Failure to BF with DC1, what can I do to make it work for DC2?

(17 Posts)

Hi folks

After a v traumatic birth and DS being in NNU for 3 days, BFing never really got started for us. I think we had maybe 3 or 4 feeds that 'worked' before it all fell to pieces, I developed PND and was told to stop expressing (we went home from the hospital mix feeding) and put on anti-D's.

Now, in my rational mind, looking back at it, I can't understand why it didn't work except that I obviously wasn't in the right place mentally or physically to perservere.

Am now pg with DC2 and I have a plan in place to mitigate the terrible birth fears (ELCS) but am conscious that this mode of delivery may not help us to get BFing started. I'm really very keen to bf this time, it's a major source of guilt for me that I couldn't do it last time.

Are there things I can be doing to help it work with this baby? I've done a lot more reading since DS so feel I understand more about cluster feeding etc. But are there practical steps I can take?

TIA!

Madratlady Tue 02-Sep-14 08:53:46

Following, although dc2 is probably not going to be for a couple of years for me, I never managed to bf ds for various reasons.

Boysclothes Tue 02-Sep-14 08:57:01

What I found helpful was colostrum harvesting. It helped that I had something in the freezer to give as a top up without using formula and I'm also sure it helped increase the amounts of colostrum I had. Plus I would look into a breastfeeding class, our hospital runs them and it will help you get to grips with the mechanics of latching etc.

Find out now about where your local breastfeeding groups/baby cafés are and get to one as soon as you can after birth, even if things are going well. Having an expert eye cast over you early doors really helps.

Good luck x

Thanks boys - I presume you hand expressed the colostrum? And then used normal freezer bags? What stage can I think about doing that from?
Have started to scope out the nearest BF support session, think I will do son research on a lactation consultant near me too.

Boysclothes Tue 02-Sep-14 09:02:33

I did it from 36 weeks and froze it in little food tubs, like the ones you can buy for weaning. I did five minutes each side twice a day when I remembered. By the birth I had over 500ml in the freezer!

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 02-Sep-14 09:06:29

Have a look at this article from La Leche League, which might be helpful. As far as I understand it, it is emergency C sections that can cause a delay in milk production. A planned ELCS shouldn't be an issue.

The LLL article goes through a variety of suggestions for how to help milk production and to get started with feeding. I would make sure you discuss with your midwife (and put in your birth plan) the things that you would like to do eg skin to skin as soon as poss. Maybe research into lactation consultants and what support is available at the hospital so that you know in advance where to get help. Be aware of potential issues like tongue tie and who can help to rectify them.

And most of all, try not to put pressure on yourself. Easier said than done! But breastfeeding works better when you are in a calm, comfortable environment and you are relaxed. If you do have initial problems and need to use formula in the short term then that needn't be the end of breastfeeding. What happened last time doesn't have to happen again - it will be a different baby, and you are in a different position too.

couldthisbeit Tue 02-Sep-14 09:11:14

I was unable to feed dc1 and worried about what would happen with dc2. Dc2 labour was entirely different to dc1 (quite traumatic and absolutely exhausting). Dc2 fed within 5 minutes of arriving and I ebf for 6 months and continued to feed until he was one. I don't think I did anything different, but i think I was more relaxed and confident in myself as a mum and my baby in his ability to do what he needed. Please don't let it worry you, either way will be just right for you and your baby. if you do end up breast feeding I found biscuits while feeding really helped wink

ElephantsNeverForgive Tue 02-Sep-14 09:15:22

No useful advice beyond the fact that DD2 just knew how to BF. I didn't have to do anything.

DD1 hadn't a clue and the hospital were useless. DD2 was born at home and didn't need any help from anyone, she just fed. I'm certain I didn't do anything different. Just utterly different babies)

LaurieMarlow Tue 02-Sep-14 09:50:54

It's obviously great to think ahead and make a plan - but also remember that the elcs may not cause any problems at all. I had a crash c section under GA and my milk came in right on time. Lots of skin to skin should help too.

Totally agree with elephants, a lot depends on the individual child. My DS knew exactly what to do, found the nipple & latched on like a pro about 1 hour after birth.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself and go with the flow!

stargirl1701 Tue 02-Sep-14 10:05:56

I failed to bf DD1. DD2 was born 16 days ago and it's been totally different. She just knows what to do.

confusedgirlfromtheShire Tue 02-Sep-14 10:12:59

Great article Culture. Thank you for linking.

hubbahubster Tue 02-Sep-14 15:00:42

Isn't that phrase 'failed to bf' awful? And yet that's how it's described by health professionals.

I lost 2lt of blood with DC1, he wasn't interested in sucking and the milk never really came in. We left hospital mix feeding and we're fully ff by seven weeks.

DC2 was ELCS. I 'only' lost 1lt of blood and she fed like a champ from day 1. I had all the same worries as you but the delivery was so much better, I was nowhere near as ill and the midwives left me alone in hospital rather than swarming all over me (like the first time around, when I felt overwhelmed and as if I was being handled like a piece of meat). I am actually bf DC2 as we speak and I love it! Plus having to take it easy post-CS meant I was forced to sit on the sofa and do nothing but feed while DH was on paternity, which I'm sure helped milk come in as well as letting me relax. I think I rushed out and about too soon with DC1, and with all the visitors I had first time around, I was too bashful to get my boobs out. This time, I said no to loads of visitors other than family and v close friends.

I would really advise against harvesting colostrum, especially as early as 36 weeks. That kind of stimulation may bring on early labour (I asked my midwife about this while pg because of my bf concerns) and unless you're diabetic I can't see any reason for it. Also, surely you want baby to be sucking at your breast for colostrum? That will help being your milk in.

Boysclothes Tue 02-Sep-14 15:54:18

Nipple stimulation won't bring on labour. Women who tandem nurse have no more incidence of premature labour than anyone else. I harvested purely to have something to use as a top up if needed, of course I put DS to the breast. I only needed to give one syringe as it happened, but it was a lttle safety net for me.

geekaMaxima Tue 02-Sep-14 17:39:01

You might need to experiment a bit to find a comfortable feeding position while your c-section scar is healing. Lying down and rugby ball would keep baby away from tender areas, but see what works.

This site gives lots of tips for feeding a newborn after a c-section.

BadPenny Tue 02-Sep-14 17:49:19

I found it really helpful to read this book: "Breastfeeding Take Two" by Stephanie Casemore.

It helped me process my anxieties and negative thoughts - to the extent that, when feeding DC2 started off just as terribly as DC1, I remained completely calm, dealt with it, and went on to bf with no problems. It can be done!

Also, as others have said, line up support in advance especially LLL.

Sausages123 Tue 02-Sep-14 18:00:22

I went to support groups whilst pregnant, hand expressed in late pg, read lots of books, made sure my iron levels etc, were good, got all family on board, found a lactation consultant and met them before my ECLS and I still failed. But doing all the above put me in a better place mentally to deal with me failing.

Thanks everyone, especially for the links and book recommendations. Great to hear that other ELCS'ers have fed with no issues, I really need to keep in mind the mantra that it takes two to tango and stop blaming myself!

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