10 Biggest Mistakes Breastfeeding Moms Make


sleeping babyFor some women, it seems breastfeeding is simple, clear, and obvious. But for others, every day they make it is a victory, each drop is a struggle, and the act itself becomes fraught with images of failure, sadness, and tons of tears and frustration.

Laila Ali, new mom to her second child, a daughter, told People that she made a huge mistake with her son when she pumped a bottle early on so her husband could feed the baby. After that, he preferred bottles, so she had to pump them the whole first year.

There are a few reasons a woman can't breastfeed, but the vast majority are able to do it and succeed at it. The problem is, a lot of people don't know that much about the act, thinking it's natural and will come to them or that someone will teach them in the hospital. While they do help you learn a bit, the secrets and mistakes are all things no one teaches you unless you read a book or two.

So, here are the 10 Biggest Mistakes of Breastfeeding:

  1. Not asking for help: Breastfeeding is natural and the most basic way to feed your baby, but it isn't easy for many women. Lactation consultants exist for a reason. If you can't afford to pay a lactation consultant, then ask mom friends who have been through it. They will have tips on increasing supply, soothing sore nipples, making sure baby has had enough, and all the other questions you may have. They've been there, too.
  2. Assuming you don't have enough milk: Your breasts are designed to feed your baby. Don't get paranoid and give up because it seems like your baby is so hungry. Babies are so hungry. Their main job is to eat. And eat. And eat. And eat.
  3. Being scared in public: Don't worry too much about the prudes and judgy folks who don't like moms who nurse in public. If it really bothers you, buy a cover. But don't assume that they -- and their prude-y judgemental crap -- are correct. They aren't. You are. Be confident in that.
  4. Thinking you can't because you work: I was lucky enough to nurse both my babies for one year and 2.5 years while I was home with them, but many, many working moms are able to make breastfeeding work by pumping and bringing home bottles. It works and women everywhere are doing it.
  5. Wanting to "include" dad: By all means, include dad. Let him hold the baby or bring him/her to you to nurse. But only mom can make breast milk and it's the best thing for the baby. Don't fall into the formula trap because dad wants to feel "part of it all." Your milk supply will dwindle and you won't make it.
  6. Not teaching your husband: Just because dad can't do it himself doesn't mean he can't be part of it at all. My husband kept detailed charts of when our baby ate, slept, and pooped and they helped a lot at each of her doctor's appointments. And helped me keep track of which boob was which when I was exhausted and sleep-deprived.
  7. Being bullied: There are naysayers everywhere. You will be told he is too old to breastfeed (at seven months), that your daughter isn't in the 99th percentile, so she isn't getting enough food, and that it's obscene and will wreck your boobs. Don't listen. For breastfeeding to work, you need to do it and you need to do it often. Others will say what they want. Your job is to ignore them.
  8. Forget it's for you, too: Babies aren't the only ones who win with breastfeeding. Mom also gets the benefit of a flat tummy and some protection from breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, and osteoporosis later in life. It's a win all around!
  9. Relying on the clock: The clock isn't what tells you the baby is done. He or she is. I made this mistake early on and ended up with a low supply with my first. This forced me to take Fenugreek, wake up even while she was sleeping to pump, and do all kinds of things to fix the supply issues I'd set up from the beginning. It's easy to avoid. Just don't watch the clock.
  10. Giving formula too soon: If you give formula too early, your supply will dwindle. In those first six weeks, try not to give up on nursing too quickly. Then your supply will be strong and you can do what you choose. 

What were your biggest nursing mistakes?

Image via © iStock.com/damircudic



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Mason... MasonsMommy1707

I'm PRO-breastfeeding and I completely agree with this article.  I took all of the above precautions before having my first child who I ended up breastfeeding for 20mo. without any formula.

I'm now nursing my second child and he is nearly 7mo!

Daynaof3 Daynaof3

No comments yet? Hmm.

Many moms have concerns about whether or not breastfeeding is going well and many have rough starts. I absolutely agree with asking for help early and often! WIC has a peer counselor program available to WIC moms free of charge also, that is what I do and I love my job! Take advantage of the resources available to you!

I would also encourage moms to find breastfeeding friendly pediatric practices also, the AAP has a great article to help find a good fit for breastfeeding moms: http://www.aap.org/breastfeeding/files/pdf/AAP%20FindFriendlyPractice.pdf

elfis... elfishpirat

Well, men CAN breastfeed. Why else do you think they have breasts and nipples? But ultimately, there are soooo many other things dads can do to be involved. Give baths, change diapers, read books, play, take them for stroller rides, etc. They don't HAVE to feed the baby.

maggi... maggiemom2000

Great post! Thank you for pointing out that there is no need for dad to feed the baby, even if it is pumped milk.

angev... angevil53

great article, and elf i don't think my dh is going to help me out :( lol

halli... hallieballie

I had so much pain the first 6 weeks... I had talked to LC's and midwife friends and the baby was latched on correctly but I still had so much pain!  I wanted to stop so bad, but I didn't want to at the same time.  I thought I was doomed... then my OB suggested a treatment that worked immediately!  I was so glad I didn't give up and I kept looking for answers.  It was a painful 6 weeks but it was worth it.


I also agree that dads do not need to feed the baby, they can bond and connect in other ways.  I hated pumping and refused to do it, it felt so unnatural.  My husband got to feed the child when it started solids... but before then he could do all sorts of activities to help him bond.

nonmember avatar anon

It is important to me that my husband feeds our child. On one hand people argue that feeding helps with bonding and then on the other hand say Dad's do not need to do it to bond? I believe in the importance of breastmilk and do the double duty of pumping in order for my husband to experience one of the more precious parts of the day. I know of too many woman, who did not let the father's feed because they were terrified of hurting their milk supply and some who were even bullied into leaving the fathers out of it by the lactation consultants they asked for help from. They ended up spending many nights in tears once they were back to work, getting up to do the feedings completely alone and with a baby that wouldn't take a pumped bottle when they finally tried. Guess what? They switched to formula much faster than people I know who had a dual system going down.

nonmember avatar anon

My biggest problems with these lists and others like them is that they make many new mothers think that if they follow them it will all work out, when in reality every baby and every family needs to find the system that works for them. It could be that mom EBF's and Dad pitches in other ways, a combo of BF'ing and pumping, EP or even formula. I wish we gave Mom's support sometimes to figure things out for themselves instead of telling them what they SHOULD do based on someone's opinion, especially since there are so many out there ( just ask for advice on helping your child sleep and you will hear so many lists of what you should do!)
As a new mom I almost became overwhelmed with all the lists of should do's in the books I read until one breakdown where I realized my baby told me all I needed to know. Helping/supporting someone and telling them what to do are two different things.

Kat.M. Kat.M.

I agree with you, moms give up so easy! I'm glad I didn't, yeah it hurt at first but it was worth it.

elfis... elfishpirat

Anon: Pregnancy is also a huge bonding time. Does that mean that fathers are somehow unable to bond or are left out because they are unable to bear children? Certainly not. Likewise, feeding isn't everything. There are so many other ways dads can bond with their babies.

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