The most helpful thing about breastfeeding you wish you'd known...(320 Posts)
I am hoping to breastfeed DC1 when he/she is born next summer. I am not a crazy anti-formula woman, but it's very common here in the US to bottle feed so I expect to get a bit of looks and meet a bit of resistance, so would like to go in with the most knowledge possible from (imo) the best experts - mums who previously breastfed.
What do you wish you had known before you started? I plan on not buying bottles / formula in 'just in case' as I have heard that makes it much easier to stop. Family is already telling me that I'll "need to have bottles or else you can't pass it to anyone else"
Routines and BF don't work well together (certainly in the early days)
Kellymom.com is amazing for all kinds of BF advice
Patience is required (trying to get a good latch, waiting for DC to finish a long feed, trying to reduce night feeds etc).
It is hard work but worth it. Good luck
That latching and latching on tingles and even hurts for a few seconds most times, even if you're doing it correctly.
That breastfeeding on your side at night is very comfortable with some good pillows.
That breastfeeding is very relaxing at times and you might just nod off.
That clusterfeeding is not a bad thing and the baby will take what the baby wants/needs. Greedy babies? Pah! Normal babies!
It will be hard but it gets easier and easier and after a year you may not want to stop. We had our last feed a couple of weeks ago. It is a godsend when they are sick. They can feed and feed and sleep. Even with DD who never normally fed for comfort.
That it isn't always easy.
When I was pregnant I assumed that when the baby was born he would pop out and feed, instead he struggled to latch on for the first couple of weeks.
What a great thing breastfeeding is.
After EBF for 6 months I am still amazed at how easy, convienient and, quite frankly, clever it is!
That "breastfeeding shouldn't hurt if you're doing it correctly" is - in the first few weeks anyway - a BIG FAT LIE. Even if the latch etc is fine many new mothers find BF uncomfortable at first. And you need to persevere, and find solutions if there are things that can be improved.
Agree with scrivette. I also assumed it would be easy peasy. Ha! 5 weeks in and I'm still not completely brilliant at it! FWIW my pointers would be:
*nipple shields can be a life saver - when I almost gave up because of the bleeding and pain these kept me going,
*when the midwife had a go because he wasn't putting enough weight on she told me to top up with formula as I wasn't making enough milk instead I just fed him more frequently and took fenugreek capsules which really helped (and quickly too)
*milk collection shells are not only good for saving major leakage but for me provide enough milk so DH can give a bottle a day
*that for mucky pups like me changing tops 4 times a day is not uncommon...
I second Don, with both dc1 and dc2 it was agony for the first couple of weeks but then my nipples adjusted. Nipple shields are amazing, don't let anyone tell you different. It took seven weeks to get to a point with dc1 where I could feed comfortably.
Oh and c-sections can effect your milk production, ime.
That it's something you & the baby have to learn to do.
I had the whole tv image of the mum in the White frilly nighty serenely feeding newborn baby ingrained in me..
That giving a bottle of formula to give yourself a break is not the end of the world & is better than giving up altogether (I did after two weeks with dd1 & switched to formula as there was no advice from midwife that it's ok to mix a bit)
That it can be lovely & a brilliant feeling of being the only person who can do that for the baby.
That sky+ and DVD box sets are your friend
fridakahio i didnt find that(although it was with 3rd and 4th kids)
doing to much and not eating/drinking enough will reduce milk suplies
always have a drink to had and a snack before you sit/lie down to feed(i was a lways thirsty feeding and halfway through wanted something to eat!)
i found it really painful in the first few days, so it's helpful to know that once baby is latched, 6 mins either side is plenty to keep a newborn going for at least a couple of hours. Mine was very contented to go every 4 hours like this pretty much as soon as she was born.
Oh, and try to put baby on boob asap after birth. Am sure it helps them to learn to latch on well. I managed to have chance to get mine on within half an hour of her being born and she's always been a great feeder.
