Sunday, March 1, 2009

My girls

This is the inevitable boob-feeding post. Please feel free to skip. BUT, if you have input-read on people, read on...

I've always had a love-hate relationship with "the girls"...I was one of those people that middle school girls hate, and middle school boys loved. I started wearing a bra in 5th grade--albeit, it was a training bra, but still. I was a hurdle-jumper in middle school, and they helped me win a few races. They also made it incredibly painful to be on the track team period. I have YET to find a sports bra that is comfortable. Yes, Ive gotten a few extra looks from the male species--BUT most of the time its unwelcome. And right now, Mook gets a pure death-look if he even LOOKS at them wrong. God help him when he even accidentally brushes up against them...

Anyway...I know you know where Im going with this. I have another love-hate situation with my girls. I am thankful that my milk has come in, and that it is providing O-man with the nutrition he needs. All signs point to A-OK: he's gained and is gaining weight, he meets the required poopy diapers in a day (good grief, its hard to count poopy diapers--and even pay attention to the color) and other than the occasional spit up, I think his tummy handles it well.

Hoooooweever....Im in serious discomfort. To recap briefly: my milk was delayed coming in b/c he came at 36 weeks, so we HAD to supplement with formula those first few days. I had no problem with this, as I knew we didnt really have a choice. And until I had enough supply, we were still having to give some at home that first week. Now I have been able to give him strictly breast milk after pumping.

I have attempted and re-attempted to put him to the breast: we've done the lactation consultant, the SNS, blah...blah...blah. Let me give my son props: he's a champ at adjusting--he has no problem going back and forth between natural nipple and all the bottle nipples we are trying--he's even got a fair latch. But his little mouth and my blistered, fissured nipples do NOT get along. Not to mention, Ive got an inverted lefty.

So..I just came to terms with doing the pumping....with a far off dream that I may be able to strictly breast feed eventually. But THOSE thoughts are becoming few and far between, because even pumping is becoming hard. Not that it wasn't hard before, but: I am in so much pain. I get these shooting pains in my breasts and nipples for about 10 minutes after each pumping session, Ive got constant fissures and 2 blood blisters on my left nipple--(Ive tried tea bags, the lanolin, airing them out....) And I always feel full, yet even if I pump for 20 minutes I get the same amount each time--so the pain sets in. And the sound of the pump: enough to make me want to gag.

Im this close to throwing in the towel. Let me just be completely honest here, OK? My body is tired. Really, really tired. I have no problem saying I have been to hell and back recently. I would NEVER trade even those dark days to give up having O-man here. Never, ever. But you know that saying, "When momma aint happy, aint nobody happy?" That's what Im worried about--that PPD will really start to grip me because I am having nonstop thoughts about breastfeeding and how I will damage my child if I stop, and Im going to give into formula because I just can't hack it, and we will have to spend all this money to have formula...the list goes on. Not to mention the pumping equipment clean up. Mook and I had our first "parent" blow up this morning over the stupid clean-up of pumping equipment-I was in tears, and he was in the silent treatment mode. Everything is fine now--we worked it out--but it just reinforced my "I WANT TO QUIT" mind frame...

We have his 1-month (yea dude, ONE month) appointment this Wednesday, and I plan on discussing it with the pediatrician, and I may give the LC one more call to see if there is anything else I can do about my nipple issues and boob pain. But does it really come down to keeping my sanity? Is it something I just need to suck up and deal with? I just don't know that I can...I need to start feeling some sort of healing process within my body--it's really playing with my mental state of mind. I dont worry about the bonding issues, because I spend plenty of time cooing and talking with him during the bottle feedings and after when we just stare and study each other=)

In our society, we are told not to quit, and when we have the slightest inclination to do so, we get the: "Carry on! Persevere! You can do it!" speech. I dont want to quit when I see that satisfied look on his face. But even now, as I look at the clock and realize its time to "hook up" again, I just want to cry...


  1. I had a really hard time with the nursing at first too. I eventually got the hang of it, but not before many tears were shed and I had threatened to quit about a million times. I started using Lanolin and vitamin E on my nipples and it helped A LOT. Like a lot, a lot. Things go much easier when you arent in as much pain.

    But listen, if you just cant do it, you cant do it. O-man will be just fine. And putting yourself under anymore stress is just not worth it. I had severe ppd, and its not something to mess with.

    Take care of yourself missy.


  2. You have to do what is best for you and Oliver. If that's formula it's ok. Lots of babies have grown up on formula. Breast feeding isn't easy and beating yourself up over it doesn't make it any better. Hang in there and hugs to you. I hope whatever you decide that the girls are feeling much better soon.

  3. Oh, I hate feeding the robot and I doubt there is any way I could be an exclusive pumper. Iam way impressed you made it this long.

    As far as the pain, I've got a severely inverted rightie and my LC gave me a nipple shield to help her draw it out. Worked wonders. Some people think they are the devil but I was able to get rid of it after a few weeks.

    Most importantly is a happy mom though. I was formula fed and I like to think I turned out just fine! I know O-man will too ;)

  4. I had a rough time also with breastfeeding. I believe that you should do what is right for you and your family. There is no wrong decision.

  5. I think people should do what is best for them and only they truly know that,
    With that said I also heavily grieve for anyone who does not get to experience the true and complete joy it brings.
    I had a lot of pain. A nipple shield stopped the pain and let things develop until we could nurse easily without it. There were 3 days of toughing it out and lots of pain but it went away. It got better and better and then fantastic.

    I wish you peace with whatever you decide.

  6. Hey, because of the timing, little man is getting exclusively organic formula. I know some will take issue with it, and I even fret about it a tad - but in the end, I think the loving they get along with adequate nutrition will be what he needs in the end.

    You can only do so much - and so long as you do what is right for you, that's the right thing to do.

  7. I second using a nipple shield. It made all the difference, especially for a baby that has a small mouth and is born early. I also had one of those. Be sure and have his tongue checked to make sure that he isn't tongue tied, if he is, he can have that clipped at a ear, nose and throat doctor's office and that will greatly improve his latch.
    I breastfed 4 kids and it gets much easier after about 6 weeks, so you are almost there, the baby will be bigger, which helps a lot.
    But some babies are harder to nurse than others and I do remember how hard it was with the pump, and if you do decide to continue, be sure that you have a hospital grade pump and buy another set of attachments so you have another set on hand. The hospital grade will empty the breast better and the extra set will give you a break from having to wash all those pieces every two hours.
    Good luck, and try the shields, it really does work.

  8. I have no advice, but a week from today I will probably be reading the comments from this post because I will have no idea what I'm doing. I've gotten the same advice from 3 friends who struggled with breastfeeding, and I'm not sure if it will help you, but I'll pass it along: get the prescription nipple cream. It's called "Tri.ple Nip.ple" here and has to be mixed, but friends sing its praises after Lanolin alone didn't do the trick.

