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Breast Feeding Q and A

Breastfeeding can be really difficult, especially without the support of other moms!
I'd love to open this thread as a place to help each other out and offer advice. I know PG was having some trouble, which made me think of this.

I will start by saying the first 6 weeks is AWFUL-it is painful (esp light skinned moms) and is almost unbearable. If you can make it through the 6 weeks, it's all downhill from there. Also, the 1st 20 seconds of latching on during this time is the worst. Take deep breaths and count to 20 till the pain subsides.
I nursed Noah until age 20 months, and Lyle is still nursing at 20 months.

I can't type for shit right now and have to correct every word, so that is all for now.  :-[

Good idea L2A, I wasn't prepared for how difficult nursing was.  I nursed my daughter until she was 26 months old, and the first few months were the hardest.  I got infected milk ducts , (mastitis) twice and they were super painful.  frequent nursing and masaging the clogged area helps to decrease colged milk ducts, which lead to mastitis.  Also putting uncooked rice in a tube sock, tying it shut and microwaving it for 1 minute makes a nice hot pad to put over sore boobs.  

For beginning nursing my ob-nurse friend, (huge breast-feeding advocate,) recommended immediately nursing after my daughter was born.  Also having them "room-in" with you in the hospital helps you get up every couple hours to nurse.  Perfecting the latch-on position of their mouths helps decrease pain.  Their mouths should cover most of the nipple, and their lips should be totally visable, (not tucked in.)  Ask, ask, and ask for as much help as you need in the hospital from nurses and doctors to work on your latching, positioning skills before you leave.  Once you leave la leche league and home visit nurses can continue to help.

If you need to pump, invest in the heavy-duty kind, (or rent one.)  Don't even waste your time with the cheaper ones.  I had a "pump-in-style bag/type one" for when I went back to work and it took some time to get my boobs used to it.  

Breastfeeding sounds and honesty is difficult, but it is sooooo worth it!!!! My daughter is 2 1/2 and has yet to get an ear infection, and is rarely ever sick! (knocking on wood)

It also forces you to stop, and go sit down and cuddle with your child every few hours.

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Hey! Sorry, I was lurking, but I am also a breast feeding mom who works full time, so the pump became my best friend. lol.  I learned when I had my youngest (08) that insurance companies are footing the bill for pumps now.  So if you're in the hospital (and mabey later when you decide to pump) find out if your insurer covers it.  I got a 300 dollar medela pump for free!

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When my baby was 4 weeks old a lactation consultant told me:

"If it's working, it's NOT WRONG."

Now, sounds like common sense. But when you are sleep-deprived and have your very first baby and have never been around babies very much, your rationality goes out the window (at least mine did).

My baby did not nurse like I expected her to, like all the books described nursing babies (basically, she'd nurse for 2 minutes and then refuse to nurse again for 3 hours - she was like this for the first 2-3 months. Even today she has NEVER nursed more than 5 minutes at a time). But she was gaining a crazy amount of weight - so it wasn't wrong because it was working.

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If you need to pump, invest in the heavy-duty kind, (or rent one.)  Don't even waste your time with the cheaper ones.  I had a "pump-in-style bag/type one" for when I went back to work and it took some time to get my boobs used to it. 

This

I made the mistake of not buying a good one, and that is why my son weaned at 13 mo old.  It took too long to pump at work, and it was too painful, and my son nursing only twice a day just wasn't enough to keep it going.  :'(

I am still sad today that I made this mistake, I wish more then anything I could nurse my son again, but those days are long gone. 

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Thanks for this thread L2A. :) I read books and took a breastfeeding class before my baby was born, but I still never imagined it could be this difficult to breastfeed.  (Also, ftr, I'm very light-skinned and my boobs were killing me for the first week or so.  They're still pretty sensitive, but getting better).

