what you wish you had known...

(70 Posts)
orangeshortbread Fri 28-Dec-12 09:16:21

Am due next week am I feel quite relaxed about the birth itself but am worried about getting breast feeding off to a good start. What do you wish you had known before you started, or what would you have done differently?

Iwillorderthefood Fri 28-Dec-12 09:22:33

Breast feeding is great its convenient, no bottle sterilising needed etc. however, you are the only one that can do it. It can take longer to establish than you think. You need to learn very quickly how to do it lying down as this will mean that you can sleep. It will save you a lot of money as formula is expensive.

It is very rewarding.

It is also not the be all and end all should you decide that you want to go down the ff route.

Iwillorderthefood Fri 28-Dec-12 09:23:23

On and drink lots of water, and eat healthy food, preferably protein rich.

Svrider Fri 28-Dec-12 09:25:22

Before you start breast feeding you need the following
Comfy cushion
Remote control
Snacks
Lots of water

That's all
Good luck

ShoeJunkie Fri 28-Dec-12 09:25:31

Ask for help, and if you're not happy that you've got it right after asking ask again and again and again!

Zara1984 Fri 28-Dec-12 09:39:03

That sometimes babies don't latch and that bf doesn't work, no matter how hard you try. I really hope you get off to a fantastic hassle free start but I wish somebody had told me this!!!

My DS is 9 weeks old. Before the birth I could have answered any question you like about bf! I bought a whole nursing wardrobe and didn't have a bottle in the house because I was going to bf for a year. You could not have had a more supportive DH for all things bf than I did.

Fast forward to the first two weeks after the birth - DS screaming at my breast whenever I put him to it, pumping every 2 hours (day and night). No midwife, lac consultant, LLL leader or anyone else able to work out why he won't feed.

My advice (in addition to reading about bf):
- READ on NHS website or similar how to sterilise and make up bottles
- find out where to hire a Medela Symphony (hospital grade pump) if you need it
- keep in the house: at least 1 bottle, some Milton tabs, a couple of cartons of ready made formula. I know some people say this makes you likely to give up but I think it's bollox, better to be prepared for all eventualities.

I had to send a friend out to buy bottles, steriliser, formula etc because I had no idea what to do. It made me feel like a massive fucking failure (bf isn't working and I don't know how to feed my baby I'm such a bad mother) and I started to have really dark thoughts (DS and DH would be better off without me and my useless body).

The Ina May Gaskin book has really good pictures and descriptions of bf positions - was a great help when I was trying every which way to get DS latched in hospital!

Also have heard rave reviews from friends about the BrestFriend feeding pillow.

NotSpartacus Fri 28-Dec-12 09:40:58

Things noone told me (but which I figured out, using the principle that nature can't be entirely stupid):

That it is entirely normal for babies to cry a lot/ stay on the boob for hours when a few days old. This is because they want your milk to come in. Just keep feeding (and ignore the midwives mutterings about bottles) and your milk will arrive. The baby will not starve in the interim!

A big baby is not hungrier and does not need top ups because your milk is not in on day two. Nor will a baby die who doesn't feed in the couple of hours after birth. I know number of women who have given bottles (on mw advice) to stop their baby crying on pn wards, and then not bf much thereafter. Which if fine, if they wanted to bottle feed, but the advice that they must top up an 8 pound baby is wrong.

That tiny babies are ruled by their digestive systems. They get hungry, this makes them frustrated. It oesn't occur to them that it is hard to latch when they are screaming. Cuddles and and skin to skin can be the remedy for this.

Sometimes babies just cry. But in the first few weeks it is a good idea to put baby to the breast whenever it cries as this is great for your milk supply.

That babies often prefer one boob to the other. I have a slightly inverted nipple which my two did not like. So they always got that one first so that I didn't get lopsided. When I was very engorged it was harder to latch them on this side so I used an ice cube to pop it up.

At about 14 weeks or so it is fine to no longer feel engorged so much. Your milk is still there.

Breastfed babies can go ages (a couple of weeks even) without pooing after 6 weeks or so.. They don't need orange juice, however much well meaning neighbours recommend it.

Breastfeeding has a psychological element so relax and trust nature and your milk will come. New babies can even drag themselves to your nipple and latch! My DD1 did not feed until several hours after birth when she suddenly did this as I was keeping her in my nightie top!

Breastfeeding can be sore (in which case get your latch and your baby's mouth looked at) but it can be entirely painless and lovely too.

This boils down to: just keep feeding, and it will come good.

Zara1984 Fri 28-Dec-12 09:43:23

Sorry OP not trying to be grim but I would not wish what happened to me and DS on my worst enemy.

I am sure you will be fine!! Good luck for the birth! smile

Upshot of what I'm saying: fail to plan, plan to fail.

NotSpartacus Fri 28-Dec-12 09:45:46

Oh yes, good point from Zara- I had back up bottles and a couple of cartons of formula in the house just in case.
While I didn't need them it did help I think to know that one way or another the baby would get fed. Sometimes when they are screaming it cn feel like you will never get them latched (which made me very upset etc) and as Zara has said in some cases they simply don't. It helped me to know that there were available alternatives.

