Some advice appreciated ... Tiktok or anyone who bfs!(18 Posts)
I hope you don't mind me asking you a question directly but the advice you give is so sensible & down to earth as well as the obvious depth of knowledge you have about bf.
Dd is 4 weeks old, ebf. I didn't really plan on bf. She's my 6th dc but I've never managed to ebf any of the others due to tongue tie, lip tie, reflux etc.
I've taken bf a day at a time & basically we've had no real problems.
But, I've started to feel overwhelmed by dealing with the baby constantly. Bf is very physical. Sometimes I just want to be left alone. I've an insatiable appetite, which if I ignore I shake with hunger. I hate not wearing normal bras. I'm a wire/padding/ prop them up sort of person whereas at the moment I'm wearing these awful nursing bras...
We read loads of stuff about the mechanics of bf but not about the experience from a mothers perspective - iyswim!
I'm really proud of myself for managing to bf. I've experienced terrible regret & guilt with my other dc for not managing to bf.
Is what I'm describing normal or is this an issue i need to resolve? Thanks.
Hi OP. Not tiktok, but hopefully my perspective can help. I am still breastfeeding my son at 8.5 months, alongside solid food, so I know (remember) what it is like. The first 6 weeks are overwhelming and hard as the baby is growing furiously, with a stomach the size of a golf ball. TBH, all I did was camp out on the sofa, breastfeed and eat. You did need to keep eating and drinking - don't ignore your appetite and plan ahead, if possible, with food supplies and drinks near the places you sit to feed your little one.
I got a bit sick of having an attached baby on me all the time in those early days. It's not called the fourth trimester for nothing! Hang in there, it does get easier and massive congratulations on successfully bf your little one.
P.S. If you don't have one already, a sling is an amazing way of staying mobile with a baby attached.
It's lovely you are bf despite your previous experiences.
You ask if your feelings are normal. I think most mothers would recognise some of the feelings, some of the time - they're not especially bf-related, because mothers can feel overwhelmed in that physical way you describe however they feed....caring for a young baby never lets up. Your own focus is on the things to do with bf because that's what you happen to be doing. Feeling overwhelmed and anxious and trapped all the time is not right, and if you have a nice HV you can talk to about this, it might help.
As regards nursing bras, there are some fab nursing bras out there - HotMilk is a good brand. Or you can do without nursing bras if your breasts are the sort that can be popped out of the cup, IYKWIM There were some great tips on here a few weeks ago about converting normal bras to nursing bras, too. Underwired bras are fine with bf as long as the wire does not press down on breast tissue but sits where it's meant to, under the breast.
Going to a bf support group is a good way to find friendly, non-judgmental encouragement - they are all over, and there may be one near you.
Wanting to be left alone sometimes is also normal - but again not normal if you feel this all the time. If you have a partner or someone who could just take the baby for an hour along with your other kids, could you make the most of that? You can do anything you want in that hour inside or outside the house, but you are not to be disturbed Even at 4 weeks, babies can prob go an hour with someone else to hold them.
Hope this helps a bit. I hope others will post as well.
I ebf 3 babies for around 12months each and felt like this for most of the time! I don't know how/why I stuck at it but I did, and now the youngest is 3 I still have issues over them grabbing at me all day.
The food issue was a biggie - I lost too much weight and would be very short tempered with exhaustion and hunger. I needed a massive bowl of porridge for breakfast, lunch was grazing for about 2hrs and I had to have at least 2 snacks in my bag for myself every time I left the house.
I used to take a minute to look at the price of formula in the shops to make myself feel better about the money I was saving, and then go buy a few extra bars of chocolate to get me through the week.
I second the sling idea - I started with a stretchy that dp found a bit complicated to do himself but I could tie it on him and pop ds in. That bought me a bit of space from very early on because ds didn't mind whose chest he was snuggled into. Many slings are very girlie with flowers etc on but our buckle one is a Rose and Rebellion with a red skull and crossbones print one side and it reverses to black. Many of the wide-based carriers do either reverse of come in "macho" colours! Dp and my mum have both used it, and my dad reckons he'll have a go when I trade it for a toddler size (ds is 15 months and just growing out of the r+r)
A bit waffly, but my point is that my buggy, bottle and basket hating newborn would happily go off with someone else, either out for a walk or just around the house, when he was snuggled into his sling. And it leaves their hands free to run around the park after older dc too.
I only have the one and have found it overwhelming at times when I just want to roar at the world to get the fuck out of my space - cat, dp and ds. If it's a significant amount of the time and is affecting your relationship with your oh and other dc, don't be scared to see your doctor. But it seems pretty normal to feel that way at least part of the time.
Oh, and iirc 4 weeks is a bloody tough age for breastfeeding, the initial "ooh squishy newborn" visitors have all buggered off but you're not uite back into the swing of your new normality yet. Breastfeeding groups - try your local children's centre - are amazing for finding other mums going through the same thing at the same time and bonding over biscuits and a good old moan
Oops, that was a bit more epic than I intended sorry. I was just trying to back up what the others said
Natural I needed porridge for breakfast about 6, then would have something like egg on toast at 10 as a second breakfast! Then lunch and dinner as normal as well as cereal late evening i think you need up to 500 extra calories a day, the hard part for me was not letting it be solely cake and biscuits
I really empathise. The hunger was overwhelming, the constant need to be physically available day and night is exhausting - but, good news, it gets easier.
We're at 21 weeks, and I can leave the house(and I have for a while!). We've worked on expressing and bottle feeding, and it's really ok. I can not really get across how great it is to walk into town on my own sometimes. I completely second getting some decent bras. I've got two hot milk ones (both from online sales) and I love them. John Lewis and bravado also do some fairly reasonable ones with cups.
