Please help answers a few questions about BF a newborn?

(16 Posts)
katiecubs Wed 20-Feb-13 14:11:06

Hello there - DS2 is 1 week old and so far (touch wood) BF is going pretty well. Feeding DS1 was a nightmare start to finish - after incredibly painful cracked nipples that would not heal and 2 case of infectious mastitis i gave up. Anyway hence this time i really don't want to much it up.

1, Most of the stuff i read talks about 3 hrly feeds but DS seems to want feeding every hour or so and almost continuously every evening - is this normal? I really don't want to make myself sore by overfeeding you see so wondered if i should try and distract him a bit more. How long until the feeds start spacing out a bit do you think?

2, Should i always offer just 1 breast each feed? Sometimes esp at night he is not satisfied with 1 but again i find offering both everytime is making me quite sore.

3, Should i try expressing and if so what are the best times to do this? I started giving him a small amount of formula just before bed as he was so unsettled even after feeding all evening. Just 2 ounces and last night he only had 1 ounce. If i started expressing i thought this may help my supply and let me cut out the formula alltogether?

4, Finally - and so sorry for the long post roughly how long should a feed last? He seems to fall asleep on the boob you see and then when i take him off and put him down he wakes again as he has obviously not finished.

Thanks in advance for your help!

YouBrokeMySmoulder Wed 20-Feb-13 14:16:01

1. Yes, you cant overfeed them, dont worry about spacing at all.
2. I always offered both, I thought this was normal.
3. I wouldnt worry about expressing and instead of offering formula you should just switch sides again to up your supply. If you interfere with that process now it may be tricky.
4. It lasts as long as it lasts, depends on your letdown, it is very early days and you cant keep them awake. You both need to learn how to do it together. If he falls asleep you can pick him up, wind him or change him and then try the other side iyswim.

rubyslippers Wed 20-Feb-13 14:25:08

you should be expecting to feed your baby 8 - 12 times in 24 hours or more especially in the first few weeks

offer both breasts at each feed - you can actually offer 3 or 4 sides if necessary

feeds will last as long as your baby needs - pulling off with that sleepy, drunk look is a good indication your baby has finished

i would ditch the formula and offer breast, breast and breast

i wouldn't bother with the faff of expressing right now - just concentrate on feeding and skin to skin which may well help with the unsettledness anyway

if you are sore, please get someone to get to observe a feed and latch in real life

check your baby has a good mouthful of boob - bottom lip should be curled down and nose free of breast

adagio Wed 20-Feb-13 14:34:41

Feeding all evening - well I did that so assume its normal, either my baby is inefficient or i have slow let down, or it could be a 'boost the supply' scenario

I always offer both, as with Smoulder I only managed this with the 'wake the baby' routine at the beginning - nappy, blowing on her little head, get up and turn the lights up, sing a really annoying ditty (e.g. I-know-a-baby-who-has-to-have-more-boob to the tune of I know a song thats gets on every bodies nerves: DH loved me ;-), lick my finger and poke her in the ear, strip her and tickle her toes - you get the idea!

I had advice from LC to drink Becks non alcoholic, eat oats (porridge, flapjack) and to express after every feed for ten minutes, and give her whatever i had managed to express last thing at night as a top up - even if its only a little bit. I suspect the reason was more to boost my supply than to make much difference to the volume the baby was getting. I also took to pumping one side while baby did the other then swapping for next feed, meant there was a more worthwhile 'top up' bottle. Thinking about it some evenings I think I was just sat on the sofa with baby and pump on pretty much constant.

9 weeks on and all good, stopped expressing so enthusiastically at about 5 or 6 weeks I think - now I just do it from time to time to build up a stash and to have an occasional early night

May be worth calling LLL or one of the other advice lines? I am no expert, just a new mum muddling through grin

nickelbabe Wed 20-Feb-13 14:38:20

1 feed whenever he wants to, even if it seems like 2 seconds ago grin
2 DD only ever did one breast each feed, but you are advised to try both just in case they haven't actually finished.
3 don't worry about expressing just yet
4 it lasts as long as it lasts. what you describe is very normal smile
If you're worried he's falling asleep, you can do things like move his hand a bit to see if it wakes him and starts him sucking again

congratulations smile

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 14:41:20

We were told to offer first boob until empty, then offer other side until he has had enough. You might find that if you do that he starts to go longer between feeds.

