5 Lies My Lactation Consultant Told Me

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I decided to nurse my first baby before I even got pregnant with him.

At 22 I had convinced myself that it was the only way to go.  It was healthier, and cheaper, and it would make me a better mom.

Mostly I was wrong.

I mean sure, it was cheaper and I guess, arguably healthiest, but could I have gone a different way and still been an awesome mom?

Duh, of course.

Hindsight is funny like that though.

Everything is clearer when you look back on it.

Like the fact that my lactation consultant was quite possibly criminally insane.  Or at the very least really, really evil.

Wish I would’ve known that then.

Lies My Lactation Consultant Told Me

1.  “You have to nurse your baby right now or he’ll never learn.”  Sure, it’d been 8 hours since I’d given birth because I had a traumatic birth experience, had been sedated for hours, and unable to sit up straight or at all.  Even in my out-of-it-state I knew that nursing my baby was probably a good idea.  But, no way was he NEVER gonna learn to nurse if I didn’t get him on the breast immediately.  I know this now.

2.  “Why are you crying?  Nursing doesn’t hurt.”  Liar.  It does.  Maybe it shouldn’t, but sometimes it just does.  I know this now.

3.  “The baby is very hungry.  We won’t give him formula because then he won’t nurse from you.”  So, while I was out cold for the past 8 hours what were y’all doing in there?  Letting him starve?  Unlikely.  You had to have given him something to keep him from gnawing his own baby leg off.  I know this now.

Crying sometimes makes you feel better especially when you’re 23, fresh off of the scariest birth experience you NEVER saw on Baby Story

4.  “You’ll never nurse if you don’t get your emotions under control.”  Because crying makes your boobs not fit in your baby’s mouth correctly right?  Not at all.  Crying sometimes makes you feel better especially when you’re 23, fresh off of the scariest birth experience you NEVER saw on Baby Story, and being yelled at by some over bearing freak with a really confusing African accent.  I know this now.

5.  “You can’t give up on nursing if you love your baby.”  Oh, I love my baby, and I’m not planning to give up on nursing.  Matter of fact, even with your dysfunctional consulting I will go on to nurse this baby until after he celebrates his 15 month day.  But, even if I’d decided to give him formula, it wouldn’t have been because I loved him any less.  I know this now.

Please note: my in-hospital lactation consultant was not the norm.  She was an overbearing witch of a woman just not a good fit for us.  I went on to find another consultant who helped me figure out the nursing while crying thing just fine and I had a wonderful one after the birth of both my second and third children. 

The point of this whole thing is to say that nursing is really hard.  Sometimes so hard you cry.  But you can always fix it, by getting help and sticking to it, or by getting help and finding another option that works better for you and your baby.  Because being a good mom is not all about the boobs and don’t let crazy people tell you otherwise.

Image via Amanda Rodriguez

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5 Lies My Lactation Consultant Told Me

Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes ... More

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49 comments

  1. Profile photo of Kym Kym says:

    I’m on my 4th baby with my first 3 I did not produce milk and am very disappointed in the laction consultants that just ignore what Im saying to them, counseling does not make ones body produce milk we can talk all you want but it does not make me s bad mother to give my baby a bottle. Those words should not come out of a consultants mouth but it seems to be the ones the know best. (Btw I’ve lived in Florida & Boston and recivied the same treatment)

  2. Profile photo of Tameka Tameka says:

    I love you so much right now girl! I just stumbled upon this site and this is the first article I’m reading. I feel like crying right now when I think about how horrible my breast feeding experiences were with ALL THE KIDS! Each time I got a horrible in-hospital consultant. I remember feeling like they are just telling me bald face lies!!! It was so discouraging. I felt like such a failure!! They would shove the child onto my breast and proclaim that I shouldn’t hurt….well dang it DID HURT! Every friggin time it hurt…so I gave up…all three times (see warm tears roll down my face now). But THANK YOU for expressing for me the hell I went through (hear loud applause now). God Bless You.

