• Thu, May 8 - 3:30 pm ET

Nurses On The Maternity Ward Are Liars About Breastfeeding

nurse gifThere’s something strange about lying in a hospital bed after you’ve just pushed out or had a baby cut out of you for the first time. You’re lying in a bed you can’t really get out of, and then someone hands you a beautiful thing that you just made. After you take a few moments or hours to soak that in, it’s time to get to the task of actually keeping this baby alive. Normally this is preceded by the thought: “….shit. What do I do now?”

Luckily for you, there are a string of baby nurses in the hospital who have tons of personal experience and have dealt with new moms like you thousands of times before. They are there to help you. Unfortunately, lots of them have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to breastfeeding. And/or they will confuse the fuck out of you.

Usually in hospitals these days, new moms are assigned a lactation nurse. Often that woman is full of information and insight on the strange task of breastfeeding. However, if you’re anything like me, you will meet that woman once and then confuse her for the string of nurses who come in and out of your room for the next few days.

Being a neophyte mom, I just ASSUMED that every woman who walked into my room wearing a nurse’s uniform could teach me about breastfeeding. I was so wrong.

Most of the nurses who come into your room in the first hours and days after the birth of your child are NOT trained lactation consultants. Sure, you may get great advice from them. But often, they just fill your head with nonsense and newbie moms go home thinking they are doing breastfeeding all wrong. I was reminded of this by my friend Jessica today when she was telling me of her experience:

When I was in the hospital after having frank cut out of me, I had the bitchiest lactation consultant. Two days in I realized that her advice to “hold your boob like a bra underwire” was SO OFF BASE. That “bra” doesn’t fit! and the reason she’d been riding me for two days is because I WAS holding my boob as if my hand was a bra that fit.”

After an informal poll of Mommyish writers, I found that this is a common problem. Maria was told that she “wouldn’t be allowed” to breastfeed because her son’s blood sugar was too low, while Theresa found out that her breasts were “too big,” and her daughter would have trouble breathing if she breastfed.

“How’s parenting?”

“Oh, no big deal! I just tried to suffocate my kid with my boob. Lesson learned!”

The Dude The Big Lebowski GifAll three of these women were smart enough to ignore the lactation “advice” they were given in the hospital. I was not so adept. After two days of pretty smooth sailing with breast feeding, a nurse stopped by to inform me that my son was probably “starving” because my colostrum had run out. She then informed me that if I knew what was good for me, I’d supplement with formula until my milk came in. About four hours later I was let loose with my kid in tow.

I went home armed with a bunch of formula bottles and spent my first night at home shoving nipples (both mine and store bought) into my baby’s face. He wasn’t drinking the formula! Was he allergic!? Was he starving? How many breastfeeding books could I download to my Kindle in one night?!

I spent the entire night frantically researching details about breastfeeding and how quickly formula goes bad rather than getting ANY much needed sleep or just enjoying my new baby. Newsflash: He was TOTALLY fine and I opened up and tossed a bunch of formula bottles for no reason.

All of this is to simply say: the nurses who attend to you after the birth of a child are not lactation experts. They will answer the questions you ask them. And MANY will offer up advice unprompted. But if anyone tells you something frightening about your body’s ability to care for your child, or gets you confused about the breastfeeding process, try to ignore them.

Better yet, find someone knowledgeable about breastfeeding (if you plan to breastfeed), before you go into labor. You will have SO MANY questions afterwards, and being able to get answers exactly when you need them just makes life so much easier.

The day after I got home, I trekked over to a lactation support group run by Andrea Syms Brown (who is TERRIFIC if you happen to live in New York City) on my friend’s recommendation. There I found out that my son was actually getting a ton of breastmilk out of me. He had gained over a pound while in the hospital alone, so that nurse had been super off-base about my milk supply. He was cranky when we got home for the most likely of reasons: He was a newborn baby.

I wish I had been smart enough to ignore the advice I had gotten in the hospital. Of course there are more than a few nurses in hospitals who know what they’re talking about in regards to breastfeeding. Some of them may even help you. But in my experience, they all contradicted themselves and confused the crap out of me. So just know this going in: the doctors and nurses in the hospital are not omniscient because they are wearing a uniform. And before you stress out about anything they tell you, talk to somebody else about it. Almost anyone else. There’s enough crap going wrong in your life when you get home from the hospital after giving birth to worry about screwing up breastfeeding. Limit your freakouts wherever you can.

Bart Simpson Breastfeeding

(Photos: Giphy, Giphy, Giphy)

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  • CMJ

    Do you know it’s National Nurses Week?