    If you end up formula feeding, Oliver will be a-ok. j never took to breastfeeding, according to my MIL and was formula fed from day 2. And I can report that he's "normal" in most every way that counts.

    *big hugs*

    p.s. I just realized, if B comes via induction on Wednesday, he and O-man will be a month apart! And have almost-matching birthdays! :)

  9. I second lanolin at EVERY SINGLE pump/feed/whatever. It took a few weeks before I wasnt' curling my toes in pain when Ethan nursed. If you've tried lanolin, the shield, and the stuff that people suggested, I think that you're doing all you CAN. And sanity and happiness is worth a LOT.

    I want to tell you....Ava was not breastfed (as in ever, since she was a preemie and then I didn't do adoptive bfing since I was pg) and she's a HORSE. She eats well and is HUGE. She's happy and developmentally FINE. Ethan was breastfed and he has been FTT, hates to eat, screams at food, refused food ALTOGETHER until almost 11 mo, had a few developmental delays (minor things like mouthing things, stuff that does go along with the FTT dx) and has had terrible eczema. point is, it's not all about the boob.


  10. Now let me tell you this, JJ. You are not a bad mother if you choose to stop breastfeeding. Trust me on this. I couldn't breastfeed my first no matter how hard I tried (and like you, I tried like crazy) and I spent the next 5 count 'em 5 years beating myself up for it. No joke. I was convinced at my abject failure as a human being.

    And you know what? It was stupid of me to beat myself so badly. Having a newborn is hard enough without having to have mealtime suck, too.

    Try to be kind to yourself, JJ. It's hard, I know, but please try. You're a wonderful momma and he knows it.

  11. Shooting pains after nursing stops could be a sign of thrush. I stopped BF after a month due to the horrible thrush pain (mine was resistant to treatment). Or it could be vasospasms caused by trauma. Both are treatable, and I would see someone sooner than later.

  12. I also vote for giving a nipple shield a try, if you haven't already. It made it so much easier for me. Make sure they fit properly (lactation consultant). I had some too small ones and they were quite painful. Maybe also try a hand pump? I haven't tried an electic personally, but with the hand pump, you have a lot of control. Oh, and I have no idea if this is an issue with you, but I had a lot of pain initially with oversupply. I only nursed her on one side each session to solve that.

    And ignore the people who claim breastfeeding is the only way to bond. I spend most of my breastfeeding time watching television. If you need to stop, that will be the best thing for all of you. You won't be a failure. You'd only be a failure if you keep struggling with something that isn't working and making yourself miserable.

    We love you.

  13. I third the nipple shield idea. My IVF twins were born at 36 weeks, so I intially had milk supply issues, too. Both girls had poor latches, so around 16 weeks, I moved to exclusively pumping, because they simply could not get enough milk otherwise. I kept it up for a year, but, in retrospect, that didn't really come from a place of emotional health. I wasn't doing it because it seemed like the best decision for my family, but because I was angry at my body for the infertility and it was going to produce milk for the babies if it killed me. I'd probably handle things differently, knowing what I know now. I'd give the LC another shot, try the nipple shield and then make the decision that you need to make to optimize your emotional health.
    Two side notes: I had shooting pains in my breasts and it was due to a combination of thrush and Reynaud's and got infinitely better once I treated the thrush and learned to manage the later.
    Second, lanolin wasn't making my nipples better and then I remembered I was allergic to wool- lanolin isn't supposed to aggravate wool allergies, but I noticed a huge improvement when I followed my LC's suggestion and moved to KY Jelly instead. Okay a third side note, pumping was always better when I lined the inside of the flanges with KY- sooo much more comfortable. Sorry you're going through this on top of everything else. At the end of the day, do what you need to for ALL of you, including you...

  14. I am going to tell you right here and now: IT IS OK TO QUIT.

    And I will be berated and booed and hissed at from all the breastfeeding advocates but I will tell you this - it is NOT worth your sanity. It just simply isn't.

    You and O are a team. And if something isn't working for one of you, you need to find a better fit. Formula is ok. He will be fine on formula. He will be healthy on formula. You will still bond with him if he's on formula.

    At one of my therapy appointments long ago, my counselor told me that when I had a baby I should probably NOT breastfeed because of my very high risk for PPD. I never really knew why - until I was in the trenches. Now I know why.

    And at my "mommy group" last week, a spokesperson from the Post Partum Society came and asked us each to talk about what the hardest part of being a new mom was. 20 out of 22 people said it was breastfeeding that almost put them over the edge. And every single one of us had to make some sort of change from the dream of breastfeeding. Many people went to formula.

    I absolutely HATE pumping, myself. The feeling of the pinching/pulling on my nipples causes me to have an overwhelming feeling of anxiety every time I am hooked up to it. It's not nice. And you're right, the sound of that thing - it's enough to drive a woman over the edge.

    There is way too much guilt bullshit out there about breastfeeding and it makes me very angry. It's simply a fact that nobody seems to want to admit that it's NOT right for everyone, and NOT everyone can do it.

    You have given this your all and it's just not working for you. Please do what is right for you AND O and give yourself a break.

    I am still pumping breastmilk and I hate every second of it and cannot wait for the day when I can stop. So this comment isn't even from a person who is formula feeding but I am still totally encouraging it in your case.

    If you ever want to talk about this I am always here for you.

    Good luck and I wish you some peace and healing.

  15. With Michael I totally freaked out about the breastfeeding and it did me and him no good. I was able to struggle on for almost a year and I was SO happy to give it up.

    With Willow, older and wiser me decided to try it and then if it did not work--give it up. And I was so much happier with an attitude that whatever BF I do for her is good--that I was able to do it for 9 months.

    Do what you can, but don't FORCE yourself to be uncomfortable, unhappy. O-Man will turn out a-okay with Breast Milk OR formula.

    Also, be aware of your feelings--IF you are feeling more than a little "blue" check with your doc--another lesson I learned from the second one--get help early on for that PPD!

  16. Call your local LLL and not the Lactation consultants. I've found LLL to have much more practical advice that the LCs. And they are very non-judgmental (LLL).

    Also, my SIL took 6 weeks to get bfing established with my nephew and then went on for over 2 years.

    It sucks that the most tired your body is is the only time you have to figure out bfing.

    Good luck!!!

  17. There is absolutely NO way you should feel guilty if you need to stop breastfeeding. None AT ALL! I tried so many different things with MT to find what worked best for us. You're the momma. You need sleep and sanity. Thats is the Best gift of all for Lil Mister. A happy momma is WAY better than ANYTHING in the world.If you need formula samples to try I have loads

    *JJ i think you may actually have a yeast infection or mastitis. you may want to go check that out with your dr. Does it feel like a knife is stabbing you after pumps/feeds? Try filling up a sink with hot water and lean over it and soak the nipples to help with the milk blisters and pain. It will hurt like a mother at first but try and hand express while soaking a bit and see if that helps

  18. Make sure you don't have thrush in your breasts, perhaps. That can give nasty shooting pains similar to what you describe.

