top tips for the first 7 days of breastfeeding

(47 Posts)
photographerlady Fri 15-Mar-13 16:20:10

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.

HappyJoyful Fri 15-Mar-13 16:25:09

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.
Stop reading.
Lanolin nipple cream. Start now.
Relax.

tomatoplantproject Fri 15-Mar-13 16:25:41

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!

KatAndKit Fri 15-Mar-13 16:43:29

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.

leedy Fri 15-Mar-13 16:51:09

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.

BettyandDon Fri 15-Mar-13 16:53:30

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 mesmile.

TwirlyCat Fri 15-Mar-13 16:56:52

Feed all the time.

Make a conscious effort to be relaxed while latching / feeding.

Drink loads.

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.

thompson369 Fri 15-Mar-13 17:06:34

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!

scrivette Fri 15-Mar-13 19:01:41

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

Fb!

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.

Good luck.

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.
Lansinoh cream.
The kellymom website.

EarnestDullard Fri 15-Mar-13 20:01:54

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.
Enjoy yourself
Seek help quickly. MN really helped me in those early days. Also NCT BFing counsellors and local BFing group.
Good luck!

fluffacloud Fri 15-Mar-13 20:24:48

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 grin

minipie Fri 15-Mar-13 23:07:08

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.

noblegiraffe Fri 15-Mar-13 23:18:10

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.

PetiteRaleuse Fri 15-Mar-13 23:26:40

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.

PuffPants Fri 15-Mar-13 23:39:41

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.

louisianablue2000 Fri 15-Mar-13 23:39:53

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.

RainbowBelle Fri 15-Mar-13 23:49:23

Buy in advance:

Lanisoh
Breast feeding cushion
Cabbage
Magazines
Nipple Shields

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).

FreckledLeopard Fri 15-Mar-13 23:58:47

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.

amoremio Sat 16-Mar-13 03:36:41

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

notnagging Sat 16-Mar-13 04:07:11

Lansinoh, don't give up & stop listening to other people.smile

Feed on on demand ( you & baby)
Sleep on demand ( you and baby)
Eat, rest, eat, rest........
Enjoy!

PolterGoose Sat 16-Mar-13 11:12:34

I pretty much lived on the bed for the first 2 weeks, feeding, dozing and reading. Dp bought me food and I got through bottles and bottles of Evian. I offered boob at every stirring.

Fraggle3112 Sat 16-Mar-13 12:52:29

Buy a good breast feeding cushion! and The best thing my community midwife showed me was how to safely feed in on my side in bed after she arrived to me in tears one morning coz I had dozed off sitting up whilst feeding at 4 in the morning after 3 days with about 2 hours sleep DS was fine butI was horrified! Although I'm not co sleeping I bring Ds with me for night feeds and its working brilliantly for us he's 11 weeks old now and Although it was really hard at first i found at about 6 weeks things just clicked and it got so much easier! Good luck!

stargirl1701 Sat 16-Mar-13 13:58:44

Before you give birth read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

Put the Breastfeeding helpline numbers into your mobile.

Collect details of all the bf groups and bf cafes near you.

Buy Lansinoh.

Buy some hydrogel pads and store them in your freezer.

And, all the best!

HandMini Sat 16-Mar-13 18:33:45

A bit of discomfort/pulling feeling = normal. Proper soreness / redness / bleeding = not normal and probably means a bad latch. Don't persevere through bleeding nipples hoping it will improve ... Get help from a midwife or breastfeeding counsellor.

Ask, ask and ask again for all the help you need....the helplines, LLL, your health visitor, NCT and if its not working, ask someone else. Of course, you may not need to, but I speak from bitter experience as someone who didn't get the right help soon enough and ended up in a bad place (not for this thread).

Best of luck...you are half way there already with your determination to do it.

zoobaby Sat 16-Mar-13 21:57:57

Great advice given here already.

Another vote for using lansinoh from the first day.

What earnest said about the second night. Yowsers.

Definitely look up how to read your baby's cues. By default you often think they're crying from hunger when it could be wind, discomfort or tiredness. I found that the baby whisperer book had a few good tips about this.

BF babies still do require winding.

The document showing latch (linked by leedy) looked very good.

Agree with what noblegiraffe said, as it's very important to prevent dehydration. It can bring on jaundice, which isn't an uncommon thing (but may require phototherapy at hospital).

Be prepared to hear very conflicting advice. Seek clarification. Seek help with latch if you have difficulty or pain. Ask multiple people as sometimes it will just "click" with a different person telling/showing you.

When asked if latch is ok, you probably won't really know if how it feels is the way it SHOULD feel. If I were to describe the feeling of good comfortable BFing I'd say that it's a bit like having stitches after a local anaesthetic... you feel tugging but no pain.

Speaking of pain, I think most people experience a degree of pain/discomfort in the early days due to friction but it shouldn't be murderous pain.

It may take a couple of (a few) weeks before you realise that BFing isn't just another thing to be endured.

