Breastfeeding Myths, Tips & Resources - One Year Later

When I was pregnant, I knew I really wanted to nurse. To me, nursing was something so natural, so special and so good for my baby. I took months learning everything I could about breastfeeding, even before I became a mom. My goal was a year. We are now at almost 23 months and my daughter is still nursing before bedtime. It is something so special for us. We (my husband and I) have decided that 2 years is our max.

I am sharing with you some myths that scared me in the beginning, some tips that I learned along the way and resources that helped me when I started to doubt or had questions.

3 Breastfeeding Myths

Myth #1 - It will only hurt if you have a bad latch. 

Fact: It will hurt if you have a bad latch, but in the beginning, even a good latch can hurt too.
I remember getting my baby girl in the recovery room {per my request} and getting her to latch on with the help of my nurse. It was a strange, intense, but amazing feeling - at least the first 10 minutes. Then for the next 20 minutes, I remember thinking, "How long will this last and why does it hurt so much? They said she's latched fine." Then we switched sides and it was the same thing, I had some pain. {Yes, she nursed for a half hour on each side...she loved nursing from the start} As soon as she was taken away for a bath, I grabbed my nipple butter* and rubbed it on.  Sweet relief. But why did it hurt so much. nipples were not used to being pulled and tugged on like that. You're body is getting used to now not being pregnant and now someone is sucking as hard as they can on a part of your body that is usually all covered up. It will hurt a bit in the beginning. Now if you have sharp pains - that is a bad latch and needs to be fixed quickly.

Myth #2 - It is so natural that my baby and I will just know how to do it.

Fact: Even though it is natural, you may need some help.
I am going to be honest - nursing came somewhat easy to me with my baby. However, it came natural to me because I had gone to the classes, I learned techniques to get baby to latch properly, I practiced my holds and my baby just loved to suck. I did however need help. I had nurses help me correct a bad latch that was making me bleed and crack. I had nurses show me other ways to nurse - like side lying and how to properly use my boppy* {which I could not live without}. It will become natural to you, but you may need some help in the beginning.
**Just a note on the breast crawl - cutest and most amazing feeling in the world - didn't experience it until she was 1.5 mos old. I just happened to be topless {which I was most of the days} doing skin to skin and she just fell down my chest and tried to find the milk. Amazing.**

Myth #3 - When my baby gets teeth, I need to stop nursing because they will bite me. 

Fact: They may bite you, but it will only be a couple times because the way you will jump will scare them. 
When your baby bites you with those sweet new teeth - it hurts. I don't think I felt pain like that ever. #fulldisclosure However, when I was bit the first time, I jumped and yelled and scared my daughter so much that she started crying, I calmed her and told her she can't bite like that. She never bit again, on purpose. Believe it or not, by 6 months {9 months in our case} when they get their first tooth, they can understand that you are a food source. If they want to continue this food source, they need not bite it. They are smarter than we give them credit for.

Breastfeeding Tips

What to do for cracked/bleeding nipples

After each feed, dip your nipple into very salty water 10 times. Allow to air dry completely. Apply nipple cream*. Within 48 hours, this should be cleared up. Whatever you do, keep nursing from that side!
{Advice from a Lactation Consultant, this worked for me}
The best Nipple Cream - Breastfeeding myths, tips & Resource Link
My Favorite Nipple Cream*

Pacifier or no pacifier? 

Ultimately it is your choice. We used a Soothie* sparingly. I nursed her every chance I got. On the rare occasion she wasn't content just nursing, then we would give her a pacifier. We also used it right after she got a feed and was still awake or she had already nursed and needed to go to sleep. She never really took to it, which was fine for us. No weaning off a paci!
The best Pacifier - Breastfeeding myths, tips & Resource Link
Soothie Pacifier*

Bottle or no bottle? 

