The Breastfeeding Thread

[name_m]Hi[/name_m]! I’m BFing my almost 4 month old and I BF my 3 year old until just before her second birthday. Hoping to go as long with O, but we’ll see what she wants. C pretty much decided herself when she wanted to wean.

We struggled a little at first but my lactation consultant has been amazing. I have to use a nipple shield because my nipples are quite flat, which is more of an inconvenience than anything else, but we’ve managed a few times without it so I hope that over the next few months we can wean her from the shield. I had the same issue with my oldest, I had to use the shield with her for just over 2 months.

Omg girl! I was just thinking of you and wondering how everything is going with your little girls?! So nice to see you posting! :smiley:

[name_m]Hi[/name_m]! The girls are doing so good! They’ll be 6 months on [name_f]Tuesday[/name_f] and I just can’t believe it, time really does fly by. I miss all of you and wish I could check in more often but it’s so rare that I have downtime. (Which I’m totally OK with!)

I hope you’re doing well!!! <3

Woo man I was not in a good place the last time i posted here. Well, H is 22 months now and we are going stronger than ever with breastfeeding. Our journey really started to turn around when he was diagnosed in [name_u]June[/name_u] 2018 with a bunch of allergies. He had been getting many allergens through me that just seem to have held him back. He stayed on that stubborn 13th lb for 6 months and had was down to something like .004 percentile on WHO charts for weight. It was crazy… since then he has fully rebounded and is right where he should have been all along (is now 28 lbs and 32 inches). So given how bad our very beginning was, plus all the weight gain struggles once we actually got him to the breast full time, our nursing relationship really turned up around 11 months or so and has been amazing ever since. Honestly I am so so so thankful I stuck through so much crap to get to this part. H only actually nurses about 2-4 times a day now, but often nurses for comfort (not to letdown) more frequently when he has any spills or stressful experiences. It makes him so happy. He has had one cold in his life so far, and I credit getting through two winters to the facts that he is so far an only child and to my continued breastfeeding. He is robust and healthy, happy, and so stinking smart. My original goal was to make it to 2 and I’m very confident we will.

I also still pump very very tiny amounts, but to donate to my state’s hospital milk bank and to save for if we adopt an infant. That became very important to me after our first potential adoptive scenario last fall when we learned of a micro preemie whose parents were weighing adoption placement at the time. That child obviously did not come home with us, but it inspired me to donate as I think of all the little ones out there we don’t know of personally but who come about needing breastmilk every day.

@katinka, congrats on [name_m]AH[/name_m]. Her name is absolutely gorgeous. Sorry to have missed the deliberations, but so glad she us here and you chose so well. [name_m]How[/name_m] is breastfeeding going third time round?

I never believed the moms in my life when they said that breastfeeding is hard at first. I’m 7 weeks in and we’re still finding our groove.
We tried our first public feed and it went okay. It was in a nursing room, so it was less hectic around us…
We will get there. My health team is incredible and they have given me such good guidance and assure me it just takes time.
Wish us luck.

@medfordkung/hyacinthbucket (love it! ”) Thank you. She is 6 months now and it’s all going well. Sounds like you’ve done amazingly! Well done on going for nearly 2 years, incredible!

@maren2019 Good luck! The first few weeks are crazy, but you’re doing great and it will get easier and easier!

@katinka im sorry to write on this if this thread is supposed to be long gone but I do love that you started it! Kudos either way :purple_heart:

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Curious question mamas-

How long did you stay on your prenatal after delivery?

Backstory: Currently on my second go around of “tandem nursing”… I have 3 kids under 5 and have been nursing some child or another every day since the first was born. [name_f]My[/name_f] ideal “cut-off” for my kids is 3.5 years. I think with the first two I pretty much stopped without even thinking about it after the bottle ran out. But now my third is nearly 10 months old and I’m still taking my prenatal every day but wondering if that’s what I ideally should do for the next 2+ years and wondering how others think this through.

I kept taking mine right through from my first pregnancy until weaning my youngest. I checked the labels and it’s basically the same contents as a regular women’s multivitamin, but the pregnancy ones are always way cheaper for some reason (law? government subsidies?)

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Wow, I’ve never noticed either of those things! Thanks for the feedback!

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I stayed on mine straight through until my next pregnancy. (I wasn’t on birth control at the time and wanted to be extra sure I had enough folic acid in my system just in case I got pregnant again) Like @katinka said there isn’t much difference between daily multivitamins and prenatals except the amount or percentage of vitamins dor in prenatals is formulated to promote healthy pregnancy (especially the folic acid)

However it’s been my experience at least in the states prenatals are usually more expensive (or at least as expensive) as a daily multivitamin.

