Boobs & Hooter Hiders

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My personal journey with breastfeeding.

Ha! I am seriously sitting at my desk giggling like a 5th grader over the fact that I just typed the word “boob” in the blog title. I wanted to share a very candid post today about my thoughts, fears, joys and struggles with breastfeeding. This is one of those topics that I mentioned in a past post that has so many moms up in arms with each other. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, so this will not be a post that condemns anyone. Just my personal journey.

Let’s go back 2.5 years shall we? Right before Rowan was born, I had my hopes set high that I would breastfeed Rowan for at least a year. In fact they were not hopes, I “knew” I would breastfeed her for a year. Looking back now I can see how naive I was. I had no idea what lay ahead of me. Sure, breastfeeding comes easy for some. For me, I was not that lucky. Rowan was born and I tired nursing her right away. It seemed fine at the time but what did I know? I was hopped up on endorphins from just giving birth. A few hours later when the visitors had gone for the night and we were left alone in a dark room, the fear set in. Rowan was super, duper sleepy in the hospital. She wouldn’t eat. As soon as she would start nursing she would fall asleep. The nurses were getting concerned for her blood sugar levels. They first had us strip her down so she would be cold. That didn’t work. Then they were rubbing her with cold, wet wash cloths. That didn’t work either. All that did was make her scream bloody murder and left me in tears and full of stress. We didn’t have the best lactation consultant there either. We left to go home still not really knowing what the heck to do, but in my head I still “knew” I was going to breastfeed for a year. The days that followed are a blur now. They were filled with tears, toe curling pain, and lots and lots of guilt. The pressure I put on myself to breastfeed weighted heavily on my heart. My year mark started dropping. First it was 6 months, then I told myself 5 months, then 16 weeks, then 14 weeks, then 12 weeks. I was so consumed with just trying to figure out how to adjust to being a Mom, I really couldn’t handle the extra stress of breastfeeding. I know I should have reached out. I should have found a better lactation consultant. I was scared though. I felt alone and I didn’t know what to do other than to stop. At 10 weeks I just couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to feel that bond that so many women talk about. That bond that is full of love, warmth and rainbows but it wasn’t there for me. I cried endlessly for a long time over it. I felt like a failure, but at that moment to be a better (more sane) mom & wife I had to stop.

After a few months had passed and I became more confident as a Mom, I realized I didn’t have to beat myself up so badly. It didn’t break my child. Rowan was healthy, thriving and no worse than any other kid out there. When I found out I was pregnant with Finley, I decided that of course I wanted to try breastfeeding again. This time however, there would be no time limit set. I would take everything day by day. I had heard from a few women that the second time around is so different because all the stress from the first is gone. You can focus more on breastfeeding. Since Rowan was born, I have also been blessed to meet and become friends with some super awesome Moms. I have a support team this time! When I use to breastfeed Rowan, I felt like I had to hide. I would sit in another room for 45mins to an hour every time we had friends over. It was lonely and it made me feel uncomfortable. During pregnancy I read this post over on Natalie’s blog- I have seriously read it like 10 times since. It was so encouraging to me. I am a super modest person, but reading that I didn’t have to hide and could still not flash my nipple to everyone was so encouraging. By the time Finley was born, I was almost excited to try nursing again.

So here we are, 4 weeks in. To be honest it has not been the warm, fuzzy, experience I hoped it would be, but I can honestly say I see glimmers of it. I am still encouraged to continue. It really, truly is different and more relaxed the second time around. I have asked for help multiple times and I am not scared to continue to ask if I need it. There has been for sure moments of anxiety when I knew she was going to wake up and want to eat again. The pain can haunt you. It can hurt like hell. When I hit the 3 week mark, it all started clicking a little. The pain suddenly disappeared (well greatly, greatly decreased). I can see the light at the end of this starting out tunnel. I see how women can love it. I am not completely there yet, but I sure am optimistic. There have been some real precious moments shared with Finley over breastfeeding though. Holding her little body close to mine, knowing that I am the one giving her the nutrition she needs is a very powerful thing to experience. Her cute little noises, the way she roots around until she is latched on and the way her hand holds my shirt sometimes are all things I will remember if and when I chose to wean her. I know this is a journey and I have only scratched the surface in 4 weeks, but I am trying my hardest to enjoy all of it.

The one thing I am super proud of is the confidence I feel with nursing in public this time. I really hate using one of those cape (hooter hiders). Sometimes I do use one because it’s easier with certain types of clothes (hello, button up shirts!). Although, I really just love wearing a loose t-shirt that can be pulled up and will cover my boob with out the cape-it really does work awesome! It certainly draws less attention that way than when you are covered with 2 yards of ridiculous patterned fabric. I have nursed her in the mall, in the car, in multiple restaurants, in front of friends and family, at Yo Gabba Gabba Live, etc… It makes a world of difference when you don’t feel like you have to hide away in a corner or a different room to nurse.

So that’s where I am at the moment…
I would love to hear your stories (good or bad) with trying to breast feed! Did you love it? hate it? When did you feel like you finally got the hang of it? Do you have a favorite nursing bra?

p.s. We are honored to say we are up for the running over on Apartment Therapy for Best Family and Kids Blog. I know we won’t win, but it’s an honor to be nominated for sure! Thank you to whoever signed us up!!! xoxo. If you do want to vote for us- head on over and give us a vote!

  1. Oh man. Oh mama! I feel your pain. I didn’t experience this the same way as you but the very beginning was very hard. My LO latched on minutes after being delivered and is still breastfed today (4 months later) and has never been fed anything otherwise. (I have no issues with nursed via formula fed or vice versa… all is well!) I was expecting it to be very hard and very difficult but it wasn’t. She was a natural. It took me a bit longer to have it become natural to me. My poor nipples had no idea what was going on! It takes time but that warm fuzzy feeling, that bond and connection is totally worth the difficulty.

    I had a very hard time nursing in public, around people or even family. That has changed with time.

    Just give it time and keep on strong. Also, once you find your nursing bra size I recommend looking on eBay. You can find extremely good deals on bras (new, of course) and then you’re not stuck wearing some slouchy sleep bra all the time. Make sure to have a sexy nursing bra so you can feel sexy sometimes!!

    Sweet and touching post. Loved this very much!

  2. Jen! I rarely comment on blogs but just had to on this post. I had a very similar experience with my daughter. I tried for two months and did every single thing out there to increase milk supply but it just never came. I hid and was scared and felt like a failure but it ultimately came down to- my child needed food, and even if it wasn’t coming from my boob I was still able to feed her. It is comforting to know other moms have similar struggles and that their babies turn out perfectly fine! You are a great mom and your girls will love you to the moon and back no matter where their milk comes from. :)

  3. Crazy how guilty we can be made to feel if things don’t go right, isn’t it?! My first two babies were twins and a friend gave me a book called “mothering multiples” – it is a La Leche league book and goes on and on about how anyone can nurse twins – TWINS – two babies for crying out loud. My babies were preemies and with NICU time let’s just say that nursing was NOT a walk in the park for us. I did a constant struggle nurse, pump, bottle cycle for 6 months and cried when I finally gave up (I cried a lot those whole first 6 months too).
    My next baby was going to be different – I was SURE I was going to make it work with a full term singleton. She went and made everything complicated by being a preemie also. I fought for her too – nurse, pump, flashbacks to the time before. But magically, at 2 months, she just got it! Hallelujah! We’ve been a stellar nursing team ever since – and she just turned 18 months. I never thought I’d be a mom who still nursed a toddler but she is still my baby and she still loves our bonding time so here we are.
    It’s such a personal choice and so strange how we can get ourselves all worked up with guilt about something that really in the long run (if we’re being perfectly honest) doesn’t make that much difference… those baby years go by in the blink of an eye and I bet you nobody will ever ask your kids as adults if they were fed by breast or bottle.

  4. I nursed my daughter for 22 mos. (until I was 7 mos pregnant with her brother), and I am currently nursing her brother who is 8 mos old. I love nursing my babies, and will proudly do it (sans cover) any time and any place. I feel like it is really important to nurse in public and not hidden away so we all learn how normal it is, how not shameful or weird, and so we can be part of a dialogue that supports women who want to nurse. Other women/girls know they can come to us with questions about our own experience because we are/were so comfortable (and seemingly successful) out in the general population.

    I know some people are more modest than me, but if we hide in private rooms, or bathrooms, or even under big capes, young girls will not see comfortable, happy nursing moms and babies and will have the same struggles and misconceptions about the process as we did because of our lack of exposure (puns intended).

    I can all but promise that once you hit your stride nursing, you will love it. Good luck.