Again, this is your choice. Our daughter was getting colic from bad gas. My husband found really great ways to get the gas out with leg exercises, but it wasn't enough. We added in probiotic* into her diet and it did wonders. We added the probiotic to 1 bottle a day that daddy gave her. 
  If you choose to give a bottle to an infant early:
  • Give only a small amount before or after attempting to nurse. We would give her a small amount in a bottle and I would follow up with nursing
  • Have daddy, grandma, grandpa, aunt or uncle give the bottle. You want baby to associate you with nursing, not bottle.
  • Try different nipples until you find the perfect one for your baby. We tried several different nipples and bottles. We ended up using the expensive Medela nipple* that actually came with my breast pump because it worked best for her, it just also coincidentally was the first one she tried. We were able to put the expensive nipples on the extremely affordable Gerber bottles* to help us save a bit of money. 
The best Bottle Nipple for us - Breastfeeding myths, tips & Resource Link
Medela Nipples and Bottles*

When to use your breast pump? 

I started using my pump from week 1. After every.single.feeding. I would go and hook up to my pump and empty myself the rest of the way. Yes you heard me right - EVERY.SINGLE.FEEDING. for 3 months, even the 2 am feeds. By the end of 3 months, I had 100 oz in my freezer and my daughter was fully fed after each nursing session because I knew I had enough milk in me. 
  **Some lactation consultants will tell you not to do this because it can lead to an oversupply. You know your body. If you do it and you feel overly full or engorged, wean off a pump each day until you are not doing it anymore. Your body will regulate quickly.**

Helpful Breastfeeding Resources

What most insurance companies will provide for you:

  • Breast Pump
  • Lactation Consultant {at home visit after birth}
  • Some classes including breastfeeding education and nursing books.

Some great resources that I used along the way

What to Expect's Breastfeeding Forum
You Tube for several latching techniques

The world of breastfeeding is a bit overwhelming but there really are some great resources out there. I hope this has helped you a bit.

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  1. This is packed full of good info, Stephanie! Although my time has not come yet, I have several friends who have breastfed. For some, it came so easy, for others it was difficult and formula needed to be introduced for both the health of the baby and the sanity of mom.

    1. You are absolutely right! Some people just cannot breastfeed, and that is ok too. Some struggle and give up because they don't have the resources even though they try. As long as a baby is being fed, nourished and loved, it doesn't matter how it happens! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Wonderful article and so timely! My daughter just had her first baby and he is gassy. She's removing dairy from her diet in case it's a dairy intolerance (runs in the family), but I'm going to suggest looking into a probiotic. Thanks!

    1. I had to remove dairy too. It takes a while for the dairy to get out of your system though - something like up to 2 weeks. The probiotic was excellent and my husband you-tubed a ton of leg exercises to do with baby's legs to help them move gas along. It became one of my daughter's favorite games :) Tell her good luck and to keep plugging along.

  3. This is awesome! I used to feel really bad that I only breast fed my son for a month and stopped. I didn't have enough information to know what to do. I gave up. Great post, thanks! If I have another, I have this info.

    1. Don't ever feel bad. One month is still a month. I hope this information can help you in the future. :)

  4. Great post! I am currently nursing our 22 month old and it is amazing to me how much different it is this time around than the first time with our oldest. I had to do more research, try new things and learn a lot more!

    1. WOW! That is great! 22 months! Each child is different and it's amazing how much you need to look into at different stages. I am sure you have even looked into more since you are past even 13 months!

  5. Great post! I love KellyMom as a resource!

  6. Great article! I agree with what you've said. I've nursed five little chicklets & it's been an adventure each time...but it did get a tad easier each time. At least I knew what to expect :)

    Thanks for sharing on this week's Mom 2 Mom Encouragement Party! Hope you come join us again :)
    Rachael @ Diamonds in the Rough

  7. thanks for linking up at Totally Terrific Tuesday!! I love having you!! Have a wonderful week girly!
    Jess @liverandomlysimple


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