13 Weeks: Breastful Dreams

March 13, 2012

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The most commom dream I’ve been having since becoming pregnant is about breastfeeding. It’s the part of motherhood I look forward to most (so I sure hope it works for me!). Probably because I’ve had a large chest my whole life and hope that it hasn’t all been for nothing!

A few weeks ago I had a dream that someone presented me with my baby days after I had given birth. I had forgotten that I had given birth, and when I realized it was my baby, I panicked that I hadn’t fed it and it was starving to death. I started to breastfeed it and the feeling was amazing. It was like the baby was sucking love from me, and it forgave me for the neglect in a few gulps.

I had a similar dream this week with foggy details, but again I was presented with my baby and was engorged on top. I put him/her to my breast and the feeling of relief was amazing. I sure hope it’s that incredible in real life!

I’ve heard the first few weeks can be really hard, so I’m prepared for that. My mom swears by “nipple roughing,” meaning taking a towel or your fingers and literally desensitizing your nipples in preparation for the physical demands of breastfeeding. I’ve heard this also on Pregtastic that another woman’s mother swears by it. It doesn’t sound like the most fun thing, but I bet it does work. Do any of you have any experience with that!?

This morning as I woke up, I was half dreaming, half awake, lying on my side. In this transition state, I felt like something was tickling my stomach from within. Like there was a little mouse in there running up the side of my uterus wall. It went on for about 30 seconds, and I woke up in the process SURE that this was the baby waking me up. It was like feathers being brushed on my stomach from the inside. I haven’t felt any major movements, and they seem to only come when I lie really still like when I’m reading or first waking up, but this was by far the coolest one yet!

And one more tiny boobalicious tidbit: not only have my breasts started another growth spurt this week (darn!), but I swear the borders of my nipples have too. It’s like the pigment is changing on the skin just outside and thus the whole thing has increased in diameter. I’ve had random twinges and pains too. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that!

Other 13 week posts

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5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

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{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allison K March 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I learned just this week that the reason our areolas and nipples darken is so that they baby can see them with the premature eyesight right after delivery.
Also, I don’t know if your OB practice employs a lactation consultant, but if they do, you should make an effort to see her before giving birth. I met with one last week, and while I didn’t learn a ton, I enjoyed meeting with her. She also offers a free breastfeeding class to mothers in weeks 32-38, that goes into more details and provides tips for the delivery room to help transition into successufl breastfeeding. I’m super interested to know more. I know that breastfeeding does not work for everyone, but I too, am hoping that it works for me.

And, on the dream note? My sister-in-law had one crazy pregnancy dream: she was breastfeeding a kitten!

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2 KERF March 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I’m planning to take our hospital’s breastfeeding class :)

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3 Katie March 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I am totally with you Kath! I’ve been larger chested my whole life and now I’m hoping these bad boys will finally be put to good use once our baby’s here in July. :) I also feel you bummer-wise about the boobs growing. Many of my smaller chested friends just rolled their eyes at me but it’s annoying, particularly when working out or trying dress a bit more modestly/professionally. My bra size has gone up one band size and two cup sizes. Siiiigh.

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4 Jill March 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm

This is funny – I recently wrote a blog post called “I Love Breastfeeding” (here’s the link if you’re interested: http://ramblingsofawanderlust.blogspot.com/2012/02/i-love-breastfeeding.html). I did not start off enjoying breastfeeding at all, but now at month seven, I absolutely love it. Don’t give up too soon, whatever you do!

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5 KERF March 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Fun! I’ll check it out

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6 Morgan March 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I wish I knew about the nipple desensitizing thing. My baby wasn’t even a ferocious nurser and both of my nipples were totally scabbed over for the first 2 weeks. It goes away but man it was painful for a while!!

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7 emily campano March 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

My mom said the same thing about roughing up the nipples! I didn’t take her advice though, and breastfeeding for the first 6-8 weeks was really really rough! So next time around I am totally going to use a washcloth or I’m going to pinch them a bunch or something to make sure they are ready. Good news, ended up breastfeeding for 13 months after having my daughter, so if they first 6 weeks are bad hang in there. It gets soooooo much better! While in the hospital use the lactation consultants as much as you can! If you end up with sore nipples see if your doc can prescribe you something called newman’s nipple cream. It has to be compounded at a pharmacy but it is amazing stuff!

