Transcript: Biggest Mistakes I Made While Breastfeeding

Welcome back to The Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I'm your host, Jacqueline Kincer, and in today's episode, I'm excited to share with you something that a lot of people don't think to ask me. Oftentimes people want to ask for things like top tips or what have you, but I'm going to be sharing with you the biggest mistakes that I made while I was breastfeeding. So it's kind of a juicy episode and some of these things you might actually be surprised by. So I'll be curious to hear your thoughts after you listen to it. 

 

But before we dive in, I just wanted to give you a little bit of a recap of the previous episode, which really is a recap of the previous two episodes are with Heidi and Prince Sabena. They're a wonderful couple that lives in Africa, and they were my clients last year. They shared their amazing journey of nursing their daughter, Ruby, weaning quite early on in that breastfeeding experience, and traveling to another country to get her ties treated. But it's so much more than just being about breastfeeding. 

 

So if you have not listened to those episodes yet, part one and part two, they're incredible. In fact, I heard from Heidi and she told me that she herself listened to the published episodes, and she was overwhelmed at how great they came out. And she was just honestly telling her story. And it's a great story. And I find it highly inspirational. So if you are looking for a feel-good story, but also just some incredible insights into how they maintained their marriage, what it's like having a baby during a pandemic in a developing country. I mean, it's honestly a very heroic tale. So I loved loved, loved those episodes, and I would absolutely encourage you to listen to those. 

 

And I would also just love to remind people that we're on social media, I am on Instagram. I love it. It's my favorite platform. I have a ton of followers over there, very engaged community. So I would love for you to just, you know, find us it's at holistic lactation, very easy to find on Instagram, and just check out all the post. If it resonates with you here on the podcast. Most likely you'll find some great posts there as well. Engage with me there. I'm also on Tik Tok at Holistic Lactation. And sometimes I do create native Tik Tok content. But more often than not, I'm typically just sharing the reels that I've made on Instagram if we're being honest. So Tik TOK is just a platform that I'm not quite super in love with yet, but I'm, I'm learning to, I'm learning the ropes. I'll put it that way learning to love it. 

 

And also, I wanted to remind you about The Nurture Collective. So that is something that is open this week, it is available for enrollment. Finally, I've been talking about it for what feels like yours, in one way, shape, or form. And now it's officially here. So it's a place for you to get support with breastfeeding. It's a place for you to do a deep dive and learn about breastfeeding and all of the related topics, whether it's problem-solving what to expect just really anything quite honestly. And it's less than the cost of Netflix per month. So I don't know if you guys know this, but you know, everything has gone up in price lately. Am I right? And so is Netflix. And so I can actually say now that you can get into the nurture collective for less than your Netflix subscription. I mean, honestly, to me, there's way more value inside the nurture collective than there is in Netflix. I mean, I love watching, binge-watching entire seasons of shows vergessen anybody but I've got to say that you're gonna get way more value out of the nurture collective than you all your Netflix membership. So anyway, I would just say it's really an incredible chance to learn from very detailed data, in-depth, trustworthy information and access an incredible community of moms just like you, I and my team are in there are some guest experts as well. We've got monthly q&a. It's an incredible space and I would love to see you inside. 

 

So anyway, let's dive into the episode. So the biggest mistake I made while I was breastfeeding, and you know, I made a lot. Now, to be fair with my son, he's now nine. I was not a lactation consultant at the time. So I did my very best with what I could at the time. I would say one of the biggest mistakes that I made in terms of my early days with breastfeeding him, were really that I remember very clearly that I was struggling with immense breastfeeding pain, I left the hospital with cracked nipples, I don't remember if they were actually bleeding, but they were definitely bruised, like dark purple bruises. And I would put my nipple cream on after every feeding. And I don't even know where I got this information from, quite honestly, I think I might have actually bought the La Leche League Womanly Art of Breastfeeding book on Kindle, and I was reading it on my phone. So I think that might have been where I got some information to start. 