    Personally, I was in a lala land where I was going to BF twins and then my milk never came in. It's not politically correct to say so, but formula is not a disaster,



  19. Since I don't have any firsthand experience with breastfeeding, I can only tell you to do what is best for you and O. If it is continuing with what you have been doing or switching to formula.

    It really does sound like you have thrush or something going on with the girls. If so, maybe get it treated and then decide what to do.

  20. So I don't have time to read everyone's comment (sorry), so forgive me if I am repeating what everyone already told you. But the very first thing I thought was do you have large enough horns? That's the part of the pump thingy that opens like a funnel and is in direct contact with the boob. My boobs are humongous this time around (and they were pretty big the first time too), and when the NICU LC brought me bigger horns for the pump, I nearly kissed the woman-- the difference was startling.

    The other thing is to make sure you don't have thrush. I was not sure what was happening that was causing me such horrific pain for a while. Turned out we had a bit of atypical presentation, but we had it. Oral meds for the Cub, topical for me, and things improved dramatically-- we went from toe-curling pain to oh, isn't this fun. And I wish you much the same.

  21. I pumped for 1 month for my twins then gave up. I was in pain for the first two weeks then found out I huge boobs with tiny nipples and needed a smaller size shield on my pump and that helped alot. I would look into a smaller shield your nipples will thank you for it.

  22. Honestly, I didn't read every comment already posted, but I wanted to add a suggestion that my LC gave me and it seemed to help w the pain.... let some of the milk dry on your nips. I have no idea why it works, but the pain really seemed to go away when I did that. Personally, I am still really struggling w the whole BF thing and I understand wanting to throw in the towel.

  23. I haven't read the other comments, so I apologize for any repeats. :)
    But it IS about your sanity - YOU are included in what's best for your FAMILY! If it's wreaking havoc with you physically and mentally, then that can't be good for anybody.

    If you do decide to keep trying, and you haven't already tried these, here are some recommendations: I think it's Playtex that makes some cooling gel pads that are EXCELLENT. I had soreness and bleeding issues (bleeding into a pumped bottle is the epitome of frustration!). Also - I would keep the pump parts in the fridge and sterilize them once a day with those handy microwave bags. That helped with washing times and frustrations. Someone else (Leah, maybe?) had mentioned that breast milk keeps in the fridge, so why not the milk on the pump parts?

    We've used strictly formula for 4.5 months and our boys are thriving. We used a combo for the first 7.5 months. And even for being premies, they're doing great. Formula is expensive, but saves a lot of time, and sanity!

    Do what's best for you guys, and we'll all be behind you!

  24. do you read Jennifer over at 'Maybe if you just relax'? (
    She wrote an awesome post last Saturday that I think would help you through.
    ((hugs)) - but not too tight!

  25. Breastfeeding was one of the most challenging things for me, but I overcame all the obstacles. However, it took many, many trips to the LC office. We finally decided on using a nipple shield for a while. It was mainly for my inverted nipple. I too had a left inverted nipple. Wyatt thankfully was able to draw it out and it is no longer inverted. But meanwhile, the nipple shield helped with the soreness, and inverted side. Maybe try that? It really worked wonders. The only drawback is you may eventually have to wean him off the nipple shield, but I had no issues doing that. Wyatt never acted like he knew the difference once we went back the natural way. Also, as far as the pump making you sore, I had this issue once I went back to work. I went up a size on breast shields and issues resolved. It seemed my nipples had changed from the constant nursing and pumping. They actually seemed bigger. I also think I had the pump higher than necessary and that was contributing to the soreness. I hope your able to get these problems resolved and figure out what works best for you and your little guy. He is just adorable by the way!

  26. JJ, I completely understand where you are coming from. There were weeks where I swore each day was going to be the last day I attempted to nurse or pump. I don't know exactly why I kept at it, but I did and now it is painless and much easier. One day I woke up and it just didn't hurt anymore. But I can tell you without a doubt that I could have quit any one of those days just as easily. It was much harder to keep going and I honestly don't know why I did.

    Now I worry about what I will do when I go back to work and it is still 2 months away. Speaking as someone currently being treated for PPD, I do think all of the stress from breastfeeding contributed to the depression and anxiety. I put a lot of pressure on myself to not quit. Even the word "quit" has such a negative connotation, maybe I should have thought of it as "stopping" instead of "quitting." What's important is that the baby gets the nutrition he or she needs and not how they get the nutrition. Babies do just fine on formula.

    Anyway, not trying to give advice one way or the other. Just saying I know how you feel. Hang in there.

  27. Set small goals. If you can get to 6 weeks you will notice improvement and every two weeks after that. Also, by 3 months almost all problems are resolved and then you can spend the next year or more enjoying the full benefits of breastfeeding without these troubles. I had trouble for the first 2 months. I had shooting pain and it turned out to be Raynauds (vasospasms). Apply a heating pad before and after you nurse or pump and see if it helps. If it does, you probably have it. The heating pad, and then returning to a warmer climate was all I needed to fix that problem, but there is a medication available if it is more severe. I went on to nurse for over 2 years and I don't even remember the early problems. It was definitely worth it and I am glad I stuck it out and persisted.

    Have the LC or someone from LLL watch you pump. They can make adjustments and tell you if you need bigger flanges. If your nipples rub against the plastic, you need bigger flanges. If isn't necessarily boob size, but nipple size in relation to the flange.

    Do the ointment after every feeding/pumping. You won't need that forever, either, but use it as long as you need it. Same with the nipple shield. Use it as long as you need it. Your nipples won't be in bad shape forever, either. It just seems that way.

    Some people have extra sets of pump accessories (tubing, etc.) so they have to clean less.

    You have been through a lot and if you can't do it, you can't. It will be o.k. if you choose to stop, but you've almost made it a month after an early c-section and that is terrific! Focus on what you have done already and the things that are going well like your supply and his latch.

    If you want to continue, my advice is to try to make it to 6 weeks, get more help from the LC or LLL and re-evaluate at that point. Smaller goals will help you relax about things.

  28. Breastfeeding is difficult at first. Each week it will get better. The first few weeks, my goal was always just to make it through another week. And there was pain. And cracked nipples. And more pain. But each week, it does get better. By the time Bo was 3 months old, I knew I would make it to a year. But every day during those first 6-8 weeks, I wanted to quit about a million times a day. I can't emphasize enough, that it does get better.

    That said, I would probably stop pumping and try feeding him exclusively for a few days to see how that goes. Yes, it will still hurt, but the pump/baby combo can be more painful in some ways. I began pumping regularly at 6 weeks and pumped twice a day - after the first morning feeding and at night before I went to bed to store up milk for when I went back to work.

    Also, if you do want to quit, I wouldn't beat yourself up about it. It definitely isn't the end of the world if you use formula -- there are millions of smart, wonderful people in the world who were not breastfed. It is not the be-all, end-all so don't let anyone tell you that it is.

