I thought I’d share a breastfeeding update because, well, I get asked all the time about it!  And I think about it all the time because I do it, like, seven times a day.  I was pretty open about my journey (and struggles) with Henry, so I think it’s natural that people are curious about Claire.  Some of this is mentioned in other posts, but it’s probably helpful to put it all in one place…


Everyone always says, “Give breastfeeding six weeks. It gets a lot easier.” I knew this with Henry, but it never got easier – and by six weeks, I was pumping exclusively.  If we did try to breastfeed, I had to wear a nipple shield (one of those things you’ve never heard of until you try to breastfeed). I could never really get him to latch on the breast directly. I got frustrated, he got frustrated, and soon, we were onto bottles forever.  And then eventually formula, too, when I decided to wean myself from the pump. <– Oddly enough, this post remains one of my most popular ones because, when I wrote it, there was very little personal info online about stopping pumping!


So. Enter Claire. I wanted it to be different. I remembered how much I hated the pump. I tried to make breastfeeding work – I really did.  But in the hospital, she DESTROYED my nipples. The second night of her life, she ate every 30 – 45 minutes until I was cracked and bleeding.  So I asked for a pump (but didn’t use it – just knowing it was close by was good enough) and a shield.  I put on my old nemesis, the dreaded shield, but I felt instant relief. Thank goodness!


Despite the rocky start, we continued to breastfeed. My nipples healed, but I was using the shield now all the time. Thanks to my flat nipples in particular, her latch wasn’t deep enough to suck without hurting me.  And then, at her one week appointment, I found out that Claire hadn’t gained any weight after being discharged from the hospital. I was SO upset and felt like, once again, I had really failed with breastfeeding. The doctor told me to pump a few bottles for her every day and come back in a week.


Well, that was a slippery slope. I had held out all week on introducing a bottle, but now, I felt like I had to. And this time around, instead of being a torture device, the pump felt familiar.  Like a friend almost – I had spent so much time pumping Henry that I knew all the tricks for faster letdown (smell your baby, look at her face or a picture of her, massage your breasts at the same time). And Claire LOVED the bottles. She ate it up. Ironically, when I weighed her a week later, she’d “gained” so much weight that it was obvious she hadn’t had a weight problem to begin with – the scales were just off!


So I was pumping (again) but still breastfeeding, too. Always with the shield. I aimed for half and half, but then I started to pump more and more of her feeds. A few weeks ago, I realized that I was hardly breastfeeding her at all anymore. In hindsight, what I hated most about pumping was that it provides almost no flexibility with feeding. Similar to how I would feel, I suppose, if my baby refused to take a bottle and only wanted to breastfeed! I thought I’d be happiest with my breastfeeding relationship if I could have greater flexibility – more boob, some bottles, some back-up milk in the freezer for down the road.


Over the past few weeks, we’ve really been making an effort to actually breastfeed, and I have to say – it’s SO MUCH EASIER at the four month mark than it was two months ago!  I went to feed her with the shield on, and she ripped it away – she didn’t need or want it anymore. It’s so much easier without a shield, and I never thought we’d be able to drop the shield, which is awesome.  I still have plans to wean and switch to formula at some point, but the greater flexibility makes it easier to consider staying with breastmilk for even longer.  I also don’t feel as angsty about breastfeeding in general this time around; I think a lot of that has to do with how incredibly sleep deprived I was with Henry.


And another cool thing (I’ve mentioned this before) is that Henry is now also getting breastmilk, too!  I mix his with chocolate milk powder to ensure he’ll drink it – hah!  But since I started giving him a few ounces a day, he hasn’t had more than a case of the sniffles!  No idea if that’s just luck or my milk’s antibodies in action, but it’s pretty cool.


One thing that I’ve learned is breastfeeding is always different for every woman. But it’s also very, very different from baby to baby.  And for each baby, it’s different month to month!  So I want to say that if it didn’t work out with your first, and you’d like it to work out with your next, there is hope! It can be different, and it can be a lot better, emotionally and physically.


Okay – onto my number one pumping tip…


After you pump, put all the pump pieces in a big Ziploc bag. Seal it and put it in the fridge until your next pump. The cold air of the fridge keeps bacteria from growing on your pump parts, which means you DON’T HAVE TO WASH YOUR PUMP PIECES AFTER EVERY PUMP!!! Amazing, right? Washing pump pieces is the most annoying part of pumping, for me, so this makes the process a lot easier. I wash them once a day, after my last pump before bed.


I’d love to hear about your journey, too! How did Baby 1 compare to Baby 2? Any breastfeeding or pumping tips?