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8 Alicia March 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Previous commenter is right about them darkening so baby can see. They go back :)
Breastfeeding IS tough. People are going to tell you that it shouldn’t hurt. Eventually, it won’t, but at first, heck yes it hurts. My midwife told me that studies have shown nipple preparation to be ineffective and that it can cause nipple dammage so avoid it.
The things that helped us get to a productive and happy breastfeeding relationship are:
1) What some people call a ‘breastfeeding husband’. You need a partner who is 100% supportive of breastfeeding. The early days are for you to take care of baby and him to take care of you.
2) Support. We got help from an LC in the hospital, dropped into a few support groups, and spent time on the phone (including this number: 1-800-994-9662 It’s the national breastfeeding hotline and the woman I spoke to was SO helpful! Put that on the fridge!)
3) Informing myself. I read TONS about it (especially at kellymom) and eventually soaked in a bunch of the information. I didn’t realize that I had nipple dammage so I wasn’t treating my nipples correctly. They needed to be open to the air to heal (get ready to be topless for a loooong time! That’s why I’m not in too many early photos!) but I was wearing Soothies because they felt so sensitive. After lots of reading I realized what was going on and they healed up pretty quickly. It’s also really helpful to remember the basics of breastfeeding: supply and demand. If baby demands it, your body will supply it. If you pump, your body will produce the milk, so don’t pump more than you need. In those early days, it’s SO important to feed any time they show the desire to help set your supply. Oh, and know that your baby will be fine on just colostrum for quite a while, so don’t feel tempted to supplement with formula. It took 5 days for my milk to come in and she was just fine. Any time you supplement with formula you’re missing the opportunity to tell your body to make milk.
4) Positive breastfeeding role models. I knew lots of women who breastfed and it was so nice to have them around to remind me what a functional breastfeeding relationship looks like. It was also super helpful to watch them feed. It helped me understand how to hold the baby, etc.
5) Some basic equipment: Boppy pillow & lanolin to use before and after feeding (and before taking showers because it protects sore dry nipples)
6) Drive and dedication. I just knew that it was something that I wanted to work, so I worked through all the issues knowing that they were short term and our breastfeeding relationship was long term. I had to work my BUTT OFF to bf, but it was SO worth it. Someone told me “never quit anything on a bad day” and remembering that I couldn’t ‘un-quit’ breastfeeding helped me get through the roughest time.
Sorry for the novel of a post! It was a major learning experience for me, and I know it will be for you too. Just like natural birth, hope for the best, work your hardest to get there, and be understanding with yourself and the baby along the way. You BOTH have to learn. It’s SO worth it! And of course, you know where to find me, so dont’ hesitate to email me if you have any questions!

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9 immy March 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Yes to everything above, especially the Soothies. The lactation consultant at MJH suggested them, they were the only thing that helped my nipples to heal. Also, the LLL in Charlottesville is a great resource.

http://www.amazon.com/Soothies-65005-Gel-Pads/dp/B00005BTKP
http://lllcville.blogspot.com/

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10 Samantha March 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm

babies as i understand dont see your nipples, their vision isn’t that great in the beginning. they know by feel, thats why they will latch on anything, ears, noses, dads neck, etc.

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11 Jenn March 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Fantastic advice Alicia!
I’m a trained breastfeeding peer counsellor and was just coming on to write most of what you just did so I’ll save myself the trouble and just agree with what you said..

There have been a few studies which suggest that one indicator of a positive outcome with breastfeeding is the pregnant mother being around lots of breastfeeding mothers and seeing it “in action” a lot. I guess this could explain partly why so many women in our culture have difficulties, because breastfeeding, on the whole, isn’t something you see a lot on a day to day basis, it tends to be hidden away.

I really wish I had been to a La Leache League meeting while I was pregnant, I went when my eldest was a few months old, and the things I learned and the support I got would’ve been really useful in the early days!

Loving your posts Kath, and especially loving your enthusiasm. :)

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12 Alicia March 13, 2012 at 10:53 pm

This is why I’ve started unabashedly publicly breastfeeding. People need to see what it looks like, children need to know that breasts are made to feed babies, and our culture as a whole needs to be more aware and accepting of breastfeeding as a normal thing. Even in public. Even at the dinner table. Even at a fancy restaurant.

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13 Eileen March 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm

This is excellent advice! The only other things I would add are …

a.) Try to get a good latch every time. Sometimes when I was tired and frustrated, I’d just let the baby get on however he/she wanted to. But incorrect latch causes a lot of bf’ing problems. You sometimes have to take them off the breast a couple of times before they latch on correctly, but it makes a big difference.

b.) You pretty much need to eat and hydrate like a marathoner.

