Celebrity Moms Offer Nursing Advice, Encouragement

07/24/2009 at 06:30 PM ET

For some breastfeeding comes easily to both mother and baby, but for others the relationship takes work — a lot of work! The same holds true for celebrity moms, and in the August/September issue of Fit Pregnancy some familiar CBB faces offer advice and encouragement to those who are struggling to nurse.

Black/Startraks; Stefania D’Alessandro/WireImage; Jordan Strauss/WireImage

“The biggest challenge of breastfeeding is getting over the hump of the first month,” Jennifer Garner says. “Just try and hang in there for six weeks and then you will hopefully realize you are over the worst of it and can really enjoy it.” If things still aren’t going well the 37-year-old actress — mom to Violet Anne, 3 ½, and Seraphina Rose, 6 ½ months — says to lay off the guilt, adding,

“Don’t judge yourself. If you can’t do it, there is no judgment.”

Without a Trace star Poppy Montgomery, mom to 19-month-old Jackson Phillip Deveraux, advises new moms to set “realistic goals.” Instead of committing to nursing for a “huge chunk of time,” Poppy says to focus on three month intervals. “Then you can reevaluate and decide whether to continue,” she says.

It was when Alexander ‘Sasha’ Pete, now 2, was three months old that his mom Naomi Watts returned to work — often a make-or-break moment in the breastfeeding relationship. Determined to succeed, Naomi recalls that while filming The International she would nurse during the day and send pumped milk to Sasha at his hotel while on location at night. She admits,

“I didn’t get proper rest, but that’s the struggle of balancing career and family.”

In addition to Sasha, Naomi is mom to son Samuel Kai, 7 months, with partner Liev Schreiber; Violet and Seraphina are Jennifer’s children with husband Ben Affleck; Jackson is Poppy’s son with partner Adam Kaufman

Source: Fit Pregnancy, August/September issue

What’s your best advice for nursing moms who may be struggling?

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Michelle on

My best advice is also to set little goals. I remember being so overwhelmed that first week or two. At my lowest point, I said to myself “just 6 weeks. I can do this for 6 weeks and then quit and still feel like I did my best”. Luckily for me, by the 6 week mark everything was better and I continued on for much, much longer.

Also, I tell all my friends to PLEASE take a breastfeeding class and find a lactation consultant you like and feel comfortable with BEFORE you need her.

Maddie on

I’m not a mum (yet! only 24…), but I love Poppy advice of 3 month goals. That’s a really good idea, it makes the commitment of breastfeeding not so huge and overwhelming. My own mum is a lactation consultant for La Leche, so hopefully I’ll get lots of good advice from her, and be able to nurse successfully when I do have my babies🙂 Breastfeeding is such a huge part of my family culture, and it’s great to see celebrities (and CBB!) give it such positive press and recognition.

Chelsea on

I couldn’t agree more with Jennifer Garner’s advice. I know most women just naturally believe that breastfeeding will come with the new territory, but when it turns out to hurt and is uncomfortable at first most women get discouraged; however, if you can just make it past the 6 week point everything seems to turn around, and then it does become the euphoric bonding experience that we have come to associated with it.

Go boobs!!!

fosheebc on

It’s also good to prepare yourself ahead of time. I was told to rub a washcloth or towel across the nipple to toughen them up. However, I wasn’t diligent at doing this task.

Many times tears came to my eyes as my son started nursing, but the pain would quickly subside. I did make it for three months, until I had to go back to work. The first three months are the most crucial for building up immunities. I was lucky that my son did not care when I switched him to a bottle. He just as happy with it.

Kristina on

The best advice I received was from my sister-in-law, who just said to “Persevere”. It took 3 weeks for my daughter to latch on, then to find out that my milk didn’t come in, I was ready to give up. But with help from a midwife and that phrase running through my head, I knew we could get through it. Almost 8 months later and we are still going strong! It has taken alot of work and determination, but it was the best thing I could do for my baby.

Liz on

Try “soothees” nursing pads- they have medication gel on the pad that you can apply between feedings- that really helped. And know that, although it may hurt at first, it will get better! If nursing doesn’t work for you- NO GUILT!! Do what is best for you and your baby!

Kristin on

Some mothers like myself can struggle and struggle, but still never get enough milk to feed their baby. I was always depressed, but what can you do. Your baby has to eat, so you do what is best for your child. Not everyone can successfully breastfeed, even as much as you try!