  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul April 7, 2015, 9:31 am

    I’m so glad things are going well for you and Claire! Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  • Allison April 7, 2015, 9:52 am

    Caitlin, I am so glad your experience has been better this time around! This post is so encouraging for mothers who have struggled with breastfeeding. I have been pretty lucky with my babies, all of them have latched well and been great nursers. That being said, I could not survive without my breastpump! While I do prefer breastfeeding to pumping, I also do not want to be tied to my baby for every feeding! I love that freezer milk stash so I can drop off a bottle with my baby at gym childcare, have a date with my husband, etc. My youngest is almost 9 months now, and we are still nursing. I plan to go to the year mark like I did with the other 2. It will be bittersweet to stop….. She is my last baby for sure so I will never nurse again, but it will be a relief to feel like I am in sole possession of my boobs again! Ha!

  • Dottie (@crazyfitmommy) April 7, 2015, 9:55 am

    That sounds so much like what happened to me with my 6 week old. With my 19 month old we had latching issues and he couldn’t eat at all without the nipple shield until we weaned at 8 months. With this one I was determined to NOT use the nipple shield at all because it’s such a pain. I made it a week — he was really hard on my nipples but I toughed it out until he managed to tear huge chunks of skin off of them. I figured blood and whatever else was oozing out of the open wounds weren’t good for him, so we pumped for a few days until I healed. After that he refused bare boob, so I had to try the shield again. It’s so good to hear that it’s possible to wean them off it! I can’t wait for the day he doesn’t need it anymore, they’re so messy and inconvenient!

    • Ali April 7, 2015, 12:11 pm

      Don’t lose hope! I also have flat nipples, and stressed a ton about how to wean from the shield. One day, when my son was about 3 months, I went to feed him with the shield and he started gagging on it (almost like it was hitting his gag reflex). I took it off, he had a great feed, and we never went back. Less like a wean and more like a light switch!

  • Laura @ Vegetarianesque.com April 7, 2015, 10:04 am

    Cool tip! Do you rinse the pump parts first or just stick them in the fridge a little milky?

    • Caitlin April 7, 2015, 10:53 am

      Either or. Doesn’t matter, I don’t think.

      The only issue with rinsing is you often get water in the piece where the tube plugs in.

      • Lindsay April 7, 2015, 12:44 pm

        I don’t rinse OR use a bag! I just put them in the fridge all assembled ready for the next pump (unless the bottle is full obv) – makes pumping SO much faster/easier which was key for me as a full time working mom! I had a mini fridge in my office JUST for this purpose. So worth the $90 I paid for it…

  • ashleyC April 7, 2015, 10:16 am

    I know what you mean about wanting the flexibility of breastfeeding over bottles. I went back to work at 7 weeks pp. I had to pump three times during my workday so my son would have enough milk each day. I longed to get rid of that dang pump and just feed my baby whenever he wanted it, but somehow we made it a whole year pumping and doing bottles during the work day and then breastfeeding whenever I was at home with him (which to me was so much easier) I hate washing bottles!

    I’m now pregnant with number 2 and it seems like such a long road ahead with pumping. But, I think I’ll have more confidence and knowledge this time. I feel like I know so much more. And, I don’t really have too many other tips than what you’ve mentioned except make sure to eat well and drink lots of water. I could always tell when I hadn’t because my supply would start to tank.

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork April 7, 2015, 10:19 am

    Thank you for always being so honest and open about your experiences. We need more women like you to put it out there and show everyone what’s real and not everyone’s the same.

  • tiff @ love, sweat, & beers April 7, 2015, 10:21 am

    Oooooh the washing of the pieces! I’ll never forget. Our exclusive pumping was a 1.5 to 2-hr ordeal every time, partially because we always practiced breastfeeding first, which never clicked for my little guy. Then I fed him a bottle. Then he slept while I pumped, and then I washed all the pieces. Hated every second of it! I didn’t learn until we were about to give up pumping that you didn’t have to wash them every.single.time. That would have been good to know!

  • Kristen April 7, 2015, 10:23 am

    I remember reading your first post when you were exclusively pumping with Henry, and thinking how hard that must be. Fast forward a few years, and I’ve been exclusively pumping for my son for 5 months, one week, and one day. We didn’t have a choice–he has a cleft lip and palate, so it was bottle feeding only from day one. I’ve announced I’m quitting several times a day, but for one reason or another, I’m still here. 😉 Reading your EPing posts were SO helpful!

  • Kristen April 7, 2015, 10:30 am

    Oh, and my number 1 pumping tip? (Wait, I have two!)
    1. DON’T pump at nap time unless you absolutely have to. I know this seems counterintuitive, but over time you’ll feel like you get nothing done if you use naps to pump. Sit your babe in a bouncy chair, swing, jumperoo, whatever, and entertain them as much as you can while you pump.

