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Planning to get BF off to a good start

(14 Posts)
RedKites Thu 16-Aug-12 23:15:40

DC2 is due in late September/early October. With DS we had a very difficult start to BFing, followed by a few months of things working but not being ideal, followed by it finally all clicking, and he continued until he was 21mo and weaned related to me being pg. We had a number of issues, some of which we can hopefully avoid this time as I have more idea what to do, but I don't think it helped that he didn't have his 'first feed', there was some MW head shoving involved early on, and I then let him go too long without really trying again. So, I was hoping to get some advice on (a) how to maximise the chances of that first feed happening in the hour or two after the birth, and (b)what I should do if it doesn't.

So far on (a) I've thought: Skin to skin with baby immediately. If the MWs need to do any checks (breathing etc.) then of course they do, but leave weighing, measuring etc. until first feed has happened. Is biological nurturing a good idea? I love the theory, but am worried I'll get twitchy (possibly not helped by the MWs) if it takes a while for baby to latch on. If baby and I need to be separated because I need treatment then DH to hold baby skin to skin - any other tips?

On (b), if baby doesn't feed within one hour (or more?) let MWs do weighing etc, and then have another go if baby remotely awake/interested? After that, keep the baby close by, watch for feeding cues, and offer feeds. If we all go to sleep (e.g. as it's night-time), should we be setting alarms to make sure I'm offering feeds at least every 3/4/? hours? At what point should I start expressing colostrum if baby hasn't fed? I know some babies sleep a lot in the first 24 hours, but I'm not sure I really know what's 'normal' and they should be left to it, and what isn't, and it'd be better to intervene gently.

Sorry that's so long. I hope I'm worrying about nothing, and that DC2 will be a complete natural, but in case not, I'd like to be better prepared than last time. Thanks!

Susieloo Fri 17-Aug-12 04:01:56

Hopefully someone more experienced will come along to offer advice but just wanted to let you know that the midwives when I had ds (reason for being awake at this time) seemed really committed to getting the baby to feed straight away, I had a planned section but I was still feeding within 45mins of him being born and then he basically slept side by side with me for the first night, I was also told to wake him every three hours to feed in the first week because he was having four to five hour stretches of sleep. Not sure if that's any use, maybe make sure the midwives know that you are really committed to bf and want to try and get it underway immediately.

GodisaDj Fri 17-Aug-12 05:50:47

With regards to point A) yes.. Lots of skin to skin and if you do need to be separated, ask for baby to be in room with you (can't hurt to ask) and ensure dad has skin to skin too. Have you youtubed biological nurturing? It's amazing. My dsis had a baby this week and he did just that after 20 minutes of being born.

Point B) expressing colostrum is good via a syringe if baby wont latch. So if baby hasn't fed, can't latch or there are other problem etc then ask your mw to help you hand express it off, rather than forcing baby on. You can do it yourself but might need and second pair of hands (DH?) to help. You only need 3 to 4 ml at the beginning. This did my dd for a couple of hours.

My dd couldn't latch initially, which was fine for a couple of hours, then I had emergency surgery after she was born (placenta retained) and at one point they asked if they could give her a bottle (whilst I'm in theatre awake and alert, being stitched up).

I went mental and asked for her to be brought to me ASAP - the next thing I know, she was placed back on my chest whilst I was being wheeled out of theatre in to recovery and having a blood transfusion. Have it in your birth plan and make sure DH knows to speak on your behalf that you want baby with you and bf'ed, and if it bf'ed directly from you, then by syringe.

Def watch feeding cues etc and that first night, let baby sleep the birth off (only if they've had a feed or syringe of colostrum) but they shouldn't go longer than 3 hours really. So when you are home - feed on cue, lots of skin to skin etc, and if they are a sleepy baby, set an alarm every 3 hours to feed. I really don't thing youll need to though grin my first and second night she slept well and fed every 4 hours - she's never done that since and she's 12 months old now!!

My final bit of advice - get yourself down to a bf support group now, whilst pregnant. Or start going when in 3rd trimester.

You can ask all of these questions and more- make friends and good contacts, and then when baby is born, you will have a good support network in place already.

Sounds like you are planning and preparing well. Good luck smile

TeaandHobnobs Fri 17-Aug-12 05:58:19

Hi RedKites,

I have no experience of feeding straight away, I'm afraid (prem DS taken straight to NICU), but just wanted to say that if that first feed doesn't happen, it is not the end of the world - I wasn't able to even put DS to the breast until day 2 or 3, and we still managed to successfully establish breastfeeding.

If baby doesn't seem interested in feeding straightaway, definitely try and get things going with some breast massage and compressions so that you can start to express colostrum if you wish - the MWs should have some syringes or tiny cups if you need them.

