We Need Your Booby Trap Stories for the US Surgeon General & The Press by Jan. 18

On January 19 and 20, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is convening a briefing and press conference to announce the Call to Action for Breastfeeding.  Best for Babes co-founders Danielle Rigg and Bettina Forbes have been invited to attend this briefing and press conference as new members of the United States Breastfeeding Committee, and have been advanced as specialists on moms, the Booby Traps they face, and how to help them achieve their personal goals.  We aim to share our point of view with the Surgeon General and the media that the key to unlocking this stubborn problem is by focusing on eradicating the cultural and institutional barriers that actively prevent moms from succeeding, not simply educating about the benefits.   We are prepared to outline our plan of shifting the pressure OFF moms and on to the Booby Traps by aligning the business, non-profit, government, celebrity and citizen sectors behind a cohesive game plan that markets breastfeeding as mainstream and rebuilds the shattered breastfeeding infrastructure.   We will share our intention to build the mother of all causes and rally the masses, whether they breastfed, or not, were breastfed or not, behind this public health crisis that affects all of us.   We will talk about our specific strategy to harness the power of moms to bring about positive, constructive change so that our daughters, sisters and friends do not have to suffer as we did.  

We need your stories and your voice.   We have specifically been advised that the media will want to hear about real moms and real stories.   If you have been booby-trapped by your physician, hospital, health care professional, health care provider, insurance company, employer, restaurant, airport, school etc. and by the lack of public acceptance of breastfeeding, now is your chance!  Please leave your story below so we can direct the media.  Our goal is to have 100 stories by Tuesday, January 18th.  If we have a thousand, we’d be even happier! There are millions of moms who have been booby-trapped from wanting to breastfeed, trying to breastfeed, or achieving their breastfeeding goals.  Read our list of Booby Traps to refresh your memory . . . and feel free to speak to booby traps that we have missed.    

All we ask is that you keep your story personal, and that only moms who gave birth or breastfed in the US participate.  Please share this page with your friends and colleagues.  It is individual stories that inspire and motivate and bring about change, and the American public  needs to hear about the profound struggles and suffering by moms and babies who are being thwarted by a gauntlet of barriers daily.   The media, the Surgeon General and key stakeholders need to hear the degree to which moms are being pressured to breastfeed but set up to fail

The floor is yours!



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279 Comments | Last revised on 01/11/2011


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279 Responses to We Need Your Booby Trap Stories for the US Surgeon General & The Press by Jan. 18

  1. Marissa says:

    I’ve been fortunate never to have anyone be openly rude or obnoxious about me breastfeeding in public, but I would have been much more comfortable, and it would have made it much easier if I hadn’t always been afraid of a potential confrontation or if I had known unequivocally what my rights really are. No one from the lactation specialist at the hospital to my midwife when I birthed at home seemed to know for certain what laws were there to protect me and my baby or what stores/malls/other public places were breastfeeding-friendly.

    When I had my first baby, my milk ducts clogged on one side. I was lucky because it happened before my 2 week post partum visit, so my midwife gave me some ideas for fixing it. It would have been nice if someone had given me those ideas before I had left the hospital, so I would know what to do with specific potential problems. A pamphlet or something would have been so helpful. At week four, I thought I was going to die from the pain, but I was determined to make it to 6 weeks. It was really important to me that he get at least that much protection. I drank pineapple juice every day. I always gave him the clogged breast first. I pumped if I was not drained at the end of a feeding. By week 6, my problems had cleared up completely. He had a good latch, and my milk ducts were completely unclogged. I would not have made it through that time without the support I had. I think if it was expected to at least breastfeed for 6 weeks, more mothers would make it past then to the 6 month mark.

  2. Jennie says:

    The biggest booby trap I faced was lack of access to adequate lactation support. I was a grad student when my son was born in a baby friendly hospital at 37 weeks. Everyone there was supportive of BF, and every nurse tried to help me breastfeed when I asked for help, but from 5 different nurses I got 5 different answers–from the ones who told me to ram him on fast to the nurse who told me to make a sandwich in broken English-WHAT?. I had inverted nipples, and couldn’t latch my son at all on one breast. On the other breast he was latching so shallowly that my nipple was abraded, and I would stare at the clock for the requisite 15 minutes waiting until I could stop nursing him on that side. Despite 2 huge risk factors–early preterm and inverted nipples–I had to beg and plead with the nurses to send me an LC, and it didn’t happen until he was 36 hours old. The LC was so busy that she spent 15 min with me, latched my son easily, then went on her way. The nurse came in and told me my son was losing too much weight and they would supplement him if his weight didn’t go up. Despite many tries to get my son on myself, I was an inexperienced new mom, and there was no way I could latch my son myself onto my inverted nipples. At the next 2 feedings I again begged and pleaded with the nurses to send me the LC again and was told she was very busy. When she finally came back she seemed annoyed that I had asked for her again, and that I couldn’t latch my son as well as she did. I felt like an idiot when I told her I couldn’t get him on. She of course latched him fine herself, and was about to leave again when I said–“How am I supposed to do this on my own?” She begrudgingly pulled out a nipple shield and showed me how to use it, told me she didn’t like to give them out, that I should get off of it as soon as I could, and generally made me feel like a failure for having to use such a crutch. Amazingly the shield worked, my son latched, and I had oodles of milk,used the shield for 5 month, then finally got rid of the shield. I had mastitis 3 or 4 times before 3 months, but wouldn’t go to an LC because the only one I knew of was the one from the hospital, and I was afraid of what it would cost. I persevered, and breastfed my son to 2 years despite people telliong me I shouldn’t use the shield, taunting from my friends that I was pumping too much at work, and despite my mother telling me after 1 year that it was time to stop. I am now an LC myself, and have been inspired to help other moms through their breastfeeding journies.

    As a highly educated well informed mom, most of my problems were with access to adequate lactation help. If would have been so much easier to quit when my nipples were cracked and the LC didn’t show. It was only my determination that kept me going. How in the world can we expect to keep moms who aren’t as determined breastfeeding to even 6 months when those of us who are so determined that we keep breastfeeding through bloody nipples, abcesses and mastitis don’t have access to enough lactation support?

  3. Dorian says:

    I’m very grateful that I’ve had wonderful breastfeeding experiences with both of my children. The only thing I would like to add is that since I work full time, a hiqh quality breast pump is essential. Health insurance should be required to cover the cost of a breast pump for breastfeeding mothers.

  4. Courtney says:

    My son was born by Emergency C Section, and then taken to the nursery for oxygen immediately. I did not get to hold him right after birth. After being stitched up and moved to recovery, they finally brought my son to me. I asked for a lactation consultant to begin breastfeeding (he was about 3 hours old at this point). They said they’d send one and never did. At that time I asked if I should do skin to skin with my baby until the lactation consultant arrived and the nurse responded ‘You can if you want to but it really doesn’t make a difference.’ Instead, they felt it was necessary to bathe him. So took him for an hour to do that. Luckily, my husband went with him. Finally, when my son was about 7-8 hours old a lactation consultant came. But by this point he was very sleepy (we missed the ‘awake’ window right after birth). And could not get a good latch. I expressed colostrum onto his lips and resisted their suggestions to give him a bottle. This continued each time I tried to feed him until the middle of the night feeding. The nurse came in and said I needed to give him a bottle. I said no and she said that I could try pumping. She brought the pump in, put it on my breasts and turned it to full speed and full suction. I asked her if it was supposed to hurt and she said ‘yep!’ I was able to pump colostrum and my husband and I fed it to our baby by syringe. After that, he woke up and was able to get a good latch! In the morning we were so excited to tell the lactation consultant and all she said was ‘Well you should’ve used a bottle to feed him the colostrum.’ That day, a different lactation consultant came in and was much better. She gave me some really good tips and involved my husband to show him how he could support our breastfeeding relationship. I took my baby home and, while it was frustrating at times, nursing got easier and he nursed for 27 months with never a drop of formula! Oh, and upon leaving the hospital I was asked if I wanted Enfamil or Similac in my gift bag. I said neither and the nurse responded ‘Well I am bound by hospital rules to send you home with one so just pick one and throw it in the garbage on your way out if you don’t want it.’
    I had my daughter in the same hospital. After a 26 hour labor I had a successful VBAC. But, she was pale and did not score well on her APGARs so they again took her to the nursery for oxygen. She was still there at 3 hours old and I was able to go in and sit with her but not hold her as she was under the tent. She finally could come back to our room with us and, though she was very sleepy by this point, I held her skin to skin and tried to get her to latch. After awhile she woke up a bit and latched on like a little champ. I never even asked for an LC. One finally showed up when we were checking out and our baby was over 24 hours old. Thankfully I did ok on my own – if I’d had problems 24 hours would have been pretty late to work on correcting them. I was this time given a ‘Breastfeeding’ Bag which included formula samples along with containers to pump into. And dozens of formula coupons. I am still breastfeeding this baby at 14 months and now working to become and IBCLC so that I can help moms establish a breastfeeding relationship. I am a fighter but it pains me to think of the moms who are too tired, sleep deprived, or overwhelmed to argue and just let the nurses give a bottle. We need more Baby Friendly Hospitals in this country to get moms off to the best start nursing!!

  5. AJ says:

    I had never planned to breastfeed. It was not something that was the “normal” thing to do. My mother had not breastfed any of her 5 children and I had never really been around anyone who did it. However, when I became pregnant with my first daughter that all changed. After all my reading and preparation I decided the breastfeeding was definitely the best choice for my baby and for me. When my daughter was 12 weeks old I had to return to work. We absolutely needed my extra income and there was not other option. I normally only worked no more than 6 hours but during my shift I was unable to pump. I didn’t get breaks (I was a waitress) and there wasn’t a suitable place for me to be able to pump if I had a lull between tables. As the weeks went by my supply began to decrease. I contacted my OB and she prescribed me Reglan. It made me feel terrible and I didn’t really notice any change in my supply issues. Since this was the only option she offered me I decided to contact my daughters pediatrician. I told her that I was taking Reglan but that my supply was still not sufficient and did not seem to be getting any better. The only option she offered me was supplementing with formula. It was absolutely devastating to me to have to stop breastfeeding when my daughter was just 4 1/2 months old. I felt like I had failed her. I wish that I had known then what I know now and that I experienced other breastfeeding before I began my own journey. Seeing other mother breastfeed is a valuable learning experience for all women and knowing other mothers I could have gotten advice from would have been invaluable! I wish that my employer had been breastfeeding friendly. I wish that I had gotten more support before I gave birth, at the hospital and after I was home. I wish that when I had asked for help I had gotten advice that would help me, not sabotaged my efforts! When I had my second daughter I was determined to nurse for at least a year. She had a lot of health problems and when she was 6 months old had a feeding tube placed. At that time I was limited by her doctors to nursing her only twice a day, for absolutely no medical reason, thats just what the doctor wanted me to do. Unfortunately being a single mom with a sick baby and a 4 year old I just was not able to keep up with pumping every few hours to keep up my supply and it soon began to decrease. The doctors determination to get my daughter to drink formula for a bottle also led to her refusal to drink anything from a bottle and a general oral aversion and she weaned. Again I felt like I had failed and we ended up in months of therapy for my daughter to get her to take any type of oral feedings. Both of my experiences have taught me some valuable lessons. If I am fortunate enough to have another child I hope to be able to breastfeed as long as we both want. I also try to help as many mothers as possible have a successful breastfeeding experience and hope to become and IBCLC someday!

