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Posted on May 9, 2011

Breastfeeding from baby and beyond

breastfeeding/ Guest post

Breastfeeding from baby and beyond by Nurturing Career Mama

If you’d have asked me twenty nine months ago, just a few days after babe had been born; if I would still be breastfeeding her now, I’m pretty sure it would be been a firm and load resounding ‘NO’. I was not aware of that it was an option, let alone any of the benefits that it offered – never mind the fact that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding up till two years old.

For me this journey has been evolutionary, the finish line has continually moved further and further away as we’ve crept towards an end date that we’d set up in our minds. First it was, just get the hang of it – definitely the early days were the hardest. If you’re going through this now and are thinking ‘wow that’s amazing’ – trust me it’s not. What you are doing around the clock in the early days is the impressive most difficult bit. As time goes on, rather that it being something that is hard work, although totally satisfying knowing you are giving your bay the best start in life, and a great excuse to actually sit down and have a rest; it becomes the lazy option – the easy way to solve a toddler tantrum, a bumped head, a bit of hunger or thirst when there is no food/drink in the handbag, a sleeping drug, a poorly in the night soother….the list goes on.

It’s not been an easy journey, as I alluded to above; the first months were the toughest – all about technique and managing the frequency and tiredness. Then after six months, you start to face the challenges of people asking when you are going to give up. I realized that going back to work didn’t mean an end; it took me a while of being totally beside myself with sadness, to realize that this was an option.

The moving goal post
After I’d gone back to work at six months, I set a new goal of one year. And then the target was to give up before going on a business trip at about 14 months. I was so upset to think still that we would have to give up at this point, as a working mother; this seemed such an important thing for me to offer my child. After many bucket loads of tears and eventual research on the web, it dawned on me, that I wanted babe to make the choice – to self wean. I didn’t want this to come to an end, and there were just too many pros are for carrying on. People with any sense of rationality, wouldn’t stand a cat in hells chance of arguing this with me.

Thankyou to the La Leche Legue
It was a lady at the local La Leche Legue in Oakhampton that really turned it around for me. We would not be hitting this milestone today without her. She made me realize that it is possible, and there are many mothers out there that do continue to feed their babies into toddlerdom, but often they are ‘closet breast feeders’.

I confess, there is no ‘closet’ thing going on with us, we are brazen and bold. If babe won’t settle in the supermarket, I’ll quite happily nurse her in the freezer isle.

 So where next? Tandem
There is no definitive finishing line anymore, that’s up to babe. In fact, did you know that the average age of weaning globally is four years old – even I was surprised by this figure. And despite me now being pregnant with number two, this has not deterred us and I have ever intention to carry on and enjoy the benefits of tandem nursing.

Posted on May 6, 2011

Vita’s Breastfeeding Experience

breastfeeding/ Guest post

The lovely Vita from is on the blog with her breastfeeding experience today! Well done Vita for perserving – my experience is very similar to yours! If it hadn’t been for the internet and trying different things myself I would have given up when he was tiny – but thank fully we are still going strong at 9 months xx

I remember the days before Boo was born in 2008, and all the excitement, I couldn’t wait to start feeding him in the most natural way in the world, I wanted to breast feed.

I had a fairly traumatic birth, which was prolonged. Within minutes of Boo being born though, he’d latched on, hoorah! It hurt, the midwife stood there and said it shouldn’t hurt, and yanked him and me around into ‘best position’ but it still hurt.

I came out of hospital the same day, it was stupidly busy and in fact I was shoved onto an ante-natal ward with Boo, and listening to women in the early stages of labour was fairly disturbing as all I wanted to do was sleep and all Boo wanted to do was feed.

At home, I was more relaxed, but rapidly becoming exhausted by the 20 minute feeds every 45minutes, I couldn’t do anything and I remember crying as all Boo seemed to do was cry constantly and something didn’t feel quite right. My midwife was great and really supportive, on day 5 she realised something was really not right, in the time she was with me Boo had “Fed” twice and yet was still unsettled.

