thinking of breast-feeding: what do I need to know, what can I read?

(67 Posts)
katatonic Sun 08-Dec-13 12:00:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Fri 13-Dec-13 16:37:09

Find a breastfeeding support group near you and start going as soon as you start maternity leave. It's invaluable and you might meet people that you later count as some of your best friends.

Finally, I agree with crikeybadger. Those are the three important things to know. Everything else you can find out later.

crikeybadger Fri 13-Dec-13 16:33:31

That's kind JJJ, thanks. smile

Jinglejohnsjulie Fri 13-Dec-13 15:05:17

To be fair though purpke ff babies too can take an age to feed. I know 3 ff babies who all take well over an hour to drink their bottle.

Glad you haven't been scared off OP but agree with crikey, its normal to feel overwhelmed. In fact if you follow crikey's advice I don't think you will go far wrong smile

PurpleDana Fri 13-Dec-13 14:16:35

I thought i was quite knowledgable about breastfeeding when i was pregnant, i knew all about the latch, positions, colostrum, when the milk comes in, fore milk / hind milk etc etc... But I found that no one ever talked about how long each feed would take! For some reason I had got 'little and often' in my head, but never anticipated that each feed would take an hour and a half! Then she would be ready again in 20mins! I had seen mums breastfeeding while out shopping & they were feeding baby for 10-20mins or so, that's what I thought I would be doing. But oh no, not with a newborn!
Re mix feeding - yes u can mix breast milk & formula in the bottle. The important thing with expressing is u must keep pumping! When I started to mix feed I lost my supply after a week, thinking I could get away with expressing 3 times a day :-( [Although having said that my Hv thinks I wasn't producing enough anyway due to the problems I had with dd.]
Good luck with whatever u decide to do :-)

HomeHelpMeGawd Fri 13-Dec-13 13:14:15

Hi there

I'd add to what people have said so far:
1. Don't give yourself a hard time if you find it difficult. Most women, in most of the world, throughout most of human evolution, learn to breastfeed by watching several other women breastfeed and asking questions, a process that starts when they are young girls and never stops. Most of us don't have that opportunity, so unsurprisingly we often find it tougher to learn.
2. Given that, videos and breastfeeding cafes are a great way to learn. The internet is your friend in this respect.
3. Babies have a pretty good instinct about this. Here's an amazing example:
4. Language choice can really help. Shifting from thinking about "feeding on demand" to thinking about "feeding on cue", for example. Demand implies a small tyrant; cue implies someone trying to let you know something.

Good luck and enjoy!!

crikeybadger Fri 13-Dec-13 12:42:23

smile Ah, it's easy to feel overwhelmed as everyone has different experiences that they want to share and different bits of information that helped them.

There are so many things that could happen with breastfeeding- or it could just go swimmingly from the start. As long as you know the basics of how milk production works, what good attachment looks like and where you can get help early on, then you should be fine. smile

katatonic Fri 13-Dec-13 10:02:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jiltedjohnsjulie Tue 10-Dec-13 22:35:32

OP have we scared you off? grin

gracegrape Tue 10-Dec-13 22:04:55

Do not, whatever you do, read Gina Ford. With my first I thought it would be great to have her on an early routine. I totally messed up my supply because I thought she couldn't possibly need feeding again if I'd fed her less than an hour before. I ended up mixed feeding and only kept the bf up for 3 months. When dd2 came along, I pretty much offered her a boob every time she whimpered. Still feeding her 14 months on. I like the "feeding is like breathing" analogy too.

Also, bf can feel like harder work at the beginning, especially if you go out with friends who are formula feeding, but it is actually much easier in the long run. No getting up in the night to make bottles and after a few months they only take a few minutes to feed.

catellington Tue 10-Dec-13 20:54:09

Yes that's true I never had pillows but dd was light as a feather! Other people swear by them though.

One practical thing is that an armchair was no good for me, not enough elbow room and useless once dd got too long, anywhere else fine just not chairs with arms smile

crikeybadger Tue 10-Dec-13 17:54:30

I agree that the first part of rabbit lady's post is lovely...but air drying is not recommended anymore and pillows will be good for some and not for others......just do what works for you. smile

sleeplessbunny Tue 10-Dec-13 17:42:21

I'd say try not to read too many books! The advice on here is good, and if you can get good support from your MW/HV and local children's centre (bf groups) then that will certainly help. Try not to stress about it and take it as it comes. I found the first couple of weeks hard but then it started to get much easier and by 6 weeks or so it was so natural and easy it was hard to imagine anything else.

What I hated the most was the unhelpful advice from my DM/DMIL who had no experience of breastfeeding and just seemed to pity me the whole time. (They are otherwise wonderful people, I should add. They just had zero knowledge about bfing). Try to avoid/ignore where possible.

DeepThought Tue 10-Dec-13 17:35:17

Wrt cluster feeding - some ff babies cluster feed too. Either way if you accept that the first few weeks will be feed sleep nappy repeat, you'll be grand.

marthabear Tue 10-Dec-13 17:19:01

I think rabbitlady's post is beautiful too.....and spot on.

catellington Tue 10-Dec-13 15:56:07


breastfeeding is not like a meal, its like breathing. babies do it lots. expect some sucking every 20 minutes round the clock with a newborn and beyond. in fact, you might not notice any break in the suckling. though baby will be fast asleep and you won't know it. especially if s/he keeps his/her eyes open.
your baby is part of you like your arm or leg. don't expect him/her to have a separate existence for a long, long time

This is beautiful I wish someone had said this to me at the beginning smile

Booboostoo Tue 10-Dec-13 08:48:19

I found Kellymom and advice on here very useful but primarily I think you need to be flexible which you won't learn from any book. Don't worry though once the baby arrives he/she tells you what they need and you can respond to his/her cues.