    2. Take the drama out of it. (This is really a reminder to myself!) Pumping sucks. Exclusively pumping reeeeeally sucks. You feel like a very unattractive madonna-esque cow with cone-shaped boobs. There is milk every freaking where. You obsess over ounces, whether too many or too few. You say some version of “I have to pump” a billion times a day. But you know what? You’re doing it. And you’re doing it AWESOMELY. So focus on the fact that you are growing a baby yourself. Delight in the thigh rolls. And then grab your flanges. 🙂

    • Caitlin April 7, 2015, 10:52 am

      Yes to the no nap pumping!

    • Catherine May 22, 2015, 10:44 am

      Wow, Kristen, you may never see this, but thank you! I just teared up at your amazingly thoughtful and true comment! I am exclusively pumping out of necessity and you are so right about all of that–the milk everywhere, the obsession over ounces, and that dreaded thought “I have to pump” that gets repeated over and over again. But thank you for the reminder that I’m doing it, and doing it awesomely. Yes I hate it, but I love watching my baby boy grow and thrive off of my milk even more. I may not be able to keep this up for as long as I would have breastfed if it worked out well, but I’m doing it now, and that’s all that matters. Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂

  • A April 7, 2015, 10:36 am

    Just wanted to leave a quick comment about newborn weight – it is actually normal and expected that the majority of babies lose a bit of their birth weight in roughly the first seven days of life and typically regain by day 14. Medically this newborn weight loss is well documented and unless it exceeds 7% of the baby’s full body weight at birth it is considered normal. This is not intended as a comment in any way on anything else you shared – just a helpful pearl that many mothers aren’t aware of! 🙂

    • Caitlin April 7, 2015, 10:51 am

      Oh good to know!! I think my doc was concerned because she was still at discharge weight a week after.

  • Jacquelynn April 7, 2015, 11:00 am

    I’m reading this whole pumping, haha! This is the BEST tip ever!!!!

    • Tiphani April 7, 2015, 1:48 pm

      Me too!

    • Jacquelynn April 7, 2015, 2:41 pm


  • Jill April 7, 2015, 11:24 am

    Both of my boys (ages 3.5 and 8 months) were similar nursers! I had to use a nipple shield, and they would each sit on the boob FOREVER. I have no idea what they were doing. I would switch at 30 min on each side, for an overall hour of feeding, and they were STILL hungry afterward. I would constantly tickle them, kiss them, and generally pester to keep them awake, but they still took an hour every time. I breastfed my first son until I went back to work at 10 weeks, and then started exclusively pumping. I had already introduced formula early on because he was still so hungry after an hour breastfeeding session, and I did increase the amount of formula after going back to work. I kept up the pumping until he was about 3.5 months old. With my second son, I started exclusively pumping much sooner. I guess I was just over breastfeeding by then. I never enjoyed it. I actually got more milk pumping with my second (though still not enough to feed him only breastmilk), I think because I started sooner. I was happier exclusively pumping than breastfeeding and made it to about 5 months.

    All that said, I was very happy and proud of myself to give whatever breastmilk I could. I had breast reduction surgery in 2001 and was told I might not be able to breastfeed at all. I consider it a success! 🙂 You should be very proud of yourself, too!

  • Rachel April 7, 2015, 11:29 am

    I have a lot of similarities to your experience. With my first, I had to use a shield to get him to latch, which meant I had to pump after each feeding to keep my supply up (per lactation consultant’s orders). Eventually I got so tired of this routine that I started exclusive pumping. I did that from 4 months until 10 months. With my second I was DETERMINED not to end up exclusively pumping again. I never had to use a shield with him, and now I don’t even pump at work- I drive to his daycare to feed him at lunch. I find nursing to be INFINITELY easier than pumping. I never want to pump ever again! I find it much worse to be tied to the pump than tied to the baby.

    Also, both of my boys lost a considerable amount of weight. My oldest lost almost 15%, so we had to “triple feed” (nurse, pump, then feed him what I pumped) for a few days. He eventually caught up without the need for formula. My second lost about 7%. Still concerning, but just something to monitor. I didn’t have to really do anything to fix it. It took a full 5 days for my milk to come in both times, so I think that was the real problem.

    • Rachel April 7, 2015, 11:32 am

      Oh, also, that breastfeeding prevents colds is a common misconception. The antibodies in breastmilk only help with gastrointestinal illnesses. They don’t help with airborne/respiratory illnesses.

      • Caitlin April 7, 2015, 11:36 am

        Really?!?! But what about the flu etc? My friend’s whole family got the flu except her baby because she was nursing?

        • C April 7, 2015, 1:01 pm

          That is definitely not true! My pediatrian specifically told us that our newborn was protected from a cold we had from my antibodies. This is misinformation.