    :/

    • Kendra

      I did know this, but I refuse to praise all nurses in this time. All nurses are not good nurses. I will praise the ones I know who are awesome. I will not praise the one I had in labor who was a terror.

    • CMJ

      No no, I totally get that..I think it was the title that kind of pushed me over the edge. (seems to be happening a lot lately).

    • Kendra

      Oh yeah, I don’t even really “read” the titles anymore.

  • Jayamama

    It seems to me that one of the first lessons you have to learn as a new parent is to ignore the plethora of unwanted advice from both strangers and those you know. That, and learning to protect your baby from unwanted touching from strangers. I used to go to Walmart at midnight just to avoid having to talk to people. Now that I have a toddler as well as a baby, I can’t do that.

  • G.E. Phillips

    The lactation consultant who “helped” me after Owen was born was literally one of the most terrifying women I have ever met. She was an older lady with a German accent and she literally shoved Face’s face onto my boob. Then, she proceeded to insult my nipples (“Too big! Too flat! Tut, tut. These are terrible, terrible nipples for feeding baby!”) and insisted that I needed to use a nipple shield and a syringe with formula to get him to latch on (all of this within five minutes of meeting us.) So basically, what she wanted me to do was hold Face up to my breast with one arm, hold the nipple shield on with one hand because it wouldn’t stay on my huge, deformed, terrible monster nipple from hell, hold a syringe with my other hand so I could squirt formula under the nipple shield, and of course, support my breastfeeding boob with my other hand. If you’re keeping up, that’s four hands, and I was obviously a few hands too short. The whole thing was seriously traumatizing.

    • Kendra

      My “breastfeeding expert nurse” (I’m calling her this because she was never introduced to me as a lactation consultant, but she acted like that was her job) also had a German accent.

    • Tsabhira

      My first one, the one who taught me how to pump, was Russian and kind and amazing. The cranky old crone in the NICU, though? Yeah, sounded like this. Grabbed my boobs, insulted them (“oh no, you’re big, and you’re only going to get bigger!”), acted like I was wasting her time because this was never going to work, ridiculed what I managed to pump, just barked contradictory orders at me. Traumatized by nurses after a traumatizing birth experience, yeah, that just added to the pile of suck.

    • Jennifer Kim

      Holly crap! I think we had the same lactation nurse. I though she was going to break my daughter’s nose the ways she kept bashing her head against my breast. Finally, I got tired of hearing my daughter crying out and yelled at the woman to get out of my room and never come back again, grabbed my breast pump and never looked back. She also attempted to stick a tube in my daughter. I told her if she didn’t get out of the room. She was going to need someone to remove the tube from her. Will never got back to that hospital ever again. The woman still works there some how.

    • Obladi Oblada

      When I read what she said about your nipples, I heard it in the voice of the Natasha Fatale on Rocky and Bullwinkle and I got way more amused than I should have. Don’t ask me why…I don’t have an answer…I’m tired and a little giddy.

    • G.E. Phillips

      LOL, that’s pretty much what it sounded like!

    • Rachel

      Ugh, mine was the same way. Insulted my boobs, insulted the way I was holding my son, insulted my intelligence (since I couldn’t freaking understand what she was trying to tell me to do). She actually told me to formula feed, and rolled her eyes when I told her I was too poor to do that.

  • Kheldarson

    I had an awesome lactation nurse. She helped me get set up, shifted us into different positions, and helped me get a feel for what felt best. She even gave me her number so I could call when I got freaked out. She was a blessing.

    Now, the nurse who chewed me out the day I gave birth, I wish I had gotten her name so I could complain. First time parent, my baby’s sleeping and doesn’t seem upset at all, so how the hell was I supposed to know I needed to wake him up and force him to eat if nobody told me?

  • Kelly

    My first lactation consultant was a bitch. I think I’m lucky the whole latching and feeding process was easy for me because I don’t see how she would have been any help at all.

    The second one (after I refused to deal with the first one and my son’s pediatrician told her off) was much better. It still didn’t help my issue much though.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    The best pieces of breastfeeding advice I got were from:
    my mom (it can take up to 5 days for your milk to come in, don’t sweat it)
    my sisters (do your boobs feel like giant rock hard porno boobs? your milk is in)
    my midwives (here’s how to breastfeeding lying on your side – this was the best)
    my friend who is also a midwife (here’s how to breastfeeding while wearing her in a carrier – saved my frickin’ life when we got stuck in a 2 hour customs line taking a trip to the US when my kid was 3 months old)

    The lactation consultant at the hospital was ok. She didn’t necessarily give bad advice, but she kept referencing something she called “cowboy face” as to what my kid’s mouth should look like when nursing, and to this day I have no idea what she was talking about.

