Breastfeeding Gets Easier (So Stick With It!)

Recent data from the CDC shows that 3 out of every 4 mothers in the U.S. start out breastfeeding their children. But the percentage of mothers breastfeeding exclusively at three months drops to 33%, and plummets to 13.3% by six months.

What this tells us is that many women want to breastfeed and are trying to do so, but they face barriers. Maybe they’re not getting the support they need. Maybe they’re not hearing a ton of great examples. Maybe they don’t know other breastfeeding mamas. Whatever the case, the data shows that the vast majority of women give up on exclusive breastfeeding before the six-month mark.

That’s why I created a FREE download with my favorite 8 essential breastfeeding tools. Click here to get it.

This is where you come in

If you overcame breastfeeding challenges early on only to find that breastfeeding became easier and – gasp – even joyful as the months went on, please share your strength and hope in the comments below. New moms need to hear this!

Many friends have already told us as much. Here are quotes from natural mamas on my Facebook page.

  • Aimee Nemeyer
    Sticking to it is key. It does get easier. I promise!!!
  • Tara Dukaczewicz
    Stick with it, it will get better. in fact, at 7 months, my baby and i are pros. we are so in sync and i love it. i produce exactly how much he needs. i hardly ever leak or get engorged. we both sleep great. it’s so cute how he finds me in the middle of the night w/out waking up. and because we are so used to each other there is no crying or screaming. it is such a peaceful relatioship!
  • Emily and Dustin Horton
    I think the most important factors that made breastfeeding successful for me were drug-free childbirth (so that I was of clear mind and immediately able to bond w/ my babies after birth), being able to stay at home, constantly with baby for the first year, and not giving up due to persistent encouragement from midwives/sister/partner (because breastfeeding is often difficult at first for some moms/babies, but if they just stick with it, it will work out).
  • Yvette Brooks
    It became natural and easier each time. What made the entire experience possible (nursing a little over a year all 3 times) was being able to consider the whole experience as divine, the whole household preparing for it, keep everything peaceful and positive and thoughtful.
  • Marion Magiera Lacroix
    I think a great piece of advice would be to never quit on your worst day. There were certainly tough days but the joy I get from the bf relationship with my children is worth any amount of difficulty.

Again, be sure to download my FREE ebook, my favorite 8 essential breastfeeding tools that will set you up for success. Here are other encouraging comments from my top 10 tips for breastfeeding entry:

  • Melissa
    You’ll want to breastfeed for LONGER than a year. Trust me. It does get easier. I started off the same way as you and went on to nurse my first for 2 years and am on month 10 with my 2nd. I would say it took me at least 9 weeks to start to love it. My biggest tip was surrounding myself with people to motivate me–husband, my mom who breastfed 2 babies. They kept me going and kept me away from the formula  Good Luck!
  • Amanda
    It definitely will get better. I nursed my first till he was two, and am currently nursing my 2nd (he’s 11wks). I had a breast reduction 8yrs ago and was told i would never be able to nurse my babies! When i had my first, they told me to just stuff him full of formula but i went to a breastfeeding clinic for help and it was great ! Success! It is tiring at the beginning and you’re exhausted, But it is soooooo worth it in the end! This time I also had problems with the latch and every baby is different. Good luck!
  • Serenity
    It gets easier with time! I also nursed my first until she was two, even after blistered nipples in the begining from an improper latch. We fixed it ourselves from The Baby Book, Dr Sears as there was no lactation consultant at the hospital on the weekends. My second is three and a half months and it has been smooth sailing. So good that she completely refuses a bottle of breast milk! I love the closeness and knowing im doing my best for them!
  • Polwig
    You get your routine with time and it does become easier just because you are used to it. If you can deliver naturally you can definitely nurse for a year, it is less of a commitement. I exclusively nursed my twins for 2 1/2 years and the only pointer that I have is use the pump as much as you can. I did have to have a lot more milk then average mom but I pumped and served a bit also (when they were a bit older). That way my husband was able to take one of the night feedings and I could go grocery shopping without worry about kids getting hungry. My freezer was full of milk so when the kids’ needs dramatically increased I was prepared before my body was and therefor not too stressed out about them going hungry.

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Were you able to make it six months breastfeeding exclusively, like the CDC and WHO recommend? If so, please share your encouragement in the comments below.
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  1. It does get easier! I promise! My daughter was born with a severe posterior tongue tie where she couldn’t stick her tongue out or lift it up off the floor of her mouth – two essential things to breastfeeding. The tie was revised at three weeks but she didn’t develop a “good suck” until 5 months old. Coupled with massive over-production and a let down she couldn’t handle, I was in tears at almost every feeding, but I wanted so badly for nursing to work out. So I stuck with it and one day, at five months old, my daughter latched on perfectly and nursed with ease. She nursed until 15 months old and the only reason we stopped was because I became pregnant and wasn’t comfortable continuing to nurse. I’m so grateful she and I had such a long (and much earned!) nursing relationship.

  2. I think the most important thing for me was having a lactation consultant that came to my house right away at the sign of trouble. I had an unmedicated birth, but at first, breastfeeding was almost as painful as birth! When my milk came in I was an emotional wreck & sobbing whenever I tried to feed my baby. I called my lactation consultant & she came to my house the next day. She thought that my baby might have tongue &/or lip tie & recommended a pediatric dentist. In the meantime I started pumping & feeding my baby with a syringe (rather than a bottle in the hopes that I could establish breastfeeding later). The pediatric dentist confirmed tongue & lip tie which was corrected with a minor procedure. I kept pumping & syringe feeding until my nipples healed then got my baby to latch & began my breastfeeding journey with MUCH less pain than before! I’m so glad I had the support of a lactation consultant who gave me the help & resources I needed to be successful.

  3. Even after an abscess and surgery at 3 months and a nipple shield fiasco to start, it gets SO much easier! We are now almost at 8 months and still going strong with EBF! The early days are daunting and can even be described as pretty hellish when it comes to breastfeeding, but boy does it get easier and boy is it worth it!

  4. My first child I nursed till he was three months, my second I nursed till she was a month. I have not had a good support system for breastfeeding but with my third child I decided I was determined to breastfeed for a year and was so proud to make it 13 months despite my struggle with over supply, cloged ducts, thrush and mastitis! My husband has been a great support though 🙂 our fourth child is two months old and once again I am dealing with an over supply and cloged ducts but I know it will get easier and am once again determined to push through! I love the benefits and the amazing bond it provides! I really regret letting others opinions and lack of support keep me from breastfeeding our two oldest but am glad I got over caring what they think!

  5. I just had my third child and am once again a dedicated nursing mother. My first child I breastfed/pumped milk for 12 months, and my second child I did the same for 10 months. I plan this time to once again aim for 12 months. For me, as I can imagine many other working mothers will feel the same, it wasn’t a matter of it getting easier. If you can breastfeed almost exclusively for 3 months, then you’ve pretty much mastered the art of breastfeeding. What prevents many of us dedicated mothers from “exclusively” breastfeeding is something called work. I had no choice but to go back to work 6-12 weeks after having my children. I had no choice but to supplement with formula, as I was able to only pump once during my lunch my whole day at work. So this excludes me from being considered an exclusively breastfeeding mother? I’m not considered part of that prestigious small percent?? Maybe that’s why that percent is so small!! Because so many mom’s need to go back to work and must rely on some kind of formula at some point!!

