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Establishing breastfeeding & visitors coming to see newborn

(32 Posts)
Rootatoot Wed 06-Jul-11 20:26:01


I'm 33 weeks pg and starting to think ahead (probably too much!) I'm aware that breastfeeding in the early days can be very demanding and baby might be latched on more than off. I'm just a bit worried about visitors coming round if I need to feed.

I'm sure once I'm used to it I'll be fine but in the first few days when I'm trying to get used to it, and fangle about with nursing bras, I'm going to feel mighty uncomfortable feeding in front of people such as FIL, my Dad etc and to be fair, so would they (generational thing). What do people do? I can obviously choose to feed upstairs but then they're going to come to see baby and if he's latched on as much as some are, then he might only be 'off' for 20 mins at a time?!

nocake Wed 06-Jul-11 20:33:54

The priority is feeding your baby, not seeing visitors, so they should fit around you. If the baby is feeding then they can't see him/her. When DD was born in Jan we had visits from both sets of parents in hospital but then had no visitors for quite a while afterwards. It may have been as much as two weeks.

WishIwasCherryMenlove Wed 06-Jul-11 20:36:18


Tricky one. This is all tied up with the whole issue of whether you let family in too much or get your own time. On the one hand you want to see family and they are dying to see the new baby, but on the other hand you want time alone to do things like get the breastfeeding sorted.

The first time my inlaws saw DS he was being fed. You can do breastfeeding quite subtly really - I did the football/rugby hold as first as I had a c-section, and just made sure everything was totally covered up - I don't think they realised he was latched on!

Then when all the family descended a few days later and DS was having a mammoth feed day, I just went upstairs with DS as I'd given up with being polite by that stage.

I think you do have to be a bit strict about what you want to do and not let others influence you too much - I banned visitors in the evening a few days on, as all I wanted to do was sit on the sofa with my baps out feeding DS and catching up on Eastenders.

Also you soon don't worry about who sees breastfeeding, and like I say it's possible to do it all quite subtly

sorry this is a bit rambly, good luck and congrats x

tigana Wed 06-Jul-11 20:36:47

Do they live near by? In which case easier to get DH to act as gatekeeper and tell them to come round in an hour because DC will have fed by then (and then to bugger off home after half an hour because DC wants more).

If they are travelling to see you it is trickier....but don't let them visit too soon after the birth give yourself a few days to adjust...esp if they are likely to be the "sit around looking at the baby, getting in the way and blithely expecting cups of tea" visitor type rather than the "coo over baby, do washing up for you, make you a cup of tea, coo a bit more" type.

I remember struggling to bf ds with my bil sitting right next to em on sofa while i hoiked massive engorged nork at squawling ds face repeatedly... not the most fun i've ever had!

SootySweepandSue Wed 06-Jul-11 20:40:23

I would tell them in advance very short visits only and only when you say.

My DD did not latch on (at all) and I remember feeling awful with her crying in our bedroom when I was trying to feed her with a load of relatives in the lounge next door doing nada about our situation.

I ended up expressing for a while therefore my tits were permanently on show, so not great for visitors either.

I would allow your own mum only. Especially if she BF.

SootySweepandSue Wed 06-Jul-11 20:43:55

Just reread my post...what I meant to say was if your mum has BF she will be invaluable to you during this time and you may wish she was around.

Rootatoot Wed 06-Jul-11 20:53:03

Both sets (actually 3 sets, Dh's parents are divorced) all live miles away so will at least be here for 'the day' when they come. Step Dad is in his 70s and has alzeihmers. My dad very old fashioned and we'd both feel v uncomfortable. My mum didn't breastfeed or try to - I think she's weirdly prudish about it and at the least hint of a problem will be waving a bottle at me! I'm open minded, and just want to see how it goes, but don't want to make it any harder than needs be & can just imagine an influx of visitors won't help me and baby get ourselves sorted. Dh's Dad will just turn up without warning knowing him and may or may not include Dh's half brothers in their 20s. confused

I know you can feed very discreetly, I'm just worried that will take me a while to get 'good at it' and until then I would just feel massively uncomfortable trying to feed when certain people are there.

