June 4, 2016

8 breastfeeding problems that aren’t problems at all

Breastfeeding gets some bad press and it shouldn’t. It’s the normal way to feed a baby and aside from those mums who genuinely are unable to feed their child naturally (and despite what people believe these ladies are very rare) everyone can and should breastfeed their baby. 

For some reason breastfeeding is a very controversial subject and people become very defensive and offended when their feeding method is questioned. I’m not writing this post to offend, or criticise or point fingers, I’m merely using my experience and education to banish common misconceptions. 

1. Breastfeeding makes a baby clingy

No. Just no. Breastfeeding is normal. Therefore the behaviours of an exclusively breastfed baby are normal. We should be questioning why formula fed babies are not as attached to their mothers! But again, I’m not here to ignite the breast v bottle debate. 

Babies feed from the breast when they are hungry, which is often (they’ve got loads of growing to do) when they’re thirsty, when they’re in pain, when they’re upset, when they’re feeling unsafe, when they’re feeling insecure, when they’re bored, when they’re over stimulated and when they are overwhelmed with love for their mother. The list goes on. 

Your baby may look ‘clingy’ but actually she’s just relieving any one of those above symptoms. 

Being close to your baby and especially being in physical contact with him actually causes the brain to grow. Mother Nature wanted us to be intelligent creatures, so in creating a little being that needs frequent feeding she is forcing us to be physically close to our babies, making their brains grow! 

Amazing!

This leads us on to

2. My baby needs feeding more often than other babies who are formula fed

Again this is normal. The fact that an ounce of formula forces a baby into a deep state of unconsciousness should ring alarm bells. 

This does not mean your milk is not adequate enough, it means your baby is digesting the nice gentle and kind breastmilk really quickly, like its supposed to, whereas the formula fed babies are just struggling to digest the thicker harsher components of the cow’s milk from which formula is made. 

3. Breastfed babies don’t sleep through the night

The definition of a baby ‘sleeping through the night’ is actually a baby that sleeps for 5 hours. And these babies, no matter how they’re fed, are few and far between. 

Frequent night waking is a defence mechanism, it stops your baby from dying. 

A deep sleep places your baby at a higher risk of suffering SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) so again Mother Nature has come up with the perfect antidote. Easily digested milk that leaves the tummy quickly, encouraging your baby to wake before getting into a deep sleep phase. Now that’s impressive. 

4. Breastfed babies don’t take bottles

And why would they want to? They’ve got the option of snuggling right up to mum, breathing in her beautiful scent, gazing into her loving eyes, stroking her warm soft skin, drinking her own unique tasting milk that is a perfect temperature. Or they can have a plastic bottle teat of fast flowing milk gushing into their face at a pace they can’t control. 

Babies can control the speed of flow when they take milk from the breast, meaning that they’re not always actively feeding. Using a bottle encourages a fast stream of liquid that only ceases when the bottle is empty or taken away. 

And besides, it’s a lot of effort to wash, sterilise and prepare a bottle of milk to the right temperature when you can just flip out your boob!

And yes I know some amazing ladies express their milk and feed from a bottle. I’m not referring to the contents of a bottle here, merely the bottle itself. 

5. Breastfeeding hurts

Painful breastfeeding is a problem, because breastfeeding done right does not hurt. Plain and simple. If it hurts, get help. 

Your boobs do not need to be ‘broken in’ and you don’t have to just ‘get used to the pain’ and you certainly shouldn’t expect breastfeeding to hurt. Fact. 

6. Breastfed babies can’t eat solids until they’re 6 months

Breastfed babies don’t need anything extra until they’re 26 weeks old. Nothing. No water, no baby rice, no crusts, no pineapple and brussel sprout purées, nothing. In the height of summer a formula fed baby may need additional water. But a breastfed baby does not. 

By waiting until your baby is old enough you completely eliminate the need to purée any food. Your baby can go straight to ‘proper’ food. Purée was invented because babies weren’t physically ready to consume food. Babies under 6 months can’t chew, can’t control their tongue, can’t coordinate swallowing, and can’t regurgitate anything that’s got stuck. 

Babies of 6 months or older can do these things (as long as there are no mental or physiological impairments). So save yourself the bother of buying or puréeing food and just wait until they’re old enough to feed themselves. It’s much easier. 

7. Breastfed babies poo constantly

Yep that’s true, breastfed babies can be very regular, probably everytime you feed him, but they can also go days and days with nothing. Both completely normal. Breastmilk is digested really easily, it literally slips through the digestive system quickly and the body removes all the goodness before getting rid of anything it doesn’t need. This rapid digestion means babies poo loads, but sometimes the body uses up nearly everything in the breastmilk leaving nothing to waste. So there can be no poop for days! That’s excellent. 