She asked if she could see me express some milk by hand, so I tried, and about two drops of milk rolled out, my milk just wasn’t there. I got put on tablets to increase my milk and it worked temporarily, but as soon as the tablets stopped so did my milk. I had no choice to make, Boo had to go on formula. I felt such a failure, the most natural thing in the world and I couldn’t do it. I tormented myself wondering why it hadn’t worked, especially when a Doctor raised their eyebrows at me when I said he was formula fed. About 3months later i was diagnosed with a thyroid problem, which I was told could well have contributed to my inability to produce enough milk. He is now 2 1/2 and a very strong and healthy boy!

When I fell pregnant with Baby G, I was determined to give breast feeding another try, but worried that I may have the same problems again, or worse my medication may mean breast feeding was inadvisable. I spoke to the midwife, and she advised me to talk to my consultant, he was wonderful and filled me with confidence that it would all be OK and if I wanted to breastfeed I’d be able to.

Baby G, did not feed for hours in the hospital, I kept trying, and he was not interested in the slightest! I started to get anxious, did this mean he’d need formula to? Mr G calmed me down and told me to stay positive, and finally Baby G latched on!

The midwife visited the following day and again pulled me into ‘best position’ which hurt..but I continued to try. On day 5 Baby G had lost more than 10% of his weight and the midwife phoned the hospital for advice as “she had to” but the hospital were very positive and reminded me that breastfed babies are a little different as Mummy’s milk can take a while to come in. I cried for an hour, and felt very pathetic, then turned to the Internet for help.

I found videos on breast feeding positions, and realised that the positions the midwives were trying to put me in didn’t work for us, I needed to adjust it. After a few minutes I had got Baby G latched on, and most importantly there was pressure but no pain, I didn’t know whether it was right or wrong but I had to try it.

On Day 10, they were delighted with his weight gain, and I had to point out my discovery and alteration of feeding position (which they then insisted on observing).
In honesty, it took 6 weeks for everything to settle, and until 10 weeks for Baby G to stop being lazy and not need feet tickling to keep him awake!

I have had several clashes with health care workers along the way to Baby G now being 16weeks and still fully breast fed, at every hurdle their answer has been ‘formula feed’ but I’m so proud that I struggled through as it is like second nature now and so much easier than getting up to make a bottle in the middle of the night!! The problem i have now is his first tooth is through..ouch…any comments on stopping biting are very welcome!!