 

I Remember contacting my midwife, and she told me about a lactation consultant that had an office way, way, way on the outskirts of town, like nowhere near I'm very central in my city. And she was nowhere near close to that. And apparently also did home visits. So I called this lady, and she finally calls me back. I don't even think she called me back the same day, it probably was two days later. I know I was frustrated at her lack of responsiveness. Because why would you not return someone's call? Like it wasn't over the weekend either. So why would you not return their call, like within 24 hours? So she waited a couple days to call me back. And then she told me she couldn't see me for two weeks. And I remember thinking, Well, I mean, I'm sure I will have just figured it out on my own by then, like the whole point of view coming as I need you now, not in two weeks. And she was really kind of short and curt. I wasn't even trying to ask her any questions like advice or anything like that I was just really asking her about our services. And she was just really rude. There's very rude, very off-putting, and I found it really bizarre. 

 

And so I hung up from that conversation. And truthfully, I had no idea that there was anyone else out there that did what she did. I just thought there was the lactation consultant hospital, and then this one lady just works outside of the hospital system. And that's it. So one of the biggest mistakes I made was never thinking to look online, to Google, go back to my midwife, to ask this lactation consultant, who clearly did not have the availability to see me, if there was another lactation consultant out there. It just did not occur to me. And I honestly feel like that was a big mistake. And I think it's a mistake that a lot of parents make.

 

I'm always so saddened when people find out about us in terms of our practice and things and they'll say, “Oh, my goodness, I did not know you existed. I wish I knew about this option sooner”. And truthfully, it's not your job to know, it should be your baby's pediatricians job, it should be the hospital where you gave birth or the birth center, whoever, like someone in that space should be giving you a list of resources and should be making you aware of what's available to you. 

 

But on some level, I do feel like it is a mistake that I made that I didn't really Google professional help anymore. I just kind of had a lack of awareness at the same time. So there was that. I will say that another mistake that I made was thinking that I was the problem. And what I mean by this is that my son really had a lot of difficulties sleeping. He was very fussy at times, I wouldn't go so far as to stay colicky. But in terms of the lack of good sleep, and definitely, you know, fustiness on that front. Basically, no one could console him except for me. So it was always on me to wake up and be with him and to nurse him and to meet his every need. He pretty much just wanted to nurse all of the time. And it wasn't because he wasn't getting enough milk or anything like that. 

 

I actually made another mistake, which is that I thought that I had an oversupply. And I came to this conclusion after many weeks and months. Ultimately, I'm spending time on the internet. And I came across an article by Dr. Jack Newman, and it was about oversupply. And all of the symptoms that he had described seemed to fit. So my biggest mistake there was believing what I read on the internet, because it was not true. While I did have an abundant milk supply, I did not have an oversupply. And I know this now because I know what it means to have an oversupply. 

 

So I did not have an oversupply, but my son had a tongue tie. And I didn't know this. I had no way of knowing this because it wasn't something that was really being talked about that at that time. It was only something I think I first heard about when he was nine months old. And so I mistakenly thought that I had an oversupply and that I should block feed. And if you don't know what block feeding is, it's essentially where you feed your baby on one breast for multiple feedings in a row, trying to really just not stimulate both breasts as frequently in the hopes that that will somehow decrease your milk supply and correct that oversupply. Thankfully, I did not do this for very long, because my breasts were uncomfortably full. And it just seemed like it wasn't the right solution. And fact, then the milk was flowing more quickly, because my breasts were so full, which is what full breasts do, the milk will come out more quickly and flow more quickly. And so my son's symptoms of like choking and gagging and spitting up and all of that one didn't get any better, but two seem to get worse. 

 

So I stopped that nonsense and just went back to nursing on demand. But it was a big lesson for me because ultimately, I had thought that I was such a good researcher that I had finally found this option in the little corners of the interwebs that I had explored. And I was wrong. The other thing that I thought is that he had some sort of food intolerance. And I thought this because he split up because he had some baby acne. And really, in hindsight, now, I know that wasn't the case, he was spitting up because he was not nursing very effectively because he had a tongue tie. Now, I will say he actually nursed pretty well, despite the tongue tie. And I think that's because I just worked on getting a deep latch. That was my number one priority from starting from the hospital. 