  29. There is nothing wrong with stopping breastfeeding, and I can't imagine what constant pumping would have been like.

    But, it also sounds like you might not be ready to quit. You almost certainly need larger horns for the pump, if you haven't gotten them already; this made an enormous difference for me, and it was immediate.

    A nipple shield might help you make the transition from pumping to nursing, which is a million times less draining than pumping. Even though you pump for your baby, pumping is time away from your baby, and it's not fun.

    You might also ask your doctor to prescribe the APNO cream, which is heavier duty than Lansinoh. It really helped me to heal.

    If you continue breastfeeding or not, all will be fine. Good luck!

  30. I'm sure everyone else here has said it, but really there isn't anything wrong with formula. At ALL.

    Also - another commenter for the magic of the nipple shield. I have an inverted nipple too and it was not only a balm for my blistered, aching boobies, it really helped Baby O with nursing from both sides.

    *hug* this part's the hardest. It really is. Hang in there, and if you end up switching to formula? O will be FINE. So will you.


  31. IMO any amount of time you spend it one hour or one month or one year is beneficial to your baby. Even if you decided to throw in the towel right this second, you've given him some really valuable nutrients and that is fantastic.

    That said, Bfing is H.A.R.D. The pain, the hormones, the emotions--its a wonder people do it at all. My experience was horrible in the beginning but it got better. If you have the strength to stick with it then I encourage you to do so. But at the end of the day, you need to do what is best for all of you and for your sanity. Happy mommy = happy baby.

    ((LOTS OF HUGS))

  32. JJ, you've already heard all the right things. It IS okay to stop. A sane you is MOST important.

    I BF my first and had excruciating cracked and bleeding nipples in the early weeks. I would literally cry through the beginning of a feeding. But things did get better and I nursed for 10 months.

    Then the preemie twins came. I HATED pumping. Mostly due to the clean-up/set-up issues. It's ridiculous how long it takes. Then they were discharged and Peaches had nipple confusion and Plum had this tiny mouth and weak suckle. I had to try to BF to see if they could learn it, then pump to get adequate milk, the bottle cause they were still hungry. Oh and eat, and pee and care for a 5-year-old. It just wasn't working. I was in tears and needed to give up.

    There are some occasions that I wished I had tried to stick it out, mostly when I pay for the formula. But really it has made life a lot easier than when I BF my first. It is easy for DH to be involved and it is just the norm now in our house. They are thriving and will be totally fine. So will you and your little man, not matter what you chose.

    Stay healthy and sane sweetie!

  33. JJ, first of all, you're doing an amazing job and loving little O-man in a beautiful way. As for the breast feeding, I had serious issues as well with my twins. I have to agree that it gets much better after 6 weeks so if you need a goal to get to, that would be a good one. I also used a nipple shield briefly after my little man injured my nipple so badly that I cried every time one of the babies latched on. Slather your nipples with a ridiculous amount of lanolin. Also, one of my friends got a prescription cream to help with the nipple healing from her LC, and that might be an idea. And I also agree that you should have about 3 sets of the breast pump attachments so that you don't have to clean them all the time. I think the attachment cleaning should definitely be a Mook job- sorry Mook! And lastly, your sanity is above everything else, the most important (coming from a psychiatrist!), so take care of yourself and know when to say enough is enough! I'll be thinkin of you and your beautiful little family!

  34. I don't have time to read the other comments - sorry if its a repeat or an oddball answer.

    First, you are the perfect, best-suited mom for Oliver and whatever you do will be best for both of you and your family.

    I think this was the time women need cheerleading, not encouragement to quit. I think this is why so many women do quit. You're absolutely right, this is not the all-natural easy-peasy thing some people say it is. When new moms talk about how hard it is, it seems people are quicker to encourage them to quit than to keep going. You know how its easier to go to the gym if someone is going with you, if you have support? Same thing. Its not the same issue as the trials of breastfeeding at all, but I know I hate working out and I think its painful and generally sucks. I need encouragement do try and do it, for the great benefit of my health. Parenting (as much as I know about it after only 18 months!) is full of trials. This is one of the first, hardest ones... and you can do it!

    If you think you can make it through this hard time - made harder for you of course what with all the physical challenges you've had - you could have a great nursing relationship with Oliver for a long time. It DOES get easier. You will both get better. O is going to get bigger and stronger and he will improve his technique, as will you.

    Keep going back to the support you've already gone for - the La Leche League, lactation consultants, friends who had a successful experience, websites (Kellymom, AskMoxie, google Jack Newman, an MD from here in Canada). Get that latch down pat and don't stop until its right. Make sure you are in the best position, that your pump is adequate for you, have a sturdy supportive pillow like "The Brest Friend", airdry your ladies, use lanolin, vitamin E, nipple shields, etc... Like diaper rash (another fun experience!) an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I know we already all know the benefits of breastmilk, but they are coming out with new research about it everyday. And the long term benefits for you are also coming to light more and more each day.

    My role as commenter for today is just to act as a cheerleader for you. Obviously the only thing that matters is what goes on in your own house between you, Mook, and Oliver. But - YOU CAN DO IT JJ!! :) Just think of all the hard work, physical and emotional, that you've done just to get Oliver here in the first place!

    Take care - I haven't commented before but I've really enjoyed your story and I'm thrilled your little man is here. My own son is 18 months now and it goes by SO FAST. Something that feels like the biggest problem ever can be hard to remember eventually. That is the only thing I can tell you for sure. :)

  35. I feel like I could've written this post 11 months ago! I was in your SAME EXACT shoes except Lily wasn't a strong enough sucker, not getting enough from me and losing weight which had me in daily tears! DAILY! Couldn't stop!

    So other than some comfort nursing, I "exclusively pumped" which is more common than it sounds! I pumped at every feeding while feeding her at the same time. It was difficult at first, but I got the hang of it and now at 11 months, I'm still pumping and having a hard time stopping! I have 1,500 oz frozen in the freezer and still pumping her fresh milk everyday.

    I couldn't have gotten through those early days of pumping without this support board:,searchmb

    And you need a pumping bra if you want to continue this route.

    If you have any questions, email me at It was so much easier once I made this decision. My girls thanked me too! So did my DH!!!

  36. It does get better. It truly does. I know it's impossible to believe, because I couldn't believe it when Adam was a month old either. But it really does.

    I cried and cursed my way through the first two months of breastfeeding. It hurt so damn much. I wanted to quit every day of those first two months. I'm so thankful that I didn't, though.

    I'm sitting here having to wean my 25 month old, because it looks like food allergies are winning the battle at our house. I am completely torn up. Our breastfeeding relationship has meant so much to both of us. I had to sacrifice a lot to make it happen, but I'll never regret that.

    I totally agree with the "do whatever you need to do to make it through" philosophy, so if that means weaning to formula then that's just what it means. I do know for at least me personally, though, that it was worth toughing it through those really rough first couple of months to get to the really good parts. And those can last for months and months.