Suzanne on

Good advise for those who chose to breastfeed. I do wish they had mentioned that no mother should feel bad about not breastfeeding. Some women are just not able to do it and others chose not to. I really don’t like how society is now trying to force all mothers to breastfeed. Some like the previous poster acually had depression for not being able to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is a good choice for some but not for all women. No babies born in the last 40 yrs in my family were breastfeed and we were are all prefectly happy and health children and adults.

Sarah on

My best advice would be: It only gets easier. The first two weeks are the hardest. If you can do it for 2 weeks, you might as well go a month and if you can go a month then you might as well go 3 and if you make it to that point… It’s all good.

Anna on

I love Jennifer Garner’s advice. I was not a fan of breastfeeding at all during the first month – the soreness, the crazy leaking, the feeling like I couldn’t even leave the house. But somewhere along the line I just hit a rhythm and it all clicked into place. I did feel guilty when I stopped after 3 months to go back to work, but my baby got lots of love both on the breast and bottle.

beth on

I would say don’t struggle. There is formula.

stacy on

I agree with Jennifer Garner the first 6 weeks are hard! I called it the first six weeks of “Hell” I did it for awhile with all three of my girls! It was easier with the second and third.

sarah on

My best advice is when and if you are having a hard time ask for help! there are free nursing clinics you can go to at most local hospitals, you can call Le leche league in your area or just ask a friend who has been there! You do not have to stress about it all on your own.
I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding and I think it helps if you have some support telling you it gets better and offering you ideas..
The second is if you have tried everything you can then do not by any means let someone make you feel guilty!!

Robyn on

I tried to breastfeed for about 2 weeks with supplementing formula. My daughter just never got enough and scream constantly, even if I let her nurse every hour, on the hour, for an hour.

I felt SO guilty because of this but between my husband and family friends, I began to feel better about my formula choice. It seems there is a militant move to breastfeed.

Having been through all this, if you can do it and it gets easier, by all means, do it! If not, do NOT feel guilty. It’s not worth it. Your baby will still be fine.

T on

I totally agree with Michelle and Beth. Hire a Lactation Consultant before baby is born. Plan to have the LC come to your home several times over the first few days home with baby to be sure everything is going well. On the flip side, I think formula is perfectly okay too!
Exactly right, no judgement either way.

Stella Bella on

I am on Day 3 of breastfeeding and my mom taught me a trick that is making all the difference. If your breasts are really heavy when your milk comes in, it is much harder for the baby to get a good latch- the nipple just doesn’t feel like the same nipple it was the previous couple of days- it is much flatter. So before you feed, pump some of the milk off, just enough to make the nipple stand out and get a good letdown. Then you’ll have some milk right there on the nipple for the baby to smell and the nipple will stand out enough to get a decent latch.
I hope this saves someone else in the first couple days/weeks of breastfeeding. Yesterday was ROUGH but with this trick, today has been much better!

nina on

Due to extensive issues I had to pump for my son and did so for 18 months. It sucked honestly, but I knew it was the best so I did it. So my best advice is to decide what is important to you, seek help and support and if something is not working find another way. After many consults with CLC it was clear that pumping was my only option and they were truly surprised I did so for 18 months, but I am so glad I did!🙂

CelebBabyLover on

Suzanne- I personally think that women should at least try to breastfeeding (barring some pre-existing medical condition, such as having had a double masectomy or needing to take medicine that would be harmful to the baby if s/he ingested it through breastfeeding, that makes it impossible, that is). However, I agree that if a woman tries to breastfeed but just can’t, or is physically unable to breastfeed from the get go, she shouldn’t feel guilty about it!🙂

Going off-topic slightly…A few days ago, I saw a recent picture of Seraphina…and I think she looks more like Ben.🙂

MZ on

I wish there was better info out about breastfeeding. My friends had gotten all kinds of bad information, like that you have to supplement breast milk with formula in order for the baby to get the nutrients he needs, or that babies quit wanting the breast after 3 months b/c they don’t need it any more. So, my advice would be to go to people who KNOW for information, like a lactation consultant, and not your friends/family.

People make a fuss out of BFing b/c breast milk is usually healthier for the baby than formula. But, I do agree with the posters who have said too much can be made of it. I’m a public health practitioner and a huge proponent of BFing. I think everyone who can should give it a try, but that we should also realize BFing is not right for everyone and that is OKAY.

