Breastfeeding Horror Stories: This is not one of them.

not another breastfeeding horror story

Don’t you just love it when people come up to you and tell you how TERRIBLE their pregnancy was? How their labour was 72 hours? And that breastfeeding was a complete and total nightmare?

Ya, me too!

So much, in fact, that I thought I’d tell you about how, in my case, breastfeeding has been and continues to be really, really awesome.

The choice to breastfeed or bottle feed didn’t really come up during my pregnancy. I figured I would pump so my husband or another caregiver could give Cub a bottle sometimes, and I supposed I’d stop nursing around the one-year mark. Even before pregnancy, I had made up my mind about breastfeeding a toddler: Old enough to ask for breastmilk? Too old to be nursing. (My opinions have changed, I’ll get to that later.)

I bought my supplies: disposable nursing pads (I’ve since switched to reusables), a nursing cover, nipple balm and  a nursing pillow, sterilized my hand-me-down pump and stocked up on nursing bras. I diligently applied my nipple balm in advance, and I even tried pumping to induce labour, since I was getting really impatient (although Cub was actually born on his due date, I had convinced myself he’d be early.)

I didn’t really know much about latches, but I had an idea of the different positions to hold a nursling, and that it would hurt a bit at first, but that if it continued to hurt there might be a problem with latch or supply. I had heard that nursing a baby to sleep was bad, and would set us up for future sleep problems, so I vowed not to do that.

And then, Cub was born.

And within seconds, he was latched on, kneading my chest with his fists, reminding me of how my cats knead the couch cushions, a leftover kitten reflex.

nursing Cub

And so began our breastfeeding relationship! I anxiously waited for my milk to come in, I think it took a couple of days. I remember my first time trying to pump some milk, determined as I was to build up reserves for future bottle feedings, and being very discouraged by how little I’d produced. But within a few weeks my supply was in and bountiful, and I could pump ounces upon ounces which I dutifully stored in the fridge.

Did it feel like he was nursing all the time? Sure. Did it hurt? Not after the first couple of days! Did he bite when he got teeth? Yup, but it didn’t take long for him to learn not to (it made Mommy really mad!).

Nursing Habitat
Our nursing habitat

For a while, Cub took a bottle from his Papa, but it was never really a success. And that was okay! I never experienced nursing fatigue and I never felt trapped or in need of my space, and almost two years later, I still don’t feel that way. Nursing has truly been blissful. I was always able, from even his earliest days, to leave the house for a bit without my Cub, which I think made a huge difference in my own post-partum well being.

Sure, there have been discomforts: waking up totally engorged and pumping a bit in the wee hours of the morning to relieve the pressure; blebs… which I have successfully dealt with using olive oil and warm water; having a let down of milk at inopportune moments (One time, in the car surrounded by my female colleagues en route to a Christmas party, one of my pals turned to the backseat and said “I love you guys!” and the warm fuzzy made my milk come in!)…

But it’s mostly just precious moments: the way his eyes roll back as he drinks, the milk drunk face he got when he was small, how he plays with my hair while he nurses, how I watched United States of Tara on my iPhone in the middle of the night while he nursed, how I once tandem nursed him and his best bud, how this morning for the first time he said “please” while signing for milk… how nowadays, nursing is an excuse for us both to be still.

heart nursing

So obviously at the 12-month mark I hadn’t weaned my Cub.  I started working one day a week, and he drank some cows’ milk, but mostly water when in the care of his Great Auntie.  At that point he started slowly asking to nurse less and less, but I continued to nurse more or less on demand until it started interfering with his eating habits.

I have nursed on the bus, at the bus stop, on the plane, in restaurants, poolside, at the park… everywhere! Nursing cover, nursing schmover… I quickly got over my need to shield my milk makers and have never had a negative reaction to nursing in public.

I nurse Cub to sleep most nights, and most nap times still, but he naps fine at day care without me and goes to bed fine for his Papa or grandparents. Nowadays we don’t nurse often during the day. Typically he nurses before bed, and then in the early morning hours. When he wants to nurse during the day, he’s usually hungry or thirsty, so I offer food and water or cows’ milk. But nursing remains a special comfort if he’s had a rough day or he hurts himself, and I treasure this special gift I have to make him feel better!