    Good luck whatever you decide to do!

  37. Sweetie,

    You must get yourself some Soothies. They saved my life, you can get them at Walgreens or Target. Someone already said nipple shield, Soothies and nipple shields are what got me thru the hell.
    Please remember that even if your doing it correctly it still hurts int he beginning. But also your heart and your head must agree w/what's best for your family. It just shows what a great mom you are b/c you care so much about what you feed your child. There are pros and cons to both types of what's best for you sweetie. Oh and Medla makes a better nipple cream than Lanosil.

    It's ok to have a love/hate on the breast feeding. I know MANY O MOMS that do. It's not all love n roses.

  38. Definitely nipple shields. I had a love / hate relationship with breastfeeding. It does get better after 6 weeks and again after 3 months....2 big milestones. My first son was an aggressive latcher with poor form. So my nips were always cracked and bleeding and he sucked so hard I would cry and cry from pain. So my LC gave me nipple shields and told me to only use them until they healed then try to switch him back to natural. She said it might disrupt supply. BUT don't listen. It worked great. And I used them exclusively for 9 months of nursing.

    Then when I had my twins (all 3 were IVF) I just started with nipple shields and lasted 8 months with them. I think the shields helped them all to latch better with much less work and crying. Plus they were all great about switching between bottle and boob. No problems. Give them a try before you give up.

  39. I have had a hard time pumping, The twins were in the NICU for 5 weeks, born at 31 weeks. I knew that I had to work so have been pumping. It will be five months on the 7th. It has been a hard road. I am in pain all the time. I am not saying one way or another what you should do. I am just saying that I have been there and understand your pain. I have wanted to quit multiple times myself. I have to pump every 3-4 hours to keep the supply up. This means that even though they sleep 8-11 hours at night, I am up pumping. I am sick of pumping, cleaning bottles, pumping. I think what made me continue on is that one of the babies has horrible reflux and does not do well even on very small amts of formula. I was doing just 2oz a day and stopped that. I guess the point being, you have to do what is right for you and not look back. Do not continue to second guess yourself after the decision is made, it will drive you CRAZY! If you need to talk e-mail me at

  40. The shooting pains sounds like thrush. breastfeeding shouldn't hurt. Look into the nipple shields - they should help little O-man's latch until he becomes bigger O-man. I cried through every nursing session until my little one hit six weeks. Oh, six weeks brings a cluster feeding pattern: no worries it's healthy that he wants to eat all the time. Something became much easier after his 6 week growth spurt. Easy to the point that he self weaned at 18 months.

    Stop looking long term and just try to get through each day. Small goals seemed the easiest for us. Just this feeding. Just through the night. Eventually you're breastfeeding exclusively.

    All of that aside, you've made it month and that makes you freaking awesome! Seriously! Well done you!!

  41. I am so sorry for this pain and struggle you are going through, JJ! I know we all just hope for the best when it comes to breast feeding and have daydream-y type notions that it will all just work out perfectly, but you are one of MANY women who struggle with it. I have had more friends quit than I think have stuck it out, to be honest. I think it's ok to be honest with yourself when something isn't working for you, though, I really do. You're giving it the good fight, and in the end you have to do what's best for you both. And I don't think being terrified of feeding your child is best for anyone.

  42. Breastfeeding sucks. If it wasn't God Himself that did it, I would curse the person who invented it. I wonder all the time about how babies EVER survived before we had formula, LCs, nipple shields, pumps, lanolin, etc. I guess the answer was: pain, goat's milk, or a wet nurse. That's some crazy shit.

    Every minute of the first 4 months with a newborn is hard. You are in pain, you are exhausted, you are hormonal, and on and on. Then add in the fact that they are a giant mystery -- you'd think they'd be uncomplicated what with their limited functions (eat, sleep, cry, poop, pee, spit up), but I was totally mystified when Megan was born. Plus, she was a screamer.

    I had no freakin' idea what the hell I was doing and which end was up for my entire maternity leave. It was a little scary because I fancy myself to be such a competent, confident person. But I turned into an outrageous lunatic after she was born. I'm happy to say it 10,000% better with the 2nd child. Not only do you have a clue, you simply don't have the time or energy to fret like you did the first time around.

    I also did tons of pumping, the nipple shield, the SNS (which is PURE EVIL), everything with Megan. It really did push me over the edge. I had a clear case of PPD and after becoming acquainted to my best friend Zoloft, I've never looked back. This shit is hard. Harder than anything you've ever done.

    You know how we sneer and feel burning anger when we see pregnant people? That's how I feel when I see someone feeding their baby a bottle of formula. I'm JEALOUS. Pumping sucked with Megan, but I eventually got used to it (because I went back to work). Plus, I think my nipples were made of teflon. With Liam, it was a bit harder. He had such a ferocious latch that by the time we got home from the hospital, both of my nipples had completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) scabbed over. Uber gross. Then he decided to stop latching on. I called the LC, and the very minute she uttered the initials "SNS," my blood ran cold. I said, "Hell no," hung up immediately, and began pumping. Now, Liam BFs once a day or so, and I pump otherwise. I'm down to pumping every 12 hours so it's not bad.

    Now, with all of that out of the way... I'm telling you right here and now that it's okay to stop breastfeeding. It truly is. I know that it will get better at 6 weeks and 3 months and 6 months and all that nonsense. But they eat about a zillion times a day for the first few months so it's outrageously hard to live through it hour after hour after hour after day after day after day after day. It's not worth it. If it's painful (physically and emotionally), it's not worth it. Yes, BFing is painful and hard to do at first, but it's not supposed to be pure torture.

    If you take nothing else away of this insanely long comment, remember this: Oliver is much better served having a healed, happy, healthy Mom than getting breastmilk produced through blood, sweat and tears. No lie.

    BUT, if you decide to perservere, I do have some assvice. I apologize because I didn't read everyone else's comments so I'm sure to be repetitive. Here goes:

    1) Horns - Get an LC to check the size of the horns you are using when you pump. Too big or too small will hurt like a mutha. Also, coat the inside of the horns with KY or lanolin before you pump, it helps a lot with chafing.

    2) Nipple Shield - it is like a gift directly from God. It is the only thing that kept me from stepping into moving traffic while trying to establish some sort of BFing routine with Megan. I was entirely too committed to breastfeeding her, and did EV. ERY. THING imaginable to make it work. Once I discovered the nipple shield, I literally cried tears of joy. It sucked having to wean her off it (not more than it sucked to always struggle to have a clean one nearby -- buy plenty of them), but it was totally worth it in the end.

    3) PPD - Don't mess around with this. Zoloft is safe during breastfeeding (at least according to my OB), and I've taken it through my entire BF career with both Megan and Liam. It's not a sign of weakness, and you would not be considered crazy. Your hormones are at the peak of Fucked Up right now, and sometimes it takes a little chemical tweak to get them back in order.