  6. Ingrid says:

    One of the things that I missed most was some sort of recognition for breastfeeding early on. In my Obs office there are all sort of posters about mother’s nutrition, WIC and early intervention. There are however no breastfeeding posters, mothers nursing their children and anything that would go beyond pregnancy nutrition wise.

    I am in West Virginia and we also have no clear and protective laws for breastfeeding mothers. The only law that is in place is a law that states that breastfeeding mothers can’t be arrested for lewd acts. It is one of the things that makes me nervous about NIP, since somebody might take offense and say something and I can’t even say: “listen buddy, I am feeding my child the way that was intended, AND the law protects me”

  7. Maggie Downey-Butler says:

    I was born and raised in Vermont, which is a pretty liberal state, (Hello, Bernie Sanders!) but now live in Tennessee, which is..not liberal. Anyway, I gave birth in July, fully intending to breastfeed to at least a year and try to do a baby-led wean anytime after that. However, with supply issues I’ve had to supplement some formula, and it is heartbreaking to me, since this is something I had my heart set on. So needless to say, the issue is very sensitive to me when people bring it up. One time in particular that I had a breastfeeding conversation with a southern woman, after I had mentioned that the laws in Tennessee say that I can be arrested for indecent exposure if I’m “caught” breastfeeding after my child is a year old. She said “well if you breastfeed after a year old you will probably turn your daughter into a lesbian because she’ll be obsessed with your boobs.” and that is a quote. I will love my daughter to the ends of the earth, regardless of her sexual orientation, but the point being people are so grossly uninformed of what exactly breastfeeding is, and what exactly it does. I have heard some ludicruous stories of misinformation being perpetuated by generations of (mostly, unfortunately) women.

  8. stephanie Volkov says:

    I will try to be as succinct as possible.
    My first son I wasn’t prepared for breastfeeding no matter what books or classes I studied.
    The BIG booby trap for me was the nursing staff, doctors, and the hospital my son was born at.
    Most of all it was the nurse.
    She would shove my sons head at my breast and he would scream. I told her to stop, she didn’t help or even try to help with the latching issue.
    She cut the top off of a bottle nipple and told me to use this as a “breast shield” to get him to latch at all. They sent me home with free pre-filled bottles of formula.
    They nurses would record that he had “nursed” for a specific number of minutes even when he never actually latched the entire time.
    Second child was no problem. I was a pro after nursing my first for 15 months. Good think because they tried the same kind of things….unnecessary supplementing, not giving me time to nurse right after birth..etc.

    The hospital staff are so undereducated in breastfeeding that it is scary. Newborns, especially premature babies need breastmilk to be healthy, not to mention what it does for mom and society.

    • Linda says:

      wow!! same thing happened to me when my son wouldn’t latch – she would shove the poor things head to my breast and this made him even more panicky. Then the nurse would tell me we had to give him a bottle because she could feelhear his stomach growling – the baby was not even 12 hours old.
      The next day, another nurse tried to help me get baby to latch. She noticed that he didn’t like the back of his head touched(because earlier nurse was so rough!)and we had to use a pillow to gently guide his head to my breast.

  9. Shannon M says:

    After a fairly normal vaginal birth, and being naive, I didn’t receive any advice on breastfeeding. Instead, my doctor spent 45 minutes sewing me up after slicing me apart without need. And then I held my daughter for 10 minutes instead of being allowed to breastfeed before she was whisked away because of low blood sugar (38 points). I know know that I should’ve been breastfeeding her. She should’ve never been taken from me, that breastfeeding would’ve been better for her, instead of sugar water from a bottle and laying under a warmer for 6 hours. I didn’t see her again until 6 hours later, after the staff just kept telling me “just a bit longer, we’re waiting for a room.” It took me getting to my room, and crying (bawling!) outside the nursery window because I hadn’t held her, we hadn’t bonded and I hadn’t breastfed. When I did get her, it was late, and there was no lactation consultant. The nurses helped me a bit, but of course my daughter was tired, had a bad latch so by the next morning, I was raw. The lactation consultant gave me a nipple shield, but never bothered to tell me to only use it a few times. Instead, we used it for a few days and when I went to stop, she was too used to it. It took a month to get off. I had a month of good breastfeeding, and then we had troubles with supply. I, to this day, by the word of a real lactation consultant and a midwife, understand that the nipple shield interfered with creating a good supply. Instead it just continued to spiral out of control, with me having no choice but to use a bottle, my daughter learning she got more from the bottle and not my breast until we finally gave up at 3 months. I pumped for another 3, making it 6 months.

    With my son, I had a midwife, and a home birth. My midwife stood by me, helping me in every way possible, and in the end, my son breastfed 18 months, weaning himself. It was a wonderful experience, and while both taught me so much, I still look back with bitterness at the hospital, the doctors and the so-called lactation consultant who knew nothing about breastfeeding and robbed me of a healthy happy nursing relationship with my daughter.

  10. Amy Brienes says:

    This is just a little story about when I had an appointment with a new ob-gyn recently. Here’s what happened: the nurse who did my intake was shocked when I told her I hadn’t had my period in two years and was even more shocked when I told her why. She asked me why I still nurse (with a slightly distasteful look). I kept my answer simple (good for nutrition, comfort and immune system etc.). Then I said, “I take it you don’t meet a lot of moms who nurse toddlers.” She said no. She thought for a bit and then told me that her three year old son (whom she weaned at six months) still paws at her breast and seems to want to nurse. She said she thought this was “abnormal.” I said it most certainly wasn’t and showed her “Mothering Your Nursing Toddler,” which luckily I happened to have with me. At the end of our conversation I could tell that she felt differently about long-term nursing. That was the good part.

    Here’s the disturbing part: the doctor, who did a little intake too, also made a shocked, slightly disgusted face when I told her why I don’t get a period. She condescendingly told me that a 17-month old just needs food, no nursing, etc. I told her I disagreed (immunology and comfort, etc). Then, a little later, during the breast exam, she abruptly reached over and completely inappropriately pinched both my nipples and said, “See, no milk.” I nearly laughed at her ignorance (and of course I was also absolutely horrified)! All I could think of to say in the moment was “I nursed my daughter right before I came here.” Then I said, “I take it you don’t see a lot of mothers who nurse toddlers.” She said (sort of scoffingly), “No.” And I said, “That’s because a lot of mothers who nurse toddlers probably don’t tell you. It’s more common than you think.” She then said (in a ridiculing tone), “Does your daughter say ‘Mommy, I want milk?'” At that point all I wanted to do was leave so I just said, “Something like that.” Oddly enough, a little later the doctor said that her father had been breastfed until he was three! And that his brother wasn’t and that the brother had lots of health problems.

  11. Christina Luna says:

    I had my daughter while serving on Active Duty in the Air Force overseas in Germany. I had made the commitment that I was going to nurse her exclusively and informed my chain of command at least 2 months before my due date. I had prepared copies of the then current AFI regarding breastfeeding during duty hours. Everyone seemed shocked that I was so serious about this and a few even mentioned to me that past workers had just used to the bathroom from time to time and it was “no big deal”.

    I was fortunate since I worked in a medical facility (dental clinic) Medical facilities should be all for this, right?!. I scoured the whole building to find an unused room that could be turned into a lactation room. Luckily, there were a few other women due around the same time I was who would be wanting to use a room for pumping as well.

    When I returned from my 6 weeks maternity leave, I was so angry to find out there was no room in place for us to pump in. We were made to go into an empty rooms (which were used for dental treatment) each day. Every day we would be searching for an empty room. It happened to be three of us at the same who would be huddled up together in a small room pumping. I was upset but just happy to be able to provide my daughter with my breastmilk. After doing this for a few weeks, I expressed my concern. The AFI states we only get 15-30 min. of pumping time every 3-4 hours each day. How were we suppsed to gather our supplies, set up shop, pump in a timely manner providing enough milk, clean up and store milk and pump all in that amount of time when we are rushing around trying to find a decent place (with a door lock). Which, might I add, I was walked in on a few times.

    Finally after all the hassle, a room was set in place for all the women who worked in the dental clinic who wanted to pump. It was our very own lactation room. Equipped with a mini fridge that I had donated, supplies, a storage cabinet, sink and lots of breastfeeding reading material. The stress was such a relief but I did get questions of… “why do you need all this”, and “is this neccessary”. I definetely did not feel like i needed to explain myself, but I went ahead and gave them a mouth full of just how neccessary it was!!!!

  12. Katherine says:

    About a month after my daughter was born I had to make a trip to the ER to have a abscess lanced and drained. I spoke with the intake nurse and the MD concerning BFing, however it was not until I had taken the meds and mentioned it again for a third time that they realized their error. They did prescribe me new medication however the dose I had been given would not be out of my system for 24 hours. I had to go a whole day without feeding my child. Giving her formula wasn’t the biggest issue I had, for I had already determined I may need to supplement during my work day for supply issues, what made me so angry was the fact that they did not note it and if they did they did not pay attention. I exclusively fed from the breast when home and this seriously interrupted our special time together. Additionally when I expressed my sadness the nurse said,” What’s the big deal it is just a little formula for 24 hours.” It is one thing to make a mistake, but I was shown no empathy whatsoever nor was an apology given. I was dismissed as a drama queen.