9 responses to “Breastfeeding Horror Stories: This is not one of them.”

  1. What a sweet article.
    You almost made me cry missing the drunk face of my baby girl!
    We too are a happy breastfeeding family. At one point I too was worried too much -listening- what other were saying to me. In fact I even had to deal with my mother. When my baby turned 6 months I told my mum that I was breastfeeding (we live far from each other so we get to chat via Skype every other month) and she then went on -on how I was turning my baby into a little monster depending on mommy. That when time would come to go to daycare my kid would never be able to be apart from me for a day. But then I know that this message was the one she got when 30 years ago she had me and my siblings. So I decided not to fight back.
    Now at 9 months I work 2 days per week and 3 evenings. We are lucky as baby is taking the bottle so she can have breast milk when I’m away. I do nurse her to sleep but when I have to work she is fine with daddy too. She still bites me but only when she has a new tooth popping out. When I meet other mums, here mostly formula feeding, they wonder how I can make sure my baby is fine, how come she doesn’t want a pacifier and yet doesn’t cry and how come she can be full after a feeding and not falling asleep immediately. When actually the only question they should ask is “How can you nurse in public bathrooms?” because here public breastfeeding is a “social offense”. But despite that I love the relation that I have with my daughter and even daddy is happy to see her girl now coming for a feed when she fell on the carpet while trying to crawl or just because she is tired and wants some affection.
    Some will say it will affect the relation with other people in the family. It’s not. Some days she’s all for daddy if I want to hold her for a while she will let me know that she wants daddy. She she sees him coming back home she starts to babbling and asks to be held by him.

    Before giving birth I heard everything and anything about breastfeeding but at that time I choose to listen only to positive and realistic critics (You included) and now what I can say is at first breastfeeding is not a gift (that despite the very first feed, 5 minutes after baby was born, I call it the dream latch as it was too easy to be true). The first weeks you have to feed your baby you need to figure out so many things that you don’t feel gifted but once you work it out it’s a bliss. Only you have to be consistent and you have to be willing to try hard if needed. It’s a chance- we took it and we enjoy it !

    1. Lindsay

      Thanks for sharing this!!!!! Love it!

      1. Sorry for it’s a rant. Way too long. But also the first time I “talk” about my experience 🙂

  2. I also had an extremely easy time breastfeeding both of my kids. Both immediately latched like champs and I had an overabundant supply. The worst thing was sore nipples for a few days. After hearing so many horror stories I am very grateful that it has been so easy for us.

    1. Lindsay

      We definitely are lucky ducks!

  3. All the negativity gets me down sometimes too. I love telling my own stories: a 4.5 super easy labor and 28+ months of breastfeeding. Pregnancy, labor, birth, and breastfeeding can all go easily — especially when you have a positive mindset 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      Watch out- number two might be a monster!!! Lol

  4. Emilie

    I had no negative preconceptions of breastfeeding before giving birth, in fact I hadn’t even thought of the fact that it might not work out. But I got sore nipples at the hospital, which turned into cracked nipples once I got back home. The nurse who visited was not helpful. She told me I wasn’t making enough milk and forced me to give my baby formula. She also told me to not breastfeed more than 10 minutes per breast every three hours to heal my nipples. Then she told me to go to the doctor get domperidone. Once I started taking it I got mastitis in both breasts… I’m thinking it might be because domperidone was telling my body to make more milk but I wasn’t breastfeeding enough. I did not have a breast pump at the time, which would have helped as it hurt less than breastfeeding directly. My nipples healed after about 2 months, I kept breastfeeding until my baby was 7 1/2 months old, but it was mixed feeding as I never got more than 1-2 ounces of milk per feeding despite heavy doses of domperidone. I am still hurting that it did not work out for me, and I will definitely be looking for help with breastfeeding for my next baby to maximize my chances of it working out. But I am super scared of not producing enough milk once again. 🙁

  5. […] my own experience with breastfeeding was blissfully simple, I know all too well that this is not the case for every woman. With my second baby on the way in […]

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Welcome to my Wolf Pack!

My name is Lindsay and I am a 40-year-old mama of four trying to live an eco-friendly, budget-friendly life! I am a substitute teacher and Child Passenger Safety technician in Calgary, Alberta. Join me on my adventures!

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