumping, so I had to store everything in our regular fridge :/ As far as getting my pump, I went through insurance and got a free Medela Pump in Style Advanced.  I considered renting a hospital grade pump when my son was having a hard time latching, but I ended up not needing it.  I would definitely check with your insurance and see what they say!

    Some other thoughts:
    -I've always heard you can store your pump parts in the fridge between pumping if you don't have a chance to wash them every single time.
    -Definitely keep snacks by you for nursing/pumping!  I was constantly starving during that time.
    -It was super painful at first!  It took several weeks before I was able to BF without constant pain! After that, it got much easier!
    -I found that the lactation consultants at my hospital were very helpful.  After I left the hospital, my son was having a lot of trouble latching.  I was able to go in and meet with them, and they weighed him before and after he fed.  They were able to give me a lot of advice and encouragement.
    -I agree that not every baby has nipple confusion.  I had to start pumping when DS was about a week old because he had trouble latching.  We then tried to BF every single time before giving him a bottle.  When he was around 6 weeks he finally was able to consistently latch, but never had trouble going back and forth.
  • @carleym93 and @nmbrcrnchr1 Thanks for the feedback! Definitely something to consider there. My sister said roughly the same, that pumping was a PITA and just BFing was way easier with her DD (her son is adopted and so was entirely formula fed), and my BFF was exactly the opposite -- she exclusively pumped with both her kids, was religious about it for 5-6 months, and somehow that gave her enough of a supply to last their whole first year. I actually inherited her on-the-go pump, some hands-free contraption she used while dusting or folding or whatever, although even looking at it kind of freaks me out.

    Assuming things go the way we plan now, Kid #2 would be adopted so he/she would be exclusively on formula too (if we adopt an infant, still not sure if that will be the reality or not), so I have 0% problem going that way with this first one if that's what it comes down to (if it's good enough for one kid, it's good enough for both, AFAIC). I just figure breast milk is free and formula is not, so the less I have to spend on that, the better. I know single moms BF all the time and make it work -- and during basketball season I'm sort of a part-time single mom -- but that just seems like SUCH a nightmare. (But maybe pumping is worse?)
  • @ki1244 I don't think your plan is crazy, my only concern would be that sometimes pumping from the beginning can mess with your ability to regulate your supply and you may have oversupply (too much milk, which can lead to mastitis). But lots of moms exclusively pump, so I'm sure there is support out there to help you avoid oversupply. Just watch out for it.


    1. Don't they try to have you breastfeed while you are at the hospital after giving birth? I thought they would have a lactation specialist come by to help (I think I read somewhere else on the board that there are good and bad ones so that could be a toss up of an experience). For those people who had challenges, do you feel like you left the hospital still having issues BFing?   Yes, I had a lactation specialist come by. She was kind of helpful but a little gruff. 

    2. How long does a pumping session take? For me, 15-20 minutes. 

    3. Do you try to exclusively BF for the first month or two before you let DH try with a bottle? I've heard yes, for the reasons I stated above. Also, that first week of colostrum, it is REALLY thick like honey. It would seem difficult to pump but other moms in here who actually have experience pumping it could weight in better than me. Just my 2 cents.
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • tsa208tsa208 member
    edited November 2018
    I also second having plenty of nipple cream! I used Medela lanolin cream and it worked well for me. I literally had bleeding boobies at one point and I was like, wow, as long as I take to heal from anything, I won't be able to feed for a few days this is so painful. Put a little lanolin and I was back in business the next day. That stuff is miraculous.