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[name_m]Ah[/name_m] yes, I should have specified I’m in the UK. The cost/contents comparison may not apply to the US, so always check the labels carefully :slight_smile:

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When i was breastfeeding, i got really dehydrated. [name_f]My[/name_f] tongue turned white. Thanks for the help everyone. :slight_smile:

I wanted to update where I am/have been with breastfeeding for the past 2 years. I’m anticipating needing more help and support in the next few months.

So H is still breastfeeding at 3.75YO (see summary of saga above @medfordkung). He was down to just once a day by the time my second arrived when he was 2.5 and I was barely making any milk at the time but he has kept with it anyway. More on that below…

With A, my adopted child, I worked really hard at getting him to adoptive breastfeed for the first 10 weeks of his life. We had so many issues compounding things (my Hashimotos, his laryngomalacia, the suddenness of his arrival as we only knew about him 1 week before he was born, his coming to us bottle reliant at 3 days old and us not being able to be with him in the hospital due to COVID, no family in the area and no access to the doula support we had for my first due to lockdown, etc. There were also other factors I won’t go into). Because of the pandemic (he was born early [name_f]April[/name_f] 2020) we were not able to have his laryngomalacia adequately treated right away. I was essentially told if he crashed because of a prolonged episode of apnea, bring him in for emergency surgery, but otherwise we had to wait. He could not adequately suck, swallow, and breathe whether by bottle or breast because he could not breathe well, but we kept him going. He had his suppraglottoplasty at 9 weeks old during the first day that the surgical floor was open for non-COVID, non-“emergency” cases. I had consult after consult with my IBCLCs and later OTs, who eventually stopped charging me because they wanted to help and his case wasn’t something you see everyday. Attempting to relactate was incredibly rough on me. I was pumping 10-14 times per 24 hours, taking domperidone and herbs, being vigilant about my sleep and diet (but stress was obviously through the roof between early COVID, social isolation, and sudden newborn). I was never able to pump more than 1.25oz a day but I kept at that high level of pumping for 10 weeks anyway. I’m so glad he had my milk, every last drop I was ever able to provide him. I also gave him my own pumped milk I had stored that fully met his needs for the first 3 weeks until we ran out. [name_f]My[/name_f] husband went back to work (grocery, essential worker) at 10 weeks and I was home alone with the two kids for the first time, still with super restricted social support due to lockdown, and the constant pumping just had to go… I kept pumping just twice a day but soon was only getting drops with so little stimulation (still didn’t quit that until 5 months in anyway). I told myself it was a break until I could get my feet under me. It was far too painful for me to think that was it… our breastfeeding journey was over. I had seen what it was like to persevere with H and get to that other side of the rainbow, only after a year… but all my persistence has felt sooo worth it for the bond H and I have shared ever since. So by comparison it just felt like I couldn’t even admit to myself that quitting was truly an option if that was what I was giving up. I cherish the memories of the few times that I was able to tandem feed both H and A at breast. They are some of my favorite moments of parenthood so far. So I had all this cognitive dissonance about stopping my efforts, but it was either that or drive myself metaphorically off a cliff. Something had to give based on the circumstances.

We decided to TTC when A was 6 months (we did not adopt for fertility reasons). Figured it could take a while, figured we also had high chances of a loss at some point (Hashimoto’s quadruples the individual relative risk of miscarriage, which of course is already prevalent even without thyroid dysfunction). But we got lucky again and conceived right away with this sticky bun in my belly. A small part of the reason to try right away was the thought in the back of my mind that if I could have them close enough together, there was a better chance of getting A to breast. Obviously other reasons had weight, too, but it was a contributing factor. With first trimester sickness and breast tenderness (H still comfort nursing but complaining pretty early that there was no more milk at all), I didn’t even think about attempting to get A back to breast during that time. But in [name_f]April[/name_f] of this year I finally felt ready to figure it all out. I had a consult with an adoptive breastfeeding expert (the author of Breastfeeding without Birthing) for how to strategize about getting a toddler to breast (he turned 1 the week of that consult). Since then, I have been working on making my breast available to him and making my bare chest a happy place with good associations. The hope being that he might eventually try to latch (he hasn’t latched bare, but has latched a few times to a nipple shield, though he hasn’t done that for a few weeks now). I’ve done LLL meetings since I was 10 weeks pregnant with my first baby… now virtual. But I find it amusing to see time after time now that A is beyond a year moms with similar-aged babies coming to talk about weaning while I’m just still trying to get A to the breast in the first place, but I think it’s what I need to give my best efforts in order to feel satisfied with our journey, even if it doesn’t lead anywhere and he never nurses. I’m all about consent-based caring for my children so I recognize that at his age, it is up to him whether he eventually wants to nurse or not… but I’m trying to stack all the cards in the favor and create the environment where that can easily happen. The hope is that when I have milk when my 3rd and final baby is born in just a few weeks (I’m 36w), he will:

