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Handy bits of advice that you wish you knew about breastfeeding before you started

(26 Posts)
pigletmania Sat 03-Sep-11 21:34:22

Hi I haven't been on here for a while, but I am now pregnant (20 weeks) with a ds. I was unsuccessful in bf my dd 4, and don't think I did enough research. I would really love to breastfeed successfully this time round, what handy bits of advice can you lovely people offer to help me smile. I have already learned a massive amount of information from MN and wish that I had discovered it earlier.

isitmidnightalready Sun 04-Sep-11 03:06:41

I reckon my best news was that it is comfier to do it lying down. Much easier than trying to contort your bodies into the right angles, and all the backache that goes with it. I had a great blow up cushion for DD3 - like a giant horsehoe shape that propped DD at the right height so that I did not have to carry her weight as well as manoevre her into place ( I had CS and so was a bit wary of strain)

Having everything to hand is useful so you can carry on for as long as it takes. Trying not to be hassled and being left to get on with it for the first few weeks is great but not always possible.

Look out for a tongue tie if the baby can't seem to latch on properly. cabbageleaves - can't remember why - I think it was to relieve the mastitis. And warm flannels.

SofiaAmes Sun 04-Sep-11 05:46:24

Helpful hints that people gave me:
1. Make sure that the baby's mouth is over your whole areola, not just the nipple....THIS IS SUPER SUPER IMPORTANT.
2. Have a glass of water handy before you settle down to bf.
3. If you get bored easily (like me), make sure you have something set up (like tv, dvd or audiobook) that you can do hands free while bfing (which was in my case a 2 handed job)
3. Expect it to take awhile and don't try to rush things. Some babies drink fast and some don't.
4. Blocked milk ducts are a fact of life when bfing. Hot compresses and a hand pump are very helpful to unblock them. Or even bfing through it.
5. As mentioned above...find a comfortable position. When mine were newborns (especially with ds as I had had an emergency cs and couldn't sit up), I would lie down and they would lie belly down across my chest with feet on one breast and mouth on the other.
6. Don't get too caught up in emptying both breasts equally. Ds preferred one over the other and would spend twice as much time on that breast. Made me very lopsided smile but made him happy.
7. I know it's not advised nowadays, but I found co-sleeping very helpful with bfing as I could just roll over and stick the baby on my breast and kind of half sleep through the bfing session.

Good luck, bfing is an amazing thing and so convenient (and so much cheaper).

BizzeeBee Sun 04-Sep-11 06:37:27

I learned that the most important thing with BFing is getting a good latch, and I get the impression that most problems can be traced back to a bad latch. The latch can look good, but still not be right.

I recommend that you spend some time looking at videos to see how it's done. The Jack Newman videos are useful.

And the Kellymom website has lots of really useful info.

smile

cluelessnchaos Sun 04-Sep-11 06:46:45

That there isn't a breastfeeding problem
That can't be fixed by feeding more frequently.

My mantra is feed through it, for mastitis, poor weight gain, blocked ducts, cluster feeds, growth spurt, night wakenings.

muttimalzwei Sun 04-Sep-11 07:07:11

get as much support as you can until you are confident the baby is latched on correctly. And have everything you need close to hand!

muttimalzwei Sun 04-Sep-11 07:07:32

get as much support as you can until you are confident the baby is latched on correctly. And have everything you need close to hand!

Byeckerslike Sun 04-Sep-11 07:10:39

here is a thread of exactly that, which is amazing

muttimalzwei Sun 04-Sep-11 07:14:56

Lansinoh nipple cream. And ask for as many free samples of it (and breast pads etc) as you can get your hands on while in hospital. Join breastfeeding support group, lots of advice and help from other mums and breastfeeding counsellors. GOOD LUCK X

LargeGlassofRed Sun 04-Sep-11 07:18:04

I remember before I had my twins that someone told me to remember when your feeding in the early days,
The baby needs a buffet not a huge meal and needs to visit the buffet table regularly! Also that their stomachs are only the size of their fists.
This really helped when the boys were little and feeding every hour and a half!