It shouldn’t be something to feel guilty about! If the momma isn’t comfortable, the baby is going to sense that. So, if you really really don’t want to breast feed, it’s probably better not to put yourself through that stress. Plus, there are all kinds of other reasons women can’t breast feed. One of my girlfriends wants to BF, but will have to not take one of her medications to do it. She asked my advice and I told her to take the meds and use formula. If she’s not feeling well, she’s not going to be able to be the best mother she wants to be.

As moms, we should be supporting each other🙂

michelle on

I just want to say that for all the snarky comments and judgements thrown around the comments on this board, it is so refreshing to see a controversional subject treated with so much respect and support. I love that everyone has their own opinion and own way of doing things, but it is really nice to see everyone respecting others choices.

MZ is absolutely correct – moms should be supporting each other no matter what. Women, especially with newborns need support not judgement or guilt.

What a great, respectful and informative discussion.

Katie on

Thanks for bringing light to this topic. I am a mother that would love to breastfeed, but I simply do not have enough. With my first child, I rented that mega electric pump and pumped it in front of the lactation consultant. I got 1/4 ounce…if even that. She looked at me baffled because she had been telling me to keep trying, keep pumping, keep nursing, and stop supplementing. If I had stopped supplementing, my baby would have “starved to death” (in the words of my pediatrician). Breastfeeding is the best, but not ALL moms produce enough milk for no apparent reason. I am that mom. I just had my third and I drank pounds and pounds of that “Mama’s Milk Tea” and took fenugreek. I was able to nurse/pump for seven weeks, but it took a lot of work. And even then, my son only got half of his feedings from breast milk. There are so many insensitive people out there. I actually had a fellow mom tell me that she doesn’t know how to feed a baby with a bottle because she has always nursed. What? Hello? How hard is it to hold a bottle? Please be sensitive to other moms who ARE NOT NURSING. Sometimes it isn’t by choice on their part. They simply just do not have enough to nurse. I know because I am a living example of that!

babyboopie on

I breastfed my son until he was 4 and a half months old because he just wasnt getting enough milk- and so I then put him on solids. It was really hard to nurse him at the time because I was working from home as a ‘junior’ journalist in Paris since his father didn’t contribute to anything at all, and so I was the ‘breadwinner.’ I would work from about 9 o’clock to about 4 o’clock but my son would need to be fed every three hours each day. It was especially hard because I would be in the middle of writing an article and would forget what I was writing about. In the end, my girlfriends just said, ‘ Look, slow down. Do less hours and enjoy your son more. Just relax.’ My boss was so lovely and understanding and so she paid me the same wages for less hours. I was able to relax and nurse my son more easily.
My advice is just to take months off work if you can and just enjoy being a mother.

Mary on

Something I read in a book always stuck with me and I watched as new moms used this as an excuse not to nurse: When your baby is born, (1) they are not born hungry,(2) they’re bodies are so plump because they have been perfectly nurished in the womb and that’s why they lose so much weight the first 24/48 hours (3) they can go up to 3 days without milk after birth. Knowing this is vital information because as you’re trying to nurse your baby after they are born and if they don’t seem interested or won’t latch on, try again later, they are OK and you will have the nurses ready to shove a bottle of formula in their mouths. So if they nurse a few times in a 24 hour period, opposed to every two hours, it’s OK.
I successfully nursed my son for 18 months, had my daughter when he was 2, when the nurses found out I was an experienced breast feeder, they left me alone but just to make sure they would continue to leave me alone, when they asked how often my new baby was nursing, I lied and said every two hours but it wasn’t the case, she would be interested ever 4-5 hours, I wasn’t going to wake her to nurse (another thing that drives me crazy when proffesionals say to wake to feed-NEVER DO THAT). My daughter was a successful nursling, all I did was be patient with her and she picked it up in her own time, always gaining weight.

The book I read was “So That’s What Those are For” Awesome book.

Paula on

The thing that helped me was experimenting with lots of different holds. The ones they emphasized in my “getting ready for baby” class were soooo uncomfortable I didn’t see how I could make it. But I just played around with it until I found something comfortable. Much later, a pediatrician told me that with a baby over 9 lbs, of COURSE I needed to do something a little different!