For some weird reason I had read everything up to the birth and almost nothing for afterwards, but I still managed to find out what I needed and bf (still bf at 2.5 years).

hazchem Tue 10-Dec-13 07:04:39

Katatonic I think that more then books what is really really helpful is to see breastfeeding women. This will sound totally stupid but until DS was born I didn't realise that women didn't breastfeed. I mean I knew that women didn't but I'd been so surround by women breastfeeding I really didn't understand that not breastfeeding was even a thing.
So go to a breastfeeding cafe, or LLL meeting or your local NHS support group, or NCT playgroup while your still pregnant. Just see and chat to women who breastfeed.

So on one hand I;d say don't bother with a book but on the other hand I love reading and reading things abiut babies so here are my top three books that helped me:
why love matters
What mothers do
The Politics of Breastfeeding

rabbitlady Mon 09-Dec-13 23:17:11

this is what you need to know:
breastfeeding is not like a meal, its like breathing. babies do it lots. expect some sucking every 20 minutes round the clock with a newborn and beyond. in fact, you might not notice any break in the suckling. though baby will be fast asleep and you won't know it. especially if s/he keeps his/her eyes open.
your baby is part of you like your arm or leg. don't expect him/her to have a separate existence for a long, long time.
there is no such thing as routine for a baby. there is only baby and mummy. whoever gina ford is, she has no place in your relationship with your newborn!
put four pillows on your lap and rest your arm and newborn on them. that will put him/her high enough to latch and suck without pulling, so you won't get sore. as baby gets bigger and you're more used to breastfeeding, you need fewer pillows. but invest now in extra pillows, floor cushions (to support you in bed) and all the fancy pregnancy cushions. and a long sleeved sweatshirt. you'll value that on cold winter nights.
it will feel funny to be sucked, and to be touched 24/7. but you'll get used to it and then you'll love it and you'll love having done it for the rest of your life.
watch for the ears wiggling. a good latch is demonstrated by wiggly ears.
if your nipples do get sore, numb them with ice before latching. keep them exposed to the air as much as possible. notice how much better they look after a feed than before. keep feeding.
if you get mastitis (which you won't if you're 'feeding as breathing') do use cabbage leaves in the bra, as it works.
learn how to express with fingers and don't invest in any pumps or other equipment. make a circle with finger and thumb. place the join of finger and thumb at the point of the nipple. slide finger and thumb back up the breast. when about half way, gently press down and slide finger and thumb towards the nipple. you may only get one drop the first time, but when you relax, you'll be able to fill a small bottle if you need to. and shoot daddy with milk from a distance of fourteen feet or so. expressing only exists to give you confidence in your power to produce milk.
breastfeeding is natural. both you and your baby have the instincts to make it work. keep others at bay and learn from each other.
have faith. if it feels good and right, its good and right.

i breastfed my only child for four years and three months. her baby is currently 25 months and breastfed, no sign of giving up. i was a breastfeeding counsellor for twelve years.

re books - the womanly art is ok but a bit prissy even when i read it 32 years ago. read jean liedloff's the continuum concept. breast is best was ok. no idea what's around today. except that breasts are basically what they used to be, and so are babies.

catellington Mon 09-Dec-13 22:53:48

greige very impressive! Intrigued how you did that ( knowing nothing about crochet but would imagine you need both hands?)

Greige Mon 09-Dec-13 22:43:29

I found it difficult - with DC1 I gave up after a few weeks and felt terrible. With DC2 I decided I wasn't going to put myself under pressure but that I would see how things went.

I decided that if I bf for one day I would be happy, if I managed a week I would be delighted. I gave myself permission to stop whenever I wanted - and I decided to stop about eight times - always 'I'm stopping next Monday' Invariably, next Monday came and whatever problem had sorted itself out. I bf until DC was 21months!

I will add to the accolades for kellymom and the bf threads here. Sanity savers.

I quite missed the cluster feeding when it stopped as it was a great excuse to sit and veg in front of the tv. I even managed to crochet a hat for DD while feeding!

catellington Mon 09-Dec-13 22:10:23

Yes to reiterate pp - after a few weeks it really did become easy for me and I love it. Is hard work at the beginning though but remember it gets easier with time

catellington Mon 09-Dec-13 22:07:58

This board, and lansinoh saved the day for me, still going strong now at nearly 10 months.

Cluster feeding is great as it gives an excuse to watch DVD box sets and eat chocolates and drink tea grin

Kellymom also very good

Isis website for sleep info including specific to bf babies

bouncysmiley Sun 08-Dec-13 23:03:11

I should have qualified my comment, for me it hurt at first but once I had got the hang of it,and after help from wonderfully supportive hubby, family and bf counsellors, it was easy as pie and I did it for a year.

crikeybadger Sun 08-Dec-13 22:59:16

...and let's not remember, it doesn't always hurt. smile

Apart from Food of Love ( --and check out her pregnancy and birth book coming soon!), and womanly art of breastfeeding, I also liked Babyled breastfeeding by Gill Rapley and for motherhood in general- what Mothers do, even when it looks like nothing by Naomi Stadlen.

Jiltedjohnsjulie Sun 08-Dec-13 22:54:16

While it can hurt for some I think its important to remember that it doesn't hurt for everyone and if you do decide to bf and it is hurting, please seek some help before a little niggle turns into a big problem. Put the bfing helpline numbers in your phone, find out where your local bfing support groups are and we are always here smile

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