Breastfeeding – 10 Years and Counting

I have been blessed to have been able to breastfeed all of our babies.  I have actively breast fed for over 10 years (and still counting).   I have breastfed through the first 6-7 months of pregnancy several times and have conceived while breastfeeding 9 times.

This is not to say that I’m an expert on the subject or that it has always been easy. Breastfeeding a baby takes effort, sacrifice and an amount of selflessness but the end result is worth it.

Since this is World Breastfeeding Week  I thought that I’d share some of the best advice that I’ve received, some things that I’ve learned and the tips that have about breastfeeding over the past 10 years. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, (Check out Connie’s list) but rather these are the things that have been important to my success and/or that I’ve had to learn the hard way.

Read  The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

Even though this book is not written from a Christian perspective, you will be amazed at the wonderful way that God designed a woman’s body to provide the perfect nourishment for her baby.  Information, encouragement and motivation to keep going, this book from Le Leche League has it all.  Your local library should have a copy.

Drink.

Drink at least 2 quarts of water daily.  If I’m not drinking enough, I notice a drop in milk supply within 2 days!  (More on this in tomorrow’s post)

Nurse frequently.

This is especially important during the first 2-4 weeks.  Every woman is different, but I know that I have to nurse at least every 3 hours during the day in order to maintain an adequate milk supply.

Change baby’s diaper before you feed on the second side.

Most of my baby’s like to fall asleep while nursing.  Changing their diaper before I finish feeding them does a couple of things.  One it wakes them up so that they are  more ready to finish nursing and two when they are finished on the second side you don’t have to rile them up by changing a diaper.

Don’t be a strict scheduler.

This is coming from someone who LOVES schedules.  While it’s true that some women can strictly schedule their babies and maintain an adequate milk supply, for many it can severely limit your ability to provide adequate nutrition for your baby.

There is another reason that I suggest that you not be a strict scheduler.   I know a lot of moms of many and each of us purposely parent our younger children differently than we parented our older children.  We’ve learned something valuable through our parenting experiences.   We better understand the importance of relationship and we know better how to build that relationship with our small children.  As a result we relax our schedules and spend more time holding, loving, nursing and enjoying our younger children.   As one mom of 9 succinctly put it,  “We start out as Ezzo parents and end up as Sears parents”.

Babies go through frequent growth spurts when they will want to nurse much more frequently than usual.

Baby will seem fussy and want to eat almost constantly, this is normal and provides them with needed nutrition while increasing your milk supply and only lasts one to two days.

Use lactation consultants.

I mentioned in the opening paragraph that I’ve had a lot of experience breastfeeding however, every time I’m offered help from a lactation consultant I say yes.  Even when I was in the hospital with Bella we spent about 30-40 minutes with the lactation consultant and I learned something new.

Stay close to your baby.

This may not be popular and you are certainly welcome to ignore my suggestion.  We believe that there may be a bigger, more important reason than physical nutrition that new babies need their mom to feed them and feed them often, relationship.

While pumping and giving the baby a bottle of breast milk will certainly fulfill a child’s physical needs, perhaps we and they are missing out on some of the benefits of relationship that nursing provides.  In our house this means that no one other than mommy has ever fed any of our babies breast milk.   We think that God may have designed the mother as the source of physical nourishment for her baby as a means of building this initial and vital relationship and we desire to follow His design as much as possible.

You can get pregnant while you are breastfeeding.

You can get pregnant if you are exclusively breastfeeding (before starting solids).  You can get pregnant if you are still getting up several times during the night to nurse your baby.  You can get pregnant without having any cycles between pregnancies.   God is in control!  Don’t do anything that would put another pregnancy at risk.

We live in a fallen world and sometimes, even if you do everything ‘right’ you may not be able to breastfeed or exclusively breastfeed your baby.

Don’t be naive or stubborn about this.  Be sure that your baby is having 6 – 8 wet diapers within a 24 hour period and keep an eye out for other signs that he/she is getting enough.  If you’re concerned contact a lactation consultant and/or doctor immediately.  Nourishing your baby with formula is not failure.

Do/did you breastfeed?  What breastfeeding advice has helped you?

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93 Responses to Breastfeeding – 10 Years and Counting
  1. Tania
    August 3, 2010 | 8:46 am

    What a wonderful post for World Breastfeeding Week. I really appreciate hearing from someone who has breastfed 10 children. You have some great advice. Thanks so much!!

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  2. Nicki
    August 3, 2010 | 9:14 am

    I agree, with you and Connie. Especially with the part about learning more as you have more children. I tried so hard to schedule my first two, and was always frustrated. When number 3 came along, he nursed every 1 1/2 hours for MONTHS! I quickly just gave in to his needs, and we were both happier (and he was very fat!). That’s when I became a demand-nurser. Since then, I don’t even look at the clock when I nurse.

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  3. Melisa
    August 3, 2010 | 9:17 am

    Great Tips! I nursed my son for 16 months and it was really hard for me to wean, he was fine. I am now pregnant with #2 and can’t wait to start our new breastfeeding relationship!

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  4. Kate
    August 3, 2010 | 9:21 am

    I have 2 biological sons and, despite trying every “trick” in the book, every herb, ever medication, I haven’t been able to nurse either of them. The first was born at 31 wks and was in the NICU for 6 weeks, so I was barely able to comfort-nurse him. The second was born at 37 weeks and was in the NICU for a week, so I was able to try more with him, but still didn’t produce more than 10 mL of milk, despite all the tricks. I’m 13 weeks pregnant with our next biological baby (we have 2 adopted) and am praying for the Lord to heal my body so that I can nurse him/her. I was born with tubular breast syndrome and, though some people have been able to successfully breastfeed with a lot of work, I have not. It makes my heart ache because so many people can and choose not to- I wish I could trade breasts with them :).

    [Reply]

    Aimee Jongejan Reply:

    Kate – have you tried contacting Le Leche League? They may be able to put you in contact with someone who has struggled with the same issues.

    That being said – congrats on your third biological child! And for being an adoptive parent as well!! The world needs more parents who adopt.

    [Reply]

    Marla Reply:

    Kate, just want to encourage you that you can enjoy a breastfeeding relationship with the help of a supplementer system. I breastfed both of my adopted children!!! It is possible to breastfeed without a single drop of milk coming from your body (although after several weeks of exclusively nursing with a supplementer I started to produce breast milk as well). Using the supplementer is wonderful even for biological moms because it means your baby will spend much more time on the breast and you don’t have to use a bottle for them to get full. Baby will be relaxed and enjoy nursing because the milk is still coming even after breastmilk has run out, and your body will respond to that extra time baby is at the breast and be able to “catch up” on production if possible. If production still doesn’t kick in, you can continue to use the supplementer and enjoy breastfeeding! I used a supplementer called a lact-aid the entire time I breastfed my kiddos. It was wonderful!!! check out http://www.lact-aid.com/

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    I tried the Lact-aid with Matthew. I had help from an adoptive mom who had used it to exclusively breastfeed. It was so discouraging, though. First, I had a c-section because of severe preeclampsia. They took him straight away without me seeing him. It was the next day before I could hold him. I finally was able to try the lact-aid when I went home- I brought it to use at the hospital, but the lactation consultant, who was constantly in the NICU, was not supportive of it at all. It was very discouraging- I had even seen her before he was born to try to get support and do everything I could to be prepared. I tried for several weeks but could never get the hang of the lact-aid. I think having 5 children under 4 was especially hard because, after the first couple of days, my husband had to go back to work and I was alone. I’m going to try again, but I don’t think it’s fair to ask my husband to spend money on a lact-aid again. (I gave my last one away- shipped it to a mom in Germany on a military base that needed it.) Thanks for the encouragement, though.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Kate,

    My grandmother had 10 children and was unable to nurse them.

