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Can I do anything to prepare for breastfeeding?

(12 Posts)
TiredMcSnoozey Thu 09-Jun-11 09:07:01

I am currently 38 weeks pregnant with baby number 2. My DS is now 2 years 8 months. I desperately wanted to bf him, but had a lot of difficulties. I asked for support at the hospital immediately after he was born and was told 'take your top off, sleep with him in bed next to you and he will feed'. Needless to say, being completely sleep deprived and an anxious new mother I didn't do this, so tried to muddle through on my own. He fed ok for the first 4 days and then just refused to feed any more. We went backwards and forwards to the breast feeding clinic at the hospital and in the end even the midwives and paediatricians admitted defeat and said all I could do was express. I managed this for about 7 weeks, after which I couldn't take the constant expressing and sitting up in the middle of the night, listening to the f***ing breast pump going while everyone else slept!
This time, I really want to give myself and new baby the best possible chance. I have read up, been to hospital antenatal class, spoken to friends who have bf'd. I am trying not to get too 'set' on bf ing , as I was devastated when I had to stop last time, so I want to be prepared if something goes wrong this time. But, I do want to know that I have done everything I can to start out on the right foot.
So my question is - is there anything I can do - physically or mentally! - to prepare for breastfeeding? Any tips gratefully received!

orchidee Thu 09-Jun-11 09:18:14

I'm new to BF after having a baby last month so it's all very recent for me. My suggestions:

Try to think about your home life e.g. help at home with your son, housework etc so you can dedicate the early days to BF being priority no1.

Fill the freezer and cupboards with food. Have lots of drinks and snacks available.

Arrange somewhere comfortable to feed (thinking about seating, cushions etc.)

I'm thinking that with a second baby, if labour is straightforward you could be discharged quickly. Find out about local BF support now, e.g. weekly drop-in clinics, whether one-to-one support is available 'on prescription' e.g. through MW / HV rather than waiting for this to be done at your hospital discharge. Just knowing what's available may be helpful.

Continue to read up on BF in books, websites and here. This topic is useful for info and support. (I could thread hijack about the support I've received.)

Remember that although you've done it before, your new baby hasn't so you both need practice.

Oh and get some Lansinoh in!

good luck

cocoachannel Thu 09-Jun-11 09:22:05

DD1 is now three weeks, and as well as following orchidee's excellent advice, I would read up on growth spurts, particularly the three week one. Even though you've been there before a reminder may help you prepare!

cocoachannel Thu 09-Jun-11 09:22:30

DD1 is now 14 weeks...!? Sorry. Sleep deprived as we hurl towards 4 months!

WoTmania Thu 09-Jun-11 09:23:30

Ideally I would find a LLL or NCT group near you and get to know the BF counsellors. this helps enormously as when having difficulties and sleep deprived and hormonal it's a lot easier to piock up the hpone and call someone you know rather than a complete stranger.
Also try and find somehwere that does antenatal sessions (most LLL groups will do one if you ask) so you have some helpful info.
Get your DP/H and anyone else close to you on side. Explain that you want support and encouragement breastfeeding (again, LLL do a very good info sheet called 'Dads are Special' and another called 'How to support a BF Mother) and surround yourself with people who breastfeed so it's your 'normal'.
Did DS get checked for tongue-tie etc at the hospital?
HTH

WoTmania Thu 09-Jun-11 09:24:39

Oh, and prime people to help round the house and cook for you rther than suggest 'just one bottle' so you can 'get on with housework' while they look after your baby

SkaterGrrrrl Thu 09-Jun-11 09:25:00

Your partners attitude can make or break BF success so get him on board!

Watching someone else BF is helpful, it was for me anyway.

It is so wonderful when it all falls into place, easy, free, convenient so best of luck!

EauRouge Thu 09-Jun-11 09:26:54

Physically you don't need to do anything, there are some old wives tales about toughening your nipples and that kind of thing but it's all bobbins. A decent nursing bra is the only equipment that's pretty much essential but some people find they need breast pads or a nursing cushion.

The best thing you can do is set up a really good support network and give everyone their jobs to do. So you could tell your DH that he is to keep your DS entertained and keep you fed and watered so you can concentrate on getting feeding established. You could ask your parents, neighbour, best mate or whoever to help out with a bit of housework or run some errands when they come to visit. Try to make sure the only thing you have to do is feed the baby!

The other really important part of the support network is people with experience that can give you any information you might need. A breastfeeding group like LLL, NCT, ABM etc (there are also lots of smaller groups, your MW or HV should know) and go along before your baby arrives if you can, or contact one of the BF counsellors. If you talk over what happened with your DS then I'm sure they will be able to give you some information that you'll find helpful.

Good luck with the labour and with the feeding!

nethunsreject Thu 09-Jun-11 09:30:56

Good support group with peer supporters who actually know their stuff - always better than over worked mw who vary widely in their knowledge base and sometimes do more harm than good.

List of support helplines and phone.

Practical helpp for the first few weeks.

Realistic expectations - your job for the first 6 wks is to feed your baby and stay sane!

The confidence that you are fantastic and you CAN do it.

I also floundered with ds1, but still loving bfing ds2 at 1 year. The first few weeks are tough but it is so much easier than faffing with bottles in the long run. And lovely and cuddly!

TiredMcSnoozey Thu 09-Jun-11 12:48:35

Thank you everyone! Lots of things I hadn't thought about - my DH is completely supportive of me, but I think I will have a chat with him about keeping our DS entertained as much as possible and bringing me food and drink!! Loving that tip!
I have had a look and found a few breast feeding support groups near me, so I will try to drop into those as much as I can. I think I also need to get a bit better at asking people to do things for me, it can be so easy to say 'I'm fine' when on the inside I am screaming 'Yes! I want you to clean my house and make me dinner!!'
nethuns - it's fab to hear that you are doing so well with your second - and still going at 1 year! Wow, I am in awe. It gives me confidence that I will be able to do it second time around.
I think I basically need to get my head around the fact that for the first few weeks (or as long as it takes) I need to just concentrate on feeding and try to let others do the rest.
Now all I need is the baby to arrive!

japhrimel Thu 09-Jun-11 13:15:21

I read quite a bit on here and on Kellymom.com and it prepared me for the kind of issues we could run into. DH and I were then on Kellymom, here or looking at Jack Newman videos so much in the early days too!

Making sure your partner knows that his job is to make sure you and your DS are fed, DS is entertained and visitors help out really makes a difference. My DH was completely supportive of bfing and I wouldn't have coped without that as we struggled so much in the early days.

It also helps to realise that the more stressed you and your baby are, the harder feeding is in the initial days. For example, so called bfing "help" that involves forcing a baby onto the breast by pushing the back of the head can actually make babies refuse the breast! So actually, the advice to try feeding lying down and be relaxed about it, wasn't bad advice.

Actually, thinking about working on learning to feed lying down from very early on would be good. A lot of bfing Mums I know have agreed that feeding lying down saved them.

Albrecht Thu 09-Jun-11 14:07:54

All great advice here. Honestly go along to as many support groups as you can now so you are going somewhere known once the baby arrives. My 1st LLL meeting there were more pregnant women than babies!

And just tell yourself you are not asking other people to help out for your own sake, its for the sake of your baby so they get the best possible start.

Good luck!

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