 

Now, the lactation consultant in the hospital did not show me how to get a deep latch. But somehow I must have figured it out, because I have photos of me nursing him when he was young when he was a little baby, and his latch looked pretty darn good. In fact, it looked better than my daughter's latch who's younger than him. And I was a lactation consultant at the time, not because I didn't know how to latch her just because she had more severe ties than he did. 

 

So those were a couple of mistakes. Another mistake was really later on in my nursing journey with my son. And I really didn't we my son when I should have. And here's what I mean by that. Now, at this point, now, I'm already working on my clinical hours for becoming a lactation consultant. He was two years old, and I was, you know, on the path to become an ibclc. So I knew that this was going to be my next step, this was going to be my new career, my career path. And I just was really, you know, gung ho about breastfeeding, I had overcome a lot of challenges or endured a lot of challenges, so to speak, to get to this point, and here I was nursing my two year old son, with no end in sight, really. And I was all about full-term nursing. Yes, I'm absolutely going to do it, I'm going to be that mom. 

 

Well, I got pregnant, and I wanted to get pregnant. And I knew about tandem nursing, and I was a La Leche League leader, so this was something that I could talk about with other leaders who are nursing their toddlers as well. So I have a lot of great support there. And the one thing that I did not really realize was going to happen is nursing aversion. Now, this doesn't happen for everybody who's pregnant in nursing, but it can happen for some and for me, it got really bad for quite a while, starting in the second trimester, where I didn't have that feeling that a lot of moms described that they just want to throw their baby across the room. And that is not a sign of postpartum depression, by the way. 

 

That is how a lot of people describe nursing aversion during pregnancy. So just so you know, it's a very normal feeling to have. It's very hormonal and biological. Because your body is essentially screaming at you that, hey, I can only support one baby at once. And it's going to be the one inside your body and not the one outside of your body. So I ignored that. And I pushed through. And it got to the point where he basically stopped nursing right around 40 weeks pregnant, and then I gave birth at 42 weeks. And he did start nursing again a few days after I gave birth to my daughter. And I had had such a bad nursing aversion that I had really just martyred myself into continuing and that nursing diversion didn't go away when my daughter was born. Now I could nurse her just fine. There was no issue with that. But my son every time he latched on, it was like nails on a chalkboard. 

 

There was like this pathway in my brain that was already set. And just because I didn't have a baby inside me anymore, my body. I don't know. Somehow my body just had this memory of him. And it just I still had this aversion to nursing him It wasn't as bad as it was, it was a bit more tolerable, but it was still there. In fact, it actually created a lot of fear for me that I would somehow have the same feeling towards my newborn daughter, which was terrifying because I was a lactation consultant now, and to have some sort of aversion to nursing my own child would just be, it'd be crazy, right? So anyway, I really did not lean on my son when I should have I was so just committed to letting himself wean. They didn't initiate that. And I really suffered, and I shouldn't have. 

 

That's not to say that you should choose the same as I did, or you shouldn't choose the way that I did. Everybody is different and has a different set of circumstances. So here's kind of where I get into my daughter's journey and some mistakes that I made. So my biggest mistake with her really biggest mistake was several hours after birth midwives. There, I had a home birth, and they were weighing her. And in that process, she's starting to get fussy, and she wants to come back to the breast. So I decided to just let her suck on my finger so that we could just, you know, get an accurate weight on the scale. And then I would nurse her afterward. 

 

I was letting her do that just to calm her. And I remember feeling her palate, which is the roof of a baby's mouth. And remember feeling that and thinking, wow, her palate feels really flat and broad, which would typically indicate that a baby does not have a tongue tie. So I was really excited, because I was like, Oh, my gosh, maybe I won't have a tied baby, this will be great. And I sort of instantly declared her in my mind. And I might have, I can't really remember, but I might have actually said it out loud. And so I convinced myself hours after my daughter's birth when I'm in the most incredible birth high of my life, and I've never been on. I mean, it's not even cloud nine, It's like Cloud 900. I had this just absolutely tramp at birth at home. And it was the most beautiful, powerful, incredible experience of my life. And of course, nothing could be wrong with my perfect little child. 