  3. Profile photo of Kenzi Kenzi says:

    My son was a month premature and hadn’t quite developed the latching reflex. He nursed immediately after birth, but the nurses said it was just an adrenaline rush from the experience. I had a hard time nursing after that, even with the help of the LC’s, who were very nice and supportive. Since he was so small the nurses made me bottle feed to keep his blood sugar up. Once I got home I continued trying to nurse but was unsuccessful every time, though I stuck to it, always offering breast before bottle as instructed he eventually got it after 2 weeks. So that whole “do it now, or never” seems like a mere scare tactic, along with “the first two weeks is the most important”. The pain was terrible, so at first I would offer a bottle every other feeding to let my body heal, but now he’s mainly on the breast and there is no pain and he has no issues with bf like I was told he would if I didn’t stick to it exclusively.

  4. Profile photo of cassie cassie says:

    Im sorry to hear about the crazy ppl that didnt do their jobs. I never needed help in that area…I dont even recall anybody offering to help me. If it makes you feel better, with my second child, they moved me off the maternity floor because of space or whatever (which if that comes up again, im going to tell them to kove somebody else). I had one crazy nurse, while all the others were great, but this one shouldve lost her job. At one point, I had made the comment that baby had to wait a few minutes while I warmed up, considering I was shanking uncontrollably from waking up in a sweat and it being to cold in the room…anyway, she makes the comment that “if you dont want your baby, I’ll take her.” Where The Hell did she get that I dont want my baby because I had cold chills?? She made other unacceptable remarks but that stuck out the most. I sure did write all about her on the hospital survey they sent me in the mail! I shouldve done something right then but to dumb not to. I didnt even get all the cool freebies because I wasnt on the maternity floor :p lol

  5. Profile photo of Marien Marien says:

    I’m sorry you had this horrible experience, and I’m glad you persevered and got through it following your heart.
    Although I do believe (to a degree) that most hospitals and hospital LC are kind of trying to push the formula agenda – hence that lack of useful, compassionate support you encountered, I also FIRMLY believe that the whole point is to feed your baby.
    If this means you give your baby formula, then you are doing it right.

  6. Profile photo of Ashleigh Ashleigh says:

    I would have seriously slapped my LC if she said some of these things to me!

  7. Profile photo of Stormi Stormi says:

    They some how missed my daughter’s lip tie until she was 6 months old. Until then all my questions about why my attempts to breastfeed weren’t going well were answered with “You gotta try harder, then she’ll latch.” Try harder is the least useful advice possible.

  8. Profile photo of Kelsey Kelsey says:

    Ours hospital LCs were useless. My son had a weak latch and she would come in and just shove his head on my boob and go “There! See how easy?!?” No not really I have no idea what I’m doing and as soon as she left I couldn’t get him to latch again. She never described or gave details on how to troubleshoot, just popped him on and left. My son had a crazy appetite and we supplemented with formula from the first day home from the hospital because I just didn’t have enough milk, which has only gotten worse the bigger he’s gotten and the more he has been eating. He would drain both sides and then scream from hunger, downing the bottle we gave him. It took me awhile to accept my milk supply wasnt enough for him, and him getting food was the most important thing, not where it came from. He now is 3 months old, super healthy and growing, and has no problem going between boob and bottle, formula and milk, warm or cool temperature, he’s not picky at all.

  9. Profile photo of Dara Dara says:

    I had a c-section with my twins and from the magnesium sulfate I was very out of it for a couple of days. In walks this woman who pushes the breast pump at me and says “obviously you aren’t interested in breast feeding your babies in the NICU” I promptly started to cry. She was not the usual specialist for the NICU families and when the nurse found out how rude she was she called the head of the department. Lots of apologizing on their part. I don’t blame them I blame her. The regular specialist was very helpful and in the end I didn’t breast feed due to a previous breast lift and the nutritional needs of twins I couldn’t pump enough to keep up with them. You need to stand up for what you feel is best.