  5. Thanks for this, Jen! My little guy just hit 9 months, he was in the nicu for a week flyer he was born (he aspirated meconium) and was so sick he didn’t really care to nurse. It was hard! I had to pump and try to feed him that, there were some incredible lactation consultants where I delivered and I felt excited to go home and feed my babe! It all worked out as soon as we got he and I’ve adored the experience. I never understood why women would want to breastfeeding or longer than necessary but I totally get it now. Oh those sweet little nursing sounds are the best. I always laugh now that my guy is a bit older, when I get out of the shower he stares and smacks his lips ha such a funny experience. It’s overwhelming to be providing a little human with all they need. So neat. Congrats on sweet Finley!

  6. Jen, this is such an encouraging post. I have a friend who just had her first child two weeks ago, and she’s really been struggling with this. I sent this post off to her and I hope it helps her! I’m definitely going to hold onto this gem for when the time comes in my life to begin this journey. Thanks for your candidness, as always!

  7. I couldn’t get Ethan, who is now almost 5, to latch. Or at least I thought I couldn’t. I was so stressed about it that I probably was having just as much trouble figuring it out as he did. I ended up pumping and bottle feeding for six months.

    With Oliver (who is now 9 weeks), I gave myself a break. I told myself I wanted to try, but if it didn’t work out, then that was fine. The first six weeks were definitely challenging (although far less of a challenge than with Ethan), and all of a sudden I find myself here, just beyond the two-month mark, and it’s easy as pie. No pain or discomfort, no feeling like feeding is a major production. I’m enjoying my sweet baby and the special closeness of breastfeeding (a closeness that isn’t guaranteed by breastfeeding, especially if it’s forced because Mom and/or baby feel stressed at every meal).

    Kudos to you. It’s only going to get better from here.

  8. Jen, I struggled through a year with my first becase I “had” to. Throw in a full time job and boobs that did not cooperate with a pump…it was hard. It was stressful. Come along #2 and it was so much easier. He ate like a champ and my milk flowed like a river. i attribute the ease that time to the lack of stress. Now I’m expecting #3 and of course I “plan” to nurse her up to 18 months, but I’ve learned, no expectations. Whatever yoi do, know that what you choose is what’s best for your babies and you should be proud of yourself. And if you do power through, it gets easier. Just as you adjust to doing it all. the. time. she’ll drop a feeding. Hang in there mama.

  9. Best wishes to you on your nursing journey. I have 2 kids (2 & 2 months) and the 2nd has been a lot easier to nurse. She latched on from the start and is gaining weight great. My first was a struggle for weeks but we ended up making 13 months before she weened. I’m trying for another year this time too, but whatever is best for the baby I’m my opinion (I was formula fed & I’m just fine) its great you have lots of support, I think that can be the biggest help.

  10. You are so brave and strong! I had a difficult time nursing my daughter in the beginning. It started in the birthing center when I could only get her to latch on one side. But it was my first time so I didn’t really think too much of it. After we went home it was like I was living in breast feeding hell. She still only latched on one side and was super sleepy. She wouldn’t eat and at one point went an entire 15 hours between nursing sessions. My nipples were sore and I just felt defeated. But I knew that I had to make it work. Financially, we could not afford formula and I wanted to be the one to nourish her. I called my midwife 2 or 3 nights in a row sobbing and begging for advice. I was so engorged, so tired, terrified and just miserable. I finally spoke to a lactation consultant on the phone who suggested spoon or syringe feeding until I could go in and see her. There is nothing more pitiful than feeding a 4 day old baby pumped breast milk from a spoon! She suggested seeing a chiropractor to help with my daughters latch. It turned out that her jaw was misaligned which was why she preferred one side over the other and why she would refuse to eat. A few days of adjustments and we were finally on track. I will say, that the first week of her life was the worst week of my life. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are failing at nourishing your newborn baby. Many women think because it’s natural, it will be easy. It is far from easy! Thankfully, my daughter is still going strong and she will be 1 in just 2 weeks. I have no plans of weaning anytime soon. Nursing her is so special and so fulfilling. I encourage you to keep working at it. It is the best thing you could ever give that sweet girl! So proud of you!

  11. Absolutely loved this post! I loved when you were talking about your little one rooting around. I think that is a very adorable period. Like when you let them graze your cheek and they start rooting-”where’s the boob?” so sweet!

    I also agree with you that we give ourselves overzealous expectations of breastfeeding. I know that I worked myself into “I must breastfeed!” It’s nice to just hear that it’s alright to let it go or take it day by day.

    The nursing bra I’ve been using is Bravado Sublime. goodluck!

  12. deb flanagan •

    My first bf experience.. excruciatingly painful and i cried my eyes out for the first 6 weeks, and then it got better and i nursed her for 11 months. Then my second was tongue tied.. oh god there was no tongue for a buffer until we clipped it.. I nursed her for 9 months. My third was also tongue tied and the pain was unbearable until we had it clipped.. its been 13 months and she still comes into bed at night to nurse.. I’m too tired to wean… but now i have a lump in my breast and I am being told to wean so they can biopsy it even though they think its harmless. Ridiculous right? I am having a really hard time weaning… she goes to sleep on the boob and I hate making her cry it out. Oh well. Breastfeeding is beautiful.. and painful.. good luck!

  13. I feel like I just read my own story. My son is 2.5 years old and I had the exact same problem nursing him. He was so sleepy, like you said we would strip him down & put a cold cloth on him and he would sleep right through it! Eventually we switched him to formula & he thrived. We are now expecting our second baby boy in April & I am excited to start the journey again. This post (as well as Natalie’s) has given me lots of hope! Good luck as you continue on your breastfeeding journey!

  14. melissa •

    I was bound and determined to breastfeed my second for a year. The first 3 weeks were great, then I got Masitis, experienced a huge drop in my supply, she would not latch, wasn’t gaining weight, would literally be on my boob for hrs at a time and if I took her off she’d be screaming for food 20 mins later. I tried everything(sns, skin to skin, fenugreek, blessed thistle, oatmeal, gatorade, water, mothers milk tea, renting a hospital pump) to make my milk come back, nothing worked. I worked with my midwife and lactation consultant trying to get her to latch, she wouldn’t.
    Finally I had to go with pumping as much as I could and supplementing with formula, because she had barely gained 2 lbs in 2 months.
    It sucks and I felt like such a failure because I couldn’t breastfeed, but I did everything I could to make it happen. She’s now 4 months old and thriving. I give her whatever breastmilk I’m able to pump during the day and will continue to do so as long as I have milk, but I don’t beat myself up anymore for not being to breastfeed.

  15. Hi! I don’t usually comment, but there’s something about breastfeeding that makes you want to talk about it when you’ve gone through it!
    My son is now 16 months old and I exclusively breastfed him until he was 9 months old. Man oh man was it tough in the beginning. I knew it would be tough – people said it would be tough – but nothing has brought me to more tears than breastfeeding! My son just would not latch properly. I luckily had a great midwife who gave me great pointers and encouraged me and said it would just take time. I was constantly feeding him in the beginning because he wouldn’t latch properly and so it would take 20-45 mins sometimes just to get him latched on – trying and trying until he was on without (so much) pain. It was so frustrating and at the same time so scary because they are so little – you fear for their health! People say that it can take up to 6 weeks before the baby gets it, and for me, it was probably more like 9 weeks. Since he was so terrible at latching, I was also very shy to breastfeed in public. I was always scared it would be one of those times when he wouldn’t latch, and he would throw his arms all over the place. I finally became more comfortable when I went to an early years centre and other moms would breastfeed their children. I realized that it just wasn’t that big of a deal. I still wouldn’t do it in public (especially since my son detested nursing covers and would just rip them off), but felt just fine breastfeeding in designated nursing rooms with other mothers at malls. In the end, my son transitioned really quickly to a bottle. He definitely preferred the bottle and even gave me a funny look when I tried to nurse him after he was on the bottle for a week. I am proud that I stuck with it – but also completely understand that the baby and mom’s health is the most important and you have to do what works for you.

  16. My first baby is almost four months old and I’ve been nursing him all along. It was painful at first and I sure didn’t feel that magic warm-fuzzy feeling. I started out thinking I’d nurse for a year but then started thinking I’d only nurse for six months because I just didn’t like it! I don’t know when things changed, but as he got older he latched in a better, less painful way, and I actually began to enjoy nursing him. So now I’m back to thinking I’ll try to do it for the full year. We’ll see. We also give him one bottle of formula a day (right before bed). It’s part of his bedtime routine and makes him sleep longer. And if we have someone babysitting we leave bottles of formula for them, too, since I haven’t had luck with pumping.

    About the modesty in public thing: we were just in Paris and I realized how much I’d taken for granted the fairly good attitude people in my city have towards nursing in public. This was NOT the case in Paris. I got so many dirty looks when I nursed in public just took to wearing a giant scarf that I could hide myself and the baby with if I needed to feed him!