  1. See H continuing to breastfeed as he has been exposed to his whole life
  2. See baby [name_u]Bao[/name_u] breastfeed round the clock
  3. [name_m]Feel[/name_m] slightly jealous of all the time in arms that [name_u]Bao[/name_u] gets because they’re nursing and figure it’s a good way to get some of that attention from me
  4. Try to latch and be really excited there is so much milk and nurse off into the sunset :sunrise: :rainbow:

[name_m]Even[/name_m] if A doesn’t try, I’m looking forward to providing him with my pumped milk. With this third, I’m aiming for an oversupply. 2 days ago at 36w I started breast massage and hand compression. I’m also encouraging H to nurse more often again (he was down to once every few days for the 2nd trimester, but he was SUPER excited when I started to have drops of colostrum again and has been willing to try when I offer now, as opposed to before when it was all about him asking). I’m also taking Goats [name_u]Rue[/name_u], Malunngay, and Alfalfa, herbs that have worked well for me in the past and that are evidence-based to start prenatally to up the chances of higher milk production postpartum.

Ideally, I’ll be breastfeeding for 2 more years at the very minimum. 2+ years was my goal with H and I obviously made it. I’d like to be able to exclusively breastfeed [name_u]Bao[/name_u], as well as providing for all of A’s toddler milk needs, replacing the cow, sheep, goat milk he has been on since a year. H can wean when he is ready but I’d love more time tandem nursing and I do think it REALLY helped the transition to siblinghood for him last time. I’m hoping it can help again. If possible, I’d love to continue to donate as I donated before A came along, and then we relied heavily on donor milk during his first year as well. I’d love to give back what I can. So basically I want to make enough to feed the world… but we will see what happens. I still have the thyroid stuff working against me. And I’m very anxious about Bao’s oral anatomy. H had sooooo many issues of oral dysfunction and anatomy that worked against us and I know parts of that are genetic and likely to be the case again. But I’m hoping that [name_u]Bao[/name_u], too, can come out latching and nurse off into the sunset. I’m so ready for an easy, straightforward nursing journey. It’d be nice if that could be 1/3 of my story.

Anyways thanks for reading if you made it this far.
TL;DR: whoo, man, breastfeeding is hard. I want to do it anyway.

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I feel you on this. I had a few challenges myself with both of my girls latching, but luckily we did good after that.

With [name_f]Noemi[/name_f], I had an inverted nipple so I had to use a nipple shield on one side for a month or two. I ended up breastfeeding her for 2 years, only pumping for one year. People think it’s the strangest thing to breastfeed past a year old, no idea why.

With [name_f]Kiana[/name_f], they said she had a bit of a tongue tie, so she had some trouble latching at first and I used the nipple shield for a little while with her also because it hurt so much without it. We didn’t have any issues since, and never got the tongue tie corrected yet. She breastfed up to 23 months because I was hospitalized for 5 days when she was that age.

I’m due in about 5 weeks with baby number 3 and hoping to breastfeed to 2 years again.

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[name_m]Way[/name_m] to go, @jenni_lynn91, with your so far just shy of 4 years! I hope your third is also a smoother start and that you make your goal of 2 more years as well!

H is now interested in latching every single day again. I’ve also been hand expressing almost every day for the last 2.5 weeks and have over a teaspoon of colostrum saved so over a full feed for day 1 stomach size (I’ll likely give this stuff day 2 unless we wind up in the NICU where I’d give it right away as a triple feed). I had my PCP test my prolactin levels just for reference later if I have issues, but all looks right where it should be for third trimester/near term. I had a prenatal consult with one of my IBCLCs. I’m feeling much more confident about how things COULD shape up differently for the better this time.

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@hyacinthbucket thats cool to hear your update about H! Hoping for postive reports all around going forward.

Currently in a season of trying to wean my second - age 3.25ish.

I’m not sure how most people wean but with my kids I aim for a "painfully slow " process that starts when they turn 3 with my end goal of 3.5. [name_f]My[/name_f] second up until 4 days ago was still asking for milk twice a day. Where it’s been 4 days of successfully distracting her from one of these times I’m hopefully down to just one a day now….

I see it as a necessary bittersweet time. Physically I think I’ve learned my body tells me when its time to be done with the tandem nursing. But also down the line hubby and I havent ruled out the possibility of adding more children to the family. Last go around I tandem nursed with my older two while pregant with my third for the first two trimesters… and while I wouldnt change how it played out then… its not something I want to do again with now having three on the outside.

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Nice to see so many other long term breastfeeding moms!

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[name_u]Happy[/name_u] World Breastfeeding week (August 1-7) and National Breastfeeding Month (US) to all you fellow nursing mamas! :purple_heart:

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