    The nurses were ok, they helped show me that I wasn’t going to kill my kid if I jammed her face into my boob too hard.

    • Kendra

      I need the advice from the midwife friend. But I do agree side-lying is AMAZEBALLS.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Hey let me give it a try! I had an ergo, so what my friend showed me was basically loosening one of the straps a little, which should lower the baby enough that you can kinda push the boob in. It’s not as awkward as it sounds once you get used to it. And it is pretty incognito, especially if you’re wearing a jacket on top of the carrier – I was able to nurse her on the way to daycare on the streetcar and it didn’t seem like anyone noticed.

    • Kendra

      That sounds like something that would make my life SO much easier, especially because I already have a toddler. Handsfree breastfeeding sounds pretty awesome! I don’t have an ergo, but I am going to look one up! Thanks!

    • falcongirl

      I used to nurse my daughter in the Ergo while walking the dog. I could put a jacket on and leave it unzipped and nobody would be the wiser. Don’t tell my neighbors.

    • StarHopper

      I used to nurse my son in my Baby K-tan. So incognito, my friend, who is her local La Leche League leader, didn’t notice I was breastfeeding! I also once nursed him while unloading groceries. Like you do.

  • Guest

    I was visiting my friend in the hospital late afternoon and she had the baby that morning. A nurse walked in and asked her casually if she was breastfeeding or bottle. She said bottle and had asked about amounts. I was a little surprised thinking that they’d been holding their hand through the process to at least verify how much the kid was being fed.
    She is also the only person in the world who didn’t (until after having both her kids) realize that breastmilk is supposed to be great for your kid. In other news, she lives under a rock.

  • Kendra

    Yep, I had the exact same issue with a nurse at my hospital. She basically guilted me into formula feeding because she insisted my colostrum wasn’t enough.

  • Nica

    Times are a’changin… I had my first baby in 2009 and my 2nd in 2012, both in the same hospital…
    In 2009, there was ONE lactaction consultant to serve the ENTIRE maternity ward (and this was in a large, city hospital), she was there only during daytime hours and you had to make an appointment to see her. It was all so WRONG. For starters, I had an uneventful birth and was in the hospital just over 48 hours. The LC couldn’t see me literally until I was being discharged. Second, I was having some latching issues at 3am and when I called the nurse for help (silly me), she basically pawned me off on the LC WHO WASN”T EVEN THERE!!!! Beyond that, the nurses thought I was insane for having the baby room in with me. Long story short, I sought help from a highly recommended group of LCs after my discharge and they set me on the right path…
    Fast forward to 2012, hospital was gunning for a “baby friendly” designation and now ALL maternity nurses had bf training (and a couple I worked with had bf’ed their own children), there were multiple IBCLC’s on staff and while not available 24 hours a day, it was close to it and rooming in was encouraged. All that said, I didn’t feel like breastfeeding was ever shoved down my throat by anyone. If you asked for help, it was there. If you asked for formula, that was there too. A much better and much less stressful experience 2nd time around!

    • falcongirl

      Thank goodness for that “Baby Friendly” designation. The hospital I gave birth at was shooting for one, too, and as a result my experience was great. Every nurse that came in while I was bfing checked my latch and there was no contradictory advice. It was great and easy.

    • the_ether

      The Australian hospital I’m booked in at has a similar designation, although a friend of mine said once she was out of the labour ward and staying in a room attended by regular nurses, she was offered formula over and over again.

    • val97

      Yes, I noticed a big difference when I had my kids too. In 1999, I had to keep asking the nurses to bring my son in to me and not feed him formula. There were no lactation consultants, and they sent me home from the hospital with a case of bottled formula. In 2005, the nurses told me I HAD to attend the breastfeeding class in order to check out of the hospital. I thought to myself: look, ladies, I’m a pro at the bf thing. But I attended the dumb class anyway.

  • @Real_George_Clooney
    • Valerie

      Dafuq?

    • @Real_George_Clooney

      Did you click it?

    • Valerie

      Mmhmm. It just says “show 30 new comments”.

    • @Real_George_Clooney

      It’s fooled quite a few people in the other Disqus sites I’m on.

      :D

    • Valerie

      Lol. You’re a wiley one, George. :-)

      Aight, I’m released from the kindergarten meeting and am going for a run. Don’t cause too much trouble.

    • @Real_George_Clooney

      Give your hubby a big wet kiss for me.

    • Valerie

      He says right back at ya. And he loved you in ER.

