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Perseverance Through Breastfeeding Struggles

by Kimberly

My daughter and I had a very rough start to breastfeeding.  I knew very little about it, besides I wanted to bf.  When she was born, she didn’t latch on like everyone said she would/should.  I had nurses grabbing my breast and shoving it into my daughters mouth (upsetting us both).  Then I was told she had trouble latching because I had flat nipples.  I had never heard of flat nipples but I was suddenly very ashamed of my body.  I felt disgusting and like a failure.  A hospital lc came in and was rude and unsupportive.  I spent my 2 days in hospital crying and feeling ashamed of myself.  I tried to get dd to latch every hour (or more) and she would just lick the colostrum off my nipple as I would fight back tears.  She had jaundice and I was threatened that she would not leave hospital if she didn’t eat, so we gave her formula and they started me on a hospital grade pump.

I went home feeling depressed.  Pumping in severe pain and supplementing with formula.  After the 4th day I was able to pump enough so she was getting only breast milk.  I went to see my OB, because she was concerned about me getting depressed.  She referred me to a private lc and said the group was more gentle and supportive.  It cost me $90 a session, but it was worth every penny.  I learnt that the hospital gave me the wrong size flanges and my nipples were actually swollen and bruised.  The lc saw this in 30 seconds.  She introduced me to a nipple shield and slowly dd was able to latch.  I asked her (as well as our pedi, the hospital nurses and the hospital lc) if dd could be tongue tied.  everyone told me no.  I spend four long weeks pumping and attempting to get her to use the shield.

At her 3 week pedi appointment the pedi scolded me for pumping.  She told me to get her on the breast and stop pumping.  I broke down in tears.  At this point I had mastitis, thrush and was becoming depressed.  I immediately switched pedis.

I found that there was a lc at my new pedi office and it would only cost me $30.  At 8 weeks (and 3 weeks of exclusively bf with the shield) I went and saw her and she immediately said there was something not right with dd tongue.  We were referred to a specialist and found out she had a severe posterior tongue tie.  She was classified as an inefficient eater and would spend well over an hour for one feed.  Needless to say she was constantly on my boob.  We decided to have the tongue tie fixed.  4 weeks later I was able to begin feeding without the shield.

My dd is now 8.5 months.  She latches like a pro and eats in less then 10 minutes (unless she’s comfort nursing).  She actually refuses a bottle and will only nurse.  I feel fantastic about our bf relationship and have no plans to stop any time soon.

I wish I had known then what I know now.  I wish I had told the nurses to stop shoving my breast in my tiny little girls mouth.  I wish I would have said no to formula and just gone home to heal.  I wish I had told the first pedi to shove it.  I wish my partner knew how much his support meant to me.  But mostly I wish that other mothers who struggle with bf have good support.  It is a beautiful experience and I am so proud of myself each day for pushing through.




  1. Jill Sutherland says


    I too had a horrific start to my breastfeeding journey. My supply was fine for my daughter after she was born but then on day 9 she was admitted to the hospital for jaundice and it was a constant struggle for the next 22 months. You should be so proud of yourself for continuing and pushing through and not stopping until you were statisfied with the help you needed. Way to go Mama! Keep up the good work and always let your daughter and your mothers instinct guide the way : )

  2. this is exactly how my son and I started but I never got the support needed to get him latched. it never worked and I was devastated!

  3. YEAH Mama!!! HUGE kuddos to you for staying so persistent!! I had a very similar experience, and had ZERO support, including from my own husband. No one around me had every successfully breastfed and thought I was just being controlling and stubborn by not sucking it up and giving her formula. I am so proud to say that our daughter will be 2 next month and is still BFing!! GOOD FOR YOU and I hope many other struggling mamas are inspired by your story, thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!! You did/are doing a wonderful job 🙂

  4. It’s great to hear that you stuck it out, for both you and your child, regardless of the pain and much frustration that you had to endure. I’m a strong supporter of breast feeding moms and I believe that almost all mothers could breast feed if they really want to. I see so many mothers give up at the beginning when it gets a little hard for them. For a lot of us breast feeding will be difficult and for all of us, it’s something we have to learn to do!! I have my own (what I like to call,) “success stories” about breast feeding and I’m sure Ill share it some time. But I just wanted to say WAY TO GO!! We are made to breast feed, why not give it all you got?

  5. First of all, Kimberly, you are an absolute inspiration and amazing woman. My heart aches and winces as your earlier experiences as they were similar to mine and I continue to carry hurt and doubt from some of the “professional” interactions I’ve had. My body confusion and shame is so much so I haven’t been brave enough to feed in public, covered or not.

    You give me hope and strength. Thank you for sharing and being so resilient. You did right as a mama and that’s the most important thing. I am so proud of you. Xo

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