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14 Caitlin in MD March 14, 2012 at 5:01 am

All of this advice is spot on. I nursed my son (who is now 18 months) for 1 year. Breast feeding was, by far, my favorite part of having a baby. It was very hard at first, and a big commitment all the way through, but if you are dedicated you can make it happen.

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15 KathyZS March 17, 2012 at 7:55 am

Excellent, excellent post. And #6 is the biggie here. While it seems the most natural thing in the world, both you and the baby need to learn how to nurse.

And a tip from another busty gal, the football hold worked best for me and a boppy is a must for success!

You can do it, and you will have tons of support.

Congratulations.

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16 ES March 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Nooooooo, do not rough up your nipples! Who knows, maybe your son/daughter’s latch will be fine, and you’ve put yourself through that for nothing!

Once you’re past 2 weeks, you’re golden.

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17 Kelly March 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I agree with this…..don’t roughen. My LC said its actually outdated information. A correct latch should not hurt…..now the pain from the actual sucking you can’t do anything but get used to if you gave birth to a vaccum as I did :) Just take care of your nips once you start nursing. All purpose nipple ointment (apno) from the LC and air drying with some expressed breast milk seemed to be the best combo for me. I agree with the others that after the first 2 weeks of hell, its all good, and sooooo worth it!

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18 BethT March 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I agree with this. Breastfeeding is uncomfy enough for the first few weeks….I can only imagine if I’d roughed myself up first. Haha.

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19 JosieT March 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Do NOT rough up your nipples! Noooooo. That is awful advice and it’s only going to make things insanely uncomfortable.

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20 Nicole March 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I have yet to measure myself, but I know that the bra I finally bought in December because I lost 30 lbs is WAY too tight (was at some point in Feb). I’m now back in my “fat” bras, but I can tell the cup size isn’t right, even if the bigger band feels awesome. We just moved and haven’t sold the old place yet, so I’m loathe to buy maternity gear just yet. I work at home, so it doesn’t matter what I wear there, but for going out I’m currently relegated to the hair tie trick on the only pair of regular jeans that still fit and these annoying maternity jeans I got at Target for $10.

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21 Sarah March 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I take a class two nights a week and am still nursing my 7 month old. By the time she nurses (4am) its been 12 hours and you are right- oh my goodness does it feel good!! Lanolin will be your best friend. Also’ Jack Newmans all purpose nipple cream was a lifesaver for me!

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22 Nicole March 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

And I love that you’re addressing sensitivity issues. It’s definitely something those of us who are shy about it need answers to. I feel awkward asking questions like that!

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23 Heather March 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm

This post made me realize I’m still a 12 year old at heart. haha. (“nipple roughing”). I have never heard of that, but interesting…

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24 Erin Motz March 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I love how transparent you are in these. Such a great perspective. I don’t have kids yet but I think I’m coming down with baby fever so all of this is pretty exciting. :-D

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25 Averie @ Averie Cooks March 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm

“It’s like the pigment is changing on the skin just outside and thus the whole thing has increased in diameter.” — It does. Babies have bad vision when they are born and it’s nature’s way of helping them see the target, literally!

I loved nursing; my fondest memories of new motherhood are all nursing-related. Looking at your baby sleeping on your chest is pretty much the best feeling ever.

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26 Michaela March 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Averie, I didn´t know this, but it makes sooo much sense!!

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27 Nicole M. March 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Oh, I loved breastfeeding so much. Every time I fed her but ESPECIALLY in the beginning, I felt that surge of Oxycontin relax me all over. It was a reminder to stop whatever I was doing, and just enjoy the beautiful life I was holding. I had never been a very patient person until I had my baby and breastfed her. In the beginning, I had a lot of pain but I found relief in lanolin-based creams. I didn’t do any nipple roughing ahead of time but I’m not sure I believe it would help, since it’s hard to duplicate the sensation your baby gives and the soreness from that. However, the painful period was short-lived and as long as you remember why you chose to breastfeed, it’s worth it.

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28 Kate March 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Um, just waanted to clarify…by “oxycontin,” you surely mean oxytocin, yes?