Tigresswoods Fri 28-Dec-12 09:49:17

That there will be a day (or 2) in the first week where baby will feed around the clock. Totally normal and will not last but you will be SHATTERED!

Good luck, also it can be quite easy wink

NumptyDumty Fri 28-Dec-12 09:58:47

Research how to BF, with latch and hold.

I didn't and relyed on midwifes to help, I was so close to giving up but my DP did the youtubing and talked me through it, unfortunaley the midwifes have enough to do without spending ages making sure you are holding baba properly.

Remember it does get easier

Stock up your cupboards, you will have the biggest appetite man has ever seen.

ceeveebee Fri 28-Dec-12 10:07:31

Feeding by the clock (ie 20mins every 3 hours) will not work. Your supply will not get established unless you feed for as long and as often as baby wants to. Do not listen to Gina Ford, some midwives or DM / MIL who may tell you otherwise.

BonzoDooDah Fri 28-Dec-12 11:20:59

Have a read of this free to download booklet Little Book of Breastfeeding
contains lots of advice (and good pointers) from BF mums. Not just highlighting how fab it is! Good luck.

flipflopson5thavenue Fri 28-Dec-12 11:33:48

If you're committed to bfing then prepare to do NOTHING else but that for the first days and weeks. My DH literally put food in my mouth for me and put glass to my lips to drink. Make sure DH is totally on board. There will be times at 3am when you're crying your baby is crying your DH is crying and you'll just want to give up. I'd read all about bf possibly being hard so I was expecting it to be hard but I realised when it WAS hard at first that deep down I'd thought that it wouldn't actually be hard for me..... So that was a shock. Turns out I'm not superwoman :-/

Don't get too tied up on the "tummy to mummy, nose to nipple, gape...etc" mantra. All babies are different and you need to work out what works for the two of you. My DS never gaped and I would get more and more frustrated with his bobbing head and flaying scratchy arms and hands and I remember thinking "it didn't look like this in the Photos!!!" and i could feel myself getting angry and resentful that DS "wasnt doing it right". even now he doesn't gape, he sort of purses his lips and Hoover sucks my nipple into his mouth!

Also, it's not strictly true that if bf is done correctly it doesn't hurt. Once you do get it and your baby gets it then it won't hurt but until you get there, chances are there will be a lot of discomfort and sore nipples. Even with a perfect latch the let down might be painful at first. Lots and lots and lots of nipple cream.

But it does get better. Even when you think it won't. Ask for help over and over and over. Ring a couple of helplines even if you think you're doing fine. Just have a chat about how great it all is if nothing else!

And if it doesn't work for you then that it fine. Don't judge yourself with your pre baby standards as EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE!!!! A happy mum is a happy baby, that's what counts.

I love bf now and can't imagine stopping.... DS is 5 months old. The comfort and convenience element of bf almost outweighs the health benefits!

Chances are your baby will latch on beautifully immediately and feed like a champion and you'll never have any issues :-)

flipflopson5thavenue Fri 28-Dec-12 11:35:18

Oh and you'll sweat- I had armpits like rotten onions for two weeks!! No amount of washing and deodorant seemed to deal with it. Must have been hormonal.

flipflopson5thavenue Fri 28-Dec-12 11:37:37

Oh and don't let anyone say your baby should be feeding for a certain amount of time. My DS never fed more than 15mins at any one feed. He's still a power feeder.

havingastress Fri 28-Dec-12 11:40:18

That it is totally exhausting and painful sad

Well, it was for me.

I should have asked for more help/support at the beginning. Baby was feeding for 45mins+ at a time and every 2 hours. I literally felt like a cow stuck on the bed/couch.

Your boobs feel enormous and are constantly sore.

Nipples were bleeding, cracked and I literally cried if I knew the baby was going on the left breast next! She was fine once she was on, but it was nothing like the adverts!!!

Needless to say, I only managed 3 weeks.

I then cried and cried feeling like a complete failure putting her onto bottles. sad

She's now on bottles. What do I wish I knew with this? That Tommee Tippee bottles are BLOODY AWFUL (avoid avoid avoid) and I should have bought Dr Brown's in the first place.