    4) Pumping. This sucks, there are no two ways about it. I agree that set up and clean up are the worst. The best trick I ever learned was to use the fridge. When you are done pumping, just rinse everything off, stick it into a tupperware container, and put it in the fridge. Do this for 2 days straight, then run everything through the dishwasher (or sterilize in the microwave). Seriously, you don't need to be scrubbing and washing and disinfecting everything EACH time you pump. Nope, don't do it. This alone will save a shred of your sanity. Plus, get at least 2 (if not 3) sets of pump parts.

    5) Pumping Bra - get one or make one. I've always made mine. If you want to know how, email me or call me and I'll explain it. This will also save your sanity. You may not believe this, but I actually look forward to pumping now because it's often my only Me Time. I read a book, read a magazine, surf the web (at work), paint my toenails. Handsfree is the way to go.

    All of these suggestions are based upon the premise that you aren't enduring searing pain all the time. Using a nipple shield and getting jiggy with the pumping will only go so far if your girls are in despair all the time anyway.

    See a medical professional (not necessarily an LC who might be a breastfeeding zealot) and get their advice on the boob pain / cracking / bleeding. Or just stop breastfeeing entirely. It really, really, really is okay.

    Is there a prize for longest comment? Geez, Leah. Hang in there. As long as you love Oliver, take care of yourself, and get some sort of nutrition in him, you are a shoe-in for the Mother of the Year Award!!

  43. The first 6 weeks are by far the hardest! I eventually had to give up due to supply issues but some things that helped me were Don't use lanolin on wet nipples. Why they don't tell you this is beyond me but if you do you are causing more damage because you are locking in the wet. Second salt water heals everything! It is a miracle. 8 oz of warm water to 1/8 tsp of salt. Make 2 mugs full and put your boobs in. Kind of silly looking but this was the thing that helped the most.

  44. Try turning down the suction, slowing the pump rat just a tad and getting larger horns. You may also want to apply a little lansinoh or some other nipple lube on your nips for a while, in case of friction. Pumping should definitely not hurt.

  45. I have no personal experience with this but I agree that you don't sound like you want to stop breastfeeding (but you do want the pain to stop obviously). If you can hang in there long enough to see the LC or LLL and get checked for thrush or try some of the suggestions then try that but if you are really done then stop but do not beat yourself up about it. Thinking of you!

  46. Thanks for sharing in such a brutally honest way. I appreciate it and I haven't even given birth yet. :)

    I can give no real opinion since I have not been in your shoes, but I do know many a fine, productive, healthy and thriving adult that was bottle fed formula as an infant. Oliver will be fine. I think there comes a time when you have to believe that your well being and happiness is what is most important to him and not necessarily what is coming out of your boobs.

    Don't beat yourself up. Your mind and body have been through so much these last couple of months and you deserve to just enjoy what is happening and enjoy your son.

    Big hugs. :)

  47. JJ, I'm hating that breastfeeding is such a beating for you. I can only speak from experience, so here goes. I was determined to breastfeed my 1st child (son). He had a great latch, but I went from a very small A cup to a very large DD by the time my milk had come in. Talk about throwing off my balance. Breastfeeding was my mind, reality was cracks in my nipples the size of the Grand Canyon, mastitis, engorgement and so on. I cried every time I put him on to nurse. My husband would hold my hand while I sat there and cried as son nursed. I too tried every remedy to ease my pain. The only thing that worked for me was "breast shells" hard plastic cup like things that I wore over my nipples in between feedings. They have small holes all over them and you put a breastpad over the outside of them in your bra. The holes allow for air circulation so that nipples stay dry when leaking happens, breastpad catches milk through holes. It took 3 days of wearing these for my nipples to heal and I promise my pain disappeared. The cracks were from my nipples staying wet due to engorgement and leaking between feedings. They might also help your inverted nipple by putting pressure lightly around the nipple to keep it "come out". Check a maternity store, baby store or even online. It was hard, I was miserable, but it did get better. 3 weeks later I actually loved nursing and looked forward to it. I ended up nursing him till 16 mos. and then went on to nurse my daughter till she was 2 yrs. Don't beat yourself up, but use every resource you have if you really want to keep it up. Have you had his Pediatrician check to make sure his frenulum (sp) is not connected to the bottom of his mouth? Being tongue tied can interfere with suck and can cause the tongue to rub Mom's nipples in a way that can be very irritating (my nephew had this problem and a little snip by the Dr. made all the difference). Also maybe meet a few more times with a lactation consultant to see if they can help. Keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.:)

  48. I didn't read the other comments, so really sorry if I repeat something.

    This "I get these shooting pains in my breasts and nipples for about 10 minutes after each pumping session" sounds like it could be thrush. Maybe talk to a pharmacist about something that would kill thrush? Can't hurt, might help.

    I had cracks and blisters on my nipples that weren't healing [my boy is 6 weeks old, I heal slowly at the best of times] so I took some vitamin C and some fish oil supplements, cos I know it speeds up the healing for me. Again, can't hurt, might help.

    I know breastfeeding is all about supply/demand, so maybe the pumping is adding to the problem? Unfortunately, it's a vicious cycle when you're pumping. Cabbage leaves help, but I still ended up with mastitis [and spent 3 days in bed, shaking and vomiting until the antibiotics kicked in].

    And finally?

    It is OKAY to stop. It really is. At the end of the day, you have to do whatever feels right for you. Sanity is very important.

  49. the most important thing is to be a happy mom. (i know you are anyway but) if it's getting in the way of being the mom you want to be, it's completely fine to stop. generations of us were just fine when nursing was way out of vogue.

  50. I have a flat lefty. They gave me a silicone nipple shield (medela makes them) in the hospital. I began using them on both nipples. It gave the baby something to latch on to and it was sore for a few days but made the world of difference. They are a couple of bucks at B r u. After a few weeks you should be able to stop using it and pump or feed and little man should do fine. I personally believe that the little piece of silicone helped Hailey transition back and forth between bottle and breast easier. Hope it helps you too but if it doesn't it is okay. As long as your little Man is eating and gaining weight it doesn't matter where it is from.

  51. JJ, I really enjoy your blog but have never left a message before. I had my twin boys 5 years ago, and the ONLY thing I would change about that first crazy month is I so wish I'd have stopped BF when my body was just not cooperating! My feelings of failure, paranoia, guilt, you name it, really put a damper on an otherwise idyllic time in my life - sleep deprivation notwitstanding! You tried, your boy is perfect and he will be fine!! Enjoy!

  52. It took about 6 weeks with the twins to get both of them latching correctly and comfortably. That being said, the pressure to breastfeed both babies had me in tears every day for over two months. I can say it was worth it in the end, both for their health, and the joy (yes, eventually, joy)of feeding them, but it was HELL in the beginning. I remember sobbing in the chair, the chair I never got to leave because I was always feeding somebody, and telling my husband "I can't take it anymore, I am never going to be able to leave this chair, I want to stop."

