Why I Chose To Breastfeed

The following heartfelt letters were submitted by mothers from across the world

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Submitted by Kal

When my husband & I got pregnant, we decided that I would breastfeed.  The idea of feeding our beautiful child a concoction from a can was never considered. 

We had a little trouble with latching-on in the beginning for the first week or so.  I had hoped I could get some help from a lactation consultant, but there wasn't one working in the hospital that day, so we went home and worked on it ourselves.

After we got the latch-on mastered, we encountered another obstacle.  Thrush. That pest lingered around for 2 1/2 months!  It seemed like it would never go away!  None of my friends had breastfed and I didn't know that I needed to change my breast pads so frequently.  The breast shells I then had to wear would sometimes fill up with milk and pour out the air holes onto my shirt if I bent over!  That was really embarrassing!

Next, I got mastitis.  Was that ever horrible!  For those of you who haven't had it; it's like the flu x10!  But after a week of Keflex antibiotics, we kicked it.  A couple months later, I got a clogged duct.  I got an interesting tip to help clear it up from a mom on momsonline.com.  I placed my baby on my bed and nursed over him, rotating 90 degrees every 5-10 mins.  It worked!  I felt weird doing it, but it cleared that duct right up!

My son got his 2 lower incisors when he was 5 months old.  I got bit when he was 6 months old.  Bad.  He drew blood.  Fortunately, that hasn't happened again since I started to really watch him and take him off when he starts to look around and play.

As I type my story now I am battling my second bout of mastitis.  It has been worse than the first bout.  I woke up 2 nights ago at 2am with the chills, a fever, a very sore breast, and a pounding headache.

But despite all of these hardships, I will not consider formula.  Breastfeeding was the best choice I have made for our baby and I do not regret it.  The quiet, gentle moments we have shared while he suckled at my breast makes all of these obstacles worth it.  Not all women have such a hard time.  I wish I hadn't.  But I will lovingly continue to breastfeed.  In fact, I have even decided to continue past his first birthday.  There is just
simply no better nourishment for babies

Submitted by Anne
After a Caesarian with my daughter Lissy (2) I didn't start breastfeeding her soon enough (the hospital personnel were a little too laid-back maybe?) and she got used to drinking from a bottle. Also she was born not able to stick her tongue out far enough, so that the doctor had to cut through the flap of skin underneath it. That didn't help either. I gave up after four weeks of her screeching at the breast until she got pumped milk. I didn't entirely regret it although I found the cleaning, disinfecting and filling up of bottles the most tedious and timewasting activity imaginable - for the first time in four weeks I
could relax whilst feeding her  and not dread the pumping. Still, when my son Alex arrived I kept my fingers crossed that it would work this time. I half expected another Caesarian all the way through the pregnancy right up to the moment that Alex arrived naturally! I was given him within half an hour of the birth and it seemed that he knew
how to breastfeed much better than I did. Now he is two months old and absolutely massive, and I really appreciate the simplicity of breastfeeding. With Lissy I had to fuss about taking a bottle with me wherever I went, and how to warm it up etc. Feeding Alex naturally saves precious time for taking care of his big sister too.
Submitted by Ian
I have been breastfeeding my little Nikki for seven months and a half now. i wish to do so for a year or maybe more. But like most nursing mothers, I too, have my ups and downs, but I still keep on trying because I can see how much my baby benefits from it.  She's very sociable, with a ready smile for everyone, she's very smart, healthy and
happy and I couldn't ask for more.

Although sometimes I tend to think that my baby's not getting enough breastmilk, I only have to check her weight gain and be assured by the pediatrician that she's doing okay,then i'm okay.