  17. Kelsey Bassett •

    It’s true that breastfeeding is a subject we can all relate to as moms. I nursed my now 2.5 year old for 13 months and had a wonderful experience. He never took a bottle though so I became envious of mothers with bottle fed babies, because I felt so confined and isolated. I soon realized that I too didn’t have to hide when I was nursing. I just took my soon with me and did what I had to do. I never bought a hooter hider. I found them to be degrading. We went out many of times and had dinner and the waitresses would become startled when they realized I was nursing after coming to the table 2-3 times previously. You just become pretty creative and flexible. I can remember nursing my son while we were driving down the highway with him still strapped into the carseat. I think no mater what route your given it still gives you your own challenges. Good luck with your journey!

  18. My daughter is now 5.5 weeks old and breastfeeding has been far more difficult than I expected. I have no fears over her receiving enough milk because she’s growing [and pooping] well but I’m in pain. We’re battling thrush so I’m in fairly constant pain since she was 1 week old! I do love the moments where I’m feeding her and she grabs onto one of my fingers, I melt and figure it’s worth it. I wanted to make it 6 months but I’m not going to beat myself up if it doesn’t work!

    Best of luck & congratulations on your daughters, they’re adorable.

  19. I love, love, love this post. Thank you for sharing. I knew I wanted to breastfeed and also knew that if I wasn’t able to I would be really disappointed in myself. I was so grateful that my birth class teacher gave all of the mom’s partners strict instructions to help ease the pressure that moms who want to breastfeed put on themselves. If it wasn’t for my husband constantly telling me that everything would be perfectly fine if we didn’t breastfeed, I’m positive that it wouldn’t have gone as well as it did. I’m so grateful that my Finn took so easily to breastfeeding and I think it had everything to do with shaking off the pressure I put on myself.

    I have friends who were not as lucky as me and I am so amazed by the lengths these women will go and sacrifices they are willing to make in order to try to make it work. It definitely doesn’t allow me to take for granted how blessed I have been with my (sort of) easy breastfeeding journey.

    Best of luck to you and I completely agree that taking the pressure of yourself makes all of the difference in the world. BTW, cutest picture ever. Love those little faces!

  20. I nursed my son for 14 months (I am currently on a 5 month break before I start nursing my second). I enjoyed it tremendously. For me, nursing was a way to escape with my son and reconnect. Even with friends and family. I loved that. I didn’t have any help or support with my son. From that perspective, it was lonely. I didn’t have any problems nursing (which I realize now is nothing short of a miracle). I hope this becomes a better experience for you. Thank you for sharing.

  21. I gave birth to my daughter 7 months ago. Like you, I was sure I would breastfeed and have no problems doing so. She latched on perfectly right after she was born but from there it was a struggle. I just couldn’t get her to latch. She would scream and scream. She cried. I cried. It was not the bonding experience I had hoped and dreamed it would be. The hospital had an excellent lactation consultant which helped but things still didn’t go as planned. At first my supply was pretty low so we had to supplement (low blood sugar). Things got a bit better that first week but then my daughter (who was born with clubfoot) had to get casts to start correcting her clubfoot. Those casts made things even more difficult and we used bottles more and more which my daughter started to like more than nursing.

    After trying all I could to up my supply it just never happened. I continued to pump for two months but when I found myself sitting on the sofa at 5am crying because I was pumping instead of nursing, I felt it was best for my sanity to sadly throw in the towel. I honestly felt guilty and beat myself up about quitting for quite awhile. Although I still feel sad about it here and there I know that she is thriving and one of the happiest babies I’ve ever seen.

    I hope that someday if I am blessed enough to have another child our breastfeeding journey will go a lot better. If it doesn’t go as planned I will NOT be unkind to myself.

    Thank you so much for this post:)

  22. Just wanted to tell you that you are doing an awesome job! Every day that Finley gets to nurse is a great day, no matter how many days that might be. I am a Bradley birth instructor and I like to tell my students that it takes a few weeks to get the hang of it, but a few months to become an expert. Around 3-4 months, it’s usually a breeze and more convenient than ever. I nursed my first until 18mo and am still nursing a 12mo right now- I never set a goal for either one; just letting God lead our little journey to wherever it ends. Have fun and enjoy the sweet time with your girls. Support is huge and I’m glad you’ve found a good network. :)

  23. Jen, I love the picture you started this post with. :) And I was not fond of nursing at all. I had read a bunch of books before I had my little guy, so I was aware that it is actually very common for babies not to nurse during their first 24 hours. However the nurses drove me so crazy that I ended up checking out of the hospital early just to escape them. I did have trouble with him latching on and then my milk came so fast that my poor kiddo couldn’t handle it. I used an aid for the first month or so. I did last for the year although after six months we were down to only two feedings a day. I never did love it and certainly never nursed in public. I was thrilled to have my body back once it was all over with. And despite all that I will do it again if we are ever blessed with a second one. Good luck on your journey. I am sorry your first was so difficult. :)

  24. Love your honesty here, if more mommas were so candid first timers wouldn’t feel so stressed and like failures! I just had my third six days ago and the with all three breastfeeding was way more pain the first three-ish weeks than labor/delivery. Whatever route mommas have to take to keep their babies fed is the right one.:) Love your sweet little blog and how motherhood has only improved it/you in the best ways!

  25. It’s something about that first baby. I couldn’t nurse my first longer than 3 months…and that was really struggling to get that long. After her, I was determined to nurse my next one successfully. I nursed her for 15 months and it was a good go. My third went well too. With both of them though, I hit a tough spot around 4 months. For some reason, they both started bawlking at the breast. But we got through it out of sheer determination. Now nursing my fourth (and final) baby, I am much more connected to it. Maybe because he’s my only son…maybe because I know it will be the last baby I nurse….I don’t know. But I’m cherishing it like I never did before. Good luck, Jen! I hope it’s a smooth ride! :)

  26. I just assumed breastfeeding would happen too. I researched the hell out of pregnancy, birth and child-raising but never once looked at a breastfeeding book or pamphlet or site because I assumed my boobs and my baby would be best friends. Cause it’s natural, right?

    It didn’t work. At all. It was awful and painful and full of grief and made me not want to be anywhere near my baby.

    I wrote about it here:
    http://lilybettandboy.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/formula-fed.html

  27. Harmony •

    Thankyou for your honesty!! I too did not get the warm fuzzy bond that other mums raved about. I felt like a swollen, sticky, hot (summer baby born in 40* heat wave) leaky mess. I had a nosey bubs that loved to latch off look around and come back a bit later, right from the get go! So I too hid when I needed to feed & felt so self conscious around male friends and relatives. My bubs also fed every two hours, could not get her to have longer break between. So my boobs were out A LOT!
    But I’m a stubborn so and so and stuck at it despite all my anxiety, guilt & stress. It got easier and now at 13months I’m lementing that she is giving me signs of doing away with feeding al together!

  28. natalie •

    I’m going to pipe in here from a different perspective. I just gave birth to our second girlie, and so I guess I’ve been tandem nursing for 4 days! I had a neonatal nurse (with our first) tell me that the first two weeks of nursing would be hard, but it’s downhill from there. I clung to that hope. We had our issues (reflux, projectile vomiting, lip tie, cracked nipples, plugged ducts) but she wasn’t ready to wean when I got pregnant. My supply diminished drastically and I realized I wasn’t ready to wean, either. Then we miscarried. I had lost my pregnancy, but I would not let that affect my relationship with the daughter I still had in my arms. We got pregnant again, and I thought she would wean for sure while I was pregnant. But… she didn’t! So here we are. I didn’t set out to be super crunchy by tandem nursing my toddler and newbie, but it’s not like breast milk stopped being good for her when she blew out two candles at her birthday party. Thanks for posting honestly about your experiences and best wishes for what lies ahead!
    PS: I bought nursing clips for $1 and converted some of my regular bras. Google it!

  29. My second baby has been a dream to breastfeed. Maybe it has to do with being more confident. I love it totally although it is hard and I hope she wants to keep it up for a while longer. Good luck on your journey.

  30. My first is due in a couple of months and I started this pregnancy thinking I’d breastfeed for at least 7-8 months. After reading countless stories about women who set their goals high with breastfeeding and failed – some didn’t produce any milk at all, some couldn’t get their baby to latch on, some had bloody nipples etc – I’ve become more realistic about breastfeeding. I’m just going to do my absolute best, ask for help and not be shy about it. If I fail, I won’t beat myself up about it. I know in some countries women don’t breastfeed at all, and their babies seem perfectly ok.

    This shouldn’t be a taboo to talk about, so thank you so, so much for posting your experience. It’s also great to read all these comments, thank you, ladies!