        • Shannon R Bell April 7, 2015, 1:28 pm

          The Ab’s (antibodies) in breastmilk help w whatever they were produced for! Meaning…if mama is exposed to a viral illness etc.. (GI/Resp any…) and mounts an immune response, then those Ab’s are present in breastmilk and thus when baby is exposed to the same bug, they have Ab’s ready to go to help fight off infection. This applies to more than GI illnesses. A quick google search offers several articles/research papers that support the assertion that Ab’s help babies beyond just GI illnesses.

        • Sara Grace April 7, 2015, 3:10 pm

          I’m pretty sure that’s inaccurate because my doc told me exclusive breastfeeding gives babies their mother’s immunity to measles. It’s not 100% protection, but it’s pretty good, up to six months. So it’s not just gastrointestinal illnesses, in any event.

        • Grace April 7, 2015, 3:47 pm

          This is one of the most comprehensive publications I’ve seen: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full
          And it does show a decrease in the risk of respiratory infections, as well as many other medical issues, among exclusively breastfed babies. But this study does mention briefly (and I’ve read other studies – I don’t have a link at the moment) that the newest research shows that it’s the actual act of breastfeeding (which changes the development of the mouth, jaw and inner ear) that results in the decrease in ear infections, etc. not the breastmilk itself. And the decrease in obesity is only linked to exclusive breastfeeding, not pumped milk in bottles. So although there’s huge benefits to breastfeeding Claire, the research isn’t as clear on giving pumped milk to older children or adults in terms of reducing the risk of illness.

  • Nicole April 7, 2015, 11:54 am

    I breastfed my first for seven months, with a few expressed bottles mixed in. When we stopped and switched to formula, it was largely because she would become distracted and hank my nipple around. It hurt and even after trying to give it time, I couldn’t continue. It just wasn’t enjoyable for either of us anymore.

    Still, I always wished I had gone longer. Well, with my second I actually applied some of the breastfeeding advice I had read (I winged it a lot with my first). Turns out, I didn’t need that advice. Feeding by the clock, instead of by her cue led me to an oversupply. And waiting six weeks to introduce a bottle has seemed to keep her from ever wanting a bottle, ever.

    We’re at seven months now and going strong. I just wish she would take expressed milk. She is eating solids like a champ but refuses milk,water, and juice regardless of the bottle or sippy cup. I’d certainly welcome any tips!

  • Holly April 7, 2015, 12:13 pm

    My baby is 2 1/2 weeks old and breastfeeding was awful in the hospital. My nipples were cracked and bleeding and because I was induced and ended up with a c-section my milk didn’t come in for almost a week after her birth. The biggest tip from me is talk to the lactation consultants at your hospital! They were so helpful and today I am exclusively breastfeeding (and pumping so we have a freezer stash). They helped me use formula and SNS which is a little tube they tape near your nipple so baby is still at your breast but drinking formula. It was a pain in the butt but it made the transition to ‘real’ breastfeeding much easier. I’m glad things have been better for you/Claire this time around!

  • Paige April 7, 2015, 12:23 pm

    I’m glad the experience is so much better for you this time around. I had some issues nursing at first and then was completely stressed out by the 1-2 hour round the clock feeding schedule but it really is so convenient! I loved not having to haul feeding supplies (especially when traveling) & worry about water quality.

    I am trying to quit pumping for my 14 month old (though he doesn’t seem to be near weaning I do have a good freezer stash). I’m down to just 1 pump per 10h work day!!

    When I was pumping several times a day I never bothered refrigerating the parts because breastmilk can go 6+ hours (maybe 8?) without refrigeration so I figured the residue on the pump parts was fine if I first used it at 10 am and last pump around 3:30 pm.

  • C April 7, 2015, 1:00 pm

    This is my #1 pumping tip too. I also had to start pumping in the first few weeks to get my supply going and we didn’t realize we didn’t need to wash them every time. What a relief when we figured that out!

    When I pumped at work I wouldn’t even regrigerate the pump parts in between the 3 pumping sessions and I never had any issues. Breastmilk has super antibiotic properties, you can leave it out at room temp for 10 hrs. So the pump parts are fine.

    It also took me a while to figure out you could pull apart the yellow piece with the membrane from the flange, I thought they were permananetly connected, that helped with cleaning for sure!

  • Chelsea April 7, 2015, 1:16 pm

    My experience with breastfeeding was nothing like I thought it would be (isn’t that always how it goes?). I had sooo much milk, that my breasts continually got engorged and flattened out my nipples. So I had to use a nipple shield too. I had to pump after nursing, because my daughter was never a big eater (still isn’t) and just couldn’t handle all that milk. Finally, after about 4 months, things evened out, I stopped using the nipple shield, and nursing became so much easier! I really couldn’t believe it took that long to get in a nursing groove, but I’m so glad I was able to make it to that point. You’re so right…every mom and baby are different!