    I feel that, just as all allergies are listed on a medical chart, so should BFing, and I feel that it should be a required question. I also think health care providers particularly those dealing when women and children such as OB’s, Gyno,s and Ped’s should be required to take a BFing course to obtain at least basic knowledge of BFing . I also feel attitudes toward BFing mothers should change. Did 24 hours of formula kill my daughter, heavens no, but it made me sad and they should have acknowledged my feelings. Likewise there could be repercussions beyond the scope of 24 hours. My baby had been feeding exclusively from the breast long enough that our relationship was well established; however 24 hours off the breast for a new born could be detrimental to the baby’s ability to discern breast and bottle.

    It is a shame that BFing isn’t viewed as a priority, just because alternative food is available does not mean I want or should use it. It is so easy for people to just dismiss us because it isn’t as if our babies will starve in the absence of Breast Milk.

  13. I am a mother of 1 son, who has been working with children for 15+ years, and I was booby trapped. I had a pretty much normal pregnancy, but my doctors induced me at 39 weeks because my blood pressure was starting to rise. After 30 hours of pitocin, I was given an emergancy c-section. Immediately after I was sewn up and brought to recovery, I began nursing my son. I was determined to breast feed, and had planned to breast feed my entire pregnancy. I had worked with infants in a childcare setting for the past 3 years and figured this would be cake for me. I fed my son every 2 hours but it didn’t seem to keep him full.. I had the lactation consultant come in and say that everything was normal. My sons weight dropped 10% and the nurses in Labor and Delivery forced me to give my son formula. I cried my eyes out and let them set me up with a suppliment tube on my breast. I felt like crap doing it but I had been told that if I didn’t give him formula that they would have to take him to the NICU and give it to him anyway. Not one person tried to help me with breast feeding in the hospital.. and my home visit a few days later the nurse told me my breasts were empty. A few days later my suppliment straw broke and I began giving my son a bottle and pumping.. I would barely get anything. At 6 weeks, my doctor gave me a prescription for Reglan to help production. In all this time not one person told me that newborns can nurse every 30 minutes and cluster feed. Maybe just maybe if one nurse had said something to me about me only feeding him every 2 hours, then I would have nursed him more and made enough milk to sustain him. I will never got to that hospital again, and we have sinced changed doctors. Giving up on breast feeding was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, and I still feel like a failure to this day. I regret not having that bond with my son, and not being able to give him the best start in life. I hope that stories like mine will ring true through to our government and health care systems so that nurses will actually help us to have positive breast feeding relationships.

  14. Robin says:

    When I had my first daughter, I was very committed to breastfeeding. The nurses took her for her mandatory 4 hour nursery stay. My husband went to video tape. He brought back the tape and it showed them giving her formula – when I had asked them not to do it! My pediatrician said, “We needed to her to stop crying.”

    At every appointment, this physician, who said he was supportive and knowledgeable, pushed formula. By six months he convinced me that my milk wasn’t enough for her and that it was worthless. I very clearly remember nursing her for the last time and crying, but thinking I was doing the best thing for her, even though it felt wrong, surely this doctor knew better than I did…

    Thankfully I’ve since learned better and gone on to have other children and did self-led weaning, nursing them over a year and beyond. But I’m still really sad about not standing up for my daughter and not having anyone to speak for us.

  15. Melissa says:

    In my small town, only one midwifery office is covered by my insurance, so that’s the one I went to. They greeted me with a thick “information packet” filled with advertising straight from formula companies, and absolutely no information about breastfeeding. Also, their office was filled with even more formula advertising on every available surface, but no breastfeeding information.

    It was clear that I wasn’t really the customer at this practice. I was the product that the midwives were selling to their real customers, the formula companies. Because of this and other problems with this practice, like their high cesarean rate, I switched to an out-of-network midwife, who was of course much more expensive, but who clearly was working for me, not for formula companies. She was so much better in so many ways, and the birth went perfectly, and breastfeeding is still going great.

    Women in this town who can’t afford to be as picky as I was, however, have no choice but to let that in-network midwifery office deliver them straight into the hands of formula companies.

  16. Chantel says:

    I really wanted to nurse my children. My mother had nursed my brothers, although she supplemented, and my Godmother had breastfed two of her children. My cousin also nursed her first daughter. So, I just assumed I would have my baby, put him to the breast, and off we’d go. I took the little hospital class and felt like I was pretty well prepared. He was born in a hospital, after a difficult and very painful/intervention-laden 15 hour induction. I was exhausted and in a lot of pain and so when they offered to take him to the nursery I happily complied, ate, and then went to sleep. The hospital did fairly well that first night and brought him to me to nurse just a few hours later when he began showing signs of hunger. But I was a completely clueless first time mom and that first time we’d latch post-birth had not set me up to do it on my own. They left me with my hungry baby and although I asked for help did not receive any except that I was told if he nursed for longer than 10 minutes he was using me as a pacifier. The following day I asked my pediatrician for help when she came for rounds but she also had little to offer. I was discharged at 36 hours with sore nipples, a sleepy, jaundiced newborn, and still nothing in the way of instruction on how to get my baby latched on in a pain free way….. but they sent me on my way with a butt load of formula sample bottles.

    That first night home alone was hell. The baby cried constantly and wouldn’t sleep. I still had it in my mind that he shouldn’t be nursing more than 10 minutes every 2 hours so I was dazed and confused. My nipples HURT terribly. Latching him on was like stabbing myself with hot knives. And he nursed THE ENTIRE NIGHT! I went from having no milk to having milk coming out of me everywhere. And oh God the pain. It just got worse and worse. The next day was a little better but my husband left me home alone and went back to work. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of hormones and milk with a baby who was either screaming or sleeping and doing neither thing at the correct time. And lets not forget that I still felt like I’d been run over by a truck thanks to my difficult, medically managed birth.

    Four days into being a mother, just a day and a half after being sent home I was in a heap on the floor of my apartment sobbing in pain. My husband took one look at me and headed for the formula samples. The following day the nurse who came for my postpartum home health check reassured me that she saw plenty of babies and those who were formula fed did just as well as those who were breast fed. That did it. Though I desperately wanted to breast feed my baby I had no skills and no one to turn to for help. I did not have the Internet and had never heard of La Leche League. My mother and others I knew who had nursed had never had difficulty so had no wisdom to share. I felt very alone and very defeated.

    When I had my second child I was already suffering from depression before she was born and it turned into a horrific battle when I threw in postpartum hormones. When the nipple pain started on day two I took one look at my 18 month old and newborn baby and asked for formula. I was horrified at myself and within 3 weeks changed my mind. With the help of some women online I started to successfully relactate…. only to be sabotaged by a hospital based lactation consultant I’d called for help. She told me I was starving my baby and I needed to continue on formula because there was no way I could get a full milk supply back. I quit trying and she was exclusively formula fed. Unfortunately for me, she did not tolerate it like my first child. She had terrible stomach pains and foul bowel movements. We finally figured out she was allergic to milk when we switched her to straight cow’s milk at 12 months. I still cringe to think how much easier her first year of life would have been for her if only I hadn’t listened to that LC.

    That experience convinced me that I needed to nurse my next child. So when the time came just 17 months later, I got myself educated. By this time I had the Internet. I planned a home birth with a midwife, attended LLL meetings, met women online and in person who were experienced at nursing their children, and read read read everything I could get my hands on. When little Noah arrived at 9 pounds in an easy 3 hour birth I put him to the breast immediately. We did everything “right” and I STILL experienced terrible pain. My friends all jumped to the rescue. To say I was surrounded by experienced, supportive, loving women is an understatement. They sent creams, emails, phone calls. They came over and evaluated latch. They told me I could do it, cheered me on, let me cry…. basically, they were my village and they helped me succeed. JUST when I wanted to give up because it hurt so bad I stumbled on a diagram on Kellymom.com and a little light went BING! over my head. Even though it LOOKED like he was latched correctly he was actually taking too much of the top of my breast into his mouth. Once I started putting him on chin first the pain magically disappeared. To think….it would have been that easy to fix. I WEPT for my other children.

    Noah nursed for 16 months when he gently self weaned due to another pregnancy. I went on to nurse that baby for a year until I was halfway through a twin pregnancy and then I nursed my twins (yes, exclusively) until they were two. I never suffered from significant nipple pain again (oh, a little the first few days as I was teaching baby to latch but nothing worthy of quitting again). It makes me both sad and horribly mad that such a tiny thing could have meant the difference for my first two children. What’s ironic is that EVERYONE at the three hospitals I came into contact with repeated the “breast is best” line to me the whole time. And yet, there was NO real life support. No one with any sort of reasonable breast education was there to help me when I most needed it. They gave me formula and a swift pat on the ass with a “good luck” and I was left to fight it out on my own. I failed miserably to learn to breastfeed my first two children because I had no support, no where to turn, and those I did turn to badly failed me. The difference for me that third go around was that I BUILT myself a solid base of support. I educated MYSELF. Not everyone has that ability or can expend that sort of effort (or even know where to turn!). If we’re going to change breastfeeding rates we need to offer well educated (KEY!!!) support to women in droves. We not only need to hammer home “breast is best” but we need to follow it up with oodles and gobs of literature, real life (well educated!) lactation consultants, excellent home health follow up at 5 days and 2 weeks postpartum. Hotlines. Websites. Require breast feeding education for pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and family doctors. OB’s need to stop taking money to pimp out formula advertisements and instead take continuing education classes. Until we do this, our rates of initiation vs who’s still nursing at 6 months will stay the same.

    I start nursing school in about 7 months. I will then obtain my International Board Certification in Lactation. As an IBCLC I will help women where I was failed.

  17. Jessica Russell says:

    I have 2 1/2 year old boy/girl twins that I proudly breastfed (never with formula supplimentation) until they were 27 months old. Most people in my life were very supportive of my breastfeeding, but I will never forget one doctor in the NICU who made me feel so bad about my choice to breastfeed. My children were born 6 weeks premature and had to spend 20 days in the NICU. On reason for their stay was that the doctors needed them to demonstrate their ability to eat on their own without an NG tube. We practiced breastfeeding from day one, but as expected, they had some trouble. So we kept at it. I was hesitant to introduce bottles, even of my breast milk, until they got the hang of breastfeeding, so as to avoid nipple confusion. The NICU lactation consultant, and many of the nurses, supported my decision, but one doctor said straight to my face that I was “preventing my children from going home,” by not allowing them to try feeding with bottles. I see her at NICU reunion picnics sometimes and I haven’t gotten the nerve to say something to her. Someday I’ll go up to her and say, “no thanks to you, I was able to fully breastfeed my children for more than two years and please don’t discourage any more moms from doing the same.”