Every baby is different, ds fed every 3 hours on the dot, and fed for 20 minutes, and by about 2 months, he had it down to 10 minutes (boy could that kid feed)

Then dd came along. She fed long and slow. She often fell asleep on first boob, and at first I thought she was finished, then she would wake up and want the other side. So I fed her first side and then gave her 5 minute rest and then gentle tickled her/woke her up and fed other side. Sometimes she fed in total for 45 minutes. She went about 2 hours between feeds, (from start of one to start of next!)
After a few weeks she got faster and the gaps got longer. We just had to snuggle and feed for ever in those first weeks!

AlanMoore Wed 20-Feb-13 14:41:34

It's a pain but honestly for the first few weeks offer a boob any time you think they might want it, don't even think about how long since the last one. It will get your supply to where it needs to be. Make sure you've got everything you need for the evening clusterfest and be prepared to only stop for toilet breaks/nappy changes.
Trust what your boobs are telling you re. swapping sides and stick an elastic band round your wrist to remind you which you're on.
If you aren't allergic to lanolin I can't recommend Lansinoh enough, it really got me through the early weeks with both of mine.
Get your mates round and some decent DVDs/good books/trashy mags and try and enjoy the enforced sitting down, and all the sleepy cuddles with your gorgeous new boy smile

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 14:50:57

Remember to offer the second boob as the first boob on the next feed (hence the rubber band on wrist - I used to twist the strap as I did up my bra, so I knew which one was next.

RightUpMyRue Wed 20-Feb-13 15:19:22

1, Most of the stuff i read talks about 3 hrly feeds but DS seems to want feeding every hour or so and almost continuously every evening - is this normal? I really don't want to make myself sore by overfeeding you see so wondered if i should try and distract him a bit more. How long until the feeds start spacing out a bit do you think?

Every hour or so sounds quite normal for a newborn and lots of evening feeding is very common, it won't be like this forever! You need to feed him when he asks for it. As soon as you see him start to wriggle around and make sucking noises/faces he's ready to have milk. Every 3 hours is very structured for a baby, he has no concept of what an hour is so don't watch the clock, watch the baby. A minimum of 8 feeds in 24 hours is what you want to achieve and this would work out to every 3 hours but babies, esp. newborns don't tend to stick to a pattern like this. It's important to remember this is his drink as well as his food so frequent feeding is OK and normal and doesn't mean your milk is not good enough or isn't satisfying him.

2, Should i always offer just 1 breast each feed? Sometimes esp at night he is not satisfied with 1 but again i find offering both everytime is making me quite sore.

You should always offer the 2nd breast. He may take some, all or none but it's a good idea to offer it. Getting sore isn't good however. Are you using anything on your nipples? Lansinoh or vaseline for e.g? Some discomfort (notice discomfort and not pain) isn't unusual and doesn't necessarily mean your latch is bad. This discomfort should only occur at the beginning of a feed and shouldn't last the whole feed. If you're sore throughout the feed or are in pain with any damage then you should ask your midwife for some pointers on how to achieve a deeper latch. Off To The Best Start has some useful tips. Lots of mums experience some discomfort in the early days but this soon goes. How do your nipples look after he has finished feeding? Are they pretty much the same shape, perhaps a bit longer then normal, as when they went into his mouth or are they a bit pinched or lipstick shaped? Pinched or lippy shaped would indicate you're not quite achieving a deep enough latch and the baby is compressing your nipples on his hard palate- we need to avoid this. When you bring the baby to the breast make sure you hold his body in a straight line towards you, hold him nice and close and allow his head to move as he needs it to- best to hold his neck and shoulders not his head. Bring him to the breast with his nose towards the nipple and wait until you see him open his mouth really wide before swiftly moving him onto the breast. No point in trying to shove him on if his mouth isn't open wide enough. See the leaflet for more tips

3, Should i try expressing and if so what are the best times to do this? I started giving him a small amount of formula just before bed as he was so unsettled even after feeding all evening. Just 2 ounces and last night he only had 1 ounce. If i started expressing i thought this may help my supply and let me cut out the formula all together?

At this early stage the best thing you can do is to feed your baby directly from the breast as much as he asks for it, for as long as he asks for it and whenever you feel like it too (3 basic principles of demand or responsive feeding for you there smile). Expressing milk rather than feeding the baby won't help to up your supply, the baby is the expert at this so allowing him to feed often is going to be your best course of action. Any formula milk you give is likely to have a negative effect on your milk supply so is best avoided.

