Breaking Breastfeeding rules! {a Huggies sponsored post}


This post may raise a few eyebrows...only because I will be going against what tons of people and books will tell you in regard to how to "properly" breastfeed your child. The rules I broke are things that I think cause a lot of women to fail or struggle with breastfeeding because they are presented as 100% truth when, in fact, they MAY be good suggestions at best for some. You can't take what ANYONE says about breastfeeding to be the gospel. That's one set of rules that YOU get to make for yourself.

The first rule I broke was "Do not give your baby a pacifier until breastfeeding is well established." Now, while neither of my boys took to a pacifier long-term, they both had one for the first couple of weeks from day one, within HOURS of birth. It was either BE the pacifier or GIVE them one. Doing this definitely helped us through the first few sleepy weeks. Giving them a pacifier allowed me a break and satisfied the babies' need to suck. They both went on to be great nursers.

The next rule that I found completely annoying was "If you are breastfeeding right, it shouldn't hurt." WRONG. Just wrong. Granted, I was still learning with my first one, but by the second one I was a pro. Guess what? It still hurt for a couple of weeks with the second one. It WILL hurt until your body adjusts to what you are doing. Both WHERE your baby directly feeds from (trying to keep this PG, folks) and your uterus will hurt like heck for a couple of weeks. Saying that breastfeeding won't hurt unless you are doing it wrong is as dumb as saying new shoes should never hurt you. I've worn flip-flops my whole life, and every year when I break them out for the first time they hurt my feet. Does that mean I'm wearing them wrong?

Another rule I threw out the window? "Keep the baby on a strict schedule of feedings." I nursed on demand for both boys. NO WAY I would have ever woken up a sleeping baby, especially at night. It wasn't until they were both over 2 1/2 that I would even wake them up from a nap to ensure they would go to sleep easily at night. It made sense to nurse them when they were hungry, as their little bodies were getting on their own natural schedules, which was OUR schedule as a family.

My point here is to take anyone's advice on how to breastfeed "properly" as just a suggestion. YOU have to decide how to make it work for you. One thing I WILL say and BEG of you: if you DO choose to breastfeed, or at least try to do so, commit to it for at least a month. I have heard so many people say that they tried for two weeks but then quit because it was too hard. Well, guess when it starts to get easier? Day 15. After two weeks it becomes more and more easy to do. Your body has had time to adjust; if it has been hurting, it will fade away after two weeks; milk production will start to regulate; and overall, it (generally) gets so much easier. Just take it one day at a time.

How about you? Did you break any breastfeeding rules?

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21 comments:

Katie said...

I broke them all the "correct position" rules. After trying very hard to do it properly. When I had my first baby, the "expert" on breastfeeding at the hospital was very frustrated with my lack or ability to do it properly and man-handled my baby and my parts quite roughly in her frustration. Yet, I managed to feed my three babies quite sufficiently after throwing the books away!

Joy Morris said...

I broke the pacifier rule. With my first, I was determined not to use a pacifier. Within the first week he had one! To go along with that, you're not supposed to give them a bottle for the first 6 weeks or so. My first was a month premature and had to have a bottle supplement (of breastmilk) with every feeding to make sure he was getting enough. The extra bottle only lasted 2 months and we nursed until 10 months without a problem (until my supply had dwindled and I wasn't producing enough). He was also ok to leave with someone else. Yay! I was a lot less nervous about giving the second a bottle sooner since I had seen it turn out ok with my oldest.

As far as the pain thing, you're absolutely right. With my second it hurt SO bad (worse than my first) and I was bleeding. When I talked to the lactation consultant, she said, "Well you must be doing it wrong, you need to come in." I didn't because it was Thanksgiving and I couldn't. Come to find out 6 weeks later, my son's tongue was attached (he couldn't stick it out) which affected his nursing. It hurt for awhile, but we got over it and nursed for over a year!

N said...

THANK YOU!!! for posting your rule breaking experience. I'm BF my second one right now after failing the first time around due to trying to follow all of their "rules". I too have just broken all of the above and am 6 weeks out.
There are always helpful and not so helpful people out there...you just have to find the ones that "speak" to you :)

Grace said...

I broke every rule too, I went on to breast feed my son for a year, he stopped on his own and my daughter for 2 years, she would've kept going! Maybe I would've been on the times magazine?
To all your own, I say, forget the books, trust your instincts.

Biz said...

Part of me wishes I would have offered a pacifier earlier than I did (6 weeks). My daughter doesn't really grasp the concept of what it is for, she just chews on it to help with teething (she's now 8 months).

Also I didn't do a strict schedule either. Especially since I'm a SAHM I think my day and her day combined are the schedule and it's ever evolving and changing.

Probably the biggest breastfeeding 'rule' I broke was breastfeeding itself. Bitsy had jaundice and would fall asleep after just a few suckles, It wasn't working for us so I decided to try something a little unorthodox. I am what you call an exclusive pumper (EP) from the small number of other women I've found who do this it's just as challenging as breastfeeding because you must pump consistently to keep supply up (the good thing is that it can cause over production which yields a wonderful freezer stockpile).

I think as Mom's we need to help each other and I'm so glad to see you doing that!!!

Trish said...

yup, yup and yup... good reminders for doing this again in a few months.

elise said...

i'm on baby number 3 and he is the first one i have successfully nursed all the way up to 1! (he turns 1 june 1st) the big change that helped me this time is my DIET! you can't eat crap and properly nourish yourself and your child! plenty of healthy fats are so important and i cut out sugar and processed food. so the rule i broke is: you can eat whatever you want! believe me- it makes a world of difference!!!!

mollie @ momconformist said...