  6. It absolutely does get easier! The first six weeks feel torturous and like they will never end, being around the clock every two to three hours. My son is 4 months old now and everything really changed around the 3 month mark. I use to dread when it came time to feed him because it would take forever, but one day it just clicked and its been great ever since. There were so many times I wanted to give up, and many middle of the night feedings that almost had me driving to walgreens to get formula, but I never did and I stuck with it and I am so proud that I did. My goal is to make it to a year, and now that i feel i got it together, I am thinking I should be able to do that.

    moral of the story: stick with it, it really does get easier!

  7. Yes! I had every reason to give up. No milk for EIGHT days (yes I had colostrum but that wasn’t quite enough after a couple days)….we had every problem I think is possible to have. At first, barely any help in hospital until the LC got there 9 hrs later. Coupled w/ a big sleepy baby whom we could barely get awake to nurse, then he would fall back asleep and/or slip down onto either my nipple and chew it, which I didn’t know what it should/nt feel like, OR he would suck his tongue and look like he was nursing but wasn’t, and since I was a first timer, I didn’t know that either. Nurses testing his blood sugar, being pressured to give formula which only exasperates the supply problem, and way too many (well-meaning but inconsiderate) hospital visitors. When we came home it just got worse. Everyone said he was such a content ‘easy’ baby but my mama instinct said he was weak from not enough milk…I was right, and back to the hospital we headed to meet w/ the LC again. I had to supplement for a few weeks and meet w/ the LC for a few months while I fought to 1) get my milk in and 2) to get enough of it. Hours upon hours of pumping. Researching what foods to eat/supplements to take. 3) Nurse, pump, nurse again, pump again. It was 24/7 effort. 4) No support except from LC and hubs. Being told to just give him a bottle. 5) Exhausted. Hungry. Thirsty. Certain family members NEED to realize that mamas need help and support, not expect to be entertained and make it ‘all about them’. 6) Clogs. Near mastitis. Thrush. Multiple Latch Issues. Nipple Confusion Issues. Refusal to Nurse Issues. Let-Down Issues. Cracked, bleeding, excruciatingly painful nipples. 7) Possibly key right here: Thyroid issues!! Which lead to PPD as well. What a nightmare. Despite all that, quitting was not an option and I grew a happy, chubby breastfed baby!! I also ended up freezing eight dozen bags of milk! We nursed until he self weaned at 22 months. Yes, it was all worth and I’m very proud of our effort. Bonus: I was body-shamed as a child, teen and young adult and even though I was only the average B cup, I felt ashamed of my boobs. Now they are C’s. And I am perfectly happy with and proud of them. Look what they did….they grew a happy, healthy boy. Now I am due w/ another baby in about a month and preparing myself….praying for, believing in, a much easier time nursing! Any advice is welcome!!!!!!!!

  8. I unfortunately struggled with the supply of my milk throughout our entire time breastfeeding (I’m even a SAHM). I started using the SNS with my daughter around 3/4 months and I couldn’t ever quite get my supply up again to the amount she needed. We were able to use that though and continued to give her 3/4 breastmilk to 1/4 formula until she was 14 months! It was still a joy breastfeeding her and having that relationship and the pride knowing I was fighting hard to my daughter to get the best nutrition I could give her. I’m pregnant with our second now and I’m much more knowledgable about breastfeeding than I was with my daughter and so I’m hoping and praying that my body is able to produce enough milk for our boy. I plan on encapsulating the placenta and have back up supplements ready to go to up my milk production if necessary. Also my midwives are aware of my situation and are much more ready to help this go round :). I’ve also made peace with that if my body doesn’t make enough, then it doesn’t make enough and I can still enjoy the relationship with my baby using the SNS system.

  9. I am currently feeding my first child still at 14 months and think bf just gets better the longer we do it. Its only done @ wake up, before tea and bed time now. I think if more mums knew what its like past 12 months they may keep going for longer. Its so special for the both of us. Those 3 sessions a day are just our time together. Love it

  10. I breastfed my son until 3 years and 3 months!! It was one of the most rewarding experiences of parenting so far. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, we struggled with mastitis and thrush, but by 4 or 5 months we overcame those struggles and it was uphill from there. Stick with it, it’s so worth it!! Looking forward to baby # 2 in November 🙂

    • Nice! Thanks for sharing an encouraging word, mama!

  11. I’m desperately wanting to breastfeed but it is SO HARD. My baby was born with a lip and tongue tie so in the very beginning I had sore nipples and feedings were so messy with his latch.We had the ties lasered about a month ago with hardly any improvement. His latch is a little better but he has bad habits from before. On top of all this I have an extremely forceful letdown that causes my baby to choke, gag, and then refuse the breast. We battle for about an hour before I give in and give a bottle. Issues like mine are why so many moms give up. Yes I have contacted 2 LCs, tried shields, block feeding, skin to skin, even cabbage leaves! I’m beginning to really get depressed by how hard it all has been while I see other moms breastfeed with no problems. My baby will only nurse sometimes when at home swaddled with white noise. I cherish the times he does this but I can’t do that in public! I honestly want to quit but I have put hours and so much of myself into it that it’s hard to just give up. He’s only 3 months but with him fighting me 8 to 12 times a day to feed him takes its toll. I say I’m done everyday…

    • I hope it worked out for you in the end.. I had a similar experience! Finally had the first day without bottles since she started refusing the breast 2 months ago. It’s been a week now.. fingers crossed!
      My baby was unable to suck well because of jaundice and tongue tie… she would fall in unwakeable sleep within a minute of starting. We also saw no improvement immediately after the tongue tie revision. It took 3 weeks before she relearnt how to feed. I think finger feeding with a supplemental feeder really helped. I would tape the tube to my finger, tickle top lip and pop it in her mouth when she opened for it. Then while she’s sucking, just put gentle downward pressure on the tongue and if the suction isn’t enough, support the cheek with one finger. We tried to do this once a day – one less bottle a day.
      Once she finally got it (and I felt the difference!) that’s when she started refusing. I think because the flow was too unpredictable after all those bottles or my letdown was too forceful. All you can do is offer gently and try not to make it into a battle (for your sake and theirs). She would take it at night so I tried to feed her more then and after naps. It was so frustrating because I never knew when she would take the breast or I’d need to pump. Not to mention the feeling of rejection – sometimes she would scream the second I opened my shirt! Eventually the bottles tapered off and now it seems to be going well. I’m enjoying these moments because I live in fear that she will change her mind 🙂

  12. Funny that I got this email this morning. Last night was by far the worst with my 2 week old. During the day, we have much more patience, but at night it becomes a wrestling match for 30 min before we can start nursing. My baby has reflux (we think) and she gulps air like crazy unless she’s on an incline or sitting straight up to nurse. She wails in pain everytime she nurses and sometimes vomits it up. Last night at around 1am, I had to put her down mid feeding and just sit in the other room while she cried. Really hating BF right now 🙁

    • Around 2 weeks there is a growth spurt, too. And 6 weeks. Very helpful to be aware of as they will nurse more and cluster feed.

  13. It does get better, yes. I am still breastfeeding my 2.4 year old, right now we’re slowly trying to wean off, in a gentle and loving way. But it has been an amazing journey for us and it was a God sent gift to be able to do this for so long.