Breastfeeding cafes are good. They're not full of evangelising women who love it so much, they're just normal women looking for a bit of support/company and some biscuits.
I hope that things do get easier for you - you're doing a brilliant job.
Tiktok has given great advice - but I just wanted to ask, are you an introvert OP? I'm quite introverted and need time alone to recharge. It was one of the hardest things I found when I was bf was the constant physical contact (I went on to bf DD2 til she was nearly 2)
I my case I used to find it meant I had trouble with other people getting too physically close to me (primarily DH and poor 4yo DD2). It did get easier though, and once I figured out that I needed to make time for myself to be physically alone for even a small part of every day (sometimes as little as little as 5 minutes sitting on the bed with a book while DH took care of DD2), it was a lot better.
Hope that helps a little....
I've given in to the hunger today A bag of crisps, 2 caramel eggs, an easter egg, a sausage sandwich and a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes
I'm at 11 days and DD2 is constantly attached at the minute. I do the same as previous poster, I go look at the price of formula!
Congratulations on your new arrival!
I can absolutely relate to the way you are feeling & as tiktok said I think most mums can regardless of how they are feeding their lo.
With ds1 I set out to ebf but due to severe jaundice he had to have formula top ups as a medical necessity. Despite my best efforts to wean him off them I wasn't able to & so combine fed for 6 months & like you have felt horribly guilty.
With ds2 I've done exactly as you're doing now & taken it one feed at a time & we're still ebf at very nearly 1!
Bf can feel all consuming, especially when you have older dc's to care for & worry about too. I know I felt guilty about how much time feeding ds2 was taking up in the early days.
I certainly felt the difference in terms of with ds1 dh could do a feed & I could then do something else like hoover/ make dinner/ sort the washing out which was a welcome break from the relentlessness of a young baby that wants to just feed what feels like 24/7.
It does get easier. It really does. They very quickly become little guzzlers & it's like water down a drain.
I still now find my appetite seems to go in line with ds' feeding requirements, trust your body to know what it's doing. You're feeding a whole other hungry little person & recovering from the birth, that's bound to take a toll.
I've had moments where I've just wanted to be left alone, not touched even. A real need for my own personal space. It's usually coincided with a really intense period of feeding & me being completely exhausted by it all. But the feelings passed as quickly as they came & it doesn't make you a bad mother, it makes you a human being who needs a break!
As tiktok said arrange some 'me' time, it will make a world of difference. Also a sling was invaluable for us as sometimes ds didn't necessarily want feeding but just to be held close & snug like he was feeding iyswim & sling meant he had that but I had my hands free.
Also can't recommend a bf support group enough. With both ds1 & 2 just being able to meet & speak to other women experiencing the same made a world of difference. Also keep posting here for support.
You're doing an amazing job.
Thank Tiktok & everyone for all your replies.
I just didn't know if how I'm feeling is due to bf or me! I remember feeling a bit like this with the others but i would give the baby to exdp/mil/sister & get a break.
I can't do that now as no one local & no dp!
I will look at the underwear thing to see if i can get something better then what I've got.
As this is dc6 I dont have much time in the day to go to groups and I'm back to work soon so I will be limited to what I can do in that respect.
I will just carry on doing a day at a time. The cost of formula wasn't a factor when trying to bf but it's a bonus not having to buy it!
Assuming a 2 year gap, your oldest must be early teens? Could s/he be in charge of taking themselves, next oldest and baby out for a walk for you? Depends on the children, and whether you think they're responsible enough, obviously, but would catch you a break and most teens I know would relish the responsibility
Lol...my oldest is 24! My older 2 are in their 20's, they don't live at home anymore. They both live quite far away so only see them once or twice a month.
I have a dd of 12. I'm not sure if she'd feel comfortable taking the baby for a walk yet.
I wouldn't & more importantly, she wouldn't want to take her younger brothers out!
I'm back to work at the beginning of April so that will help with how I'm feeling. I really miss adult conversation. I've been off 5 weeks now & my brain is lethargic!
My body is wrecked!
Fair enough, just trying to find you a break. If you were near me, I'd pop your dd in my sling and take her and my 15mo to the park - a friend of mine managed him, her 2 yo and her 2mo that way while I gave blood earlier this week so it's easily done
Ah that's really kind of you. I would love a friend in RL that I could call on
I feel very isolated & lonely at the moment. I've ended up on my own with my dc. No family near by & as my boys have SNs, it's very difficult to make friends or keep them!
I used to have loads of friends but most have moved so far away. Others I've just lost touch with. It never really bothered me but when Exdp left i realised i was very isolated.
Where's your local Children's Centre? They run loads of groups, will be able to put you in touch with specialist support services for your boys and will be able to do a Homestart referral to get someone to visit you once a week. In my area they also run the breastfeeding groups so you could kill two birds with one stone! Ours does breastfeeding on the same day as weigh in clinic as well as lone parent, SEN, post natal and Under Ones groups
I still go to my bf group (at the request of the mw running it) even though ds self weaned at 15 months, I'll watch out for you on Tuesday
Shelly wow it sounds like you've got a lot on your plate and that you are doing a fantastic job.
I don't think anyone else has suggested pumping milk yet so that someone else can take the baby and give them a bottle of expressed milk? Could the 12 yr old do that? It would give you a break from the physical side of it (although you'd have to pump, but with a bit of practice you can even pump one boob while you are feeding from the other).
Breastfeeding does get massively easier and far less oppressive in my (limited) experience.
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