    The pressure to breastfeed, the CONSTANT hunger and exhaustion, the fact that I was the only one feeding them 85% of the time (I did supplement one feeding in the middle of the night) was a huge factor in my suffering PPD until they were about 4 months old. It will get easier, but if it is still causing you stress and anxiety (not to mention pain, although that does go away in time)please, give yourself permission to quit. The 6 week mark is a big hurdle. See if you can hang in two more weeks, then re asses?

  53. if switching to formula will make you happier, than do it.

    that said, it DOES get easier (i, too, was doing the obsessive-compulsive dance of pumping and praying that the little beast would latch on, and to add insult to injury, she was COLICKY!)

    whether you try to push through or switch to formula, you'll do what's best for your family.


  54. It gets dramatically easier between 6-8 weeks. I got my son back to breast at 5 weeks (after pumping for him) with the help of a LC. I had bleeding and sore nipples but after that point everything changed for the better. my nipples are so tough now that nothing phases them. My son is 5 months old and since 2 months, it has been really great to breastfeed him. Now it's actually better than ever because he eats quickly in the night and goes straight back to sleep. I don't even leave the bedroom.

    I had those weird shooting pains too and I realized after trial and error that it's dehydration. They say to drink water, but I never knew how much: 8 oz every hour plus another 8 oz per nursing session. Are you super thirsty? I was thirsty and drinking that much helps.

    Good luck to you! I hope it works out for you because breastfeeding gets better and easier.

  55. Your experience with bfing sounds a lot like mine. I had bloody, blistered, broken nips no matter what I did. Going to exclusive pumping was the death-knell. I hated being hooked up to that machine. And oh, the blasted cleaning process. Plus, I was still bleeding. I finally threw in the towel at about 1 month. If you decide to persevere, that's great. I fully intend to try again with baby #2. Sixteen months later, I still have blissful dreams of breastfeeding Zo without pain (total wish fulfillment, because it didn't happen that way). If you decide it's not worth it, I so totally hear you. The nipple shield sounds like a good thing to try. I never did. BTW, my formula fed baby is strong, beautiful and brilliant.

  56. I pumped for 12 weeks with my oldest DS and when I finally stopped pumping, I was a much happier person and enjoyed my son a whole lot more. Do what you think is right and do not feel guilty is you need to quit.

  57. Only you know what is best your little guy. I went through this whole thing too ( but for me it wasn't pain, it was lack of milk.

    People are going to give you a LOT of advice about how to keep going. But I think you and Mook should just sit down, and talk about your fears for stopping breastfeeding (and know that formula is VERY close to breastmilk now) and your challenges with breastfeeding. Come to the decision by seeing what YOU feel is right - not what you think the LC or the doc or even the blogspere think is right. You are his mom, and only know know what is the right thing.

    And let me tell you - one I was able to enjoy feeding time again, my mood was so much lighter. And a bonus to formula feeding? They sleep longer.

  58. I'm so sorry you're having a rough go of it. BF can be so tough!

    I want to second (third? fourth?) everyone else on the nipple shield idea. Speak to the LC about them, trying them out can't hurt at this point.

    I also suspect thrush when you speak of the burning pain. It's a relatively simple treatment that can make a world of difference. I've had it 3 times between 2 children.

    Have you tried latching him on in a different hold? Side lying, football, etc? /he was early, so he may be just need some time to let his mouth grow a bit for comfy BF. For sure get him evaluated for tongue tie if not done already.

    A hospital grade pump may help with the pain. Make sure the cups on your pump are appropriate for the size of the ladies, the wrong size can produce inefficient pumping results and yes, cause a fair bit of pain. Mess a bit with the suction strength to see if that helps at all (although it may take a few days to see an improvement).

    Forgive me if you've tried all of this, I didn't have a chance to read ahead in the comments.

    Above all else, remember that BF isn't an all or nothing type of thing. You can successfully combo feed giving you a bit of a break from the pump/pain but with O-dude still getting the benefits of mom's milk.

  59. Me again, sorry.

    You may want to seek out the help of an IBCLC (International board certified LC). A regular LC may have as little as 4 hours of training in a weekend type course where as an IBCLC will have thousands of hours of study and volunteer, hands on training. Not all LC's are shoddy, but seeing an IBCLC should help to maximize your success. Let me know if you need a link to find one and I'll dig it up off my other computer.

    Please be evaluated for PPD. Don't mess with that. You deserve to feel wonderful at this time in your life, you deserve better than PPD.

    I know and you know that O-man will be fine if he's fed formula, but I'm hesitant to tell you that quitting BF will make everything a-okay. Your post is asking for help and advice, not placating comments. Please don't make the decision to quit in the thick of the bad.

  60. Of course breast milk is the ideal meal for a child, and parental guilt begins almost as soon as you bring that baby home. Since we first brought D0n0 home (remember we're adoptive parents), I did grieve that I could not breast feed him. But let me tell you, we did not miss out on any bonding by bottle feeding, and he is a happy, healthy, growing boy (and he loves him mama more than anyone). I know that it would be a hard decision for me if I were in your shoes, but if you're having such a difficult and painful experience, I don't think there is anything wrong with throwing in the towel! Your sanity is very important. You've got to take care of you. I hope you will find a solution that works well for both of you!

  61. JJ, I wish I could talk to you personally about this. I have had my own share of nursing issues with all three babies, but it really can work if you get the right advice. First of all, a nipple shield really can work wonders. I used one with LG for quite some time, and then one day we finally just didn't need it anymore. You can get them at BRU and Target. My nipple shield absolutely saved me from quitting with her.

    As far as sharp pains and cracked nipples...I don't care what they isn't normal. I had very similar symptoms...a feeling like I was never fully stabbing pains. I had that 3 separate times with LG and once so far with the was mastitis, and it can be very serious. I bet an antibiotic would make you feel so much better. As far as the doc prescribed this stuff for me called Newman's Nipple Cream. I swear it cleared my extremely bloody nipple up in hours. It was amazing. I had to get it at a compounding pharmacy, and it cost me $16.00 , but it was worth every penny.

    Please, from a mom that was at her whits end for over 12 weeks with her first baby when it came to feeding her....please, email me if you need support or advice. It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life...and was worth it.

  62. It is ok to quit. I didn't have any problems and I hated it. I did it for 6 weeks with my first and didn't breastfeed at all with my second. A happy mommy does make for a happy family. Take care of yourself and do what it takes to keep your sanity. It is ok to quit. It does not make you a failure.


  63. I haven't read through all the comments, so I apologize in advance if I repeat anything already said.

    If you really want to try and keep this going, you'll need a lot of support further than just your LC. Go to La Leche League meetings, if you have one around, or a breastfeeding group at your hospital. There are also other things you can put on your nipples to heal them. This website has a lot of good info: I developed major blood blisters in the first two days after my son's birth because he was tongue tied, and they persisted for a couple of weeks. I was near tears every time he latched on. I had his pediatrician prescribe some of Dr. Jack Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment (also known as triple nipple), and it was my lifesaver. It really helped heal my nipples.

