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Is exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of the child's life possible, in general? I have heard a lot about that and heard about people doing that. But I did not get a chance to interact with those people who had breastfed exclusively.

My second baby is 2 months old. When I breastfeed him, sometimes he cries when the let-down is less, by shaking his legs, and trying to get more from the nipples by pulling it vigorously. What do I need to do in this situation? Anyway, I feel guilty and give him formula after the situation.

I pump after every nursing session to increase my milk production.

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    It's unclear what exactly you are asking. Do you want to know if exclusive breastfeeding is possible in general? Or are you asking about how to cope with the difficulties you describe at the end? Please edit to clarify. – sleske Feb 1 '16 at 14:09
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    The short answer: yes, it is possible and I am one of those women who did. For a longer answer, we need to understand your question better. Please edit to clarify or this might be closed as unclear. – Stephie Feb 1 '16 at 15:51
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    Don't give him formula, and don't feel guilty about it. The amount of milk you produce will be directly proportional to how much he needs. If you supplement with formula you will produce less than what he needs. – user1751825 Feb 2 '16 at 5:23
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    Don't judge his requirements by how much fussing he does. If he's growing and looks healthy, then everything is fine. – user1751825 Feb 2 '16 at 5:24
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One thing we found really helpful were postnatal NCT breastfeeding sessions. Firstly, just having someone look at you and say "you're doing fine" or telling you what's actually wrong and how to fix it makes a huge amount of difference. There's also a ton of helpful information on here, including a helpline (UK specific).

Also, 2 month old babies are unrestrained id. They will happily demand literally anything from you, and scream at you when you fail to deliver exactly what they want: They possess no other form of communication. However, if he's gnawing at the nipple, that's often a sign of either a bad latch or just behaviour you need to correct early; I believe the standard advice is to detach him the second you feel discomfort, hold him away from the nipple and say "we don't bite Mummy", then let him re-attach. You basically teach him that tugging has the exact opposite effect to what he wants, and get a chance to readjust the latch. He will scream at you; ignore this, he's not in possession of all the facts.

One thing to be aware of: If you do continue with mixed feeding (which your comment suggests you might), one of the key advantages is that your partner can feed the baby. As a dad, there's a certain triumph in feeding a 2 month old off to sleep at 2 AM while my wife snores upstairs. Do not be afraid to offer your partner this exciting opportunity to help.

Beyond this, if you're genuinely struggling, see your paediatrician; they can check that your baby's putting on weight (which is the only critical bit), and suggest other avenues of support you can take.

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it is possible to exclusively breastfeed, and many people do it.

However, many people are not able to either. You might not produce enough milk, or there might be other issues.

Our second child was exclusively breastfed until 7-8 months, but as I went back to work I could not pump enough milk to keep up. I just don't produce a lot when pumping.

Our first child was a little premature (just 4 weeks), so he got some supplemental formula the first 3 weeks or so. Then he was exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age. I went to the hospital for an allergic reaction, and though I pumped there (the nurses were super nice and put my milk in the staff fridge), he needed some formula. He got some one and off until we switched to cow's milk - again I had a hard time keeping up with daytime demand pumping.

I am sharing this story, since there is a lot of pressure to exclusively breastfeed. But there can be many reasons to not do it. And supplementing with formula is not bad - the important thing is your baby is getting enough nutrition.

I remember crying while pumping at night to try and get more milk - by baby 2 I realized it was not worth it.

If you think your baby is more hungry, try giving him a little bit of formula.

Note that by 6 months, you can also start weaning.

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    Stephie,user1751825 Thank you for all your answers and suggestions. As Ida pointed out there is tremendous pressure for exclusive breastfeeding. I am doing my best to improve my milk production. But, taking the child's health into account, I need to give formula also. After going through the anongoodnurse's reply for the question "3 month old not gaining weight well after exclusive breastfeeding" , its very clear that a breastfeeding mom Need not feel guilty for giving her child occasionally infant-formula, if she is doing her best to improve her milk production. – user13522 Feb 2 '16 at 10:37
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    She should not feel bad even if she chooses NOT do do everything humanly possible to increase her supply. – swbarnes2 Feb 2 '16 at 18:52
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While I agree with Ida that there's nothing wrong in supplementing with formula, don't be too quick to assume that you have to. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is possible for most women but believing that you don't have enough milk is a very common worry that leads a lot of women to use formula even though they would prefer not to.