So true. I just figured out what worked for us. I didn't worry about the pacifier rule, either. And for sure it will hurt! Ridiculous to say that you're not doing it right if it hurts. The lactation nazi (consultant) at the hospital was LESS than helpful with my firstborn, and she even kept referring to "he/him/his"- about my sweet baby KATE!! So frustrating. I'm passionate enough about nursing and for moms to feel supported that I've often considered getting certified as a lactation consultant. I've successfully nursed 2 babies and I always tell other women to keep at it!

Jennifer said...

Totally broke the "feed on a schedule" and "only let them nurse for 15 minutes per side" rules. I nursed on-demand with all 3 kiddos. I really always have just done what felt natural and as the previous commenter said, just threw all of the book away! ha!

April b said...

Fabulous advice. My breastfeeding experience was pretty similar to yours - my kids had pacifiers yet were great nursers, I nursed on demand, it hurt for awhile, and yes the first two weeks are the toughest. I think the first two weeks with a new baby would be the most challenging breastfeeding or not though, everyone is settling in and getting familiar with each other. One other "no no" I was told (22+ years ago) was don't let them have any water in the hospital. I remember panicking because I woke up once and found that the nurse had given my first some water from a bottle - I was certain everything had been ruined, nope he was fine and continued to nurse.

Amy Tucker said...

I had lots of friends get on to me for waking up my baby, but she was early and jaundice and would have slept forever if I hadn't woken her up to eat. When she was 12 pounds I could finally let her sleep through the night. I guess I was "breaking a rule" by following my doctor's advice since all my friends told me I was crazy to wake a sleeping baby. I was also worried about my milk production since she wasn't feeding a lot on demand. 3 years later, I am still glad that, in our case, I woke her up.

Nicole said...

This is so true, there are just some rules you have to break. Do what works for you and baby.
I gave my first a pacifier and a bottle within the first two weeks and we did fine, still breastfeed him well. My second who is 8 weeks is breastfeeding, but hasn't taken to a pacifier (but thats fine, try again later if we need too) and have yet to try giving her a bottle. As for waking them for a feed, i have always found if they are hungry they will wake.

lauren decker said...

My son was in the NICU for his first three weeks, and when he came home the lactation consultant told me it was really important to wake him for feedings. He was little and needed the weight gain. I couldn't bring myself to wake a soundly sleeping baby every two hours when he woke on his own about every 4. I stressed about breastfeeding a lot less once I learned that you have to do what works for you and your baby. There are few hard-and-fast rules.

Anonymous said...

I am with you to break the schedule rule. I firmly beleive that they will create their own schedule...I am on baby #3 and so far it has held true. at 2 1/2 months he was on a pretty firm schedule and I didn't have to force anything.
One rule that I break is the switching sides bit. my kids eat their hearts out one one side and if they don't want the other I am fine with that. I don't time anything and make them switch...that bites me in the rear too often.
*one way to help the pain when we start nursing is to take a washclothe or loofa and rub your nipples in the shower for a a few weeks before the baby is born. Helps toughen them up before the baby does. It works...really!

Kate said...

There were rules?? I had my son at 42, after the 'what to expect' first few terrorizing pages, I tossed it. I nursed on demand, switched sides but never timed it and did so until he was 18 months. Am totally with you, take help when you need it but decide for yourself what works.

sara luke said...

Agreed. With each successive child, it hurt worse. I didn't anticipate that at all.

And I also agree that if I hadn't committed to myself to stick with it a month, I would have dropped out at 1 week. Especially this third time. It was rough.

Anonymous said...

I must not have realized that you were supposed to follow "rules", because I broke them all. Pacifier, yep. Scheduled feedings, nope. Correct positions, nope. I never started feeding on the opposite side, just the one that felt most full. And, I once read that you shouldn't do other things(like read, watch tv)while nursing because it interfered with bonding. Yeah right, I did everything else while nursing and 6 of my 7 nursed long and successfully(one had a cleft and couldn't nurse) to heck with the rules.

Bunnyslady said...

I am so happy that you did this post, and received so many comments. I am due in July with my first and am planning on breastfeeding. Thanks to everyone for sharing.

Rachel said...

Haha- I loved the rules... as a first time mom I had NO clue what I was doing so I found them so helpful. (particulaly feeding on a routine was good for me- I was so afraid my baby wasn't going to get enough food... I needed a way to measure it!) But I guess what I took away during that time was that you make the rules fit you and your baby. We did a routine- but we did it how it works best for us. Breastfeeding hurt but I complained until someone FINALLY gave me something (Nipple SHELLS to wear to keep clothing from touching your sore skin- they are amazing) Gave the baby the pacifier and a bottle toward the beginning and switched "how to deal with crying" methods as my daughter got older. (I just felt like she needed different responses at different ages). Now we have a foster baby who is a preemie and while some things I have done the same, others I have done completely different with him, because HE is a different type of baby than my daugher. Love your encouramement to moms that there is no reason to feel like a failure when you do things a little differently than the next mom! We try to hard to measure up to each other sometimes or to that phantom perfect mom standard.

April said...

I read all the books cover to cover on BFing before my first was born. You are right that ALL of those rules can be broken if needed. I wish I would have done all of them as you said above. I stopped at 2 weeks too when he was feeding every 30 minutes (every hours actually but it equaled every 30 minutes). I hated to but I was getting zero sleep. I will try it again but I am NOT waking that baby up this time!!!

Momarabbit said...

Pacifiers are "breastsavers", position is all about comfort, schedule is how you make it, and pain is just part of the process.
This is such a supportive group of women here, wish the world was full of them :) Thanks ladies, I definitely feel good knowing I am not the odd one out!

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