Yes, breastfeeding is really difficult, physically exhausting, sometimes painful and time consuming -- but when i look at my Nikki, my source of joy, I realize everything that's right about it.  And I'm just so glad and relieved that I'm not alone, that there are nursing mothers who feel the way I do. And i know truly this is one of the best gifts I could ever give my little one.
Submitted by Shana
My dd is almost 6 months old and she has been breatfed exclusively up to this point.  I knew when I was pregnant that I would breastfeed but I really didn't care either way.  I was planning on breastfeeding because I knew it is the best for my baby.  Well, it went really well in the hospital and in the few days.  She latched right on and sucked her little heart out!  I was very proud of her!  Then we came home and all continued to go well until a few weeks later when I thought that she wasn't getting anything because my breasts were soft.  A visit with the lactation consultant cleared that worry right up - my body had adjusted and I was no longer engorged.  From that point on, we did great.  She gained weight like crazy and I loved it.  At her 4 month check up she weighed 17lbs9oz - she had gained almost 10 pounds since birth.  Then she got sick and my supply was really low and it was hard, but we stuck it out and things are finally back to normal.  During that time, I realized how special the relationship was too me.  I was just
learning how good the breastfeeding is for my daughter - cancer, lukemia, IQ, mouth and jaw, allergies, obesity, etc - and I really did not want to give up.  So I pumped and tried everything to get my supply up.  Now things are going fine and I have an extremely happy and healthy 6 month old who weighs 19-1/4 pounds.  It is an awesome feeling to know the I made her, carried her, brought her into this world and have nourished her these 6 months.  It is very very rewarding and I love it!  At this point I am really excited about breastfeeding and try to learn all that I can about it.  I plan to breastfeed until a year or more and I love the time that I have with my daughter.  I am so glad that I chose this route and that my husband has done everything that he can to support us.
Submitted by Apryl
My daughter turned three on February 27th of 2000.  She still nurses on demand, when she is sad, hurt, sick, tired, or when she has been busy and needs to wind down, or when I come home from class and she hasn't seen me for a couple hours.  I enjoy every minute that my daughter is in my arms at my breast.  It is during those moments when she is still the little baby I first held, it is in those moments that we look into each other's eyes and I am so happy nothing else matters in the world.  I will breastfeed my daughter until she stops on her own.  I hope other mothers out there realize there is not time to wean except when the child says it's time. 
Submitted by Tess

I am a 33yr old mother of 3 year old Kathryn. I always known, from the time that i was about 13 years old, that i would nurse my babies; my mom only nursed me of her 3 children, and only for a few weeks; but i just knew that it was the right thing to do! I experienced pre-eclampsia, and had to be induced, and after a pretty hard labor, pushed my daughter out in 30 minutes; but i hemorrhaged afterward (lost about 1 liter of blood) and continued to bleed for 10 weeks postpartum. The hospital that Katie was born in didn't have rooming in, and because of the bleeding afterward, i had to go to the OR for a D & C, so i wasn't able to nurse until about 4 hours postpartum; hubby caused a big commotion, made sure that i was allowed to nurse the baby before he went home that night. I don't know why I wasn't allowed to nurse right after delivery, but I do believe that my bleeding would have been worse had I not nursed. My daughter nursed about every 1 1/2 hour for the first few weeks; if I hadn't read up on breastfeeding, I wouldn't have known that this is normal! I went back to work when she was 12 weeks old; i had some support from my job (I worked at the time for an HMO, which paid for the rental of a hospital grade breast pump; no private room was provided for the actual pumping though; i had to pump in my cubicle if nobody's private office was available; I REFUSED to use the bathroom like someone suggested; how would they have liked it if THEIR food was prepared in a bathroom?). My daughter was in a WONDERFUL daycare, but at about 4 months old i had to start supplementing formula, because i just wasn't pumping enough for her feedings during the day; however breast only when i was home w/ her. She is now a happy and healthy 3 year old, had a close call w/ SEVERE ear infections when she was about 22 months old but thank god she got over that. We are still a nursing couple, only at naptime and bedtime, also she wakes up about 1-2x/night (we also co-sleep) to nurse. What I have noticed is that recently (w/in the past 2-3 months) she is at the breast less time (ie: 8 minutes instead of 15) when she does nurse. This must be her way of weaning. I am the first person (besides my mom) in the immediate family to attempt to nurse, since the grandmothers, and be successful. I am comfortable that i've done the best thing for me and my daughter. And I've given my younger sister a good example, she knows that I'll give her grief if she doesn't breastfeed (she's a newlywed)! If I could overcome fatigue, hemorrhaging, and uncomfortable working environment, anybody can