Here's my story (so far):
My son barely nursed at all for the first 2 days of his life (despite trying to feed immediately after birth, and having him room in with me).  Then it was really hit and miss for the next week or so...he'd feed well for a day or 2 and get my confidence up, then out of nowhere he'd scream, squirm, fall asleep...everything but latch on and suck.  When he was 2 weeks old he was still losing weight and didn't have the energy to suck so the lactation consultant recommended taking him off the breast and giving him expressed milk for 48 hours so we could see that he was getting enough.  Once he was back up to his birth weight (about a week ago) he went back on the boobs and I think he's FINALLY figured out what he's supposed to be doing.  ::) Sometimes it's still a bit difficult, especially if he's upset or if he's sleepy, and often the feeds take WAY longer than all the books say (an hour and a half instead of 30-40 mins).  But at least he's eating, and gaining weight really well.  Hopefully he'll get more efficient after some more practice.  He's 4 weeks old as of yesterday.  :)>>>

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awe! I'm glad things are getting better. I'm telling you...6 weeks and you'll be good as gold!
My nipples were cracked, bleeding, sore, and horribly in pain...but then they toughen up and you can't feel anything.
We are down to about 2 feedings per day, but more if he is not feeling right. I hope to ween him by this summer when he turns 2.
I will talk more about my mastitis experience later. It was awful, and I'd love to be able to prevent it from happening to someone else!

Also, regarding milk supply: I had enough milk to feed the Cleveland Browns football team when I had Noah. I had to pump constantly because I felt like I was going to explode. I froze it all and saved it for when he went to day care. It was pretty horrible having that much milk. It came out so fast, it was like he was drowning. He was so tiny, and only ate about 1/8 of what I had at each feeding. I would wake up with a soaking wet shirt and bed every night, and had to wear those pads all the time! I could pump out 2 bottles in about 5 minutes using a regular pump.

Then 8 years later, along comes Lyle. I think my body remembered how much excess I had or something-because I barely have had enough for him. Only pumped a few times when I had a clogged duct. There were times I felt I didn't have enough for him, but he is doing fine. I never supplemented, but certainly didn't have any to spare either. So totally opposite of my first experience.
This time was actually much more pleasant-not having so much.
I don't know if it was my age or what, but strange!?

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Weigh-in today.  He's up to 3.66kg (8lb, 1oz).  Birth weight was 3.015kg/6lb 10 oz.  He's gained 610 grams in the last 9 days...they're supposed to gain 150-250 grams per week, but I think he's making up for lost time. :)

Question: how can so much spew come out of such a little person?  Twice today I've been completely covered.  I need a breastfeeding raincoat. ??? I don't understand how he's gaining weight when he throws up that much....

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Cailtin gained nearly a pound a week for the first few months.  I don't know if this will help you, but I thought I'd share just in case.  She would nurse and then throw up what seemed like gallons.  Then she would nurse again like she was starving.  The pediatrician wasn't overly concerned, because she was gaining weight well and just told me to burp her better.  It didn't matter how much I burped her.  She frequently was throwing up.  Finally I called my doula who was also a lactation consultant.  She told me that some women produce so much milk that the baby overfills his stomach before he realizes it, and then throws up the entire contents of his stomach.  The solution was simple really.  She told me to only nurse on one side per session and to continue to offer that same side for a couple hours before switching to the other side.  This worked like a charm, and she never threw up like that again.  I did look very lopsided though.  I suppose I could have pumped the other side, but I didn't have the pump until I went back to work. 

I had a ton of milk.  Caitlin cluster fed in the evening and then would sleep about 5 hours straight at night.  I remember waking in the night terribly engorged.  One night I flipped over and I was spraying milk several inches high from both sides.  I started wearing prefolds in a tank top to bed.  The production eventually did slow down, but engorgement is very uncomfortable. 

I also wanted to add that I was unable to afford one of those nice breast pumps, and I didn't qualify for assistance because my husband made/wasted too much money.  Anyway, I pumped at work for over a year with an Avent Isis manual pump.  I had read in a magazine that they were just as effective as the Medula one, and it worked for me.  Any electric pump would have been more convenient, but it deffinately did the job.  The convienence of not needing an outlet or to worry about batteries was nice as well. 

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OMG I cannot imagine pumping w/ a manual @ work---breast feeding high five!