Xandi Atkinson on

I succesfully nursed both of my kids until about 14 months. Although with my first child, nursing didn’t come as naturally to me as I would have thought. I bled, I scabbed..I basically cringed everytime I knew she was about to latch on (I also didn’t produce hardly anything for the first 2-3 months as well). I didn’t really get it until she was roughly 3 months, but I just kept on. I tried pumping and couldn’t get much. Lansinoh really helped and the nipple shields from Medela (really cheap) helped SO much as well as More Milk Plus. I had two girlfriends who were currently nursing at the same time and honestly if it wasn’t for them telling me to keep at it and not to give up, I probably would have. You really have to have your mind in it from the beginning to really make it work.

Marie on

It’s funny that Poppy Montgomery pretty much said exactly what I said when I was nursing my now-three year old son. I wanted to nurse for a year, but that seemed very daunting. So I said, “three months, I’ll re-evaluate and see where we are.” I did that every three months and before I knew it? A year came and WENT. Then the SECOND year came and went🙂 My son weaned at just over 2½ years old. It’s what worked for us, but might not for others. My advice? Do what’s best for you and baby, don’t fret over what other people did. When you find what works for YOU, go with it.

Li on

Robyn- Most likely the reason your daughter “never got enough” is because you were supplementing. Your body works on supply and demand and those first weeks and months are crucial- it’s very important not to supplement at all in order to build a supply. Just nurse, nurse, nurse. I believe that supplementing is the most common reason for a baby “not getting enough” breastmilk, or for mothers who say they “did not produce enough milk”. I wish more women knew how important it is not to supplement in the beginning.

MZ on

Oh Mary, that is such a good point! A lot of people don’t realize that. I did not get support from most of my nurses and my doctor for choosing to breastfeed. The hospital pediatrician wanted me to supplement my son with formula b/c he was losing weight, till I said “um, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it normal for a baby to lose up to 10% of his body weight in the first few days b/c my milk hasn’t come in and he doesn’t need to eat much anyway? And my son has only lost 6%?” She looked awkward and said yes, I was right, and left.

Also, I found out that the medication I was taking was not compatible with BFing (which my doctors should have realized). I was so grateful to have a nurse that night who taught me how to pump and encouraged me to pump and dump to keep my breasts producing milk, just in case I was able to switch medications. My doctor mocked me in front of his med students for wanting to find a way to keep BFing, and I was really discouraged. Luckily, I had my laptop with me and was able to find a just-as-good but safe medication for the doctor to switch me to. If I hadn’t though, I would have been OK with formula feeding🙂

So, just know sometimes you won’t get support from medical professionals, but if you really want to BF, persevere as long as you can🙂

Sarah M. on

Li – I disagree. Just because a mother is supplementing is not the only reason they aren’t producing enough milk. Some women just don’t produce enough naturally. They don’t supplement and their babies don’t wind up getting enough food/nutrients with breast milk alone.

Not only can some mother’s not BF, but some babies just can’t nurse from the beginning. A baby I nannied for wasn’t able to nurse. (He was born with, sorry can’t think of what it’s called, the skin that held his tongue down so that he couldn’t latch on properly even though he tried. He wound up having to have it cut. By then he was so used to the formula that he wouldn’t take the breast milk.) Preemies are encouraged to supplement, also. If they are born just too small, no matter how many nutrients are in the breast milk, it’s not enough for them. They still need more than the mother can provide.

Each family needs to do what’s right for them.

Mary on

BTW, there are HUNDREDS of components to breastmilk that factories cannot duplicate and put into formula so how is breastmilk not enough for a baby? It’s perfect and enough. I just noticed the post from Li.

jody on

If you really, truly WANT to breastfeed, I believe that you, with the help of some good lactation consultants, can and will breastfeed. If you come across problems with nursing and you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, step back and think about what you want. If you can be in a trying situation and realize that you really do want this, that will help you tremendously in coping with whatever problems you are going through. If you find that you’d rather feed your baby formula or pumped milk in a bottle than push through the issues, then you’ve found your answer, and more power to you! Happy mommy = happy baby.

And to the Li etc. comments about supplementing: I know several women who had truly low supply and HAD to supplement, or their babies would have lost a lot of weight. Now, many of them have babies 10 months and older and they are nursing well. If a mom has low supply but nursing itself is going well, they can use a supplemental nursing system. Ingenious.