Posted on April 22, 2011

Breastfeeding By Kim

breastfeeding/ Guest post
The lovely Kim is on the blog today with her breastfeeding experience. You can find Kim on twitter @PlanetTots or facebook or her lovely website here –
I have been really very lucky in the breastfeeding stakes. When I gave birth to my son 2 years ago we got skin to skin contact straight away and just as the books explain he wiggled his way down my chest, found my nipple and stayed attached to it for the next hour! The midwife took one look at us and said “with nipples like that I knew you’d be OK breast feeding”. Gee thanks, since puberty I’d spent my life trying to hide my prominent nipples, now it seems I found the one benefit of nipples that stick out like the studs on football boots! After a full hours feeding he went to dad while I got sewn up and then he was straight back on the other boob for another hour! By the time we got home from hospital my nipples had little water blisters all over them. The Midwives told me just to persevere and they’d toughen up. I got some soothing nipple cream which really helped and they did indeed get used to it. I still had that toe curling pain for the first 30 seconds of so, but after that the pain settled and feeding continued.
My problem wasn’t getting him to latch on, it was getting him off! Alastair’s feeding pattern was 1 hour on, 1 hour off. We’d often spend the whole day in Pj’s and if we did managed to get dressed and out the house it was never before 2pm. Looking back he had a bit of reflux as he threw up after every feed but we put it down to over eating! The good thing was that when he had fully exhausted himself from feeding he would sleep for hours at a time so most nights he’d only be up twice and by 6 weeks we was sleeping for 6 or 7 hours solid at night. I’m the kind of person who is always on the go, I like doing things. Sitting down “relaxing” stresses me out, I always feel I could be doing something more productive with my time. By week 6 the hours and hours each day I spent with a baby attached to my chest was driving me to distraction. If I wasn’t so pig headed and stubborn I could have given up on many occasions, but it’s just not in my nature, I just kept pushing on one day at a time. Christmas day was the breaking point. We were at my in laws and I literally had about 3 or 4 30min slots all day where Alastair wasn’t attached to me. I knew it was comfort rather than hunger, he was in a new house full of people and he just wanted something familiar- mummy. Our first purchase of the Boxing Day sales was a dummy. It wasn’t an instant fix but gradually it helped sooth him and by the time he was 4 months old we had settled into a regular 3 – 4 hourly feeding pattern. Once we introduced solids at 6 months I found breastfeeding a real joy, it became a good reason to sit down for a wee while and was just so convenient. I went back to work when Alastair was 9 months and he had 3 feeds a day from me (morning, as soon as I came home and bedtime). By the time he was 13months he was fully weaned.
Our second child Alexa was born 2 months prematurely. She was tube fed at first and I had to express milk for her. There are 21 months between her and Alastair. I had only stopped feeding him 8 months before she was born which I think helped my milk supplies come in. When we were allowed to take her out and hold her I was told she was too young to know how to suck yet but told to hold her to the breast anyway to help stimulate my production. The midwives were astounded when she latched on and fed straight away. If there is one thing my children seem to know how to do, it’s eat! Again the problem with Alexa is that being premature it was like she was on a constant growth spurt, I really struggled to keep up with her and my nipples were red raw from all the feeding she was doing. I had that “I just can’t do it any more” moment a few times when I would be in floods of tears and mu husband just had to take her away from me until I calmed myself down. Having been premature and having a grubby toddler pawing all over her I knew she needed the boost in immunity my milk gave her so again I just kept going a day at a time. She is 8 months now and just like with Alastair the introduction of solids has given me some respite and feeding is now far more enjoyable and relaxing. 
As I said I was very lucky, I had babies who knew what they were doing and a body that was easy to feed from but I still found it very hard work. So even when you see other mums that seem to be finding it easy, don’t be fooled, we all have our problems! That was why I decided to have a Breast Feeding Support Section on We are all different, all our babies are different and we all need different kinds of support. The support hotlines offered by NCT and TIPS Ltd. Are great resources when you’re at your wits end. There are loads on online resources but local breastfeeding support groups can be a great way to meet new friends and share experiences with likeminded mums (if, unlike me you can manage to get dressed and out the house!). Please feel free to use our FB page to shout HELP when you need it and we’ll try and point you in the right direction. Just remember that every mother and baby combination is unique and no one knows better than you what’s right for your family. I truly believe that mum always knows best.

