Being a breastfeeding mom is an achievement that I am extremely proud of. And I am over the moon about sharing such an amazing experience with my son, but unfortunately, I was unable to share that same adventure with my daughter who is also my first child.
Believe me! I had every intention of breastfeeding my daughter. In fact, I even took breastfeeding classes and was determined that she would be exclusively breastfed and nothing would get in my way.
Sadly, I did NOT reach my goal of breastfeeding my daughter for one year or even for one month. Breastfeeding seemed much easier on those videos in the birthing classes than it is in reality.
Breastfeeding seemed much easier on those videos in the birthing classes than it is in reality.
Although I am a HUGE breastfeeding advocate and believe that we should try our absolute best to breastfeed, I also realize that a fed baby is better than a starving baby. There are also times when breastfeeding is not an option or just doesn’t work out the way you hoped.
(THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS HOWEVER, I WILL NEVER RECOMMEND ANYTHING THAT I DO NOT BELIEVE IN OR USE MYSELF. YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT MY DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE)
It Happened to Me
And this is why I failed at Breastfeeding my first baby.
Having experience or others around you with breastfeeding helps tremendously!
As a child, I can NOT remember ever seeing a mother breastfeed her baby. NEVER!
Unfortunately, breastfeeding had become very taboo until recently with the millennial generation. My family is no exception. My mother said she tried to breastfeed me but I would not latch. It was because of this she instantly gave up on breastfeeding and did not even attempt it when my little brother was born.
Honestly, I am the ONLY woman in my family who has breastfed and I think if more people were more open and educated on breastfeeding that it would only help in the long run.
For me personally, spending time with other breastfeeding moms has helped me with my second attempt at breastfeeding. Having a support system has been extremely crucial in my success.
More Mommy Related Posts –
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- My Top 9 Breastfeeding Essentials
- Breastfeeding a Teething Baby
- How to Approach Sex After Having a C-Section Birth
2. LACK OF SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE
This reason kind of ties into the last paragraph, but here I am referring to professional help.
As I said earlier, during my first pregnancy, I took a breastfeeding class that was offered by my hospital. They also had a Board Certified Lactation Consultant that worked at the hospital and could come and check on you and your baby after birth.
Though in the week I delivered my daughter, the Lactation Consultant was not available.
While I was looking forward to having her help with breastfeeding, I assumed that the prenatal nurses at the hospital could help me with any breastfeeding issues I might face during my hospital stay.
Obviously, things did NOT go as I had planned.
Anytime I would ask one of the nurses to help me with making sure I was breastfeeding properly, they would reply with, “I don’t know.”
“What? You don’t know. How am I supposed to do this if you as a nurse don’t even know how to do it?”
Thankfully, that particular hospital has made all of their prenatal nurses take several hours of breastfeeding training to help mothers like me who need a little guidance.
3. BAD LATCH
I read somewhere that babies are born knowing how to suck but not how to latch properly. And boy is this true!
Since I had NO idea what I was doing or if my daughter was even latched properly, the fact that my nipples felt like they had been completely abused did not signal that she had a bad latch.
Even though I was experiencing pain every time she would latch on, I didn’t think anything of it. Everyone always says that breastfeeding hurts at first.
Except in my case, I was not only in pain every time my baby nursed. If anything even remotely touched my nipples it felt remarkably uncomfortable. And even though I was nursing her every thirty minutes she was still not satisfied. It was as if she was not getting any of my milk.
Having a bad latch can cause so many breastfeeding problems.
- Nipple Damage
- Lack of Milk Supply
- Low Weight Gain
Yes, breastfeeding is going to hurt some at first but that was not the only pain I was experiencing.
My daughter was delivered through an unexpected C-section. So not only did my nipples feel like they had been chewed up and spit out, but I also had literally been cut open.
Along with having a C-section, this was also my first time ever having stitches, surgery, or even a hospital stay.
So to say I was in pain was an understatement.
5. NO SKIN TO SKIN CONTACT
SKIN TO SKIN CONTACT is when your baby is placed directly on your chest after birth. This also gives you and your baby the best start for breastfeeding.
Most of the time, you do not get the option to have Skin to skin with your baby when you have a C-section.
Since we were not planning on having a C-section with my daughter, we did NOT even know if it was an option. Luckily, I was able to do skin to skin contact with my son directly after birth and I believe it helped us jump start breastfeeding.
6. TONGUE TIE AND LIP TIE
I believe another factor in my daughter’s difficulty with latching came from her lip tie and tongue tie.
A tongue-tie is a short, piece of tissue that is connected from the tip of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth.
An upper lip-tie is where a piece of skin under the upper lip is short or thick and is attached too tightly to the upper gum.