  14. I ended up with an emergency c section, and had to get extra drugs because the epidural I had to get for the c section wore off before they were finished. My little one and I struggled to breastfeed even though every single nurse and lactation consultant was so helpful. We finally got it down with a nipple shield. We had tried to ween the use of it for 2 months with no success. One day we went to the park with my niece and I forgot the shield, but she latched on without it like we have never needed one. Now she is 9 months and loves to nurse and sometimes just needs the comfort (she is getting tooth #4). I’m so happy I kept with it and now I have a happy baby with so many rolls

  15. Growing up, I had an incredible example of breastfeeding set by my mom who breast fed each of her four children beyond 12 months. I knew I would do the same. However, with inverted nipples, we struggled to get started. We had a lactation consultant meet with us just after my son’s birth and she watched my son crawl up my tummy in search of my milk. My nipples wouldn’t come out though, even with all of our efforts. We tried latch assists, nipple stimulation, and lots of patience, but my little guy couldn’t latch. My husband learned to hand express the colostrum and we got baby to lap it off of my breasts the first three days. I hand pumped trying to stimulate milk production and drank gallons of mother’s milk tea. After my milk came in, he finally latched to a shield! It felt like a tremendous relief and victory. We nursed exclusively for the first six and a half months, and at around 5 months we learned how to do it without the shield. Now, after 15 months, we have the most beautiful nursing relationship. Not only has he gained powerful nutrition and antibodies from me, but he and I both enjoy the connection of our time nursing together. I am forever grateful for my mom, other mamas, my midwives and lactation consultants, medela breast shields and my sweet husband who stuck it out with me while we were learning. It was so worth the months of HATING using that shield – I am so glad we didn’t give up!

    • I’m in the same boat as you! My daughter is still on the nipple shield and she’s a little over 4 months. How did you get your baby off the nipple sheild? Hearing your story gives me hope that she can get off also and it’s not too late for her. Share your wisdom! I’ve always hated this thing but it is also the best thing ever. Without it, I don’t think I could’ve breastfed my child and I love nursing and giving her the best!

      • I just took it away for a few seconds at a time to see if he would latch on. gradually kept it off more and more and he started latching with no problem.

  16. I’m still in my 4th month of breastfeeding.. But I absolutely love it and so glad I stuck with it. With my first born I don’t think I was fully equipped with the knowledge of babies being a younger Mummy back then and only got to 12 weeks with him, but with my second LO I was determined to breastfeed and luckily we have been going strong since day one. But that didn’t come easy at first, even tho I had experience of breastfeeding I felt like a complete novice this time round with there being 5 years between my LO’s! On the 3rd day of youngest being born he fed for 6 hours straight! I just had to unlatch a couple times to go to the toilet 🙈 But I stuck with it and that was the day my milk came in. I just lay down to feed that night and put a grow bag on LO and pj’s on me so we were both cosy and I could get a few Z’s. We got through that and we also got through blood blisters on the nipple! I just used nipple shields one feed and expressed another feed and haven’t had to express since then. All these problems happened within the first 2 weeks which I think are the toughest. I think the advice you get given from health professionals needs to improve. The complaint I hear from people and even myself is that ‘I didn’t have enough milk’ but now I know that the more they feed the more you produce and that as long as they’re having 6-8 dirty and wet nappies a day you’re doing it right! Also growth spurts need to be mentioned because when they start feeding more often you do start to worry if they’re getting enough. This was me first time round! At the time I done what was right for my first LO and I know that’s all the majority of lovely Mummy’s want to do so I don’t judge what so ever as you know best! But honestly if you’re considering breastfeeding or just started stick with it! It’s so rewarding for both Mummy and baby. The best advice I got was ‘take each day as it comes’ you will surprise yourself! Xxxx

  17. Just wanted to say thank you to all of these women who shared their stories – I SO need the support and inspiration right now! My son is 2 weeks old and it has been an incrediblely unexpected challenge to bf. I thought it would be intuitive and natural, so I was shocked to find myself really struggling. He wouldn’t latch in the hospital and was jaundice so in my desperation to feed him, I developed terrible latch positions, leading to cracked and bleeding nipples. Each feed was firey pain and I began to dread them and in my darker moments even resent him, I’m embarrassed to admit. Finally saw a LC a few days ago, she got me to correct the latch! Also said I should try jelonet patches over the nipples between feeds – this is helping to heal them pretty rapidly. It still burns like hell at every latch for 10-20 seconds, but once they have healed (one week) feeding should be painless according to the LC. I’m committed to hanging in there and really appreciate all the positive stories on this site!

    • Thank you so much for the feedback. This is 100% the reason why we compiled this post! Breastfeeding was really challenging for me as well – who would have thought? BUT, it go so much better after I stuck with it, and I know that the same will hold true for you too!

      • Just wanted to add an update to my earlier story – after 2-1/2 months of cracked/bleeding nipples and struggles things rapidly improved by 3 months. Jelonet gauze after each feed and the laid back position were the keys for me. I also kept a BF diary documenting the position and how it felt at each feed. Now at 5 months I LOVE breastfeeding my son, it’s our special time and I’m actually reluctant to start solids next month as exclusively breastfeeding has become so convenient, joyful and easy!!! I will keep it up until 2 years. It was SO hard, but SO incredibly worth doing as are most difficult things. Great advice on this site – I especially kept the advice to “not quit on your worst day” in mind. It really gets better. Thanks to this site for the encouragement during some very dark days. I’m proud to now be a success story. 🙂

        • Thank you so much for sharing your story and updating it! My baby girl is 2 weeks old and I am struggling with breastfeeding her. Both nipple are so sore and we are currently working on correcting her shallow latch. No lip or tongue ties. She is resistant to the change and it’s hard to get her to open her mouth wide enough. But your story has definitely brought me encouragement! Thank you so so much! I’m not going to give up!

  18. It gets so much easier and better! As a full time, working outside the home Mom, I treasure the time spent with my son. 19 months and still going! I’m actually really sad that I plan to wean at 2.

  19. It does get easier! We exclusively breastfed for 6 months. We are at a place now where feedings are comforting, simple and even can begin as playful. I love and cherish this time together so very much. We have overcome so much already: excessive weight loss, tongue tie, nipple shield, distractions, oversupply, over active let-down, teething. With each obstacle we overcome, we become more sure in breastfeeding together.

  20. it definitely does get easier so don’t give up! With my first i nursed till he was 15 months and worked full time (pumping 3 times a day). It took almost 6 weeks to not hurt. I almost gave up. I got mastitis, was engorged, had cracked nipples, etc. but I eventually went to a wonderful Lactation Consultant which I recommend to ALL nursing Moms and she helped me tremendously! She discovered that I had Reynauds in my nipples (after pregnancy) and gave me some blood pressure pills to take for a couple weeks. I thought she was a little crazy at first because I have never had Raynauds and wasn’t convinced I suddenly had it but she said some women develop it after having a baby. I was skeptical but took the pills and it was like night and day! After 2 weeks I no longer had pain when nursing!

    With my son now who is 7 months old I knew I would need the pills again because I was having pain. I will say I almost gave up this time too but not because of that. Just because of the feeling of Bean “trapped” and nursing SO often in the beginning. But remember it’s such a short season of them nursing that often and once you get in a rhythm it’s SO rewarding. I plan on nursing as long as I can. And I’m also working full time again and pumping 4 times a day but I feel it’s worth it to give my baby the best! Keep your head up Mama’s!

  21. I just have to say this has been the most encouraging blog Post I’ve read when it comes to breastfeeding. I’m at 5 weeks soly nursing and still in pain and wondering when it’s going to get better. I had a lactation consultant come to the house at 3 weeks and help. Latch is good but the problem is forceful let-down. LO gulps and then clamps down to slow the flow and there isn’t a whole lot I can do about it besides just unlatch and relay h but she just does it again. Night nursing laying down is the worst because she gets the milk so easily she is lazy about the latch. It’s almost like she is a dog lapping it up, while I’m cringing. So many sites just tell you you are doing it wrong rather than actually being supportive so I’m so happy to hear that it gets better with time because I worry it never will. Hardest thing I’ve ever done! We are block feeding now which should help. It’s funny because I couldn’t supply enough for my first born (c-section, gestational diabetes, hypothyroidism all contributed.). His urine crystallized after a week because he wasn’t getting anything from me and we had to supplement for his health and breastfeeding went downhill from there as I was pretty clueless. I haven’t had a thought about quitting this time even with the never ending pain because I have been through formula and guilt before and I hated it.