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29 Nicole M. March 14, 2012 at 7:37 am

Omg, yes! Geesh…

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30 kate March 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

My baby is 4 weeks old. Breastfeeding has been an amazing experience, I truly believe that everyone is different and factors such as nipple size, nipple sensitivity, baby’s latch all make a difference determining comfort. I have had very minimal discomfort, I have not needed Lanolin or any other nipple cream, nor did I use any “roughening techniques”. Breastfeeding on demand I think is the key to a happy, healthy and content baby. It is ALOT of work, but 100% worth it. The book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” is a fantastic resource. In the hospital, all of the nurses had their own opinions, some that I agreed with and some I did not. Having that book to refer to was a phenomenal comfort that first week. I also second Alicia’s comment about supplementing with formula. My milk did not come in until day 4, some of the nurses were pressuring me to supplement and that was something I disagreed with. As long as there is adequate output on the baby’s part, you know there is adequate input.

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31 pam March 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Really helpful book, I agree! While breastfeeding was hard for me at the beginning I’m glad I pushed through because it is the most amazing thing and we are still going strong at a year! So thankful I was able to have that connection. I was naïve to how hard breastfeeding was going to be, there are SO many factors…. Just gotta go with what works for you and your baby.

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32 Britt March 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

It took e three months exactly before I stopped feeling sharp pain while breast feeding ! They’re we’re so many unexpected challengesi didn’t even know about that made things much tougher (tongue tie, flat nipples) but it was NOT impossible. The time commitment and initial pain is SOMworth that special bond.

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33 Jennifer March 13, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Oooh….SO exciting!!! I bet you anything you are feeling that little one move. :) The best feeling in the world and you’ll never forget it. Near the end, you’ll start having little elbows and knees jabbing your ribs. (haha)

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34 Cee March 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm

“Roughing” your nipples is an old wive’s tale.

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35 Stephanie Hibbs March 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I hope breast feeding works out for you! It’s is so. Hard. And painful, and willingly putting a babe to your breast when you know how much it hurts is really hard!! But if you push through the first couple weeks, it’s supposed to get better :) I ended up having to pump because Pepper was just no good at getting the milk out, she was starving!!

My nipples got really dark while I was pregnant! Supposedly so the baby can see them better :)

I had my husband try to desensitize my nipples, but I personally hate having them touched, which wasn’t a great way to start out anyway :( I don’t know if it actually made a difference (in fact just thinking about it, and breast feeding, makes me uncomfortable!)

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36 Jessie @ Graze With Me March 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Nipple toughening is an old wives tale. Do not do it! It can cause damage to your nips and milk ducts. Plus, they darken and “toughen” up on their own by the end of the 9 months. Trust your body!

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37 Michaela March 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I just love how honest you are!! Keeping it real :) This must be so helpful to expecting moms.
I grew up with this, since my mum is a midwife and I always accompied her when she did her postnatal visits when I was younger, but the nipple-growing-aspect is acutally something I really dread!

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38 Kelly March 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I haven’t seen anyone comment on let-down pain yet. For me, each time my milk let down, it was a painful burn, but then pure relief once the milk was on its way out. Good Luck, you will do awesome!

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39 TinaD March 14, 2012 at 6:31 am

My letdown sensation wasn’t pain. It was a tingling, slightly burning sensation, but I wouldn’t classify what I felt as painful. I think it went away after a couple of weeks (it’s all a blur, so who knows). I wonder what other people’s experiences with letdown are?

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40 Sara April 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

I’m a little late on this post, but I’ll third the advice for #6 – it takes time for some babies to learn how to breastfeed. I’m lucky that our first would suck on ANYTHING and we didn’t have any issues at all, but our second had a horrible time trying to latch on just one side. If I had not had the experience from our first and the support of my husband and my mom, the constant crying for 5 – 10 minutes while trying to latch on that side would have surely made me give up. I felt like I was torturing her – it was awful! BUT I just kept on forcing her to try and try and try and it got easier and easier until after the first week or two, she had no trouble at all.

(Oh, and as a larger breasted woman, I’ll also say that I guess I cheated with both our kids by squeezing my breast into a sort of oval shape to match their mouths when they were firstborn – they just couldn’t latch onto that engorged basketball boob without doing that… LOL!)

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41 Sara April 3, 2012 at 11:16 am

Oh, brother, this was supposed to go under Michelle’s comment, above!

But, I was going to comment on the letdown sensation to say that even now, 6 years after producing milk, I still feel the letdown sensation when I see a newborn baby! So weird!!!

