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top tips for the first 7 days of breastfeeding(47 Posts)
Hope this post doesn't seem to vague but I am expecting my first and been reading up like mad about what to do, what to try and what to buy to aid that first week of having a new baby and trying to breastfeed. For those of you that have been through it what would your top tip be to someone about to have a baby and eager to be a bfing mum.
Eat tonnes and often.
Feed on demand.
Get comfy and plan on spending lots of time on your sofa.
Never sit down without a large glass of water too.
Lanolin nipple cream. Start now.
Lansinoh cream is essential for sore and cracked nipples. Take it one feed at a time for the first few days - you could get quite sore. I was full of painkillers from my cs which helped take the edge.
If you think you even might need some help go to a breast feeding support group early on to help with your latch.
Cushions, pillows, lots of drinks brought to you, all the essentials handy.
Good luck and enjoy the time with your little one!
Eat plenty, drink plenty, don't lift a finger unless strictly necessary, let your partner look after you while you snuggle up with your lovely baby, skin to skin is great, staying in bed with baby is great, feed on demand (newborns feed A LOT). Do not even attempt any sort of routine regarding feeding or indeed any aspect of daily life. Do not read the breastfeeding advice in any of the books about babies and routines. Read "the womanly art of breastfeeding" and "baby led breastfeeding" as they have great advice.
Don't buy a whole load of expensive accessories you may not need. Do buy Lansinoh. Sleep whenever you can.
Be aware that baby's second night (or sometimes first) can be the time he/she turns into a mad boob-hungry limpet. This is nature's way of getting your milk production going and doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong or it'll be like that every night from now on! I wasn't prepared for it with DS1 but was expecting it with DS2 and it made it much easier.
Seconding Lansinoh cream, also Multi-mam compresses are brilliant for sore nipples - I brought them into hospital this time round and they were a great help.
Life is like a box of chocolates you don't know way you are going to get.
This refers to my DD1 who never ever latched on. Had never heard of this as a possibility before birth but it happened to me.
Feed all the time.
Make a conscious effort to be relaxed while latching / feeding.
When you start feeding have book / TV remote / phone etc to hand.
When my milk came in I was taken by surprise how leaky I was. If this happens to you sleep on a towel and have a change of top to hand.
While you are in hospital make full use of the midwives to get them to check your technique- make a real point of this. When home and having the midwives visit get them to check again.
I think Leedy's point about being prepared for a couple of tough nights in the early days is an excellent one. You may not get much (any!) sleep overnight so just get comfy, tv on, food to hand and feed away. You can catch up on sleep when baby sleeps. It's taken me until dd3 to follow all this good advice, she is now nearly 11 weeks and I'm loving feeding her. With my other two I did too much too soon and ended up exhausted and gave up breast feeding after a few weeks. Good luck and enjoy x
Get in to bed and remove top and bra.
Undress baby down to nappy.
Snuggle and allow baby to nuzzle, as and when.
Get a willing assistant to bring you snacks and drinks.
Feed baby on demand.
Take it just one feed at a time.
Offer the breast before baby is crying.
Feed, nap, eat, drink, repeat!
All of the above and keep Mumsnet close to hand if you have any problems!
If anyone offers cake/food/to make a cup of tea/do the washing up say 'yes!'
Definitely expect to do very little else. Eat lots, always drink lots. Get lots of extra cushions/pillows. Don't expect it to just come naturally as it probably won't. But you & baby will more ban likely soon learn.
Cosleeping is NOT wrong. Just read up on safety tips. You are very unlikely to squash your baby or drop the. Out of bed. I didn't coslee
Didn't cosleep with dd & I nearly dropped her during a night feed! Did cosleep with DS & was much more rested etc
Ignore 'routine' books. Ignore the '10 mins each side every 4 hours' brigade. Don't think about expressing at this stage.
Buy & use lansinoh.
Tommee Tippee closer to nature breast pads are the best by far for the money. Lansinoh ones also good. Also boots own brand. I used washable ones with DS, but not until a bit more established. Change them regularly.
Read up on feeding cues, so things the baby does which means it is getting ready for a feed before the crying starts. It is sooooo much easier to latch on a vaguely hungry calm baby than a ravenous crying baby.
The kellymom website.
Read this, I found it so useful. I think the main points to take from it are a) move the baby onto your nipple, rather than trying to move the nipple into the baby's mouth, and b) aim the nipple towards the roof of the baby's mouth. Getting the positioning right from the very beginning can make such a difference.
Don't worry about cleaning or cooking. Get DP or someone else to do everything else around the house.
Take it one feed at a time. Don't worry about tomorrow.
If baby squawks, feed! Don't faff about trying to figure out why it's crying. It's usually boob related!