    • Aw, so sorry it’s tough right now. Be sure to search the site for “breastfeeding” as you’ll find lots of other helpful posts (for sore nipples, for overactive letdown, etc.) Hang in there and be sure to stay connected to a La Leche League meeting or a lactation consultant. XOXO

    • I had a similar situation with forceful let down. I did block feeding for about a month until it balanced out. My pain lasted until 6 weeks but it’s totally worth it to continue! My son is almost 3 months old now. Also at night, don’t let her latch on until she opens wide enough, that was a big lesson for me!

  22. I am so glad that I have hung in there!! Our son is 12 1/2 weeks and he definitely had the instinct to nurse right away. However, we struggled with an overactive letdown, over producing, two blocked ducts, one case of mastitis, and some seriously sore nipples. But here we are, totally in sync and loving it! A good breast pump really helped when I was dealing with the mastitis. There is definitely a learning curve for momma and baby, but once you get in a rhythm things are so much easier! It’s a very special bond and I’m so happy that I’ll have the know-how to breastfeed any future children we have. Thank you G for your tips for dealing with an overactive letdown.. it really helped us!!! I feel like SuperMom!!

  23. Hello, I’m a new mum and my little girl is 2 weeks and 4 days. I searched for help and tips online because I’m almost easy to give up! My nipples are sore and my breasts are tender. Instead of getting easier, it seems to be getting more difficult, so much so that I’m almost dreading feeds now. Its fine once she latches on, but my breasts are very full and the nipple is soft a lot of the time – I spend a lot of time before feeds trying to make it firm so she can latch on, but none of the areola is going into her mouth. Its becoming more frustrating for her and she becomes agitated and consequentially more stressful for me as feeds are taking a lot longer than they should and I’m tired, sore and feeling guilty that its proving so difficult for me. Every feed hurts especially when she latches on, I’m not sure what to do…

    • I just want to give you some words on encouragement.. I was there just a few weeks ago! I DREADED feedings because of the soreness. At one point I just cried when it was time to feed him. My son was nursing for 30-40 min at a time, every 1 1/2 -2 hours. I was in pain, exhausted, and feeling defeated. I used a nipple shield for a few days on one of my nipples, which helped serve as a buffer for my sore nipples (not really their principle use but it worked!!) along with some cooling gel pads that I kept in the freezer. If you can get a good breast pump.. do it! This saved me! I got blocked ducts and mastitis, but having the option to completely drain everything helped. Also, I personally found that I had stiffer nipples, but softer ones (by hand expressing some breast milk before feedings) helped with our latch issues.
      In the end.. you do what’s best for you, because you being in tiptop shape is best for you to care for your baby… but I PROMISE it will get better. My son nurses for only 10-15 minutes now and it is so much easier and enjoyable.
      Good luck momma!!!!!!!

  24. It is true that it does get easier. My baby is 3months and I must say we both have come a long way. I was so exhausted from breast feeding and paranoid that baby was not getting enough. I even tried exclusively pumping and bottle feeding so that I could be more in “control” but it was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire! It was more work having to pump and wash/sanitize bottles and pump accessories. I admit I hated breast feeding. My mother was trying to convince me to use formula and I admit it was VERY tempting. I kept thinking to myself that life would be easier even perfect if I could just use formula..but my husband kept encouraging me to not stop. Formula was not an option due to all the ingredients. I finally just gave it over to The Lord. I told Him..”I will do what I can..and God please you take over where I am not able” and since then I have peace of mind..baby eats great and we are on a good schedule. I must say..I’m actually enjoying it now. And besides…this won’t be for long. Soon he will grow up..and I will look back wishing I had these days back.

  25. I am finding a glimpse of hope from this website. I have a lo who will be 2wks Friday. I had a csection and the first few days in the hospital I started cracking and bleeding. Leaving the hospital they sent me home with medicaided cream, my nipples have healed. But my lo is the hardest sleeper which most parents wouldn’t complain about, but it makes it extremley hard to get in a routine. I have to spend15-20mins waking him up and then feed for about 20 mins. At night he doesnt get a good latch and is so tired that I can barley get him to wake for a feeding. So my nipples are sore everynight and morning they get better through the day and then it just repeats it self. I am so exhausted and I have already debated formula but I keep thinking of what he is getting from this and cant do it. I get so engorged at night too, I pump in the afternoon, and 3 times in the evening. Including after one of our night feedings, he fights latching when they are engorged so I am rubbing massaging and everything so that he will latch. He just sleeps so soundly that he doesny even want ti to try and latch at night. Im just tired and feel like I am doing nothing but feeding 24/7 I didnt ever realizr how much emotionally,physically,and mentally bf took!!!!

    • Lisa, it DOES get easier. 🙂 Babies have their own schedule and if it’s not meshing perfectly with your body’s yet, it will sooner rather than later. In the meantime, you may need to pump in the middle of the night if he’s not interested, which will keep your milk producing good quantities (b/c he WILL want more soon enough!), and will prevent developing a mastitis. Good luck! You’ve made it thru the cracked and bleeding nipples, I promise, it’s all down here from there!

    • How are you now.?

  26. Just wanted to stop by and comment, because this post was so helpful when I was starting out. I had a late preterm baby who was sleepy from jaundice. The beginning of our breastfeeding journey was challenging and so exhausting, like so many mammas here described. I went back to work at three months with a very inflexible schedule, but my Mom and husband have helped me to continue nursing my little one. We are going strong with just a couple weeks until six months of exclusive breastfeeding. Hooray!

    I hope that many other mammas are fortified by this post.

  27. I think it’s interesting how babies decide when they’ve had enough. My eldest, who is three and a half, finished breastfeeding in early Jan. I loved feeding her but felt 3.5 was too old and we had the chance to bond in many other ways. She would bf for an hour at 3 years old!!

    My youngest, who’s 18 months, luckily had no problems breastfeeding but now he only likes very short feeds, about 5 minutes maximum, a few times a day. Seems so strange compared to my eldest’s feeding patterns.

    Well done all you mummies!

  28. It’s very straightforward to find out any matter on web as compared to books, as I found this piece of writing at this web page.

  29. I breastfed all 3 of my children. My 12 yr old till 11 months. My 7 yr old till 15 months and 5 yr old till 17 months. All in all my best piece of advice is the first 2 months I believe are the hardest because you are both learning each other. So make it that far it only becomes easier. I never had a reason to let my babies cry because they were fed on demand. So they were fed when they needed it not a dr. or a book telling me, this worked because I was luckily a SAHM. There is definately truth behind the smart breastfed baby. I have the proof oldest has never been lower than an A grade at school and he is the top G&T (GIFTED&TALENTED) student for the last few years. Middle child has all O’s which equals out to an A. He also is being tested for the Gifted and Talented program as well. Last child is moving into kindergarten and I have been told by pre k teachers no need to come to confrences she is well above her classmates. I do not push my children into books or school I am however told by their teachers at school that they (JUST GOT IT.) So besides all the health benefits for mom and nursing baby I know I gave my munchkins the best of me by exclusively nursing them. Hey did I mention all 3 of them have many friends and great personalities.