    • waffre

      I totally fell for it.

    • blogger

      hi?

  • Frannie

    Most of the nurses I dealt with when I had my first child were great, but one of them was so awful my husband actually spoke to her supervisor and had her reassigned. I asked for help nursing DD and this lady moved DD by her neck and smashed her face into me. DD wouldn’t latch, so she just kept doing the same thing over and over. By the time she left the room I was in tears. I thought she was going to break my daughter’s neck.

    • wispy

      Well that’s awesome your husband did that!

    • Frannie

      He did good! He was just as freaked out as I was!

  • wispy

    There was nothing more stressful to me than breastfeeding my newborns. They both had jaundice and we were told the only way to get rid of jaundice is to “poop it out” and the only way to poop it out is to eat. So of course these lovely nurses would parade in and grab my boobs and shove them into the babies’ mouths. Of course the babies just wanted to sleep and had NONE of it. So the nurses are getting onto me like it’s all my fault and I’m crying. I was just begging for some formula since they apparently needed to eat stat or else! They refused to give me any and the nurse told me that when her daughter had her baby the baby was jaundiced also and would never eat and had to go to the hospital for weeks. This all would have been prevented if she had given her formula. So I’m like “then what’s the problem? why aren’t you giving me any formula??” and she goes “Because breast is best. My daughter would not change NOT giving her baby formula to this day even though the baby was in the hospital for so long.” o.0 ummmmm…..ok???? weirdos. I could not get out of there fast enough.

    • Frannie

      Wow, what? Who cares what her daughter did! Jeez!

    • wispy

      I know! She acted like she was doing me a huge favor and that I would go back and thank her one day! Um no.

    • Frannie

      A nurse should know better than to put her own agenda before the medical needs of a newborn.

    • Rachel Sea

      Some nurses are just horrible.

    • wispy

      Yes. And as a first time mom I had no clue what to think about any of it. It also didn’t help that every nurse who came in pretty much had a completely different opinion about everything.

    • Kendra

      That sounds exactly like what they were telling me. I was hearing about how she was jaundice and we were going to have to stay for extra days because she needed to eat more, and I didn’t have enough milk and blah blah blah. You are reminding me to ask my new midwife about this situation and see what her response is! I mean, I don’t think that was true, nor do I think the pressure to formula feed her was right, but I’d like to hear an expert opinion.

    • wispy

      I’d like to hear her opinion too! My first time was when we were threatened with the hospital stay and all that. The second time (hospital in a completely different state) the doctor said to go ahead and supplement with formula and sent a “bili-bed” to our house and OMG it was so much easier and stress free without all the nonsense.

    • Kat

      My first baby was jaundiced. No one said a word about food or feeding. She just went under a light for a couple days and voila.

    • koolchicken

      My kid had jaundice, in fact he was yellow for two months, and somewhat “olive toned” for the third. No one was worried about it (though my son did have bigger issues). I was told to just keep feeding him, it usually resolves on its own and neonatal jaundice is pretty harmless. If I wanted him to flush it faster I could just take him outside in just a diaper (I lived in Hawaii) as that’s what they usually do instead of the lights. But he was a preemie and perpetually cold so jaundice he stayed.

      Poor kid looks like a lemon in his newborn photos. But he’s fine now and that’s all that matters.

    • Kat

      POOP it out? Ahahahahaha, what a moron!

      I mean, I’m sorry that happened to you but damn. Some people.

    • ksu_artist1

      This sounds almost exactly like my experience! Jaundice, doctor’s & nurses saying if he didn’t eat he couldn’t get ride of it and would have to go to the NICU, etc. And of course my son would just. not. latch. Just reading your story makes all that stress come flooding back! So glad he’s two now and I can just give him some goldfish crackers ;)

    • Amanda

      I share that exact same experience. It was borderline traumatic!

    • wispy

      I’m glad someone does! Traumatic is right!

  • http://massageforwife.blogspot.com/ Nida batool

    It’s quite strange.LOL

  • aCongaLine

    With numeber one, they wheeled in a pump and left it beside my bed. the nurse expained in great detail where to get take out (um, we were good. only lived 2 miles from the hospital), but didn’t explain how to use the “milking machine.”

    With number two, the nurse told me that the only time the lactation consultant was available was the exact moment I was introducing 20 month old #1 to #2…. and then the lactation consultant threatened to not come back, scolding me while I was trying to put my toddler at ease with hernewsister.

    F that noise.