    I know that she tried diligently because even though they did not believe in drinking alcohol, she would have a glass of wine each evening with dinner in an effort to produce more milk for the baby.

    Congratulations on another sweet baby!

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  5. Jennifer Lavender
    August 3, 2010 | 9:27 am

    I think the best thing I ever did to encourage breastfeeding was to ignore the advice of all the “experts” and not put my baby in a crib or in another room to sleep. I have such a hard time waking up and getting back to sleep at night that if I had done that, breastfeeding at night would have been torture for everyone involved.

    I decided to co-sleep instead. Because my babies are close at hand I don’t wake myself all the way up, I don’t wake them all the way up, we both get back to sleep faster, and most nights my husband would probably assume that we don’t get up at all. It makes for a happier and healthier momma and baby for sure.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I love co-sleeping with our babies! So nice to slip into bed with a sweet, warm, snuggly miracle!

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    Jaime Lynn Braden Reply:

    I LOVE CO-SLEEPING TOO! I have a 3 month old daughter and have co-slept with her from the beginning to the horror of everyone I know. I did my own research though and my husband and I are happy with it. I even wrote a blog about it.

    http://trainingupkaitlyn.blogspot.com/2010/07/co-sleeping.html

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  6. Aimee Jongejan
    August 3, 2010 | 9:32 am

    I breastfed my son until 11 months. After that I went back to work full time and he lost interest in the breast, he just wanted his cup. I breastfed my daughter until 18 months and had a very difficult time weaning her. I wanted to wean, she didn’t. She was still waking at least once, most often twice a night to comfort feed. Fine if we were sharing a bed, but since she was sleeping in her own bed down the hall it was time for me to stop. It was difficult, but we did it and our bond is still just as strong.
    For women who have difficulty breastfeeding I’d remind them that six weeks is the magic number. Keep at it for six weeks – by then you’ll know if your body is going to cooperate or not. And the Le Leche League is a wonderful resource for support and guidance for all breastfeeding mothers – newbies and veterans alike.

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  7. pam
    August 3, 2010 | 9:35 am

    I was able to nurse all four of my children for at least 10 months. my last was born at 31 weeks and was in the NICU for 6 weeks. I pumped every 2 hours for the first 4 weeks and then every 3-4 hours until she came home. She did not nurse totally until 4 months. it was a ton of work but worth it. i love to nurse my babies. I love keeping them close to me. after the first few you almost have to fight for attention

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  8. Dawn
    August 3, 2010 | 9:35 am

    I, too, am a mom who is unable to breastfeed. I nursed my first child for a solid year. Unfortunately, my second child had huge latching on issues, This cause damage to my breasts, and the lactation consultants have tried everything to help me.
    I had to come to the same conclusion as you Kimberly. This world is a fallen one, and although nursing is God’s perfect design, it isn’t failure on MY part if I have physical issues that prevent it.
    Of course, I have still tried with each of my 10…usually able to nurse for 2-3 weeks before baby starts losing weight. So I at least have a bit of time nourishing them.
    I have found that the heart hurt is very great each time…nearly overwhelming at times, but my husband is great at helping me through that.
    I just loved your last line;”Nourishing your baby with formula is NOT failure.” Thank you Kimberly.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Your family has been blessed Dawn. Did you see my comment above to Katie?

    My grandmother had 10 children and was unable to nurse them.

    I know that she tried diligently because even though they did not believe in drinking alcohol, she would have a glass of wine each evening with dinner in an effort to produce more milk for the baby.

    God often uses these types of things to help us to grow more like Him. It also certainly teaches us to be more compassionate toward others.

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  9. Cindy
    August 3, 2010 | 9:39 am

    I have breastfed or at least tried to breastfeed all 7 of my children…not always with success. I have always had a goal of 6 weeks and if it was going well I keep going and if it is not I re-evaluate why it is not going well. I can feel a little stressed if it is not going well over worry of if the baby is getting enough and feeling guilty of quitting…I have determined that I have to do what is best for our family. I am currently and successfully breastfeeding our 7th child who is almost 3 months old. My advice would be feed your baby at least every 3-4 hours, never letting them go more than 4 hours from the start of one feeding to the start of the next one . Yes, I wake my babies up to feed them if they do not. I find even if I let my little guy go too many 4 hour stretches in the day, we will have a couple of makeup sessions in the evening (which is fine unless you are going out and have left him with nana–which is only because I had to visit a friend, who was dying in the hospital and did not want my little baby exposed to germs.). I have always found the more you fill them up during the day the better they will do at night. If you have somewhere to go, like a wedding or church, etc…I have always just topped my babies up before hand, working with my schedule from the morning to put decent time between each feeding and then count 3-4 hours after the top-up. I do still follow the Ezzo schedule lightly (just the order, really–eat, play, sleep). I use a soother very quickly at the beginning as babies want to suck and it could be you they use as a soother and that would not be good if you are sore. I also was confusing my babies hunger and tiredness at first but have figured out that after about 1 hr and 15-30 min. he is tuckered out and needs a nap, but with having so many I was losing track of time and thought he was hungry again..now I know that he is tired and we have a little rocking and cuddle time (which I never did with my first few kids) and off he goes for a sleep. I am so loving this little surprise blessing and wishing I had done it differently with my other ones…I really missed out.

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  10. Gentile
    August 3, 2010 | 9:43 am

    even when baby is wetting that many diapers, it’s possible she’s not thriving anyway. that’s my issue!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Great point, Gen.

    Bella has been slow to gain weight and we are still going in for regular weight checks.

    Thanks for pointing that out!

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    Leslie Reply:

    Gen, My baby is 7 months old today. She only weighs 14.5 lbs. However, she is in the 95% for her height. The doctors were concerned at first about her weight…but you have to trust your mothers intuition. My baby is fine. She is a petite baby and I wouldn’t be concerned unless she wasn’t meeting all the developmental milestones. Which she is. So, unless you have developmental issues…I wouldn’t be concerned about thriving issues. American pediatricians are always looking for something wrong, because that’s what they are trained to fix things. Most of them just don’t know how to handle good health anymore. Good luck to you and your baby and God Bless

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  11. Bri
    August 3, 2010 | 9:48 am

    I was so upset to not be able to breastfeed my son (now 11 months). I did start pumping in the hospital within 48 hours and he exclusively had breastmilk from about 2-3 days old until he was 7 months (when I found out I was already 2 1/2 months pregnant again and my milk supply took a huge hit).