With my daughter having both ties, it made it difficult to latch properly. Which also caused some of my nipple pain.
My son was born with a tongue tie and lip tie as well. Thankfully, we knew what to look for the second time around which made it easier to find a solution.
7. GAVE UP EASILY
Lastly, I gave up.
I admit it. I gave up on breastfeeding too easily.
With my daughter not sleeping and never being satisfied I honestly did not know what to do.
I can remember our first night home being exhausted and in pain. My daughter kept crying and we tried everything we could think of the get her to sleep. From breastfeeding to driving her around. Nothing worked. Finally, my grandmother suggested that I make her a bottle of formula.
From that night on, I quit breastfeeding and let myself heal.
A POSITIVE ENDING
For years, I felt so much guilt for not breastfeeding my daughter and it caused me to be more depressed every day. In my mind, I had failed my daughter. I have replayed that night so many times in my head.
Related: Depression Tips
But I also look back on that night and think of how she must have been so very hungry and how grateful I was to have a way to feed her when I was unsuccessful. I realize that I am also very blessed to now have a happy and healthy child because she was nourished.
No judgments here, because a fed baby is a happy baby.
Are you a breastfeeding mom? Did you breastfeed all of your kids? Or did you formula feed?
Thank you for posting this. I really don’t know what to do, I feel so depressed and guilty for not successfully breastfeeding exclusively my 3 month old son. Everyday I keep on regretting my decision for giving him formula 3 days after his birth because he would cry and scream so loud at the hospital and didn’t get to sleep whole night. From then on he either wouldn’t want to latch or would suck but got irritated as he was not satisfied with my milk supply. Because my breastfeeding time is not frequent since he was more on formula, my supply did not improve and now I am on the verge on totally giving up though there are times I am thinking to give it another try with the help of an expert. I am so confused right now. Do you think it’s too late to try it again?
I didn’t produce milk until 3 days of having my baby so he wouldn’t latch on in the hospital because there was no food. We finger fed him in the hospital and then used formula through a bottle when we got home. I was determined to breastfeed so I pumped daily every 2-3 hours, drank mothers milk tea and even made lactation cookies. When I finally had milk I tried latching him on and at this point he already had nipple confusion. I tried multiple times but he would scream every time I tried to latch him so I gave up. After 22 days of having him he had a doctors appt and I mentioned how I wished to breastfeed but there were some latching issues. I spoke to a nurse who worked with babies for over 20 years and told me to pretend it was day 1 and that I just had this baby. She told me to put away all of the bottles and pacifiers and that he would learn within 3 days. This was one of the hardest things I did. He would cry so much from hunger and my husband and I weren’t getting any sleep. I ended up giving him breastmilk through a syringe but kept practicing latching him every 2-3 hours. Everyday got better and by day 3 he was actually latching on. Now for 2 weeks after this I’ve seen public health nurses and doctors to help me with the latch as my nipples were in so much pain. I was told that it’s normal for it to be painful for a few weeks as the nipples have to “toughen up.” After 6 weeks it no longer hurt but there are so many issues that can occur with breastfeeding. I experienced engorgement, clogged ducts, thrush which was so painful, over supply, etc. To this day I am still breastfeeding and my son is now 5 months. Breastfeeding has become so much easier and my son and I are so happy. Breastfeeding was so important to me that I didn’t give up even when it was so painful and when my husband even told me to just formula feed. I think if it’s something you really want to do you’ll learn to do it no matter what. I am so grateful that I did and even learned so much about breastfeeding along the way. I have nothing against formula feeding what so ever as this is what I did for a week after my son was born until I was producing enough milk. I say do what you feel is best for your child and stick with it. You’re a good mom whether your child is formula or breastfed cause really, the most important is that your child is fed. Good luck to all the mothers out there! 🙂
I’ve had 4 women in my life I know 3 of which intimatly who could not breast feed. Most of the time it’s was a stress related supply and demand issues,and lack of support . My sister had a hard time because she never was alone with her baby and didn’t know when her inlaws would be coming over. Which made it awkward . One of my friends has to take medication that’s not breastfeeding friendly and her baby was having health issues as well. the stress + medication( for her health) dried her up. My sister law just couldn’t eat all the time to keep up enough so she had to supplement. another friend had a supply problem because her stress levels and her family was not supportive. All these babies and Mama’s are fine and healthy. But stress, lack of support and medications, and not enough calories make it hard. I was lucky to not experience all of that.
I bottle fed 2 out of 5 my fifth child is tongue tied and lip tied and I am very discouraged but we are still going strong with some supplimation it’s hard but I am stubborn and am still trying very hard
Just keep trying.
I was very determined to breastfeed my son. But you know what if it doesn’t work out don’t feel guilty.