  • Kaci April 7, 2015, 1:22 pm

    I agree, bf-ing my second was extremely easier then the first baby. I gave up so quickly and was just not nearly as patient as I was with my second. I think experience has a lot to do with it.

  • Joanna April 7, 2015, 1:55 pm

    You’ll never know how much this post and your breastfeeding/pumping posts have helped me. I had such a hard time with breastfeeding the first time around. My son (who is now 2) wrecked my nipples. I was bleeding and crying every time he fed. I exclusively pumped for a few weeks until I felt like such a slave to the pumping process that I gave up. I lasted a good 2-3 months which is all I can hold on to…the whole thing crushed my confidence and brought out so much guilt in my soul. It’s safe to say I had a bit of postpartum depression and my breastfeeding woes added to that. I am now 5 months pregnant and trying to mentally prepare for all of this again. I am hoping for the best and I know from reading your posts that I have options, bottle feeding is just fine, and formula is just fine as well. Your post today gives me hope that I can get through this tough stage! Thank you thank you!!

  • Marlow April 7, 2015, 2:51 pm

    Reading this while breastfeeding 🙂 I am definitely a lucky one. I started producing colostrum 3 months before my son was born and he latched instantly. I did have issues with over supply, but once we learned how to do “laid back” nursing, I was able to nurse without pain. Before laid back nursing, my flow was too fast and too much so he would clamp down on my nipple to slow it down – ouch! I’m still only able to breastfeed from one side at a time since apparently my body loves making milk. I hated pregnancy; I labored for 51 hours; I needed to win at something!

  • Courtney April 7, 2015, 3:00 pm

    Okay, moms who exclusively pump are my heroes. I hated that thing. I’m grateful that I never had breastfeeding problems and to see the moms who push through all the discomfort and frustration and tears for both of you I’m sure…big monster kudos.

  • veronica April 7, 2015, 3:26 pm

    The reason breastfeeding gets easier with time is two-fold: Mama gets more proficient and confident, and Baby’s jaw and sucking ability gets stronger. These two circumstances working in tandem is why something that felt impossible at month 1 can actually be enjoyable and (dare i say?) easy at month 4.
    It is really amazing that Claire became a better nurser after so much bottle time. Bottles tend to make “lazy” babies because they are fed by gravity and don’t need to develop those suck muscles. Your story is truly a success on many levels and I hope it encourages and inspires other mothers who feel like they’re ‘failing’ in those early weeks and months.

    As baby gets better, nursing gets better.

  • Erin April 7, 2015, 3:36 pm

    Good job, Mama! I’m still nursing my 17-month-old and have (luckily) never had any breastfeeding issues. I did start pumping when I went back to work to have a bottle for him during the day, but I was never very successful in getting enough milk for one whole bottle. What worked for me was to have baby on my left boob eating and then attach the pump to my right boob at our very first morning nursing session. I got the bulk of my pumped milk then because he was able to stimulate my let down for the pumped side. I then pumped once at work (and got maybe 1-1.5oz) and got enough to finish up a whole bottle for the next day. I continued the morning nurse/pump during the weekends and was able to always be a little bit ahead for the coming week.

    Now weaning is my issue – I love nursing so much and we were down to 2 times a day, and now I’ve just cut out the evening nurse session and it’s breaking my heart (and I wouldn’t have cut that out if my husband and I weren’t going out of town for 2 nights next month!). Oh these hormones are powerful.