 

So anyway, she nurses great. She put on like a pound and her first week. So there were no issues there. I did start to have some minor pinching and pain. Maybe about a week to nine days postpartum, I started to see some spitting up. And I remember my doctor who knew me really well and knew that I knew about ties and all of this stuff. And she looked at me and just said, so it's just some normal baby spit up. And I was like, Yeah, and I knew that it wasn't normal babies split up. Because there really aren't normal babies split up unless it's like positional or something like you happen to lay him down right after they eat. And then they split up everywhere. And I knew that she knew. But she also knew that I was in the space where you couldn't tell me that something was wrong with my child. 

 

So I went through some visits to the chiropractor and a bunch of other things. And ultimately, it was the chiropractor who looked at me and said, Can I show you something? And I said, Yeah, and she showed me inside my daughter's mouth, how she had a tongue tie and upper lip tie. And buckle ties, three buckle ties, in fact, on her upper lip, so I was in denial, I was in straight up denial until my daughter was three or four weeks old. And it finally hit me. Okay, yep. And the thing is if you don't know this, and you probably don't know this, unless you're a lactation consultant who specializes in ties. But most tight babies, when they're born, their palates won't be super high. I don't want to say most, but I'll say a lot. So their palates feel and look very normal. And then as they start nursing with that restricted tongue, they end up pushing their palates upwards. And that's when we start to see the high palate. So all of a sudden, that perfect little palette that I felt on day one that I chose to never look at ever again, was now a high palette, and the ties were really quite obvious. So she was colicky. I mean, she would be screaming and crying for three hours. 

 

Every night, I'm bouncing on the yoga ball, couldn't even get her to latch, she'd finally just pass out from sheer exhaustion. And she was miserable. And so was I, although I was still in this postpartum bliss at the same time. So it was kind of this bittersweet experience if you will. But that was a huge mistake that I made. So I put off getting the right care. It still took a couple of weeks to get in for the frenectomy I saw a colleague of mine who had been practicing for I think it was 20 years to get her help with latching and all of that and just to try to optimize things as much as I could. And so I got that I went and got her tie. is released. And it's a long story that I share on a whole other podcast episode. 

 

But it was a mistake that I made that I thought, oh gosh, this can't happen to me, I must have the perfect baby because I have the perfect birth because I had the perfect postpartum setup because I had done everything right, it doesn't matter, your baby can still have a congenital defect like ties. So fast forward a little bit later on in my journey, I do share it more in depth on another episode. So I don't want to repeat that here. But I had to get she basically had her tongue-tied, and reattach. And during that time, the small window of time a couple of days, this was she was probably right around 11 weeks old, maybe 12 weeks, which is really when your milk supply essentially regulates or is done regulating from hormonal driven milk production to really supply and demand driven milk production. And because her tongue was reattaching, she wasn't able to remove milk very efficiently from the breasts. So she wasn't able to generate the same amount of suction, she wasn't able to swallow that milk very efficiently on her mechanics at the breasts were just terrible. 

 

So I noticed this, and it was a very dramatic decline in her functionality to nurse and even trying to offer her bottles, she really was completely incompetent at that. I mean, she just could not get the tongue grip, she couldn't get the seal around the bottle nipple. And it was a really difficult time. So I really just tried to put her to the breast. And I did try to give her some milk that I had just randomly pumped here and there really more just for curiosity's sake just to try out some different pumps, to be honest with you. Because I just didn't really need to pump for her. I just had her with me at all times. And this was still pretty early on postpartum. And when we got the taste fixed a few days later, or you know, reef fixed a few days later, I was able to nurse her and all of that. 