Even w/ the double electric sucker it was annoying @ best!  I had to pump every 2.5 hours and the pump didn't "drain" my milk as effectively as nursing, so I would still have engorged, sore lumps I had to massage.  I didn't qualify to get my pump through my work insurance either, but I found mine @ a garage sale for $20, and ordered new attachments (the stuff that pumped and stored the milk,) which were like another $20.....I always see breast pumps on craigslist, that would be a good place to look for them....although I think you should order new milk/body touching parts if its from someone you don't know....or disinfect them REALLY REALLY REALLY well....(just order them)

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or just don't go back to work...ever

(I wish) :)

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okay, I need some advice here.

My son doesn't nurse anymore.  I have a crappy medella single electric pump and a manual pump but neither works too well, I have better luck expressing but my hands get so darn tired.

My milk is almost gone, when I used to produce GALLONS, I am lucky to get out a tsp now.  If I go for a few days without expressing as I did this mornign I may be able to get two tsp out, as I was able to this morning.

My son is really tiny, I see him with the other kids at the daycare his own age and he is just tiny.  He is 18 months old, 22 lbs, and only about 29 in tall.  He is growing, but slowly.  I am terrified that it is a vitamin deficiency, and he can't drink cow's milk because he is lactose intollerant (at least he seems to be).  

I am just wondering if it is worth the effort to try to get my milk going again?  Is it even possible or is it too late?  I was under the impression that as long as I can get SOMETHING out, even just a few drops, then I can get it going again.  
I just want what is best for him.  I know he won't nurse again, but if I can get my milk going again I can put it it in sippy cups and give it to him in place of soymilk, much more healthy.  He seemed to like that tsp of milk I gave him this morning.  It has been a long time since he had it, and at first he was like, eww, but then drank it all down.  I felt a little better.  I need to get more then that to do any good though.  I was thinking of getting some fenugreek tablet, Mother's Milk tea, and renting a good breast pump from Babies R Us and pumping like four times a day.  

Is it worth it?  When he was nursing he grew so well and did so good, now he is looking thin, and small, but otherwise he is very healthy, very energetic, runs around everywhere and is very happy.  

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babies stop growing so fast at that age because they are moving around and burning calories. if he continued to grow at the rate he did for the first year, he would be the size of a cow at age 5.
don't worry about size. worry about health. if he is otherwise healthy, being small is nothing to worry about.
Lyle is older and smaller than him, and I don't think there is anything wrong. and he still nurses.
it is possible to express your milk. Adoptive mothers can even get milk going with proper stimulation. i don't think it will make a huge difference in his growth at this point, and pumping 4 times a day would not be worth it (to me).

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I second with L2A said.  You can't go by size, especially since kids these days commonly overweight even at such a young age.  Caitlin was a late walker (15 months), and she weighed about 26 pounds at 15 months.  She was the fattest baby.  Well shortly after she learned to walk, she learned to run and run and run.  Now she is 4 and weighs about 31 pounds.  She never really lost weight but kept getting taller without gaining any.  She is a bit short for her age, but her father is my height of 5"6'.  She's just petite.  I wouldn't really be worried very much about his size.  As long as he is healthy he is fine. 

That said, I did have a friend who attempted to wean her daughter right around 20 months, and the daughter started loosing weight in a bad way.  She started nursing her daughter again, and she was fine.  Only you can make that choice.  If you decide to go that route, I'd really try to get him to nurse again.  Pumping isn't as effective, and it's a pain. 

One last thing.  The growth charts that are used by doctors in the US are based on the typical growth pattern of a formula-fed child.  The ones from the World Health Organization are more realistic.  (http://www.who.int/childgrowth/en/)  Just don't fall into the trap of putting too much weight on charts.  Health is much more important.  People talk bad about me for Caitlin being petite, but these same people have 100 pound 7-year-olds with 32 inch waists.  THAT is not normal. 

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I was also kind of wondering how much of  his size may be because he no longer consumes dairy...or rather, all the other kids larger sizes are because they still do consume dairy.  They put all kinds of hormones and crap in the cows which I am sure gets into the milk, then in turn gets into the kids.

So logically, wouldn't vegan children be smaller?  I wasn't vegan when I was breastfeeding my son, but was vegetarain for the most part so maybe because he wasn't formula fed AND I didn't eat meat was partly why he is a bit small. 

Perhaps he is "normal" and all the meat/dairy consuming kids are gigantic because of the artificial growth hormones? 

Just a thought.