  18. Laura says:

    When my son was born, after 50 hours labor, he had a pneumothorax. After just a few moments with me, he was taken away to the NICU for treatment. He was given pure oxygen for the pneumothorax, but they also gave him antibiotics under general hospital guidelines. It was 3:30 in the morning and I had been awake for days. So I went back to my room, used a breast pump for the first time and fell asleep. When I woke up and went to see my son, he was stuck with his head in a bubble on O2 with a pacifier, and they would give him sugar water when he would cry. Since he needed to stay in the oxygen, he couldn’t really be held, so the pacifier and sugar water were their only ways of calming him down. He was also on IV fluids to help flush the antibiotics through his system.

    After his time in the bubble, was doing well so he went to a nasal cannula, and at this point they started to feed him formula with a bottle. He was 2 days old and had never even tried to breast feed, but he did suck on a pacifier and ate from a bottle. He had no issues switching from formula to breast milk or back as my milk came in, but he refused to latch to the breast. I had frustrating sessions trying to get him to latch with limited help from hospital staff over the next two days before we brought him home.

    When I finally did get him home, every feeding was a nightmare. We’d try to get him to latch, and he wouldn’t want to. We had limited success at first with a nipple shield, and if preloaded with milk we could get him to suck on that after a couple of days of a lot of crying and frequent bottle feedings. It took nearly 3 weeks before he could successfully latch on the breast.

    I understand why they gave him the pacifier. And I understand why he was given formula (because of the antibiotics) in a bottle. That didn’t make it any easier when he wouldn’t latch when he was finally in my care. I did get some limited help from a lactation consultant in the hospital, but it wasn’t enough for a smooth transition.

    Three months later and everything is fine. My son is healthy and happy, and is still exclusively breast-fed.

  19. Jessica says:

    Not supportive family – Mine actually told me formula was easier. Guess they think mixing, heating, storing, washing, and carrying was easier than instant access to the perfect temperature, mixture, sterile nipple.

    Hospital pushing formula – At midnight 3 days after my twins were born the hospital nurses told me the pediatrician wanted me to start supplementing with formula. They said it couldn’t wait until 8am so I couldn’t ask her myself.

    Society’s lack of education – I was told over and over that it’s not possible to breastfeed twins.

    My twins had breast milk every day for a year thanks to my hard work and dedication when surrounded by many booby traps.

  20. After the birth of my daughter in 2005, I embarked on my journey into breastfeeding and my subsequent advocacy.

    I nursed exclusively with relatively no problem, aside from society as a whole. I felt negative energy coming from my doctors, family, friends, and strangers. I felt shamed, indecent and like an outcast when I was nursing around anyone but my husband. I stayed home a lot. Mostly out of fear of offending someone. I became isolated, confused, and ultimately angry. I channeled my negative feelings and poured it into a photography project called MOTHER.CULTURE.

    I put an ad out on Craigslist.org and on a first come first serve basis, and I photographed ten women in various scenarios, some images are encouraging and some are from the underbelly of the breastfeeding experience.

    The series was locally recognized in the Sacramento area in the summer of 2007, and there was a bit of interest in the exhibition internationally, but ultimately nothing came to fruition. My hopes for the series was to open dialog about the multifaceted importance of breastfeeding, where ever it is needed.

    MOTHER.CULTURE Images:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/smokefilled/sets/72157607177023395/

    Facebook page started to share information about breastfeeding and parenting:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/MotherCulture/142864259084536

    Sincerely,

    Rachel Valley

  21. Meggan says:

    My comment got super long, so I posted my story here: http://www.oipom.com/2011/01/13/booby-traps/

    In short:
    – C-section and delayed breastfeeding
    – Crazy, brusque LC tried to freak me out re: my baby’s weight, my “slow” milk coming in (day 4), and his diaper output
    – Sent home with a nipple shield with no instructions on how to discontinue using it
    – Sent home with “just in case” formula

    Scary to think that I consider myself a success story! We are still breastfeeding at 9.5 months with no plans to stop anytime soon.

  22. Anna Magana says:

    When my son was born I thought I was prepared to breastfeed. I’d read all the books, and watched the videos, even attending a breastfeeding support group. Wow, did I under-estimate how tough it would really be! I struggled immediately. The nurses where nice, but I think they suggested the nipple shield too readily. Soon, my son wouldn’t nurse unless I used it. I suffered from cracked, bleeding nipples, and a son who had a tough time latching even with the nipple shield. I met with a lactation consultant twice, hoping to get pointers which would help me succeed. I hated how much I was struggling, I thought many times I wouldn’t be able to continue. Nothing made me sadder. Lucky for me I had a support group I came across. The lactation consultant ran a group called the milky way cafe. I credit my ultimate success to that group! I was inspired by how passionate these women were about raising healthy children. I managed to push through the hard times and get to a point where nursing my son is more than a chore, it’s my special bonding time. It’s a time to relaxing him after a simulating day. I am a stronger mother because of the experience. I’m happy to say that at 9 months my son is still “eating locally” :)

  23. Kristine says:

    The biggest booby trap for me was a WHOLE generation of women who know next to NOTHING about breastfeeding! My mom, my mother-in-law, aunts, grandmothers, etc…none of them breastfed or knew anything about it. While the hospital didn’t really help me get started (it was 4 painful hours from the time I had my baby until they brought him back to me! all because he needed a bath and it was time for the nurses shift change), I was determined enough to figure things out on my own. However, I was in the middle of new mommy shock and no one in my support circle could help me at all with breastfeeding. My body was aching from a c-section, my nipples were sore and bleeding, my baby cried for what seemed like hours on end, and my baby was loosing weight. I was in tears and my husband had no idea what to do. He called his mom who told us to feed the baby some formula. My mom was there and gave us the “that’s what we fed our babies” line. My mom even called some of her friends to ask for advice and none of them had ever breastfed either. Since I was the first one of my friends to have babies I couldn’t ask any of them for advice.

    At the two week check-up I was in the midst of baby blues. I told my pediatrician that I didn’t think I could keep breastfeeding. All she said was, “please do it as long as you can. It’s the best thing you can give your baby.” Then she handed me a formula gift bag. She never even asked me what kind of trouble I was having. I breastfed on and off for a few more weeks out of guilt. I knew enough to know I wasn’t doing the best thing for my baby, but I didn’t know how to succeed with it either.

    I think if even ONE person (family, friend, or doctor) had given me some encouragement and guidance I would have made it through and been able to keep it up longer. I didn’t realize at the time that EVERYONE has a breastfeeding learning curve and that everything I was going through was NORMAL and it would all get better with time. The older generation of women just made me feel like I wasn’t feeding my baby enough. In their defense it’s because they didn’t know better themselves. My mother-in-law actually brought the discharge instructions she was given when she left the hospital with my husband (30 years ago). The instructions said to begin mixing rice cereal with the formula and start giving it to him at TWO WEEKS!!! I was pressured into giving my baby rice cereal by 5 weeks even though I had read it wasn’t good. I was told to “stop reading the books and do what I had to do.”

    By the time my second child was born a lot of my friends started having babies and breastfed successfully and I was confident enough in my mommy skills to trust myself. My friends were a huge encouragement to me the second time around and even though it wasn’t exclusive, I was able to BF to 5 months. The biggest booby trap for me the second time around was my workplace. When my first son was born in 2006 the ONLY option for a place to pump was to sit in the bathroom stall with a manual pump. Even if I had made it to 6 weeks that surely would have stopped me. Thanks to some trailblazing women since then, an electrical outlet was installed in the bathroom. When I came back to work with the second I had the “privilege” to sit in the bathroom behind a partition and pump. This was right by the door so everyone who came in the bathroom had to pass by me. We have approximately 1000+ employees in my building. This is the only location for pumping in the whole building. Many new moms shared this pumping station.

    As a side note, I work for the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT which is supposed to be so supportive of breastfeeding mothers. The government by the way does not offer any form of maternity leave. Even though I saved as much leave as I could it wasn’t even enough for me to take the recommended 8 weeks off after my c-section. I had to come back after 6 weeks…another booby trap to breastfeeding. I’ve read that in the government we are supposed to have a private place other than the bathroom to pump, but I’ve never seen it. We have a long way to go in public policy before breastfeeding will be something that is “doable” for the working mother.

  24. Allison says:

    I was fortunate to have a fairly easy labor and vaginal delivery and was able to nurse my son about 40 minutes after he was born. I know that he got some colostrum because one of the nursery nurses mentioned that he spit a little up a few hours later. My issues started that night with the postpartum nurse. We were having trouble getting a good latch, and instead of providing help or getting another nurse that could help, they rolled in the pump and told me they would have to syringe feed my son. So only 5 hours after birth, I had pumped 7 mL of colostrum and fed my son by syringe. They just squirted it into his mouth, no technique at all. This continued all night with both of us crying. The lactation consultant finally saw me the next day but we were still never able to achieve a latch that wasn’t painful. The lactation consultant just told me that my son had a small mouth. Once I got home and my milk came in, I was extremely engorged because of all the early pumping. My poor body probably thought I had had triplets! My breasts were much more painful than my bottom. I was so engorged that my son could not even achieve a poor latch. It was like biting a balloon. I had to pump a little, to soften the breast, before even attempting to latch him for the first 3 weeks of his life. On the bright side, two good things came of this early trial: I was good at pumping when I had to return to work at 8 weeks postpartum and I went on to be able to donate almost 700 oz. of breastmilk to Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas. Despite battling uneducated nurses, oversupply, undersupply, and nursing strikes we were able to make it to 14 months when my son self-weaned.

    Another thought that I would like you to take to this briefing is regarding maternity leave. There is no national or state mandated maternity leave. FMLA only protects your job for 12 weeks. If we want a majority of women to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months, then that is how long a mother needs to be paid and her job protected to stay home. If we can achieve that, the US will be half-way caught up with the rest of the developed world.

  25. Jane says:

    I’ve been pretty lucky – had two breastfeeding classes, had gone to La Leche meetings,had a homebirth, and my baby girl latched right away. Even so: that day and night when she nursed continuously for 16 hours while my milk was coming in was rough. It was nurse on one side for 20 minutes, scream, then nurse on the other side, scream, then back to the first side…At 4 am I finally cracked. God bless the la leche leader who took my call! After that breastfeeding has been a wonderful ride, and a blessing because my daughter has a dairy allergy. She is still breastfeeding, just at bedtime and wakeup time, at 3.5 years old.