 

But I will tell you that deep down, I knew that my milk supply had declined because she wasn't able to remove milk as efficiently from the breast as she should have been. And it was rather obvious to me. But I was in denial because I was thinking No, no, my body can do this, despite what's happening. And I can't lose my milk supply that quickly, that would just be crazy. And I also was trying so hard to nurse her all of the time. And just really have her with me that I didn't really pump. And I remember I finally came to terms with this about, oh gosh, I want to say sometime in this first week after I first noticed that my milk supply had definitely declined. And I connected myself to the pump. And I didn't get very much milk. And it wasn't like I had just nursed her either. And I know how to pump, right like at this point. I'm an ibclc. And I had pumps with my son before for purposes of donating and like, I've just been able to try out so many different pumps. And it's not like I don't know what I'm doing. So I hook up to the pump. And I'm like, that's, that's disappointing. That's not a good number. 

 

So ultimately, what my mistake was, is that I didn't pump when I knew that my daughter wasn't getting enough. I didn't pump when I knew that my supply was dropping. And I got my supply back. Mainly, I ended up using herbs. And that combination of herbs that I used to get my supply back is actually the foundation for what's in the advanced lactation formula. Because I had studied herbs, I had recommended these to clients and I had been really mentored by some people who were just, you know, excellent with their herbal knowledge and lactation. And so I knew what to take. And I started taking it. And it absolutely helped. It helped me very, very quickly. 

 

Now, of course, it did have to start combining pumping with that, but I don't know what it was, it was just something about me because I didn't need to do that with my son. I just felt like why do I have to do it with this daughter again, it was like a sense of denial. And so that was a really big mistake that I made because she was fine. And ultimately, her weight gain was fine and all that. But there were a couple of days there where her diapers were not as frequent as they should have been. And I'm not saying that I put her in any sort of danger or anything. It definitely wasn't that but it was not optimal. And so it was a big mistake that I made. It was almost like, I don't want to say ego. But to some extent it really was right it was it was kind of me just saying like this couldn't possibly happen to me. And it did. And it was really heartbreaking for me quite honestly. 

 

That leads me to really the final biggest mistake that I made and this is all subjective. This is all my own judgment, my own experience, right but I often think about this and I still sometimes have regrets about weaning my daughter too soon. So my daughter was three years old when I decided to wean her. And the reason I decided to wean her was that she would nurse all night long. And I felt like this prisoner to her and her bed. And it just was untenable. I wasn't sleeping. And I had had her older brother, who was not a good sleeper as a baby. Now, he did start sleeping through the night, finally, when I was pregnant with her, so really, I mean, the first three years of his life, he did not sleep through the night. So this is, you know, I had that. And then I went into having a baby, who also obviously didn't sleep through the night, and she was a better sleeper than he was, thank God, but it was still, you know, I was really just done. 

 

And so she's three years old, I'm like, six years into this, and I just can't do it anymore. I just can't, like, My patience is worn thin, I would get angry with her when she would wake up and just demand to nurse and she, you know, she would cry and just, you know, say boobie, and like she could not fall asleep without the boob. And it drove me nuts. Because, again, I did learn my lesson with my son, I apparently, but again, I had this idea of, of course, I want to let herself weigh in, and I will just nurse on demand. And I don't know why I don't advise my clients to do this. But for some reason, I set this other standard like an unachievable standard for myself, and decided, yes, I am going to be all in on this breastfeeding thing. And that somehow meant that I needed to give up my own needs. Well, that's not a healthy pattern. And so it really just came to a head and I just was like, You know what, I can't, I can't do this anymore. And it wasn't even that I could wean her at night. Like I didn't, I mean, her first. 

 

And that helped, she would still wake up. And sometimes she would still ask to nurse, but she did start to get better about it. But it was just all the time during the day. It was just nagging me all the time. I mean, it wasn't really all the time, but it was really frequently right where she would just be and want to nurse and, and she would just do it. And I felt like it wasn't because she needed it. It just almost felt like, you know, it was like to spite me, like because I took it away at nighttime that she was like going to get what she wanted during the day. And I know that that is really not true, right. But if you know her, you know her personality, and she's very, I love her to death. What can I say about my daughter's personality, she's a strong personality, that's really the accurate way to say it. And it's like two strong personalities come together. And it really just doesn't go over that well. 