  • Lori April 7, 2015, 3:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey with Henry and Claire. I’m sure it will help lots of mamas. Even an easy time nursing can still be complicated. It can take a lot of seeking for accurate info to make it to your goal.
    We used a couple of lactation consultants with my first baby and I attended a La Letche League meeting as well. One of the LCs I used is also a pediatrician and the things I learned from her were invaluable. Luckily I haven’t had to use her at all with my second baby.
    First, like someone commented above, it’s normal for a baby to lose weight after birth, and if you had an IV at all during labor your baby’s weight can register artificially higher than it would have been had you not had an IV. So the weight loss at that first ped appt can look more dramatic. Peds can be alarmists. I was told that if my milk didn’t come in by the next day that I would have to supplement with formula. This was VERY upsetting to me and is what had me calling LCs. Apparently even a 10%-12% weight loss is not necessarily an emergency. Anything more and I might worry. And personally, I would have sought out donor milk before using formula. Just my personal choice. Luckily my milk came in and baby gained to ped’s standards. And if pain or other issues continue in the first weeks, it’s worth having baby’s frenulum checked. (tongue tie). It’s easy to have released. We did it at 8 weeks with my first baby. I had no pain in the beginning but got painful blisters at week 5 and it was due to poor latch.
    I only pump at work for what baby will drink the next day, but I do get more than I need, so I freeze that in case of emergency or to use when I want a drink that isn’t meticulously timed 🙂 As for flexibility, I was under the impression that bottle feeding was more flexible. Different strokes for different folks! I have a couple of friends who pumped exclusively by choice because they felt it gave them more freedom. I personally thought they were crazy! I find nursing to be so much easier, plus, like you said, washing bottles and pump parts just sucks! I learned the fridge trick from the manual that came with my Medela. Life saver! No time for washing between pumping breaks at work!
    So, I also learned that 24 oz in a day is considered a full supply. So if you are trying to figure out how much you need to pump, think of that. For instance, I am gone for 7 hrs a day at work, so baby needs 7 oz while I’m gone. For us, that’s two 3.5 oz bottles. My friend thinks I should be feeding him more since he’s getting older, but it isn’t true that the number of ounces should increase with age, like it does with formula. It drives me nuts that she thinks I’m not feeding him enough and wont believe what I know to be true! http://www.kellymom.com is the best for accurate, detailed info. BTW he is 21.5 lbs at 7 months old and barely started on solids, so he’s clearly getting plenty of BM. And I always think, too, that if you were just nursing and not pumping you wouldn’t know how many ounces were coming out.
    I love nursing. It’s just so sweet and amazing to me what the body can do.
    My goal was 2 years with my first baby and I got pregnant when he was 13 months old (probably able to conceive because he went from nursing all night to sleeping through the night. Fertility can return with sudden, dramatic decrease in nursing. Happened to be perfect timing for us to try for baby #2). I nursed through my whole pregnancy, tandem nursed when baby was born (tried to limit them actually nursing at the same time because I just didn’t love it), and now my 2.5 yr old just nurses for the length of the ABCs song right before bed. I will probably try to wean my second child by age 2. I think I’ll be a little burnt out by then!
    Sorry for the novel! It’s a subject that I love! I wish all mamas could have the easy time we’ve had! And I hope no one is ever scared off by the thought of the pain, because while it’s common, it doesn’t happen to everyone.

  • Jules April 7, 2015, 7:30 pm

    Aw,, I’m so happy to hear that breastfeeding is still on,, and that it’s easier for you!. As my daughter grew and her mouth got bigger and stronger, I too was able to ditch the nipple shield and I nursed her over a year! It’s such a special bonding time. Good for you both that nursing is going strong. *hugs*

  • Shira April 7, 2015, 8:03 pm

    I learned from your blog that I can skip washing them until the end of the day if my pump parts are in the fridge. Huge timesaver!

  • Emily April 7, 2015, 11:00 pm

    Baby #2 will be here in June! I love the idea of reintroducing big brother to breast milk again once I start nursing and pumping again! What kind/brand of chocolate powder do you mix with breastmilk for Henry?

    • Caitlin April 8, 2015, 7:47 am

      Trader joes!

  • Marissa C April 7, 2015, 11:45 pm

    Yay! I’m glad to hear it got easier. I hated the shield too, and refused to use it with my second child. It still hurt like heck, but I healed a lot quicker. I think it is pretty darn normal for your nipples to hurt like hell at first. Of course I know there are latch issues you need to watch out for and correct, but I think we have this incorrect notion that it shouldn’t hurt at all at first.

  • Lisa April 8, 2015, 4:31 am

    Okay, I will play – and try to keep it short, I’m with the every baby being different! We have lots of allergies in both our families, so I was pushed even more to breastfeed – also NZ is really really breastfeeding pushy (too pushy if you want my personal opinion ;)).
    Anyway – Baby 1, big hungry boy, 2 weeks early so sucking reflex wasn’t great, inverted nipples = breastfeeding with shield, multiple feeds night and day, one bottle (soy milk because of dairy allergies) at night, 16 weeks gobbling up solids, 6 mths weaned onto bottles/formula and finally a happy baby!
    Baby 2 – born late, but really little (6lb, 1.5lb smaller than the first!), like a prem baby, not a great sucking reflex, inverted nipples = wouldn’t latch on, lost enough weight for them to started to get worried, midwife whispered (midwives here aren’t allowed to offer formula, breastfeed push all the way!), that maybe we should try a bottle of formula – never looked back, 100% formula/bottle fed baby.
    3rd Baby – I had a list 😉 I was only going to breastfeed if he latched on properly, if he slept well etc etc. He came out right on time, big bouncy baby, ready to suck straight away – easy peasy baby to feed, slept through quickly, and in fact when I went back to work unexpectedly (husband lost his job so we swapped for a few months while he looked for work), he was an absolute nightmare to try and give a bottle to, Mr stubborn! (and I had pumped and left him with bottled breastmilk for the first few months while I was doing some serious sport training, I stopped because the summer season finished, hindsight is wonderful ;)) Ended up weaning him completely at about 5 months because he was not drinking all day and then feeding all night to make up for it – naughty boy.
    4th Baby – another little one, so I was worried she would be like her 2nd oldest brother – but she was just little (still is) breastfed like a dream, I also wised up and started giving her a bottle of formula from when she was about 1 week old (much to the midwife’s disgust, but when you get to no.4 you wise up to what you want and aren’t so scared of making sure you get what you want), I went back to work 3 evenings a week when she was 8 weeks old and she was happy with bottle or breast (my dream baby!).
    Baby No.5 – breastfed like a dream, but thinking I was clever, started her off with a bottle early too but she was way more stubborn and picky (still is!), she was happy to take a bottle from me, but not from anyone else! She and my husband had lots of battles when I went back to work 1 evening a week from when she was 3mths old, until she was about 6mths and she finally gave in and would take a bottle from him too (and yes, she is still a Mummy’s girl).
    So my five – all pretty different! and as I say to nieces etc worrying about breastfeeding/formula – line up mine and see if you can figure out who was breastfed and who wasn’t, they’re all healthy, intelligent, good adults/teens 🙂