I'm also possibly heading for c section as my bp hasn't come under control. Nipping upstairs (steep in our house) to feed will be hard.

I need to stop worrying about what might happen don't i? You're prob right, that we should be a bit strict and put baby & me first whilst we get sorted out.

WishIwasCherryMenlove Wed 06-Jul-11 21:21:59

However if you have a C section, then you will be in hospital for a few days which gives you a chance to practice the feeding at least?

Just do what you want to do and don't let others dictate it.

As to the older generation and formula, my FIL when he he first met DS and on subsequent occasions kept saying "what that boy wants is a big bottle" whenever DS wimpered at the slightest thing - ahhh!!!!

Selks Wed 06-Jul-11 21:28:58

I'm sure close family will want to try to fit round you and the baby and will not want to get in the way at all, but it sounds a bit harsh to restrict visitors to your Mum only as someone suggested above.
I'd just explain to your family that it'll be difficult to predict when the baby will need to feed and when he/she does need to feed you'll need some quiet time, and maybe if they happen to be around at that time they could occupy themselves doing something else while you feed, such as pop out for a walk round the neighbourhood, or wash up for you......

kimberlina Wed 06-Jul-11 21:43:28

I didn't like feeding in front of people either. If they visit you in hospital (esp if you have a section then you might be in several days) then at least there will only be a couple of 1-1.5hr periods that they can visit. The rest of the time then you can be stripped off, baby attached with the curtains drawn if you want.

But I agree with other posters - you and baby come first so they will have to leave if the baby wants feeding during visiting hours.

Once home then I would go in a separate room and give visitors tasks as selks suggests to keep them occupied until you and the baby are ready

kellieb7 Wed 06-Jul-11 21:48:02

Hi, I also thought about this loads when I was pregnant and really worried. HOWEVER my family were great and I spoke to them about how I was feeling and it ended up that when they visited and DD needed feeding (which was most of the time) the family members that were slightly prudish would busy themselves without too much fuss (I always remember my Dad suddenly taking a huge interest in our greenhouse). 6 months on and I am still BF'ing and in all honesty no one appears to care as they can see that DD is thriving all because of Mummy's milk. In fact my Mum (who was very anti BF) has said that she wished she had tried because my DD is so content and well. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and enjoy breastfeeding grin

sittinginthesun Wed 06-Jul-11 21:53:33

First time round, the first couple of weeks were a blur, but I was quite rude to any visitors - I could actually only chat for 20 mins before I was exhausted. I spent a lot of time in bed! None of my family or friends have mentioned it since, so assume they weren't

Second time, I actually lay down a few rules - no visits not requested by me until 2 weeks, and all visitors gone by 4pm! Worked fine, and again no one thought it strange.

A friend of mine literally stayed in bed for two weeks, and refused all visitors.

I think you have to play it by ear but, honestly, it's the one time when you can be quite rude. Everyone will assume it's hormonessmile

orchidee Wed 06-Jul-11 23:37:31

I've just recently been through this myself. These are my views and fit my situation; no pressure intended for anyone else to feel it should fit them. (For info, my family are local; DP's are several hours' drive away.)
I would say that if you're unsure about visits now, don't make firm arrangements.

The baby's needs come before visitors' desires.
The baby and I need the right environment to get BF working. This includes physical and emotional stuff (recovery from the birth and being relaxed.)
Feeding in front of others will not be relaxing until I am confident that feeding is working (effective milk transfer) and discrete. (Flip side - you can visit if I'm comfortable feeding in front of you.)
No-one should plan to visit us at a certain point e.g. in hospital or on day x; after the birth we'll let you know when it's convenient. (This isn't just about BF)

As it happened we needed to concentrate on getting feeding established when I got home from hospital for several reasons (that's another thread) and I was glad that we weren't in the position of changing already-made plans e.g. XX is expecting to visit tomorrow. Also, I'd been waned that whether you BF or FF, the first week can be topsy turvy with pregnancy hormones crashing and milk hormones taking over. I spent one morning crying, saying "I don't know whay I'm crying, I'm not at all sad!"