 

So ultimately, I weaned her, and I regretted it because I felt like maybe there was just another way that I could have set some boundaries with her earlier on in my nursing journey with her earlier on and toddlerhood. And I could have, you know, set some other boundaries just for myself, and just, you know, really prioritize that and not having to completely shut off nursing altogether, I should have never let it get to this point of it being where I just was at my wit's end. And like, I could not nurse her anymore. And so I'm sad about that, I actually think that there was a bit of an attachment break there. That happened for a bit of time between her and I because I was shutting down this need that she had this need to connect with me. And to this day, she's actually still pretty clingy with me. And I think some of that has to do with me weaning her somewhat abruptly and earlier than she was really ready for. And I think it's also just her nature to some extent. So I have no regret. And I don't think a lot of people expect that necessarily. 

 

There are probably some of you listening to this podcast episode. And you're thinking, Oh, my gosh, I can hardly even make it to three months, let alone three years like, what do you have to regret? You know, my story is my story. And it's valid. And it's my experience. And I thought I would share it with you just to give you some insight that even though someone could be an ibclc, and a darn good one at that.

 

Just to to my little horn over here. But even so we don't have perfect breastfeeding journeys. There are things that go wrong, there are lessons that we learned there are things we don't enjoy about breastfeeding. And there are things that we absolutely love about it. So this episode was kind of a negative episode because here I am sharing the biggest mistakes I made while breastfeeding with you, but there were so many positives about it as well. And honestly, there's nothing like just a I can still feel it in my body, that sensation of holding your own child at your breast and they're gone. Getting nourishment from you. And it's like meeting their every need in that moment. Like, there's something so complete about that experience that I got to live, that it's incredible. The only thing better than that was really my home birth with my daughter, but nursing was like this, just, you know, for my son, I did not have a good birth with him. 

 

So once breastfeeding was, you know, not super painful anymore, and things were going better. I really enjoyed that experience of nursing him and healing from the birth trauma that both he and I endured and the connection that we had. And the connection that we have today. He's nine years old is still incredibly powerful. It's incredibly powerful. He's not a mama's boy, by any means, but, but we have a deep connection, we communicate really well. And I see that I have that with my daughter, but it's different. And they're very different personalities. 

 

So there's so many things I loved, you know, just even as you know, they're babies and they're, you know, falling over and or they're scraping a knee as a toddler. And you can just comfort them comfort them at the breast. I mean, there's just something so incredible about nursing like that. And even though I feel like there were some mistakes that I made, while breastfeeding, we all make mistakes while breastfeeding, every mom does. I mean, this is just the nature of being a mom, we make all kinds of mistakes as moms not just with breastfeeding. And those things are just part of my journey. And there are things that I learned. And there are things that have helped me in giving my clients better care. They're things that have really given me insight into the struggles that moms have into the mindset that they experience into the self doubt and the choices that they make and kind of the decision tree that goes on in their minds. And even though we're all different, there are still some commonalities, there's still sort of a way that a Mom Brain works if you will. And going through this myself, especially with more than one child. I feel like having the experiences that I did, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. All of it has made me a better lactation consultant. 

 

So in the end, can I say that they're really mistakes? No, they're just lessons, I suppose. So I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you got something from it. There's something that I said here that really resonated with you, I'd love to hear. So take a screenshot of listening to this episode on your phone, put it up on Instagram, tag us in your stories, and I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on this episode. And also, if you like what you hear on breastfeeding talk, make sure you're subscribed. Please leave us a review wherever you can, that helps other listeners find the podcast, it helps to increase our ranking actually. So that's the main reason is one. Once you will find the show, we want them to know how great it is. And you can tell them that with your review. But to the odds of someone finding our show by typing in certain keywords are better if we have more positive reviews. So leaving a review really does help us out. So we appreciate all of those and I appreciate you listening. So stay tuned. We've got weekly episodes coming your way, and I will see you on the next one.