LargeGlassofRed Sun 04-Sep-11 07:20:53

Oh and I went to a local breast feeding group snd learnt how to feed in a sling, this was invaluable.

BalloonSlayer Sun 04-Sep-11 07:28:21

That if you have days when the baby is feeding and feeding from what feels like completely empty (and very sore!) boobs, this doesn't mean that your milk supply is failing and that you don't have enough. It means that the baby needs more because he/she is growing bigger and the natural and very clever process of increasing your milk supply is successfully in progress... just hang on in there!

diyqueen Sun 04-Sep-11 09:25:43

To expect it to be extremely hard work at the start and to take one day at a time - just aim to get to the end of the day breastfeeding and do the same the next day, don't think in weeks/months! I agree with the Lansinoh cream - I wished I had used it from the start and not just after I got cracked nipples - and going to a breastfeeding group. I had no idea before I started that it was going to be a 24-hour job pretty much in the early days - had been told babies feed about every 3 hours - or be so painful until I'd got the latch and the cracked skin sorted out. But if you get through the first few weeks, it gets so much easier after that for most people - I love feeding my baby now and she only feeds for 5-10 mins most feeds now, at 5.5 months. Good luck!

AliMcBooger Sun 04-Sep-11 09:34:53

That it is absolutely nobody's business but yours whether you do or don't breastfeed for whatever periOd of time. Not to say threads like these aren't incredibly useful (certainly were for me with my two ds's) but I spent a lot of time worrying about what "society" would think of me if I breastfed or bottlefed which was so silly of me.

Not to detract from your request for real info pigletmania- makes so much sense to get the collective wisdom of MN behind you! Good luck.

AliMcBooger Sun 04-Sep-11 09:37:05

Ps change breastpads frequently- constantly damp nips = sore nips

SarahScot Sun 04-Sep-11 09:45:26

My advice - don't try too hard! I stressed myself out so much about getting it right with dc1, I think I over-thought it, breastfeeding failed and I felt I'd failed. With dc2 I promised myself that I would try BFing, if I didn't work I woud FF and not beat myself up about it. As a result of my 'not bothered' attitude, breastfeeding was easy second time round, no problems at all. I just stuck her on the boob as soon as she was born and it was plain sailing from there on in.

LeonieDeSaintVire Sun 04-Sep-11 10:07:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pigletmania Sun 04-Sep-11 10:11:54

thank you so much smile, i will keep this thread and print it out so that i can have these useful tips handy

isitmidnightalready Sun 04-Sep-11 18:55:18

pig is right - you have the cure for most ills just two seconds away - it soothes most problems and is instant. Get one out whenever you feel the baby needs / wants it. Makes life much happier all round.

Pinkiemum Sun 04-Sep-11 19:04:45

That when your baby is on one breast, the other can leak most of its milk before the baby has a chance to feed off it, I took me weeks to work that out and by breast shields which catch the milk so I could give to the baby in a bottle.

JBrd Sun 04-Sep-11 21:36:49

I can only repeat what some have already posted - get as much support from trained breastfeeding counsellors as possible, go to their clinics everyday, if necessary, until you can be sure that you've got a good latch and baby is feeding well!
I wish I had done this - was told in hospital that DS's latch 'looked good' and thought all was well. It wasn't, he lost lots of weight, and I have had to do mixed feeding. I believed that I had low milk supply and didn't go for any more help. Then a couple of days ago I went to a drop-in bf clinic because DS started to refuse feeding from the breast, the lactation consultant took one look at his latch and asked 'Has he been checked for tongue tie?'. She then got one of her colleagues, who is a tongue tie specialist, to check him and -bingo!- he's got it. He's almost 15 weeks old, and I'm worried that it's too late now, as my milk supply has started to go down because he hasn't been taking the breast well!
So go go go to those breastfeeding clinics! They are great, even if you don't have any problems, just to get support and reassurance.