  31. I’m glad it’s going better for you this time – I’m due with my 2nd in a few weeks and am hoping that the more relaxed attutude will eleviate a lot of the stress that was there the first time. I’m with you too on the having to hide everytime someone comes over – that gets old FAST. I just got a few nursing shirts that I’m hoping will make me feel more comfortable nursing in public, because you’re right – the giant apron around the neck thing is NOT subtle. :) As for nursing bras, this is the one I wore ALL the time – like that it’s stretchy and that it has little removable cup things so you don’t have to worry about leaking or nipples showing through etc. WORTH the $50 – over the span of a year of daily wear, it’s def. a good value. http://www.amazon.com/Bravado-Seamless-Nursing-Medium-Tiger/dp/B009052WLG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360151216&sr=8-1&keywords=bravado+body+silk+seamless+nursing+bra

  32. So glad it’s going well this time. I hope it just keeps getting better.

    I was like you, so sure I wanted to breastfeed but after a bout of mastitis really knew what it meant when women have up under pain and pressure. Luckily I had a really supportive midwife taking care of me and got back on track but its so hard to suck at something that is “supposed” to come naturally.
    Sixteen months later my little girl gave up the boob and I’m keen to get started again with my second but it’s good to know ahead that it ain’t easy and it’s ok to seek help.

  33. I am due any day so this has been on my mind a lot. I also covered up a lot with my first pregnancy and really want to own it more this time and act ashamed. Thanks for the inspiration.

  34. Thanks for sharing your breastfeeding story! I loved breastfeeding my first baby (who weaned at about 7 months), and I’m looking forward to beginning the journey again in a little over a month with my next child (due in March). The beginning was not always easy though! Lucky for me I had a great lactation consultant in the hospital who gave me some really good advice which headed off some common problems–like, don’t use nipple creams is you can help it, instead, rub breastmilk on your nipples after each feeding (this can help prevent clogged ducts & mastitis, which I never experienced!) Also, eat yogurt everyday to prevent yeast infections, which can be transferred from you to baby’s mouth if you get one while breast feeding!
    My best friend was a champion breast feeder before me, so her encouragement & advice helped me through those first few weeks that seem so difficult… She said to me at the outset: if you can make it 6 weeks, you can make it 6 months. The first 6 weeks are the hardest for so many reasons, but if you’ve got a good latch & good routine at 6 weeks, it is all downhill from there!

  35. LilyKay •

    So sorry you had a hard time with breastfeeding the first time around. What surprises me is the fact that the first few days they tried to make Rowan feed. My baby (2 weeks younger than Rowan) also slept the first 2-3 days and would not breast-feed at all, maybe a sip or two. I was also so worried but there was an old kind nurse at the hospital and she would just send me back smiling “Don’t worry, it’s normal, go get some sleep because once she’s up, you won’t sleep for a while.” And she was absolutely right, around the 3rd day her appetite kicked in.

    And the pain! Yes it was painful. I’m lucky that I watched a ton of aunts breastfeed so I knew a bit about it but as long as it is getting less and less, you’re on the right track and it is so worth it.

    I breastfed my girl for two years but that also has it’s challenges. In the end I weaned her because it became such a power struggle in our relationship. I always said I’ll breastfeed until it stops working for one of us.

    BTW, for covering up, a scarf is your friend! I always had a scarf around my neck and some sort of button-down shirt/blouse… I also breastfed in the ergo. It took a while to figure that out but once I did it was awesome. Taking long walks became so much easier because once she got hungry, I’d pull the cover up thing up and she’d be nestled in there all happy. This only works until 5-6 months when they become too curious!

    Best of luck this time around! And seriously, breast milk is most likely best but IMHO a relaxed happy mother is much more important. You did what was right for you and that’s that.

  36. LilyKay •

    I wanted to add an interesting experience. Based on my mother’s advice, I weaned my daughter very gradually over many months (a few months 3x per day, then 2x and then 1x per day). I never experienced the deflating-boob. The other moms in our group weaned suddenly and they all complained about their breasts looking all “empty” for months afterwards. I prepared myself for that but surprisingly by my next cycle they grew back to pre-pregnancy size.

  37. I think you are a fabulous mother. A real woman who is willing to accept all facets of motherhood.And I am completely inspired by your blog. (Homebirth would be a dream!!!) I had a very rough start with breastfeeding as well. Going in, I thought it was going to be “easy”, even “natural”. Ha!! It was anything but. We struggled, and when I say “we”, I mean my husband and I. He was right there with me every step of the way, and without his constant stupport, we wouldn’t have made it past day 3, nevermind week 1. The first night we came home, my sweet daughter nursed for 7 hours straight. I wanted to scream, and cry, and kick, and stick a bottle of formula in her mouth. But we kept on. I knew that night I had to make small goals, and any breastmilk was good enough. So we set a goal for 2 weeks, everyone said it would get better by 2 weeks. And it did. So we said 4 weeks, then 6 weeks, then 4 months, then 6 months. I am VERY proud to say I am STILL nursing my 18 month old daughter. It is, in every sense of the word, fulfilling. It’s a bond unlike any other, and when asked she will say it’s her favorite activity to do with Mama.
    My journey, and experiences like yours, have actually made me want to explore the possibilities of a career change. I would like to become a true breatfeeding activist and lactation consultant. I truly believe that if more women had access to professional and kind lactation consultants, more women would succeed at one of the most challenging aspects of early motherhood. Breastfeeding is NOT easy, and it isn’t always a “natural” thing. It’s awkward, painful, and isolating. The right support makes all the difference.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, so honestly as well. You didn’t fail, you simply had to alter your plan. Best of luck with Finley! She’s already off to a great start!

  38. For those who are expecting, seek help!! Don’t just assume you’ll figure it out on your own. Find a lactation consultant now, find out their hours, have their numbers on speed dial, and see them as often as you need.

    I was in the LC’s office the next day after being released from the hospital, and 3 more times in the first week. Seeking help is crucial.

  39. I also adore the picture that accompanies this post. I am currently breastfeeding my first, who is 5 1/2 months. While I never had the issues with intense pain, I can certainly sympathize with the sleepy nurser. I used to have to pump my son’s arm up and down and blow in his face the whole time to keep him nursing! But it was a long time before nursing was anything resembling peaceful experience. I have fast let-down and for awhile had over supply issues. My son would spit up so much that my lactation consultant (a wonder woman) recommended I burp him every two minutes. So I did for four months, and every two minutes he would fuss and cry when I took him off my breast but it did help control his spit up. And then everything changed overnight, which I felt really unprepared for. He became incredibly distracted and impatient, not wanting to work beyond the first let-down. He would cry until I gave him a bottle (which in turn made me cry), even though I had plenty of milk. it was a vicious cycle, and then my supply decreased throughout the day till sometimes I didn’t have enough. I am now back to nursing him every hour because that is the only way he will get enough throughout the day and sleep through the night, but it is much more peaceful. I don’t burp him anymore and often he nurses to sleep, two (related) things he never used to do. I also nurse on both sides every time now, which I had bot done since the start because of my over supply. I had read/heard enough to expect the obstacles at the beginning, but it totally threw me for a loop when our routine of four months changed drastically overnight. It seems silly now, given how much everything else with babies changes, but I hadn’t anticipated that with nursing at all. My relationship with nursing in public has changed. I felt a little uncomfortable at first but after a couple of months gained the confidence to nurse anywhere without a cover. And I, too, am a big fan of Bravado nursing bras. Overall, I am so grateful to be able to nurse my baby. When there are challenges I remind myself how I will miss this one day, and how quickly these months are already passing. And when he keeps his little hand on my face while nursing, I let myself completely melt into the moment.

  40. Hi Jen!

    I breastfed my daughter for a few months until we moved and it became a huge inconvenience. While I was breastfeeding, I used the Boob Toob, which can be found on Etsy. It’s essentially and over-sized Miss America sash made of cotton with elastic all around the edges. It keeps your tatas hidden and is light enough so baby isn’t hot inside. I breastfed out by the lake, during a party, in front of my 4 brother-in-laws and didn’t feel awkward with one on. I’d recommend looking into one- they’re only $30 or so and it was the best thing I bought for breastfeeding by far!

  41. oh man, i so can relate to this. the first few weeks of breastfeeding for me were sheer breathtakingly painful. i can remember dreading waking up to feed my sweet boy. luckily i did have a great consultant and she recommended a shield to wear as I fed since it wasn’t improving. i still wear it and we are going on 11 months of feeding. it really was so helpful and i was able to feed my son with no pain! nuk, tommee tippee and medela make them in case you’re ever interested! great post though, honesty about this helps other women feel not so alone!

  42. Hi Jen. I have an eight month old daughter. I was also convinced that I would breastfeed with no formula before she was born. But during the first few days in the hospital after she was born, her weight started dropping too much and we all realized that my milk hadn’t come in yet. It took weeks of tears and pumping after every feeding (so painful) and talking to pediatricians and nurses and lactation consultants for us to create a steady supply, so she’s been on a formula supplement since the beginning. Even now, she drinks similac every day. I definitely felt pressure, but I was also lucky to have a lot of people in my life who encouraged me to try, but also told me that I wasn’t a bad mother or doing anything wrong if we had to supplement or completely go over to formula after a while. It was surprising how many women in my life told me that they’d had similar problems. So I know how you feel. Breastfeeding is hard and people unacquainted with your situation tend to be judgmental about it. The thing that helps most (I’ve found) is talking to other women who’ve had trouble with it, no matter how diverse those troubles might be. I was lucky to have support from some great professionals and family. Thanks for writing about this, I think its really important to acknowledge the joys and the hurdles involved. Eight months later, its so much easier and such a wonderful thing to share with her.