Posted on April 21, 2011

Breastfeeding By Antonina

breastfeeding/ Guest post
The lovely Antonina is here with her breastfeeding experience today and some great advice too! You can find Antonina on twitter @antoninam and you can also visit her beautiful photography website here –
Antonina’s gorgeous baby boy just 5 days old 🙂
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. There wasn’t even the question in my mind on whether to breastfeed or not. After all, it’s such a natural thing to do, right? I mean, our ancestors managed just fine without breastfeeding consultants and NCT classes so it must be pretty easy.
So when I started my birth preparation class, I listened intently to everything to do with labour and birth, and lost focus when the time came for the breastfeeding councillor to teach us the fundamentals of breastfeeding. I haven’t even touched the hand-outs she’d given us – I thought I still have time to review them.
Boy was I wrong. On all accounts.
When my baby boy arrived slightly ahead of schedule, at 37 weeks, I was fully prepared for the birth (so it was a relatively smooth and easy – as much as it can be! – experience with no drugs or interventions) but not for feeding my baby.
When placed on my breast after the delivery he did not latch on and fell asleep. I had to express those precious few drops of colostrum and give it to him via a syringe. We then stayed at the hospital for the next 4 days as the staff wanted to monitor his weight.
In theory, being in hospital for 4 days really should have meant I’d get all the help establishing breastfeeding. But I didn’t.
The midwifes were no help and the advice I was given changed as they changed shifts. I was frustrated, blamed my large breasts, my small nipples, and didn’t know what to do. Hell, I didn’t even know how much food my baby needed, and no one told me that after day one I should really start giving him more than 10ml I was hand-expressing. After a couple of days I had to start supplementing him with formula – the milk I managed to express just wasn’t enough.
It was after one of the midwifes spent 15 minutes trying to push screaming Alex onto my breast, in desperation I called Anna, the breastfeeding councillor I’d had a class with as part of my birth preparation. Later she told me how frustrated and slightly mental I sounded – but I thought I was calm and collected when I spoke to her!
I told her everything, and she suggested that I drop by her house when I’m discharged from the hospital. In the meantime, she said, I should spend as much time with Alex on my chest, skin-to-skin.
When I was finally discharged (and that’s another story in itself), I headed straight to Anna’s, equipped with nipple shields she suggested we get. And guess what? 20 minutes later, with the right positioning and gentle guidance, my baby – who refused to latch on for 4 days – was happily sucking from my breast (albeit with the help of a nipple shield). I was the happiest mum on the planet.
But of course it didn’t end there.
The next week was filled with trying to get Alex to latch on (still with a nipple shield), expressing milk and feeding him through a bottle when I couldn’t get him on. It was absolutely exhausting. I’d spend 30 minutes trying to get him on (and he’d scream and look for the breast, and try to get it into his mouth, and it wouldn’t work, and he’d scream some more…), then feeding him, and then expressing in case next time he’d refuse to latch on completely. And by that time I’d have to start again – Alex was on a 3 hourly feeding schedule to fight off his jaundice. On more than I few occasions I cried in desperation. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. It was as if my baby was punishing me, refusing the best I could offer him.
We did have an early success – fed up with the shields that constantly peeled off, I tried to feed Alex without them. Incredibly, it worked. But sadly, only for a few days. He then returned to his old self and I had to feed him via bottle.
Of course, I was worried that bottle-feeding would lead to nipple confusion and the longer it goes on, the more are the chances he’d never feed from my breasts again. But cup-feeding just was too messy and exhausting for both of us, so I continued with a bottle.
I turned to alternative methods and booked in with a cranial osteopath. By now  I had about 6 sessions, but I still don’t know what is it that they do exactly. It seems like magic to me. After just 2 sessions, Alex started feeding better and latching on straight away. Of course, he was growing too, meaning his mouth was bigger and he could get more of the breast in.
I still go and see Anna every other week – she runs a free drop-in breastfeeding clinic at Kingston Hill Children’s Centre. I get sore occasionally, but overall I think we are sorted (well, except the fact that Alex just wants to feed all the time now!).
I’m still not as comfortable as I’d like to be – I have to always hold my breast whilst feeding Alex; I envy mums that can literally walk around with the baby happily sucking either in their arms or in a sling. Doesn’t work for me.
And I’m sure I have more challenges ahead – being self-employed means I’ll be returning to work in a few weeks, before Alex is even 3 months old. Yes, I’ll be working from home most of the time, but I don’t know how I’ll manage on the days that I’m away. We’ll have to deal with it as it happens. But I’m really happy I didn’t give up.
My suggestions for those wanting to breastfeed would be…
– Prepare for the worst. Expect that breastfeeding would not be easy and may actually be painful. That way, if things work out beautifully for you, you’d feel great. And if they don’t you won’t feel like a complete and utter failure.
– Ask for help. And if you feel like the advice you’re given is not right for you – it probably isn’t. One nursing nurse that visited me at home kept on about the “angle of dangle” and told me not to hold my breast – completely missing the fact that there was no way I could get Alex to latch on without holding it! Everyone is different, and there’s no one solution to all breastfeeding problems.
– Research breastfeeding consultants in your area in advance, and have their numbers handy for after delivery. There are many free breastfeeding clinics, run but the same consultants that charge for one-to-one consultations, and they are much much better than the standard advice given by health visitors and nursery nurses.
– Consider alternative therapies. Cranial osteopathy really worked for me, but do your research and ask around for recommendations. A breastfeeding consultant will often be able to direct you to a good osteopath that gets results.

