The universal truth about breastfeeding

Let me preface this post with some general thoughts on breastfeeding.

1. Breastmilk is wonderful. It’s got all the nutrients and antibodies that your baby could possibly need. It’s also great for bonding, super convenient and free. I was sold on that last part once I saw the prices of baby formula.

2. Breastmilk isn’t an elixir for immortality, no matter what some might say. It doesn’t give your baby magical powers nor does it make them super special. So if you can’t or won’t, it’s ok, your baby will be just fine. I know this because Truett wasn’t breastfed and he’s a perfect specimen of a 6-year-old.

3. I’ve gone the formula route (Truett), the expressing to bottle-feed route (Kirsten) and the straight from the boob-tap route (Finn) and my favourite is hands down the boob-tap. In terms of convenience, there’s nothing quite like being able to pop out your boob to feed the baby. But we made the other methods work so there’s that.

3(b). Closely related to the boob popping is the matter of breastfeeding in public. I’m not particularly fond of flashing my boobs in public and I’d take the privacy of a nursing room any day but I’ve fed my hungry baby in restaurants, malls and public benches on several occasions so make of that what you will.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to the fun part, boobs!

//It’s going to be long so feel free to skip most of it and scroll right to the end where there’ll be photos of boobs the baby!


I often hear mothers talk about how beautiful and natural and easy breastfeeding is and every time I read one of those perfect breastfeeding stories, I start to hate them and their wonder boobs just a little because in my experience, breastfeeding is so very hard.

It’s really, really, really hard, especially in the first couple of weeks. It’s like I have broken boobs and my baby hates them.

I scoured the internet and nobody really talks about how difficult it is to stuff your boob into your newborn’s teensy tiny little mouth so I guess I will.

The first two weeks after Theo was born, trying to breastfeed him was an absolute nightmare. I googled “How to get a correct latch” and “Tips on successful breastfeeding” numerous times a day and probably read every website and forum on breastfeeding. One particular website even had this lovely gem: “All babies love breasts, it’s the most natural thing for them!” and I was all “Oh ho ho, you clearly haven’t met my baby!!” I was even googling “Why does my baby hate my boobs” but those weren’t very helpful either.

Soon, I started watching youtube videos on how to latch on your baby and FYI, I’ve seen more boobs than I ever want to see in my entire life. And they all made it look so easy – Step 1: pop out your boob, Step 2: bring baby’s head to exposed boob, Step 3: baby drinks with a contented smile.

When I tried the exact same thing, my baby was anything but contented and he certainly wasn’t drinking nor smiling. Instead, he was flailing his head and struggling and screaming till he was red in the face. Not pink. Bright lobster red. Like he had just burst an artery in his face. He would push out the boob with his tongue and try to gum them really hard with his piranha gums (OUCHIES!) and swipe them away vigorously with his hands like “WHAT IS THIS?? GET IT AWAY, GET IT OUT OF MY FACE URGHH!!”

It was truly distressing. It destroyed me to know that my boobs were causing him so much tears and I felt like I was failing horribly at providing him the one thing he needed to survive – basic nutrition. Couple that with the general postpartum anxiety and let’s just say that I was in tears a lot as well.

At one point, I was even afraid to offer him my boob anymore because it seemed just looking at them upset him. I’d pretty much given up hope of ever latching him on and I was pumping exclusively to bottle-feed him.

I don’t think I would have made it through those rough couple of days without the husband being so supportive and talking it out with me. He’d tell me not to worry about the feeding and that the baby would be fine either way. On better days, he’s encourage me to just try offering him the boob without stressing over it.

So I did. Instead of forcing it, I’d be all casual like “hey baby, there’s a nice boob right here if you want it but it’s cool if you don’t.” He’d scream and I’d fail over and over and over but then one day, it suddenly just worked. He went from “WHAT IS THIS ABOMINATION??!!!” to “hey, that’s a fine-looking boob, maybe I’ll have me some of that delicious milk…” So he took the boob and that was my first successful latch. The next feed, he’d go back to hating them again but several more failures later, he took the boob once more. And then again. And again. It was one successful latch at a time until we found our mojo.

It took us a long time to get here but today, he’s a boob kind of guy and I’m so glad we get to do this.

baby theo

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  • Reply Jayme Shing September 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    I am reading this while pumping at work.. So agree that breastfeeding is really very very hard, reminded me of how I struggled initially too. Sending lots of love to you!

  • Reply Jasmine September 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    3 weeks of breastfeeding… still waiting for the magic day when it will become easy like second nature.

  • Reply Angeline Cheah September 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I feel you Daphne! With my first, she totally rejected the boob too. With my second, it was a semi breastfed, semi formula thing. And now, with my third, we finally made it work, but not without its challenges though. Low supply, blocked ducts, initial cracked and bleeding nipples, midnight pumping, putting everything down to pump at work etc etc. Takes a lot of determination and commitment, but it’s all worth it.

  • Reply denise September 10, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Latching on………………………..

    I hate it when people (general public.. mostly moms who latched on first try) make it sound soo easy. Its NOT. My baby actually fumbled for about 2-3 weeks looking for the nipple when its right THERE. Some say the scent of it will guide the baby. What bloody nonsense, i tried after i shower before i shower and sometimes many hours of not showering, my baby just wont. After that, I gave up… :/

    ok… i’m too angry.

    oh u forgot to mention all the calorie busting advantages breastfeeding does. I FINALLY got a bikini bod in 1 week after delivery… not to mention when my boobs were engorged… *whistles

  • Reply Lyn lee September 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Hey, I did write about how hard it is to latch! Or maybe that blogpost was more about how we are no more and no less a mum whether we breastfeed or not. I had a terrible journey too, and months after when we finally got it, I hung on to breastfeeding for as long as I could, twice. I think sometimes the newborns have a palate issue, and that can make latching tough until their mouths grow bigger. Jiayou!

  • Reply Iris September 13, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Hi, it’s 1 am and my 5 month old is snoozing away and I am here pumping and massaging away at my boobs like there’s no tomorrow. 7th episode of plugged ducts so far, so yah I hear u… This breast is best thing better be true

  • Reply Elaine September 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    My theory is that a newborn’s mouth is just too small to get a good latch. With my first child it was hard initially as well and it didn’t help that the paediatrician kept worrying that the baby is dehydrated and starving. But once she got the hang of it she wouldn’t go anywhere near a bottle.
    Elaine´s last post ..Checklist for baby’s arrival

  • Reply Joey September 21, 2014 at 5:55 am

    It took me 3 months to get my girl to latch properly when I was breastfeeding. I googled the same and saw so many videos too. She was a perfect latcher with the lactation consultant but not with me. Then I found out she loves nursing rooms cos she had no issue latching in nursing room. The moment we are back home, wham, bam, it’s biting nipple time again. I read somewhere that most babies will latch properly by 3 months, so it took me that long, but I’m glad I hanged on. My 2nd one is due this xmas, I’m hoping he will be much better! :)

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