Be kind to yourself
Lansinoh. Lansinoh. Lansinoh.
Seek help quickly. MN really helped me in those early days. Also NCT BFing counsellors and local BFing group.
Do buy a thermos mug - I like my hot drinks to be hot. Also, it means you wont get tea on your baby!
Do buy a few good books or a boxset - you might be up at strange times and there is never anything decent on tv at 3am.
Do buy Lansinoh - it really is great stuff.
Eat and drink plenty - make sure you have cake in, I've never met a BF mother who doesn't crave cake.
Do stop reading stuff about BF - knowing the mechanics doesn't make it any easier, practice makes perfect.
Don't refuse help - people love to feel useful and the offers start to tail off at about week 2-3.
Don't worry - you'll be fantastic
Don't leave hospital till a midwife has checked your latch and you are happy with it.
Bear in mind that some babies will not latch on easily or well. this may be due to tongue tie or just poor technique. If your baby doesn't seem to be latching well:
- get help from a GOOD bf counsellor QUICKLY - don't wait a week or two.
- get the baby checked for tongue tie by bf counsellor (not by midwife or health visitor... you need someone who knows their stuff)
- if possible, express between feeds to keep up supply until you get latch sorted (and tongue tie if there is one)
Also bear in mind that a few newborns are very sleepy for a few days and don't demand to be fed very often. if you have one of these, you need to wake them up to feed every 3 hours at least. on demand will not work with these babies.
Yes, don't feed on demand if your baby isn't demanding. You must not go more than 4 hours between feeds, and aim for 2-3 hours. You may need to wake your baby to ensure this. Waking your baby may involve tickling their feet, and stripping them down to their nappy. If they are not feeding often, or having problems latching on, ask a midwife to show you how to hand express colostrum into a syringe to get food into your baby that way.
It is important that you do this and don't simply let the baby sleep all the time while you catch up on rest. If the baby doesn't feed, they will get sleepier and then feed even less and get dehydrated.
Baby will be weighed around day 3 and if they haven't fed enough they may have lost too much weight (up to 10% of birthweight is ok) and you might end up back in hospital.
People always go on about newborns feeding loads, no one really mentions the ones that don't, and certainly no one impressed on me in the first days how important it was to wake to feed a sleepy baby.
I hated breastfeeding, but forced myself to mix the first few weeks. My top tip is to try and relax. This was what I found hardest - every time they latched on I tensed up and it became unbearable.
I don't think you should plan to eat and drink lots. You might get a shock when you stop bfing and suddenly the weight starts creeping on. I never found I needed more food or drink, but everyone's different.
In terms of the actual method if feeding, I found youtube a great resource to watch videos of women feeding and explaining exactly what they were doing really helpful.
In the early days, I used to say "big wide mouth" to myself as I latched DS on. If he was on the nipple, I prised him off and started again. Nipple feeding hurts. They need a mouthful of breast tissue.
Something I realised when I was in hospital with DS is that some babies, however they are fed, take a while to get started. I was the only BFer on the ward but all the FFers were having trouble getting their babies to latch on as well.
A baby that is only slightly sleepy (DD2) will wake up with skin to skin and tickling of toes and ears. A baby who is very sleepy (an early DS) will be very hard to wake and feed, even for a very experienced BFer (I had years of BFing experience and knew to wake to feed and to syringe feed but he still didn't gain weight as he should initially, he took a month to regain his birth weight).
In my experience though, the ones that take a while to get started are the ones who don't shred your nipples (ended up with mastitis when DD2 was a week old thanks to her enthusiastic feeding) so there are plus points.
Buy in advance:
Breast feeding cushion
Try to place nipple as close to roof of baby's mouth as possible. Let baby's lower mouth take in breast tissue underneath. Sucking straight-on (ie baby's mouth central to nipple, like sucking on a straw) can be agony and not produce much milk for the baby.
That's where I went wrong for the first week - assuming baby's mouth should close just around the nipple like a straw instead of baby's wide open mouth pressing against the breast underneath the nipple. (This will make a lot more sense once baby is here).
Most important advice is to prepare before your baby arrives. Go to local breastfeeding support group when pregnant, borrow any books they have, get numbers of BF counsellors and breast feeding mothers and have them to hand once your baby arrives, that way you can contact them if any problems arise and they'll know you and vice versa.
Get a good breastfeeding cushion so that you're not bending over to feed and that way you get a better latch and no sore back.
Limit visitors or be prepared to ask them to go away if you're exhausted and need to focus on the baby.
Try and look at videos of ideal newborn positioning and how much breast (not nipple) a baby needs to take in.
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Lansinoh, don't give up & stop listening to other people.
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