  30. About formula– my son had breastmilk jaundice (very rare but something in my milk actually inhibited the bilirubin from flushing out of his system), so I had to alternate every feeding between breastfeeding and formula for 6 days. That came after the other trouble I’d had with breastfeeding that made me tempted to give it up. I’m so glad I had this experience because I learned that formula is way more mess, trouble, time, and expense. There is much more spitting up, and formula makes for nasty blow-out smelly poops in my experience. It’s just not what is naturally intended for their systems if you can avoid it. Before this experience I was also a little tempted to just pump and bottle-feed, and I found out pumping several times a day kinda stinks if you can avoid it, however pumps are awesome if you have to keep working and well worth the time to avoid formula– not only for health benefits but also so you can keep nursing whenever you are with baby. I now love nursing my 3 month old.

  31. The first week, it was going extremely well (awesome bonding experience skin to skin when he was brand new). The lactation lady at the hospital believed it was because I’d had a drug-free childbirth. Then I came home and developed sore nipples and mastitis. I remember crying one night while nursing around week 2, but the soreness does go away. Just keep using lanolin until it does. If you are going to start pumping to have some extra in the freezer for dates or have to go back to work, do not try to pump on too high a suction at first if you try pumping– OUCH! Match it to how your baby’s suction feels. Anyway, 3 months later we are going strong and I am soooooo thankful I didn’t give up when it was difficult. It really does get easier. Just work on that technique either by reading tips or talking to a lactation person or nursing mom, don’t let it go on the same if it’s hurting. Little adjustments can make a big difference I learned. I know it’s great for his health and it’s also really good for bonding. I wouldn’t suggest leaving out bottles altogether though…you need freedom every once in a while if you want a date or something. I try to give a bottle of frozen breastmilk about once a week and started giving them at 5 weeks. The other must-have is my cute nursing cover that I carry always in my diaper bag and just pull it out whenever he needs to eat. It’s actually way less trouble than bottles.

  32. This post (and the other BF-related ones) are so helpful and encouraging! With my first child, I was a single working mom and struggled to breast feed during my 3 months of maternity leave. I quit when I went back to work and have always regretted it. Now I’m pregnant with my second child (23 wks), married to a wonderful supportive man, and very lucky to be a SAHM. No excuses for not breastfeeding this time! I’m very nervous and hope that I can stay strong and stick with it until it gets easier. Having more resources this time around is helping me build a positive attitude – thank you so much!

    I also wanted to ask if anyone has ever had problems with their breast ducts while nursing. I had a blocked duct that led to an infection a few weeks after giving birth and it was terrible! It felt like a full-blown flu. The only thing I was told to do to prevent another is to wear wireless bras. Do you have any other tips? Is there anything besides an underwire bra that can cause them?

    Thank you again – your blog is wonderful!!!

    • Hi Kristen!

      So happy for you that you have the love and support for pregnancy #2. Being a mama is hard enough… not fun doing it alone.

      For clogged ducts, definitely wear loose fitting tops, bras, tank tops, etc. No sports bras or push up bras. Sleep with no shirt is even better. If it were me, I would also consume 1-2 TB of high quality olive oil a day, drink plenty of fluids, including homemade lemonade (lemon, water and some kind of natural sweetner). Additionally, a friend of mine uses lecithin and swears by it. The usual recommended dosage for recurrent plugged ducts is 1 capsule (1200 milligram) 3-4 times per day (if duct is clogged.) So I would take 1-2 capsules a day to be preventative. Good luck with everything and keep me posted!

      • Just reading through these comments again and it made me smile and teary reading how nervous I was when I was pregnant with my daughter. She is turning one this Friday! She did a great job breastfeeding, but for some reason decided around 10 months old she was no longer interested. I continued trying to nurse her and she would nurse for 5 minutes at a time, and about 10 minutes in the evening before bed. Now we’re approaching her first birthday and I think we’re both ready to be done. I know so many moms are going beyond year one, but I’m proud to have gone the whole first year and I think my daughter is giving me clear signals she is just not interested anymore. She eats a great healthy diet and I think I will continue pumping so I can put the milk in her food and smoothies. Thanks again for this awesome blog – I’ve loved all your posts!

  33. I have had so many challenges nursing my little one. He will be 8 weeks on Friday but I’m finally starting to feel benefits from this part of our relationship. I really hope that we continue to nurture a healthy nursing relationship.

  34. I had a difficult birth with my daughter and never thought for a second I’d have trouble breastfeeding. I had gestational diabetes and was induced when my daughter was 38 weeks. She was born a few days after induction started, but labour didn’t progress and I had an emergency caesarean.

    She found it very difficult to latch on, despite obviously wanting to feed, and so for the first three weeks of her life, there were lots of tears and frustration and lots of expressing milk, sterilising bottles, rotating stock and so on. In the third week I was so fed up of the feeling of failure every time I tried to breastfeed (where my daughter would thrash around trying to latch on but just couldn’t seem to squeeze my areola properly) and vowed to give up by the end of the week. I tried one last time to get her to latch on and hey presto, she did it! It was one of the happiest moments of my life!

    After this, my daughter breastfed with no problems until she got teeth at six months, after which she started to gnaw and bite at my breasts. This continued until she was 10 months old (the pain from biting was nearly enough to make me stop, but I knew she enjoyed breastfeeding so much). Now she is 15 months old and still adores breastfeeding. I love it too – it’s our special time and I am not going to hurry her along, despite being 9 weeks pregnant and exhausted!

  35. My husband was such a huge help. In the beginning, especially the first days, I couldn’t get the positions down and my husband would be right there to help position my son so he could latch. It’s hard when you’ve never done it before, the baby is small (6 lbs 2 oz!) and you can’t really see if the “angle” is right. That’s where an extra pair of eyes and helping hands is exactly what you need to help get the hang of it. Then you start to feel like a pro and can’t remember that it was ever difficult in the beginning.

    Things that helped me:
    1)The Boppy Pillow. Some magazines say you can skip this and just use a pillow. For me, I found the Boppy more supportive than a pillow (that would dip and make it difficult to angle my son).

    2) A Glider. WONDERFUL. Supportive of your back and really helps with comfort (over a chair, couch or regular rocking chair). I held out so long because I really wanted one of those rocking chair gliders from Pottery Barn Kids or Land of Nod (but my budget wasn’t ready for that). My mom brought a glider up one weekend and I couldn’t believe the RELIEF! My back was less strained (and my arms were less strained as well – but really this chair has saved my back).

    3. TV Shows & Movies
    As beautiful as it is to breastfeed your little one. Let’s be honest – in those early days it can be a task. In that first month especially, when it can seem the hardest, the baby nurses (or at least mine did) for 45 minutes at a time. It seems like all you do is nurse! Sometimes I would get anxious (wanting to do something, wanting the nursing to be almost over) because it was just me and the baby and nothing else. It wasn’t a dread. It’s just that after 15 -20 minutes, your brain wants some kind of stimulation besides the awesomeness of adoring your new baby. TV Episodes on DVD were the best. For 45 minutes I could nurse and have something in the background to tune into. BENEFIT: I never rushed the baby to finish or tried to unlatch him to see if he was done. This way I just relaxed, he nursed, and I was a little entertained. I whipped through all 7 seasons of the Gilmore Girls. Loved it. =) Movies are great too.

    4. Don’t be a Lone Ranger
    Really. If it hurts or the baby has trouble latching or something just feels off – reach out! Other moms who nurse or have recently nursed were the best with advice and tips and tricks. My pediatrician and her nurse were/are amazing resources. The Nurses at the Hospital Nursery – another great resource and free I think. And there’s also lactation consultants. I’ve had many friends who did that and it really helped. For a fee or for free there is always someone who can help (you just have to find what feels most comfortable to you).

    Best of luck! It does get easier!!