    For those that have trouble breastfeeding, I always recommend pumping. Especially if baby is in NICU. Our NICU would feed my breastmilk first, before offering formula, and it was very comforting to feel like I was able to help him while he was there and I felt so helpless.

    He was never able to latch on properly so
    I pumped and bottle fed. Praying for an easier time with this one.

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  12. MomStarr
    August 3, 2010 | 10:02 am

    I have also been blessed to be able to nurse all of our children. I however learned after baby 6 that my babies did better nursing on only one side per feeding and I feed every two hours for several months.
    Drink lots of water
    Take the B vitamins
    the omegas too
    and remember every mommy and baby are different so do not feel guilty or stressed if you struggle!!! Press on!!!!!

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  13. NJ
    August 3, 2010 | 10:03 am

    I’ve been breastfeeding my son for 13 months now.

    The best advice I have is received was not to be concerned about what others may think if you are in public and the baby needs to eat. I was so concerned about offending people for a long time before I realized that they have no problem eating lunch in front of me, so they should have no problem seeing my son eat his lunch.

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  14. Katie
    August 3, 2010 | 10:06 am

    Love this:) As a bit of a “lactivist” I always love reading blog posts that support the breastfeeding women. It needs to be understood that breastfeeding is the common, not “uncommon”, thing to do. The more we see it and hear about it, the more common it will become. Thank you:)

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  15. Lostmommyof4
    August 3, 2010 | 11:17 am

    A fantastic website is http://www.kellymom.com/ which provides evidence based breastfeeding information. I LOVE this article about how production works. It helped me understand why frequent nursing is important http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/milkproduction.html

    Oh and I loved the quote ““We start out as Ezzo parents and end up as Sears parents”. We have been through that journey and I am so thankful to the Lord for that. Being mommy to an infant is such an amazing privilege…being a mommy to all of my children is a privilege, but that infant stage is so very special.

    [Reply]

    Leslie Reply:

    Yes! KELLYMOM ROCKS!!!! It carried me through this past child. I had a yeast infection INSIDE my body and breasts for about 5 weeks. Finally triumphed it through the info I was able to get off Kelly Mom!!

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    Twyla Reply:

    what info helped you with your yeast? I have had problems with it for years and ended up weaning my last baby before I wanted to (9mos old) because it was too painful to nurse. I have had issues off and on this time around too. I haven’t had anything work to get rid of it completely. It’s inside my body and breasts also. 🙁

    [Reply]

    Leslie Reply:

    Twyla, I researched and researched until my brain hurt. I looked through everything I could find because I knew something wasn’t right. I had thrush with my other daughter, so I knew what the symptoms were. MY newborn daughter damaged my nipples so badly that she created lesions on them. It took sooo long to heal! Anyway, I tried triple nipple ointment to heal the infection on the outside. To heal the yeast issues…I tried everything. Diflucan, getting rid of all sugar intake (not a fun one)…but the crown jewel is called Grapefruit SEED extract. I washed my clothes with it and applied it topically. But NOT UNTIL I started ingesting it in a pill form did I completely heal. I take it religiously everyday. You can get it off of vitacost.com for very cheap. I take that and New Chapter Organics prenatal vitamins. I am so thankful for the internet and modern technology because otherwise I probably would have just given up! It was the worst ever…but I knew I had to push through and find the answer. If you have any more questions or want to know anything else…just email me. Good luck to you!

    [Reply]

    Twyla Reply:

    how do I email you? 🙂

    [Reply]

    Leslie Reply:

    Sorry, I thought my email was showing up in the post. It is leslieahardy@yahoo.com

  16. Chris
    August 3, 2010 | 11:20 am

    as I read these comments I realise all over again how lucky I was to be able to breastfeed my 2 dd. The 1st only wanted to for 6 months but daughter no. 2 nursed for 2 1/2 years. I loved it so very much.
    For the ladies who have been unable to nurse – my heart aches for you, but your comment, Kimberly, that this is a fallen world is a good way of putting it.
    My big tip is that my husband became very good at bringing baby to me, and putting baby back (if we didn’t cosleep) to give me a break at night if i needed it. If he did this I barely needed to wake.

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  17. Sarah
    August 3, 2010 | 11:38 am

    I breastfed my daughter until she was a year old, and the best advice I was given was from my mom. She told me not to give up that the first months (esp. the first month) is the hardest. That’s something I tell to anyone who is pregnant and considering breastfeeding. It’s hard at first, but it gets easier, and I think in the end is easier than bottlefeeding: no equipment/cost and you can do it anywhere anytime. My dad gave me another piece of advice that helped my sanity in the first few months. I was a first-time mom and staying at home full time for the first time as well. So, when my daughter was finally born, I thought I could only go places during the short intervals between her feedings which at first weren’t very long (esp. since she had undiagnosed bad acid reflux for the first month and would nurse every hour or less). I was complaining to my parents about being a little stir crazy because of it, and my dad looked at me and said, “Do you have a blanket?” and I said I did. He then said, “Then you can feed her anywhere. Your mom took you guys everywhere and just fed you whenever or wherever by covering up with a blanket.” I am pregnant with our second child right now and am very much looking forward to breastfeeding again, it’s so much more than just the best nutrition.

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  18. Amy
    August 3, 2010 | 12:37 pm

    Amen & Amen to spending time with your baby. I definitely believe God made us the exclusive feeders for the first 6 months for more than just nutritional needs. I have been mocked for taking my newborns everywhere with me even short jaunts, because as much as I like to be Scheduled, a baby does not always accept that plan. It is a short time, it is worth the minimal sacrifice.

    And always commit to nursing for the first 6 weeks, most of the time if you make that you are set. And another second to Lactation consultants!!

    I also nursed all 5 of mine on one side only per feeding, my milk supply was always plentiful & the first lac cons. told me my son would not get the good hind milk otherwise. I am sooo grateful to her. So don’t always follow the book, follow the Spirit & promptings you recieve for your child.

    [Reply]

  19. Emily
    August 3, 2010 | 1:03 pm

    I have breastfed my four children and will breastfeed any other bio children we have, Lord willing. I go a year, I’m currently at around 7 months with my fourth. I have conceived once while breastfeeding, NO cycle in there! My best move EVER was to contact a lactation consultant at the first hint of trouble with my first two! Had I not been able to press on with the first one, I may not have attempted with the others. My first two (boys) struggled hard, but we got it after a while (7 weeks with the first, 4 weeks the second). My 3rd and 4th (girls) did great from the start! Praise God! It is so hard and stressful when your baby won’t nurse. That is why lactation consultants are such blessings!!
    I do have family members who are unable to produce an adequate milk supply and tried everything out there to remedy it to no avail. They used formula, and their babies were just as big, sweet, joyful, and smart as mine! You are so right, formula does NOT equal failure. We should be thankful we have such options for our babies!