  43. Candice •

    Congratulations on everything going well so far – and thank you for writing this post. I wanted to BF my son so badly but due to previous breast surgery (reduction) and a c-section, my milk hadn’t come in even four days after his birth and I, too, probably should have had a better lactation consultant, but I didn’t so I gave up… and it hurt my heart for a long time. Even now, thinking about it, it makes me cry (and he’s two and a half!! and perfectly fine and amazing!!). It’s crazy how much pressure we put on ourselves and how important support is. I plan to try again with our second someday and hope to have an experience like yours. I don’t expect it to be easy, by any means, but I expect to be more patient and a little smarter about it next time… I hope everything continues to go well and you get to have the full BF experience you want.

  44. I love that you’ve opened up about this and are being honest, Jen!

    If anyone else is struggling, or has guilt over quitting breastfeeding, here’s a post I wrote back when I stopped at 4 weeks:

    http://wordsofwilliams.com/why-i-quit-breastfeeding

  45. AHHHH. I didn’t realize you went through that with Rowan. I had the same experience. Fell asleep and short of dunking her in ice water nothing woke her up. For me, the first 4 months were mostly pumping (which I hate) combined with painful breastfeeding sessions that lasted 5 minutes. It was not until she was eating solids that breastfeeding became the joyous experience I had read about. That was largely because she was feeding first thing in the morning and at night and I really needed that time with her. I work outside of the home and pumping 2-3 times a day which I did for the first year and a half starts to make you feel like a cow. I say every mom needs to decide what’s right for them and go for it. Breastfeeding did become very special for Jolene and me, but it would have been helpful if someone told me it would take a year and not three days to get there.

    LOVE THIS POST JEN! THANKS!!

  46. My son is now three months and I thought breastfeeding would come easily, as well. I cannot suggest a lactation nurse/consultant enough! We love love ours and have seen her so many times! I would have quit week one if it wasn’t for her and her team. I wasn’t producing enough and literally had to feed and pump (for 15 mins) every 1.5 hours for the first month. My entire life consisted of breaatfeeding for a month and it really started to take its toll. However, I am so so glad that I stuck it through. I’m taking mother love supplements now for production and having to supplement with formula 2-3 times a day (which I was depressed about at first, but my son needed to eat!).

    Our Lactation nurse always stressed that breastfeeding should never hurt. There may be something wrong with her latch. Have you tried a nipple shield? They helped tremendously in the beginning. Good luck! Remember that all your hard work is so beneficial for your little one!

  47. Thank you for sharing your experience! I didn’t feel comfortable nursing in public at the beginning but about 5 weeks in I stopped caring. I discovered the company Boob who make awesome clothes for nursing where nothing is exposed.

  48. ALSO- I’m sure you already know this–but stressing made it worse for me. I had to force myself to relax about it all and things got much, much easier! :)

  49. Although the nursing relationships have thankfully been easy between me at all 3 boys(besides having to go dairy free!). I share your sentiments on nursing in public. With my first I would nurse him whenever wherever without any hesitation… But I did get a lot of comments from inlaws. It didn’t phase me with him. I remember with second and third feeling less “courageous” to nurse them in public. Like I needed permission from people. Thankfully my husband was really supportive (in his own way…) and I’m kind of back on the track to not giving a hoot what others think. My baby is hungry, I will nurse him!

    (((hugs))) hope your journey goes smoothly from here on out.

  50. I too planned to nurse baby #1 for a year. When she was born she was so stubborn that she refused to latch. We worked with lactation consultants for over a week but ultimately I decided it was best for her to have breast milk through any means necessary so I began pumping. I was able to pump for her exclusively for 4 months and then stopped because it was so stressful and time consuming. When baby #2 came I was determined to try again. Luckily he came out of the womb ready to suck, literally “rooting” in the OR where I had my c-section. He nursed like a champion but because of my inverted nipples, I had to wear a shield which in the long run I’m so glad I did because it caused so much less pain than mouth to nipple contact. My goal was 4 months because that’s what I did for #1. At 4 months I was going strong but he was refusing to take a bottle so I could never leave the house for more than a couple of hours. I started pumping but he nursed so much that I barely pumped anything. Eventually I moved to 100% pumping. I had done it before so I was comfortable with it and it made life a million times easier. At 5 months he started drinking more than I could pump, a lot more, even the doctor was amazed at how much he could eat so I started supplementing a few ounces a day of formula. Finally at 8 months I couldn’t keep up so I slowly weaned off the pump. I didn’t make it to a year, but I was so proud of myself for going twice as long as I did the first time. Maybe with baby #3 I’ll go the full 12 months!

  51. I breastfed my son exclusively for 8 months and then slowly weaned him over about 2 months. Gosh, even just writing this comment, I realize I have so many feelings regarding breastfeeding. It is hard…no joke…when you are the only one who can feed your baby, who as you know, needs to eat like all the time. I think it really started to click for us around 2 months. I didn’t have any more pain, my letdown was not all over the place, and I was beginning to enjoy it. And I am so glad I did, it truly is a one of a kind experience, and I will never regret it. Things get soo much easier as you start feeding less often, the baby gets better at it, and you’re not doing it around the clock. Good luck!

  52. My goal was 6 months. Even though she didn’t nurse until 6 I pumped all that time. She stopped on her own around 4.5 months. I loved it though. I cried the first time she had a bottle because I knew it wasn’t going to be about just us anymore. It was good for her daddy but still made me sad. It was so special sharing the bond with her. And even the tired nights or breaks at work that make it miserable…all the bad memories fade and you are left with the sweetness of just you and your baby.

  53. Not being a mom, I can’t relate, but I do appreciate your honesty and I know you’re probably going to help a couple of new mom’s out there with this post :)

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

  54. Carolyn •

    As a new mom, I absolutely loved reading this post. My little guy, Chase, was born 11 weeks premature and spent 2.5 months in hospital. It was incredibly tough, but the absolute hardest thing about his birth was breastfeeding, by a long shot! I shed the most tears over pumping milk for him when he was using a feeding tube and then over the anxiety I felt about whether he was ever going to nurse. I thought it was supposed to be so natural and easy, and it wasn’t. But we stuck it out, and we finally found our groove…I can honestly say that it is one of my proudest achievements! Chase is 6 months old and we definitely still have our breastfeeding ups and downs but we take it day by day. I can’t say that I absolutely love everything about nursing and sometimes I wonder why I ever put myself through all that pressure initially when he was in the NICU. But it just felt right. You are doing a GREAT job, Jen, and you should be proud of your breastfeeding accomplishments!! Trust your gut and motherly instinct and do what’s right for YOU and your family…that is all that matters :)

  55. Jen~

    I can so, so relate to this! My son is 5 months old. I’ve always looked forward to breastfeeding, always thought breastfeeding was best, and dreamt of nursing into toddler years. When Søren was 2 weeks old, I was in so much pain I would shake and ask my husband to pray through every nursing session. I was recommended to try a nipple shield, which I did, and it immediately helped the pain. However, my milk supply was just not where it should be, and so I took to trying everything possible: pumping, fenugreek out the wazoo, mother’s milk tea, etc. It just wasn’t happening. We went to the pediatrician for a wellness visit and my son had lost weight. I burst into tears as they told me I needed to supplement with formula, but they encouraged me that we could figure it out. I tried everything, and my supply just wasn’t coming. I came to terms with the fact that we would always have to supplement, but I was starting to feel more normal and less pain (I still had to use the nipple shield every time!), and all of a sudden I got mastitis so badly I landed in the hospital on an iv for 4 days. I also had a galactocele and almost needed breast surgery. Eventually, by the time my son was 10 weeks old I was told that if I didn’t stop producing that I wouldn’t get better. It was awful. I actually loved breastfeeding (so did my son!). It was super hard on me, I felt like a failure, and that my body was failing me at something it was made to do. It still hurts that I can’t breastfeed my son, but I feel like God showed me some things in my heart through this. Little judgements I held in a dark corner of my heart that I didn’t even know were there. It’s an exercise in humility every time I have to buy my son formula, or mix some up in public. Mandy’s post from harper’s happenings about her breastfeeding journey has helped me a lot! For next time, I want to breastfeed, but I’m scared, honestly! I’m glad to hear things are working well for you and Finley, that encourages me a lot! Thank you for sharing!