Baby is now a happy settled baby on Aptamil from Dr Brown's bottles. Happy days. grin

ps. Hopefully you will have a much better experience of breast feeding than I did. If i have a second child, I will try again it hasn't totally put me off, but it was a lot harder imo than I thought it would be, and wasn't a lovely bonding experience at all sadly.

rubyslippers Fri 28-Dec-12 11:42:40

breastfeeding is a mindset

I was determined to feed DD and i did for 3 years

if you had told me that when she was 3 weeks old i would have laughed in your face

your baby will probably want to feed a lot in the early days and weeks - this is normal

you will feel some days that all you do is feed - that normal

I remember being told on here that my job in the early days is to feed my baby and it was a job smile

trust your body - it has just grown a baby. You now need to trust it to feed your baby

download the phone numbers for La Leche League etc - they are sooooo helpful

be prepared for cluster feeding - not all babies do it, but lots do. My DD did it from 5 - 9 pm each night.

good luck and hopefully all will go well for you

NumptyDumty Fri 28-Dec-12 11:53:40

Oooo also a friend said to me during the 6 week growth spurt when I had to cancel all my plans

'You are all he knows, your his mother and he needs you, more than you need anything else'

I spent the whole day in bed with him, it was from then on I looked at feeding positively rather than 'I need to finish feeding so I can get on with such and such'

Feeding is an excuse to slob and watch tv, read a book ect... Enjoy it rather than trying to hurry them to get things done.

Whatever you decide don't feel guilty, your not a failure... A failure would not feed a baby. Formula isn't poison!

Good luck x

StuntNun Fri 28-Dec-12 11:59:29

Put Lanisoh on your nipples after every feed. They will get a bit sore in the first couple of weeks but the Lanisoh heals them really quickly. You won't need it at all after the first month.

Newborns can feed for hours at first to get your supply going. By six weeks they may only feed for ten minutes at a time.

It's no problem if they just want to comfort suck for a minute to get to sleep whereas you would be annoyed if you had to chuck a whole bottle of milk.

I wouldn't recommend having formula in the house unless there isn't a big supermarket where you can go to get supplies. It's too tempting as it can look like an easy way out, e.g. when you're tired at night is the worst time to be making important decisions about your baby's diet. By all means give your baby formula or mix feed, just make the decision in the daytime when you can think clearly and rationally. Sometimes one feed is bad, e.g. sore or takes ages, but the next one is fine, it was just a blip. Ff babies have bad feeds as well where they bring it all up or fuss at the bottle.

Don't assume your midwife or health visitor knows all about breastfeeding. They may only know what they learned in their training course and may not have breastfed their own children if they have kids. Look at the Kellymom and La Leche League websites or put a post on here, the birth clubs will have lots of mums with experience of breastfeeding issues.

merryng Fri 28-Dec-12 12:04:56

I happily bf both my DD's and only had problems when giving up (mastitis 3 times!) Wanted to recommend BioFemme cream and compresses which I thought hugely superior to Lansinoh as it absorbs much better than the Vaseline-like Lansinoh. The compresses are excellent in the first couple of weeks when you are sore because you can leave then in your bra overnight etc. good luck.

merryng Fri 28-Dec-12 12:05:46

You can buy it in Boots btw.

MB34 Fri 28-Dec-12 12:20:05

Chances are your nipples will hurt in the first few weeks - someone told me to be prepared and do everything you can do to keep yourself sane in those early days.

For me this was
- building bf slowly, going at your own pace so you and your baby get used to it, for me it was doing it once a day for 2 days, twice a day for 4 days, then 3 times a day for four days etc
- hiring a medela symphony pump, expressing about every 3 hours and giving this instead of formula (although I did give one bottle of formula before bed for a couple of weeks so my stored ebm supply could build up - this stopped completely when DS was 4wo)
- using the medela calma teat to give the ebm/formula - I believe that this teat 'taught' DS to latch on better as it mimics the boob's shape and suction needs.
- lashings of lansinoh cream when required
- going to a bf group at the local hospital, getting support and encouragement from the leaders and other mums is, I think, what kept me going and stopped me from giving up.

Hopefully, you won't have any pain and won't need this advice!

MissTapestry Fri 28-Dec-12 12:54:46

If you aren't sure what your baby wants, stick a nipple in its mouth. grin

newtonupontheheath Fri 28-Dec-12 13:19:08

Echo the advice above re baby and for you...

I felt horribly uncomfortable for a good few weeks with massive engorged boobs, nothing fits, bra too tight and digging in. It all adds to the stress and upset (if there is any!) Make yourself as comfortable as possible as it will help you relax- get in bed, wear pjs all day, no bra, whatever!

I'm bfing dc2 at the mo and have had it easy compared to some, but feeling so uncomfortable is enough for me to throw in the towel some days!

OstrichSizedToLapland Fri 28-Dec-12 13:23:19

Don't look at your watch.
I drove myself mad watching the clock and just should've offered a boob. Life was much easier when I gave up timing and keeping some kind of score.

My favourite websites for help were kellymom.com and Dr Jack Newman

BettyandDon Fri 28-Dec-12 15:24:23

I wish someone would have forewarned me about cluster feelings. My DD2 was feeding 5-7 hours at a time. Being realistic you can not look after a toddler at the same time, so you really need another pair of hands (gps or nanny or DH to help at these times). Unfortunately I didn't have this and quit for the sake of my very neglected toddler hmm.

notcitrus Fri 28-Dec-12 16:33:26

Having a new baby and being.sleep deprived is a really emotional experience. You may well go from feeling ecstatic about your baby to feeling a total failure as a mother, at the drop of a hat. This is normal but.take all the help and support you can find.