    [Reply]

  20. Karolee
    August 3, 2010 | 1:38 pm

    First, I’m curious what you mean by “Don’t do anything that would put another pregnancy at risk.” Could you clarify?

    I appreciate the way you discussed that we live in a fallen world and some people are unable to breastfeed. I’m a mom of 5 (so far) and am unable to breastfeed exclusively for some unknown reason that would take thousands of dollars to pursue. I sometimes avoid breastfeeding posts because of the emotions involved in my situation. I appreciate you being mindful of that! 😀

    LOVE your blog, btw.

    Smiles,
    Karolee

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Karolee,

    There are several possibilities. One is that there are several herbal supplements that are recommended for increasing milk supply, but are known to increase your chances of miscarriage these I avoid. There are many medical procedures and medications that aren’t safe during pregnancy.

    I NEVER (well, rarely ever) assume that I’m not pregnant simply because I’m nursing. I avoid radiation, medications, tests and medical procedures aren’t safe during pregnancy all the time.

    Does that clear it up?

    [Reply]

    Karolee Reply:

    It does! Thanks! 🙂

    [Reply]

  21. Christina
    August 3, 2010 | 2:17 pm

    Excellent advice. I have 4 girls, and only nursed the newest two. I so wish I would have known what I know now about the benefits of nursing with my first two. But we live we learn. I think my best advice would be, while pregnant do your research. My husband questioned me checking out library books and checking out websites on nursing because I nursed #3. He kept saying your a pro you don’t need to read up on it. And let me just say, I am SO glad I did. Baby girl #4 is a totally different baby and if I wouldn’t have read up like I did, I would have quit. It is a selfless, tiring act. However, SO very worth it!

    [Reply]

  22. Celee
    August 3, 2010 | 2:24 pm

    “We start out as Ezzo parents and end up as Sears parents.” You mean I’m not the only one? I underlined and dog-eared the heck out of Babywise before I even had my first baby and yes our schedule ruled the day. Eleven years and almost 5 kids later my bedroom has turned into slumber party central! I NEVER thought I’d be a co-sleeping mom, but I guess age and experience has mellowed me. I love it!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thanks for appreciating that quote. 😉

    It has been fascinating to talk to so many other moms of many about how our parenting has changed. The move from ‘method’ parenting to more ‘heart’ parenting has been universal.

    I wonder how our children will parent.

    [Reply]

  23. Jaime Lynn Braden
    August 3, 2010 | 2:32 pm

    I am so glad that you shared with us that you are the only one in your home that has ever fed the babies. I had my first child in May and have been the only one to feed her. We don’t even own a bottle. Almost everyone I know has criticized me for not pumping and says I am weird or living in the dark ages. I am a stay-at-home mom so I always say why would I invest in all of the supplies needed to pump? or why would I not want to put my baby to my breast? I seriously thought I was the only one until I read this post! I enjoy breastfeeding and am surprised by that! Before I had my daughter I was nervous about it but everything has gone so great. Thanks for sharing your advice.

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  24. Jenn
    August 3, 2010 | 2:35 pm

    Thank you so much for this post today -the Lord really encouraged my heart with your paragraph leading up to the quote “We start out as Ezzo parents and end up as Sears parents”. We are just beginning to learn this lesson as the Lord is quickly blessing us with children (by Dec, Lord willing, we will have 4 in 4yrs) and it is so good to hear this lesson affirmed from someone who is further down the road. (as in, “ok maybe we aren’t as crazy as some friends think we are…”) Many of our friends are still in the newer parent mode because although we have close to the same number of children, they (unlike us) do not anticipate having a large family and their children are spaced further apart. We have already at our children’s tender ages felt the need to say “no” to many areas of popular parenting (strict breastfeeding schedules, and preschool are the two I feel the most critiqued over). We are confident we are following the Lord’s leading but it’s not easy going against the flow! Thanks again for the encouragement!

    [Reply]

  25. Angela
    August 3, 2010 | 2:40 pm

    Kim,
    I’m a mommy of four (so far). The first 2 were twins. I tried and tried to nurse, but due to an extended NICU stay and one of my twins’ poor sucking ability, I ended up pumping for 10 1/2 months. I just about wanted to throw that pump out the window after that long!;) But, it was worth it since I knew they were getting the best nutrition possible. Those experiences (of things not going exactly as planned — either with the early arrival of the twins, or the pumping instead of nursing) have given me an extra measure of understanding and grace for mommies who want to breastfeed and cannot, for one reason or another. My babies #3 and 4 breastfed successfully for a year.

    My question is a follow-up to Karolee regarding herbal supplements that increase the risk of miscarriage. I haven’t heard that, but I’m interested in hearing more, if you don’t mind. Which one(s)? And, is the miscarriage risk greater just while you’re using them, or is it a more long-term effect? I’ve never had to use a supplement, but I have several friends who have (fenugreek, I think?? not sure of the spelling), and I know they would want to know of any increased risk of miscarriage or possible abortifacient effect.

    Thanks!
    Angela

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle (both common ingredients in Mother’s Milk tea) are not considered safe during pregnancy.

    Fenugreek is known to cause uterine contractions and could cause miscarriage or pre-term labor. (Many think that this risk is quite small.) Blessed Thistle has traditionally been used to stimulate menstruation and abortion. Neither are recommended during pregnancy.

    From what I understand, the effects of these end when you stop taking them, but this is not my area of expertise. So check with a doctor or midwife.

    I hope that is helpful.

    [Reply]

    Deirdre Reply:

    I found that fenugreek and blessed thistle do increase supply, but what worked best for me is domperidone, however you can’t get that in the USA unless it is compounded or you buy in on the Internet from off-shore places. The best book to ck out whether a drug or supplement is “safe” for pregnant or nursing moms and babies is “Medications and Mother’s Milk” by Thomas Hale. He also has a website.

    [Reply]

  26. Kate
    August 3, 2010 | 3:50 pm

    “The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk” is an excellent resource. It’s very specific about what herbs you can take before the baby is born and what you have to wait until after birth to take.

    [Reply]

  27. Beth
    August 3, 2010 | 4:04 pm

    Kim, just wondering at about what age you begin to transition baby out of co-sleeping and into their own crib at night? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Beth it depends on the baby, but probably around 5-9 months. None of our children have still been sleeping in our bed at their first birthday.

    I suppose that some co-sleepers would say that we aren’t ‘real’ co-sleepers. 🙂

    [Reply]

  28. Shannon
    August 3, 2010 | 5:22 pm

    Really great post. Thanks for sharing.I hope you don’t mind I linked to your post.

    [Reply]

  29. Alice
    August 3, 2010 | 6:18 pm

    I love this post, and I’m so interested reading all the comments too!

    I am expecting my 5th baby in December and have been breastfeeding without stopping since my eldest was born 5 years ago! 🙂 I completely LOVE breastfeeding, and my prayer and personal goal is to make it a decade without a break. No reason, just something I would love to achieve. I allow my little ones to self-wean, so my eldest was 4 when he weaned, my 2nd turned 4 in June and is still nursing at bedtime, my 3rd self-weaned at 16 months (my milk had dried up during pregnancy), and my little one is 12 months and still nursed on demand day and night. I am always nursing two, and sometimes three, when I become pregnant again, usually at about 9 months postpartum. That is just when God enables my body to conceive, which I am so grateful for!