    However, it has always been a strain dealing with nursing in public. I was determined to not cover up or go hide. I lived in Senegal and the women there whip out a boob at any time or place to comfort or feed a child. It is just the norm. Their clothing is designed to accomodate the constantly changing waistline of a woman who is having children or nursing children all the time. They carry their children on their backs everywhere, and EVERYONE(men, other children) helps hold, comfort, watch, teach the children. Yet, even when she was just a baby, the averted and tense faces around me, the fact that people would stop talking to me or leave the room, the regular question of “when are you going to wean her?”, and finally, the hairdresser who asked me not to nurse her UNDER A SMOCK because it had made a customer uncomfortable( I mean, really, no one would have been able to see that there was even a child under there!). It’s just wearing and oppressive. Since she nurses so rarely now I just gave up nursing in public anymore, and I feel defeated.

    Wake up people! Babies(and toddlers!) need comfort and feeding and if you are “disturbed” by seeing a woman nursing her child, then YOU are the one who is in need of education and therapy, not her! How did you think the human species raised its young? Do you think our hunter gatherer ancestors made bottles? The word “mammal” comes from the word “mammary” as in “mammary gland” as in breast! Mammals are a separate group primarily due to the fact that mammals NURSE their young!

  26. Maureen says:

    I nurse my 11 month old twin boys, and have since they were 7 weeks old. Before that, I pumped for them while they were in the NICU. I struggled every step of the way, facing unsupportive nurses, neonatologists, and my own post-partum depression. If not for the help and grace of my own mother, I don’t honestly know if we would have made it this far, and done this well. You can read my full story here: http://theleakyboob.com/2010/09/the-best-laid-plans/#comments

  27. Amanda Wood says:

    I had nursed my first two child over a year, neither of my children ever had a bottle or formula. They always had my boobs. I was going to nurse my third child too. But my third son ended up in the NICU. As soon as I was able I went down to nurse him, which was about 5 hours after my c-section. The nurses in the NICU were very supportive of my nursing him. He was then put into the step down NICU. That is where our breastfeeding relationship was disregarded. The day time nurse was feeding him a bottle of formula even though there was a huge sign that said breasfed only. I told her I didn’t want him bottle fed because I wanted to nurse him and not give him nipple confusion. I told her that I would syringe feed him instead. She told me I couldn’t do that, it was the bottle or a tube down his throat. At that point I was crying and she was bullying me. I stood up out of the wheel chair with my son in my arms and told my husband we were leaving. I was going to walk out of that room with my son and go home, keep i mind I had a c-section 12 hours before. My husband suggested that we ask the LC/RN. The LC came in and told the nurse that I could syringe feed him to prevent any confusion. The nurse stormed out the room mad becasue the LC sided with me. After that I was there to feed my son and that nurse would stand there and just watch us. So I started taking someone with me so I felt that I had some one on my side. After the nurse tried to tell me I wasn’t pumping enough milk for my son and I would tell her that I knew I made enough milk for him, he was more effiecnt then a pump. I went back to my room after a feeding and started crying because she would just stand there and watch me feed my son. My mom came in when I was crying and called LLL for me. I was on the phone with the LLL leader and the nurse called and said my son was awake. They could hear me crying and saying I wanted a patient advocate. The head RN came down to my room to talk to me about what they overheard. The first thing out of the nurses mouth was “this isn’t your first baby” I said no I had over 3 years of experience with my other 2 children. The RN in charge told me that I wouldn’t have to see the bully nurse and I could nurse my child without anyone standing there watching me. Now if I had been a first time mother I would have let the nurse bully me into giving my son a bottle of formula.I wold have listen to the nurse because she was a nurse. Needless to say my son and I were discharged the next morning. I guess I made a a big fuss and was going to get LLL involved. I wasn’t going to let them intimidate me into letting them bottle feed my son becasue it was easier for them

  28. I have successfully nursed all of my children. I am currently nursing my third baby. With baby #1, I took the normal hospital breastfeeding class and felt I would just “know” what to do. Boy was I wrong. Of all those years going to an ob/gyn who did yearly breast exams on me — no one ever mentioned I had flat nipples until I couldn’t nurse. This could have been aided with devices that help pull out flat nipples, which are usually caused by adhesions, during my pregnancy. Lactation consultants in the hospital equated nursing with flat nipples to trying to get a baby to latch onto a wet balloon. I felt like a failure. No one offered me any real help, including the lactation consultants. One even told me that “maybe you can breastfeed your next child” and walked out of the room.

    Well…I was determined to breastfeed or be else, so I left the hospital with my baby and went the next day to the pediatrician. I had interviewed her prior to having my child and she “claimed” to be supportive and encouraging of breastfeeding. What a liar she was. She gave me 24 hours to get my baby nursing. When I came back she piled me up with free samples of formula, but I was still determined. I gave my baby a little supplement and tried so unsuccessfully to nurse every day for 2 weeks and read day and night on the internet and in books for help with breastfeeding.

    I soon discovered there were ways I could help my baby nurse. I discovered nipple shields. Apparently, lactation consultants think nipple shields are from the devil and that is why no one in the hospital offered me this solution. I went to a baby store and bought several and was successfully able to finally nurse my baby girl. She went on to nurse for 2 1/2 years. Not only that, but my first child’s nursing pulled out the adhesions from my flat nipples and I no longer had this problem with baby #2 or #3.

    However this is not my only booby trap. Up until the most recent studies that babies are now overweight, I have had so much trouble with pediatricians who aren’t breastfeeding educated think my babies are too small because their weight is in the 25% range of these outdated charts from 1950s formula fed babies. My first pediatrician flat out told me to wean my baby at 6 months of age — even when the AAP recommended AT LEAST a year. I finally found a new pediatrician after every single well baby visit was the doctor berating me for not weaning my child.

    Thankfully now with baby #3, I have finally found an educated doctor. My babies are consistently in the 25% weight range, and this one she thinks is just fine and dandy and growing and gaining properly. She does not push solid foods on me, she doesn’t push weaning on me, nor does she push supplementing on me.

    I find it sad that out of the handful of pediatricians I have had, I am usually more educated than they are on breastfeeding. There is a reason there is such a small percentage of mothers who continue to breastfeed for long periods of time. Those who are not very educated on breastfeeding believe the myths the uneducated doctors are still pushing on mothers.

  29. brendaboritzki says:

    I knew I wanted to breastfeed from the moment I found out I was pregnant. At the hospital, I also knew things weren’t going right. Thankfully I had a supportive nurse who put me in contact with a lactation consultant. It was sad that we had to bring her into the hospital as the hospital did not have one on staff. I received guidance in positioning and other tips to help soreness and the simple fact that I didn’t know what I was doing but my dear daughter did. We get home and the baby and I developed thrush and I subsequently developed mastitis at 8 days post partum. With 104 fever, my husband ushered me to the doctor which prescribed amoxicillin and then told me I couldn’t breastfeed. Unfortunately this was a Friday and I didn’t think to call the pediatricians office to confirm whether or not my taking amoxicillin was harmful to the baby. So picture an emotional new mother up in the middle of the night after feeding her new baby formula and then having to pump instead of going back to sleep and getting the much needed rest er body needed to recover from childbirth. Breastfeeding is far better for getting rid of mastitis than any amount of pumping can, and amoxicillin is given directly to babies. I’ve learned a lot since that experience and know to press doctors on their recommendations, but I fear for the other patients this doctor and others see that haven’t learned that hard lesson yet and truly shouldn’t have to. I managed to recover my breastfeeding relationship with my first daughter but it was more difficult than it needed to be because of an uneducated recommendation by a primary care physician that should have had my best interest in mind.

  30. Elisabeth Devine says:

    My boy/girl twins were born in June 2010, 4 weeks early via c-section. My son weighed 6 lbs 13 oz, and my daughter 6 lbs 3 oz. I made it clear from the beginning (with my OB, and then the hospital staff) that I intended to breastfeed. Everyone seemed very supportive, until after the delivery. I had high blood pressure that remained after delivery and was given medication that left me with no real memory of their second day. Due to groggy feedings, poor latching, and sleepy babies, my milk was slow in coming in and my twins were losing weight, which led to the doctors pushing formula. One pediatrician early on stated that I should only let them nurse for 20 minutes every three hours, as they were burning too many calories trying to eat. I should offer them a bottle of formula after the 20 minutes of feeding because it was easier for them to eat from a bottle. I was also told that I couldn’t take my babies home until they showed a weight gain. Thankfully, I had a great lactation consultant who advocated for me, getting me a pump in the hospital and arranging for one to be there when we went home. The hospital also provided me with an accommodation room, as I was discharged 3 days before my twins. This allowed me to stay in the hospital and continue to room in with them while they received nursing care. Following the LC’s advice, I nursed, pumped, supplemented pumped milk through a tube, and then supplemented formula (through a tube during the day and a bottle at night). By day 5, I had decided I was going to feed my babies as much as possible so that I could get them home as soon as I could and feed them the way I wanted. I was able to take them home on day 7 and they have had only breast milk since (until they started on solids). I continued to pump and let my partner supplement with a bottle so I could get a little more rest. My daughter was very slow to gain weight, so we continued to supplement with the breast milk bottles for a month or so, until she really got the knack of nursing. Our current pediatrician (not one who saw them in the hospital) has been a huge supporter of our choice to breastfeed. He has made it very clear that kids will grow at their own rate, and the important thing is that they ARE growing. At the beginning, growth was slow, which made me question my choice to solely breastfeed, but they are both thriving and right in the middle of their growth chart. I addition, my children have never been sick, despite living at a boarding school and being around other children frequently. I am planning of breastfeeding my twins until they are at least a year old. After that, we will see where we are. I’m open to longer.

    One thing that I think set me up for success was a twin group I attended while still pregnant. The two other moms I met that day only breastfed, which let me know it WAS possible. I am so thankful I met them…

  31. Jessica Fox says:

    The nurses at the hospital all gave conflicting information about breastfeeding. They all claim to be experts about it yet none had any formal training on the subject. This lead to me being told to do things differently every 12 hours when the shifts changed. To avoid confusion I instead try to go by the guidance in the breastfeeding booklet provided which I later discovered had been published by a formula company.