  • Kelly

    The best advice I got (from my sister, a midwife) was to ask to see the LC literally as soon as you are in a postpartum room. Our hospital was busy and only had 1 LC on at all times, so she recommended I ask them to come in and help me get started ASAP. It was solid advice, but she also told me a bunch of other stuff that I thought gave me some confidence:

    1. If the nurse comes in and gives you advice, smile and say thank you. Ignore advice as needed.
    2. If you have questions, call the nurse AND ASK HER TO CALL THE LC.
    3. Don’t listen to anyone but the LC, at least at first.
    4. Know that there is a thing called AP Nipple Ointment, and it is prescription only, and you should not be afraid to call the midwife at any time of the night or day and ask her to call in a prescription for you if you need it.
    5. It gets better, really. But in the meantime it’s okay to cry.

  • journalgal2

    I had troubles getting started because of soreness, etc. and a nurse actually told me to rough up my nips with a dry washcloth!! The hell!!!!??!!

    • Rachel Sea

      Old parenting books recommend that you start roughing up your nipples as soon as you find out you are pregnant. I suppose they thought you’d develop a callus?

    • Gypsykat2

      Nursing textbooks tell you to use a washcloth in the shower while you’re pregnant to desensitize your nipples a little bit. Some women say it works well for them.

  • ceelou

    God I had a horrible lactation consultant who I saw a week after my son was born (this is after the hospital LC and nurses basically told me my baby was starving and I should supplement with formula, which I did, sobbing and thinking I was the worst mother ever). Anyway the lady I hired cost $300 and came in and long story short did some lame cranio-sacral mumbo-jumbo on me and then straight up told me that my milk was “never going to come in” if it hadn’t already. When I broke down upon hearing this (yeah I was a total mess postpartum but that’s another story) she told me that she “had to take me to a desolate place so that we could get out of it together” – what the serious fuck.
    And then my milk never did come in, no engorgement, nada, and I did all the crazy BS with supplemental feeding systems, syringes, went on a Canadian reflux drug to try and increase my production and gained like 20 pounds and pumped 4 times a day to get 6 oz of milk for my boy – and did that for 5 months. It sucked SO BAD.
    Trying to breastfeed and dealing with lactation consultants was so traumatic for me that I’m positive it contributed hugely to my postpartum depression. One thing that helped was reading the book Bottled Up – made me feel less guilty about formula feeding (and now I can’t believe I was ever so crazed about the whole thing).

    • http://ichasekids.com/ Litterboxjen

      and now I can’t believe I was ever so crazed about the whole thing

      It’s the hormones — I tell that to everyone, they can make you crazy. Pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy, I said I’d do whatever worked and wouldn’t beat myself up if I couldn’t breastfeed, tons of kids have formula and are just fine, blah blah blah. Post-delivery (I was a c-section), I was OBSESSED with having my daughter breastfeed, and I did everything I could (oatmeal every day, supplementing with herbals, breastfeeding cookies) to make sure my supply stayed up.

      Once she hit about the six-month mark it felt like my supply dropped, and so I started using formula to help out (and had always used it in a pinch). Once she got on solids more regularly, I think I was only nursing her two or three times a day; she was doing quite well on solids.

      But yeah, this article is making me realize that some of the “help” I got in the hospital wasn’t the best — I’d wake my daughter up to feed because they said she had to feed every 2-3 hours and she’d sleep for four, and then she’d be mad because she was tired and then couldn’t get latched and then would just cry. They hooked me up to a pump one night and when basically nothing came out, that was the first time she had formula (supposedly at my husband’s suggestion; I thought it was the nurse’s). I was later told it’s almost impossible to get any colostrum pumped, and that being a c-section can delay everything — so yes, by day X she wasn’t on to the mustard poops like ‘most’ babies, but by day Y she was and it was just one more thing for a new mom to stress over. Also, being hooked up to an IV all day can mean babies come out plumper and they lose more weight than normal — all things that happened with her, and again, SHE WAS FINE.

      But hormones. :)