Kristin on

I did not supplement at all when my daughter was born……I was breastfeeding constantly, from hospital to home, and she lost one pound and needed to be put on formula…….she was starving! My own doctor said I did not produce enough milk! Sometimes it does not matter what you do…..some women do not produce enough milk, and your child needs to eat!! All that matters is the child, and their health at that point! Not everyone can breastfeed, period!

melania on

I think the most difficult part of breastfeeding for me is that I often felt trapped or tied to the baby. I also felt that my body was “owned” by my baby and that is a difficult adjustment to make. For 9 months your body is not your own and then when the baby is born he/she still controls your body. I weaned my 2 older children at about a year. I felt some sadness, but also relief. My youngest is now 16 months and although she is not ready to wean, I am more than ready. There are many moments that I do treasure, like rocking the baby at night and feeding her or just comforting her when she is not feeling well. But even now there are difficult times. For example when I am paying attention to the older kids (like brushing their hair or playing a game or holding them), she she gets very aggressive about wanting to eat. So anyway, I do think it is time to wean because she is using the feeding as a tool to have my attention and it has become stressful to me and the older children.

Keltie on

I know that this may sound simplistic, but I was motivated to continue breastfeeding my DS by the cost of formula. I was afraid I was going to have to formula feed for the duration of my mat leave (12 months) making only 55% of what I earned.

Fortunately, I was able to BF my DS for 16 months.

lauralee on

It is well-established by numerous studies that only 1-2% of mothers, maybe less, have a truly medical case of insufficient milk supply, meaning their breasts cannot, anatomically, make enough milk. All the rest – and how many claims of that do you see right here? – are management issues. Not saying they aren’t sometimes legitimately very hard to work through, just that is is overwhelmingly an issue of how we give birth, how much separation there is in the first postpartum hours and days, uniformed “support” form professionals who should know better (always ask to see an IBCLC, not just a lactation nurse or “breastfeeding counselor”), pediatricians who graduate medical school only having had ONE class in infant feeding (only a fraction of which is devoted to breastfeeding – seriously they know, from medical school, as much about breastfeeding as a podiatrist does), and unrealistic cultural expectations about newborns (i.e. it is perfectly normal for a newborn baby to nurse every 1.5-2 hours).

Many, many things affect breastfeeding success. There is growing evidence that the hormonal effects of epidurals diminish newborns’ natural latching abilities, at least in subtle ways. Babies who are taken from mothers, especially after cesareans, often (not always, but I have seen it enough in my work) have difficulty nursing in the beginning. Supplementing, though at times necessary, is overly prescribed and creates a downhill cycle if mother is not pumping with a good plan to wean off supplements as soon as possible. Over-reliance on artifical nipples (an SNS, like someone said upthread is a much better choice) and refusal to believe in nipple confusion/nipple preference is a huge problem.

We have to look no further than Norway or some of the other Scandinavian countries for confirmation that, with the right cultural attitudes, training, and policies in place, near universal initial breastfeeding (the last stats I saw were 98% initiation, with a nearly-triple rate of continuation at 6 weeks over the US) is very very possible, clinically. We just don’t have the right ingredients here in the US, and too many women receive incorrect information or do not understand the risks of formula (esp since the multibillion dollar formula lobby hear interferes in public health campaigns, as has been well documented, and attempts to water down the message that mothers receive about the risks of artificial baby milk).

CelebBabyLover on

Sarah M.- The baby you nannied for has what’s known as a “tongue tie” or, in medical terms, “short frenlum”.🙂

Karolyn on

I think that it is tremendous that there is such a societal push to get women to breastfeed.

That being said, it is unfortunate that so many people are unable to do so successfully. I was fortunate to be able to nurse my first child exclusively for 5 months, but then had to return to work and suppliment with formula. I just couldn’t pump at work (No place to pump, no time to pump, etc.) and lost some of my milk flow, but he did nurse part of the time until he was about one. I am currently nursing my second son and he will be nursed as long as I am fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom.

Women need to have the right information about breastfeeding and the support to be successful. Less than 2% of women do not produce enough milk to have their babies properly nourished. Breastfeeding is WORK! It’s hard, painful, and takes lots of time to get right. It’s 100% worth it, but the first few weeks can often see moms wondering if it will ever end.

Your baby (and your budget!)will thank you if you can make it work, even for a little while. Get the support you need.