Submitted by Three3arrows
My bf experiences began almost 7 years ago when my first child, Hannah, was born.  I was 18 years old and determined to bf.  Noone in my family had done it at all, so there was no support there.  After my 36 hour labor and separation from my baby another 4-5 hours, I finally put this 10 lb hungry child to breast.  I had no idea if I was doing it right.  Neither did the nurse.  The hospital I was in had zero percent of moms nursing.  On day 3, at home, my milk came in.  I already had bleeding, cracked nipples because I was positioning the baby wrong and didn't know it.  Also, no provision was made for nipples in my physical makeup, and I had no idea that breast shells exhisted.  I called LLL and they found me a consultant nearby.  She was a godsend!  She rented me a pump and showed me some basics of positioning.  I still had bleeding nipples for 6 weeks, and every evening I would cry and say to dh "I'm buying bottles tomorrow!"  But I hung in there and after that first 6 weeks all was joy!  For some reason I weaned that baby at 6 months.  I don't know why.  Maybe pressure from family or something.  I know it is one
of my biggest regrets as a parent and I become sad just thinking about it.  The good times still stand out though.  She was a pro nurser.  The great part came when we learned to do it lying down.  How easy!!!

My second child and first boy was born without an appetite.  He was not interested in eating from the breast or bottle.  I had horrible after pains, worse than labor.  The nurses never offered any pain meds, so I suffered badly.  The pains lasted for 2 weeks.  Just to look at my baby would double me over, much less nurse him.  I rented a pump again, and my milk never came in right.  During all of this, the baby was jaundice and had to be readmitted.  The Dr. said to quit bf and give formula.  I did not listen to him.  The baby had not nursed in 2 days, I had been pumping and giving bm n a bottle to him.  The nurse helped me get him latched on and he did it perfectly.  I always had to supplement him with formula.  I would nurse and then let him finish with a bottle.  Unfortunately, I decided to wean him at 4 1/2 months so I could get on diet pills.  What a mistake!  He became so ill.  Chronic bronchitis.  Asthma.  Diarrhea.  Sometimes I thought he would'nt live.  I knew nothing of relactation.  He stayed sick and was diagnosed with failure to thrive and only weighed 15 pounds at 1 year.  Another notch on the mother's guilt board.