  36. I agree it does get easier 🙂 It takes so much patience.
    We didn’t successfully nurse until 7/8 weeks but it was so worth it. I’m happy I stuck with it and I’m thankful for the support group I found. We had latch issues but we prevailed and we’re still going strong at 14mths! I’m currently pregnant and look forward to my new breastfeeding journey tandem nursing!

  37. The first two weeks have always been the hardest for me.. the engorgement, the nipple pain etc. I breastfed my first for 1 1/2 years, my second for 3 1/2 years, my third for 1 1/2 years and my fourth and fifth twins are still breastfeeding at 2 plus years. The first three months with my twins was the hardest for me because I couldn’t find the right position that worked for me. Once I got that mastered (none of the holds suggested by the nurses or internet) it’s been smooth sailing ever since. I’ve never given any of my kids formula so I know that’s all possible even with twins to be successful.

    • Oh my, Gianna, you desire special kudos for breastfeeding TWINS! Please do share the position you use to feed those two!!

      • I sit down on the couch or bed and put a pillow next to each of my sides. I then put a boppy on my lap. Then I adjust the twins so they are sideways straight out on the pillows facing my breasts and their heads resting on the boppy. I hope this explains it well enough 🙂

        • Thanks Gianna! Sounds like a good system.

  38. Want to share a few additional comments from our Facebook page:

    Beth Wehmeyer
    I had a rough time with my first one. I cried every time she nursed for the first month. I had no help from anyone except my husband. It was a huge family effort and she finally got the hang of a good latch and then we nursed until she was 13 months. Remember not to stress about it. If you are stressed your body releases cortisol and it goes into the milk which can stress baby too. If you have a hard time relaxing try taking a warm bath and bring baby in with you you’ll both relax more 🙂

    Dawn Acero
    My first child was tongue tied and wowie did breast feeding hurt. I used to cry when I heard his hunger cry. We took him in to have his tongue clipped at the encouragement of our lactation specialist. The procedure took a few seconds and as soon as it was done I was instructed to breast feed. Wha-laa! Bliss! I couldn’t believe it! No pain after that. For our second child the first week was sore, but after that it was a breeze. My sister in law said the same for her three, that the first one or two weeks is really difficult, but press on it gets much better.

    Jessamina Longislandgoddess
    Breastfeeding Gets Easier!!! Try not to accept ANY “bad” latches from your little one, you train them the right way, and it’s smooth sailing..If you don’t know how to get a good latch..Get help form an experienced mama or a lactation consultant.. It’s so important to ask for help!

    Amber Aben
    My son had a good latch but I have very sensitive nipples. For me breastfeeding was painful for the first 2 months. As time went on it got better and it was much worse in the beginning than in the end of the two months. I’m so glad I stuck it out along with my husbands support. He is now 15 months and I just stopped breast feeding last weekend. It definatly got more easy the longer I did it. I would only let him feed for 10 min at a time on each side and go back if he still seemed hungry and after about month 2 it didn’t seem to matter how long he nursed for, my nipples had finally gotten broken in!

    Gina Mac Gillis-Hirt
    IT GETS EASIER…for most! Find your support people to help you and keep you going! As an IBCLC…get the tongue-tied babies tongues CLIPPED if it interferes with breastfeeding! Sometimes it doesn’t so see an IBCLC for help. THEN…find a pediatrician that will support your decision to BF and will agree to get your baby’s tongue clipped. EASY PROCEDURE that usually fixes that painful gumming when the baby latches. GOOD LUCK LADIES!!!! Breast feeding ROCKS!!!

    Laura Baney Adams
    My hard time didn’t last as long as most… for first 2 days of my little girl’s life she would latch on great and have a really good suction, but after that she started having trouble latching on so we ended up having to use a nipple shield, which I hated! After my milk came in she started eating like a champ and we were completely done with the shield right around the time when she turned 4 weeks old. She never had a problem without it, and things are going great now, she is 9 weeks old today. I love breastfeeding and am determined to continue!

    Mistie Moore Jones
    It’s the latch, make sure the latch is correct (LLL or lactation consultant) and you’ll be good to go! I that sounds so simple, but it is. As far as the time spent doing it, just do it and relish in doing it. Just think this could be your last baby, you may never get the chance to be this close to another person ever. That little tiny helpless baby needs and wants you. The hormone cocktail that you share is like building a building on a solid, granite foundation. It will bond you and your child together with strength to last through any event.

    Serenity Lord
    I had blisters on my nipples from the first couple of days. She would latch correctly so when checked looked fine. After a couple of minutes she would start sucking improperly and cause the blisters. I read the nursing section in the Baby Book by Dr Sears and learned that it was OK to gently break the latch and start again. No more blisters! Proper support under your arms is essential as well, she was pulling too much because I wasnt keeping her high enough. Mothers milk and Fenugreek tea are wonderful! No supply problems after the tea:)

    • I agree with Mistie latch is key to eventual success. In my case my nipples were very dry and sore. My(second child) home born baby had a perfect latch from birth. But, I thought to myself “this hurts so bad”. The first week was a challenge but Lansinoh’s lanolin cream was my sidekick. Once relief kicked in, I followed my midwifes instructions to have short and frequent feedings. I am now in breastfeeding bliss. Momma’s milk tea by Love and Tea in Vermont is awesome because it not only contains Fenugreek but has nettles, rose hips, blessed thissle etc. Practice makes perfect!!!!! I regret not having breast fed my first child > 3mos. This second baby will def. be fed at least 2yrs. Support is key, I have another friend that is breast feeding her son it keeps me going.

  39. My little girl is 7 months and at first, breastfeeding was such a sad experience. I used to cry through it (funny, she was a pro almost from the start). It was worse because she didn’t seem to care that her mum was in agony. When she wanted to eat, she just didn’t care and by 2 months she had this nasty habit of biting down me with her toothless gum. But my mum encouraged me to stick with it.

    It was hard because I felt like my body was no longer mine … Many times I almost gave up. I kept telling myself ‘one month more and its over!’ But by 3 months it was more enjoyable. Right now it’s a breeze; I have introduced some solids but I definitely prefer to breastfeed.

    Sticking with it is definitely the key. It’s uncomfortable at first but that does not last for too long and the bonding is incomparable!

  40. I feel I was completely unprepared for how uncomfortable breastfeeding was going to be before my Son was born. My Mum had told me a story about when I was a baby, she remembered sitting in a rocking chair feeding me while she sobbed and sobbed because her nipples were cracked and bleeding. I, regretfully, wrote this off as my Mum being over dramatic and thinking that something like that would never happen to me. BIG MISTAKE! Just a few weeks later I was sitting in my own rocking chair with my beautiful new born Son suckling, hungrily away while I sobbed and sobbed, telling myself over and over again “I love my Son, I love my Son, I love my Son…I can get through this.” No amount of cream or remedies could help my poor, cracked, sore, nipples or the feeling it would never end. HOWEVER……as quickly as the pain and drama started, it stopped. I think it was only about 3 days of being uncomfortable if I remember correctly(although it felt a lot longer at the time!) Then one day Harvey latched on and I felt….nothing. Just the warm fuzzing feeling of knowing I was giving my Son the greatest start in life and filling his brand new little body with everything he needed to become a strong healthy boy.

    I know it’s hard, you feel used and abused those first few weeks after giving birth and the last thing you need is to feel like a dairy cow!! But I breastfed my Son until he was 18 months old and I cannot even begin to tell you what an amazing experience it was. Not just because of the bond it forges between the two of you, or because of the AMAZING health benefits that breastfeeding gives to your baby but also because of how EASY it was! After a few weeks you are such a natural you can feed your baby wherever, whenever you want you. No bottles, formula, hot water or bags needed. Just you and your little one- the perfect Team!