And the other positive poo fact; breastmilk poo smells nice! (Please can someone agree with me in the below comments before I’m made to look nuts) But it is nice. It’s a yeasty sweet bread like smell, and isn’t offensive in the slightest. 

8. I don’t have enough milk 

This is sort of similar to the first few points. Many mums, in fact nearly all mums experience this concern at some point. It’s usually around day 5 after baby’s birth when her brain suddenly goes into overdrive and begins growing very rapidly. All this growth needs fuel, and lots of it, and so nearly all full term healthy babies will go on a feeding frenzy and demand your boobs constantly. 

This is not an indication you’re running out of milk!! It’s normal!! 

Your body will respond by upping its production, the faster your boobs are emptied the faster they will refill. 

I remember feeling like this was never going to end, I didn’t have enough milk, my baby was too hungry, my breastmilk is inadequate and many other damaging and completely untrue thoughts. It is a normal process. 

It’s difficult not being able to see how much they’re getting, but instead of worrying about what you can’t see going in, watch what’s coming out!

If you’re dealing with explosions of poo that somehow end up coating your baby’s shoulders and everytime she’s naked she wee’s all over the place then you can be sure she’s getting loads of milk.

These are just some of the “problems” breastfeeding mum’s face, but they’re not problems at all. They’re all normal expected behaviours and results of a natural form of feeding. 

What problems have you faced when breastfeeding, or what concerns you about breastfeeding your soon to be new arrival? Comment below and share your worries, you’re not alone, but you can do it!

Carlie xxx

20 Comments

  • Nicole says:

    I agree about the poop. My baby’s diapers smell either like buttered popcorn or waffles!

  • I never knew that breastfeeding does’t HAVE to hurt… I love your blog!! Your writing is so funny. XX

  • Hannah Evans says:

    Gorg lipstick color! What a lovely mum you are 🙂

  • Heather says:

    Love all of these! Couldn’t agree more!!

    Xx

  • Fatima says:

    Great read! Agree about the poo. Recently started solids.. If only my baby could be fed breastmilk only till being potty trained..

  • kirsty says:

    This made me laugh and never even thought how my daughters poo smelt untill now shes 10months on solids and was thinking why does it smell so bad it never used to haha. I agree i have a strong bond with my baby due to having her so close and feeling me when she feeds. Altho 2 weeks after breastfeeding i nearly had a break down constantly leaking and smelling of milk. But so glad i didnt give up.

  • Michaela says:

    The sleep comment concerns me 🙁 my baby was EBF up until two weeks ago, and we are now supplementing because she wasn’t gaining weight or having enough wet diapers. But at 3 weeks old, she slept through the night. Beginning at 1.5 months, she began sleeping 8-10 hours a night. She is 6 months now. Should I talk with her doctor about that? I mean, if sleeping this way is putting her at risk for SIDS, I don’t want it.

    • admin says:

      This refers purely to exclusively breastfed babies in the first weeks after birth. After this a baby is in a much better position to self rouse and therefore avoid SIDS. 6month old kids are at a MUCH lower risk of SIDS no matter how long they sleep or what they eat.

  • Ruth says:

    I find it’s formula feeding that gets the bad press and certainly sorry but I find this not funny but condescending. I battled to breastfeed, went through a health visitor, three NHS midwifes, a private LBCLC (at £50 a shot) and a LLL consultant (who just made me feel even more useless).

    What was the problem? Well my baby had a posterior tongue tie and lip tie and ALL of these people were idiots, they only looked for ties they didn’t actually watch my baby feed. It was diagnosed in another country by first an American IBCLC, as I had seen so many and none had said anything about this I then saw a South African one then a New Zealander, followed by a French IBCLC Breastfeeding doctor. Sadly at 10 weeks it was so late my milk supply was low, so yes you can get low supply, (I pumped after every feed to try and increase supply) my baby hated my boobs, fought me every single time I tried to feed her and was losing weight rapidly it was an epic failure.

    We had the tie corrected and she latched on well it was completely different to how she had fed previously, but then the tie reattached and we hesitated to have it revised a second time. When we had it revised again, it stayed detached but she refused to even latch at all by this point, and with my supply so low there wasn’t much to encourage her.

    So I tried cup feeding, finger feeding, supplementing at the breast but ended up using a bottle, my poor baby with the ‘plastic bottle teat of fast flowing milk gushing into her face at a pace she couldn’t control’ as if I didn’t feel guilty enough. There is actually something called ‘paced bottle feeding’ which people who breastfeed and pump often do, people who work etc.