Posted on April 18, 2011

My Breastfeeding Story by Emily

breastfeeding/ Guest post
Emily shares her breastfeeding experience with us today and also gives some great advice!! Thank you Emily for sharing with us! You can find Emily on twitter @OnlyWantsOne
I was 19 when I had Lola. After a super quick and easy labour I bounded home with this tiny little thing that needed me 24/7. When I was pregnant I had always envisaged feeding Lola myself, but looking back on it now I think there was a massive lack of knowledge and understanding on my part about how to actually feed your baby effectively.
We managed about 4 days exclusively, before I gave in (and that is still how I view it, defeat) and I gave her a bottle of formula. She slept, she seemed happy, content. Now I know that’s not because formula is better, but because we hadn’t managed to get her latching on right in order to feed properly. Bottles are easy; it just flows out meaning she had to do no work to get her full tummy.

From here it all went down hill – “topping up” with formula, hiding bottles / sterilisers / dummies from the health visitors and midwives because they all seemed too scary and unapproachable. When Lola was about 16 weeks she was bottle fed completely. I hadn’t realised it before but I can’t remember the last time I breast fed her, and thinking back on that makes me very sad.
Second time round I was prepared, I knew what was about to come so I prepared myself! Older, wiser, different much more supportive partner, fantastic midwife, and sheer stubbornness helped.
Ruby was born in December, planned home birth but ended up in hospital after a 14 hour back to back labour. Home within hours luckily!! Still I found though that by day 3 my nipples were raw. Ruby wanted to be held, loved and fed constantly. My poor partner was sent out to buy lansinoh, which helped at the time – but a semi break through was made when my sister suggested nipple shields. Ruby was about 10 days old by then.
Amazing, she fed properly for the first time and it was completely pain free. However after attending a local BFN group I realised what a pain they were. Determined that at 5 weeks we would get rid!! Well, it took a whole day of skin to skin, and tears from both of us, but we managed it.
Some times still our latch seems to get lazy, and we have to do some work to retrain her, but mostly I am so glad that I continued to feed her. She’s now 19 weeks old and exclusively being fed by me. It’s created an amazing bond that sadly I don’t think I had with my older daughter.
My tips for any one pregnant who want to breast feed would be –
Don’t buy bottles and sterilisers etc prior to having your baby, because when its hard at 3am and you’re exhausted and it hurts, you will just give your baby a bottle – what you need is support in place instead.
Do what feels right, and what works – the amount of raised eye brows I get because we co sleep amazes me!!
Find a local group to go to, and I would go when you’re pregnant first to meet them!
Get the BFN number – use it
Be honest with people, your health visitor will have seen it and heard it all before (when I first met my health visitor this time round I answered the door with “I hate breast feeding” she laughed – and I don’t any more!!)
Lastly, enjoy it and stay calm. It’s not a competition. No one asks “and how soon after you had him/her were you up doing the weekly shop / washing the car?”
(And if they do ask, tell them to shhhhhhhh!!)

Posted on April 15, 2011

Trying My Breast By Donna

breastfeeding/ Guest post

This morning’s Breastfeeding post is from Donna @MummyCentral Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Donna :O)

When Elizabeth and I have our meetings about Mummy Central, and what pearls of wisdom we’re going to write next, her adorable baby Zach is normally with us. He’s an incredibly calm six-month-old, happy to watch the world go by, kicking his legs and smiling. We only ever hear a cry of protest when he reminds Elizabeth it’s time for a feed. She pops him under her jumper and…… that’s just about it.

If only breastfeeding had been so easy for me. I would have loved that connection with my baby, that ease to get on with chats over coffee as my child happily got nourishment from my body. And it seems that simple for a lot of women. I’ve even had one friend carry her baby around in a papoose – no hands – with her breast out as he happily suckles away. She’s not flashing, he’s hidden from the world beneath a shawl, while she walks around the shops (now that’s multi-tasking!). I wouldn’t have insisted on that level of mobility. If only my children had latched on and taken my milk, I’d have sat perfectly still for as long as they demanded.

When Brodie came along, I had been to all of the classes, where I’d practised the technique with a doll. I’d read the books, and spoken to other mums who reassured me it was the most natural thing in the world.
And, to be honest, I didn’t see how I couldn’t breastfeed. I mean, I’m so well-equipped. From my teens, my chest developed to above average size and I’ve spent all my life putting up with leering comments about being ‘well-stacked’ etc (not pleasant, but I’ve got used to it). Imagine the snigger’s, I thought, if someone like me couldn’t breastfeed.