    All of this bad information led me to not follow my instincts to feed on cue and as a result my son lost 11% of his birth weight while at the hospital. At 2:30am the nurse wakes me up to tell me that this is too much weight loss and that we must start giving him formula immediately. In my sleepy state I refused and argued with her until I convinced her to bring a breast pump. So at 3am I’m exhausted and trying to learn how to pump, my milk hadn’t come in yet and the stress didn’t help so I was only able to get 1/2 ounce of colostrum. She told me that I wasn’t making enough milk. After all of this he never got the expressed colostrum, never got the formula and when my milk came in the next day he was back to his birth weight within 36 hours.

    Other moms that I met in the hospital had the same situation with different outcomes, they were told that their baby wasn’t getting enough and they felt like they had no choice but to give formula. The hospital’s lactation consultant only works part time so by the time they see her on the 2nd or 3rd day it’s harder to get breastfeeding on track and it requires a lot of commitment which some exhausted and overwhelmed new mothers don’t have.

    This was the beginning of my uphill battle to be successful at breastfeeding exclusively. I’m lucky that my primary doctor is also an IBCLC and I had support from La Leche League so we were able to overcome tongue tie, clogged ducts, peer pressure from the medical community and society in general, aggressive formula marketing, PTSD/PPD to still be nursing strong at almost 6 months.

    Sadly a lot of moms don’t seek out these resources or don’t even know that they exist so their outcome is different.

  32. Grace Shea says:

    I am about to return to work full-time after being on maternity leave for 14 weeks. I am very nervous because with my first child, my daughter, I had to supplement so that took off the pressure of having to pump a good supply while at work. I could always fall back on formula if needed. My son though, has been great and I have done much better breastfeeding him, no formula supplement necessary so far. But with the stress of a long commute, long hours at work and not always having the time to pump in between scheduled meetings, etc., I am nervous about how much I can produce while at work. Unfortunately, the nature of my job does not allow me much flexibility but I appreciate all the hard work Best for Babes is doing for us in getting the word out there and helping employers understand the importance of breastfeeding and for working moms needing to pump at work. I think the more your foundation does, the more understanding employers and colleagues will be of me having to leave early or come late to a meeting just so I can take care of my child’s needs. You guys must be doing something right, my employer, a government agency, finally set aside a room for nursing mothers complete with a hospital grade pump for our use. I’m hoping that their recent announcement of this to the staff will make my colleagues more understanding when I return and disappear at different times of the day to pump, since I’m not a “super producer” of milk I will have to try to pump more often then most women to keep up my supply. Good luck and thank you for all your hard work!

  33. Maggie says:

    The nurse at the hospital where I delivered told me I needed to supplement because my baby was measuring small. Turned out, according to the LC that there was a calibration error between the delivery room and the nursery. I told her I wasn’t going to supplement until the ped looked at her, after which, the doc told me Little Girl was perfect, but it set in motion weight checks that make me feel inferior about my nursing.

    The nurse also scolded me for requesting an LC, when they were trained to help me. I just wanted all the eyes I could have making sure that I was doing it right.

    But I did not quit, nor did I supplement, and I nursed her til she was 18 months old.

    I also think they need to revisit their growth charts. My baby is on the “small” side but is being compared to formula fed babes.

    • Kaz Glastonbury says:

      Hiya,
      From what you’re saying I’m guessing you’re in America..?
      In the UK we have two different charts – maybe it’s worth getting ahold of the UK breastfeeding chart and presenting it to your paediatrician if you choose to have any other children. It might make things easier?
      Congratulations on following your instincts.

  34. Carmen says:

    My first child was born via emergency c-section at a hospital known in my metro area as “the baby factory.” In recovery, I had no time alone with my baby before the doctor let in all of my family without asking me. I had to endure everyone getting to hold my baby but me before I felt comfortable asking them to leave. After they left the curtained-off area that was my recovery “room,” I had maybe five or ten minutes to get the baby latched and nursed. If I had not had a doula, I would have been completely on my own to figure put latching at that point. If she hadn’t been there telling me the nurses were going to take my baby for testing in the nursery very shortly, I would not have gotten her latched at all before they took the baby. So she got to nurse for just a few minutes right at about an hour old, and then I did not see her again for over two hours. When I was moved from recovery to my postpartum room, one of the nurses assisting me, an older woman, told me “DO NOT nurse that baby for more than fifteen minutes on each side or you will get sore nipples.” Fortunately, although I had the disadvantage of never having actually breastfed before and felt clumsy, I had done a lot of reading beforehand and I knew that to be false. It was disturbing to me that the nurse preached such misinformation from such a position of authority. What about women who wanted to breastfeed but didn’t know about all the other resources out there? How many breastfeeding relationships had this one woman sabotaged?
    My baby had terrible latching difficulties after I finally got her back. I just wanted to feed my baby, but she wouldn’t latch. She steadily lost weight and I was told every morning by the house pediatrician that we would have to give her formula if she reached ten percent weight loss. I felt like a failure. I knew formula was a slippery slope. I wanted my baby to have breastmilk. It was not until my third morning postpartum, however, that I saw a lactation consultant. She saved us. She helped me to get the baby to latch. She was so busy, though, that she couldn’t stay long.
    Lactation consultants need to be on staff in all hospitals where babies are born. And they need to be there in large enough numbers and on every day of the week. Hospitals would never think of understocking formula or having formula only on weekdays from 9-5. Breastfed babies have the same need for nourishment but sometimes there are difficulties that moms can’t solve on their own or even with the “help” of nurses who are undereducated in the area of breastfeeding knowledge. Lactation consultants need to be able to spend meaningful time with any mom and baby who want to breastfeed. Understaffing lactation consultants is akin to giving an overt advantage to formula companies, who are already well-aware of what a slippery slope formula really and truly is.

  35. Denisse Villanueva says:

    I wish the nurses would have been more supportive towards breastfeeding. I had a hard delivery and after 2 days with no sleep my baby was born, I was very tired but asked the nurse to bring my baby, and she told me that she thought it was better if they fed her formula and for me to sleep. And that’s what they did then her next feeding I started breastfeeding and when I notice my baby was hungry every hoir I ask the nurse why that was, and they told me that it was because she wasn’t full and told me to give her formula. I did not know any better, as a result now I feed my baby formula and I breastfeed twice a day, because I don’t produce enough milk.
    I wish they were more supportive, when ever I decide to have another baby I would only breastfeed.
    Also the insurances companies should cover breast pump, at least part of it.

  36. Fiona Benishty says:

    My normal pediatrician was on vacation – and the ped. who was filling in told me that I needed to be adding formula to my six month olds cereal because he needed the calories. He was wearing a size 9 – 12 months, and in the 95 percentile of his age group, considering this I would say that using no formula was doing just fine for us! I am lucky that I worked as a breastfeeding Counselor, and I knew better, but many women would probably do as the pediatrician said and not question it!

  37. Heather P. says:

    The hospital my first son was born in was great. The lactation support I received there prepared me to successfully breastfeed him and his two younger brothers.
    Before our second son was born, we moved to a small city with only one hospital. Unfortunately, what I experienced there was very different. I had a uncomplicated birth and a healthy, full-term baby, but:
    1. I had to fight for my right to hold my newborn and breastfeed immediately after birth.
    2. I was asked repeatedly if I wanted to bottle feed.
    If I had been a first time mom, I would have assumed from their behavior that formula was preferable.
    3. After being moved to the postpartum floor, I had to fight to keep my baby in my room with me. Most newborns are kept in the nursery for 2-4 hours following the move.
    4. I was sent home from the hospital with several cans of formula.

  38. Amanda Walley says:

    I wanted to breastfeed my oldest daughter. I truly did. I delivered my daughter at the hospital. It was a very rough, painful, stressful, scary birth. Even so, she came out perfect and completely healthy, except for a slightly injured arm from being stuck in the birth canal. As soon as she was born though, they whisked her off to bathe, weigh, and do whatever else to her. I asked for her, and they said they would be done soon. It wasn’t until 2 hours later that I was able to put her to the breast for the first time. I did my best, but had no idea what it was supposed to be like. The lactation consultant available to me was the only one in the hospital,and she also had 20-30 other women to see that day. She was able to spend about 5-10 minutes with me. The next day, I was released, but due to her arm injury, my daughter was sent to the pediatric floor (NOT the NICU). I tried to tell my doctor that I didn’t feel right, something was wrong with me. I was ignored and discharged. Two hours later, my daughters pediatric nure came in, saw how sick I looked and wheeled me downstairs to the ER where I was diagnosed with post-partum eclamspia. I told the nurses, and my husband, not to give her formula. I told them I wanted to nurse her, and would as soon as I got back. I was gone for 90 minutes. I came back to a bottle of formula in her mouth. The nurses had told my husband that our daughter was starving, and she needed to eat. He didnt know any better, and gave it to her. I was upset. Later on that day, the nurses took her for some testing, and to allow me to rest. I told them “bring her back to me if she needs to eat, I do NOT want her to have formula!”. I fell asleep shortly after they took her. 3 hours later I awoke, and paged them to bring her back to me. She was asleep, and I tried to wake her to feed her. They told me just let her sleep, she just ate. I cried. They ASSURED me that formula was just as good as breastmilk. They said there isnt much of a difference. They then brought in an Enfamil pamphlet to show me, and brought in an entire case of ready-made formula to take home. I didnt know any better, I thought the nurses would know what they were talking about. I now have done enough research, that I know what happened. The OB/Gyn was uneducated about breastfeeding. The hospital staff was uneducated about breastfeeding. The lactation consultant was overworked, and the nurses were persuaded by all of the free samples and pamphlets given to them by the formula companies.
    My second daughter, I went in prepared. I learned as much as I could, and educated everybody around me as much as I could. So when I saw the advertisements about how formula is “just like breastmilk”, and the nurses brought in samples…I knew what to do. She was exclusively breastfed.

  39. Jessika says:

    I was induced, and after 4 days of labor and 4 hours of pushing ended up with a c-section. I didn’t get to see my son for hours, even when I demanded him be brought to me (finally my husband had to go wheel him to me himself). The nurses and doctors smiled when one of my hospital goals was breastfeeding – but were quick to suggest supplementing when my milk was “late” coming in. By “late”, I think they meant IMMEDIATELY, which is obviously not the biological norm, particularly for an induction. They basically told me they wouldn’t release us unless we supplement, and I’m sad to report I did give my son three bottles. I never felt like I had a choice.

    The hospital asked which present I’d like – the formula or breastfeeding one. THE BREASTFEEDING “PRESENT” I RECEIVED WAS A SIMILAC BAG WITH SAMPLE FORMULA!