Not being able to produce enough milk is actually quite rare, according to this site https://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/how-can-i-tell-if-my-baby-is-getting-enough-milk

There can be some health issues with the mother that lead to low milk supply, some of which can be corrected and there's also the possibility of the baby having a problem, such as tongue tie, which means they cannot suck milk from the breast efficiently. However, I think that lack of good advice and support, lack of confidence and lack of experience of seeing other people breastfeeding is probably a more likely reason that many women believe they don't have enough milk for their baby.

Of course it's definitely worth ruling out any medical issues with yourself or the baby if you are really worried. But if that turns out OK and you want to breastfeed exclusively, then I'd suggest getting some support and making an effort to meet other women who have breastfed exclusively. There are a lot of excellent resources online which should help to answer any questions you have. The site I linked above is good, as is kellymom.com and La leche league https://www.laleche.org.uk

When my baby was born, I worried a lot that I didn't have enough milk for him but for no real reason. Meeting with a lactation consultant, getting advice from other mothers who had breastfed and information from these websites all helped me to gain confidence and breastfeed successfully.

Here is some information about the issue and effects of women believing they don't produce enough milk when they do:

http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/perceived-insufficient-milk/

And here are some tips to understand if you do have low milk supply and some ways you may be able to increase it.

http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/low-supply/

Some important things to note about how breastfeeding works are:

  1. Breastfeeding is based on supply and demand so the best thing you can do to increase your supply is feed your baby as much as possible. If you have been using formula, it may take some time to increase your milk supply back to a level which will satisfy your baby so if you want to reduce the formula, you probably need to do so gradually.

  2. Pumping is not a good indicator of how much milk your baby gets. Generally babies are much better at getting milk than a pump is so don't worry too much if you can't pump a lot of milk.

  3. The best way to know if your baby is getting enough milk is if he gains weight well and has enough wet and dirty nappies (diapers). His urine should be pale in colour and he should have about 6 wet nappies per day. The number of expected dirty nappies is more variable after the first month or so but at the beginning you would expect 3-4 per day (this doesn't apply to this particular question but to anyone with a new baby).

Finally, just to reiterate my first point, there is nothing wrong with giving some formula for whatever reason, if you do have a real issue with milk supply or for some women and babies, breastfeeding just doesn't suit them. But if you would really like to breastfeed exclusively, don't give up without getting some good support and advice to help you establish if you have a real problem with milk supply or not and if you do, if there's anything that can be done about it.

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    fn.bmj.com/content/early/2013/07/12/… "Prospective studies with full lactation support consistently show that approximately 15% of exclusively breastfed infants develop excessive weight loss, exceeding 10% of birth weight, within the first week of life.1 Approximately one-third of these infants will be hypernatraemic (sodium ≥150 mEq/L). The incidence of breastfeeding-associated hypernatraemia among hospitalised term and near-term neonates is 2%, which is significantly greater than the all-cause incidence of hypernatraemia among hospitalised children" – swbarnes2 Feb 2 '16 at 18:48
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    I don't think pediatricians say that all babies can get enough milk from their mothers. Lactation consultants make a lot more money if everyone woman believes she can breastfeed (with the help of lactation consultants) – swbarnes2 Feb 2 '16 at 18:51
  • Thank you for the link. It seems like an important study. However it's only talking about the very early stages of breastfeeding, it doesn't necessarily mean that these women were unable to breastfeed later. I also had some difficulties to start with and my son had some formula in the first week or two but I was able to stop that once my baby and I got the hang of things. Of course you have to be careful and be aware of and look out for any warning signs that the baby is not getting enough milk as described in the links I posted – MiniMum Feb 2 '16 at 20:02
  • To address the second comment - I suppose this is more of an issue where you have to pay extra for healthcare services or don't have good access. I am lucky to be in the UK where I could get good breastfeeding support via the National Health Service – MiniMum Feb 2 '16 at 20:05
  • I just want to add that some women DO NOT produce enough milk. A friend of mine's baby did not gain weight, she did not produce enough. This was not at 'early stages' but at 3-4 months. She was DEVASTATED that she didn't have enough milk. While it is always a good idea to get some help with possible latch and other issues, articles such as above continue to make women who produce less milk feel inadequate, and struggle. Being a new mom is hard enough, no need to add this pressure. – Ida Feb 2 '16 at 20:26

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