  • Colleen April 8, 2015, 6:37 am

    Thank you for posting your #1 pumping tip!!! I did that as well while I was pumping throughout the day and I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  • AJ April 8, 2015, 6:38 am

    Thanks for sharing Caitlin! I had one of those babies who would Not take a bottle, ever. I think I tried every type of teat available and every single helpful suggesttion but no dice. He did eventually drink my pumped milk from a cup when he started at daycare. I really really hated pumping, Idon’t know how you do it, i am in awe of exclusive pumpers! The breast is just so convenient for lazy people like me! It is true I am pretty tied to him but it is getting easier as he gets older and I do love the snuggles. We are still breastfeeding at 18 months with no plans to stop soon.

  • AJ April 8, 2015, 6:50 am

    My best breastfeeding tip : follow The Milk Meg on Facebook. She is a seriously awesome lactation consultant and I have learned so so much from her posts and blog. I love her.

  • Brittany April 8, 2015, 9:22 am

    Thank you SO much for doing this post. And puh-leeease respond to this comment. Okay, so my first is 2 and I’m pregnant with #2. With my first, I EP’d for 13 months. Breastfeeding was just…rough and like you, I didn’t mind the pump. This time, I’d love to do more BF’ing this go ’round, like you. Buuut, also like you, I have flat nipples. So how in the world does one BF with flat nips and no shield? I thought I’d have to deal with a shield during my entire BF’ing relationship but when I read that you guys aren’t using a shield, my jaw dropped in amazement. Please share how you made that possible because I am totally feeling like I can do this!

    • Caitlin April 8, 2015, 10:34 am

      It took a few months but my nipples just eventually popped out more! Did that ever happen to you with pumping the first time around?

      • Brittany April 10, 2015, 4:00 pm

        Mmmm, I can’t remember but either way, you have given me a lot of hope. Keep up the fantastic work. Thanks for the update!

    • Jackie April 8, 2015, 10:38 pm

      I just wanted to jump in (to re-emphasize that you can TOTALLY do it) and say that I exclusively used a nipple shield with my 2nd for 5 months (because of flat nips), and then at 5 months, I tried nursing without one and he latched on perfectly. Nothing changed about my body (I didn’t feel like anything popped out), but because he was older and had only been breastfed his whole life, he just knew how to nurse (shield or not). And oh my gosh! Feeding sessions went from 40 minutes to 10 (I think because he had to work harder with the shield on) and life was so much easier! But I will say, there was probably a week or so when my nipples were sore again (like in the very beginning, but not quite as bad). But that went away and now (he’s 9 months) we’re pros. You can do it!

  • Janet April 8, 2015, 12:22 pm

    They really should include that tip with every pump! I don’t know how many sleep-deprived moms that I’ve told this tip to. Anyone who tells me that they are pumping- I tell them that tip. I was recently at a breastfeeding moms group and I mentioned it and NO ONE in the room had heard of it (there were over 15 moms and most of them either were currently pumping or planning on pumping when they returned to work). For some reason, that tip is not circulated around nearly enough. I’m glad that things are going better for breastfeeding with you this second time around. I’m also on my second baby and things are going better than the first time around for me too- although I was surprised to have issues the second time. I thought I’d be good after breastfeeding my first child for a year… but like you said each baby is different which makes the breastfeeding experience totally different!

  • Jessica April 8, 2015, 4:01 pm

    Thanks for a great post! I am glad your journey this time around is going great! I originally found your blog through a pumping facebook group and have stuck around even now that I have weaned. It was great reading your one post about how your breastfeeding journey went with Henry. My experience with my first child was difficult and 14 years ago I didn’t even know pumping exclusively was possible. When I was faced with similar challenges with my recent birth – Google was my friend. I started to find a huge pumping community and through them I learned so many tricks. My experience this go around was still rough because I didn’t find out all the information until the baby was about 2-3 weeks old. By then I had a sloppy pumping schedule and was discouraged. I still made it 7 months pumping exclusively and I will say it is still one of my greatest mothering accomplishments! Thanks again for sharing your story. Without posts like this one I would have given up way sooner.