  • koolchicken

    I have to say, the people around me in the hospital and afterwards were awesome. Despite everything else, this is what they were good at. After they carved my kid out of me they didn’t push to have him eat anything. The next day the nurse brought my son to me and told me I’d be fine, helped me latch on, and left us alone to bond (she asked if I wanted her to stay and told me to ring if I needed her when I didn’t). When they were putting all sorts of lines in my son and I was freaking out one of the pediatricians found me a pump, got me set up, told me how important colostrum was, and even a couple of drops was more than what my son needed. They then helped me feed him the two drops I got and told me I was amazing. In the NICU there were lactation consultants going around every day and feeds were staggered so they could be there to help out. The nurses knew a lot, some more than others and were happy to help. They never made me feel bad and people cheered when I pumped 2ml’s. When we finally had to give him formula (he dropped a LOT of weight and bf’ing was wearing him out he did have a heart condition) they asked my permission before every bottle. They had me bf first, then gave my pumped milk, then gave formula as a last resort and not at every feed. When I got home and he was still loosing weight and I still wasn’t producing I was encouraged to keeping bf’ing and pumping. I was given one of those tubes so he could bf and get formula at the same time (can’t remember what they’re called). My midwives offered a baby scale and my OB told me to keep trying c sections make it harder and if necessary he’d prescribe something to make me start producing. I was never made to feel bad and was told I could switch to formula if I wanted to but they’d happily keep helping me if I wanted to continue trying. Yes, we did have to do more weight checks with the pediatrician, but he and his wife told me they were sure my son would be fine and were available to answer any questions.

    So yeah, they stunk at surgery but they knew what they were doing lactation wise.

  • blogger

    i like your pic :l

  • blogger

    troll anyone there

  • blogger

    true

  • Ashie

    I never had a Lactation consultant. I had midwives and after I gave birth I was home within 2 hours, and never had any contact with hospital staff or lactation consultants. Im not sure if in Canada we have LCs in the hospital? I had my midwives and they were so amazing and helped me every step of the way with breastfeeding. My midwives were on call 24/7 so if I had any problems or issues all I had to do was page them and they would respond within an hour.

    • TashaB

      We do have LCs in Canada. If you give birth in hospital, they are generally available, and if you had issues with nursing that your midwives couldn’t figure out, they would have referred to the LC at the hospital to which they are affiliated.

  • Amanda Lee Lowerson

    The worst experience I had was with the lactation consultant at Lenox Hill of all places. She came in and literally shoved my baby’s face into my breast while wearing latex gloves. When my baby completely freaked she threw her hands up and said “I don’t know if this is going to work for you”. A nurse who had been in the room actually came back later and told me not to give up, she was confident the baby reacted to a stranger touching her and not my breast.

    It’s crazy because as a new Mom you put so much blind faith in everyone you perceive to be an expert. Some of them turn out to be so dead on, passing you gems you can’t imagine having made it through the first 3 months without. Others spew total crap that it take at least 3 months to forget.

  • ted3553

    I feel like I should defend those in the medical profession with the statement that they’re just like us. Some are more knowledgeable than others and all are biased based on their experiences and beliefs so we really need to realize that what works for one, doesn’t always work for another person. I’ve come upon the good and bad and am as frustrated as others when you get the bad but they’re not all-knowing and we really need to take some onus on ourselves to take their advice and see what does and doesn’t work for us

    • Kat

      I think that’s the point though, and sort of like the author said, they’re obviously not all confused, militant ruiners. Some are quite helpful.

      Anyway, it’s one thing to share an idea; it’s entirely different to force that idea on someone, particularly if it’s not even your own idea and/or it isn’t educated. I expect more from a medical professional, but that’s just my opinion.

    • ted3553

      I completely agree that some of these people are way over the line and that would be a huge issue with me too especially when you’ve just had a baby

  • MLSKC

    When my oldest was born she WOULD NOT latch on. She would open her mouth, I’d pop my book in and….nothing. The lactation consult came in, glanced at us, and called me a natural. I tried to explain that the baby wasn’t suckling or doing anything at all, and the lc claimed she’d never seen a more perfect latch. I banned her from my room for being dumb. Oldest never did latch on, but she had trouble with a bottle too at first.
    Second baby, different hospital and the lcs were awesome. They were supportive, helped me in the NICU, and held support group meetings. They were just nice.

  • Ro

    One little bitch asked me how nursing was going, I said that I was not sure she was latching properly. She asked, quite snottily, if my nipple looked like lipstick after my daughter was finished nursing. Huh?? I tried to figure out what she meant, like is it red like lipstick, shaped like lipstick…. She responded, like I had asked the dumbest question ever, “does it have a ridge?”.

    I had been in labour for 30 hours and missed two nights of sleep, so yeah, I might have been a little slow on the uptake, but I’ve nursed for a total of 3 years of my life now and I still don’t have a fucking clue what she meant. And yes, I am still bitter about it.

  • Peacha

    As a former postpartum nurse, let me tell you – so many nurses on those units are old ladies waiting it out to retirement on a unit that won’t come with a back injury. I LOVED mom baby work, and so did many of my co-workers, but we were stuck on wierd evening and night shifts because the old ladies kicked our butts in seriority. My advice to everyone having babies is to take everything these nurses say with a huge grain of salt and try to be savvy to those who seem to actually care about their work (usually they’re the ones there in the middle of the night!) I did it for about 2 years, then went to public health to do mom baby home visiting. Much better job :-)

    • Nica

      Funny you say that because that was EXACTLY my experience! The overnight shift nurses were so much more helpful!!!!