Guess who was babywise with #3.  I knew I was going to nurse this one a looong time.  He nursed for an hour after birth.  Did beautifully in the hospital.  We even nursed lying down in the hospital bed, and at 10 months we nurse lying down in my own bed just about all day.  I did have after pains, but took meds around the clock.  My milk came in well but I got engorged on the right side and have never produced as much in that boob as my left one does.  I have been through a nursing strike, biting, pumping to produce more, and pumping while at work.  I am determined to make it to one year, and hoping he will not wean then either.  When all is crazy around the house, my fave thing to do is to turn on the big fan, close my br door and nurse my baby.  What an escape!
Submitted by Pamela
Regretfully, I didn't breastfeed my first born.  It wasn't "cool" then because I was young and nobody I knew breastfeed.  Several years later when I had my second child breast feeding was "the in thing to do" and it seemed like everyone that had babies was breastfeeding.  Nothing can compare to it!  There is a undescribable close bond as you are feeding you baby and he/she looks up at you and into your eyes and the feeling that you feel can never be any better and there is nothing else like it.  Nothing can come close to comparing to the special times of breastfeeding your child.  God made breasts for that purpose.  I only regret not breastfeeding my first because I had the perfect opportunity since I didn't work.  I only breastfeed my second baby until I went back
to work, but they were the best few weeks of my life and I feel like I gave my little precious bundle from Heaven the best natural start in life.  Mother's milk is all natural and perfect for the baby, plus you don't have the mess and fuss of bottles, getting up in the middle of night to fix a bottle, the expense of formula or the upset stomach from
formula not agreeing with the baby and then going through switching formulas and having a fussy, crying baby.  It's so easy to breastfeed. I didn't have any problems or painful breasts.  I used the cream after each feeding that they gave me in the hospital to prevent sore nipples and it worked.  All I had to do at night was get up and get the baby and cuddle and feed him.  No bottles to warm or clean and nipples to boil. I only wish I would have breastfeed for at least the first year.  So take it from someone who has done both - breastfeeding is the way to go and the most rewarding for you and the baby.  I feel as if I got as many benefits out of breastfeeding as my baby did.
Submitted by Rebecca
I always knew that I would breastfeed my son. He is now 4 weeks old and despite a problem with thrush (which is clearing up with Nystatin for him and Diflucan and a combination cream recommended by Dr. Jack Newman of HSC, Toronto) he weighs more than 2 lbs on his birth weight. He loves to breastfeed and I love to feed him. I always thought I wouldn't want him in our bed because I worried that I would squish him, but that has never happened and having him next to me seems like the most natural thing in the world. He can find my nipple by himself in the dark and we lie on a waterproof pad so dripped milk and the occasional spit up don't mess up the bed. One thing I can't recommend highly enough is the "weekend" or "24 hour cure". I read about this treatment for babies that are having trouble feeding, fussy, or for moms that need to relax and make their letdown easier etc. The basic idea is to get into bed with baby with only diaper on and mom with undies and bra so they have skin to skin contact. Spend as much time as needed together with obvious breaks for bathroom, eating, diaper changes etc. Get a friend or daddy to make meals, bring drinks, and take care of pets and other children and if you are stuck with them, guests or house guests. Don't get out of bed, devote yourself to your infant and sleep as much as you can.You will find that baby will settle, nurse and sleep more easily. Mom becomes relaxed and breastfeeds any time baby indicates hunger, not with crying but with fussy noises, squirming, ticking out tongue, sucking on hands etc. I do not believe that babies should have to scream to be fed. What are we teaching children if, from the day they are born, they
must scream to get a basic necessity of life? I'm all for letting a fussy baby cry themselves to sleep for a while, but they need food and shouldn't have to get upset to get it. I did the "24 hour cure" for only 5 hours after my baby was fussy the day after visiting with way too many people and he reset himself into being an angel after just that short amount of time. Other recommendations: sleep when the baby sleeps if you are tired, eat well, take time for a shower every day, pee often especially immediately
post-partum (your uterus cannot contract properly to stop the bleeding if your bladder is full), drink a lot - at least 2 liters every single day, take post-partum pain medication as prescribed - pain tires you out, zaps your strength and leaves you impatient which may cause you to rush your baby especially if your nipples are sore. I fell and dislocated and broke my shoulder 2 weeks before my baby was born (Yes, he's OK) and I was miserable if I didn't take my pain meds, same applies to incision or perineum pain or
even breast pain from engorgement, sore nipples or thrush.
Submitted by Anita
Submitted by HTufts
I had my first child in 94'  I couldn't imagine giving this baby a bottle! I nursed him until the age of one.I had my second child in 96' She was toungue tied,but after a little help from a local LLL mom,she took to it.She nursed until she was 3 1/2 years old.I am now pregnant with my third child due June 2001.I can't wait to do it again.Just having that warm newborn/baby/toddler against your body for nourishment makes for the best feeling in the world!!! I just can't understand why breastfeeding isn't" the norm" That's what they are there for!!!
Submitted by Rebecca