  • Sara Palacios April 8, 2015, 4:41 pm

    I used a nipple shield with my first born for over a year (and some change) because I too suffered from flat nipples. Enter my daughter (now 7 months old) . I too had the same experience in the hospital (cracked/bleeding nipples) so I used the nipple shield as well. But now, she rips it off too and I nurse without it often (except for the before bedtime feeding because I feel like it helps her nurse longer). So, I guess we are twinkies. 🙂 I was so used to the nipple shield that I am constantly amazed at how easy it is to nurse without one! Hang in there, momma!!

  • Irene April 8, 2015, 5:20 pm

    I’m really surprised to read that you were advised to leave your pump parts in the fridge for 24 hours. I was told no more than 8 without a wash even if they are in the fridge. Maybe it’s ok if you are really careful about immediately using the milk in a bottle or freezing it but I’d be worried about letting the bacteria grow on the pump parts (it does grow, just more slowly in the fridge) and then again in any unused milk. Do you mind if I ask where you heard this tip and if you were advised to be careful about using the milk right away if you don’t clean the parts often?

    • Caitlin April 8, 2015, 7:32 pm

      A lactation consult told me. Do you have a source for the 8 or did you hear it via word of mouth, too? But, really the pump parts only stay in for about 12 hours, not 24, because I wash them at night and let them air dry before bed.

      • Irene April 8, 2015, 8:21 pm

        I heard 8 hours from my lactation consultant. Hmm. 12 seems pretty reasonable though. Thanks!

  • Resh April 8, 2015, 8:41 pm

    Glad things are better with Claire!

    Just a few words on the studies generally cited on breastfeeding. Many of them have serious methodological concerns — the main one of these being study designs that are not sufficient to provide causal claims. That is, a lot of them are not actually good enough to say breastfeeding causes x, y, z. The best study design for this type of claim is a randomized controlled trial, which is difficult to do in this situation because it would involve randomly assigning some mothers to breastfeed and others to formula feed — which is not possible for obvious reasons. Just my two cents – I have a background in maths, statistics, and work in a field that designs studies whose results can then make strong, causal claims. Am always trying to spread the word that all studies are not equally created!

  • Sara April 9, 2015, 10:03 am

    Thanks for sharing, Caitlin! Your old posts were such a help to me when I was trying to feed baby no. 1 (he’ll be 2 next month!) We’re trying for baby no. 2 and I am hopeful breastfeeding will be easier this time. I’m with you though, there were aspects of pumping I liked, and aspects I hated. But since I work, I’ll have to pump some anyway. We will see how it goes 🙂 Thanks for being so open and honest! For women struggling, there’s a great Exclusively Pumping Group on Facebook. (There also are groups for people doing half-and-half or breast-feeding entirely).

  • Liz April 9, 2015, 1:59 pm

    Ugh, the dreaded nipple shield!!! I just had my first kiddo (she’s almost 5 weeks old) and had to use a shield at first. I HATED it. Luckily, she figured out latching fairly quickly and we’ve been off the shield since week 3, except for when I get super engorged once in a while in the middle of the night. Funny that we were only using the shield for a few weeks but it felt like FOREVER. I am finding that to be the norm with most newborn issues….it seems like all the little phases they go through last SOOOOO long even when they’re only really only a few days.

    I have been pumping once per day to build up a freezer supply. Our plan was to have my husband start giving her one bottle a day at bedtime starting at 4 weeks, but so far we haven’t had any luck with the bottle 🙁 I am so anxious to get her to take a bottle because it seems like it will be such a huge relief to be able to have the hus take over one feeding a day, but I’m trying to be patient and let her decide when she’s ready.

  • kira April 10, 2015, 12:14 pm

    if you only knew how happy i would have been if i had known to stick them in the freezer… I went through 10 months of pumping then washing repeat ……. I was an exclusive pumper for my son as well because of my flat nipples /// tmi but seriously i wish he had begun to latch on but no luck. I’m happy it’s working with Claire… it’s so exhausting being controlled by the pump….

  • Char April 11, 2015, 9:48 am

    Glad you’re having much better luck this time around! I was still in school when my daughter was born, so the semester before she turned one, I went back with the fullest course load ever and was gone 14 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, where I would have to pump in the back of my car. It was the most terrible experience ever and by the end of that semester, I never wanted to look at my pump again! I just did my best to wipe down my pump parts as much as I good, but I did put them in my cooler, so yes, I totally love your #1 pumping tip. It saved my life haha.

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