  56. i think you are awesome. i feel the same way…breast feeding is great, and if it works out, it’s the best way to go. but the truth is, in some cases, the pain, stress, and mess jus isn’t worth it. i made it 6 months, and i had to set very small goals. when M was born, my goal was 4 weeks. then 6 weeks, then 8, 10, 12 etc… i never had it in my mind to go a full 12 months, i only took it one week at a time. my baby is almost 1 year and he’s healthy as a horse. so, no it is not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out for a full year. rowan and finley are adorable. good job mama.

  57. Christine •

    I feel the need to share since I had the opposite experience with breastfeeding my two children. My first-born, my daughter, now 3, would ONLY breastfeed — no bottles, no nothing — for the first year of her life, so that’s what we did. We had an easier go at it than many, I know, but it was still hard and completely exhausting to be her one source of sustenance. My son, now 5 months, was in the NICU for a week after birth. I pumped and supplemented and breastfed for the first two months and it was just… too much. He honestly liked his bottles better than his breast, and pumping is for the cows, as far as I’m concerned. So we went with it. He’s a formula-fed baby, and I’m a happy formula-feeding, stay-at-work mama. Breastfeeding is oh-so-hard in comparison. Worth it? For some. But I wish I had the courage with my first to follow something other than the ‘breast is best’ mantra. Parenting comes with enough challenges; the weight of breastfeeding doesn’t need to be one of them.

  58. Hi, Jen!

    I’m Julia, from Argentina. I had my first baby 2 1/2 months ago, and I have been breastfeeding him ever since. At the beginning I had lots of worries and fears, of course, but I also “knew” that I was going to breastfeed him no matter what, and so I did -fortunately. As you’ve said, the first days were filled with pain and guilt for hoping the baby would not want to eat again, but then it slowly became more pleasurable. My baby was admitted to the ICU when he was 11 days old for a burn I accidentally caused to his heel and right after that the pain I used to have in my nipples began to disappear -literally. Now I not only enjoy breastfeeding, but I am also proud of it. My baby is super healthy and keeps putting on weight. As to breastfeeding in public, I didn’t want to do it when I was pregnant, but once my baby was born I knew that my baby’s needs came first and that if I had to breastfeed him in a public place, I shouldn’t worry; breastfeeding is natural and there is no reason for me to feel embarrassed. Now I even have to use a breast pump sometimes if my baby takes a longer nap. Of course, I try hard not to show my boobs to anyone, but if I have to breastfeed because my baby wants to eat, I do it wherever and whenever he feels like it. It’s the least I can do for him. I’ve been blessed because I’ve been able to do it and I will keep doing it for as long as I can.
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us and congratulations on your beautiful family!
    Kind regards.

  59. I didn’t get the hang of breastfeeding in public until my daughter was four months old – before that it was a lot of flopping around and a huge reliance on the boppy in order to get her positioned – I also had scabbed up nipples until 13 weeks in (like you, I should have been asking someone for help!) But after that, we were fine. I used a hooter hider when I had to (at restaurants) but otherwise I just tried to time feedings, or I went to baby friendly places where I didn’t mind having a boob out. We managed to nurse until 21 months, though the last time I fed her out and about she was a little over a year, and it was actually a very nice experience (curling up on a nice park bench on a sunny day, just she and I on the play ground.)

    I have to say, as important as breastfeeding was to me the first time around, I’m sort of dreading it with this new baby. It’s just a lot of work. Rewarding work in parts, but IN PARTS. Not every moment is pure momma/baby bonding bliss. And while it’s “free” when compared to formula, I found it took a pretty big toll on me. My time is money too, dang it! (even if I am a stay at home mom.)

  60. Natacha •

    Your first experience with breast feeding reminds me a lot of my own. Of course I wanted to breast feed, thought it was the ‘right’ thing to do. After 18 hours of labour and countless drugs topped up with a c-section it was difficult to move let alone breast feed, but I kept at it, because I felt I had to. In the hospital the nurses told me I couldn’t go home until the baby was latching on properly and gained some weight. Looking back now, could they really have stopped me from walking out of the door with my baby!??!?! Well, I took their word as gospel and stuck that kid on my boob every 20 minutes…after 4days I was released from prison…I mean the hospital;) At home every breast feeding session made me cry and cringe in pain, I finally went to a walk in lactation consultant, it was literally an assembly line of white coated nurses pumping women’s breasts, I felt like I was back in my grade 5 field trip to the dairy farm. I was engorged and sat through twenty minutes of horrific pain while a complete stranger squeezed the milk out of my breasts while my husband watched on in complete horror (how he agreed to ever have a second child I will never know). I called my family doctor who said I was crazy for putting up with all the pain and said I HAD to give the baby formula…so I did…I don’t know why I was so willing to listen to anyone with any type of authority, I was so overwhelmed and scared I just wanted someone else to tell me what to do. I was splitting her feedings between boob and bottle when I noticed a big difference in my milk supply and got scared. Went to another lactation consultant who was amazing and showed me what to do and it was like the clouds parted as I walked out of her office, I was a new person. I finally felt, sort of confident to try breast feeding exclusively. I went to visit my parents that afternoon. I got to my parents with this new sense of mother-superhero-ness, sat on the couch, warned my younger brother that boobs were about to be exposed (he ran out of the room cursing), I was ready and feeling good about it. I started feeding her, everything was great, then my 96 year old grandmother came up from behind me, reached down, PULLED THE NIPPLE OUT OF THE BABY’S MOUTH AND COMMENTED ON HOW CUTE IT WAS THAT I WAS BREASTFEEDING!!! It gets worse, she then said how remarkable it wass that such tiny breasts could ever produce enough milk to sustain a growing baby….gotta love old portuguese village women:)

  61. I LOVED breastfeeding, but it was NOT easy, especially in the beginning… I always encourage every mom to breastfeed, but I never criticize those who won’t, can’t, try and fail, etc. I’m so glad you are trying a second time. If it does go well, it will be the most wonderful time of your life. If it doesn’t, you’ll never know what you’ve missed, and that’s okay too. The support of successful moms (and doctors and nurses) is very important. I’m glad it’s available to you this time. Use it… I failed the first time (no help, no knowledge), had great luck the second time (breastfed for almost 3 years, could not give it up!), and the third time I still struggled in the beginning… Every time was different… So hang in there if you can. It will be worth it!

  62. Good luck with your nursing journey! It sounds like you’re working really hard at it. Isn’t it funny how we all get super up in arms about this subject??! I mean at the end of the day, you’re feeding your baby and loving her and loving her and loving her, so what does it matter to anyone else where the food comes from??
    With my daugther I wanted to make it to one year nursing. She had other plans. I finally weaned her at 2.5, but she still occasionally asks for amm amm.
    An interesting tidbit for you: I live in Indonesia and extended breastfeeding here is pretty much universal. It’s totally common to see a woman in a headscarf (this is a majority muslim country) nursing her baby in public without a cover up. If the baby pops off and reveals a nipple, no biggie, she doen’t even shield it from view. Even when people are so modest in other ways, a naked breast (for food purposes) is not seen as shameful It’s totally normal here. And I think that’s part of what makes it easier for women to BF here.

  63. I love the honesty of this post and so happy to hear it is a better experience for you this time around! I nursed for 6 months. Did I feel guilty for not going a full year? Absolutely. But then I realized that was silly and I needed to do was best for my health. I have major thyroid issues and it was literally sucking the life out of me. It was bittersweet, but we were both better off for it because I finally got healthy again and was a better mother in turn. Crazy how much breast feeding affects us mamas, huh?

    I wish you all the best with nursing sweet Finley!