That it is fine to give the baby the odd bottle of formula to make life easier for yourself. When DS was about two weeks old DH started giving him a bottle in the evening so I could go off and have some sleep. It made no difference to my supply and it helped to get me through those tough weeks at the beginning. Also don't assume you can express. I have a huge milk supply but I've never expressed more than 3 ounces.
That nothing beats real life support - I went through a few weeks of hell whilst trying to get it right, put right within half an hour of seeing a real life properly trained breastfeeding counsellor. So get RL support group lined up.
That the most important thing is the support you have from your family and close friends. Even though it was difficult for me in the early weeks with poor latch and recurrent thrush, no one ever said 'just give her formula'. The f-word was never, ever mentioned by anybody around me, it just wasn't going to be an option for us. All my family ever said to me when we hit a problem was 'how do we fix this' and 'What can we do to help'.
Expressing can be a life-saver and does allow you some time to heal hurt nipples and give someone else a chance to feed baby.
That cosleeping breastfeeders get, on average, an extra 20 minutes sleep a night. You will not believe how precious 20 minutes becomes!
That it is okay to have a small glass of wine when breastfeeding - it helps you get through the 'witching hour' which is the cluster feeding which occurs in the early weeks.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Oops sorry birds, you're right. I should have said only introduce formula if you really need to, as a last resort, (I was so tired I couldn't see straight) and if you do give a bottle, don't consider that the end, you can go back to exclusive breastfeeding.
That the first 6 weeks are hard even if its going swimmingly. Even a good latch can hurt. Think of the friction on a sensitive area its understandanle to get some pain. If you can get to 6 weeks everytjing seems to click into place that little bit more.
That babies can feed for say 40 mins-an hour and then be back on again within the hour.
That colostrum is enough. Every single one of my friends stopped feeding 'as they had no milk' when baby was born. Even in hospital i got asked to give dd formula as mine clearly hadnt come in yet. Milk comes in around day three. Thats normal. Colostrum is enough. It is designed to be enough til milk comes in. Its super rich. Do not be tricked into the 'you have no milk' school of thought. Be confident in your body.
That the most useful thing friends and family can do is everything except feed the baby. Their job is to support you while you do that. So if they're champing at the bit to get a bottle and feed the baby, just calmly tell them what you need them to do (housework, laundry, change nappies, make a meal, sit and chat to you, leave you alone for a while, make you a cup of tea and a snack). Plus their job is to praise you for the great job you are doing.
And that the pattern of BF changes hugely. The first 2-3 months, it is intense, exhausting, sometimes painful (agonisingly so for me for 8 weeks with DC1 then one day just stopped being painful and was soooooo easy). After that, it gets very quick and easy.
That you need to eat lots of carbs in the first month or so to get your supply up. Sticky toffee pudding is what my MW recommended
That anyone who criticises you for BF at any time is wrong. Any time, any place baby wants it is just fine.
When I was first starting, in hospital - trying to figure out how to get my suddenly unfeasibly large boob into a tiny babies mouth, one of the nurses came round and said squash it (the areola) "like a hamburger" ..... Good advice.
Also advice from a friend - if it's a absolutely not working check for Tongue -tie
In my experience, it hurts initially. With my first it hurt for 6 weeks and then we both seemed to turn a corner and it was fine. Have to add that I had my latch checked etc but it still hurt. With my second it was a doddle, no pain at all.
It can take ages to feed and at first I found it boring tbh but then learned to relax and enjoy it.
Feeding lying down is the best.
I never bought bottles as it just wasn't an option for me.
I never expressed either, found it much easier to just feed myself.
EBF both mine till 1year and am still amazed by how clever it all is !
nipple shields are not always great, they don't stimulate the breast in the same way to provide milk. i used them and my milk supply pretty much stopped and then LO wouldn't latch on to the nipple, only the shield. this meant the end of breastfeeding for me. so be very wary about nipple shields.
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