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42 Lydia March 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I remember having similar breastfeeding dreams when I was pregnant. Breastfeeding was so important to me…maybe that’s why. The most vivid dream was one where I was presented with a baby that was already a few years old, so I missed out on breastfeeding. Devastated!

In real life, breastfeeding was hard but you can do it! I think that the best advice I have after having nursed 2 sets of twins (at different times) is to stick with it even when you think that you are not doing a good job or you are wondering how your baby is doing, etc. Weigh your babe to make sure they are getting bigger (if you need to) and carry on. It is a truly wonderful experience and one that I am sad to be done with forever.

Lydia :)
http://happyorganicfamily.blogspot.com/

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43 Rachelle March 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm

My favorite breast feeding site (gives videos on what a proper latch looks like ect):
http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/newman.shtml

Another good resource:
http://kellymom.com/

I tried to read ahead, but it just didn’t speak to me. I had to try it. The best thing for me was having an amazing LC and breastfeeding clinic to go to (along w/ chiropractic & cranio/facial therapy for the babe after birth).

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44 KERF March 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for the links!

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45 Samantha March 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Funny you mention nipple roughing. I just took a breastfeeding class last night (i’m 34 weeks) and we talked about NOT doing that. A baby sucking on your breasts (not nipples!) is what truly prepares and conditions them, there is nothing you can do beforehand to help this and nipple roughing according to the lactation consultant can actually open yourself up to infections by opening up your nipples and causing open sores/scratches, etc.

You should get “the womanly art of breastfeeding” which is la leche’s book on breastfeeding. great resource and great information including a whole chapter on “tech support” which troubleshoots common problems. You shoudl also find a la leche league group in your area and go before you give birth. great way to meet people but they can become a great support system (for just phone calls, meets etc) when you give birth if you have issues (that aren’t necessarily lactation consultant ie needing to pay a professional, worthy). they can help with latching techniques that might help you out if you’re having a problem and there isn’t an actual problem just a technique/getting used to problem.

breastfeeding though should never hurt or be painful, your baby sucks on the areola with the nipple in the back of their throat, they wont suck on the nipple itself so nipple roughing just makes no sense whatsoever.

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46 Laurie March 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Kath,

I love reading your BERF posts! Your pregnancy posts remind me so much of when I was pregnant. Our experiences were/are so similar. I also had a very similar dream that I forgot to breastfed my baby and I remember waking up, in worry, that I neglected my baby too! I can assure you that will not happen in real life. They will definitely let you know, loud and clear, when they are ready to eat. I hope your experience with breastfeeding is an easy and enjoyable one. I’m so glad to hear you are looking forward to it, I loved (for the most part) breastfeeding my son. The bond that is created between you and your baby is something you just can’t fully understand until you experience it first hand. Before having my son, I could never understand why moms had such a hard time stopping BFing, from an emotionally standpoint, but now I understand the fear of missing the bonding time between you and your baby. Breastfeeding is a lot of work, but well worth it, and I definitely recommend packing Lanolin Cream in your hospital bag and using it, liberally, because those nipples are going to hurt!!! One misconception I had was that all women “leak” so I made sure I bought a FULL supply of nursing pads and ended up not using any of them, because mine never leaked! So I would say, buy a small box just to have, you can always run to the store (or send your husband) if you need more.

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47 Jessica M J March 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I have a 5 week old and we are finally getting the hang of it. Be careful, like previous commenters have said the nipple roughening is an old wives tale. Nipple stimulation can bring on contractions so things like pumping to bring on labor needs to be monitored by your healthcare provider. You want that baby to stay in as long as he or she needs!

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48 KERF March 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm

You guys have no idea how relieved I am to hear that nipple roughening isn’t recommend!!

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49 Katie March 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Just wanted to comment that breast size has nothing at all to do with breastfeeding ability. I’m an A cup normally, and during my three pregnancies and subsequent births, I just barely saw a B cup, and I still successfully breastfed 3 kids for a year.

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50 KERF March 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Oh I wasn’t implying that – I’m just hoping they will serve good purpose for being so large all these years!

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51 Heather March 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm

But that’s kinda what Katie is saying…there is no correlation between size and the actual production of the ducts. You could be DDD and have major supply issues.

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52 KERF March 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I know! I’m not saying there is any correlation at all. I’m just saying I hope they do their job!

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53 Lisa March 13, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I’m still exclusively breastfeeding a healthy (20 pound) 9 month old.

I’d say the worst thing you can do for your nipples is try and make them rough by rubbing/whatnot.