New babies may well sleep 20 hours a day, but if it's in 20 min bursts interspersed with screaming that doesn't mean much sleep for you. Again ask explicitly for help and try cosleeping.

Any 'bad' habit a baby gets into can and probably will change within 3 days. Past performance is no guide to future performance, as they say in the finance ads.

Look for breastfeeding and other baby group help before you give birth. Groups run by volunteers tend to be terrible at updating publicity about where and when they meet, and you don't want to find the time has moved to the previous morning when in pain, desperate for bf help and put effort into getting there. Phone all such groups as early as you can in case you need them. Also try helplines and ask for details of local bf consultants or advisers - after getting answerphonrs and being rung back later I found all 4 bf advisers in my borough had moved...

Hopefully you won't need much help but if you do it's helpful to have it lined up, along with where to find a breast pump, etc. Lots of women do find it easy but don't post on these threads! Actually my SIL was helpful telling me she just stuck a tit in her ds's mouth and it just worked, as it stopped me judging myself for having so much trouble (see emotions, above)

Look at Kellymom, especially if medical types are telling you to give up bf when you don't want.

BrainGoneAwol Fri 28-Dec-12 21:17:59

You will feel solid when your milk comes in. It does pass. Get some breast pads (I use washable mostly and disposable when I don't want to risk a leak). I flooded all over the place at the start and still do sometimes.

Night feeds are exhausting. Ds took an hour to feed and settle each time. Take care of yourself and get dp/ds to support you.

When you settle in for a feed get everything within arms reach first. You may not be moving for hours.

I echo going to support groups. Gps and hvs aren't always right. LLL are a better bet... And don't do anything that your instincts tell you doesn't seem right.

Good luck! smile

MrsNPattz Fri 28-Dec-12 21:21:35

That breast feeding is very hard at first but so worth it when you turn the corner! And that babies are sick a lot!

Hellesbelles2 Fri 28-Dec-12 21:32:22

That even if the worst happens and you end up like us back in hospital being advised to give your baby formula due to the amount of weight they have lost you can continue with the breastfeeding too.

After a horrible, stressful few days we ended up giving DS1 formula - at the time it literally felt like the end of the world, however 8 months on and he is still breastfed for all his milk feeds. It took time and lots of support but I'm so glad we persevered as I can totally see how one bottle could have lead to another etc. Hopefully this won't happen to you but wanted to say don't give up at the first few hurdles if breastfeeding is something you really want to do.

MrsSpencerReid Fri 28-Dec-12 21:32:38

That if it doesn't work out/you don't like it/want to formula feed you are NOT a failure. My ds was prem, he never latched once despite some great help and for 2 months I was glued to a pump cos I thought... actually I have no idea why!, now I wish I had just enjoyed him and not spent so much time stressing. We are TTC at the mo and I have promised myself that I'll try to bf but if it is going nowhere I will just bottle feed, I still feel guilty about it now sad
In contrast all my friends are bf and despite some rocky patches doing well, look up support groups now so you know where they are and go even if you don't have probs, I still go to the bf group and have made my best friends there,good luck smile

Zara1984 Fri 28-Dec-12 21:46:32

spencer I know what you mean - I am ok mostly with DS being formula fed but I still feel guilty. The hell of bf not working really ruined the first few weeks with DS. I only kept going the second week because DH asked me to (I begged him in tears to let me stop as it was putting me on a fast track to PND). In hindsight I should've told him to fuck off and try latch DS to his boobs grin

With the next baby I would give it 1 week, tops. I mean if baby's mostly latching and there's pain/blocked duct/tongue tie etc I would persevere to the 6 week mark. But if it's anything like it was with DS, no more than 1 week. My DMIL (easily bf all her kids for a year, is a former LLL leader!) was shocked after watching me go through the struggle said she actually thought I should only persevere until I got home from hospital next time, no matter what happens grinHer view is that is should not be that hard, and there's no point continuing if it is!!

snowchick1977 Fri 28-Dec-12 22:18:54

YOU know your baby best. Ignore charts and go with your instinct, trust your body and keep going, and all will be good.

I did this in spite of my dd being very ill for 6 weeks of her life, being hospitalised, contracting 2 viruses and always being very underweight for her age. She is 11 weeks old tomorrow and still only 8oz above her birth weight, but, i do know best, and I have carried on breastfeeding throughout and she is slowly gaining weight.

Xxxxx

zoobaby Fri 28-Dec-12 22:36:17

Stock up on lansinoh. Have a couple of tubes and locate them around the house.

You may hear something from one person and then the next person may totally contradict what you just heard.

BF babies can be very windy and crying doesn't always mean hunger (though 9 times out of 10 it is). Sometimes it can be discomfort and you need to give them some help with winding/massage.

zoobaby Fri 28-Dec-12 22:40:34

Oh yeah, and if you apply lansinoh as liberally as I did, then it can leave residue on your bra. This comes off easy enough by doing a bit of handwashing with dish washing liquid.

zoobaby Fri 28-Dec-12 22:42:16

Stock up on lansinoh. Have a couple of tubes and locate them around the house.