    If you are struggling, please keep at it! It is the last little leg of the long journey of becoming a Mother and I promise that your little baby will make you so happy for the rest of your life that those few days of struggling will be quickly forgotten! Good Luck! xx

    • Yes! I can’t imagine preparing a bottle in the wee hours of the night. Nursing is SO user friendly once we get the hang of it.

  41. For most women, it will get easier. I think there are a couple key factors for women (like me) who don’t think they make enough milk. Nurse on demand if you can, especially when newborns. This will increase the milk supply. Also, try not to get your baby sleeping through the night too early (I can hear the boos, I know but nursing at night helps build your milk supply too). Fenugreek, a natural herbal supplement can help as well and you can take a lot of it. Plus, an interesting side effect is it makes your sweat smell like maple syrup:) As for other parts of b/fing, I think it is the best thing you can do and is so much easier once you get into the hang of things. I am nursing my 13-month-old and pregnant with our third:) I can’t imagine not b/fing him!! Surround yourself with people who support your decision and don’t allow formula in the house when you are just starting out. But also don’t feel bad if you need to supplement…just do so after you b/f to keep up your supply.

  42. Breastfeeding definitely becomes less challenging and more enjoyable the older a baby gets and the more experienced the mother gets. The first 12 weeks were the most challenging for me and my son. But like a light bulb went off at 3 months, he stopped needing a nipple shield and he began to stay awake during feedings and go longer between them. We’re now going on 15 months of breastfeeding!

    My best advice to new breastfeeding mothers is to have a reputable lactation consultant on speed dial and at least a friend or an online support group you can count on to help you through the challenges. Before you know it, you will be someone’s support because you’re a pro!

  43. Well, i knew when i was pregnant that i would 100% breastfeed no matter what. I know a lot of women who say they will “try” if they can. This bothers me because we are meant to breastfeed, this is meant to work and most women dont give it a chance. My son is now 11 months (today) and when he was born he had a hard time latching, so i continued to go at it and finaly before leaving the hospital he latched. What a lot of people dont know is when a baby is born, they are not hungry. So many nurses who give HORRIBLE advice about breastfeeding will make the mother feel bad and tell them that their baby is hungry and they need to give them formula (eek) if they aren’t latching right away. My son never had a drop of formula because we were both learning and we succeeded. When i got home it was an adjustment of course because you are sore, but after you get over the initial couple of weeks in the beginning, breastfeeding is the most rewarding and easy thing in the world. My little guy is still going strong and im not planning on stopping for a few years. All this to say, breastfeeding is natural and everyone can do it, it just takes practice and patients. Remember, you are a new mom and you baby is a new human being, everything takes a few tries when you are new at it. DON’T GIVE UP.

    • I think it is a bit judgemental to say everyone can breastfeed because we are meant to do it. I am bfing my 2nd daughter and have had a hard time in both cases with low milk production. I have taken herbal supplements both times which help to some extent, but i work and pump three times a day at work and am lucky to get 9 oz. That doesnt cover the three bottles my daughter needs while in daycare. So does she get formula so she can have three 4 oz btls while away from me? Yes. I wont give up on nursing/pumping because i know it is good for her in any amt and love the bonding it creates, but will also make sure she gets enough fuel for her day. Sorry to vent, but it is really hard when you constantly beat yourself up because your body isn’t doing what it is meant to do and then reading comments that act like supplementing is just due to laziness.

      • Scha,
        Amen, sister! When I was pregnant with my son, I had my heart set on a natural, drug-free delivery and exclusively breastfeeding. After 15 hours of hard labor and no progress, I had to deliver my son via Cesarean. I was heartbroken-and exhausted-but willing to accept my fate. I was able to get my son to latch within an hour, and the first 24 hours after delivery, he didn’t leave my breast. The lactation consultant who saw me at the hospital looked at my breasts, noticed the large spacing between them, and asked if my breasts had grown a lot during my pregnancy. When I told her no, she told me there was a good chance I would not be able to exclusively breastfeed my son. I was heartbroken yet again, and thus began the disparaging internal monologue about my inadequacies as a mother (e.g., I’m not meant to be a mom because I couldn’t birth my son, feed him, etc).

        In the following days, I refused to believe my body could not perform this most basic, natural function. My son would nurse over an hour, then I would pump for 20 minutes. But it didn’t help. I lived for him to have wet diapers to prove he was getting enough to eat, only to be disappointed when I found those little pink crystals in his diaper that were metaphoric daggers to my heart. Every time my son cried and someone declared, “I think he’s hungry,” I lost control, felt ashamed, and allowed my mind to journey to the darkest place I have ever known.

        I sought the expertise of the same lactation consultant I had seen in the hospital. In her presence, I weighed my son, fed him, weighed him again, and broke down yet again when I discovered my son was not getting enough to eat. For my son’s health, I had no choice but to supplement with formula. I cursed every time and swore that “vile capitalist” solution was harming my son. In the meantime, I continued to agonize over how much milk I could make. If my husband spilled one drop of my hard earned milk, I became completely untrained. I refused to give him a bottle, and made my husband feed our son formula.

        I became a woman obsessed. I began ingesting copious amounts of fenugreek, eating oatmeal with flax seed every day, and engaging in any other remedy I could find to increase my supply. I had gone mad and was on the brink of losing my mind. As a sidebar, I am a working mother with a doctoral degree in the mental health field. I know better, could recognize the symptoms, and yet, could do absolutely nothing about spiraling into a depressed state.

        Then one day, I simply embraced my situation. I woke up and realized my son needed me to be a good mother to him. That didn’t necessarily mean I was a bad mom if I had to give him formula. He needed me to be psychologically sound, and I was determined to be that mom for him. As my anxiety abated and I began to accept my circumstances, my milk production slowly increased. By the time my son was four months old, I no longer had to supplement with formula. By no means was I a mass producer, but I could sustain him. He breatfed until he was 14 months old and abandoned my breast way before I was ready.

        In some ways, my tenacity may have stemmed from those who told me it could not be done, or perhaps from those who saw my angst and tried to comfort me with anecdotal advice. Either way, I didn’t give up on myself or my son. For 14 months, I squeezed, tugged, and forced every drop of milk my body had to offer, and I don’t regret a moment.

        This story does have a happy ending. As I lay here typing this rather lengthy post, my 9-week old daughter is laying on my chest. Although I had mentally prepared myself for the difficult challenges previouly experienced with breastfeeding, I am thrilled to say she is exclusively breastfeeding and I have a stockpile in the freezer. I thank my son for paving the way for his little sister, and I am looking forward to giving my daughter the best start in life she can have.

        So, my advice to new mothers struggling with similar issues is derived from Winston Churchill–“never, never, never give up.” Any breastmilk you can give your child is worth it. And for those of you who could literally compete with a Jersey cow, be grateful for your supply, be mindful that not everyone is so lucky, and be less judgmental of your fellow sisters.

  44. I breastfed exclusively for the first ten months. You would think something so natural would come easy but it def didnt. The first few weeks were extremely rough for me. Luckily, I had an amazing support team. And in addition to my family and friends support, there were also other people out there that encouraged me. My midwife, the Le Leche League and a few support groups I found online were wonderful!! They gave me many different tips and I tried them all to find what worked best for me and my son. Everyone is different and you have to remember that just because one way worked for someone else, doesnt mean that will work for you. It will get easier!!! It takes time and A LOT of patience. If I can do it, anyone can!! Truly!!
    Dont be afraid to use nipple sheilds!! I walked around with those on while my nipples were cracked and they saved my nursing ‘career’ lol. My mom called them my prosthetic nipples lol. My goal was 2 years old and my son just turned 2 Oct 14th. I am slowly cutting down on nursing time. I am SO SO happy that i stuck with it. I remember people telling me if I could make it through the first 2 weeks, I would be solid. But i didnt even want to go through to the next feeding session let a lone another week. But please believe that it gets better AND enjoyable. Not only are the health benifits worth the cracked nipples, but the bonding time is amazing! Good luck to all the mommies out there!!
    (Support groups can be found on Cafemom and other parenting websites! and a MUST READ book is ‘So Whats What They’re For’ by Janet Tamaro)

    • In my mind, thank God for nipple shields. If they can get us over the hump, they are so worth it!