    Also, your pump will not drain your breasts the way a baby can. It's just not as efficient. That's why you still feel full. If you are never able to drain your breasts completely, your milk supply could decrease and you could also get plugged ducts. That's something worth bringing up to your LC or at a LLL meeting or on the LLL forums online.

    Last, but definitely not least- if you decide to feed your son formula, it does not make you a bad mother, and it does not mean that you "gave up". Your job is to nurture your son and help him grow. If that means feeding him formula, then you have no cause to feel guilty about that. If anyone has a problem with it, they're simply not worth your time. Keeping yourself and your son happy and healthy is what you need to concentrate on above all else.

    Good luck, JJ. I'm so glad you and Mook were blessed by little Oliver. Parenthood couldn't have happened to a couple of nicer people.

  64. Formula is not the answer to breastfeeding problems. There are breastfeeding solutions!

  65. I had bleeding nipples too. I only nursed a short time with both of my kids. My nipples just couldn't take it and when my first son threw up blood, I freaked out until the doc told me it was blood from my nipples and possibly made him throw up in the first place. Now that first son is a star on his sports team, tall, lean and intelligent, although he's also argumentative.
    My second son also got weaned early and he's very intelligent and in an advanced placement school.
    My point is, that formula is there for a reason and they'll do just fine on it. Breast may be best but heck, you do the best that you're able to and move on.
    NOTHING helped my nipples and I tried it all. The lanolin was horrible because it softens your nips and then you have to wipe it off before the baby can feed and that hurts worse than anything!
    A lot of people just don't understand how painful it is.

  66. You do what's best for you, whether it's BF-ing or formula. My OBGYN said to me when I was in tears in her office that it's not worth it if I'm not happy...and I wasn't. It's important that you look back on this time and remember it as a good and happy time. Don't beat yourself up.


  67. JJ,

    You have had many replies. Add me to the IT IS OK TO FORMULA FEED group. My best friend tried to bf and it was so hard for her and she was so miserable. she just did not enjoy the first 2 months of her son's life. To me, that is not worth it. Oliver will be healthy, charming and smart being formula fed.

    I relly believe that many women go through this BF guilt because it is our instinct to nourish our children from our bodies. We are mammals and it was meant to be hard wired into our minds. The beautiful thing is that, as humans, we have evolved. And the formula avaialable is the next best thing to mom. And in most cases, I don't think there is a bit of difference in the long run.

    Do what is best for your family as a whole. If you make the decision, commit to it and promise yourself that you will not look back.

    Good luck JJ!

  68. Only 1 Olympian gets the gold. Most go home empty-handed. But they all give 100% and nobody calls them failures. I don't think it's quitting if it'snot working out for your situation. If you really feel the returns are still worth the costs I would suggest:
    A hospital grade pump
    Decreasing pumping sessions until you have healed
    A different lactation consultant/second opinion
    Talking to other moms who had similar issues (v. Important!)
    Acceptance for your decision on this. Only you will really know exactly what is best for you and your baby and bf-ing may not be what is best for you guys.

    Your decision has my full support already!

  69. it is possible you are positioning wrong or have thrush, a yeast infection of the breast. not sure just some things i struggled with. the lanolin cream put out by medela is great to help with the cracks!

  70. Sorry to hear it's going rough with breastfeeding. Try talking to the ped and the LC again, but it sounds like you might be a good candidate to go to formula. And if you choose to go that route, please do not beat yourself up about it. It's better for you to feel more healing than hurting right now.

  71. I'm no help -- I struggled too, but with supply (too little) not (so much) with the pain; in the end, I never b/f exclusively but I did persist.

    But that doesn't mean you should. I managed and by about 1 month it was reasonably good and by about 4 it was great and I was sad when he weaned, but that's me.

    For all the criticism that anything other than exclusive b/f'ing can draw (not should draw, but can draw), there's a wonderful book (for the nerdy types, meaning me) by a woman named Sarah Blaffer Hrdy looking at (among other things) motherhood and the long time for which human infants are dependent on their mothers, and she makes the wonderful point that really we (in the 21st century west) are tremendously lucky that we do have options other than breastmilk that make it possible for to feed even newborn babies safe, nutritious food (formula) that is not breastmilk. This is a phenomenal development and something that was not true for most of human history (and of course the absence of this stuff -- in safe form, i.e. with a sanitary water supply -- is part of what contributes to the tragically high infant mortality rates in many parts of the world even today).

    All of which is my convoluted attempt to say ... I hope you will stick with this as long as you want to and, indeed, that doing so will lead to it becoming pleasant rather than unpleasant (or worse). But that said, you do have good alternatives, and O will thrive whichever you choose. And you matter.

  72. I went through EXACTLY the same thing with the girls. In the end my body made the choice for me, I got so stressed about pumping that my milk dried up. What I ended up doing (and I ended up being fairly happy with this) was to start freezing as much breast milk as I could and start formula feeding 50% of the time. I slowly worked my way down until they were getting only one botthe of BM a day and the rest was formula. At that rate they were able to get some BM until they were four months, even though I stopped pumping at about 2.5 or 3 months. Good luck with whatever you decide! But remember, breast feeding is HARD if it was easy, there wouldn't be such a market for formula. Don't be so hard on yourself.

  73. You are not quitting if you stop BF and pumping. You are making the choice that's best for your family. Only you can decide what that is.

    Thanks for posting the pictures in the one month post. I teared up reading it.

  74. Best things you could ever use:

    They saved my breastfeeding relationship. Wear them all the time except when you are nursing. Do this for about a month and your nibbies will be nice a plump for the taking!

  75. I love the anon comment that formula is not the answer to BFing problems.

    BFing can be really really hard. It was incredibly difficult for us for the first 3 months. TTG had tongue tie and a high palate, ginormous "girls" vs tiny boy, and a billion other things.

    It WILL get better, and it is totally beyond worth it.

    There are plenty of shitty LCs out there as well, keep trying different ones (or try LLL) until you find one who listens and helps. is good, the forums at are fantastic, and another good website is

    You are doing wonderfully!

  76. I think I'm late to this post. However, I will say call your doctor and ask about thrush as others have suggested.

    Also, use the nipple shields until your nipples heal. To help the healing use the lans. cream and rub some of your milk on your nipples as well.

    I am of the mind that if the baby is latching on, you should stick with it. I wanted to quit in the first 2 weeks because it hurt so badly. Then suddenly, my nipples toughend up and the feedings got less and less painful.

    However, I'm never one to judge another and I see no problems with switching to formula. There is nothing wrong with it, at all. Your baby will be much better off with a happier you.

    Hang in there, you're doing great!


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