You may hear something from one person and then the next person may totally contradict what you just heard.

BF babies can be very windy and crying doesn't always mean hunger (though 9 times out of 10 it is). Sometimes it can be discomfort and you need to give them some help with winding/massage.

StuntNun Fri 28-Dec-12 22:46:28

Don't get disheartened by these posts, it isn't always difficult. My DS3 latched on without help from the first feed despite having to be in an incubator for the first two hours due to breathing difficulties from the general anaesthetic. He regained his birth weight by five days and has continued to feed well (now 6 weeks). You never hear the good stories on these posts but sometimes it does just work out.

That newborns feed and feed and feed
That hormones make them fall asleep at the breast
That you will be stuck to the sofa for hours at a time
That it is uncomfortable but lansinoh is awesome

Had I known all this I wouldn't have spent my dd's first six weeks clock watching and resenting not getting other (completely trivial) things done.

Dd is now 12mnths and only feeds for 10 mins at a time now; I actually miss the cluster feeding!

Best thing I read which has always stuck is that a newborn's wants and needs are the same thing

I think that if you accept that this is a massive job that you are taking on, and continually seek out help if it is needed, you will be fine!

caramal Fri 28-Dec-12 22:52:31

People don't tell you how hard it can be. I think I was one of the lucky ones whose baby latched on straight away but he was such a hungry baby and it was do draining for me. He would also sleep all day and cry all night (up until 5am at times hmm) I'm glad I did bf but wish I hadn't listed to HV's and MW's when after 4 months I wanted to stop they gave me a lecture on why I shouldn't couldnt. Then later on at about 7 months they were advising I should so he would eat more solids and put on weight I couldn't get him to stop. Ended up with PND and I think a big factor was absolute exhaustion best thing i did for me and my son was stop at 11 months he's not as clingy to me and a strong happy healthy little 2year old now

Top tips
- don't forget your breast pads!
- Lansinoh works wonders
- try expressing by hand
- get OH/DH/family to help with feeding with expressed milk..don't be ashamed to ask for help and have a well deserved rest

Sorry...a massive but totally amazing and important and rewarding job xx

byhec Fri 28-Dec-12 23:00:41

The phrase "they can't possibly be hungry, they've just had a feed" doesn't exist, if in doubt, try to feed them!

Onesliceortwo Fri 28-Dec-12 23:14:31

Absolute best piece of advice I was given was before I had DD was by my Community Midwife - she told me that I was not under any circumstances to allow myself to be discharged from the hospital until I could confidently get baby latched onto both sides by myself ......
This is exactly what happened. DD was born at 9.08 am, I was kept in that night and I rang the bell to ask for help a few times in that first night as DD cried and cried and cried - the next thing I knew, the breastfeeding 'expert' was assigned to me the next day and by that night she had us both feeding - ask for every bit of help you can get and listen! It doesn't just 'happen' and it does take time and work (so does making and sterilising bottles!) BUT ...... it's free and incredibly rewarding.
Also ... don't totally rule out FF - We had a very difficult start with DD (congential condition not picked up through a scan so all a bit of a shock and sent me a bit loopy) Again, my community midwife spoke sense (we love her!) At ten days old I was absolutely exhausted (CM stayed on until day 28) She was very clear - "you need sleep, this baby needs a bottle .....' and again, that's exactly what happened. I went to bed at 8pm, DH fed DD a bottle of FF at midnight and the next thing I knew it was 4am, and I'd had some sleep - my boobs were absolutely enormous but I didn't care ... the world felt a much better place for some decent shut eye!
Go easy on yourself and do whatever feels right for you. Listen to the advice that makes sense and ignore all the advice that makes you feel crap!
Enjoy it!

Fazerina Fri 28-Dec-12 23:23:14

So much good advice here and I would echo so many posts! I would also say there are so many people offering advice in the beginning and many love the feeling of being 'in the know' as either parents or grandparents or midwives or whatever and that you are a first-time mummy a bit overwhelmed and tired and hormonal. Try to just ignore as much of it as you can (unless of course there is a real medical issue or something similar) and just concentrate on your baby and what you feel he needs at any given moment.

BFing is a natural and instinctive thing, but you will both need to learn it and this will take time and patience (and really sore boobs, which happened to me, but may not to you). In a few weeks time it will hopefully 'click' and then if you're able to, try to learn to feed lying down to give yourself a rest.