This was literally my situation VERBATIM! I also had intentions to breastfeed my daughter. However, a 22 hour labor ending in a emergency c section put a bit of a damper on things. I gave up as well. I just couldn’t focus on breastfeeding with everything that was going on. I was in so much pain and swollen that I could barely walk. I feel bad but you’re right. A fed baby is a happy baby. My little munchkin is happy and healthy. And who knows, perhaps the second time around I’ll try again. Right now I’m just enjoying my baby girl and giving her so much love!
Wow, thank you for your honest post! I don’t have children but I understand how important breastfeeding is to many women. I’m a little nervous about doing it myself one day, but hopefully I’ll get through that.
It is so important to have a support system if you choose to try breastfeeding. With my second child I thought, “I got this” but there was one issue after another and I had to call the lactation specialists at the hospital more times than I can count.
I plan to breast feed (I’m pregnant with my first!) and this post is making me aware of more than I thought I needed to be aware of!
You bring up some great points. Being inexperienced at breastfeeding can certainly deter some women from keeping at it.
Ughh breast feeding is tough!!! My daughter was really little when she was born and just wasn’t gaining the weight she needed With breast feeding so we ended uonbotgle feeding. Crazy the difference weight wise she made when we switched. We just have to do the best thing for our babies even if it’s the thing we don’t personally want to do
What a great post thank you for being so open. I don’t have children and when/if I do there’s a good chance I won’t be able to breastfeed because I had a breast reduction at 18. I already know I’m going to feel guilty about that but at the time the reduction was my priority and I still don’t regret. I am definitely going to try though.
Breastfeeding is SO HARD! I remember the first few weeks being so grueling! I’m so thankful I had so much support and help in the beginning or else I wouldn’t have been able to make it through!
Oh dear, I’ve never heard of any of this and as someone who’s not a mum this is shocking to learn! Well done to you on learning all of this and sharing it – I’m sure many women will be able to relate! It’s brilliant that breastfeeding is not a taboo anymore xx
I so can relate to this article, that was me 11 years ago but when baby 2 was born I was not giving up. Now with 6 kids I feel more confident nursing.
Yes! I feel the same way since breastfeeding my second child.
You are an awesome mama regardless. At least you tried and thats all that matters!!! Nobody in my family ever breastfed their babies so my family around me wasn’t very supportive and hated that they couldn’t feed my daughter a bottle which was selfish on their part. Seemed like every week they would ask me “How long are you going to do this for…” It really upset me. But I didn’t let that stop me. Shes about to be six months and i’m still EBF her.
Fed is best, absolutely.
I’m yet to have a baby, but know I would like to breastfeed if I’m able to. However, many friends have decided that they don’t want to. I think its completely personal preference and what works best for you. Thank you for such a helpful piece and one I hope to return to once I have a baby.
It is so much harder than they make it seem at the Hospital. I had a hard time with my firstborn too and all of these issues contributed. Great post!
Thank you so much!
Yes! Moms are strong.
Great read! All those can definitely make breastfeeding difficult! We dealt with a lot of latch issues too and it made it so incredibly uncomfortable. You’ve done a GREAT job mama despite not making your breastfeeding goal! You have a healthy, heappy and fed child and that’s all that matters!
Thanks so much!
Yep, some of these happened to me. We managed to go six months and then she was through. Great post.
It is so important to have support, otherwise it can get overwhelming! It felt like I spent most of the hours of my day either breastfeeding or pumping.
I know right? Breastfeeding is what made up most of my day when my son was little.
That sucks that you had such a hard time with your first child. I can’t believe the nurses were not able to assist! I had a rough time of it originally also and almost gave up too. But after about 2 weeks my nipples finally stopped hurting and we had achieved success. I think this is a great post for new moms.
Yes! I think if I had kept trying and had more support I would have been successful.
Will keep this in mind when I have kids in the future. I know my mom wasn’t able to breastfeed me.
I had all the same experiences and reasons to “fail” as well, but I did have two friends who breastfed and their advice was: It’s going to be miserable for a while, you’ll cry and you’ll want to give up, but stick with it for one month, one full month, and if it doesn’t get any better, then at least you tried.
Surely enough, there were many tears and discouraging days, but at one month, everything just clicked for baby and I.
You tried, and that’s not a failure. We mommas do our best! Way to give it another shot!
Thank you so much!
This is me! I prepared myself the best that I could for breastfeeding my firstborn daughter, and it was a huge struggle that eventually failed. With my son, I was much better prepared and it has been a success but I do feel that mommy guilt lingering with my daughter, even though she is happy and healthy. Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks for you nice comment!