  10. Profile photo of Brinestone Brinestone says:

    While this one does sound worse than the norm, lie #3 is almost universal among lactation consultants. You have to be smart about it, but supplementing with formula here and there will NOT ruin your nursing relationship with your child. For example, my second son was born big with a big appetite, and he used up all my colostrum in the first day, but my true milk didn’t come in for another two days. I wanted him to continue to suck to tell my body to produce milk, but he was SO hungry and unhappy that after 30 minutes of trying, I would give him formula with a little medicine cup. No nipple confusion, plenty of stimulation to increase my supply, and a happy baby. You CAN have it all when nursing hits a bump, but you have to plan. Two days later, we were off and running, and he had plenty of milk.

    I actually have given a lot of thought to becoming a lactation consultant. There are a lot of moms who just don’t know and misinformed professionals out there who are making nursing a lot more complicated and difficult than it needs to be. In my dream world, I would be able to offer my services for free or nearly so.

  11. Profile photo of Amanda Amanda says:

    Mine was some helpful some not. My sister who already had two kids was super helpful in the hospital.

  12. Profile photo of LeDella LeDella says:

    Its a great idea to not include someone’s ethnicity when conveying dislike of their performance.

    • Profile photo of Jessica Jessica says:

      She didn’t say anything about the ethnicity, only that she had a strong accent. That kind of has a lot of bearing on her experience.

      • Profile photo of Stacy Stacy says:

        I agree Jessica. The person could easily be of multiple ethnicities and still have an African accent. An accent you are not familiar with and have trouble understanding can add to a bad situation. I am of German decent, but it’s not an accent I am familiar with and it might scare me a bit if they are yelling at me.

  13. Profile photo of gladys gladys says:

    Lol nursing hurts some times and some times really bad. I wanna pump some because I will be working n it will be less stressful on me. He can fix a bottle n let me rest 🙂 dad needs bonding one on one too pulse I get extra nap in…… momma likes

  14. Profile photo of mary mary says:

    Oh wow! Laughing out loud. You’re totally right. I am on my 3rd and final child. I breast fed both of my other sons. I am supplementing this child and he hates the formula. I am lucky to get him to take 3 oz. Then he screams after eating. I can feel him sucking the life out of me. But sometimes my boobs need a break. I feel guilty feeding him formula.

  15. Profile photo of SS SS says:

    When our baby was a day old, the LC came in, yelled at us for “starving” him by trying to breastfeed, shoved a too-high-flow bottle down his throat, and told us to give up. I’m pretty sure she was angry at us for doing a home birth. I wish we had never listened to her, we had gotten our baby to latch with the SNS the night before and he happily guzzled down an entire ounce at once (the rest of the time we were using a cup like she had told us to), not that she wanted to hear that. If she had never come we probably would have had a successful breastfeeding relationship. Instead, she caused us a complete nightmare.

    A few months later I got in touch with two really good LCs, but it’s much harder to get an older baby to latch. I still haven’t given up hope that he may latch one day, but honestly it doesn’t totally matter. If we had been able to give it a real try and it just hadn’t worked out, I wouldn’t care, it just kills me that we listened to her and never got the chance.

    • Profile photo of ashley ashley says:

      I’m sure you have already tried this but pump and give him that first then see if he will latch, you may have to “squirt” a little milk out for him to taste when you try and get him to latch. Just an idea.

  16. Jay, you don’t know what you’re talking about! I just recently had my baby who was a preemie and could not latch for the firs two weeks of his life. I truly needed a LC to show me how to get my baby to latch on correctly and how to decipher how long should feed my baby. So glad I had a good LC

  17. Profile photo of Jay Jay says:

    Who on Earth would need a lactation consultant??? I’ve met some pretty “dim” people before but not one that would think they need someone to teach them how to let a baby nurse from its mother!! WOW is all I can say! People are getting dumber as life progresses…

    • Profile photo of Kiersten Kiersten says:

      Wow jay, obviously you have never gone through labor, had your hormones throws for a loop and then tried to nurse a newborn without help from anyone. Shame on you for belittling people who are trying to do the best for their baby and who aren’t ashamed to ask for help.

    • Profile photo of Diana Diana says:

      Being dumb and living in a culture in which most women have never ever observed another woman in the act of breastfeeding are two completely different things.