  64. First let me just say that you have already done more than most American women would do in even attempting to breastfeed. You are a rockstar. The reality is breastfeeding is hard. Breastfeeding is tiring. Breastfeeding is ALL mommy, ALL the time. I have three kiddos. I have been lucky enough to breast feed each of them but with each one the first 4-6 weeks was painful, tiring, and frustrating. It takes a “village” for a mom to get a handle on just being a mom, let alone breastfeed like a champ! This is a poignant post for me because just this last week I finished breastfeeding my 22 month old little dude. Totally bittersweet but I am ready to get my body back. :-) As for breastfeeding in public? All of my babies HATED, no DESPISED those hooter-hiders. I had one just in case I needed it but it honestly sat crumpled up in the bottom of my diaper bag. ha! I nursed in malls, airports, restaurants, pretty much every public place I could, and it just made life easier not to hide. No matter if you nurse for 2 days or 2 years, or never for that matter…your baby girls know that you love them. And you know that you are doing everything you can to be the best mom you can be. Way to go…and congrats on your beautiful baby..:-)

  65. It makes me really sad to read about your stressful attempt to breastfeed your first born. There should be so much more support for women! I loved breastfeeding my baby (I breastfed her for over two years), and I’d be devastated if I couldn’t feed any other babies of mine. It’s a delicate relationship at first, and it takes months to properly establish breastfeeding – you just need to persevere, and trust in your body and baby. They know what they’re doing! And it will all feel so super easy in no time. Kellie xx

  66. Trulie Rose •

    I’ve been breastfeeding my little booger for 5 months now and it has not been easy! First of all I only got to try and feed him once after he was born before they took him to the NICU (which was really for no reason! And I’m still a little mad at them for it so I won’t go into much detail. He’s my first baby so I trusted them and didn’t know how to say, “no!”) and I had to spend the next two days walking down two stories from my room to the NICU. Which is really awesome when your all stitched up “down there” and it hurts to sit. Long story short he wouldn’t latch and they finally gave me a nipple shield and got him latching with that. They did send in a Lactation Consultant but umm, by the time she came down to help with his latching I was so so tired of everyones in the world seeing and touching my boobs I sent her away. We finally got home and I just used the shield, I tried to get him to latch without it but that usually ended with us both crying. I finally gave up sometime in the first couple of weeks and just use the shield, I figured he was getting food fine so why was it so bad that I had to use a shield? There was no reason to beat myself up about it when the booger was happy and healthy. Besides the shield, he was also really sleepy the first couple of weeks and would only eat ten minutes at each feeding which according to the books is not enough and so I spent sometime freaking out about that (of course! What else do you do the first couple of weeks beside cry and freak out at silly things) but after some google searching and reading I found out that it can be normal depending on the baby. The booger was a little vaccum cleaner, I made a lot of milk, and he was growing! After the first month I was getting so tired of having to wash a nipple shield every single time I wanted to feed him, and oversupply plus shield eqauls milk everywhere! So I slowly started to get him to latch without it and of course one he was finally latching then came the pain! I remember almost crying sometimes because it hurt so bad, he sucks so hard! Lanolin never help me, I finally found that rubbing breast milk on the nips and letting them airdry uncovered overnight was the only thing that brought some relief! I don’t remeber when it started getting easier probably around the 3rd month but now he’s a breastfeeding champ (well as long as he doesn’t get over stimulated cause if he does he refuses to eat and just screams when I try to feed him, the only thing that fixes that is a nap). We’re now at 5 months, like I said, and I’m so glad I stuck with it! (We really had no way to afford formula so that was a good motivation :p) I never once did I call a lactation consultant, I’m a super modest person and I’d rather not have some other lady grabbing my boobs! it is by far not easy but learning a new skill seldom is at first. I love being able to feed him, how he grabs my shirt or bra while eating and holds onto it, and the rooting around looking for milk :) soo worth it. But for anyone that can’t it’s okay! My Hubby was formula fed and he’s the smartest kindest guy I know! Yes I enjoy breastfeeding but it doesn’t make me any better or stronger then any other mommy. Mommyhood is hard and those first couple weeks are some of the hardest.

  67. this post is fantastic and has become a forum of inspiration for all us mama’s out there. we had a rough go our first time around and just when we got comfortable and in the groove it was time for me to head back to work and start weening (bring on the guilt). i totally resonate with your feelings of feeling isolated, lonely and uncomfortable…i’m determined to try again when the time comes and own it like a rock star. thanks for sharing your story. this picture of your girlies is precious. congratulations!

  68. As always, thank you for such an honest & heartfelt post. I too, struggled with breastfeeding & became obsessed by it after my first daughter was born. When i wasn’t nursing, i was pumping like crazy & constantly worrying about my supply. So much so, i felt like i never had a chance to enjoy her babyhood. I was also incredibly sleep-deprived, so after a couple of months, my husband stepped in & would give her a bottle of formula at night. It was wonderful! I no longer felt like a prisoner of my own body and could finally get solid night’s sleep. Consequently, with baby #2 i was much more relaxed, such a joy! It really is true… if mom’s happy, everyone’s happy. Please don’t beat yourself up over any of it, you have LOTS of company here :)

  69. Oh breastfeeding..the most natural and most difficult thing! It was super painful for me and I also had a lactation consultant who hurt the experience more than helped. And as soon as I started to get the hang of it with Glory, I got mastitis at 6 weeks. So for a week after getting sick I pumped exclusively and then slowly started adding back feedings. I got super sore (and cracked!) again after I took the week off from breastfeeding but by adding the feedings back in slowly it helped me to restart the whole process again. By that time she wasn’t falling asleep constantly and had not forgotten how to nurse either..take that nipple confusion fears! So together we got back on the horse. And honestly, it just go to be so easy. Although I love the intimate experience, I honestly love how it allows me to be a little more lazy. No worrying about bottles, storage, formula, etc! It’s always there..ready and warm! Thinking back to when I was crying and so ready to quit, I could have never imagined that I would still be exclusively breastfeeding at 5 months. Who knows how much longer we’ll go, I would really like to not have to think about easy-access clothing anymore but my babe sure loves the boob :)

    You got this Jen! My mom made me a hooter-hider that is about half the size of what you see out there…not as much fabric to deal with and covers just the right amount.

  70. I love that you wrote about your breast feeding journey. It’s so good to hear from other moms about their experiences. I recently just posted about breastfeeding too. http://afletchersdiary.blogspot.com/2013/01/breastfeeding.html. I don’t have a huge mommy support group yet and so blogs are how I hear most advice. Thank you for sharing!

  71. Thank you for this post! More women need to share their stories so we can learn from, support and inspire one another! I also had a rough go at breast feeding the first time round and like you I never really thought it would be an issue…until my son was born. Unfortunately my son was unable to latch efficiently and after much pain and blistering…and lack of poos, I reached out for support. Luckily I had a fantastic group of midwives that were there to help and to assist in correcting my sons latch but his lack of weight gain and lack of poos became worry some. I became so stressed out that my milk disappeared and I reached out once again to my first lactation consultant. Off I went to the hospital and sat in a room full of other worried new mothers who were also struggling where a nurse circled the room and watched us feed our newbies. I was told all looked great and was advised to rent a pump. Thinking that actually seeing the milk being pumped and knowing that my son was consuming a specific amount seemed comforting…until I began to pump and little to no milk came out! My sons weight continued to drop, my stress continued to mount but I was desperate to breast feed and would do anything I had to before making the decision to stop. So on I went to a second lactation consultant where I was able to have a one on one consultation with where she weighed him prior to being fed and after and discovered he was not eating nearly enough. This is when the work started, the supplements, the pumping, the feeding with droppers and small tubes but I persevered and 3 weeks later his weight was finally back at his birth weight and the breast feeding became easier and more enjoyable. It is amazing how all of our stories differ and even after 2 years I still find solace in hearing the struggles and triumphs of other mothers. I breast fed for 18 months until my son self weaned and I am now pregnant with my second and look forward to the new stories that will ensue. I am happy to have found your blog and look forward to reading all your entries!

  72. the bravado bra is the BEST! Enjoy those moments mama.

  73. I can honestly say that I love breastfeeding. I was more in the camp that I would make it to a year and for sure stop, but now that my baby is 8.5 months old, I don’t see us stopping at a year, which is a little scary for me.
    I do think nursing in public gets easier as they get bigger, partly because you are more confident and they are less floppy, but mostly because they don’t need to eat right.this.instant anymore. You can wait to feed them until you are in a place where you are more comfortable. When my daughter was a newborn, nursing in public was hard for us because she would pop on and off the boob and I hated flashing my nipple. I never did get around to using a nursing cover- we just used a blanket and I wore a lot of dorky nursing tops. I think the hardest time period for us for nursing in public was around 4months. At that time she was no longer content to be under a blanket, got distracted by what was going on around her, but she still kind of needed to be in the right position.
    I think you also start to get over it a little bit. I still don’t like to nurse in restaurants, but you gotta do what you gotta do! Billowy tops and tanks you can pull the neck down of are key. So much harder when it is cold outside though.
    Keep it up, you can do it and you will get to a point where you treasure that time together.

  74. As I was reading up to it, I just knew what was coming next “toe-curling pain” is exactly how I would describe that time between raw and creating a callous on your nipple! I was also very sure I was going to breastfeed and still am at 7 months. I knew it was going to get painful (I had been forewarned) and my husband was so supportive. So, in order to get through it (Emilia was a really bad breastfeeder in the beginning) I started pumping and feeding her breast milk from a bottle. We were able to slowly go back to straight breastfeeding. I do it for her health and digestive system, but I don’t think it has ever made me feel any closer to her. I am her mother. She came out of me. I don’t know how you get closer than that.
    I am not a public breastfeeder, but it has more to do with our faith and modesty than being uncomfortable. It never bothers me to see other mothers do it!