    Then I had to try and build my milk supply from 6oz a day. So I pumped, TEN-TWELVE times a day, at night I pumped every 3 hours, during the day every 1-2 hours and in the evening I cluster pumped every 30mins. This was between as you say washing and sterilising bottles and also pumping equipment, plus sorting the breastmilk into portions at the end of the day. I couldn’t go anywhere as I needed a power socket for the pump, in the end I got a car adapter and went back to the car to pump all the time. It took 3-4 weeks to see an increase but finally I could stop supplementing, then after about two months I had enough (35oz+ a day) to freeze. I cut down to 7-9 pumps a day and could actually go out for lunch or a quick dinner!

    I exclusively pumped 35+ oz a day until she was 12 months old, and fed her with a bottle. This was not by choice, this was the only way she would eat after three months of breastfeeding hell. I also had thrush for about three months (missed by UK doctors) so tried to feed and pump in agony, constant blocked ducts as when you are pumping so frequently you don’t get a decent buildup of pressure so get blocked nipple pores. I had sterile needles on hand to clear plugged nipple pores, they were a weekly occurrence, in case anyone was wondering ultrasound does also clear blocked ducts, I’ve done everything to combat blockages, heat, epsom salt baths, ultrasound, massage, needles for blocked pores.

    Thanks to an airline moving me to an aisle seat I got bumped all over the place trying to pump on a 7 hour flight, and ended up with abrasions all over my nipple, which got infected and led to full blown mastitis with the flu like symptoms, I couldn’t even get out of bed, and my nipple was so sore I had to stack myself with painkillers 30mins before pumping (I had pumped for three months with thrush so was used to pain but this was special pain). I assumed (incorrectly) it was thrush, but the thrush medication just made it worse, finally I was given an antibiotic cream which cleared it up as well as oral antibiotics for the mastitis but it was an agonising two weeks.

    I finally had to give up after a minor surgery resulted in internal bleeding, the doctor told me I had to stop and give my body some time to rest. I had enough in the freezer to last my baby to 16/17 months.

    So for numbers 4, 5 and 8 I can say these are problems of breastfeeding that ARE problems, or rather are symptoms of a problem and no I COULD NOT do it.

    • admin says:

      I’m really sorry you had such a bad experience with breastfeeding but I really admire how hard you tried to give your baby the best start. When it comes to breastmilk, every drop they have is important and makes a difference so you should be so so proud. All of my posts refer to well, term babies and mums with no problems that may prevent successful feeding, unless otherwise stated. When I spoke about bottles I refer to babies who have breastfed for months and then are introduced to bottles, and 99% of the time they completely refuse – because they’d prefer the boob. Babies given bottles early enough or from the beginning will obviously take them completely fine and there is nothing wrong at all with bottle feeding, as long as it is paced feeding – as you’ve said. But not everyone has heard of paced feeding and so doesn’t know how to implement it. Sorry if I offended, and you should be proud of how hard you worked and what you achieved.

  • Lorna says:

    I completely agree with you too, it does smell sweet, a much nicer smell than pee or the now dreaded toddler poo (which using cloth nappies means I dread when my daughter gets unwell!)

  • tara cooper says:

    Mastitis however it’s spelt.. is caused by breastfeeding and midwifes recommend you stop.. It made me very ill! If I had it once will I get it with my new baby?

    • admin says:

      Mastitis is caused by milk getting blocked up in your breasts and then becoming infected. You must never allow milk to sit in your breasts if you are engorged (very full) because you will almost certainly get mastitis. If you are already breastfeeding and you get it you should never stop, if someone has told you to stop breastfeeding because you’ve got mastitis they are wrong. Always always carry on feeding, it’s the best way to cure it. Stopping will literally make everything so much worse! I’ve had it and I know how horrible it is. It’s caused purely by letting milk sit in your boobs. So feed feed feed, or express. Hot bath, gentle massage and cabbage leaves in bra all help too.

  • Abigail White says:

    Howcome my girl’s bumly products smelt of Horlicks and roast potatoes, but at 3 months was breaking wind so noxious that even she was horrified!? 😀
    I miss that oddly sweet smell. Now, peas *ergh*

  • Cheryl says:

    My babies’ poo smell reminded me of Toffee flavoured Mullerlight yogurts! X

  • Louise says:

    I think your blog regarding breastfeeding is quite insulting, scare-mongering and offensive to Mums who have chosen to bottle feed.

    As a Mum you know what is right for you and your baby – you have no right to say otherwise.

    I have chosen to bottle feed my baby from day 1 and she is /always has been very happy and content. She feeds well with no allergies and I have the most beautiful bond with my baby girl.

    If you do not wish to be offensive I would choose your words more carefully.

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