    Also, if your hospital offers a breastfeeding basics class, take it. I thought I had read a lot, but the class itself was very, very helpful.
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • tsa208tsa208 member
    edited November 2018
    carleym93 said:

    BUT on the other hand, if you are struggling with bfing and the cost is your mental health and sanity, please please please don’t hesitate to make the switch. Formula is an amazing creation and there to help you. It is not worth the cost of your mental health and wellness. 
    I breastfed for 10 months, 5 months exclusively. I'm so happy I did it and I cannot wait to BF this baby that's on the way. That being said, pumping was very hard for me, and I went back to work at 4 months so I had to pump. I drove myself crazy trying to get every little drop I could, trying to avoid formula. The amount of stress on top of the stress from returning to work and having a newborn was just too much. When I finally started supplementing, it was SUCH a relief, such a weight off my shoulders. And you know what, my baby lived and thrived and is healthy lol of course! So while I really would recommend breastfeeding because of all of the benefits, please don't run yourself ragged if it's not working, or you just don't want to. A happy mom is a healthy mom and baby needs you happy and healthy more than anything!
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • @Bababatty every workplace is different but our “mothers room” as they call it has basically bathroom stalls with a table, chair, and outlets and then lockers to store your bag during the day, as well as a fridge and sink.

    someone above mentioned it but you can totally save time with not cleaning your pump parts after every session. I just wiped mine off and threw them in a ziplock baggie and put them in the fridge. Pump parts suck to wash, if you can strike a deal with your DH to help with that, DO IT! 😂 also but an extra set so you can have a spare if you don’t get a chance to wash them one night....or in case you forget them.

    oh and I forgot in my previous post, I got the Freemie cups to hook up to most pumps, they are more portable and i was able to pump in the car to and from work. I wouldn’t use them all the time as they weren’t as good as the flanges that came with the pump but they worked for on the go. I really wish someone would gift me the willow pump bc it looks amazing, but with this being my last baby I can’t justify the cost. 
  • Yes, I didn't wash my pump parts every time either. Think about it, your breastmilk can sit just fine in the bottle in the fridge, why can't it sit on your pump parts in the fridge? For the record, breastmilk can sit out in room temp for many hours (Mayo Clinic says 6, but I've seen up to 8) and still be fine, fwiw.

    And don't forget, Obamacare requires that your insurance cover a breast pump, and extra parts can be purchased with HSA money. I kept an extra set of parts in case I forgot to wash one night.
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • @Bababatty unfortunately my insurance was grandfathered in and was not required to supply me with a breast pump. I did rent one from the hospital but I had my own personal tubes and cup thingies. Those are the parts that touch you/your milk so you dont really want to share those. The only part that I returned was the base.
  • Bababatty said:
    This is a great idea; thanks for starting the thread @emeraldcity603. I have a couple questions:
    —for those who pumped at work, how did you keep the milk cool for the rest of the day? We have pumping rooms here, so maybe there are refrigerators in there? I should investigate.
    I used this Medela cooler bag, and the freezer pack in the middle will keep it cold for more than a day (I know, when I would bolt out of bed in the middle of the night because I forgot to put my milk up after work and it would still be super cold!)

    Image result for medela cooler bag


    Can hold up to 20 ounces, which is likely more than you'll need for a day.
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • My friend whose baby struggled with latching correctly told me to be on the lookout for gulping sounds. Her baby seemed to be breastfeeding but wasn’t getting anything because her latch wasn’t correct. So my friend thought she was feeding when she was just sucking. She was a FTM who didn’t know any better 
  • lots of good advice on here! From my experience, here are my tips/suggestions: 

    1) I originally used Lansinoh as nipple cream, never worked. I switched to Earth Mama, and a world of a difference, within days the pain went away. I got the advice from my Aug BMB. 
    2) Have a 1:1 lactation consultant appointment. The one on one attention was great, and she was able to coach me through two feeds, and from then on, DD latched and drank away.
    3) When storing breastmilk, I used the Lansinoh bags, they can freeze flat, save so much room in your freezer! 
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  • eleven_eleven_ member
    edited November 2018
    I also loved the Earth Mama nipple cream. All of the other nipple creams did nothing for me.