Mary-Helen on

I breastfed my youngest daughter for 4 months, then my mom took ill and from running back and forth to the hospital, I stopped producing enough for her and had to formula feed. I find the pressure on moms to breastfeed is awful sometimes. Some women just can’t (a girlfriend of mine had a breast reduction @ 17 and her milk supply didn’t come in) or do not feel it’s the right choice for them and are villified. I remember when my eldest daughter was born and I had to go right back to work (I couldn’t afford to take maternity leave) so I chose to formula feed and the nurses in the hospital made me feel like the lowest form of life, which made me so depressed. Other moms @ the playgroup I took her to once a week did the same thing “Don’t you care about the best start for your baby?” to the point where I would bawl my eyes out to my now-husband because I was an unfit mom. There is nothing wrong with formula or breast milk. Both are perfectly acceptable options for mom and baby, you have to decide what’s best for your family and not force yourself into depression because nursing isn’t working or end up depressed because you end up formula feeding. Being a new mom is hard enough, everyone needs to support each other to help ease the transition.

Sarah M. on

Thanks, CelebBabyLover, I thought it was something like that, but wasn’t sure!🙂

Ashlee on

I’m so happy to see breastfeeding in the media–especially the “hollywood” media. I think there is a lot of bad information out there, and the stereotypes “scare” a lot of moms off. I nursed my daughter for 18 months (until I found out I was pregnant with #2), and it was the most beautiful experience of my life. Not only has bonding been truly wonderful, but she has never been sick–no colic, ear infections, tummy problems…nothing. It hurt a little at first, but I would pump and take hot showers and do whatever it took to relieve the pressure. Your baby will take care of the rest.

It’s so important to breastfeed, at least for the first few weeks. Set small goals. Don’t supplement. Nurse on demand. Make breastfeeding a priority. As far as the not enough milk thing…you have to think about what women did before formula…very, very rarely does a woman not make enough milk. Nature designs this process perfectly and nothing can compete with it. Good luck to everyone trying and actively breastfeeding.

Candice on

I feel I should mention that breastfeeding should be looked at as a public health issue, though right now it has been spun as a personal choice. and its true, no one will “make you” feed your baby from your body. But from a larger perspective, babies who are formula fed do ultimately cost “the system” more money. so its not about trying to make mothers “feel guilty” or whatnot. its trying to right a wrong that has become “bottlefeeding is the norm”, which it is. when women are kicked out of pools, restaurants, etc, for bottlefeeding, then we are no longer in a bottlefeeding culture. but right now it is the standard by which all things are measured. even the above comments suggest that, “don’t try so hard, if it hurts, just stop” kind of thing, because we have come to expect life to be easy (epidural anyone?) and you know, its not that I am trying to bash that, I am just pointing out that instead of expecting obstacles (which are bound to happen this culture is HORRIBLE at supporting bfing mothers), a lot of people give up at the first sign of trouble. so my advice to new mothers to be, be committed, be super committed understanding that you MAY have trouble. and if you DO have trouble the first rule is FEED THE BABY FIRST. and if you do succeed, remember what you have fought against to get there. people who think you are crazy for trying so hard, people who think you should be housebound and not ever see your baby eating, people who think that is something weird people do, people who think that 12 weeks of unpaid mat leave is somehow enough to let human mothers bound with their human babies,where “health professionals” know virtually nothing and their answers are more influenced by their experience bfing or not, and where “I was formula fed and I was fine” is the standard answer for anyone who dare suggests you quit. kudos to you for overcoming that. peace out.

Shannon on

Have the numbers available for an IBCLC and the La Leche League! There is a LLL leader almost anywhere in the country, and these are the people who actually know what they’re talking about. Not pediatricians or hospital staff. These people are certified in BREASTFEEDING information.

finais on

I wish that the literature I read, and people I spoke to at the hospital would have told me that it DOES hurt! Every time I tried to feed my daughter, it would hurt, but because I had always read that it “shouldn’t hurt unless you’re doing something wrong” I assumed something was wrong. When I asked the LC and the nurses, they said the same thing, “it shouldn’t hurt, if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.” My nipples bled and scabbed and I assumed that I couldn’t get her to latch right. One of my doctors even checked me and said, “it shouldn’t be that bad, you’re likely to get an infection.” I was miserable and depressed and crying all the time about it, because I thought I was doing something wrong, so I quit. Eventually I learned that it’s normal for it to hurt early on! But NO ONE I spoke with told me that! Had I known that the pain was NORMAL I would have stuck it out. I knew that a medication-free childbirth would hurt, and I still did it anyway. I’m not afraid of pain, but I was lead to believe that my child wasn’t able to feed right from me. So, I would have preferred to know that it does hurt, instead of people trying to get more people to try it by saying “it shouldn’t hurt if you’re doing it right.”

