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Please help, down to basics here, what actually come out before the milk comes in, as in volume and satisfaction for baby.

(35 Posts)
PhyllisDiller Sat 28-May-11 14:05:56

Pregnant with DC 3. Have tried and failed at BF twice now, torn up about it each time but never really found out why things didn't work.

With each baby it was the same, they had a bit of a nurse then good long sleep after the birth. DH would go home, night time would come and I would be utterly exhausted. Baby would cry for a feed we'd snuggle in the bed for a feed. Couple of hours later they would be wailing for a feed, I would sit for hours and nothing seemed to satisfy them. By the time morning came and DH returned I would be delirious for sleep, and the baby starving. At no point have my babies appeared to have had enough. Latch on has been checked and is apparently fine. With DC2 I was on a ward with 2nd time mothers, mine was the only one making a noise, the other mothers would feed and sleep.

Please, please does anyone know what might be going on? I have read books, looked on line and asked the MW (the MW's are great in our area but clearly pushed for time).

crikeybadger Sat 28-May-11 14:21:21

Sorry you've had a hard time before PhyllisDiller.

You may find this article helpful. It's from La Leche League and explains about colostrum and at the bottom there is a good diagram which shows the stomach capacity of a newborn at various stages.

As you can see, the stomach is teeny weeny at one day old.

Could it be that you misread your baby's wailing and it was crying for something else other than food? Maybe tiredness or just needing comfort after a birth journey. Just a thought...

Could be worth ringing one of the bfing helpline and I'd also recommend this book which explains exactly how milk production works and how to maintain a good supply.

Hope this helps for now. smile

lukewarmmama Sat 28-May-11 14:32:27

The theory is that the small amounts of colostrum that come out before your milk comes in is enough.

However, my experience with my 2 DDs is as you describe - at least one night of utter hell in the early days. A lot easier (relatively speaking!) after day 3-5 when the milk came in. I don't think its necessarily anything you're doing 'wrong', and I think that the more stimulation your nipples get earlier on, the better your milk supply is likely to be longer term, so the hell may be worth enduring.

Of course, the priority is that the baby gets fed and doesn't get dehydrated, so if there is something more going on than just a feeding frenzy, then formula would be the best answer - which is where you started having problems presumably?

Are you a member of the NCT? You could try their BF line, or LA Leche League to discuss things so you are prepared beforehand. Lots of towns have drop in BF cafes as well, where you can get help from BF counsellors with a but more time on their hands.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sat 28-May-11 14:33:33

Tbh this sounds very normal. Newborns can feed pretty much constantly imo. Their tummys are tiny, they are still figuring out the most efficient way to get milk out, and they keep falling asleep on the job. Plus their feeding is a way to tell your body that there is a baby here and to get on with making lots of milk.

With ds i just popped him on the boob at every stir. That way we got lots of practice and nipple stimulation befor he had chance to get properly starving.
In answer to the thread title before your milk comes in you have colostrum. It's very special stuff. Though there's less/it comes out slower than milk it is higher in calories than milk and can sustain a baby for days. It is also packed with antibodies and stuff to help line the gut. That is it's special role. It isn't just something to be got through till the real stuff comes as used to be thought. But actually a specific substance to do particular jobs.
I think lots of people (ime) struggle with bf at first because they think the amount of time spent feeding signifies a problem such as that the baby is not satisfied. Infect it is just normal behaviour for a bf baby. Ff babies might go hours between feeds straight off, but bm is so easily digested that a tiny stomach full is gone again in 90min. Though it is a very natural feeding behaviour the frequancy can be worrying to people used to ff. Not to mention frustrating to anyone not expecting it! The good news is that is does settle down. They get more efficient at feeding an can take more at a time and ime around 6wks was a massive turning point (though there was still improvement between birth and then)

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sat 28-May-11 14:37:14

x post!

Btw you do not have to be an nct member to call them or see a bf councillor

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sat 28-May-11 14:40:18

Tbh this sounds very normal. Newborns can feed pretty much constantly imo. Their tummys are tiny, they are still figuring out the most efficient way to get milk out, and they keep falling asleep on the job. Plus their feeding is a way to tell your body that there is a baby here and to get on with making lots of milk.

