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5 things I wish I'd known before I started breastfeeding

(273 Posts)
twinklegreen Thu 21-Jul-11 11:54:27

just reflecting really.

What things do you wish you'd known before you had your baby?

Mine are;

1) the tingling sensation when you get a let down, as it describes in the books, can actually be quite toe-curling, and is completely normal.

2) It can take up to 7 days for your milk to come in.

3) the REAL experts in breastfeeding hold IBCLC or Breastfeeding counsellor training. Midwives and HV's often have very little training (Even sometimes if they are an infant feeding co-ordinator) and often give out incorrect or out of date information and advice. sad

4) You should try to feed your baby as soon as possible after birth, not wait until someone gives you permission. smile

5) The smell of EBF baby's poo is actually quite addictive grin

Anyone else?

nokissymum Thu 21-Jul-11 11:58:00

OH my God! wish someone had told me about MASTITIS!!! and its SYMPTOMS! and how to RELIEVE it and AVOID IT!

orchidee Thu 21-Jul-11 12:00:29

Excellent post!

1. It's natural, but you both may need to practice to get it right.

2. That nipple pain should not be put up with, if it doesn't feel right for mum it's not working right for baby

3. That initially it can be a full time job but that doesn't mean it's not happening properly (and to ignore well-meaning advice from people who don't know anything about BF)

4. That when you get over any initial issues and hit the established stage, it is a lovely, lovely thing

5. That it's a guaranteed comfort: for tiredness, after immunisations, for anything really...

Pesephone Thu 21-Jul-11 12:07:09

1:That introducing a dummy will likely mean your period returns sooner. sad

2: Ditto re that Health care professionals don't really know anything about breastfeeding! angry

3: that people will be negative about breastfeeding, and often agressive towards you if its working out for you.sad

4: that once you loose that super full feeling it doesn't mean your milk is going.

5: That just because yopu can introduce cows milk at a year that doesn't mean you have to stop bf. smile

twinklegreen Thu 21-Jul-11 13:00:40

Like these points smile

Keep them coming!

verylittlecarrot Thu 21-Jul-11 13:13:38

That your baby might want to nurse 20 times a day and if you have one of these it really is ok to just go with it and feed that often.
That, through repeating dodgy advice, people, even health professionals, frequently "out themselves" as Unknowledgeable about breastfeeding and it is ok to ignore their advice.
That it is OK to opt out of the HV service if they are doing more harm than good.
That I would feel ridiculously proud of myself for persevering and feeding them this way for as long as they wish. Prouder than almost anything else I've done.
That breastfeeding my babies could make me gloriously, blissfully happy and uplifted.

thesurgeonsmate Thu 21-Jul-11 13:16:47

1. That there are differing views on the "one side" / "two side" debate and that I would have to decide for myself what suited my baby.

2. How to feed a newborn with a cup. Fair enough, I wouldn't say everyone needs to know this. But I did need to know and working it out was one of the least pleasant evenings of my life.

3. Er, that's it.

Hopefully Thu 21-Jul-11 13:18:18

1) That it really, truly, doesn't need to hurt. Raw, bleeding nipples are not essential. Uncomfortable for a week or two, yes. Agony for two months, no.

2) That you will be damned by someone whether you BF or FF, so you may as well do your research and do what suits you (and if you want to really piss everyone off, mix feed grin)

3) That you might have to fight to get the help you need and deserve with BFing problems

4) That it is soooooooo convenient once you've limped through the first 4 months or so

5) That mastitis can be almost as bad as childbirth

MotherPanda Thu 21-Jul-11 13:18:51

takes notes

Go on!

AmandaB22 Thu 21-Jul-11 13:19:48

To begin with when baby crys boobie leaks!!!

Mastits comes on flippin quick and goes even quicker with meds

You can fully BF a 26week prem baby, it will take WEEKS but is sooo worth it

If its your 1st dont watch other mummys bf in public unnoticed,they are nijas!! that level of skill takes a while to master, yellow belt bf'ers will still have to get the whole boob out and baby latched on!

If it hurts after a week, your doing it wrong

EPPP Thu 21-Jul-11 13:20:22

I wish I had known about MN bf threads, didn't discover it until dc3.

CointreauVersial Thu 21-Jul-11 13:26:15

It always hurts for the first few days.

As they grow older you won't want to give it up.

It's something that only you can do, i.e. someone else can run the hoover around, make the tea etc. etc. while you take it easy for 20 minutes.

Feeding at night is very soporific - you'll be back in the land of nod moments afterwards.

If you get mastitis it will be just as you are stopping BFing the last of your three DCs having suffered no problems whatsoever before then. angry

choceyes Thu 21-Jul-11 13:26:46

1. It can hurt to BF even if the latch if OK, but only for the first couple of weeks or so. I had cuts on my nipple even though the latch was perfect, but the pain just went away after 2 weeks. Any longer and there probably is a latch problem.

2. Nobody bats an eyelid when you are BF in public. Nobody cares. Just go ahead and feed!

3. HV know nothing about breastfeeding (well most of them anyway).

4. You will feel hungry all the time.

5. Feeding laying down is a godsend. Even though I didn't master it till quite late on, maybe when DD was about 4 months, it really gives me extra sleep at night and I even have a doze when I feed her to sleep in the evening!

LaWeasel Thu 21-Jul-11 13:42:45

It doesn't always hurt, even at the beginning.

If your boob suddenly feels like a rock, bf as much as possible, checking latch.

It makes you really thirsty.

If you have small boobs, it's more discreet to feed by pulling your top down (with something over your shoulder if necessary) than up.

It's okay to want to feed discreetly, and it's usually not very hard with a bit of practice.