    I went home with a decent grasp on breastfeeding, but not a true one. Thankfully the LLL supported me in my endeavors, as well as my husband, even though the super rough times. But people have problems with breastfeeding in public and it’s constantly a battle. Friends don’t talk about it. I have never seen another breastfeeding mama in public unless it was with an LLL event. When I talk about it, other women deem me a breastfeeding nazi – all because I am doing what I think is best for my son.

    People think babies need formula. Do we need to eat McDonald’s over healthy food? Of course not. Babies aren’t supposed to need formula! They need what nature designed for them. But most people, including medical personal, don’t seem to always support it. It’s a shame.

  40. Rebecca says:

    The pediatrician on-call when I had an unplanned c-section came to me and threatened to give my son formula because he said he had not urinated in the first 24 hours. I had been told that oftentimes, babies actually urinate on the operating table, but no one notices. I had to fight with a nurse and the pediatrician about it, insisting that he was nursing great, I was drinking enough water, and that he was fine. The pediatrician was condescending and mean, telling me that he would “let” him go one more night, but then he would give him formula in the morning. I asked if he would use a dropper instead of a bottle to avoid nipple confusion, and he dismissively said, “There’s no such thing!” I really had to fight hard, and I was in so much pain from surgery and so exhausted, that if I hadn’t done my reading beforehand or hadn’t felt so passionately about it, I would have been booby-trapped for sure. Of course, the next morning, my baby had a really wet diaper. There was one nurse there who was sympathetic to my situation, who knew I had been breastfeeding just fine, and who offered to help me fight the pediatrician more if I had to.
    The reality is, no new mom should have to fight to feed her baby her own milk. I was treated disrespectfully and so was my newborn son. I’m proud I stood up to them and went on to breastfeed him for 2 years, but it shouldn’t come down to that.

  41. Erin Mitchell-Waltman says:

    The only huge booby trap I ever encountered was being sent home from the hospital with a free “diaper bag” that came with two liquid formula samples.

    That first week home from the hospital with my newborn son, I was scared to even change his diaper and would let my husband (who’d had previous experience with other people’s babies) do the diapering. I was even scared to put my son’s socks on, afraid I would get a toe caught or broken by my hamfisted handling of the putting on of footwear.

    So, naturally, breastfeeding didn’t come naturally. I had seen a lactation consultant in the hospital and she’d given me a lot of help and some confidence, but that first week alone with my new, tiny son suckling at my breast, those free samples of formula started looking really reassuring. Was I producing enough? Was he still losing weight? He’d lost some in the day or two before he left the hospital… had he gained it back? Should I give him just a little formula, to be sure?

    My own mother, who’d breastfed both me and my older brother when we were babies, reassured me that he was fine and that I was almost certainly producing enough and to not use the formula. We had a one week check-up with our pediatrician, and if he was seriously losing weight, we’d know then.

    Well, he hadn’t lost weight. By the time we saw the pediatrician one week after leaving the hospital, he’d not only gained back the weight he lost while in the hospital, he’d also gained a few ounces past that. And he honestly hasn’t slowed down since.

    But those free, ‘helpful’ bottles of formula almost made me lose confidence in myself. They were not helpful. They were horrible. They were a subtle message that I couldn’t do it, that no one trusted me to do it, and they were sending along formula just in case. What an awful thing to do to a first time mother.

  42. Stacy says:

    More breast feeding support and education AT the hospital and with the medical community. My first child was born in 2005 and the nurses kept coming in to tell me he needed a bottle. I refused and was able to keep him formula free in the hospital. My son was 7lbs 2oz when born, he was discharged at 6lbs 10oz and at his 1 week check up was 6lbs 10oz. Well the Ped at his 1 wk well visit told me I had to formula feed because he wasn’t gaining. Thankfully I had educated myself on BF and what to expect so I told her Common sense would tell you my milk took a few days to come in, he prob lost a little weight in that time and since my milk came in 3 days prior to this visit he was just now gaining back. He was alert, response with regular bowel and urine movements. The Ped got really annoyed with me and called in another Doctor who did not really know what was going on. She happened to be the Ped who examined him at birth. She happily turned to me and said EXACTLY what I had said to the other Ped and that he was doing fine. When she turned and saw her colleagues face she realized something had gone on and she told me to just be safe bring him back in the following day for a weight check. I did and he gained 6 oz in 24 hours! Had I been a naive new mother I would have listened to that other doctor and supplemented which prob would have ended our BF relationship. I BF him for 16 months and my second son for 15 months. I am preg with my 3rd and will be doing the same for her as well. Oh and I changed Peds!

  43. Amanda Bannon says:

    On Dec 23, 2008 our first little boy was born. He was born in the hospital. His birth was quick and easy, although the hospital staff did not listen to me or trust me to know my body. . .
    They knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I had to be the one to ask if I should start trying. This was my first child and nobody I knew had breastfed their babies. Later in the day after I had napped, a nurse came in and asked if I was bottlefeeding. I told her no, that I was breastfeeding. She gave me a smug look and told me that if I wasn’t getting 5 hours of consecutive sleep, I wasn’t going to be able to it.
    While we were still in the hospital an LC came to see us and make sure we had a good latch. Things were going well. We went home Christmas day. The next morning my milk came in. I could not get my son to latch on. He kept arching away from me and screaming. I knew he wasn’t taking much at all. I called the pediatrician’s office to get an appt. They were less than helpful. I had to demand an appt for the next day(Saturday). When we went in, the pediatrician became very concerned because our son had lost more weight than they like and was dehydrated. Rather than trying to help me figure out how to get him latching on-which was the problem, he scared us and sent us back to the hospital.
    The pediatrician at the hospital was not breastfeeding friendly at all. She forced formula on us and proceeded to scare us further. Later on that evening an LC finally made it in to see us. She was agitated by the fact that the pedi didn’t at least offer me time to pump and bottle feed breastmilk to our son. The LC tried the whole time we were at the hospital(4 days) to try and get our son to latch and transfer milk. He was very resistant though and thus bagan my relationship with the pump.
    I kept trying to get our son to latch, but it got harder and harder, I ended uo exclussively pumping for him for 16 months bc I was so determined to give him breastmilk.

  44. Shanon says:

    Reading through all of the traps, I actually am so very lucky. I have supportive breastfeeding family/friends and husband. My pediatrician actually is still nursing her 18 month old, so she is supportive.

    My booby trap is that I am a stay at home mom and I feel, even at 6 months postpartum, that I have to stay home. Yes, I’ve nursed in the cry room several times at church, but I wasn’t comfortable because I get stares. I wish that I could just go out without having to schedule my leave times around nursing. I wish it wasn’t like this. The anxiety that I get from nursing in public and people’s reactions just keeps me at home most of the time.

  45. Stephanie B says:

    My son is 11 weeks old and we are still trying to perfect breastfeeding.

    He was born 2 1/2 weeks early via emergency c-section and after a breathing episode ended up in the NICU.

    Without asking me or giving me the chance to breadtfeed the NICU staff started bottle feeding him formula. I told them multiple times to call me when he needed to eat so I could breadtfeed, I never got a call. I borrowed a hospital pump and dud what I could with that and brought them my milk to feed him.

    When I brought my son home he would not latch, luckily someone had told me about nipple shields and I was able to breadtfeed with the assistance of a shield. I was eventually able to wean him off of the shield only to start experiencing pain, more pain than could possibly be normal.

    I feel fortunate that my pediatrician had told me about the Breastfeeding Resource Center. I made an appointment and found that the pain I was experiencing was due to my son being tongue tied. In fact, the lactation consultant couldn’t believe that no one in the hospital noticed or said anything to me about it. I made an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor and had the tongue tie fixed. Here we are four weeks later and we are still trying to fix his latch.

    I think if my husband wasn’t so supportive and I wasn’t so determined to breastfeed it really would of been easier and less stressful to just continue the formula feeding that was started in the hospital.

    I’m glad we are being stubborn and making this work, and this really is a lot of work. My son was born at 5lbs 4oz and after 9 weeks of just breastmilk he has reached 10lbs 10oz! I just hope we can resolve our issues before I go back to work at the end of the month when I will be pumping and storing milk for him to be bottle fed.

  46. Brenda Dalton says:

    Upon hearing that someone wanted to hear my 13 year old story, it nearly brought the tears to my eyes, just maybe, what happened to me would not happen to yet another mother.

    My story starts with a little background. I am a registered nurse, actually had been a nursery nurse for 15 years when our son was born. To our surprise, he was born with a cleft lip and palate. I had always been told that with persistance breastfeeding a baby with a cleft was possible, that if a mother “really” wanted to do it, she would be able to. The Maxofacial doctor didn’t see any real benefit, but my husband, OB and pediatrician encouraged me. Within a matter of just a few days, I realized that there was more needed than just wishing he could actually latch, and that he could be able to move my milk. His jaundice levels rose, his weight was dropping and the support from my pediatrician decreased. I began to utilize a pump in the hospital, and had colostrum to offer, and my husband fed him by a special bottle. There was nobody there to help me, nobody to instruct me on how often to pump (each nurse gave me a different suggestion) or what kind of milk volume to expect… even sadder was that I didn’t know the answers myself, and I was one of the “breastfeeding educators” at that hospital! I had enough logic to begin pumping as often as my son was needing to eat, and continued to do this for the first couple of weeks. At that time, I was making more milk than what our son was eating, so I started to slow down the frequency of pumping (4x/day). After a couple of months, and two episodes of mastitis, I began to have an issue with my milk volume, and was put on Reglan. That increased my volume, but as soon as I stopped, it decreased again. Not knowing any other way of increasing my supply, I contacted my doctor’s office for help, and was given another prescription of Reglan. By this time, it’s 4.5 months after our son’s birth. Within a week of starting the Reglan a second time I had my milk volume back up. I didn’t make the connection between pumping and milk stasis, so I again slowed down the frequency of pumping. The next issue was a grapefruit sized “abcess” to my left breast. I was afebrile this time, not the same symptoms at all. My doctor sent me to a general surgeon, who told me that I had to stop pumping that day. He gave me my options: Take the antibiotics that were too strong for me to continue to breastfeed and give my body time to resolve the “abcess”, or he could “filet” my breast open to remove the “abcess” in which I could actually loose my breast. Knowing how important it was for our son to receive my milk through his first year of life, I asked for other options like a needle aspiration. He told me that I had given my baby enough milk, and now it was time to take care of my breast before I lost it. I left his office, crying back to my OB, who told me that I could relactate after the abcess was gone. So the next several days were miserable, as I stopped pumping cold turkey, the doctor had told me I couldn’t even pump to relieve the pressure, not even on the uneffected side. This was no small feat, con sidering I had been pumping more than 30 oz./day. Fast forward 6 weeks, my “abcess” was now the size of a ping pong ball, and my OB felt that I needed to wait a few more weeks before I started to relactate. By the time all of this had transpired, I chosen to not relactate. I am thankful that my son was able to receive nearly 5 months of breastmilk.