Good luck. Do what feels right for you.

RitaMorgan Thu 07-Jul-11 08:11:19

I would give yourself a week or two after the birth before you have any visitors if possible.

EauRouge Thu 07-Jul-11 08:58:02

Yes, I agree with setting rules, I did this with DD2 and it worked well. My rules were- bring food, do some housework and don't stay too long. If you're having a C section then you should absolutely be resting and having people bring you drinks, food etc.

If you're nervous about feeding in the same room then could your FiL nip into the kitchen to put the kettle on while you get your baby latched on? Once your baby is latched on then you could drape a muslin square around him so no one else can see.

Make sure your DH is onside, come up with a codeword if you don't want to tell guests yourself that it's time to leave. Your DH's priority is you and your baby, not the visitors. He doesn't have to be rude, just say that you're tired and you need to rest. Most people are pretty good at taking a hint!

FessaEst Thu 07-Jul-11 09:51:06

I had to stay in bed for most of DH's paternity leave due to stitches/complications, and all our family live hours away. Looking back, I can attribute my perservering with bfing to these two factors. DD and I just snuggled up in bed, mostly naked, and worked it out together. I received the post/cards/flowers and tempting consumables, while DH and my Mum did everything else! It was great!

As a PP said, I was soo hormonal and tearful, very sore and tired, I couldn't have coped with long visits from people I wasn't comfortable with at that stage. I would talk this through with your DP/H and ask him to be the gatekeeper.

FWIW, a few weeks after DD was born, my siblings were down, we were all sat round in our sitting room, and I was trying to latch a fussing DD and put lansinoh on breast pads for the other boob. Did it all without moving, looked up and saw my siblings exchanging looks, and my brother said, "well, times have changed haven't they!". I honestly didn't even consider the fact that I had both boobs out at all, so you confidence will come quite quickly ime!!

VeronicaCake Thu 07-Jul-11 10:16:35

I would stop worrying and take things as they come. So long as you and your partner are clear that your baby's comfort and your comfort are the number one priority. In my case the post birth high meant that I had no qualms about feeding in front of others at all in the first few days, but when DH's Mum and Dad came to visit at 2 weeks I was a lot more squeamish, so I really needed an inverse baby moon (get all of the visiting over in the first week or so and then have five weeks of peace and quiet!). You may feel totally different.

MooM00 Thu 07-Jul-11 10:31:04

After dc2 was born the visiting became ridiculous,DH had 2 weeks off and we didn't get a single day with no visitors. I must have been quite rude to some of them as when dc3 was born only FIL and SIL dared visit.

Yesmynameis Thu 07-Jul-11 10:49:39

Hi! Just wanted to share my experience too. Before dd birth, dh and I had been quite strict with both our families and said we probably didn't want anyone to come to the hospital and wouldn't be making any fixed plans for after the birth, however that dh would call and let them know when they could visit. Basically they were to stay way until told otherwise!

In the end, I ended up having a crash section at 10 days overdue and a 2 night stay in hospital. We totally changed our mind about not wanting to have visitors as hospital. In the end we had both sets of parents, both our sisters, bil and baby nephew all there! I think it was the trauma of the birth, everyone was desperate to see each other and the new arrival; both us and the family.

After I was discharged, I obviously couldn't get in and out of bed or up and down to the loo etc without help and someone to at least take care of dd and do nappy changes whilst I was hobbling about. The day after we got home, no relatives were available to come and give me a hand whilst DH went out to buy bread/milk/smaller baby gros/emergency breast pump etc etc, it was a bit of a nightmare tbh. I guess we only had ourselves to blame for telling everyone we wanted them to stay away!