    • Profile photo of christy says:

      Since we were blessed with twins, a LC was a blessing for us. I’ve now been able to exclusively breastfeed our twins for over 10mo, and still no end in sight. I have friends who make my job look easy by breastfeeding triplets. Still think LCs shouldn’t be there to help?

    • Profile photo of SS SS says:

      \Not everything comes “naturally” to people. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. A latch that looks good to the untrained eye may not be letting the baby get enough milk. A baby could have a tongue tie or any number of problems that prevent a good latch. Even if most people are able to successfully BF without any help from an LC, even if only 5% of new parents need a LC’s help, that help can still be invaluable to that 5%.

      The person who wrote this article had a VERY bad birth experience that included being out for 8 hours after giving birth, after something like that, you might need help eating or brushing your teeth- of course you could need help doing something you’ve never done before!

    • Profile photo of samantha samantha says:

      i was 17 when i had my son and he would not latch onto me i am grateful for my LC. too bad arrogant people like you will never have a profession in the delivery room because everyone has a job to do some just have more information then others.

    • Profile photo of Megan KlayEditor Megan Klay says:

      Hi Jay – Lactation Consultants can actually be a big help to new mothers who have never nursed before. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Plus there are a lot of challenges that can arise; latch issues, chafing/sore nipples, trouble producing enough milk, overproduction, etc.

  18. Profile photo of ChelseaA1991 ChelseaA1991 says:

    Yeah, nursing my son is a horrible experience, especially now that he has teeth (they said the baby wouldn’t bite, but that’s a lie, too). In the early weeks, it’s so hard because all you want is a nap and your baby just wants to constantly eat. I thought I was going to lose my mind and I was crying all the time, so we started giving him some formula.

    Also, everyone says nursing will just make the weight fall off…. Yeah, right. I have been the same weight since two months after I gave birth and I am only eating 1500 calories and exercising daily.

  19. Profile photo of rebekah rebekah says:

    I’ve nursed/pumped for all 5 of my little ones and it was never a fun or enjoyable time!!! I only did it because it was best for them!! It always hurt terrible!! I’m glad for those of you that love it!! I was not bless in that manner. I always had assistants from everyone but it made no difference for me. When I finally stopped with each child I felt alive again and free, happier more positive. But I saw it as a sacrifice of myself for them that would be rewarding with their health. Bless you all for whatever decision you decide breast/formula.

  20. Profile photo of Stephanie F Stephanie F says:

    My son is three weeks old and still has trouble nursing from the breast directly. It can be frustrating and painful, but there are tools to help us both adjust and grow into it. I find nipple shields especially helpful and I pump for him to bottle feed with so Daddy can help. It makes it less stressful and allows him to enjoy feedings comfortably.

  21. Profile photo of JoyRied JoyRied says:

    Good grief! That LC does NOT know what she’s talking about! It hurt so bad for me in the beginning. Breastfeeding is hard to learn!

  22. Profile photo of Rebekah Rebekah says:

    I have 4 kids and breastfed all of them. (I am actually breastfeeding my 2-month-old as I type this.) My first three lactation consultants were wonderful. My fourth one wasn’t. But let me tell you that if your consultant really said “You can’t give up on nursing if you love your baby,” she was certifiable. When my first baby was 4 months old, I had Post-Partum Psychosis. I had scary fantasies of killing my baby and attempted suicide. I had to be in the hospital for a week and go on psychotropic drugs when I was released. I took them and quit breastfeeding because if I hadn’t, it’s possible that neither of us would be alive today. That is much more important than someone else’s preconceived notion of what you have to do.

  23. Profile photo of Stacy Stacy says:

    #3 on the list is not necessarily true. My daughter did not nurse for almost 12 hours after birth (not because I didn’t try) and she was fine. She was not given formula or anything else from a bottle, so that I could get her to breastfeed. Thanks to a really awesome nurse I was able to get my daughter to nurse within a few minutes after she gave me some very helpful advice.

  24. Profile photo of uyanga uyanga says:

    i think its interesting

  25. Profile photo of uyanga uyanga says:

    im very good at breastfeeding!!!!!!!

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