LaWeasel Thu 21-Jul-11 13:44:27

Also, unless you find leaking boobs a turn on(!), you will be having sex with a bra on for a very long time...

NewYorkBellini Thu 21-Jul-11 13:52:25

That it could be so restrictive sad Have bf dd for 6 months now but tbh find it so restricting in that I can't be away from her for any significant length of time.

She won't take a bottle so trying really hard to get her onto a cup! I just want to be able to hand her to dh and swan off for the day, I need a break! With hindsight i would try and mixfeed from day 1 like i did with ds.

Ah well, it's not forever and it is convenient smile

Nyx Thu 21-Jul-11 14:00:45

I loved breastfeeding. We had our ups and downs and sore nipples (well, agonising nipples at one point) but we got through it. I have good points and bad points that I wish I'd known in advance:

1. That my DD wouldn't take a bottle of EBM at all when she was 6 months old and due to start at the childminder 3 days a week while I went back to work.

2. That it meant nobody else could ever feed my DD, ever, until she was weaned.

3. That it would be so automatic - offer a BF for anything at all and everything got better.

4. That BFing DD to sleep was not such a big deal, because when the time came, she stopped without too much hassle at all, really.

5. That BFing out of doors would be so straightforward and easy, once we took the plunge - my nerves were the worst thing about it.

If we were to have another baby, I would do it all again except that early on I would get the baby used to drinking EBM from a bottle - see points 1 and 2!

clit Thu 21-Jul-11 14:20:01

1) That it is completely NORMAL for a baby to breatfeed every 1-1.5 hours for the first few weeks/months

2) That it is completly NORMAL for a bf baby to gain just 2-3 oz per week in the early months if that is his/her individual growth pattern (drove myself insane over this!)

3) That faffing around tucking a muslin into your bra strap and flapping it around to try and get it in the right position draws more attention to you than just lifting your top and getting on with it.

4) That you don't have to spend ££s on nursing bras when a good non-wired bra will do the job (never could get on with those clips - just oik it up and over!)

5) How utterly cute it is when your 18 month old asks for 'milky' or 'more side' like my DD does smile Makes it all worthwhile.

DorcasB Thu 21-Jul-11 14:48:47

As others have said...
1. Newborns breastfeed A LOT. They aren't supposed to feed in nicely spaced out four hour intervals. My mother's (wellmeaning) confusion about why she wasn't doing this, based on her experience of FF me in the seventies caused me a lot of anxiety about why my DD was so hungry all the time. I just cannot understand why noone perpares you for this beforehand- not even the NCT breastfeeding classes. It would be really helpful to know beforehand that you will be pinned to the sofa feeding for most of the time.
Which leads me to...
2. Newborns take their time feeding and frequently doze off. Again, would have saved on a lot of anxiety and pointless attempts to keep her awake.
3. Again, as others have said, HVs, midwives, infant feeding coordinators, breastfeeding counsellors... All capable of being utterly crap beyond showing you how to latch on. And some of them don't even know how to do that! Still feel angry that three weeks of extensive Internet/mumsnet research left me better informed than some of the professionals. Will go straight to fully qualified LC if needs be in the future.
Which sort of leads to...
4. I wish I'd heard of posterior Tongue tie and known that above mentioned inept professionals will not have heard of it, despite it not being that uncommon. If there is a next time will get this checked straight away by someone who knows what they're looking for.
5. That despite numerous problems it is possible to get past them if that's what you really want. DD is nearly six months and we are still EBF and it is a lovely, lovely thing. Never thought we'd get here in the early, painful days but so grateful that we did.

DorcasB Thu 21-Jul-11 14:52:35

Sorry for the essay. blush I feel quite strongly about the whole thing having had such a difficult start. I do think that it would be helpful to prepare women more realistically for breastfeeding. And to properly train the HCPs. I'll stop going on about it now though... smile

choceyes Thu 21-Jul-11 15:06:11

Also to add that not all newborns do need feeding all the time.
My DD fed every 3 hours for about 20mins at a time. None of the all day or every 1 or 2 hours/pinned to the sofa thing that I was expecting.
Don't go by the duration of feeds. It can be very misleading beacause different babies have different efficiences at breastfeeding. Some babies can feed up to an hour and still only get what another more efficient feeder can extract in 5 mins. My DD was of the latter and I was never pinned to the sofa!

choceyes Thu 21-Jul-11 15:07:47

Easier to go by feeling how well the breasts are emptied, number of wet/poo nappies, contentment of the baby. Rather than clock watching.

DorcasB Thu 21-Jul-11 15:18:01

Ha ha choceyes, I think that was more along the lines of what my mum was expecting! I guess they are all different, maybe that is the most important thing to know... Rather than expecting your baby to be like your friend's/sister's/neighbour's/postman's third cousin's baby! And getting anxious because they're not. True of so many things, not just BF!

CountBapula Thu 21-Jul-11 15:20:00

That not everyone leaks milk, feels full or experiences let-down (I never have, and am still bfing DS at 10 months).

That newborns feed loads and loads and loads, especially in the evenings and during growth spurts, of which there are many in the first six months.

That most people (including HCPs) don't really understand how bf works.

That it's a lovely way to relax, put your feet up and go on mumsnet gaze at your beautiful baby.

That expressing is a monumental pain in the arse, and you might not get much - it's not as simple as just merrily pumping out gallons of milk for your DP/DH to give night feeds.

choceyes Thu 21-Jul-11 16:15:02

DorcasB - yes they are all different! My DD is an excellent breastfeeder, whereas my DS failed miserably!

Another one who has never leaked any milk even when engorged. Never used a single breastpad with 2 DCs.
My mum never leaked either, and she thought she had low supply. Not the case at all. Either you leak or you don't.

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