  • ChickenKira

    I had a real cow of an LC, but some fantastic nurses.
    My daughter latched fine in the beginning, the nurses helped me out, the LC came in and seemed fixated on this particular position that just didn’t seem to work for me (honestly, I think my boobs were too small for that to be practical, I was kind of holding my daughter up, not resting on anything, which really hurt my arms) she was just really insistant on it, but after she left I ignored her and went back to the way the nurses showed me. A few days later (had a decent hospital stay) my milk seemed to dry up, LC came into the hospital room, insisted that milk WAS coming out and “your baby is just a bit bossy” (you know, those bossy 3 day olds), then proceeded to grab my breast and start ‘milking me’ (I felt so violated, she stuck her hand down my top and pulled one of my breasts out, without my permission) it was agonising and she told me I was being dramatic, until blood came out instead of milk.
    Turns out I have chronic cysts in my milk ducts, so she was wrong an no my ‘bossy’ baby was not getting any milk because there were cysts in the way, and she ruptured one.

    Complaint sent.

    • Jessica

      Ouch! That was so painful just reading, I cringed. Sorry you had to go through that!

    • the_ether

      AAAAAAAH how did you not punch her

    • Kat

      Holy crap! You mean you literally complained right? Did you ever hear back?

    • ChickenKira

      Of course.
      I received a “thanks for your feedback” email. Way to go Australian Breastfeeding Association.

    • the_ether

      Quick question: were they useful at all? Did you get any help from them on any other occasions?

    • ChickenKira

      After I had the cysts drained I pumped for about a month, threw out any ‘tainted’ milk and kept the rest.
      I was having some issues pumping one evenings (around 7pm) and rang their 24 hour help line. I sat on hold for 78 minutes, which became a big joke between me and my husband, we put the phone on speaker and just sat it on the coffee table, waiting for someone to pick up. When the lady did, she told me that she didn’t know much about pumping and started to explain how to get my daughter to latch on, when I explained that I needed to check the milk for cyst fluid and/or blood first, she told me that she had never heard of that before, then continued to talk about latching.

      A colleague of mine did have a few good experiences with them though, not all good, she said it was about 50/50 on that 24 hour line. It really depends on who you get, unfortunately for me, I got two lousy LC’s.

      I ended up ringing the MCHN 24 hour tip line, 4 minutes on hold and got some really good advice.

    • the_ether

      Well that’s a bit of a bummer. I hope my midwives have some good resources for me to draw on.

  • Jessica

    I had almost a completely opposite experience. The nurses I had were so great helping me breastfeed & showing my how to position my breasts & the baby & all sorts of helpful positions. The lactation consultant came in a couple times & seemed upset that I had already fed the baby. We even discussed what time her next feeding would be so she could come back to “help.” She came back half an hour later than what we talked about & couldn’t understand why we were done already. So I told her that I thought we had a handle in the whole thing & probably wouldn’t need her help.

  • C.J.

    My friend wears a 40 H and managed to breastfeed without suffocating her baby.

  • Kat

    I was told my boobs were too small, but that “it might be OK because [I] have erect nipples.” I so don’t ever want to hear the term “erect nipples” ever in the first place, but aside from that, I had a sneaking suspicion this “consultant” was full of shit.

    She also had a conversation with the other nurse right in front of me about how “strange” it was that my boobs were just so small, and you’d think my body would be better at preparing for a baby!

    Bitch. I’m just small-framed, and I was at least a B! I should have cut her with my erect nipples…

  • Mollie

    After giving birth to my daughter 6 years ago in Canada, we didn’t have lactation consultants, but we did have very opinionated nurses. After the baby and I were discharged (I nursed in the hospital) I was brought back in by ambulance with a collapsed lung and heart failure later that day. (Complications from pneumonia I didn’t know I had) Baby stayed home with my husband and MIL. I was in the hospital for almost a week, still pumping as best as I could, but nurses STILL asked me why I didn’t have my baby admitted with me so I could continue to nurse her because…ya know…breast is best.

    • OB nurse

      Ugh, that is terrible. Pumping is miserable on a good day, never mind that fact that you weren’t, ya know, BREATHING properly.

  • OB nurse

    I’ve been working in OB (Both L&D and postpartum) for 10 years. I work with some really excellent LC’s, but have also worked with some really awful ones.