Sarah M. on

Candice – How do formula fed babies ‘ultimately cost the system more money’? Correct me if I’m wrong, but last time I checked formula is ridiculously expensive. So their families are giving ‘more money to the system’ initially. Also, I have worked with many, many different families. And the children that were formula fed were/are just as healthy, on track, etc. as the children who were fed breast milk. Some that were fed breast milk were sick more often than many of the formula fed children. I realize that the reason for this is that some children are sick more often than others, regardless of how they are fed. (And I have worked with more that simply 2 or 3 kids, so my ‘sample group’ is a very good size to make the comparisons.) I am not trying to diminish the fact that breast milk is important, either. But nothing I’ve ever read has, or will, make me believe that just because a child is formula fed, that it automatically puts them at higher risk later in life for problems or of ‘costing the system more money’ later on. (I could be more specific, but don’t know how you mean ‘cost the system more money ultimately’.) If I were a mother who was unable to BF, for whatever reason, the way you phrased much of your comment would have been hurtful to me. It comes off as slightly narrow-minded.

Riley on

I didn’t realize breastfeeding was going to be so difficult. My daughter was born at 35 weeks – completely healthy but had a difficult time getting the hang of breastfeeding. After 3 weeks of sheer frustration, I went exclusively to pumping and feeding with a bottle. It was a hassle but I got into a routine and was able to give her breastmilk for 13 weeks. I couldn’t keep up after that with a return to work. I feel I was successful, despite all the hardships and issues. My daughter is coming up on her first birthday and doing great. I am happy that she’s done so well – on both breastmilk and formula.

missv on

I am pumping as I’m reading these responses! I do agree that it is every mother’s choice but why not try it, even for only a week or two. The responses I’ve heard from family members were ridiculous! One told me that it just seemed “weird” to nurse her little boy. That really made me sad but there’s not way of changing her mind. I do know that my 7 month old has NEVER gotten sick, no colic, nothing. Everytime we take her for her shots she is fine the next day.
For the mother’s that say, “I tried but I never produced enough” that’s the silliest response I’ve ever heard. Your baby has to train your body to produce enough. I got a pump the first week of her birth and when I pumped, I got maybe an ounce. Now I’m a machine pumping over 10 ounces each time. My girl was never a patient eater so I’ve been exclusively pumping for 7 months. Yeah, it’s no picnic. I have to do it at work, have to give up half of my lunch break…But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for her.

Melissa on

Great advice from all three women. I am breastfeeding twins, and small (3 month) blocks of time are much less intimidating than committing to a year upfront. Also, for those who just simply can’t make it happen… remember that, though 70% of new mothers attempt breastfeeding, only 36% are still breastfeeding at 6 months, and only 17% at one year. You are not alone when you find it hard to keep going. But try anyway!!

deedot on

I think the breast feeding nazis don’t help matters personally (as a mother who bf all 3 children). My advice would be do it till you don’t want to anymore! And I think we should be honest about the fact that bf tends to lead to children waking up more in the night. Some people can’t cope with that. Some can. Also if you REALLY are vinvested in the idea of breastfeeding HIRE A LACTATION CONSULTANT to come to your house post birth for as long as it takes. I tell this to every friend newly pregnant who wants to bf , they never listen, and then always say they wished they had hired a lactation consultant!

Can I add that I think the frenzy about bf and organic food and so on is partly fueled by the guilt many working mothers feel about leaving their babies in daycare. No food can compensate for not having your mother/father there all the time to a little baby. Just my honest opinion…not judging people who do this just saying I think thats way more important than what they eat!

Rachel on

I am still breastfeeding my daughter who is 9 months. It took about 4 months before I didn’t feel paranoid about her getting enough milk. I wish there was more support in peds. offices, a lactation consultant onsite would help a new mom so much. I struggled and felt like quitting a lot, had it not been for my wonderful lactation consultant and Canadian peditrician Jack Newman I would have.

Sarah M. on

My cousin has 4 boys. With her first, she nursed for a year. The second, 9 months. The third, 6 months. And the fourth, 3 months. (Their ages now are 9, 6, 4, and 2.) I guess with them being that close in age to the next oldest one, it was hard to have to nurse that often. At least with a bottle of formula, someone else could feed the baby while she dealt with the older ones. And with the time she didn’t spend having to pump, she got to spend more time with all of the boys.