When the midwife brought my new son over for his first feed, I prepared for that blissful connection. Instead, she pushed his face into my enormous breast (if I thought they were big before pregnancy……) as his little red face screamed and screamed. Brodie had arrived after a 30-hour labour which ended in him being pulled out by a ventouse suction device. So I was reassured breastfeeding would come. My poor baby wasn’t exactly relaxed. Just give it a few days. But three or four days later, and countless attempts by several different midwives, my son was still refusing to latch on. In desperation, one midwife brought over a clear nipple shield – a bit like a teet from a bottle – and placed it on me. Brodie immediately began to take milk.
At last!

I took my baby home and tried to get on with being a new mum. When he was hungry, Brodie screamed loudly. And it would often take several attempts to get him in the right position. The nipple shield would fall off, or slip below the nipple so he was getting nothing. I’d be sweating profusely, heart hammering in my chest, sometimes even crying as I tried to feed my child. And despite speaking to my health visitor, I was given no help. Just told to keep at it. Every time Brodie latched on, it hurt like hell. And I’d been told in ante-natal classes that if breastfeeding hurt, I wasn’t doing it right. But now the medical experts were telling me not to worry, that I’d get used to it. I was confused and scared.

If we were out in a cafe, people stared as Brodie squealed desperately for nourishment. My husband had to hold a pashmina over me, as I discovered it was impossible to discreetly hide my boobs from the world as I fed my baby. I longed to be able to tuck him inside a cardigan or under a jumper. But I needed to see my nipple to place the shield properly and ensure Brodie was getting some milk. At home, it was just easier to draw the curtains and sit topless to feed him. I was crying all the time and in pain.

My best friend told me she’d done six weeks with both of her children – and couldn’t stand any more. She advised me to do the same. I reached the six-week mark when my sister-in-law also suggested I stop. She was visiting, and noticed the state I was in. She bandaged me like a mummy under my clothes for a couple of days, to help my milk dry up.

We got bottles and formula, which Brodie happily accepted. The relief was palpable. And although I secretly felt a failure, I put on a brave face and told everyone my son just wasn’t getting enough milk from me. He needed bottles.

Brodie was six months old when I was diagnosed with post natal depression. I don’t blame the breastfeeding fiasco – but I think it added to my feelings of inadequacy.

By the time we tried for another baby, I was happily out of the fog, and clinging onto the assertion that no two babies are the same. I told myself it didn’t matter what the outcome, as long as I gave it my best shot – but who was I kidding. I was desperate to prove I could do it.

I welcomed our second son into the world, and waited once again for the midwife to guide me towards that bonding breastfeeding experience. By the end of the first day, I was in tears with Blake refusing to do anything other than take my milk through – you guessed it – a plastic nipple shield.

Once again I had several midwives try to help. None of them knew how to get my baby to latch on.
The second night, I fed Blake through the shield, wincing in pain and my nipples bleeding.
The midwives gave me conflicting advice. The night shift told me to carry on regardless, even though I was bleeding. The next morning, the midwife in charge was horrified at the state I was in, and said I should have swapped sides – or stopped altogether.

I took Blake home when he was four days old, with the familiar feeling of fear and dread.
That first night at home, holding back the tears, I realised I was in danger of ruining the precious experience of bonding with my new baby. Brodie’s first weeks are not a pleasant memory for me. I’d been hoping for a more relaxed and happy time with his brother. So I made up a bottle the following morning. And from that moment on, a dark cloud lifted.

I’ve heard people say that no-one is a ‘failure’ at breastfeeding. That it is possible for anyone. There just has to be better help and advice. They might be right. Personally I feel like my boys, and my body, rebelled against breastfeeding completely. But would things have been different if I’d had some kind of expert help and coaching? Perhaps.
I did what I could. I tried. As with lots of aspects of motherhood, that’s all you can do.
I have no problem with people who say ‘breast is best’. But they should stop and think before they lecture new mums about this ‘natural’ experience we should all be having.
Because, to tell the truth, I still feel sad that I didn’t do it. I just don’t beat myself up about it any more.

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