Real Mom Breastfeeding Stories

by Alina Soler

Real Mom Breastfeeding Stories readers share the joys and challenges of nursing, plus some useful tips on what worked for them

A new mom’s breastfeeding experience can be as unique as her baby. Some take to it like they’ve been doing it forever, while others struggle through pain, infections and supply issues. We asked moms to share their stories and advice on what worked (or didn’t work) for them.

Hurts like crazy at first, but you will make it work

“My advice would be to be stubborn about it! If you are determined to make it work, then you will. It isn’t as easy as they made it out to be in my breastfeeding class… My little girl didn’t want anything to do with nursing at first, but I was determined to nurse her. We very quickly became pros at it and I nursed her for 13 months without a drop of formula. (Not that there’s anything wrong with formula — I am just a very stubborn girl who wanted to provide the milk myself.) It hurts like crazy the first couple of weeks, but that will soon go away, and the bond that comes with it, I couldn’t even describe. I’m due in 4 weeks with my second and plan to nurse him for the first year as well.” — Seana Johnson, Texas

Pump if you work full-time

“I was a full time working mother with both my kids. I exclusively breastfed my daughter for 15 months (I went back to work after 6 weeks…so I was a helluva good pumper!) And with my son, I ended up supplementing around 9 months because of stress, reduction in milk supply, and time. BUT looking back, and knowing what I know now, I could have TOTALLY exclusively breastfeed my son too. (He just turned 2 and is still nursing.)” — Deidrea Haysel

Formula solved our feeding problems

“With my son, for some reason, my breast milk never came in. I tried and tried until I gave up and put him on just formula feedings. With my daughter, I got breast milk, but she was so tiny and her mouth was so small, she had trouble latching on. I tried all day and most of the night while I was in the hospital. She got to where she wasn’t waking up, she was so exhausted from trying. Once we gave her the bottle of formula, it was like looking at a whole different baby. She was awake and alert. We’re planning in a couple of years to add a 3rd to our bunch, and if we do, I’ll try again. Hopefully that time it will work.” — Tracy Jeffords Martinez

Get Daddy to help

“Although I thought it would be awkward for my boyfriend to be around while I breastfed, he ended up being very helpful. It’s hard to get your baby in the right position so they’re comfortable and to make sure they can breathe and help the milk flow. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.” — Caitlyn Wilcox

It’s okay to bottle-feed

“If you can breastfeed, that is great, but you should also be open to the possibility that you might not be able to. I couldn’t breastfeed because it frustrated me so much that I wanted to scream; I did not have the temperament to BF. All three of my kids were bottle/formula fed and they are all very healthy. I have never once had a doctor tell me that they weren’t getting the nutrients they needed — in fact, some have commented on how healthy they looked.” — Marie Lawrence, Colorado

See the lactation consultant

“When I had my first son, the hospital offered a lactation consultant visit in our home to check on how things were going. I almost declined, but that would have been such a big mistake because that was the most helpful visit and really helped me continue breastfeeding!” — Kate Kelsch Esaia

Breast size DOES matter

“All the books say that breast size doesn’t matter, and that your body will produce enough milk to meet the baby’s needs. But once my daughter starting requiring more than just 2 ounces every few hours, there was no way my breasts were going to be able to store enough milk for a feeding…so they didn’t. I started supplementing with formula because she wasn’t content with just getting a few ounces, even if it was every 30 minutes. She wanted a full feeding, and would scream and whine until her belly was full. I combo fed until 9 weeks, then switched to formula exclusively because I wasn’t pumping more than a few ounces every 3 or 4 hours. It was too much — I was mentally exhausted.” –Shasta Wilson

Breastfeeding saved us money

“I found breastfeeding to be very painful — I was in tears for a whole month. I got a Medela Swing breast pump and that really helped me out along with applying Lansinoh all the time. I would switch back and forth between pumping and breastfeeding. I was so determined to breastfeed until my son was six months old, and I did it for almost six months. Formula is really expensive — I’m so glad I stuck with breastfeeding; it saved us a bunch of money. Don’t give up if you get frustrated, try talking to other moms about breastfeeding, or call a lactation nurse for any and all questions. But if you decide it isn’t for you, it’s not the end of the world. At least you tried.” –Amanda Hodges, Texas

The discomfort goes away over time

“When I was pregnant, I read all I could on how to breastfeed because I believe it is the natural way to go. As soon as my daughter was born, I put her to my breast. The first few weeks were the hardest because we were both learning how to do it. I advise using a nipple ointment during these weeks. My baby also had thrush for a short time, which felt a sharp deep pain going through my breast when my milk would let down, but it didn’t seem to bother her. I kept with it anyway, and within a couple of weeks, all of the discomfort was gone. My daughter is 6 months old now and is still breastfeeding (she also just started solids!) without any problems. She never had any weight gaining problems — as a matter of fact; she has always been a chubby healthy baby!” — Nicole Small

Pumping was easier for us

“I breastfed my firstborn because he’d been through hell at birth and I was determined to do everything I could for him, although I really sucked at it. My son couldn’t latch well. I didn’t know it at the time, but his tongue in-coordination was part of his overall muscle control issues. He was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. I was a far better pumper, so I’d feed on occasion but pump a whole lot, and I made it through ten months that way. I also supplemented with formula, and while I had doubts for me, it was what worked for my life as a working mom and for my capabilities as a human being.” — Ellen Seidman, mom blogger

Follow your baby’s schedule

“I nursed my son some days more often than others because it’s HIS schedule, not mine, or the doctor’s, or other mothers’, etc. I knew he was gaining weight and that was all that mattered. He let me know when he was hungry and full. Patience is key at first, until you get comfortable about how to hold them while nursing, their eating habits, and what works best for you both. The only pain I had at first, for about a week or so, were menstrual-like cramps when I nursed from the contracting of my uterus, but that went away the more I nursed. It’s such a beautiful bonding experience for a mother and child. I’m looking forward to nursing our next one due in October as well.” — Ginger Ott, Ohio

Formula didn’t work for us

“I had a hard time nursing my older two children, because I started giving them formula on the first few days of birth. My experience is: formula messes up their system and breast milk is especially designed for the baby — right temp, right flow. Now I have been exclusively nursing my 6 month-old baby, just started solids and she is a happy baby.” — Michal Zelman

Thrush, ugh!

“For me the first couple months were tough, Oliver got thrush (so did I, ugh), and I guess it took my body a while to get used to the feeling. But after those first 6-8 weeks, the discomfort subsided and everything was fine. I fed on demand pretty much, and had a huge supply so nursing pads and lanolin cream were a MUST. I had the Lansinoh Double Electric Pump, which was a great help when I wanted Kenny to help feed or just wanted to go out for a couple hours by myself.” — Caitlin Morissette, Maryland

A bond like no other

“One of my fave memories of my first child is the breastfeeding. Not in a gross way. It’s an amazing feeling; it feels good, and the bonding is like none other. When you feed your child and they look into your eyes, it’s just amazing. I can’t wait to breastfeed with my second child due in a month!” — Rebecca Sitar, Pennsylvania

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