I just feel that if the mom isn’t comfortable nursing, the baby will sense that and not feed near as well as if the mom was. In which case, it might just be better to switch to formula and everyone is more comfortable, happier and the baby feeds better.

maureen on

I breast fed my 21, 18, and 15 year olds till they were one. I never used an ounce of formula. I truly consider it one of the biggest achievements of my life. Of course babies will be “fine” on formula, but they will FLOURISH on breast milk. I wish I had had breast milk. My own health is not nearly as good as my children’s. There are so many ingredients in breast milk which simply cannot be replicated. Here is my advice: no bottles until breast feeding is well established and that includes telling the hospital staff to BRING YOU YOUR BABY for feedings. Once home, think of the first 6 weeks as breast feeding boot camp, therefore limit visitors. If you have an unsupportive mother or mother-in-law lay down the law: it is your baby and you will be doing things your way. Or just don’t let them visit till things are more established. I had a lot of pain with my first, but we stuck it out one day at a time and I am so grateful we did. It took 6 weeks to go away. My 2nd was so much easier a born barracuda! And my third was difficult too but because her little mouth was so tiny. Remember it reduces childhood cancers by 50 %, that’s pretty major if you ask me. Peace and happy healthy baby feeding to you all.

Stella Bella on

Great advice, Maureen. I am almost a month in with my first child and have pretty much taken the approach you suggest. I think it’s working well. I have no clue how a new breastfeeding mother could make it with tons of visitors!

ash on

i BFed 4 the 1st few weeks, but no matter what i did, my son would not could not latch properly it hurt i bled it was terrible. i had a csection & a bad recovery from the anesthesia so they gave my son a bottle while i sufferd n the recovery room. but what was i 2 do while i had an allergic reaction, let my neworn cry 4 food 4 hours? i ended up pumping exclusively 4 about 8 moths. & if my milk wasnt available, he got a bottle of formula every few days. did my son & i not bond because breastfeeding didnt work? NO. was i a bad Mom 4 not being able 2 nurse? id like 2 say NO. did i deprive him because i didnt nurse? NO. he thrivd & ate & got all the nutrients & anitbodies he needed. should Moms b made 2 feel like a failure if they end up using formula? absolutely not. it just doesnt work 4 every1. between latching, schedules, work, stress, society seeing brestfeeding as taboo, sometimes a mother suceeds w/ flying colors, other times it just isnt possible. my advice would b 2 try ur best give it ur all, if it works 4 u, great. if u end up having 2 pump, well u end up giving ur child twice as much of us time. if u end up using formula, at least u can say u tried. it is not fair 2 make moms feel like a failure or a bad parent of it doesnt work. not all of us have money 2 hire a lacation consultant & i happen 2 live rurally where even if i could afford it, the resources r just plain not avialable here. why must other moms b so judgemental? as long as the infant is being fed SOMETHING, then the mother is doing her job. i think all moms should at least give it a try. but 2 say a mom is “ultimately costing ‘the system’ more money” is a hurtful outrageous statement. if a mother gives her best attempt & the baby is fed & nourishd & thriving, who freaking cares? when a child is 16 & getn their licsence & attending prom, no 1 will ask or care if the child was breastfed. have some compassion & respect! give moms the credit they deserve. we all work our tail ends off 2 make sure our infants r happy & fed & will end up being good people. a breastfed baby wont nessicarily b a better additon 2 society than a baby who is formula fed! the article was titled, “Celebrity Moms Offer Nursing Advice, Encouragement”, no “Mothers Ridiculing & Belittling Other Mother’s About their inability to Breastfeed.” As women it is our duty 2 help & console other women, not judge & scold other women. if a baby is fed & happy, then the mother has done her job

Samantha on

It’s amazing how little support hospitals really offer for breastfeeding…and no wonder, considering formula reps are there all the time! I was determined to nurse my daughter, and had read the books and prepped myself as best I could. When the time came…it hurt, so bad! I persevered and after tha lactation consultant had offered little help, was obn the verge of tears. Then the nurse came in and offered a NIPPLE SHIELD. OMG, what a lifesaver! It was the best thing ever, I used it for about 8 weeks and was able to gradually switch my daughter to not using it. I was able to nurse her exclusively for a year (my goal). I just wish more people knew about that nipple shield, so awesome. Being a nurse, sometimes I help in the special care nursery with breastfeeding mamma’s and having had experience now, I can say that about 60% of women have flat nipples nad don’t know it, which makes breastfeeding extremely difficult. JUST DON’T GIVE UP!🙂

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