Fwiw, I didn't struggle at all with stairs 3 days after my section when I got home. Whenever I wanted to feed dd and reli's were here I just went upstairs and took cover in my bedroom for as long as it took. If they got really bored, they just went home smile

My advice would be to not be too eager to warn off every single relative, especially if you're envisaging a c-section. Best have someone you trust at least on call, just in case they're needed ime

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 07-Jul-11 11:35:47

Haven't read the whold thread so sorry if I'm repeating. With DC1 we had lots of visitors who stayed for hours. With DC2 we learnt our lesson. While still pregnant I stocked up on drinks and snacks and when DD arrived we sent around the message with an invited to a baby welcome party on the Sunday afternoon between 2pm and 5pm. It was fab, all our family and friends came and we all had a lovely time. Obviously though Parents and siblings had already met her but I have a big family and lots of friends so it was lovely to catch up in one big party.

As for FIL and DF please don't disappear, if you go upstairs you may feel isolated and could potentially be up there for hours. If anyone feels unfortable with your baby feeding then it is they who have the problem and should be they who remove themselves from the situation.

If you can go to your local Bfing Support Groups before you have the baby, there is some info here or try your local Baby Cafe, NCT or La Leche League.

Another thing that should stop you worrying so much is, when you go out take a look around and see how many Mums you can see bfing. Usually you just don't notice as it is so discreet.

Rootatoot Thu 07-Jul-11 22:54:30

Thanks Jilted & others, for lovely advice. I think it's just the early days I've been thinking about, whilst I'm getting the hang of it & whilst I agree with you about it being perfectly ok for me to stay in room and if people are uncomfortable then they need to deal with it, I think it is ME that will feel uncomfortable too, to start with.

But, big BUT, I've been to hospital today with the blood pressure again after a growth scan which is showing baby small. Long and short of it is they expect baby to be early and possibly even will have him out this week. Massive shock. Only 34 weeks tomorrow. I have BF class tomorrow (only one ) but not sure I'll feel well enough to go. I'm totally exhausted. Had steroid injection today and another tomorrow, to help baby's lungs. I kind of want to go to bf class for info but I think if I feel this bad tomorrow, I'd be better to just rest. I'll just have to muddle through. Don't know what having baby this early would mean for chances of breastfeeding.

Haven't had time to read all the info I need to. It's TOO EARLY! sad

brettgirl2 Fri 08-Jul-11 08:03:54

You need to be strict. I refused to let anyone come during the evening for several weeks. Both sets of parents/siblings were allowed to pop in for an hour. DH's parents and sister live miles away - that's not your problem. If the dont think its worth the journey to pop in they can wait a couple of weeks. Despite my rules MIL still came round twice in the first couple of weeks. In general she is a fairly reasonable woman though, and I realise that your lot may not be the same. I actually had more issues with my local family tbh.

brettgirl2 Fri 08-Jul-11 08:07:36

Didnt see your latest post sorry. Fingers crossed everything will b ok. I would post on bfing because I'm sure there will be people there with experience of this.

brettgirl2 Fri 08-Jul-11 08:11:02

Omg I'm making less and lesd sense I thought I was in pregnancy blush. Take care look after yourself and I will stop making embarrassing posts.

EauRouge Fri 08-Jul-11 08:40:58

Rootatoot, sorry you're feeling so ill. I'm sure the hospital will take really good care of you.

There are some articles here about BF premature babies. I would also try to get hold of a BF counsellor before you have your baby, there are loads of organisations so hopefully there will be someone close by. Try LLL, NCT or ABM or you could try one of the helplines:
LLL- 0845 120 2918
NCT- 0300 330 0771
ABM- 08444 122 949

You could also ask whether your hospital has a breastfeeding expert you can see. There's lots of support available so don't feel like you're on your own. Best of luck with the birth and BF smile

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