  45. My problem with Breastfeeding started at the hospital. My son was jaundiced and slept a lot. It was hard for us to get him to breastfeed because he was always so sleepy. They tried everything and even had me pump milk to give him. After I got out of the hospital it became very painful to breast feed. I went to the lactation consultant and she said he was latching fine and didn’t know why I had pain. One day I started to feel cold so I got into bed and couldn’t get back out, I was in pain and shivering all over even though I was under two blankets. I had a large mass in my right breast, I had mastitis. I felt so warn out and tired, it was hard for me to even carry my son into the dr office. After the Mastitis cleared up I still had pain. I went to the lactation consultant again. They gave me an ointment to rub on my nipples but it didn’t help. The pain was so unbearable. You know that pain you feel in your nipples when you’re not wearing a bra, or a thin bra and it’s cold, well that’s how my nipples felt, except more like I was standing topless on top of Mt Everest. I kept with it, though, and after about 3 or 4 months it just stopped hurting. I don’t know if we finally got a good latch or I just became indifferent to the pain . Of course now it hurts when he bites me with his teeth, but it’s no where near as bad as in the beginning.

    • Wow, Krystal, you are one committed mama. Sounds like breastfeeding was more painful than labor. LOL! Good for you for staying with it… an inspiration!

    • wow, i’m going through the same sort of pain. I just went to my dr to get checked and I dont have an infection. They checked my daughters mouth for a tongue tie, and the lactation nurse told me our latch is good. The pain is so bad, even from pumping. I’m sticking with it, i sure hope it doesnt take 3 or 4 months to stop cuz i’m only a month in right now.

  46. It didn’t with my first born. I was 22 nervous and a wreck of emotions. With my second it did. I relaxed! I knew this was what was best for her! I didn’t give up when she went through growth spurts (3 & 6 weeks), you will nurse more at these points. My baby girl started not wanting to nurse around 10 months though. She had a big brother who was home from school she paid more attention to him instead. She is now 2 and still adores her older brother and he is so good and patient with her.

  47. First, let me say, I’m really enjoying this website. Thank you for all the good information your are putting out, and the fun videos you and your hubby make. 🙂

    Regarding breastfeeding…I come from a family that never breastfed, and really didn’t understand it. My husband was VERY supportive, and I was determined from the jump to make it work. I read everything I could about how to hold, latch, pump, etc. I felt very prepared, and had all the ammo I needed to ward off the females in my family preaching that it’d be so much easier to use formula.

    Fortunately, I didn’t have too many problems. Cracked/dry nipples, of course! But, I had the lanolin right there after every feeding when I needed it. Difficulty getting him to latch? Absolutely! And if it wasn’t for the very “militant” nurse in the hospital who, literally, grabbed my boob and showed me how to express it myself and entice the little guy with that yummy liquid gold, latching may have been an issue for more than 24 hours, but after he got it, he was a pro! And, let me tell you, it makes all the difference. If your nipples are sore beyond belief and nursing hurts, consider the fact that he/she is not latching properly. Pumping (enough) was my biggest problem, and this time around (due w/ 2nd child in March), I will probably start pumping much earlier to keep my production up.

    In the end, I found it SO rewarding. I nursed my son for 15 months, and one day he just decided he was done. In the meantime, it was much easier to nurse than to have to carry water, bottles, formula with me every where I went. What we saved in terms of expense was just a bonus, because the time I spent nursing my son was absolutely priceless.

    Good luck to all you mamas out there. I would happily encourage anyone remotely interested in breastfeeding to really give it 110%. It’s so much better for your baby, and that is time you just can’t replace with anything else. It’s so very natural and a miracle in and of itself that our bodies are built to feed and nourish the little blessings that come into our life. Nothing man-made can replace that (IMO). All the best…

    • Thanks Aimee for your kind words and for sharing your experience. I agree that it is a miracle that our bodies can feed our little ones in this way!

  48. Once I made it to the 5 week mark, it got so much easier!! I made it to 1 year and am so happy I did. I just made myself available to her and tried to keep my daughter awake as long as possible at each feeding. Making sure she had a full tummy each time helped her sleep longer so then she ate more the next time… chain reaction! I’m not sure I could have made it to 1 year if I would have returned to work though. My previous job just didn’t have very many quiet, private places to milk myself.

  49. With my first the first three weeks were not much fun. My nipples cracked and bled and it HURT. After that everything just kind of fell into place and healed and it was AWESOME! He nursed until he was 21 months.

    With my second, he was so little that everything gagged him and it could take up to 30 minutes to latch him on. I got SO frustrated. I was so tempted to supplement. Just when I was about to finally give up he got the hang of it. He is now 14 1/2 months and still nursing strong!

    Just as a side note, I took my little guy to the doctor yesterday and found out he has asthma. The doc said one of the reasons it hasn’t been much worse for him is that we exclusively breastfed until six months and still breast feed now. If not having to put my child on steroids isn’t a GREAT reason to breastfeed, I sure don’t know what is!!!

    • Very cool. My friend swears that her 2 little boys never got one cold their first year of life due to breastfeeding.

      H0w often are you feeding your 14 month old. Curious as to what nursing looks like at that age…

  50. It gets better I promise. Each day is easier than the day before and no day is going to be as hard as the first day. My advice is to have support that knows to tell you how great you are doing, because you are doing great. My husband would sit with me and watch my son nurse and talk about how wonderful a mom I was for feeding our child the best way possible. He would also feed me if I got hungry while nursing or get a drink for me if I got thristy. Once my son got into our rythm I was no longer ingorgered or soar and he wouldn’t even wake me in the middle of the night he’d just nurse and go right back to sleep. One of the saddest days for me was when my son decided he was too busy to sit down and nurse at 15 months. We still have an incredible bond and are extremly intune with one another and I believe that is from breastfeeding exclusively for 15months.

    • Awww… love hearing the hubby stories. Sounds like you have a GEM. Mike brings me a glass of water when I nurse which makes me feel so loved :).

  51. It does get easier! If it wasn’t for my super supportive husband, FNP Father in Law and Home Health nurse post-partem, I couldn’t have made it through- but we successfully nursed for 7 months after that!
    I was completely engorged and had flat nipples and she wouldn’t latch long enough for me to have a let-down so we were both frustrated, she was jaundiced and losing weight. When a home health nurse came by to set up the Bili blanket- she asked me if I wanted some helpful hints- she suggested I get a nipple shield to help pull the nipple out and help her get milk easier. Since I didn’t have one there- we used a small bottle nipple (like the kind on a gerber bottle) as a make-shift nipple shield, WORKED LIKE A CHARM! Sent the husband and father-in-law off to buy real nipple shields (he earns his Daddy badge, for sure) and we only had to use them for a couple of weeks before she easily weaned to nipple only. I had trained them well and then when my 2nd daughter was born, all my anxiety with breastfeeding was gone- and she latched right on, no problems at all! It DOES get easier and soon you’ll be doing it one handed while managing 2 other tasks 🙂

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