One thing I wish I had realised before DS was that BFing is so much more than just food; it's an amazing feeling of closeness and comfort and a magic cure for any and every situation. Still is and DS is now 19 months. It's like his home away from home, as I saw written somewhere.

sipper Fri 28-Dec-12 23:24:36

Lots of great advice already. My addition, from personal experience, is there is often an emphasis on what the mother is doing/how the mother is doing things/the mothers technique. And not always enough of a look at what's going on with the baby. I had bf issues with two of my dd's and was very fortunate to get them treated early on - first week with one dd, day two with another dd - by a cranial chiropractor. Feeding suddenly was brilliant. Success stories on both counts once the babies little niggles were sorted.

jinglebellyalltheway Fri 28-Dec-12 23:29:28

that if you are put on medications that are "safe for breastfeeding" that does not mean the baby will have no nasty side effects from it, it just means the baby will have no serious side effects from it.. and the HCPs will not tell you the potential side effects before you start taking the meds (so you can make an informed decision) because they're not supposed to discourage BFing if a med is "safe for breastfeeding", you'll only find out when you go to them with a baby with nasty runs and stomach cramps or whatever it is, and they go "oh yes that's quite a common side effect if the mother is taking <x medication> " angry

stargirl1701 Fri 28-Dec-12 23:31:23

You can get a life threatening blood poisoning from bacteria entering your body through a cracked nipple.

The existence of hydrogel pads.

The existence of SNSs.

You need to 'do the reading' - The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Babyled Breastfeeding.

Breastshells help the air circulate round your nipples - you don't need to walk around with no top all day.

The baby feeds ALL THE TIME!!!!

When the latch is wrong, it fucking hurts.

Getting the latch right is so hard.

The let down reflex can be really sore.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Fri 28-Dec-12 23:33:57

That a successful mother can be one still in her pjs on day 14 with takeaway boxes scattered about the living room floor and no routine for eating or sleeping.

PinotGrigioandaMincePie Fri 28-Dec-12 23:47:12

That it is time consuming! DS could feed for 50minutes, have a 10minute rest then feed for another 50minutes and it didn't mean that anything was wrong. As above, a comfy chair and a drink & snack close to hand are essential in the early days.

I wanted to BF but was also happy to FF if it didn't work out. I still BF DS who is now 9months so it did work out well for us. I feel that part of this was that I didn't put pressure on myself.

Having said that it took 3 days to get DS to latch on after a very successful first feed in the recovery room. This required a lot of support from Midwives, BF support workers and my husband and I could easily have given in without this help. Please ask for/accept any help you need to make it work for you but don't be too hard on yourself of it doesn't work.

Good luck!

ChunkyTurkeywiththetrimmings Fri 28-Dec-12 23:53:31

I totally agree with many posts so can't add much...

That each baby is very different & so is the bfing experience.

My DD; no tongue tie, hurt a LOT for 2wks despite being told it was a 'good latch' - blisters, bleeding, toe-curling pain, the works - but suddenly at 2wks, it just clicked & it was fine."Struggled" to gain weight (on 2nd centile for a few wks after born on 9th) and fed for hours, with seemingly no pattern initially. Could barely express anything, but leaked loads.

My DS (#2): severely tongue tied but less pain than with DD, gained weight v well, express loads with same pump, fed regularly every 2hrs from the start but quite quickly (longest feed in 7wks is 45mins once or twice). Still leak LOADS but now also have the 'fun' horrendous let-down pains/sensations, when he's crying & feeding, including subsequent let-downs during the feed!!

My top tip; take each day at a time & repeat "this will pass" as a mantra!! smile

ChunkyTurkeywiththetrimmings Fri 28-Dec-12 23:53:42

I totally agree with many posts so can't add much...

That each baby is very different & so is the bfing experience.

My DD; no tongue tie, hurt a LOT for 2wks despite being told it was a 'good latch' - blisters, bleeding, toe-curling pain, the works - but suddenly at 2wks, it just clicked & it was fine."Struggled" to gain weight (on 2nd centile for a few wks after born on 9th) and fed for hours, with seemingly no pattern initially. Could barely express anything, but leaked loads.

My DS (#2): severely tongue tied but less pain than with DD, gained weight v well, express loads with same pump, fed regularly every 2hrs from the start but quite quickly (longest feed in 7wks is 45mins once or twice). Still leak LOADS but now also have the 'fun' horrendous let-down pains/sensations, when he's crying & feeding, including subsequent let-downs during the feed!!

My top tip; take each day at a time & repeat "this will pass" as a mantra!! smile

MrsHoarder Sat 29-Dec-12 00:02:35

That evening cluster feeding is normal and just to chill and watch TV (apparently ggm used to sit on the front step and chat to her neighbors with babies on boobs of an evening)

That it will hurt for the first 30 seconds of every feed for the first 8 Weeks but then its really easy.

That being able to lie beside my teething 7mo and snuggle/feed to sleep is very useful and lovely and snugly.

That being able to say I need to fed him us a great way to get will meaning family to hand baby back.

But that I would not be able to leave him for more than an hour for 6 months as he wouldn't take a bottle.

And that ebf babies do get wind.

slightlysoupstainedbabygrows Sat 29-Dec-12 00:03:45

When your milk comes in, it will taste different to your baby and they might well get upset.