With ds i just popped him on the boob at every stir. That way we got lots of practice and nipple stimulation befor he had chance to get properly starving.
In answer to the thread title before your milk comes in you have colostrum. It's very special stuff. Though there's less/it comes out slower than milk it is higher in calories than milk and can sustain a baby for days. It is also packed with antibodies and stuff to help line the gut. That is it's special role. It isn't just something to be got through till the real stuff comes as used to be thought. But actually a specific substance to do particular jobs.
I think lots of people (ime) struggle with bf at first because they think the amount of time spent feeding signifies a problem such as that the baby is not satisfied. Infect it is just normal behaviour for a bf baby. Ff babies might go hours between feeds straight off, but bm is so easily digested that a tiny stomach full is gone again in 90min. Though it is a very natural feeding behaviour the frequancy can be worrying to people used to ff. Not to mention frustrating to anyone not expecting it! The good news is that is does settle down. They get more efficient at feeding an can take more at a time and ime around 6wks was a massive turning point (though there was still improvement between birth and then)

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sat 28-May-11 14:41:59

ffs. Phone! blush

BertieBotts Sat 28-May-11 14:45:43

And just to add to everyone else's advice - if you read up on safe co-sleeping before the baby arrives, that might be a good solution to help you get some sleep and cope with frequent feeds in the early days. It doesn't mean you have to co-sleep for ever if you don't want to, just to get you through those first few days.

PhyllisDiller Sat 28-May-11 20:07:15

I loved co-sleeping bertie, I have to say I co slept anyway even with f feeding. I had some lovely co-sleeping feeds but one midwife suggested that feeding lying down (which seemed to suit us both very nicely at the time) may have caused my nipples to get ruined and become sore because my baby was actually incorrectly latched…not sure if this would be true or not?

The le Leche link was very helpful thank you, I’ll look at getting the book too. It is so hard, last baby was the hardest, he cried for a few months solid regardless. Following what the midwife said regarding feeding lying down I was put off from getting a sling (pretty much essential if I have 2 others to look after on my own when DH goes back to work).

Fingers really crossed for a HB this time, I reckon I could deal with the one or two nights of utter hell if I was in my own bed (and not woken by the breakfast trolley at 8 when we both wanted to sleep). Plus there is more room in the bed for co-sleeping, do-able in hospital but a bit of a squash! I will try popping him (we know it’s a boy) on the boob more this time.

BertieBotts Sat 28-May-11 21:02:57

Hmmm.... I suppose midwife was technically right, in that when they fall asleep the latch can slip a bit. But if you were comfortable then it's unlikely this was happening. And actually, that happens anyway if they fall asleep while you're feeding them in any position! I actually found it a lot easier to get a good latch lying down at the beginning than sitting up, because sitting up I had to support DS' weight as well as try and position him, whereas lying down there was just the one thing to cope with.

So probably that midwife just didn't like co-sleeping.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sun 29-May-11 07:19:47

good luck phylis. smile

crikeybadger Sun 29-May-11 07:27:01

One more thing you could have a look at biological nurturing. It's a brilliant way of feeding in a gently reclined position and allows the baby to use his natural instincts to latch on.

Hope all goes well with your HB and your new boy. smile

PhyllisDiller Sun 29-May-11 12:49:56

Thank you everyone…I looked at the BN link, funnily enough for the few feeds we had DS did have a nurse then use me as a giant pillow.

MamaChocoholic Sun 29-May-11 16:02:02

Even if you don't have a HB you can ask for an early discharge if it's been straightforward. We were home 6 hours after, and that was with twins. But in my hospital you had to specifically ask for an early discharge direct from labour ward. Suited me because like you I thought I would cope with those early hours much better in my own home. I basically sppent the first few days sat feeding while looked after ds1 and brought me food and drink. Might be worth asking your mw about if it sounds something you'd like?

PhyllisDiller Sun 29-May-11 17:02:32

I had forgotten about early discharge actually, thank you for reminding me mama, currently 29 weeks and baby seems to be breech so I could be looking at a c-section (whole other thing to worry about!). Lots of floor scrubbing etc hoping he turns!

Tryharder Sun 29-May-11 17:12:02

As others have said, what you have described as a problem, actually sounds normal to me. All mine have fed pretty much constantly in the first few months.

