19.11.13

too much of a good thing


Well... after several bouts of mastitis, worrying periods of breast refusal, a gassy unsettled baby and issues with oversupply... I think I might have finally tamed my overenthusiastic let-down to a point where we can actually begin to enjoy this breastfeeding journey.

Whoever said breastfeeding second time around was easier obviously had a very different experience to me. It's not much fun when your let-down lets you down*.

Have you experienced issues with breastfeeding? It really can be tricky business!

* Does sleep deprivation turn you into a comedic genius too? ;)

* Photo by Tim Coulson

43 comments :

  1. Yes I had an incredibly fast let down! My first baby coped ok with it but it was painful feeding him and he had wind issues and bouts of unsettledness. My second time around I had a baby 4 weeks early who got flooded every time I put him on and the poor little mite got scared coming near my boobs! Happy to say at 5mths it all changed and he was no longer a gassy, unsettled bub who got sprayed with milk and we went on to have a happy feeding relationship for 13mths. Apologies for the detail - sleep deprivation causes me to over share! A great post esp. for mums with breastfeeding difficulties, it's not always as easy or natural as it appears. Beautiful photo!

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    1. Not over sharing at all - it's nice to hear that others are experiencing similar difficulties x

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  2. Well I had the opposite problem... a haemorrhage and subsequent infection led to me not having enough milk, plus bubs had a facial palsy after birth, so all round we had lots of trouble breastfeeding. But we stuck with it, refused to give in when we were told to stop trying and go to formula, and ended up breast feeding for almost 2 years! It's so worth persisting. I AM hoping it's easier second time around though! Glad to hear it's getting better for you... x

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    1. Joanna, I had no idea you had such a rocky start to motherhood! How amazing you are to overcome those obstacles and go on to feed for so long - you are inspiring!! I'm sure 2nd time will be easier on you :) x

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  3. Oh Claire! What a tough time you've had. The first time I had mastitis was with my third, and oh my god, I remember thinking I would rather give birth again!! I also had it with Olive but much less severe this time, still shockingly painful but not as bad. I really hope things are on the improve for you now, and what a trooper you've been to keep feeding. It would be so easy to stop, and I can totally understand why people do..x

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    1. I no longer hold any judgement for those who decide not to (or simply cannot) breastfeed. It can be a really tough gig... but so beautiful when it's done right!

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  4. it seems very common that breastfeeding gets harder with each pregnancy. who knew? both my sister and i struggle at bit more with each baby. at the moment i have eczema, for the first time in my life, and it's covering both my nipples…good times. thankfully it doesn't bother scout, just painful for me. xx

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    1. oh kristi that sounds so uncomfortable! Well done for hanging in there and managing to feed that gorgeous boy of yours x

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  5. I am currently Breastfeeding number 3. And this has been the toughest gig by far! Mastitis, blood blisters, cracks you name it. Turns out he has a lip tie... He is 17 weeks now and we're only just finding our groove!

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    1. ouch! Hoping things settle down for you now so you can enjoy round 3! x

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  6. Oh I am with you. It can be sooo tough - hoping you are over the hardest part. First time was incredibly hard for me, mainly because my little on wouldn't attach. And second time just as full-on but smoother... and breastfed for 14 months! Baby decided she'd had enough and I was left wanting to give her a last feed! xx

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    1. weaning can be so emotional can't it!?

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  7. Oh Claire, I went through the exact same thing with Gus. Too much milk coming too quickly, a little boy in pain and mother and baby both in tears. Before I realised the problem and mastered (messy!) ways to deal with the issue I would dread feeding times. So happy to hear things are on the improve for you both and I hope that nasty mastitis has settled down. I hadn't even thought about breastfeeding round until now...!! xx

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    1. I laughed at the 'messy' part. So true! It's good to hear I'm not alone....x

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  8. This time around I had a little piranha and maybe had one duct that got plugged 7 times in six weeks.. :( Nothing like mastitis but not fun just the same. So glad it's worked itself out (for you and me). I always love your pretty images and my number one is Claire. :)
    Enjoy your feeds,
    Georgia

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    1. the plugged ducts are really painful too!