My mother bottle fed my brothers and me.  She used to say that it was like feeding your baby sweat when you breastfed. I grew up thinking it was a strange way to feed your baby. But, when I became pregnant with my daughter, I wanted to give her every opportunity.  Breastfeeding has been shown to be the preferred nutrition for infants, and so I would BF. I was very nervous. My MIL was a huge bf advocate and when my daughter arrived 5 weeks early, I was ready to go!  Unfortunately, she wasn't. She wouldn't latch on, she wouldn't even really wake up!  She became horribly dehydrated (I was told that if she got hungry enough she'd eventually latch on... um, isn't true!)  and the dehydration led to very bad jaundice.  She had to take bottles, so I pumped, and got out about 1/8 of an ounce. It was not a pretty site. I pumped for about 6 weeks supplementing with formula and then threw in the towel when she just was too nipple confused to ever latch on, even with the Supplemental Nutrition System taped to me. It was an awful experience, and I was over-whelmed with guilt. My MIL rubbed it in, and my mother just brushed it off.
When I became pregnant with my son 4 years later, I just told myself I would bottle-feed. But, the mid-wife at my doctor's office (I didn't go the Ob/gyn route this time, I went with Family practice) suggested that I might try because it certainly wouldn't hurt to give it another go. I was terrified but agreed.
After a very easy birth my DS was set on my belly, I lifted him to my breast, he latched on sucked. I started crying i was so elated. It was so exciting!  Unfortunately I dealt with horrific pain, bad latch, yeast, bloody nipples, blancing, and cracks the size of the Grand Canyon. When I heard his hunger cry I would start to cry in anticipation of the pain. But, I felt blessed that I was even able to nurse this time. My DH was extremely supportive. The turning point was about week 5 when I'd been struggling with my decision because I was not bonding with DS, in fact, I was resentful of his need to cause me pain. I told DH to take me to the store to buy bottles and formula.  Instead, I looked at him in the cart, so sweet, and bought a breastpump.  I cut back my nursing sessions and pumped, got some thrush medication and kept at the nursing.
Now, I barely feel the pain. Instead, I watch his alert little eyes glaze over, and his thick lashes droop down over his eyes, and feel his little body curled around me.  I see the exquisite pleasure that nursing brings to him, and I've grown to enjoy HAVING to take a break and nurse. 
I suffered one of the absolute worse starts to breastfeeding and I perservered. My son and I now have a solid breastfeeding relationship built on a rocky beginning. Would I suffer the toe curling, torturous pain again? Yes.
I know that there are a lot of BF stories out there that are more "positive" but I like mine, because I stuck it out through the worst because of support from my doctor, my lactation consultant, and my DH.  And it worked. I am so elated to be able to nurse my DS. It brings me daily joy.
Submitted by Robyn
When I got pregnant with my daughter, I was 17.  Not exactly the "planned" pregnancy, but how many of them really are.  From the beginning, I was determined to breastfeed her.  I took classes, read books....you name it.  I soon discovered that NO ONE in my family had ever attempted breastfeeding and I lived in a small town with no help, but I was sure the two of us would figure it out.  She was born and  all went fine in the hospital.  We got home and settled and she started showing preference to the right side.  I would always start with my left breast, but she just cried and thrashed around.   Finally, after 3 weeks, and several of my 17-year-old friends and unsupportive family members saying "That's gross....." or "there's no way I'd let something suck on my boob..."  I gave up.  She seemed happier with a bottle.  My little boy was born in February of this year.  During this pregnancy I was wishy washy about trying again.  I REALLY wanted to nurse my son, but I was devistated after my first failure.  I resolved to try again anyway.  I read the books again and discovered why my daughted rejected my left breast.....I had an inverted nipple and she COULDN'T latch on.  I got a pair of breast shells 3 weeks before his birth and he hasn't let me have a moments peace in the 4 and a half months he's been here and I love it.  My son was 10 lbs when he was born- over 18 now and we are extremely happy.  I think my young age has helped a lot of people see the light and realize how natural and rewarding breastfeeding is.  My mom has really come to regret not nursing us, but is helping do her part by telling my stories to every pregnant woman she talks to.  I love it and dread the day when it's over.   It's not demanding at all.  That is you guaranteed time to be with your baby no matter HOW long Mother-In-Law had to drive to get here.  (It's a great way to get the baby away from those people you don't really want around anyway...."Oh, he must be hungry, Here let me have him...."
Submitted by Jaina
It is the most natural thing to do-my religion encourages it, my mother nurses my brothers and I. I read lots of pregnancy books which supports bf so I was determined to bf. It was difficult with my first baby as I had no experience. My mom helped a great deal. She gave me support and helped me with my baby. The sore nipples left me crying and my mom thought that I had seen a specialist gynae she needed gave any advice abt bf. She went to a govt clinic & the nurses there were more helpful & told her to massage, squeezed the nipples to open up the milk ducts to prepare her breasts for breastfeeding.Would-be mothers should try this to avoid sore nipples & blocked ducts.My gynae knew nuts abt that! It was so much easier with my second baby and I breastfed him for a year (dwindling to partial breastfeeding during the last 6 months) It was quite a struggle to keep going when you go back to work. Now I am still partially breastfeeding my 17-month twin girls. Though I really want to fully breastfeed them, it is really tiring and challenging as i also suffer from backaches. My family doctor did advise to stop to relieve my backache and warn me the difficulty of stopping bf at an older age-but i really wish to breastfeed until they are two years old.  To all  breastfeeding mothers- it's an uphill task, but push on, never give up!
Submitted by Fawn
This story is for those of you who think breastfeeding has to be difficult - because many of the stories on this page say it is.  But it isn't always. In fact, once you get the hang of it, it's much easier than bottles:  pull up t-shirt, open bra, pop-on the baby.  Done.   Read that again:  pull up t-shirt, open bra, pop-on. 