This story is so common. With my first son I didn’t even know he wasn’t feeding properly until a few days after I came home from hospital and the nurses came to weigh him. I assumed everything was happening as it should be, it ended up being a traumatic experience and I didn’t attempt breastfeeding my 2nd son. My third son I researched and researched and was successful in feeding him until he was 2 and a half. I have a 4 month old who is still going strong. I found it was all about support. With my first son there wasn’t a great deal of support. I believe I was successful the 3rd time round because I researched everything myself. With my first I assumed it was something that just happened naturally.
Yeah it definitely did not happen naturally with me the first time either.
I’m happy you came to terms with not being able to breastfeed your firstborn. There is so much pressure on mothers to “mommy” a certain way.
It is so true! There are so many mommy wars about it.
Thank you for sharing your experience! My daughter was never able to latch properly without a shield, and it made it difficult for me to breastfeed successfully. Eventually I wasn’t able to produce enough to continue nursing. It was a hard decision to move her to formula exclusively, but it was so much better for both of us.
I think that when there is a need for formula it is nice to have. Thankfully it was there for me when my daughter needed it.
What a good read, I’m going to share this one with my best friend who is expecting. She’s planning on trying to breastfeed and I think this would be an awesome post for her to check out!
Southern And Style
Thank you. I LOVE talking about Breastfeeding. I also have a Breastfeeding Essentials post if you want to share that as well – http://www.veryanxiousmommy.com/2017/01/top-9-breastfeeding-essentials/
I was lucky to have a lot of support with my first daughter, but it was not easy by any means. She was a C-section baby as well and that does make it more difficult. I think that a good support system is the most important thing to have.
This was a wonderful, honest post. I’m a few months away from my due date, and although I hope things go well, this article was so helpful with setting expectations and knowing that so many things can get in the way. I feel much more prepared and ready to be reasonable having read this post! Thanks so much for putting this together.
Awww. Thanks so much for taking the time to read it. I hope all goes well for you.
Honestly, when you say you “gave up” I don’t see it as that at all. I think you saw what was best for your daughter and for you and made the decision to find an alternative. Well done, Mama! Breastfeeding is incredibly difficult. It’s commendable to anyone who even tries to breastfeed!
Thank you. I really appreciate you saying that.
A very honest post. Not everything works out for everyone all of the time. Go you for picking yourself back up and allowing a good thing to come from it x
Thank you. Yes, everyone’s life and experiences are so different. I am a HUGE believer in doing what works for you and your family.
Thank you for sharing this. Breastfeeding is SUCH a RIDICULOUSLY loaded topic. We shame women who don’t do it and we shame women who do it too publicly. It’s crazy. I think breastfeeding is the perfect example to point to whenever someone tries to suggest that we don’t live in a sexist society. Feminist rant aside…I breastfed my first and third babies, but for a variety of reasons (NOT lack of trying) was unable to bf my middle child. Odd, right? Also, my eldest child was exclusively breastfed until he started eating solids, but my third baby was only exclusively breastfed for a few months. She wasn’t gaining a lot of weight, and when we started supplementing with a couple bottles a day, she had a huge growth spurt. That being said, she is the most attached to breastfeeding. She will be two in May and still does it a couple times throughout the day and night, though she is finally starting to phase it out, oi!!
I think you are right.
There is no way to please everyone. You just have to do what is best for your situation.
Thanks so much.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. I keep it for later 🙂
I struggled too despite having multiple lactation consults. I didn’t have skin to skin right after birth and I never thought that would impact my success. I ended up nursing for 11 months though I wanted to go much longer. It was a tough, painful experience but I’m glad I went through it and if I have more kids I’ll know what to expect. Great read.
Thank you. I wish you well if you decide to have more.
That first night home is rough! I remember doing the exact same thing! My daughter was crying and seemed hungry even after nursing so we made an emergency trip to get some formula. It worked! She was fed! She slept great! We made it through the night! But I knew that the supply/demand side of breastfeeding was not satisfied and my body would not make more milk if it didn’t feel the demand, so I borrowed my sister’s breast pump in the morning and pumped ALL day and made bottles for my baby. There wasn’t a lot coming out. No wonder she was crying!! But by pumping, I could SEE that. And by continuing to pump, it increased demand, and after milk started coming in, I kept the formula out of her diet and switched back to breast. We got over the hurdle! But I had a lot of good advice from my mom and sister who both had a lot of experience. It definitely helped get us through. You’re awesome! Breastfeeding always starts out rough- even if you’ve done it before.
LOL so true Brittany.
Good read!! I too struggled more with my first born, I made it to around 9 months and with my second child I did 2 years. It was definitely easier the second time around.
Yeah I feel like everything is easier the second time around when it comes to parenting.