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  9. Go mama! It's not easy... and completely different with each babe. I've only had one experience though (which is still continuing with my 21-mth-old) but the first couple of months were so hard. Tounge-tie, thursh in my milk ducts, blocked duct which very nearly was mastitis, bit of over-supply... and all in France (and very NON-bfeeding country) where it was near impossible to find help and support. I am so glad I found an english-speaking La Leche League group for breastfeeding mamas. We persevered through pain and tears and long nights, got the help we needed, and it slowly got better and better. I look at my radiant boy now and know I was a part in his being so happy and healthy. Here's to the "magic potion"! (what my eccentric pro-breastfeeding French paediatrician called it)

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    1. Well done for persevering against the odds... you sound really proud - and you should be!

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  10. I actually found second time around harder. I wasn't expecting it but I guess it really is true that every baby means a brand new journey and all that you thought you knew can be challenged the second another bub comes along.

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    1. So true. Just because we've done it before doesn't mean we can just pick up where we left off. It is a whole new journey... x

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  11. I have always had a quick let-down, though thankfully have never gotten a bout of mastitis yet. I can't even imagine! It has been a significantly different journey the second time around. So much for feeling like I "knew it all" and it would be a piece of cake! Oh, we live and learn don't we? Glad to hear things are better for you and sending lots of love x

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    1. Kate! I read about your feeding on instagram - well done, must be quite a challenge working and feeding. So happy for you x

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  12. Oh, mate that's awful. Taking some zinc & cod liver oil & vit d3 might help fight the recurrent infection? (Which is what it so often becomes.) Hang in there!!! Sending you lots of love xxxx

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    1. I have been thinking of taking cod liver oil for a while now... I think it;s time to start. Thanks Kel x

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  13. Yes it is a tricky business indeed. I thought my third time round would be plain sailing but, heck, no! My let down was fast too but fortunately Angélique, my third, was a feisty, hungry baby willing to take it anyway it came.

    I recall a midwife telling me during those toe-curling moments of breastfeeding agony - with cracked nipples - with my firstborn how after six weeks it would feel as if I'd been doing it for every. I do think that six weeks is roughly the turning point towards relaxed feeding both for mother and child.

    I'm sure it's just going to get easier and easier for you two from now on.

    Stephanie

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    1. marguerite was feeding well at 6 weeks but since the girls got sick, my supply went all oout of whack and caused issues with feeding. I'm hoping things have settled down now though x

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  14. First of all Hi Claire, I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I don’t think I have ever commented.
    Over supply and a really fast letdown with all three, first one would bring everything back up minutes after feeding always covering me in the process, second had silent reflux and the third I thought I had down pat till the never ending bouts of mastitis. It certainly didn't get easier with each babe but I think I persevered longer with each cause I knew sooner or later we would get it right.
    Kate

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    1. Hi kate and welcome :) I think it's much easier to handle difficulties with subsequent babies after a positive initial experience. It's definitely what has kept me persevering.. I know how beautiful the rewards will be! x

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  15. I got mastitis too so many times with my second babe and not once with my first born. My three each breast fed very differently and the way they breast fed reflects the way they eat now, one has a huge appetite the other still only eats when he feels like it. Hope its the end of the mastitis for you take care xx

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    1. Funny how two different babies can do such different things to your body! x

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  16. Oh I'm hearing you lovely lady! I have THE smallest boobs in the world but my word they can make some milk. Huge supply and ridiculously fast and furious let down. I used to drown my poor little ones! Time as always was the only healer and together we worked out how to dance the crazy, beautiful dance together. Wishing you a calm and beautiful breastfeeding journey :) xx

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    1. Hah! Don't underestimate tiny boobs! Glad to hear you had similar experiences and went on to have a positive experience x

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  17. I'll admit, I'm reading these comments with trepidation Claire. After my devastating first bf journey, I was hanging my hopes on so many women telling me 'it was easier second time round'. I guess every woman and baby and experience is different, and actually this is a good reminder to not let myself get too hung up on that hope. As you know, my milk stopped suddenly first time - something completely out of my control. I feel that with that experience under my belt I'm more prepared and I'm both excited for - fingers firmly crossed - a more successful bf story and for the closure I hope it will bring on what I can't help but feel was a failure on my part. But ultimately I know that if the same thing happens, bottle feeding in no way affects your child or your bond with them so I won't give myself such a hard time...I hope. Sorry for the essay; I guess it all still affects me more than I'd care to admit. You're doing an awesome job Claire. Enjoy every second. You're experiencing something I hope so dearly I will too someday xx