I think that we see 4 hourly feeds as the norm in our society due to ff so when a baby wants to feed more frequently than that, we worry and think we are doing something wrong or our milk supply is adequate.

Would you consider joining La Leche League or a similar organisation.

FutureNannyOgg Sun 29-May-11 17:16:12

Before your milk comes in proper, the baby will do a lot of sucking to "order in" the milk. It's easy to panic and think they are hungry and not satisfied, but you just have to relax and have faith that after a few days there will be loads and loads of milk! The best advice I got was to cosleep and just let them suckle as much as they like, yes they will get a bit hungry just before the milk comes in, but they need to keep suckling through this to bring the milk in. Unless you have sore nipples, or the midwives confirm they are dehydrated, that's all you need to do. My milk took 4 days post CS in a hot August, and baby was absolutely fine on colostrum.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 30-May-11 04:39:33

This sounds exactly like my experience. My MW was really reassuring, she just kept saying, "your milk will come in and it will get easier" over and over. It did and it did. My nipples were like chopped liver by then but that got better too.

sasamaxx Mon 30-May-11 04:50:20

Great post from moonface smile

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 30-May-11 04:55:30

Just noticed FutureNannyOgg's name. Good choice, I shall tell the DH grin

< hijack over>

allhailtheaubergine Mon 30-May-11 05:09:10

See, when I was having that first hellish, non-stop suckling and crying night with my ds, I had never heard the idea of not having enough milk so I just assumed it was normal, carried on with the suckling and walking up and down to give my nips a rest, and went on to bf my baby until he weaned himself.

The only thing wrong with the picture was that it would have been a lot less hellish if I had been at home with my husband helping, instead of alone walking up and down a fluorescent lit hospital corridor.

Every other woman in my ward bottle fed because "they didn't have any milk".

I know that some women genuinely don't have any milk but I believe it is very rare. I don't know why it is such a common idea - why do people first assume that they don't have milk instead of assuming their baby is suckling to order the milk? Why don't the midwives tell people?

confuddledDOTcom Mon 30-May-11 05:41:13

Phyllis 29 weeks is not breech, there's plenty of time to turn even at 39 weeks there's plenty of time. Have a look at Spinning Babies for ideas to encourage baby down.

I'm 34 weeks and in hospital waiting for my tightenings to start to be effective and baby has been breech a couple of times the last few weeks. She's head down now and in good position so just waiting for her now.

ScrotalPantomime Mon 30-May-11 06:42:49

The newborn stomach is about the size of a small marble for the first few days, so it really doesn't take much colostrum to fill it up, and that also explains why they need 'little and often'

Good luck smile

PhyllisDiller Mon 30-May-11 12:15:53

I think one of my problems re lack of info last time was that I was sort of surrounded by people who FF, even my last MW ff. I am having a look at Le Leche website currently.

My nipples did get very sore, the skin was not so bad just the latch on pain ended up lasting all through the feed and beyond. Having said that I probably could have put up with the pain had I not thought my baby was wailing for food.

Turns out last baby was a bit of a wailer (even in the sling) for the first few months anyway!

I had read somewhere that putting lansinoh on in the week/days before delivery can help with the soreness too…not sure if this was just a marketing ploy though!?

Thank you for your tips, very grateful!

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Mon 30-May-11 13:49:03

I think lack of info is the biggest obsticle faced by women who want to bf. I could cry for the women i know who have told me they "couldn't bf" and them described what to me, sounds like a normal bf situation (growth spurt, early constant feeding etc)

Re nipple pain i had only a little and didn't bother with cream etc before the event. Ime in the early days it's very easy to have one feed with a poor latch and bruise your nip. Then you can have some pain even if the latch is correct as the damage is done iyswim. I'd say just get your latch checked as if it,s out the damage will get worse. But also if you feel it,s not quite right take them off and put them back on. Frequent feeding makes this easier imo as if they aren't that hungry that you don't feel bad about removing them. smile

The party line is that "if you are doing it right it doesn't hurt" but i know no one for whom this was true. I think it's for the reason i gave above and i personaly was pain free in about a week, though know it can take longer to be resolved for others.

Btw mw's are rarely experts on bf. If in any doubt at all get in touch with a proper bfc. Mn is good but it can't check your latch. As the baby is learning it too it's better sorting it sooner than later. smile

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