We had a tremendously stressful night around day 4, when DS who up till that point had been feeding like a little champ & had barely cried, suddenly started pulling off after a few seconds and screaming frantically and clawing at my breast. We had no idea what was going on and it was very distressing looking at his little tearstained face, esp as he was obviously hungry and kept trying and trying. We concluded that it was probably thrush & he must be in too much pain to feed properly.

The next morning everything was fine again. When we mentioned it to the midwife she said "oh yes, that's just your milk coming in". Would have helped so much to know that the night before.

geekette Sat 29-Dec-12 00:06:59

if I were to do it all over again, I will:

Make sure my post-natal supporter is a really good cook (hoping the DH will be up for the job again, he was brilliant this time around);

Keep family away, especially other females, most especially those who already had children. As weird as that sounds, breastfeeding takes it out of you and people with negative thoughts about it, will just make it harder. Still remember MiL trying to convince me to only feed the little one 5 times a day confused . At 18 weeks, my lo still feeds every hour, once in a while;

have a bottle of water handy everywhere;

accept being stuck to sofa much earlier;

count to 10 whenever it hurts.

And whatever happens, there is no need for guilt.

ChestnutsRoastingonaWitchesTit Sat 29-Dec-12 00:15:13

1. You can eat cake, lots of cake.

2. It's hard but its worth it.

3. Buy yourself a tube of Lansinoh and keep it with you at all times

4. Don't listen to advice that doesn't feel right to you. Cherry pick.

MoominmammasHandbag Sat 29-Dec-12 00:29:12

Breastfeeding is a skill; like driving a car. Not many people jump into a car and can drive perfectly straight away. When you are learning to drive you have good days and bad days, sometimes you feel you'll never get it. But you keep on trying because you really want to learn to drive and you know what all the benefits are.
You wouldn't take advice on how to drive from a non driver would you? And once you have learned to drive it is a skill you have forever.
Of course, some people never learn to drive. A few just give up but some have insurmountable problems. It doesn't make them a second class citizen.

WaitingForMe Sat 29-Dec-12 02:57:05

That my NCT teacher was talking bollocks when she said if you're doing it right it doesn't hurt.

DS latches brilliantly but sucks like a Hoover. Each of the midwives on the ward were shocked when they gave him a little finger to suck. Some babies just suck really really hard.

Six weeks in it now only hurts for 20-30 seconds at the beginning of a feed but by a certain point in the evening I'm at my pain threshold and DH gives him a bottle of formula so I can take a break. I feel horribly guilty (which is daft as I'd never judge another woman for doing what I'm doing).

Dunking my boobs in hot water (in the bath) is bliss.

That if your boobs are too engorged baby may not be able to latch, so hand expressing a little milk off so they are softer will help your latch at this point. I didn't know this and had a night of a horribly hungry screaming baby.

That you may not have too many problems. Other than the above ds is 3wo and breastfeeding has been relatively easy. I didn't bf dc1/2 but to be able to do this for him feels amazingly rewarding!

Good luck!

FuriousRox Sat 29-Dec-12 04:04:34

Take lansinoh to hospital with you and use from the first feed!

Eat a lot (of cake) and look after yourself (or get someone else to look after you) as you get feeding established

Ask for help. Problem not solved? Ask again, and again, and again...

Read kellymom.

Push baby onto breast with heel of hand between shoulder blades not by pushing his/her head on. This helps the chin-first thing.

Don't panic during the engorgement phase - it will pass!

Good luck!

MrsSpencerReid Sat 29-Dec-12 10:01:03

Thanks Zara, I did get pnd in the end sad I'm sure it was a combination of prem delivery and expressing stress/guilt!
There are some great tips on here grin

Archip17 Sat 29-Dec-12 10:21:56

I had exactly the same as Staceym - when my milk came in DS didn't know what to do with these huge engorged boobs and we had a night of screaming. Bought a Medela breast pump (hospital sold them at considerable discount) and learnt to express. Oversupply can be an issue - it was for me - and expressing a bit first helped baby and me.

Try not to get hung up on all the negatives, yes it can be sore, tiring and unrelenting at first but my god, when you get into the swing of things it is so utterly wonderful (and convenient!) Seeing their contented little faces after a feed and knowing you did that is the best. I've just stopped breastfeeding and am feeling a little wistful!

Best of luck xxx

SquidgersMummy Sat 29-Dec-12 11:53:06

You need someone who has BF themselves to check the latch.

It hurts for 6 wks - if it's really painful it could be the latch.

It's a special bond that you just can't explain.

It is sooooooooooo much easier - no sterilising, no waiting whilst bottles warm, instant pacifier, gets them off to sleep, if you attach cot to bed you won't even have to get up in the night, really helps get rid of baby weight, you can eat loads - in fact you simply have to.

It's is really worth a few tricky weeks getting started and surviving the first bout of cluster feeding.

Always have drink, snacks, phone and remote in reach.