Now think about the steps involved in making a bottle and warming it up. Hmmmm...

Don't get me wrong - I went through those tough two weeks with my first son of bad latches, cracked nipples, mastitis and leakage but by the third week nursing was completely pain-free and the leakage was manageable.   And once the pain was gone, it was unbelievably easy.  I have no regrets.  If I had given up on myself because of the pain, I would have.

And, it gets even easier.  I had NO pain when I started nursing my second child.  It's true.  My first problem came around 8 months after he was born when I discovered a blocked duct.  But even that only lasted a day.

I don't think anyone should be forced to breastfeed but I really believe it is best for most children, and in the long run much easier than bottles. Try it - if it doesn't work, see Dr. Newman; if it still doesn't work then move on knowing that you've tried your best.  Good luck!
Submitted by Kelly
I am a mom of four kids and have bf all. My story is not exciting (possibly not even interesting!) I just find there is very little info out there about bf twins. With my first two, boy 4 girl 2, I was kind of pressured by circumstances to wean early. I started to wean about 5 1/2 months and ended at 8 and 9 respectively. My daughter, I thought, weaned herself. Since I have learned about 'nursing strikes' and figured that's what happened. With the twins ( boys ) nursing is more in some ways because it is my last opportunity and I really enjoy bf. My boys were 7 lbs 10 oz and 7 lbs 13 oz at birth 2 1/2 weeks early. I tried tandem nursing for about 3-4 weeks and my nipples was very sore and I was tired and easily frustrated. I also had sleepers. To teach them to eat meals rather than constant snacking I rubbed heads tickled feet and any thing else to keep them awake. I even used a cool wash cloth! So I started doing it one at a time. Much more time consuming but way more productive. I healed and went gung-ho. They are approaching 6 months old and weigh about 22 lbs each. They are bright and happy. I bf almost exclusively for about 5 months and started them on solids. They didn't really show the need but I was getting tired and thought it would help. It didn't! Now they are definitely ready for solids. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't supply milk for two babies. Your body knows it built 2 why wouldn't it supply food for 2? Yes, I'm very tired all the time, it's a lot of milk to produce ( about a half gallon a day ) Am I tied down? Absolutely, I have 4 kids. Twins do tie you down, its hard to carry two big babies at once. Does bf tie me down? NO! I bf in public. I am discrete and I'll ask people I'm with if they are ok with it. No one has ever had a problem with it. I'm glad I'm not tied to having to have bottles to carry around. If I'm not home when their hungry, they can eat. Some people do have bf problems, just get help before you give up if you are having problems. I didn't want to phone the LLL consultant because I was afraid of the 'extremist breast feeder' shoving stuff down my throat. She was wonderful and smoothed all my confusion in one short phone call. I plan on feeding my boys until one year.  You can do it with the right support system. That is what the LLL is for. If you can't or haven't in the past don't feel guilty. While bf is best love and security are way more important. A guilty mom isn't the best for her kids either. Be the best you, you can be.
Submitted by Anita 

My daughter Katherine was born 6 1/2 weeks premature and in addition to the challenges of prematurity, she didn't seem to stay latched on. She kept pushing me out of her mouth with her tongue. Eventually a nurse noticed she was tongue-tied. However, we were told to wait and keep trying. By the fifth day she was still not nursing, but I was able to pump and give the milk to her in a bottle. I was frustrated and when the Lactation Consultant offered a nipple shield to try, I jumped at the chance. It worked! It seemed like the firmness of the shield helped Katherine keep the nipple in her mouth.