Congrats, good luck and hope all goes well!

cakesonatrain Sun 17-Mar-13 20:34:09

Yes to Lansinoh! And to the second night of feed feed feed and won't be put down - both of mine have done exactly this.
The answer to "he/she can't be hungry again!?" is "oh yes he/she is!".
Make sure you have a drink with you when feeding.

devonsmummy Sun 17-Mar-13 21:04:07

There's more than one position to feed a baby in - laying down worked best for baby no2 for me.
Keep a bottle of water next to every place you could possibly sit as you'll be constantly thirsty
Snack , snack, snack -
Sleep when baby sleeps
Bring baby to nipple , not nipple to baby ( it kills your back!)
Have lots of cushions to support you & baby
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Don't let a newborn go more than 3 hours without a feed ( I wasn't told / didn't know this, only found out after my firstborn went 9 hours over night as he didnt wake or cry - midwife couldn't believe I'd not fed him! confused)

devonsmummy Sun 17-Mar-13 21:10:12

Oh and when your milk comes in (on day 3 ish) you will wake thinking someone has pumped up your boobs to bursting point with a bike pump & you will feel like every movement will make them explode!

Had some really good advice before having my Twins, was told that baby's ear,
like a 24 hour buffet, also that their stomachs are only as big as their fists, so need little and often.
It really helped.
Also I found eating lots of cereal and milk kept me from the hunger pangs.

Eat!

CitizenOscar Sun 17-Mar-13 21:28:19

At first my DS needed a LOT of winding. I wasn't expecting that.

Drink a glass of water every time you feed to avoid dehydration.

Listen to your body's needs re food. If you feel like you need cake, or cheese, or whatever, then eat it. I started drinking milk in my tea when breastfeeding for the first time ever.

Try out different positions if you're not comfy at first. Midwives showed me lying down positions as well as "rugby holds" and others. DS and I both had cannulas in our left hands so found it difficult to get comfy on that side.

Try to relax & enjoy the bonding if you can.

Reminder at first it may be small quantities of colostrum - that's all your baby needs as their tummy is very small! You can express & syringe feed if you're struggling.

Don't let other people's embarrassment put you off. My FIL would always leave the room while I fed. He was supportive but felt awkward being there. I felt more awkward & under pressure because I felt I had to try to feed quickly so he could come back! But I figured it was his choice so just got on with it.

Abigail9580 Sun 17-Mar-13 21:41:16

Bottles of water next to every seat. You get so thirsty. Also babies always feed loads at night to begin with as this is when your prolactin levels are naturally high, this is the hormone needed to stimulate milk production. So baby feeding at night stimulates prolactin levels thus increasing milk supply. So it's completely normal to be up all night- sorry.
Make sure you have a comfy chair. I wished I had brought I proper supportive nursing chair- a expense but I didn't really appreciate how much time you spend sitting down feeding.
Good luck and enjoy you baby, they are all snugly and gorgeous.

crikeybadger Sun 17-Mar-13 21:43:10

Wow Lansinoh is very popular! I know it's good stuff,however, just wanted to add that -
some women are allergic to it
some women don't actually need it
no need to use it before the baby is born
and you may find that you can get away with using the sachets that the mws often hand out in the hospital. You only need a teeny bit otherwise the baby will slip even more on the nipple.

Dr Colson's website Biological Nurturing is really good to read as it talks about a baby's reflexes to feed and how to 'awaken' them. She advocates the 'laid back breastfeeding' approach which takes away the need for any rules about holds and having everything in the right place.

ThreeWheelsGood Sun 17-Mar-13 23:44:46

Get as much hands-on help as possible. MN and the phone lines are good but the best most practical help is a midwife or BF counsellor literally manhandling you and baby to help you get it right. Keep asking for help if you know it's not right. But bear in mind too that for some people it can be easy/problem free so don't worry too much right now!

This thread has just saved my sanity!! Stuck on a special care ward with my beautiful 3 day old son in floods of tears because he's woken up on the hour since 10pm demanding feeding, my nipples are sore from new milk coming in today, and just feeling like a total failure for not "filling him up"!!!

But from the looks of all your advice this is something normal that I just need to ride out... Will persevere and hope for the best!

MsElisaDay Mon 18-Mar-13 07:31:02

congratulations, Phoenix!

It's so, so hard at first, but it's entirely normal for your DS to want feeding non-stop. Just be prepared for a few weeks in your PHD, doing little apart from feeding, drinking water and eating cake.

Bfing makes you so hungry and you really do need the extra calories- my DS is 20 weeks now, and I'm half a stone lighter than before I was pregnant, despite eating cake most days.

This milk monster stage is so tough, but doesn't last long. Now, DS drains each side in five minutes and then he's full for three hours or so. Just put him to the breast as much as you can in these early days, as if he looks,hungry

MsElisaDay Mon 18-Mar-13 07:32:42

...oops! If he looks hungry, he probably is!
Good luck and enjoy. You're not a failure, that's the hormones talking! Sounds like you're doing brilliantly.

MsElisaDay Mon 18-Mar-13 07:34:17

Erm, and,that should have said days in your PJs,not PhD. bloody autocorrect...

PenelopeLane Mon 18-Mar-13 07:41:54

Figure out how to read a book while BFing! I did that on the second night of constant feeding pain and reading while doing it made the really long feeds in those early weeks much easier.

MrsHoarder Mon 18-Mar-13 07:44:50

Read up Co sleeping guidelines and if you're tired at least colie whilst the baby feeds.

And this is the hardest time whilst lo adjusts and you recover. Now I know that whatever is wrong with ds I have something that comforts and nurishes instantly available and very healthy.

SanneSannes Wed 20-Mar-13 14:16:09

Find and go to local bf support group as soon as you feel comfortable to leave the house-even if you think all is fine. Chances are high that latch can always be improved and you can get tons of other great advice there. Good luck!!

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