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    1. Oh Nell, I am certain you've already had your not-so-good breastfeeding journey and your beautiful, easy one is going to start in a few short months! Failure? Pffft!!!!!!! X

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    2. Thank you Claire - you're the sweetest xx

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  18. Props to you Claire. You're so courageous to keep going. I too had a oversupply and a super fast and painful let down, luckily my buba adapted and just took it all! she ended up pretty much the size of a baby whale. My favourite part (not) was when she'd pull off and i was left spraying milk all over my friend at the opposite side of the table at a cafe. Just had to laugh, or I'd die of embarrassment. - Kristal

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  19. I had the same experience with #2 Claire, he arrived a little early and was so tiny, he just wasn't big enough to latch on properly. He started okay and then refused to attach for nearly three weeks - longest three weeks of my life - where I expressed every feed and gradually got him back on the breast. It was still another month before we were a real team and then he never looked back. A very strange experience after #1 did it all as though she had done it before, no issues at all. So relieved #3 knew what he was doing! I am sure you've had plenty of advice (probably too much!) but I used to have the flooding let down too and had to lean backwards for those first few months until after the let down had passed, it seemed to ease the gush into the poor child's mouth! xx

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  20. Haha! Let down by your let down..
    That IS funny!

    Another who was not expecting any dramas BF number 2! I also had oversupply and super let down.. Found only offering 1 boob per feed gradually helped with my supply.. And feeding lying down seemed to make it easier for them to cope with my let down- not that that's much help when you're down the shops!
    I love this photo of you!

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  21. Every baby seems to present new challenges, no? With Osc, my milk was very slow to come in and supply was low, leaving me with a poor starving bub who never slept (but I was in such a daze I didn't realise). With Nora I was so tense and worried that I'd have similar problems, that I told every single midwife, thinking I'd need help, then the opposite happened, oversupply, breast refusal and reoccurring mastitis – which was awful, like Mel above, I thought to myself, goodness labour was less painful than this!

    This time it is a little easier (although I don't want to jinx myself). Iris is a strangely noisy feeder, clicking as she drinks. She also regurgitates and vomits pretty much constantly, soaking her clothes, so she needs changing regularly, but she is growing and thriving and giggling and smiling.

    It is strange just how different every single breastfeeding experience is. Im x.

    ps Sorry I didn't mean to write a whole essay.

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  22. AAAH! I totally thought it'd be a cinch the second time around, this is scaring me! Gus and I were SO crap at it for the first 2 weeks, but after lots of coaching and some seriously yowie nips we went on to have a great BF journey until he was 16 months and gradually self-weaned. I remember HATING it and not being able to imagine doing it naturally and without 2 people helping and several cushions. But of course I did, and loved it.
    ...At least this time I won't be as stupid and think about 5mm of expressed milk is enough for a 4-day-old (poor child!) hahaha, such a rocky start, I hadn't a clue!

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  23. My let down let me down with my third baby. She was never breastfed, only bottle. I expressed milk for 6 weeks and it took hours just to get 200 ml and it just about killed me. x

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  24. First time round breastfeeding was a nightmare, so much so that S was bottle fed from about 3 months. Second time round was so easy from the very beginning. However, it was a little too easy as Baby O decided he liked nothing better than to hang around attached to my boob all day, every day. Life was quite challenging for while - thank goodness for slings and an understanding older sibling :-) x

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  25. Your experience sounds so similar to mine with my second baby. I had serious oversupply/fast flow issues and paired with my little one's super strong sucking, it was a recipe for disaster and led to an unsettled baby with a very sore tummy. We eventually discovered her unsettledness was due to lactose overload (the doctor said it was like shoving a hose into her mouth and turning it on full ball) and after that, it was VERY short 'five minutes on each breast feeds'... it's funny because in those early days in hospital, I remember thinking after five minutes she was trying to pull off like she'd had enough and I kept thinking that five minutes for a newborn couldn't possibly be enough and so kept feeding and feeding... I should have listened to my instincts!! So glad your breastfeeding experience has become a much happier one now xx

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - it really means so much. I will try to reply where I can! xx