Just lotion lotion lotion them!
Lanolin! Use it lots!!!!!

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54 Jen March 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Just wanted to echo what so many have already said– no nipple abuse necessary, it very well may hurt a bunch at first, but will get easier, and it is SO worth it!

Please, please, visit the La Leche League in your town (looked it up for you: http://lllcville.blogspot.com/ ) as those women KNOW what they are talking about, and provide such a wonderful, supportive and informative environment to help with all things breastfeeding and baby! Definitely go before the baby comes, so you are armed with info and already familiar with them in case you need to call on them for help later. I also attended the hospital’s lactation consultant/ breastfeeding classes beforehand, which were great, but not nearly as helpful as a few LLL meetings. Check them out!

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55 JosieT March 13, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I second this. I started going to LLL meetings about a month before both my kids were born. If there’s more than one group in town try them all out. Some are more laid back and some act like you’re going to kill your child if they ever have a drop of formula. You have to find a group that you mesh well with.

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56 Kim March 14, 2012 at 9:37 pm

I agree as well! LLL was much better in my opinion than the hospital lactation consultants. Also, do read up on the symptoms of mastitis! I am a recurrent “sufferer” (five times in the first five months with my eldest, and twice so far with my second, who is still nursing almost exclusively at 7 months :)). The first time I got it, I was up at 3am with a 3 week old shivering uncontrollably and unable to get warm even sitting in the bottom of a steaming shower… My husband and I were so scared, but thankfully he found the section on mastitis in “What to Expect the First Year” that at least gave us reassurance I was going to make it.

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57 Megan March 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I never ‘prepped’ my nipples but it did hurt for the first few weeks, like really hurt. But after going through labor ( I didn’t get an epidural until 8 cm) it wasn’t nearly as bad as that, so I just pushed through it. It finally got better after a month and we are still proudly exclusively breastfed, going on month 11!

That is great you are so enthusiastic about it now, just remember that enthusiasm once it actually happens. Just keep going, at least for 6 weeks. If it doesn’t get better then try something else. But 6 weeks was a good turning point for me.

Good luck!

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58 Jessi March 13, 2012 at 11:21 pm

megan makes a very good point. I felt like any of the discomfort I felt in establishing breastfeeding might’ve been perceived as tortuous had I not just gone through natural labor, and labor might’ve been perceived as awful had I not gotten this wonderful gift (bringing my daughter into the world!) out of it. At that point, it’s all relative, and in my opinion, a fantastic experience…all of it!

Also, I was taught that my nipples were my greatest asset and should be treated like my best friends. HA! From 36 weeks, my widwife encouraged twice daily expressing of colostrum and rubbing it all over my nipples and then letting them airdry for 5-10 minutes. The same routine after the baby is born and after every feed. I never cracked, chapped, or needed nipple cream.

The hardest part about breastfeeding isn’t the pain, it’s the TIME involved. I couldn’t get my head around needing to SIT for 40 minutes every 3 hours for several weeks until things started to streamline. This was the #1 thing I wished someone would’ve said to me!

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59 Lynda @ healthy Hoboken girl March 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Wow the education I’m getting from Babykerf! Love it!

Everyone be gentle with your nipples!

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60 Dara March 14, 2012 at 6:47 am

When I had my son I was not able to breastfeed – despite having DD cups before pregnancy! I was just not producing any milk and he was literally starving. I consulted with LL and had a lactation consultant come to my house after we left the hospital. I finally conceded that we would have to formula feed him and after many tears and freak outs it turned out to be a great thing for our family. The bottle feeding allowed my husband to also bond with him in those very early weeks during feedings and it helped us both get through those tough times by splitting up the middle of the night feedings. When my daughter was born 4 years later I was determined to make breastfeeding work this time, and although I had a little more milk production, it was still not nearly enough.

I am all for breastfeeding and I think it must be a most wonderful experience that is so unique to motherhood. I just wanted to reassure you that if things don’t work out for you the way you hope, its not always a bad thing. I wish someone had told me that while I was pregnant – it probably would have saved many tears and feelings of guilt during an already very emotional time.

Congrats and good luck! I have been reading your blog for years and am so happy for you and Matt! Its fun reading both blogs now!!

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61 ashlynn March 14, 2012 at 7:14 am

yikes…it’s funny to be a science nerd and be suckered into old wives tales (how to tell if it’s a boy/girl, nipple roughing, the mother’s frame and C sections, etc.) But, I feel that. The older generation of my family is very into the old wives tales, and I take what they tell me with a grain of salt for sure.