    One thing that I seem to be doing differently to something in your post (and several commenters!) is that I started out co-sleeping and nursing on demand with my first. He moved to his own bed after my 3rd was born at age 3. I was positively terrified of dealing with an hourly-waking co-sleeping toddler ever again (!!) so I scaled back the co-sleeping from then on. All my babies come into bed with me to nurse at night, for as long as they continue to wake to nurse at night, and usually stay there from about 3 or 4am. None of them sleep through the night for the first time until around 18 months old – just as I am about to give birth to the next baby.

    I am seriously looking into Ezzo’s method right now, having started out so open to co-sleeping, which seems crazy of me after your mention of that in your post! I don’t think my babies settle down by themselves and I am always pregnant and exhausted before 9 or 10 months have passed, and spend my whole pregnancy continuing to wake 2 or 3-hourly every night. I really want to find a way to gently encourage a natural pattern of feeds that start to group more feedings in the day time, and eventually just one (or zero!) feeds at night. I love snuggling and nursing my little ones at night, but it takes such a lot out of me, and I think it’s time I found a way to gently help them find a good pattern for sleeping.

    [Reply]

    Twyla Reply:

    I think it’s so interesting to hear the moms of many saying they started out Ezzo and ended up Sears…I am the exact opposite! I am on my eighth and like you I started out co-sleeping, feeding on demand, and planning to nurse as long as they wanted. Because of pregnancy related issues I’ve had to wean at different ages, but all because I was pregnant, not because I wanted to. After 6 kiddos I was so exhausted! My sister recommended that I read Babywise. It was an absolute lifesaver to me! My 7th was so fussy and screamed most of the night no matter what I did. (managing a house, 7 kids, and doing school with no sleep doesn’t work.) I put her on a basic schedule and within 2 days she was sleeping almost through the night! PTL!!! I am doing it again with my 8th but much more loose. He is not as needy I guess. I love Babywise and all my friends with lots of kids (and some with just a few) love it too. We all use it differently. I think as with anything you can go overboard and over schedule. We don’t around here 🙂 I just used the stuff I agreed with and what I didn’t, I don’t use. To me it was necessary for my sanity 🙂 My approach is more of a “routine” than schedule but it works for us. I say read Babywise and glean what will work for your family. Every family is different and what works for some won’t work for others… My solution to co-sleeping issues is that I have a co-sleeper. They are still in the room and close enough to feed when necessary, but not right next to me so I can get some sleep (and so can they!) I hope that’s helpful to you 🙂

    [Reply]

    Emily Reply:

    Alice,
    I’m currently on number 4, so compared to most here, I’m far from the expert. 😉 But it sounds like all you need is perhaps a little balance. I found Ezzo to be so rigid. Even with my first baby I had a hard time buying it. My good friend who is a lactation consultant warned me to stay away from his methods when it comes to breastfeeding as did both Pediatricians. (I had 2 b/c of a move.) Both said his methods have been linked to poor milk supply, failure to thrive, and slow weight gain. I found it interesting that 3 different experts, totally unrelated all told me the same thing when I asked them.

    I tend to transition my babies out of our bed between 6-8 months of age. It really depends on the baby. All of my older 3 began sleeping 12 hours a night at nine months of age regardless of when I moved them out of our room. I also do try to put them down awake, but I’m not a big fan of letting them cry. Fussing for a minute or two is one thing, but I don’t let them scream, I just can’t do it. If they start screaming I comfort them for as long as they need it and lay them back down. Sometimes they fall asleep in my arms, sometimes they just need a little love before I put them back down. Usually by around 10 months they go down great and actually LOVE their crib! I breastfeed for a full year, sometimes a little longer.
    Sorry this is so long and I hope it helps. It has worked for me to have a little bit of both worlds.
    A book you might want to check out… “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” By Marc Weissbluth MD. His approach is a little more balanced than Sears or Ezzo.
    Blessings to your sweet family!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Great comment Emily. We are very similar in our approach.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Alice – I wonder if we all just move more toward the middle. Even though I say that we co-sleep and demand feed, I don’t do it to the extent that you do. I’ve never had a baby wake hourly at night to nurse and if I did I would gently encourage that to change. Even though we co-sleep our babies sleep very well at night. We also do not have older children (older than a year) regularly sleeping in bed with us.

    So I wonder if we are all just moving toward more balance in parenting.

    [Reply]

  30. Deb
    August 3, 2010 | 6:57 pm

    When I was pregnant with my first child, I had to make lots of adjustments to what I had planned – I had to take blood pressure medication, I had to be induced, had to have a 3rd degree episiotomy, etc. The one thing I really wanted was to breastfeed.

    The nurses in the hospital just said “it’s supposed to hurt, honey.” After I left the hospital, the pain was excrutiating. I thought for sure I just needed to tough it out, or get more support, or…something. I paid $75 an hour for a lactation consultant to pinch and prod and eventually tell me that my son’s palette was shaped strange. Sure enough – I looked in there and it’s no wonder I had bleeding and scabs and to this day, scars.

    I was devastated. Devastated is not even a strong enough word. I had an extremely difficult birth and had a roller coaster of emotions from that, I was in pain from the episiotomy, and failing at breastfeeding on top of everything was just a body blow. I tried and tried, and one night, as I was crying and trying to get him latched on, my husband said to me, “sweetie, I know you want this to be a bonding experience, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening”

    And I KNEW he was right. He went right out that night to Target and got me a ridiculous hand breast pump. I managed to pump out two ounces, pain free. My son actually got enough to eat for the first time and went to sleep. Instead of crying and cringing while I fed him, I was cooing and cuddling. The next day, we went to the hospital and rented a pump.

    Even though I could pump pain-free AND give my child the miracle food my body produced, I was still ashamed. I kept it from everybody – even my own mother – for months. It took me a long time to talk about it without crying. I had read all the books and taken the classes, and I just knew that breastfeeding was the first step on the path to an enduring, close relationship with my baby. I fretted NONSTOP about what I was missing, what he was missing, that I was robbing him/me/us of a future relationship…

    I can’t even put into words how ashamed and alone and worried I felt…and the judgey looks from people who assumed I was giving my baby formula didn’t help.

    But then. I could see how much my son loved me. And I knew that I loved my son with my entire being. And I loved feeding him, cuddling him, falling asleep with him… I realized that I could build a wonderful, healthy, enduring relationship with my son even without breastfeeding.

    When my daughter was born, I was DETERMINED to do it. I badgered the nurses for more information, I insisted on a lactation consultant, I advocated for myself in every way I could think of.

    But I couldn’t do it with her either. It was not big deal renting the pump that time, though. I didn’t fret that I was ruining her or our relationship because I saw with my son what an amazing relationship we were building. We rented one, bought more bottles, and went on with our lives.

