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Top tips for establishing BF with a newborn - with a toddler in tow!

(13 Posts)
mardarse Mon 19-Sep-11 09:41:16

Hi,

I am due to have DC2 in next few weeks and after an unsuccessful attempt at BF last time, I am determined this time is going to be different. My worry is that it will be harder this time due to my 2.9 year old DD needing my attention and not understanding why I am always feeding baby. Obviously thousands of second time mums manange this but could you tell me your top tips for managing it. I have a selection of new books and new DVDs so we can cuddle up together, feed baby and watch TV.

Also, how long does the constant feeding last for - how long is a piece of string, I guess. But what I'm saying is, how soon did you all manage to get into a bit of a routine and where you could leave the sofa and get out and about. I think I need to be prepared a bit more for the time it's going to take to get bf established, but like I say - I am determined.

Finally, if I am struggling - who is best to turn to for advice? I notice our hospital has bf councillors who are availlable Mon - Thurs 9-5, so not ideal if I need some support over the weekend! Are NCT and LLL able to help over phone?

Sorry for the essay and thanks in advance for your help. smile

EauRouge Mon 19-Sep-11 10:47:58

Yes, you can contact LLL via phone or email, either the national helpline and email or a local group near you. Going along to a meeting before you baby arrives might be really helpful to you, they are very welcoming to expectant mothers.

I have a baby and toddler and although I'm tandem feeding which is slightly different, I do have a few tips-

Get a sling and learn to feed in it if you can. I found a ring sling easiest for this but different slings suit different people. If there is a sling meet near you then you might be able to try a few different ones out. It can be tricky to start with so don't worry if you can't crack it straight away. It's not an essential to feed in the sling but they are handy to have anyway.

Either get someone else to cook or do something in bulk to stick in the freezer so that you have time for the cluster feeds in the evening.

Books and DVDs are great, we did plenty of that in the first few weeks. Sticker books and those books with the little magnets are brilliant too as well as crayons, playdoh, anything like that. Not paint though, as soon as you sit down to feed the baby it will end up all over the walls grin

Maybe get a doll for DD so she can look after her baby while you look after yours. I tried this with my DD1 but she much preferred looking after the real thing grin so get your DD involved in nappy changes etc.

Put some time aside to have 1-on-1 time with your DD.

It's different for every baby and mother, I would say give it a couple of weeks on the sofa. Don't worry about CBeebies viewing hours, it's only temporary! Obviously if you are struggling at any point then don't hesitate to ask for help either one of the BF helplines or on mumsnet!

Best of luck to you all smile

mardarse Mon 19-Sep-11 11:03:57

EauRouge, thank you for the info and especially for the link to LLL, I hadn't realised that I could go along to a group before DC2 arrives so I will contact the local group this afternoon.

Getting DD involved in nappy changes fills me full of dread but I hear what you are saying. DD is very much involved to the point of telling everyone she meets that this (points to my tummy) is my baby. We'll just have to make sure this continues.

I'll look into the sling too. Everyone makes bf look so easy that I wonder why I struggled with it first time round. This time will be different!

I will no doubt be on here for tips and advice when DC arrives.

lilham Mon 19-Sep-11 11:07:40

I only have one DD but I'd like to point out the main difference between bf and ff is the lack of a routine. Most if not all bf mums feed on demand. This means you feed more frequently when it's hot, when they have a growth spurt etc. This doesn't mean you can't go out. Feeds get shorter and shorter very quickly once feeding is established. You just need to get clothes with easy boob access. It's very nice to be able to go out without having to think about bottles and formula. (until they started weaning that is) grin

EauRouge Mon 19-Sep-11 11:09:28

It can be tough if you don't have the right information and support. It's all very well to say it's natural but so is walking and everyone has to learn that! It's a skill for you both to learn but the instinct is there so your baby will be geared up to BF but sometimes people need a little help. This is a lovely website with pics and videos that might help you get BF established.