On the tenth day, we were sent home, happily nursing, but still using the shield. I was pumping after each feed. It was an enormous amount of work to nurse, pump, sterilize the pump etc. etc. every three hours. The shield didn't seem to diminish my milk supply so I eventually dropped the pumping gradually. But the end of the first month I had filled the freezer section of our fridge with milk!

Approximately a week after we came home from the hospital we were referred to Dr. Jain's Breastfeeding Clinic for a frenotomy. Our own pediatrician did not approve and would not do the procedure. The procedure seemed to help her move her tongue, and for the first time, her tongue was pointy on the end, instead of heart-shaped.

A lactation consultant visited a few times during that first month to help me get Kate to nurse without the shield, but frankly I didn't care. I was nursing and she was gaining weight so I could live with the inconvenience. By the time Kate was 6 weeks old she had doubled her birth weight, and she was able to nurse without the shield, but only when she was calm and hungry (but not famished). Katherine was quite fussy, so realistically, I could only nurse her once a day without the shield, usually in the morning.

Things were going along nicely when at 4 months Katherine developed the tell-tale signs of thrush in her mouth. Her pediatrician prescribed Nilstat. It helped at first, but it never totally cleared up. After 40 days (4 bottles of Nilstat), I finally checked in Dr. Jack Newman's book and used Gentian Violet. It was messy, but it worked!

I should mention that throughout this time that Kate had thrush, I never had any burning or stabbing pain. During this time, an LC suggested that I stop using the nipple shield completely. She felt it probably harboured yeast. I washed it, put it in a plastic baggy, and threw it in the top of the closet. I haven't seen it since. Which is good, because it had been stained purple from the Gentian.

Initially, breastfeeding without the shield was a bit painful. I called it 'toe-curling', but it disappeared. My nipples became quite red, and still are.

Mysteriously, my milk supply seemed to increase when I stopped using the shield. This caused Katherine to pull off, cry and generally fuss at the breast. So when a month later (Katherine was 5 months old) I noticed another patch in her mouth I was really frustrated. I had overactive letdown and Katherine had yeast again!  I was afraid to use the gentian again, so we went to the Breastfeeding Clinic this time. They prescribed Diflucan for my daughter, and Canesten cream for myself. This combination was successful. Over time, the overactive letdown seemed to slow. I nursed on just one side
within a 2 hour period, and tried let the initial 'spray' soak a face cloth before feeding her.

During this visit to the Breastfeeding Clinic Dr Jain noticed that Kate was tongue-tied. I reminded her that Kate had a frenotomy when she was just a few weeks old. Dr Jain examined her mouth and said that Katherine's frendulum was very wide, but that there was nothing else that could be done in her office. I was instructed to be watchful of her language development. The discovery of a wide frendulum explained why her latch never 'looked' or felt right, and why I felt such 'toe-curling' pain when I stopped using the
shield. Katherine developed thrush again when she was given antibiotics for an inner
and middle ear infection. The thrush was just a small spot in her mouth, and there was a little bit of diaper rash present. Again, she was treated with Diflucan and Canesten on her diaper area. I used Canesten on myself again. Still, I was not showing any symptoms.

Luckily, Kate's thrush seems to have cleared up. I occasionally noticed a tiny white spot in her mouth, but I would give her half an acidophilus tablet for a few days and it would gradually go away. Since she wasn't suffering, and I felt fine, I didn't see any need for medication.

I'm happy to report she's now 15 months old now and still nursing. We haven't seen any signs of thrush in about 4 or 5 months. Her latch still isn't what you'd call perfect (due to her wide frenulum, I think), but I don't have any major pain, and no chapping or bleeding.

I hope this inspires people to continue nursing, no matter how difficult! It's worth all the effort when your toddler is all done nursing, sits back, gives you a big grin and starts clapping her hands.

Submitted by Cindy
Just wanted to share a funny little story about breastfeeding.  My daughter, Hannah, is now 2 and a half (I breasfed her for a year) and I have a baby boy, Jacob, who is two months old and also breastfed.  When we brought her baby brother home from the hospital she was very interested in the breastfeeding process and asked lots of questions.  She's very precocious and articulate for a two-and-a-half year old.  One time while I was feeding him she asked "Is he eating milk from that breast?"  I told her that he was indeed eating milk, and her response was ......."Give him the other one so he can have some juice."  :o)

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