    Pumping is a LOT OF WORK. More than people realize, I think. One day I figured that as much time as I spent hooked up to a pump, washing bottles (no dishwasher!), santitizing pumping stuff, sorting and freezing the milk…it was like 6 hours a day.

    I pumped for 8 months, and when I quit I had TWO THOUSAND ounces of milk in the freezer. My son ate breastmilk for over 13 months. To this day, it is one of my proudest accomplishments.

    I keep trying to think of something comforting to say to other mom’s facing the same thing…just – it’ll be ok. Breastfeeding and breastmilk are wonderful if you can do it. But it’s not a make-or-break measure of who you are as a mom, or what your relationship with your baby will be. It’ll be ok.

    [Reply]

    Jaime Lynn Braden Reply:

    I was very touched by this story.

    [Reply]

    Emily Reply:

    Your story is very touching and I think your last paragraph is very comforting to women who face what you faced. Thank you for sharing.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you, Deb. I know this is helpful to many. We women put so much pressure on ourselves and on each other. I wish that we would be more supportive, I believe that is one of the blessings of unity in Christ.

    [Reply]

  31. chantelle
    August 3, 2010 | 8:37 pm

    Thank you for a wonderful post and great advice. I think co-sleeping was my only tip, but I see it was already discussed above. I think it was also a great way to get the rest that I needed. I feel so blessed that I was able to breastfeed and I hope that I am still able in the future.

    [Reply]

  32. Bri
    August 3, 2010 | 9:06 pm

    Everything I heard about Ezzo has been negative. I haven’t ever read Babywise myself and I know anything you do with parenting is going to cause conflict with people who believe differently. But, myself, I started out as a middle-of-the-road Sear’s mommy 🙂

    Our son slept in a pack-n-play in our room and we moved him to his own room around 5 months (b/c he was waking up every time we made noise — rolling over in bed, getting in bed, getting up to use bathroom, etc). No one was sleeping well around the time we moved him. We used a book called “The Sleep Easy Solution” and it was wonderful!

    It is a hybrid kind of cry-it-out deal and the 1st night I couldn’t take it. I gave in and put Carter right back in his swing in our room (at the time, the only way he’d sleep). We tried again the next night and he went to sleep within 30 minutes. By night #3 he fussed for about 5-10 minutes and was sleeping. The book also instructs you on night weaning if you’re interested. The book recommends a steep schedule for that, IMO, and I didn’t fully wean him for about 2 months. He didn’t really need the feedings (he was a comfort nurser) but I like the alone time.

    Sounds like many of your children may use it as a comfort issue and it wouldn’t be too bad for you to attempt night weaning once they are older (just make sure to step up the frequency of feedings during the day).

    Every child is different, so maybe Ezzo would work great for some of your kids and not for others. I only have one right now, so I’m certainly no expert, but that is what worked for us. With this next baby (I’m due end of Oct) it will probably be a completely different situation 🙂

    [Reply]

  33. Twyla
    August 3, 2010 | 10:24 pm

    I too have heard that Ezzo is bad. But apparently the most recent edition isn’t as strict as the first. I never read the first edition so I don’t know. I am kind of one that just gleans and uses what works. While I love Babywise I don’t do everything they say or agree with everything they say. I do think the basics of it are great for my family. But every family is different. I hope I didn’t come off that Ezzo is the only way or sound offensive. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Twyla Reply:

    http://www.ezzotruth.com/babywise-faq-infant-toddler.html

    [Reply]

  34. sillygeese
    August 3, 2010 | 10:33 pm

    I bf both my girls and intend to do the same with the one I am having now. What I learned is that not every lactation consultant is made the same. If you don’t get success don’t worry about someone else’s feelings request someone else. It took 4 days and cracked bloody nipples, and finally a call to my mom to get my milk to come in. The solution was warm water and hot compresses. The solution of the hospital and lactation consultant was to supplement with a bottle and formula just an ounce or two after triing to nurse so that she would let go and get some sleep.
    I was so upset about this that I told my dr. I wouldn’t deliver at that hospital again.

    [Reply]

  35. Melissa
    August 3, 2010 | 11:09 pm

    Am I the only one who wondered, “What could she possibly learn about breastfeeding her tenth time around?!”

    I’m nursing #3 and #4 (twins!) and I know I’ve certainly learned a lot. I learned that I absolutely can make enough milk for two babies. I learned that the NICU staff (at our hospital, anyway) is really supportive of breastfeeding – when I brought in my first little teaspoon of colostrum they took it enthusiastically and said, “That stuff is like gold around here!” – but also totally nonchalant about formula even if you’re not. Like, the time I didn’t hobble over to the NICU fast enough and was late for feeding time – “Oh, we didn’t have enough milk for them so we just gave them some formula.” Broke my heart.

    Also, I am astonished to find that my nine month olds are growing beautifully withOUT solid foods. With my first two I started them on cereals and purees at 5 months (according to package directions), carefully propping them up and poking “baby food” into their mouths even as they made faces at me saying, “Ick, this is not tasty.” This time, I paid attention to my babies’ cues and found that they were doing well on milk alone at 5 months…then 6 months…then 7… then 8… now 9, and nearly 10 months old, still showing no signs that they’re starving to death without rice cereal and strained squash. In fact, they’re decidedly plump, in a “Wow, check out the fat rolls on those thighs,” kind of way. Who knew?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Melissa,

    What I learned is tough to type out, it has to do with the latch on.

    I also learned that it’s important to nurse for at least 20 minutes on a side for the baby to get to the ‘fattier’ hind milk and that even if the baby doesn’t nurse on the second side that getting that 20 minutes on one side was important.

    Is this something new, or just something that I’d missed in the past? I see that several commenters mentioned about only nursing on one side, so perhaps it’s just me.

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    I knew about foremilk and hindmilk, and after nursing twins I think I’ll switch to one breast per feeding for subsequent (hopefully single) babies. That way you don’t have to worry about milk backup or only emptying the ‘front’ of the breast with accompanying pileups and knots, plus your baby gets a complete meal from high-liquid foremilk to the fatty hind…it works surprisingly well! Plus you don’t need to worry about switching the baby over to the other breast for the last half of dinner.

    I don’t think that there’s any specific time that babies need to nurse – I remember sitting in the hospital with the lactation consultant when my first was born; she told me he needed to nurse 15 minutes on each breast. Pssh. I know from talking to friends that other babies take longer, but none of my babies have EVER nursed so long at once…unless they fell asleep at the breast and took a nap there. I think the time is one way for them to express to inexperienced nursers that it takes a while, but a better way is probably whether your baby is full and your breast is empty…but that’s a little harder to teach.

    [Reply]

  36. Hannah
    August 3, 2010 | 11:53 pm

    So interesting. I loved the post AND the comments. Great discussion, ladies! I am hoping so deeply that the Lord allows me to parent an infant, either adopted or from my womb, largely because of my intense desire to have the breastfeeding experience. I was so excited when I found out about adoptive breast feed a couple of years ago, and I have been doing my best to educate myself and others on it ever since.