EauRouge Mon 19-Sep-11 11:16:01

Oh, that's a good point about the clothes. You don't need to spend money on special BF clothes, this site is fab for finding stuff on the high street that works well.

mardarse Mon 19-Sep-11 11:27:08

Thank you, both. I'm not too fussed about a routine, per se - more getting to the stage where you can get out and about and hopefully by then I'll be confident enough to feed wherever we are. Lilham, the thought of not having to bother with bottles is a huge plus for me, it was a right faff last time and not something I will miss!

Now going to check out your links. smile

I found the mw and hv last time gave conflicting advice and whilst well meaning, I don't think they really had the time to sit one to one with me and help me out and check latch so I do def need to have some more support in the pipeline should I need it.

Also, does it always hurt to start with - even if the latch is right? Is it something I need to battle through for a short time before we get the hang of it or if it hurts - are you doing something wrong? Last time, it hurt so much I dreaded every feed.

EauRouge Mon 19-Sep-11 11:56:28

I think a little discomfort or pain while you're getting the hang can be normal but it shouldn't last. If it's hurting all the way through the feed then that's a sign that something needs tweaking. If it's hurting the whole time then the latch isn't right, no matter how right it looks. A good latch is one that doesn't hurt and where the baby is removing milk effectively. Kellymom is a great resource and has some good tips about latching.

mardarse Mon 19-Sep-11 12:18:23

Noted the Kellymom website too. The pain was throughout the feed and no-one told me this wasn't right - just advised me to buy some nipple cream. I'll know better this time.

Thank you for all these tips, I'm feeling very positive about it all now. Also love the clothing website - seems a good excuse to me to buy some new clothes (with what I'm not sure since SMP doesn't stretch too far, but hey ho!).

lilham Mon 19-Sep-11 13:38:24

The pain is usually just the letdown, which is at the start of a feed. In the early days you might also feed your womb contracting. But like EauRouge says, it shouldn't be throughout the feed. Also, there is slight soreness and there is PAIN, if you see what I mean. I use lansinoh a lot but that's because I have dry skin and eczema and I can't use other moisturizer on my breast. Lastly if your nipple come out deformed (like a lipstick), cracked or bleeding, something is definitely not right.

Wigeon Mon 19-Sep-11 13:54:43

My yoga teacher suggested a "breastfeeding box" which you put together before the baby is born, which is a box of new fun things for the toddler to play with while you feed. Eg sticker book, crayons and new pad of paper etc, doesn't have to be anything expensive. And when the feed is over you HAVE to put the things away. So in theory the toddler looks forward to feeds. I haven't actually tried this as my toddler is actually ok with me feeding the baby, but it sounds like a good idea.

Also, don't forget that you can actually do quite a few other things whilst breastfeeding, including reading a book, watching your toddler play and making helpful comments (what a lovely train track you've made darling etc), role play (eg being the customer in a shop and the toddler being the waitress etc), watching TV with the toddler and so on. So actually the toddler can still have quite a lot of attention even while you are feeding.

You might find that your second DC feeds in a completely different way to your first - both my DDs have always been pretty quick feeders and so I wasn't that trapped on the sofa (apart from evening cluster feeds in the early days, but DD1 was in bed then). I have two or three friends who found BF really hard with their first (and gave up), and tried again with the second and found it much easier. Hope this is the case for you too. smile.

charlottery Mon 19-Sep-11 14:54:30

I was about to post the exact same question! DD1 is 3, DD2 is 6 weeks. Breast feeding has been so much easier this time round (I only lasted a week with DD1) but I'm struggling to entertain my toddler whilst feeding - will try some of these ideas. Good luck!

mardarse Mon 19-Sep-11 16:21:06

Thanks for all the advice and the ideas to entertain DD.

The pain last time was something else and it's clear to me now that something wasn't right. In my hormonal mess, I coudn't see that at the time though.

I love the idea of a breastfeeding box. This is something we can do together in the next few days. And charlottery, thanks for the positive bf story for number 2. I hope that'll be me too and I can be back on here offering others advice in a few months time.

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