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From what I remember reading, vegetarian and vegan children get taller later and aslo go through puberty later.  If you ask your grandparents you wil find that most women when through menarche in their late teens, but now girls hit puberty in their early teens and even younger.  There are a lot of cancers and other problems associated with early puberty.  Statistically vegan/vegetarian kids aren't any smaller long term as far as stature.  Obviously "normal" kids tend to be more obese. 

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I don't think you can just blame size on diet. There are too many other factors to consider (genetics, for example).

I for one, was a formula fed baby, and did not weigh 20 pounds until i was 2.
I weighed 29 in kindergarten, and was not vegetarian.

Noah is one of the smallest in his class, but there are others right around his size that are on the SAD, so you can't just contribute it to diet.

Would he be bigger if he ate McDonalds? I doubt it.

It does seem to me that kids are overall bigger than they were even when I was a kid. 5th grade girls are as big as I am now. This could totally be in my imagination, but I just remember being little and younger for longer. :)

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size is dependent on genes for a big part of it.  My kids are huge, not fat though.  My oldest came out at 10 lb 9 oz and 23 inches!  And I was hypertensive which can actually cause low birth weight!  Now he is 5 and over 4 ft tall and 66 lbs.  He's just big, and being proportional is the biggest thing.  If he was 50% for height and 100% for weight I would worry, but he's not.  He's just going to be about 6ft5in and 230 lb when he grows up.  My other two, including my daughter , who was 10lb at birth and 22 in, will also be at least 6ft.  We are just tall people.  As my OBGYN said, some people are 5 ft tall and have petite babies.  I am 5ft10 in and have linebackers, point guards and volleyball players.

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size is dependent on genes for a big part of it.  My kids are huge, not fat though.  My oldest came out at 10 lb 9 oz and 23 inches!  And I was hypertensive which can actually cause low birth weight!  Now he is 5 and over 4 ft tall and 66 lbs.  He's just big, and being proportional is the biggest thing.  If he was 50% for height and 100% for weight I would worry, but he's not.  He's just going to be about 6ft5in and 230 lb when he grows up.  My other two, including my daughter , who was 10lb at birth and 22 in, will also be at least 6ft.  We are just tall people.  As my OBGYN said, some people are 5 ft tall and have petite babies.  I am 5ft10 in and have linebackers, point guards and volleyball players.

lol! I'm 5'10" and Kea's dad is 6'4"....she came out weighing 9 lbs 10 oz....and is "huge" too! (obviously as a healthy vegan shes not "fat" but she is tall and filled out for sure, my doctor has commented she should be the poster-child for people that think vegan kids are unhealthy and starving.)  I ALWAYS hated when people constantly asked if I played BBall or volleyball, (I didn't...) I'm sure she will always be asked the same thing.

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Ugh...just had a conversation.  A lady just returned from maternity leave and I was talking to her.  She said she was having all these problems with formula, constipation, congestion, etc.  I was like, could you breastfeed?  She said that she was, but gave it up a month ago because of the issues she was having with her husband getting sick, so forth, but her daughter didn't start getting these problems until she put her daughter on formula.  I said that she could prbably get it going again.  She was just like, well, ohhh, probably not, it has been a month...

I am thinking, okay, if my son was having health issues with formula, and I knew that he wouldn't have these health issues breastfeeding, I would be going to the doctor to get medication, whatever to get my milk going again, even if I had to pump.  It amazes me that others don't put the health of their child above ALL else.  Maybe I am overboard?  But if the health of my child was in anyway comprimised I would do everything and anything I could to help him, no matter what it took.  I mean, she does love her daughter, obviously, but she is willing to keep her daughter on formula and let her have health problems because of it rather then go through the inconvience of starting up breastfeeding again, I just don't understand that.  Her daughter is only 3 months old, she is still plenty young enough to get her nursing again, with some effort. 

I just don't get it at times.

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Most pediatricians push formula feeding over breastfeeding, even if they don't realized they are doing it.  It's sad, but the woman you are speaking to probably is getting a bunch of terrible advice from a "professional" and won't take an advice from a "nonprofessional."  I can't stand it when it happens, but it does all the time.  I can't even count the number of people I know that stopped breastfeeding or started supplementing with formula at the encouragement of their pediatrician for one "medical" reason or another. 

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