    I know God gave me these boobies for a reason! I want to use ’em!

    Blessings!

    Hannah

    [Reply]

  37. […] Raising Olives- Breastfeeding – 10 Years and Counting […]

  38. Cat
    August 4, 2010 | 12:41 am

    Thanks for these tips! I have linked to you on my blog.
    I have been feeding for about the same length of time as you. I also just had a baby girl- my 9th baby.

    [Reply]

  39. Laurel
    August 4, 2010 | 2:19 am

    A good breastfeeding cover is a must for me. I love being able to nurse modestly anywhere I go. I remember with my first child feeling lonely when I would go somewhere private to nurse her. Now with baby #5 I feel comfortable anywhere.

    I’ve also learned that each child is different. My son (baby #2) enjoyed co-sleeping and what seemed like a constant food supply. My 3 month old will sleep anywhere and I’ve had to wake her to eat.

    The one thing I know for sure is that each one is a gift from God and I am blessed to be their mama.

    [Reply]

  40. […] yesterday’s post, Breastfeeding – 10 Years and Counting for more breastfeeding tips.  Plus discussion and additional insights in the […]

  41. Sheila
    August 4, 2010 | 2:50 pm

    Great post! I’m not sure how to reply to the ‘pam’ in the previous comment but I had a nearly identical situation. My daughter ws born at 31 weeks and I spent the next 4 months pumping and trying all the while to get her to breastfeed on her own. I was very nearly ready to give up and she decided almost overnight to do it the right way. 🙂 Now at 7 months old she is refusing a bottle and I have LOTS of frozen excess breast milk in my freezer that I need to start using…

    [Reply]

  42. Kim
    August 4, 2010 | 11:56 pm

    The best advice I ever got when I was breastfeeding was that it gets a lot easier after 6 weeks. Give it six weeks before you decided whether or not to continue. By the time you get to six weeks, your body has healed from delivery, you and your baby are better in sync, and your breasts better understand the whole supply-demand concept. And yes, as you said, feed on demand. Breastfeeding is such a wonderful experience. My heart goes out to the mommies who want to breastfeed but struggle to do so for whatever reason. I too have learned so much with each of my 3 children that I look back on my breastfeeding experience with my first child (I have 3) and wonder how I ever got it to work. 🙂

    [Reply]

  43. Deirdre
    August 5, 2010 | 12:00 am

    When I started breastfeeding 13 yrs ago, I never expected lactation to become my speciality or to be the top lactation guru in my county someday (a rather scary fact). I have nursed for a total of nearly 8 yrs of my life. However because I tandem nursed for some of that time, if I add up each child’s time nursing I have close to 10 yrs of experience. I induced lactation for an adopted baby to the point that he went completely off formula. Now my mom is worried that he’ll never wean! LOL. Thank you Kimberly for supporting nursing moms with your helpful blog entries.

    [Reply]

  44. Deirdre
    August 5, 2010 | 12:15 am

    I doubt most posters of the one side/two sides comments will see this, but basically the common wisdom is that what ever you do consistantly your body will adapt to. Moms in the USA are taught to let baby finish side one and then have them nurse for awhile on side two. However moms is the UK are taught to nurse on one side per feeding. After my birth babies were two wks old and nursing well, I started nursing only on one side per feeding. I liked that one breast was heavy and the other lighter because I could always figure out which one was up for the next nursing session! My adopted baby however has always insisted on both sides at every feeding. Even when he falls asleep nursing he will remember he missed one side if I try to put him down and will insist he “finish”. Funny how he knows.

    [Reply]

  45. jennifer
    August 5, 2010 | 7:50 am

    I so appreciated the tone of this article and comments! I am so touched by those who wished to breastfeed and could not. It is so easy to get on our high horse and look down our noses at others, and at what expense?
    I was heartbroken when my sis-in-law came over to my mom and dads for christmas ( a day long event) only 2 days after having her baby and was wearing a ‘tight’ hoodie. Other bf moms will understand, I knew immediately she was not even going to try. I also know people in my family who think it’s ‘gross’. I am so saddened by this, for them and their babies.

    [Reply]

  46. Amanda
    August 5, 2010 | 4:22 pm

    I hope this is a safe place to say this, but I don’t intend to hurt anybody’s feelings. I just would like to celebrate the following with women who are sympathetic:

    I heard all kinds of advice while pregnant, most along the lines of “well, nursing doesn’t work for everybody, so don’t feel bad when–I mean, uh–if it doesn’t work for you.” However, this week was my son’s first birthday, and yesterday was the first day that he did not nurse at all–he’s too busy eating other food and running around the house now! He was past 6 months when we started ANY solids, and he still has never had a bottle or pacifier….he also has never had any illness (including an ear infection) for longer than two days. I totally praise God for this, and give Him the glory for taking care of Asher…and using me to do it! Maybe I’m selfish, but I would like to be able to tell moms-to-be how WELL it worked, and how it DOES work. Stick it out for 6 weeks, even just 4 weeks, and marvel at how well God has designed your body.

    I have a good friend who, due to a surgery, cannot exclusively nurse her baby. She pumps, uses a Lact-Aid, and makes very real daily sacrifice to get her son every drop she can. I understand there are such circumstances, and formula isn’t a failure. But I think younger women need to hear about SUCCESS, even before they get pregnant, so that they see it’s something worth pursuing.

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    I have been nursing my 3 for over 6 years (two at the same time for a while) and I agree that breastfeeding is something that people have definite opinions on and they always want to share them with you. Redbook recently had an article titled No, you don’t have to breast-feed. One of the cons of breastfeeding (according to the author) was being held hostage by a nursing child and even by those that are bottle fed breast milk the mother must still pump every two hours. So I think the real problem for some isn’t really the breastfeeding…I think that it comes down to what your idea of being a good mother is. I have never felt that the children that God blessed me with are my captors and I am their hostage. I would never rush to pass my children off to someone else so I could work or go out on the town. I am sublimely happy being “tied down” and broke and I am sure that their are many, many moms who feel the same way but have to bottle feed. I would love for the real issue to be discussed and keep breast and bottle out of it. I love your website and pray many blessings for you and your family.

    [Reply]

  47. Free Nursing Cover | Raising Olives
    August 6, 2010 | 9:50 am

    […] Breastfeeding Tips: 10 Years and Counting […]

  48. jerilyn
    August 6, 2010 | 10:54 am

    My best advice is to ask for help if you need it! Don’t be afraid to ask questions- no matter how silly. That was the key to being able to nurse the first time. We had lots of problems in the beginning but I perservered and he nursed for a year. My second little guy is almost 1 and is no where near weaning, which is fine, as I plan on nursing him as long as he wants.