Haggisfish Sun 04-Sep-11 22:44:15

I would second the Lansinoh after every feed. And personally, I expressed and gave my baby one bottle of expressed milk every few days from when she was six weeks old - means she happily took a bottle at six months when i went back to work and I am still breastfeeding now at 14 months. it also meant OH could occasionally do the night time feed and I would get, oooh, three hours sleep in a row!

I never realised how much I would enjoy it after the first six weeks.

Haggisfish Sun 04-Sep-11 22:44:51

I used the Dr Brown bottles as they are very near to nipples, apparently! And anti colic for my greedy guts baby.

titferbrains Sun 04-Sep-11 22:56:18

Feed at least every 2 hrs at beginning or more, and if yr iron is low then do everything to get it back up to normal. I'm sure low iron made my milk come in late and I had such a tough time at the beginning , very upsetting. Get them taking a bottle early so u aren't stuck doing every feed. Don.t panic about feeding to sleep initially, just go with it!

harverina Mon 05-Sep-11 00:15:20

Hi OP, congratulations!
I havent had time to read the whole thread but wanted to reply as there were lots of things that I found out through breastfeeding my DD that I wish I'd known at the start to save all the time spent worrying!...

1. breastfeed on demand. Do not try to space out feeds or time feeds. Let your baby tell you when they are hungry and let them finish feeding when they are full. (The exception to this would be an unwell/sleepy baby not feeding enough) Do not let others tell you that your baby is feeding too much/for too long. We live in a culture now where we try and get our babies to go longer in between feeds as if this is something to be proud of. After the first few weeks, my DD fed every 2-2.5 hours during the day until she as 6/7 months old. Once I accepted this and ignored advice to let her cry/spae out feeds I was far more relaxed and life was less stressful. Its easier to breastfeed a hungry baby than to listen to them cry.

2. cluster feeding is normal.. See here. My DD went through a period early on when she would cluster feed in the evenings and I was convinced that it was because I didn't have enough milk. I was wrong. The best thing to do is feed feed feed!

3. Feeding patterns change - your baby's feeding habits/patterns may change as they grow and develop. It doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong. My DD went through a phase where she would only feed for 5 minutes. I worried non stop but it was just a variation of normal. Growth spurts can impact feeding times/durations. My advice would be to go with the flow and feed on demand rather than be stressed out trying to space feeds etc.

4. BF support groups are brilliant - I started going to a BFN group when my DD was 8 weeks old but wish so much that I had started when I was pregnant so that I had a support network in place for the early breastfeeding days. You dont need to have a problem to go to a group.

5. In the early days be prepared to feed A LOT!! I was shocked when my DD fed every 4 hours for 2 hours. Luckily I had a supportive team of midwives who reassured me that breastfeeding was going well and it was normal! Don't worry about housework. Say yes to offers of help with the housework, washing, cooking etc.

6. Get ready before you feed as you may be there for a while (see above!). Its so important to be comfortable during a feed. Make sure you have supplies nearby...water and a snack and maybe a book/magazine/remote control.

7. Get help early on if you have ANY difficulty AT ALL with positioning or latching your baby on. Don't be afraid to insist on help in hospital. I buzzed the midwife every time I needed to try and feed my DD as she was very sleepy and wouldn't latch on.

8. Newborn babies do not need huge amounts of milk in the first couple of days.

9. comfort sucking is normal. Your baby will want to be near you and nurse even when she is not hungry.

10. try feeding in public as early as possible. I know that some women are not comfortable with this but I like to get out an about and it was important that I did this early on. I fed in a shopping centre on day 5...next time round I wouldn't leave the house for a fortnight but thats a different point!

Sorry they are not necessarily in order!

HTH smile

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