4, Finally - and so sorry for the long post roughly how long should a feed last? He seems to fall asleep on the boob you see and then when i take him off and put him down he wakes again as he has obviously not finished.

A breastfeed can happily last anything from 5 minutes to an hour per breast. However, if your baby consistently feeds for 5 minutes everytime or consistently feeds for an hour or more everytime then something is not quite right. What you need to do to know whether your baby has 'finished' (a breast is never completely empty- the constant production of milk means there is always some milk in there) is to look out for a sucking pattern with each feed: baby comes on the breast and his sucks are initially quite rapid- he is calling the milk from the breast. Once the milk has started to flow his sucks and swallows will become deeper and you probably be able to hear gulping. He will take pauses from time to time to have a rest and breathe (he's gotta breathe!) and gradually his sucks and swallows will become shallower (as the fluid content of the milk decreases and fat to fluid ration is increased). He's still actively feeding at this point even if he is taking pauses of 5 minutes of more. Towards the end of the breast the milk is very fat-rich and is quite creamy so he'll be taking little sips by this stage. His sucks will be almost like little flutters. If the breast feels soft and light and his fluttery sucking is infrequent (gaps of more than 7-10 minutes) then you can guess he's probably finished with that one and you can try gently lifting the breast away from him. If he lets go easily you can assume he was done and offer the one. If, however, he gobbles after it when you gently lift it you can assume he's still enjoying that breast and to leave him where he is. Once he's either let go spontaneously or you repeat the above and he does let go then you can offer the 2nd breast.

Hope I haven't waffled on too much smile

AlanMoore Wed 20-Feb-13 16:30:08

I wish there was a 'like post' button - great stuff RightUpMyRue, if you don't mind I'll c&p that for the next time someone asks for breastfeeding advice! I'll link the thread too thanks

katiecubs Wed 20-Feb-13 17:47:09

Thank you so much for your replies everybody I can't tell you how helpful they are - am so glad to know every thing seems normal. I think I will pop to one of our local support groups too to see if I can improve my latch.

I have Lansinoh too yes and have been using that and finding it helpful.

And RightUp no not waffling at all - that was a fantastic post, you clearly know your stuff thanks

RightUpMyRue Wed 20-Feb-13 18:50:40

Katie, you're more than welcome. Know you're not alone in your unsurety about whether all is OK and normal. Most new mum feels this way at some point. Also know that it will get easier and you will feel good about it all soon.

Thank you Alan and you're more than welcome to C+P the post and use it again. If it helps a new mum get to grips with BFing and helps her have the confidence in own body's ability to feed her baby then use it, use it lots!

I'm leaving work on mat leave after next week and am already feeling the loss of supporting new mums with feeding. I'll be stalking the feeding topic on here looking for questions to answer and mums to encourage!

RightUpMyRue Thu 21-Feb-13 22:34:42

How's today been Katie?

katiecubs Fri 22-Feb-13 13:05:56

Hi Rightup thanks for asking. I went along to a drop in and they gave me some help with my latch and I think things are improving a bit already. Have managed to drop the formula too - I think all the feeding has really helped with my milk production as he seems more satisfied now - although still feeding constantly in the afternoon/ eve. He is a diamond at night though and only waking me up once as he is doing 4 hours straight - hence I suppose his need to get all his calories in the day grin

Are you a breastfeeding councillor or midwife then? I hope you enjoy you last few days at work - congratulations to you in advance for your new arrival! X

RightUpMyRue Fri 22-Feb-13 15:30:27

That all sounds really good Katie, well done for seeking RL help, it can mean the difference between cracking the nut that is successful breastfeeding or not. Remember it takes 4-6 sometimes even up to 8 weeks to properly establish breastfeeding so you've got plenty of time (and you'll get plenty of practise!) to learn how. It's a skill which needs to be learned just like swimming or driving, the knowledge doesn't magically descend on women when they become PG. You need to be shown how and then you need to practise it. You'll do fine smile

I'm a clinical support worker with the 0-19 team (health visitors and school nurses) but the main bulk of my job is breastfeeding support. I also volunteer with a BF charity outside of work. Obsessed? Me? Course not. wink

katiecubs Fri 22-Feb-13 17:32:52

It's surprising just how hard it is isn't it! You would think it would be easy as pie!

Your job sounds really interesting and you are obviously brilliant at it - hope you don't miss it too much. Thanks again for all your help and good luck for the next few weeks smile

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