    [Reply]

  49. Vicki
    August 7, 2010 | 1:14 pm

    What a great post. I have breastfeed about every other since 1993. I’ve nursed 7 of our 8 children for over a year, including a set of twins which I never would have believed I could until I actually did it…and I was also working full time to boot. The only piece of advice I can offer is to relax about the whole breast feeding thing…sometimes we are our own worst enemy and psych ourselves out. I find it interesting the whole 1 side/2 side process. When I first started our nursing, the baby would eat for 5-10 minutes on one side, I would then switch to the other side and let them eat as much as they wanted….at the next feeding I would reverse the process. My later children have tended to just nurse on one side during a feed, the other side at the next feeding etc. From a milk production standpoint I’ve found that it really didn’t make a difference…your body adapts your amount a of milk based on the baby’s needs regardless if you are doing 1 side or 2 sides per feeding. Of course doing only 1 side at a feeding does tend to make you look lopsided for awhile. LOL

    [Reply]

  50. Joann Hearn
    August 10, 2010 | 1:27 pm

    What a wonderful accomplishment! I so wanted to breast feed my babies. When my first was born she would not latch – we back back and forth to the nursing center, had numerous mommy friends come and go, but my sweet little one would not latch. So I pumped, and pumped and went back to work and pumped and pumped again…13 MONTHS of pumping and weaned myself off the pump and gave in to cows milk. When baby # 2 came along, he latched nicely and the nurses and lac consultants at the hospital said all was well, but he was not gaining weight, in fact he started to lose weight so back to my faithful pump and again for 13 MONTHS I pumped. It was a huge pain in the rear to carry that pump with me for 26 months – but so worth it!
    Yay for the benefits of breastmilk!!

    Bella is a beauty!!

    [Reply]

  51. […] Photo credits for the bike port go to Alyssa (9), because I was busy feeding the baby. […]

  52. Michelle
    August 14, 2010 | 10:05 am

    Thanks for this helpful blog post on breastfeeding! As of this summer I, too, have nursed for more than a decade–only I have only five children! 😉 My youngest is almost weaned, and due to my age he will likely be my final baby. So, I am about to leave my nursing days behind me. 🙂

    [Reply]

  53. Ronee Appleby
    September 4, 2010 | 3:17 am

    How long do you BF for? 🙂

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’ve always been open to BFing for as long as the baby wants. I have always conceived while BFing and I find that the baby usually weans himself by the time I’m in the third trimester. I know that’s not true for everyone, but that has been my experience.

    I’ve Bfed each baby for at least a year and for as long as 18-20 months.

    [Reply]

  54. Amber
    January 11, 2011 | 12:22 pm

    I am so blessed to have been able to breastfeed all 3 of my babies without much trouble at all (so far, at least… my 3rd is only a few weeks old!).
    As far as advice goes, the only thing I’d add to your wonderful list is to make sure your baby is latching well. Get help from a Lactation Consultant if you’re not sure or if it hurts. For me, that is key for not only avoiding breast trauma but also to make sure baby can get enough (if I’m in pain, there is tension in my body that inhibits letdown).
    Oh, and I’ll also mention the trick I used in my days as a newborn nursery nurse helping new mamas get the hang of feeding: Once you get the baby positioned & latched on, make a conscious effort to relax your shoulders all the way down and then take a deep breath in and out… Relaxing goes a long way in letdown/ milk production.

    [Reply]

  55. Bran
    June 13, 2011 | 2:30 pm

    I have been blessed by reading your blog- I just found it today but will definitely become a regular reader! Do you have any weaning tips? I need to wean my 15 month old daughter for health issues (mine) and the fact that my husband and I are taking our youth group to camp for a week and will be leaving the children with my mom (he’s a youth pastor).If we stay busy she can now go on one time nursing a day. I’m worried that she will have a hard time once I am gone, however. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Bran.

    I don’t have weaning tips because all of our babies have self weaned. I struggle with milk supply and have been pregnant by baby’s first birthday all but one time, so the little ones just wean themselves somewhere between a year and 18 months. Sorry.

    [Reply]

  56. Christianna Cooper
    September 6, 2012 | 10:00 am

    Thankfully, I have been able to breast feed all four of our babies and they all, (except our 4th because she is only 1 month!) weaned themselvs! Out of the 4, I breast fed 2 while pregnant with the next until I was 3-4 months along. I have had ups and downs with milk supply like everyone else! I love what was said about not scheduling. Even some Midwives will encourage you to “schedule by such and such an age”. The less I schedule, the happier and more well-fed my baby is. Things I have found to increase supply besides letting baby nurse whenever they need to are:
    1. Lots of Water
    2. 2 – 4 cups of Raw, yes Raw cow’s or goats milk or 1 cup of raw milk kefir a day if you can tolerate milk products.
    3. Plenty of good fats, like butter, ghee, or coconut oil.
    4. Just eating enough in general! When we get busy with kids, we forget to eat sometimes, don’t we?! 🙂
    5. Pastured Eggs! (I eat between 3-6 a day)
    6. Proper supplemental nutrition, especially for hormone regulation. I get treated by a great chiropractor that uses Standard Process supplements and some homeopathics. When my milk supply was really low at one point with our third, he even did a few accupunture points and it helped TREMENDOUSLY for a quick fix. I have only resorted to that twice though.
    7. Sleep…I know, it eludes us all, but the more we can get, the better the supply will be.

    These are the things that have always helped me. And for those of you new to a high fat approach to diet that are wondering if I weigh 300 lbs, well, I don’t. In fact, I always lose my baby weight within 2-4 weeks of birth. I attribute it to the butter. 🙂 I have been living a Weston A. Price lifestyle of eating since just after birthing my first 6 years ago. It’s amazing. 🙂

    I LOVE what Amber said about proper latching and Relaxing while nursing. Great advice!

    [Reply]

    Alicia Reply:

    Which standard process dependent did you use?

    [Reply]

  57. Rebecca
    September 12, 2012 | 12:34 am

    A new tip I received from my midwife upon the birth of #5:
    The very first feeding after the birth, lie on your back with baby’s belly on your belly. Let her root and hunt for the nipple. Latch-on for me was quick and painless, and it was the first time I did not spend the first week with toe-curling pain with every latch-on. Painless every time. It makes recovery and everything else easier. It’s worth trying, right?
    I will be trying it again in the spring

    [Reply]

  58. kitgonzales
    July 18, 2013 | 12:49 am

    The most helpful thing I ever heard concerning breastfeeding was: You’re not a failure.
    With all four of my children, I was only able to breastfeed to 4 or 5 months, and then I dried up. I tried everything. Supplements, spinach, staying hydrated, feeding on demand, scheduling, pumping, feeding every hour. And still my supply waned. I cried so many tears. And some of the most encouraging advice was, some of the women who want to breast feed the most, just can’t. And some of the women who could care less are the ones who seem to have an endless supply. You’re not a failure. Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

    [Reply]

  59. Stephanie
    October 21, 2014 | 10:56 pm

    I tried to nurse DD1 but was “booby trapped” as they say. DD2 nursed from newborn to 13 months when my milk dried up due to pregnancy (I was not one of the lucky ones who could nurse during my pregnancy unfortunately and also developed nursing aversion with her). Now I am nursing DD3 (3 months old) AND tandem nursing DD2 at 23 months old who wanted to nurse again after baby was born! HalleluYah!

    [Reply]

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