  75. I understand the breastfeeding struggle so well. Our daughter is now 7,5 months old and oh how it hurt in the beginning! I cried so many times and didn’t look forward to feeding. I put lanolin on every time and to be honest I don’t know if it helped or not. After two months our pediatric nurse told me to try nipple shields while nursing so that my nipples could heal. Matilda also wanted to nurse very often in the beginning, every 2-3 hours during the day and night. Those shields really helped me and after 1,5 weeks I was able to put them away and I haven’t had sore nipples since then. At 6 months I wanted to stop bf as we are trying for another baby (it took us 4 years to get Matilda) but our baby has been sick on and off since then and I just felt I should continue a little bit more. Now my supply is getting up again which is a bit frustrating. I wish there was a little on/off button so that it wouldn’t hurt so much if you wean off :) And now she also likes to bite a bit during feeding, but I am trying to teach her not to.. At the same time I am mourning the end of bf with her, it’s such a bonding thing.. Good luck for you and your beautiful new addition :)

  76. Those grey leggings are so cute!

    I loved breastfeeding my boys. I stopped with both about the time they got their first tooth because it just became too painful. I loved being able to connect with my babies that way and I think I definitely became way more comfortable with the second.

    xx
    Bonnie Rose
    The Compass Rose

  77. I had a kinda similar experience. My daughter was born a month premature. She was in the NICU for 5 days and I spent as much time over there as possible trying to get her to breastfeed. But she was such a sleepy little thing(due to the prematurity). The NICU was concerned about her getting her nutrition and so we did bottle feedings in the hospital. When we took her home, I kept trying to breastfeed her every time but everytime she would fall asleep! She started losing weight and my doctor was very concerned. He wanted her to eat a certain amount at each feeding and I didn’t know how to measure what she was eating unless I bottle fed( I was pumping and feeding her through a bottle) We still struggled that whole first month to get her to eat. It was the most terrifying month of my life. After that first month she became much less lethargic and more awake. But she had been mainly bottle fed so breastfeeding just did not work. I was devastated. I decided that I would keep pumping. I had read everywhere that your supply would not be able to keep up soley with pumping. But my daughter is 11 months old and she has almost entirely been fed pumped breastmilk and I am still pumping. While my breastfeeding journey didn’t look how I thought it would, we were able to find what worked for our family. You will too! Don’t beat yourself up. We are all just moms trying to do the best we can with the situations we have!

  78. Great topic! I had so much difficulty breastfeeding in the hospital. The nurses were awful and pushing formula at every interval, when they weren’t shoving my baby’s face into my chest and calling him “difficult.” The experience was so terrible, I wrote a letter to the hospital regarding it. My little guy lost almost a whole pound by time we brought him home. I was so discouraged I even sent my Kev out to get formula worried. What do you know? The second I got home and the stress was off, he was feeding like a champ. I felt funny about breastfeeding in public too – before I even started it was my biggest concern. However, at some point I stopped caring (sleep deprivation can do that). I’d only cover up or leave the room if there were men around. Thank goodness I have great friends who’ve all been there to offer support. Saying that, I find the general public is not breastfeeding friendly. I have to strategically plan my outings based on where I can feed him. I have gotten strange looks, but thankfully no one says anything (polite Canadians though). He hates being covered though so by now I’m pretty sure everyone I know has seen a boob flash and I don’t really care. I need to feed my child – no more anxiety!

  79. Great post! I also struggled with breast feeding and spent weeks feeling like a complete failure (also had a very difficult birth so that didn’t help)
    But I’m proud to say we are still nursing nearly 10 months later :)
    Breast feeding is really pushed here in NZ so a lot of mum’s that struggle feeding and switch to formula feel immense guilt which is sad.

  80. I feel ya, mama. Breastfeeding is hard. I’ve alluded to the difficulties several times on my blog. I breastfed my first for one year because I was hell bent on it. But it wasn’t the dreamy experience I thought it would be– it was a lot of sacrifice and dedication. It wasn’t easty, it was work. My second is 6 months old and I’m holding myself to the same expectation of making it at least a year. I’ll do it because I’m a lunatic like that, but it’s definitely a challenge. For me, there was a lot of resentment toward my husband too. It bothered me that my life had to change so drastically while his life went on relatively untouched, by comparison. I’d think of all the things I could be doing… the sink full of dishes would bother me as I sat on my ass for hour after hour on end breastfeeding. I think those people who describe it as a magical experience are somewhat full of shit… I say somewhat because it’s definitely great… It’s time you wouldn’t spend connecting with your baby otherwise… those moments when you leave a social function to sit alone in a room with your baby… you don’t get those moments back. It’s a tough one… I can complain about it until I’m blue in the face, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and I wouldn’t commit to a year long of breastfeeding if it was as bad as a punch in the face… ya know? Anyway, congrats and you can do it!

  81. Jen, why wouldn’t your site win! I’ve stopped reading “blogs” with the exception of yours and Cup of Jo over the past 5 years (been lurking all this time and never commented). You and Jo feel like “friends” as weird as that sounds and I wish you the best! Now on topic: I just had my first son 5 months ago and was terrified that nursing could be problematic, after knowing so many women who have had problems. I had a little discussed problem of oversupply and despite a baby who ate well, constant pain of engorgement, umpteen clogged ducts, and 2 nasty bouts of mastitis. The first week home from the hospital my MiL was with us the whole week and I remember being so angry: my baby and I just needed time to work it all out and I just wanted to hold my baby and cry in private because why shouldn’t I be allowed to be frustrated (not to mention the mastitis pain!). Every mom’s journey is so different and you should be so proud that you’re trying it again and even if it doesn’t work out, that you’ll be strong enough to do what’s best for your daughter. Feeling very mommy empowered tonight :-) Now that the nursing happens far less frequently, I absolutely love our special time together. Also wanted to share that my favorite nursing bra is the “Japanese Weekend Hug” bra. It’s supersoft and thick cotton with no wire which is great for people with oversupply because it hides leaks well and there is no wire to encourage clogs.

  82. Also! For those who want to nurse in public with a little more discretion and convenience, the Ergo carrier is amazing. There is a little hood that snaps over their heads and it’s virtually impossible to see the feeding. I started using this around 2 months pp, when the baby was strong enough that I wasn’t worried about suffocation (but still small enough that I needed the infant insert). We live in NY and go out to eat with our little guy in the Ergo (sleeping, eating, just hanging out) all the time.

  83. Oh I hear you! I’m a new mom to my now 3 month old son. I always thought breastfeeding would be so natural and easy for me, but it wasn’t. I really struggled at first too. While I don’t have any physical pain any more (lucky for me it only lasted a few weeks), my main problem is that my little guy wants to feed CONSTANTLY. It can be incredibly frustrating… he feeds for only 10-15 minutes, then falls asleep, then wakes up and wants to feed again. He’s a snacker! Sometimes I think it would be SO much easier with formula…
    Anyway, good luck with breastfeeding this time. Hang in there, and do what is right for you.
    xo

  84. Breastfeeding was incredibly hard at first for me. It was soooo painful that I would numb my nipples with frozen wash clothes beforehand! I ended up getting an abscess and having surgery, but with the support of my husband and family and the help of a great lactation consultant I stuck with it and am still nursing 13 months later! We really hit our groove around six months and from then on out it has been so nice. Before that I was supplementing with formula and pumping to get my supply up. Good luck :) I am so glad that I was able to continue, but everyone has their own journey.

  85. Oh my gosh, that is the sweetest photo of your little ones! My own mother had a lot of challenges when she was trying to get the hang of breastfeeding me as a baby, so I kind of prepared myself for the worst and tried to take it one day at a time. The first few weeks were hard for sure, and I sought out help from my midwife and my pediatrician/lactation consultant. It frustrated me to be told “if you’re doing it right, it won’t hurt”. Despite the fact that my pediatrician/lactation consultant said it looked like my daughter was latched correctly, it was super painful for me! After a few weeks, it finally clicked for both of us, and we’ve been going strong since. That’s not to say there haven’t been some bumps along the way though. She was an early teether and has given me a few good chomps – ow! Thank you for candidly sharing about your own breastfeeding journey. I loved reading through the comments from other women about their own experiences. It is so important for us all to support each other, despite our different choices, histories, and struggles.

  86. This is such an encouraging post. Thank you for being so open and honest. I’m a first time mom, gave birth to our son Levi just a little under a month ago. Although breastfeeding has not been difficult, there is an emotional exhaustion about being the only one able to feed him, being discreet when feeding around friends – not to mention the emotional roller coaster that one is on after giving birth! I find myself worrying about whether or not he will take a bottle before I have to go back to work, or if he will like the bottle better than the breast and then wean sooner that I would like him to. Or hearing stories about mommas whose babies started sleeping through the night at 3 weeks. Motherhood is full of these little anxiety provoking thoughts that I did not even think about!

    It’s so refreshing to hear that things get better and that the joy of motherhood should not be robbed by comparing myself to the thousands of other women who have been just where I am now. Posts like these help me remember to enjoy this journey, the good, the bad, and the boobies. I appreciate your honesty and transparency.

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

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