Welcome to the October Carnival of Breastfeeding. The theme this month is “What I wish I knew then.” Make sure you check out the other carnival participant posts linked at the bottom of this one. They will be updated throughout the day.

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Grinning but not "bearing it" with daughter #2.

I wish I knew that cracked and bleeding nipples weren’t something a breastfeeding mom needs to live with. I assumed it was all part of the deal. When my midwife asked me in the first few weeks following my daughter’s birth how it was going, I smiled and told her it was going perfectly well thank you. I wasn’t about to admit that I was in pain, because then she might tell me I was doing it wrong, and if I was doing it wrong, what if I couldn’t do it right? My baby had enough wet diapers and she wasn’t starving so I thought I should just leave well enough alone. I was bound and determined to breastfeed. After being forced out of medical necessity to have a c-section instead of my planned homebirth, I knew I could suffer through anything to ensure my baby was breastfed, and I wasn’t about to complain in case it led to answers I wasn’t prepared to deal with. Oh, we are all such infants in our knowledge about breastfeeding in those early days aren’t we?

Finally, around week three, I couldn’t hide my wincing any more. My daughter was gaining weight like she was supposed to so we all assumed everything was fine. But when my midwife saw me wince she wanted to know why.

“It’s not supposed to hurt, you know,” she told me.


But that was what everyone had told me. All those strangers in the grocery store who asked me how I was planning to feed my baby. “Good luck!” they said with an all-knowing smile. “It hurts you know.”

Those books I’d read where the mom tells the straight-up truth about becoming a mother… “Breastfeeding hurts” was all that stood out for me. Why hadn’t someone given me better breastfeeding literature?

I showed the midwife my poor, tender, cracked and somewhat bleeding nipples.

“I’ve been using the lanolin,” I told her. Now why would someone make a product for cracked or bleeding nipples if you aren’t supposed to get them? That alone made me assume I should expect nothing but the worst.

“It’s your positioning I think,” she said, and then showed me how there should be an imaginary line straight from baby’s ear to her shoulder to her hip so she wouldn’t have to turn her head to nurse, which makes swallowing more difficult and can interfere with a proper latch, thus causing nipple pain. By shifting her bum up and around my side a little, the pain subsided substantially. Within a few days I was weaned off the lanolin and I’ve never looked back.

I wonder what would have happened if I let my ignorance and pride stand in the way of getting help? (Thank goodness for excellent post-natal midwifery care). What happens to all those other moms who just assume they’re supposed to grin and bear it? I am sad just thinking about it.

What I Wish I’d Known Back Then About Breastfeeding by Christina at Massachusetts Friends of Midwives

I wish I would’ve known! by Maria at The Starr Family Blog

What I wish I’d known then – My list for next time at Momma’s Angel

If I’d known then by Whozat At Lucy and Ethel Have a Baby

What I wish I would have known about breastfeeding by Robin at Birth Activist

Things I wish I’d known about breastfeeding by Barbara at Three Girl Pile Up

I wish I’d known then that it wasn’t up to me alone by Adria at Happy Bambino

What I Wish I’d Known Then: A Poem by Lisa at My World Edenwild

AP Principle #2: What I wish I’d known when I started breastfeeding by Lauren at Hobo Mama

When breastfeeding begins badly, and what I should have done about it by Christina at The Milk Mama

Breastfeeding: Wish I’d heard more good things by Fancy Pancakes

15 Breastfeeding Facts I Wish I’d Known as a First Time Breastfeeding Mum by Sinead at Breastfeeding Mums

When Breastfeeding Feels Wrong by Rita at Fighting Off Frumpy

Nursing Wisdom by Cave Mother

Breastfeeding is life changing by Elita at Blacktating

Trust yourself and your body by Angela at Breastfeeding 1-2-3

Breastfeeding: What I wish I’d known then by Claire at Mom Unplugged

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28 Responses to “You Don’t Have to Grin and Bear It”

  1. #1 strwberryjoy Says:

    October 25, 2009 at 11:34 pm
  2. #2 » What I Wish I Would Have Known About Breastfeeding Says:

    October 25, 2009 at 11:39 pm
  3. #4 Melodie Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 12:35 am
  4. #8 Elita Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 9:57 am
  5. #9 Fancy Pancakes Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 10:26 am
  6. #10 Jenny Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 11:55 am
  7. #11 Amber Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 1:42 pm
  8. #12 Melodie Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm
  9. #13 Melodie Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 2:25 pm
  10. #15 Cave Mother Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm
  11. #16 Shelly Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm
  12. #17 MumUnplugged » Breastfeeding: What I wish I’d known then Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 6:03 pm
  13. #18 Megan Says:
    October 26, 2009 at 6:10 pm
  14. #19 Melodie Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 7:20 pm
  15. #20 Sarah Cassill Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 7:36 pm
  16. #21 Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy Says:
    October 26, 2009 at 8:24 pm
  17. #22 Lisa C Says:

    October 26, 2009 at 11:07 pm
  18. #23 Shelly Says:

    October 27, 2009 at 5:39 pm
  19. #24 Kristen Says:

    November 5, 2009 at 4:41 pm
  20. #25 Robin Says:

    November 6, 2009 at 3:55 pm
  21. #26 Robin Says:

    November 6, 2009 at 3:58 pm

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