    I bought a breast pump with my first child and that thing was so slow. I really despised pumping so I tried renting a hospital grade pump with my second child. Best decision I ever made. I could pump the same amount of milk in half the time. Insurance covered the price of the rental so it worked out really well for us. 
    Me: 33 DH: 32
    DS:  March 2014
    DD: May 2015
    BFP: 12/24/17 CP: 1/2/18 @ 4w 3d
    BFP: 1/26/18 CP: 2/2/18 @ 4w 4d
    BFP: 5/16/18 MMC: 6/15/18 @ 7w 5d
    BFP: 9/25/18! EDD: 6/9/19 TEAM GREEN  <3 

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  • I breastfed both my kids for 18 months each. It was super hard at first. With my first kid she lost a pound after birth and it was scary. Breastfeeding was hard, but we got through the first bit with the help of a nipple shield and ultimately it worked. She ended up having MSPI, so I cut soy and dairy out of my diet and pumped like a mad woman at work. I found pumping while driving to and from work a good use of my time. I drank the tea, ate the oatmeal, and ate lactation cookies. It felt like a full time job. I nursed her until she outgrew the intolerance. 

    With my son it hurt so bad at the beginning. I thought my nipples would be tough because I had nursed my daughter so long, but I was wrong. After a couple weeks the pain went away and everything was easy. I nursed him the same amount of time because mom guilt. 

    I plan on nursing this time. I will say it is way easier when you stay at home and don’t have to wash pump parts everyday. My best friend did formula right away both times and her kids are amazing and it was way better for her mental health. 
  • I struggled with BF and ended up FF. I gave birth at midnight but a LC came in the next morning. Perhaps there was a latch issue, a tongue tie, or who knows. I felt the LC was super pushy about BF and just gave me a few holding positions. She kept pinching my nipples and said “see, you have milk”. But I felt like he was just sucking and nothing was there. I kept trying but DS seemed to not be connecting with me and was fussy every time I tried to feed. After 24ish hours of him losing more than 10% of his birth weight, the nurse didn’t fight me when I asked for formula. He drank so much. Kid was starving! I cried feeling like a failure and the worst mom (postpartum emotions didn’t help either!). I tried for 2 more weeks at home, but nothing worked. I was depressed. I thought about my sanity, my connection to this new person and decided it wasn’t worth it. I switched to formula and it was the best decision for me. My boobs weren’t even sore so I know my milk never even came in. I’ll give BF a shot again this time, but I’m fairly confident I’ll end up FF for my sanity again. I liked that I could sleep and DH could help me with night feedings.

    advice I want to pass on: I was FF and figured I’d FF my DS. But when I couldn’t make BF work, I was sad at my failure. It’s okay to be sad if you chose formula, but keep telling yourself fed is best. 
  • tsa208tsa208 member
    edited November 2018
    Also, can I shout out my breast pump, the Spectra S1? I had both it and the Medela Pump in Style and I liked the Spectra way better. It was very quiet unlike most pumps - I could pump in bed next to the baby and not wake her up AND it has a chargeable battery, so I could carry it around everywhere (or not worry about finding an outlet when out and about). The charge would last for hours and hours, so I only plugged it in once every couple of days.

    There is a Spectra S2 which does NOT have the chargeable battery, just FYI. I had a friend accidentally get the wrong one and kicked herself. Insurance covered the Spectra 2.

    Spectra S1

    @tuxielove93 agree with so much that you wrote. I co-slept a bit too. I'd put her to sleep in the bassinet next to me, but eventually pull her into bed when time to nurse, and then I'd doze back off letting her nurse. I also followed a lot of the same precautions, especially with the pillow. I was terrified of pillows when she was on the bed. I slept better, she slept better. I am glad there are so many warnings given about co-sleeping because it should not be taken lightly, it can be very dangerous when done wrong, but the dirty secret is a lot lot lot of moms wind up doing it, so it's good to share best practices so we can be safe.
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  • I am so excited to see that people had good interactions with their hospital nurses/ LC. It gives me hope for this time!
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