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62 KERF March 14, 2012 at 7:15 am

My grandmother doesn’t even like me going for walks because I’ll “shake the baby.” I should be resting and eating bonbons :)

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63 Melissa March 14, 2012 at 8:04 am

That’s exactly what breastfeeding feels like — like they’re sucking your love. And when you’re engorged, it’s the biggest relief ever!! (Pumping helps when baby isn’t interested in eating). Pregnancy dreams are fascinating, aren’t they?? I hope it works for you–I nursed for nine months (plus formula and pumped milk when I went back to work) and I loved it. It was such an intimate experience. I just wish I’d had better supply … you might be one of the lucky ones!

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64 Melissa March 14, 2012 at 8:07 am

Oh and stock up on both of these – -they will come in VERY handy those first few weeks, especially. http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/category/sore-nipple-care

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65 JenP March 14, 2012 at 9:49 am

Hi – I never tried toughening up before I had my kids, but I could see how it would help. I hope you don’t have any trouble, but if you do, here’s my advice: Take advantage of the lactation specialists in the hospital and ask for them to come in every time you nurse even if you think it’s going well. It was free in the hospital. We had to pay when we went back later because it was SO painful (he was latching wrong). If you are having trouble, go see the lactation specialist even if you have to pay. It’s worth it. Get a good pump and use it if needed. Both nursing and pumping hurt for the first few weeks, but having a different kind of pain helped me get through it. Don’t use cotton nursing pads. They stick and sting when you take them off. Disposable pads work better, at least at first when you’re sore, because they don’t stick. Know that the soreness won’t last forever and it’s worth pushing through. The second baby is way easier. :)

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66 Hanna March 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

I’m pretty sure the tickling you felt is the first movement – that’s how I experienced the first movement of my son – as if someone was inside, stroking the inside of my uterus. (Other people experience it gas-like feelings.) (I didn’t rough up my nipples, but the baby will do that for you :-). Definitely go to the lactation specialists and pick up some lanolin for between nursing. If it’s not easy, keep trying because ultimately nursing is way way easier than formula – so convenient and a wonderful experience. But, if it doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up about it.

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67 Jessica March 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm

One more person suggesting that roughening up your nipples isn’t a great idea…it can bring on preterm labor. I’m sure you’ll learn about that in your breastfeeding classes/childbirth classes, but just in case!

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68 nancy March 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

The points I wanted to make have pretty much been covered. Definitely would not recommend the nipple roughing thing. Besides being painful, that could inadvertently stimulate labor. I breastfed all three of my babies and I found lanolin to be a lifesaver, especially with the first baby. It’s safe for the baby and helped me SO much. You should be able to find it in the baby section of any drugstore.

Getting good instruction in a breastfeeding class is a great idea and can help you feel more prepared. In the end you and your baby will figure out what works for you and it will be wonderful. :)

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69 Monica March 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I didn’t rough my nipples, but honestly after drug-free child birth I just felt rough all over, haha. After four months of nothing but pumping and breast feeding nothing really phases me in that area. I have only had to use ointment when dealing with mastitis.

While pregnant I never thought much about breast feeding. I just knew that it was something I would do for as long as possible. Now I am a breast feeding advocate and love all things related. It is so empowering to know that you are fueling cell growth with your boobs. Sure it happens in your uterus for nine months, but you don’t connect with the growth the same way as you do when holding that healthy baby. :)

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70 Angel7 March 14, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Breastfeeding was not easy for me at first. It hurt so bad, and I was very sore! However, I did not give up, and breastfed our daughter for quite some time.

When the time came when I decided to stop breastfeeding her, I was sooo sad! I did not want that bonding time to ever end. Breastfeeding is truly a bonding experience, and I am so glad that I was able to do it!

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

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71 celeste March 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

i just weaned my 16 month old son, and no amount of roughening could have prepared me for the pain of breastfeeding. its not exactly pain – its soreness, tenderness, bruise-ness, that is impossible to desscribe. if someone asked me how to prepare for breastfeeding, i would have suggested a powervac to the nipples, every hour for days and days and days, around the clock. it will hurt. it will hurt. and then it will not, and you will feel great. i never got mastitis or thrush, my breasts were tiny little a cups that eventually probably went up to a c, and have settled post-nursing to a small, saggier b. no amount of rubbing a towel will do anything. the actual latch is a twinge of hurt, like an eyelash being plucked. Also, nipple stimulation can encourage labor, so don’t do that until you are ready to have baby, probably around 40 weeks.

