Let’s talk about booby milk, a baby’s best friend. I’ve been breastfeeding my little Hazelnut now for over 8 months and it has come with it’s struggles but has been so worth it for us (it’s not for everyone). Here’s how we do it and how I’ve gotten over the rough patches. I am by no means an expert, but this is what’s worked for us.
I from the beginning didn’t like the “best positions” shown online and through lactation specialists. They didn’t feel natural (baby’s head in your hand, football hold, etc). What felt best for me was to hold Hazel with her head in the crook of my arm, her body in my hand or on my lap, and just let her latch and feed that way. I hated the Boppy or any breastfeeding pillow really, I found them to be annoying and they just got in my way. Basically I feel like you should listen to all offered advice but take it all for a grain of salt and do you. Only you will know what works best for you, maybe what’s best for you is a traditional position but only you will know that.
Until Hazel started sleeping mostly through the night at 6 1/2 months, I followed a 3 hour schedule but also would feed on demand as she needed. The 3 hour schedule basically says baby is awake for 1 1/2 hours and naps 1 1/2 hours. Every awake session would start with a feed, then she’d play or do tummy time, then go down for her nap. It’s also called the E.A.S.Y. method… eat, awake, sleep, you time. This schedule made me have a large supply (I initially pumped every 3 hours day and night) and kept the day controllable and easy when she was small (with the exception of reflux issues).
Hazel didn’t directly breastfeed for the first month, she couldn’t latch so I pumped and fed her from bottles or used a nipple shield. Exclusively pumping is way harder than breastfeeding and I am a determined stubborn person so I refused to let her not latch and not breastfeed long-term. Here’s how I got her to eventually transition, and my suggestions for you.
- Use nipple shields –They help “draw out” your nipple if it’s flatter or inverted and make it easier for the baby to later learn to latch. No they didn’t make my nipples weird, they just helped. Eventually I fed her off one side using the shield and was able to just not use it on the second side and slowly I weaned her off the shield.
- Pump – Pumping also helps make your nipples easier to latch onto.
- Be persistent and try every day – I tried every day with Hazel, sometimes she’d scream bloody murder into my breasts and try to escape, sometimes she’d try to eat. Eventually she got it.
- Get your baby checked for tongue-tie – Hazel didn’t have one, but it can be a real problem if your baby does have a tongue-tie. It’s a quick and easy fix at the dentist if they do happen to have it.
Breastfeeding at first is extremely uncomfortable, at least it was for me. It burned as did pumping and my nipples got dry and cracked, they turned blue and white, and it was just really unpleasant. That feeling absolutely passes and no, your nipples don’t become beef jerky callused lumps that are void of feeling, you just stop feeling pain and your body gets used to it. Your nipples become fully normal again and it happens within a few months. Here’s how I coped with the pain while my nipples got used to being milked.
- Slather them in organic balm.
- Use Silverette cups to let them heal (they’re messy but worth it).
- Have bra free days where you just let everything breathe.
- Just deal with it and wait for it to be over.
I’ve had countless plugged ducts, usually in the same breast (my left one which seems to be the “trick” breast) and they are extremely painful. They are super easy to get rid of though and for me at least, nothing I read online really helps, the only thing that has is Hazel sucking out the chunks…literally. Usually she’ll clear it up for me in a day but sometimes it takes 2 or 3 days. Here are some other things I’ve tried that maybe could help you, but for me were meh.
- Sunflower Lecithin capsules.
- Hot baths.
- Compression and massage.
- Using a comb and “combing” downward on the plug toward your nipple.
- Heat packs prior to feedings.
- Alternating breastfeeding positions.
- Having your husband “help”.
I’ve had mastitis so far only once, and only in my left breast. It happened about 4 or 5 months into breastfeeding and hit me hard and fast. Brian’s parents were visiting and we spent a day out in Laguna Beach, by the end of the day I felt very flu-like and my breast was hurting. I took a hot bath when we got home and the water just couldn’t get warm enough, even at the highest heat I could safely use I was shivering like crazy. I tried to wait things out, but eventually I had to go to the Instacare and get on antibiotics. My breast was huge, red, hot, and extraordinarily painful. If you get mastitis take it seriously because it can lead to abscess and other issues.
- Go to the doctor!!!!! You’ll most likely need antibiotics.
- Hot baths with Epsom salt.
- Continue breastfeeding as usual, if not more often than usual, even though it hurts like a mother.
- Warm compress.
I was Lady Milkington when my milk first came in, and for the first few months until I got my first serious plug. When that happened and when my period returned (not fair) my production slowed down. I still made enough for Hazel but not really enough to pump and save extra to have “me time” occasionally. To fix that issue and ensure that Hazel would always have enough ( I always stress about her weight just because she’s tall and naturally slim), I ordered milk supplements. Different products work for different people but I love Legendairy Milk’s line. I’ve used Liquid Gold, Lechita, Milkapalooza, and Pump Princess all with great results. I’ve also used Milky Mama treats but they gave me plugged ducts every time.
As a former Lady Milkington massive over-producer, I balanced my supply by alternate breastfeeding. Basically I fed Hazel every 3 hours, but would only offer 1 breast per feed. I rotated which breast was offered each feed. I never went long enough without feeding off a breast to get too engorged or painful (more than 6 hours). It was a perfect balance. By doing this, I taught my body to produce less because less milk was removed. Once balanced (after a few months) I started offering both breasts again during feeds.
Hopefully this has been helpful!