Good luck - report back to us

X

IShallCallYouSquishy Sat 29-Dec-12 22:39:45

There isn't much that a BF can't fix. Basically for the first 6 weeks at least, if it squeaks stick a boob in it grin

Try and learn to feed lying down. That way when baby cluster feeds or goes through growth spurts you can lie down and close your eyes letting them get on with it.

Keep a sports bottle of water or squash near you at all times. You will get very thirsty.

It's ok to give your baby a 5 minute feed to get them to sleep then let them stay there using your boob as a pillow. I still do this with my 7mo old every so often. Nothing beats that look of shear contentment grin

And lastly... Only you know what's right for your baby. Ignore everyone that thinks they know best. Yes they can "possibly be hungry again" half and hour after the last feed.

Good luck OP

happyfrogger Sat 29-Dec-12 22:46:05

Loads of really good advice here. I would say make sure you have phone numbers of local breastfeeding support groups near you, you can't wait until the weekly meet up to 'pop in' if you are having issues - you want immediate help. Also, a couple of cartons of forumla milk in the cupboard is reassuring for a panicking new mum even if you REALLY REALLY never want to use it (and may never have to) but when you are worrying, it's a safety net in your worst case scenario in the middle of the night smile

Piemother Sat 29-Dec-12 23:23:20

Where to start!
Some mums don't leak. I'm not some mums and I leak buckets. Ergo I need breast pads. With dc1 I used disposable pads but with dc2 they repelled me as soon as I put them on and I think they made the initial sore nipples worse. A lovely IBLC I know gave me a pack of terry towelling backed washable pads and they are heaven! Of course you need dozens of them and I have the boots own washable pads which are fine but not as amazing as the towelling ones grin

Ok don't panic that I wrote initial soreness. I got this with both dc. This feels like heresy even admitting it but nipples were sore for the first week it so. Yours might be too but grin and bear it. Use Lansinoh but soaringly and in he way you use lip salve - just rub it in after feeds. I used it properly with dc2 and they got better in couple of days.
You need lots of muslins. Bm stinks after a short time!
Be patient. At some point or quite often the baby will scream its head off and refuse to latch. Just wait, persevere or walk up and down a bit to calm the baby and try again. They won't die or explode and it doesn't mean bf isn't working out. It just means the daft baby got too worked up. Dc2 did it today (8 weeks) I just sighed a bit, drank some more coffee and waited - she latched on soon enough.

Hmm what else...you don't need special bf tops but ones with buttons help or ones you can lift up easily. You probably need vests to wear underneath to cover you up.

If you are squeamish about bf in public it passes. I was a wimp at first with dc1 until I fed her in a disabled loo and vowed I'd never do it again. With dc2 I vowed I wouldn't even use the feeding room in mothercare (ours is foul - some are quite pleasant). I feed in cafes etc. no one has ever passed comment, negative or otherwise wink

You don't need a special diet but if you don't eat enough you will feel extra crappy. Same with hydration. This time around I'm drinking coconut water - it's got tons of electrolytes - works a treat grin but I stress my point you don't NEED any special food/drink its just my preference.

The first few weeks might be a bit of a marathon but every day is a goal and it gets easier when you get going. I remember after the first 6 weeks realising why most people stop around then - it's hard going - but that's the hard part over and it's a walk in the park after that.

Piemother Sat 29-Dec-12 23:26:53

Oh and if the baby has green poo it means your swapping sides too often and the baby isn't getting the hind milk. You will be told all sorts if stuff about what it means but you need to rule this out first.
Secondly lots if sick doesn't always equal reflux etc. some babies are happy pukers! Dc2 puked so much in the first few weeks I take spare clothes out with me - for me! It's delightful but its not a problem - except for my hard working hotpoint grin

StuntNun Mon 31-Dec-12 07:10:41

Sometimes when they finish feeding they come off the breast with a big sigh and a look of utter contentment. Sometimes mid-feed your baby will look up at you and give you a big grin before continuing feeding.

orangeshortbread Mon 31-Dec-12 12:30:06

Thank you for so many replies - there is so much advice and expertise here. :-)

priscilla101 Mon 31-Dec-12 12:47:58

Totally agree with moomin. It's a skill, and some people acquire skills faster, or become more proficient. It is natural, but bf doesn't always come naturally.

Lots of excellent advice here already OP, but from personal experience I wish I had known that bf is different for everyone. It was even different between children for me!

Good luck!

catwoman101 Mon 31-Dec-12 13:01:13

Agree with flip flop- my baby never gaped and hoovered in my nipple as well.

Saying that, she then slowly opened her mouth while feeding. Google pictures as in a good latch the mouth will be open and the top and bottom lip pushed back over themselves, so much that after feeding, dd often had red lines on her face where they were bent back.

A normal length feed can be 5 mins to 2 hours.

Sometimes dc will want to feed every 20 mins to feed, sometimes every 4 hours.

Never wake your baby to breastfeeding.

If it is not going well, and you want to give up, give up, it is your decision but MN is always here for support.

Good luck, enjoy.

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