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72 Kim March 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Oh yes, to also treat your nipples right (hehe :)), think about getting reusable, breathable breast pads- I have Bamboobies and love ‘em. I also started buying good quality nursing bras before baby was born so that I could wrangle my growing chest, since they’re pretty stretchable. The nursing bras do seem awkward to wear before baby is born simply because of the “serviceability” factor, but they are way more comfortable with no underwire or thick band to get smushed between belly and boobs.

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73 Cecily March 15, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Aquaphor works better than lanolin in my opinion…and it a multi-purpose ointment..less thick and sticky… Anyhow, I used to dream about breast feeding all the time when pregnant. I wanted to breastfeed my son so badly. We are going strong at 9 months. It’s a joy. At first it was pretty painful and we didn’t get into our groove really till about 4 months in.. Because of gas and reflux and such … But now it’s just the easiest and most natural thing on earth. Not to mention I lost all my pregnancy weight in less than a month. Watch out, those boobs are going to get even bigger…I wouldn’t buy nursing bras until you are in your last month.

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74 Sarah March 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Breastfeeding (or ‘nursing’ as I always say because that’s what my mom calls it) is one of the things I look forward to with new motherhood too. From a large extended family of women who all nursed their kids, it was a no-brainer for me. I didn’t realize that it might not be easy until I got close to delivering and heard of some struggles of women I knew. And I learned quickly that it’s not easy at all. There’s a learning curve for both of you and it can be painful at the beginning. (The fact that you’re living through one of the most challenging and fatiguing times in your life makes it seem even harder than it is, I think.) Lyla is 16 months old now and still nursing, and that relationship between us is wonderful and easy. But at the beginning it was really awful! She was tongue-tied when she was born and didn’t have her frenulum cut until 1 month, so after chewing me to death she also had to learn how to nurse properly after that. I saw two lactation consultants and there were many tearful nights and a few days when I thought I might give it up, but I stuck it out and I’m SO glad I did. I think if a woman runs into a similar obstacle but really wants to make it work, she can. Remember all these comments if you are up at 2am nursing your baby and it’s REALLY painful. It’s really hard to remember why you are subjecting yourself to the temporary pain at that time of night :) but you will get past it.
And issues aren’t a guarantee! You could just be a little sore for a few weeks and then that’s it! So not worth worrying about in advance. I’m not sure about the desensitizing of the nipples- not sure if that would really help in the end? But if you’re mom swears by it, go for it. Our moms are such a wealth of knowledge during this time. I still go to mine for everything.

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75 Amelia @ Eating Made Easy March 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Looks like you’ve gotten a lot of links from others, but if you want yet another resource – my mom (a lactation consultant) and I wrote this article about breastfeeding tips for the first week of your baby’s life:
http://www.dirtyandthirty.com/hot-mama/tips-to-make-breastfeeding-as-easy-as-it-sounds/

I also like these videos from Stanford, one of the leaders in breastfeeding science:
http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/

Have fun researching :)

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76 Jo March 19, 2012 at 8:47 am

My mum told me to put surgical spirit on my nipples to toughen them up! Needless to say I ignored that and my 98th centile, 23lb 7 month old and I have had no problems at all! I was also a bit gutted about the breast size increase – I was an E cup before, but now I am breastfeeding I am up to an H. It’s a problem! Can’t wait for them to get a bit smaller!

I had sore nipples for the first few days only, and can really recommend Lansinoh! It’s pure lanolin, and it’s amazing stuff. A tip though – it is REALLY thick and hard to put on, but it’s MUCH easier if you warm up the tube first – either put it upside down in a glass of warm water while you nurse and use it at the end, or tuck it into a warm body part/under your arm/other breast(!!) and when it’s warm it’s much easier to use.

Lastly, I second the kellymom recommendation – it’s really useful for all the stuff you need to know and could possibly think of to ask!

Sorry if this has all been said before…really hope it works out for you!

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77 Robyn April 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm

You definitely shouldn’t nipple desensitize to prep for breastfeeding! Breastfeeding should never be painful, and if it is, that means mom/baby are doing it wrong – that the latch is incorrect. (I work as a dietitian at WIC…probably a third of our job is breastfeeding ed!) It can hurt if the baby is nipple-feeding instead of feeding with his/her mouth over a larger surface area on the breast.

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