    I continued to think about my case. Learned that the antibiotic that I had previously been prescribed, was compatible with breastfeeding. I wondered about what the mothers who were leaving my hospital were doing when they ran into difficulties. Once my son was older, I decided to educate myself more about breastfeeding. Within 6 months, I had realized how uneducated I really was, and continued reading and studying. I became a IBCLC when my son was 5 years old. I proudly now have a Private Practice. I’ve seen numerous mothers who have been given bad medical information, as well as those who have had good basic info. I also work part time in a hospital. I see the need for all nurses to have the basic skills to assist mothers. As the only IBCLC in the hospital (part time) I have spent my time trying to instruct the staff nurses how to help mothers, one lactation consultant can not see every patient every day. All mothers deserve the ability to get assistance from knowledgable nurses and doctors, it would prevent so many common reasons that women wean before their goal. Seeing patients in their home is great, but my fee is out of pocket for the vast majority of my patients. I believe that if it was covered by insurance it would be utilized more.

    • Brenda Dalton says:

      I forgot to note that my insurance did pay for half of the cost of my personal use pump with a prescription from his Pediatrician.

  47. Nicki Croel says:

    After going into labor naturally my daughter was showing sign of distress on the fetal monitors. I ended up having a c-section and the doctors found out her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck five times. She taken to the special care nursery and I was taken to recovery. I asked for a pump to start expressing for my daughter. I was told by my nurse that I had plenty of time and to just rest. After several more requests a pump was wheeled into my room and a pumping kit was plopped on my bed, the nurse turned and walked away. I figured out how to hook up all the pieces and started pumping. That first day i pumped several times. About 12 hours after birth my daughter had to be taken to a NICU in a different hospital. Shortly after that I left the hospital to be with her.

    We came home from the NICU with bottles, pacifiers and a nipple shield. My daughter nursed at the breast and only got a bottle when she was getting her medicine (mixed with breastmilk). Within 2 weeks we had gotten off the nipple shield. By 2-3 months my daughter gave up her pacifier (she’s a thumb sucker). And we went on to nurse for a year.

    The LC’s in the hospital were brisk and unhelpful. I asked to talk to them, really just needing some reassurance that with all the issued we were facing. The kinda walked up to me and were like “what do you want.”

    Thankfully my pediatrician was pretty supportive and we didn’t have any other issues during our nursing relationship. I will definitely breastfeed my next child. I now work as a breastfeeding peer counselor for WIC.

  48. Johnnie says:

    I’m the first generation to breastfeed in my family. My grandmother didn’t breastfeed and neither did my mother or my aunts. So the education, influence and awareness was never there. I never intended to breastfeed and honestly felt like it would be gross to nurse my child. I am not alone in this. That’s the mentality most people have about breastfeeding when there is no awareness being made. Especially, when breasts are seen more as sexual obsessions on tv and magazines or radio. There is little talk or visuals about breastfeeding. How can people be aware of it if there’s nothing to show for it.

    When I got pregnant is when I started to learn about breastfeeding. I learned from the computer of all places how to breastfeed. Why, how often, when, etc… I chatted with mothers who breastfed too. It was then I realized how important it was for my daughter and me. So by the end of my pregnancy I was prepared, I was ready. Or at least that’s what I thought.

    After I had my daughter we initiated breastfeeding pretty quickly. I was fortunate enough to have nurses who worked with me until the LC came in. The LC spoke with me briefly and seemed rushed. The only useful information she gave to me was how the football hold was ideal and how using pillows would help. I was never taught to properly latch my daughter and ended up finding out on my own.

    The night I brought my daughter home she wasn’t latching properly and cried frequently because she was hungry. I was scared and desperate so I called the nurse hotline for some advice and was encouraged to give formula. I was never aware that there was a hotline specifically for breastfeeding help. I wish I had left the hospital knowing this! That very night I ended up giving my daughter a bottle of formula. I felt like the worst mother in the world!

    I never gave up breastfeeding though. I was determined to get it down even though I had split open part of my nipple due to improper latching. It took several days to figure it all out but I did it somehow.

    Several months later, still breastfeeding, I took my daughter to get a check up and was told by her pediatrician that at 6 months she no longer needs breast milk. That it was useless after that age and showed no signs of benefit thereafter. He encouraged me to start solids and to put her on formula. I thought to myself is he for real? I wasn’t 100% ok with the idea but because he was a pedi I sort of believed he knew what he was talking about.

    I ended up doing more research on it and found he was 100% wrong and gave me false information. A trusted Pediatrician told me how useless breast milk is. This is damaging information. I’m fortunate enough to have access to information online but many women don’t and will feel compelled to do as their doctors say. Granted I did have some information available but I still shouldn’t have had to do it myself. It’s the responsibilities of the LC and should be that of Pediatricians too to ask questions, answer all and to always encourage and support breastfeeding. They should never rush new moms and it would also be great if follow up phone calls were made.

    It’s very unfortunate to know that many women don’t even know what an LC is and take information from their ill-educated doctors home with them. As another mother posted, there needs to be more awareness, more posters, videos, brochures, flyers, advertisements, anything. A mother should see an LC several times until she can latch properly and gets all the information she needs before leaving the hospital otherwise she’ll be set up for failure. We should be leaving hospitals with bags of breastfeeding information and supplies not formula.

    My daughter is now 2.5 yrs old and is still breastfeeding. At around 1year old my grandmother and a few members of my family asked if I was still breastfeeding. I said yes and they questioned why. It is so taboo in my family and in most families I’m sure. I informed them how important it was for her and me and that was it. Luckily, family wasn’t that big of a booby trap. It was the professionals, the educated ones, who were.

  49. Becky H says:

    After experiencing infertilty and deciding to adopt, the one thing I couldn’t let go of was my desire to breastfeed. Eventually I discovered that I could induce lactation and breastfeed our baby. Out of the blue, I came in contact with another woman with the same desire – and she knew how to do it. I talked with my GYN about it, and she was very dismissive of my desire, saying “I don’t know why this is so important to you, and other women. I mean babies get formula most of the time and they’re just fine. You’ll bond with your child even without all this stress”. She agreed to let me take Reglan for 2 weeks – that’s it. I nursed my baby using an SNS butI never developed much of a supply. I eventually gave up because it was more work than bottles – trying to make sure that little tube was inserted into his mouth just the right way because otherwise he’d scream and scream; bottles were just so much easier. Also, at about 3.5 months he got teeth (4 of them) and started biting. After doing the few things I knew to do and him continuing to bite, I gave up. He’ll be 5 in 2 weeks and I still grieve what could have been.
    My 2nd son was born almost 4 months ago. I was bound and determined to be more successful. I took domperidone for more than a year before he was born and started pumping a couple of weeks prior to his birth. Imagine my surprise and joy when I started getting drops of milk after just a few days! I still don’t make much milk of my own, and we are reliant on the SNS and formula. But I know, this time, my son at least gets a few ounces of breastmilk a day. Though I wish I could make everything he needs, I’m trying to call this a success.

  50. Miranda Benson says:

    I had my baby girl in Feb 2010. I was abused by my boyfriend when I was pregnant and wasnt able to get the right amount or kind of food required for me to be able to breastfeed normally after delievery. I saw three different OBGYNs during the first 8 months of my pregnancy and was admitted to the hospital 5 times for early labour. The OBGYNs all told me I wouldnt be able to breastfeed because I had oddly shaped and inverted nipples and since I HAD to a C-Section it was going to be too hard on me and I should just give them formula. At 9 months pregnant (3 weeks before my due date) I left my boyfriend and moved back home to my parents (in a different state). I saw an OBGYN with my mom a week after I arrived home and that doctor said I wouldnt have a problem with breastfeeding, I didnt need a C-Section and the only thing he wanted me to do was eat more. I had only gained 15 lbs in my pregnancy. The following week I saw a Midwife and she said dispite the abuse my baby was going to be on the plus side of 8 lbs and, after a breast exam, I would have no problem with breastfeeding. I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital 1 1/2 weeks before I gave birth. After I gave birth (after 36 hours of labour, semi-naturally (had to get an epid and pictocin at 4cm) and without any Lamaze classes as my boyfriend didnt allow it and there wasnt one when I got home and before I was due) 5 days before my due date, I sat in the delivery room and they placed my baby on my chest. I got the skin to skin, and the bonding and was able to try to breastfeed. I was seen my 3 different LC and was told something different each time. One told me to feed her only for 20 minutes on my breast before switching. Another told me to feed her as long as 45 minutes then switch and the last one told me to feed her as long as she wants on one before switching. My baby was born at 8 lbs 6.4 oz and after trying and trying and trying to breastfeed for 6 hours she finally got the hang of it. The nurse showed me how to hold her so it didnt hurt. The hospital peditrician, however, saw my daughter, weighed her and informed me that she had lost too much weight (she was at 7 lbs 13 oz) and I would HAVE to give her formula. I put it off as much as I could. The second day I was there (the afternoon after my daughter was born) the peditrician told me I could not leave unless he saw me giving her formula (I wasnt leaving till the next day). I reluctantly gave her the formula (Enfamil Premium) which ended up giving her a hard stomach and her screaming half the night in pain. I stopped giving it to her and I told the doctor I wasnt going to anymore, I was going to breastfeed, no matter what! He said she hadnt gained any weight and that if I wanted to “keep my baby” I had to give her the formula. When I left the hospital I tried and tried again to breastfeed but was only able to get about 1 oz of breast milk out and, naturally, my baby was still hungry. I ended up buy some Nestle/Gerber Good Start Protect Plus and she started gaining weight. At her two month appt she weighed 8 lbs 2 oz. She has transitioned from Nestle/Gerber Good Start Protect Plus to Nestle/Gerber Good Start 2 Protect Plus to regular Cow’s milk and Gerber Graduates Smart Sips (which she is on now). I wish I had had more support for breastfeeding, maybe then I would have been able to do it longer. I wish the doctor hadnt told me to give her formula (which made her sick) and I wish that my earlier OBGYNs had supported me.

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