    There was this one lady (now retired, thank god) that would literally reduce moms to tears. Women would come back years later to have their next baby, and would specifically say, “don’t let that woman in my room.” She would set ridiculous expectations on exhausted, new mothers. (i.e. I don’t care that you were in labor for 40+ hours, ended up with a c-section, and haven’t slept in 4 days. You need to feed your baby every 2 hours then pump, and don’t even think about sending your baby into the respite nursery for a nap) She was so militant, made breastfeeding so hard, that she actually made a lot of people quit. The nurses on the floor had a lot of names for her (nipple nazi, etc.)

    The thing is, breastfeeding is SO different for every mom and every baby. They best way I can describe it is as a dance, and you need to learn to dance with your baby. It takes WEEKS to learn (not 2-3 days that you are in the hospital) Also, that shit hurts, and any person that tells you otherwise IS a liar pants, and is getting info from a book and not real life. My baby had a perfect, textbook latch, and it took me 3 weeks to be able to breastfeed without it hurting like a motherf*cker.

    The best helpers in the hospital when it comes to breastfeeding are the night shift nurses (there are no LCs at night usually, and we all know babies are awake and more hungry at night) and also nurses that have some recent, real life experience. I know that breastfeeding my son has completely changed the way that I talk about breastfeeding to my patients.

    • Kat

      Hey, my nipples never hurt! Lol. I’m serious, I still breastfeed & my son is 6.5 months old. They’ve never hurt. He was a textbook latch, too, tg. & the nurses at night are usually the best, I agree. & late evening ones :)

  • Liz

    The lactation consultant I had was wonderful! The first night nurse I had after my son was born was a nightmare. I had taken a breastfeeding class before I gave birth, so I had a better understanding of how often newborn babies may need to eat. She came to test his blood sugar and was pissed that he had recently eaten (despite not giving me a heads up beforehand). She said, “Don’t feed him too much or he’ll use you as a pacifier,” and then she took him back to the nursery for 5 hours even though he was supposed to room in with us. I literally had to get up and ask another nurse to bring him back to me around 4 a.m. because I knew he had to be starving.

    • the_ether

      I’m fairly certain I will start yelling at the top of my lungs if anyone takes my baby away for a non–critical reason.

    • the_ether

      I’m fairly certain I will start yelling at the top of my lungs if anyone takes my baby away for a non–critical reason.

  • Lillybey

    Having a ten day old baby (yay me?). The worst advice came from
    The hospital ‘lactation consultant’ who told me and the other mothers in the class that breast feeding should hurt and ‘tie curling pain is normal’ (I know I didn’t imagine this as my husband raised his eyebrows at her and my friend who gave birth a week later got the same sterling piece of advice).

    She repeated the same advice again on a one on one consult later on the room. The midwife who was in the room went incredibly professional when she heard the lactation consultant say it and then made a fuss of me when she left and the next time I tried to attach. The lady also said my little ones suck reflex wasn’t good (it’s great, he just chomps sometimes), she thought his jaw might have been dislocated during birth and that he might be tongue tied.

    I followed her advice and recieved two grazed nipples, one angry, hungry baby and me crying for hours as a result. Luckily we’ve sorted most of the issues (although he’s still Sir Chomps-a-lot) and we have a new lactation consultant coming tomorrow. Meanwhile expressing and formula have been a god send.

    • Lillybet

      My god sleep deprivation and writing on your mobile does not do good things for spelling! I couldn’t even get my name right! It should be toe curling pain not tie curling (although if we lived in a cartoon universe it could work as a visual gag).

  • footnotegirl

    Yeah, lactation consultants can also give you confusing and bad information. I saw several official ones, and they were all “every woman can breast feed!” and “you just need to eat this, or that, or literally breastfeed+pump for 90 minutes straight and then pause for a half our and then start up all over again for a ‘just a few weeks’” and then I finally went to the HEAD lactation consultant who took one look at me and said “Breast hypoplasia, you aren’t going to ever produce enough breast milk, lets work on supporting what you CAN provide while also keeping your baby fed and you sane.”

  • Sara J. Hutchinson Underwood

    Please, don’t think that just because someone is a “lactation consultant” that they are better. Just like there are crappy nurses, crappy doctors, and crappy midwives, there are also crappy LC’s.

    I also think that people have unrealistic expectations about LC’s – at least I did. Like somehow spending 30 minutes with one would give me a perfect latch, no pain, and I’d be spewing milk like a cow for the next 2 years – no, they don’t come in and wave a magic wand over your boobs and say abracadabra.