And I would say yes, if baby doesn't wake for feeding, you must wake them a minimum of every four hours to feed at the start - three would be better, as more frequent stimulation will help your supply. But I appreciate that sleep is nice too grin (16 weeks in and DS almost never goes longer than 3 hours at night! <whimper>)

Good luck - I hope DC2 just has the knack and it all goes smoothly. As I think I said to someone else recently, your determination is going to be a key factor smile

RedKites Fri 17-Aug-12 16:13:27

Thanks all, it's reassuring to know I'm on the right track. GodisaDj that's a good point about making sure DH knows to speak up on my behalf if necessary. After last time, I think he understands that BFing is important to me (and I think he understands the benefits of it all a lot better now), but I should talk to him about the practical side. Also good advice on the support group. I am actually a peer supporter so should really know this stuff and the group I go to didn't even exist when DS was born, so hopefully if I do have any problems, they'll be much easier to resolve this time. TeaandHobnobs thanks for the reminder to keep the first feed thing in perspective. If it doesn't, I'll try to focus on expressing colostrum, rather than worrying about what I can't change. Susieloo hopefully my MWs will be similarly keen. To be fair to them, last time they were very supportive when I was having difficulties, just perhaps some of them weren't quite as knowledgeable as they might have been.

SirBoobAlot Fri 17-Aug-12 16:25:12

Go along to a local breastfeeding group whilst pregnant.

Skin to skin immediately - this can be done even in crash CS circumstances smile

Keep baby close to you as long and often as possible.

Ask for a clip on crib in the hospital.

Get support right from the word go, and ask for help straight away if you feel concerned about anything.

And post on MN grin

Best of luck to you, I'm sure it will be a breeze and in a few months time you'll be wondering what you were worried about smile

crikeybadger Fri 17-Aug-12 16:58:23

Don't forget you can also express colostrum ante natally too- this might take some of the worry away and if you don't need it straight off, then you can still use it.

Hope all goes well. smile

RedKites Mon 20-Aug-12 22:56:17

Thanks all again for all your suggestions. Crikeybadger thanks for the antenatal expression idea- after I'd read it, I saw another recent thread on this, so I'll give it a go.

I was chatting through some of these ideas with DH and he mentioned something. When DS was born, he passed meconium quickly and in great quantities (at least so it seemed to us as new parents). I guess if DC2 does the same, someone (prob DH) cleans them up and puts a nappy on them, and then I resume skin to skin? I'm assuming a short break in skin to skin doesn't really matter, the aim is just to get as much as possible to maximise the possibility of them feeding during that first hour or so where baby is more alert?

NoodieRoodie Tue 21-Aug-12 19:24:52

RedKites in response to your last point about a break in skin to skin.

DS was also a very "shitty" baby for want of a better word, he and I were coated!! DH took him and cleaned him up and put a nappy on, he came back to me briefly but then due to retained placenta that sausage hands the doctor was trying to remove and me getting intimate with the G&A. I didn't feel safe holding him so DH had him for the next hour or so.

We're now at nearly 10 months and still going strong with BF

GodisaDj Tue 21-Aug-12 20:25:05

I too was separated from dd for nearly 2 hours after having her due to retained placenta and loosing blood. She has 50 min skin to skin immediately after birth and then was with DP (who held her for a while and then put her down when the nurse lady offered him a brew angry grin!)

A bf counsellor said to me recently that those minutes after birth are important whether 5 minutes or 2 hours, they're all good for you both!

DD joined me straight after my surgery (see my earlier post) and never left my side from then on. We've been bf'ing for 12 months now with no signs of stopping just yet. .

RegLlamaOfBrixton Wed 22-Aug-12 08:36:36

Thanks for starting this post OP, I was about to start a similar one myself as I'm 25 weeks PG with DC2. BF DS got off to a difficult start after a long labour and difficult birth which left me emotionally drained and in no state to pull myself together and sort out BF. MWs seemed to have forgotten about skin to skin, had to wait for 2 hours post-birth to even attempt to BF due to tests they wanted to run on DS, by then he just fell asleep instead of latching, expressed colostrum and fed through a syringe on the odd occasion MWs on postnatal ward bothered to come and help, loads of head shoving and boob grabbing by MWs, inconsistent advice when MWs did appear - half saying 'he'll feed when he's hungry' the other half 'we have to get this baby feeding now'. 36 hours post-birth he finally latched on and BF continued for 14 months smile

DS was also a sleepy head so for the first week or two I kept leaving him to sleep at night when I really should have been waking him for feeds because I had no idea what I was doing. Fingers crossed things will be more straightforward this time. Good luck!

RedKites Mon 05-Nov-12 14:51:48

Hello all,
Just wanted to come back and give an update. DS2 was nice and comfortable inside, but finally arrived three weeks ago today grin

As they'd had to break my waters to get things going, I'd ended up in hospital rather than at home, but once things started, there wasn't much waiting around. DH was very good and remembered to tell the mw who'd not really spent any time with us until I was pushing that I wanted skin to skin straight away, and to delay weighing until after the first feed. DS2 showed some interest immediately, and latched on in the delivery room. While we haven't got everything sorted yet - feeding from one side is still a little sensitive at times - we are so much further on than at this point with DS1, and he is gaining weight beautifully. So thanks again for all your advice, and for anyone in a similar position, just wanted to give some encouragement that it can be very different the second time round.

EauRouge Mon 05-Nov-12 15:50:41

Fantastic news, many congrats on your new DS smile 3 weeks is still early days. Do you have any local BF support groups?

RedKites Tue 06-Nov-12 16:29:28

Thank-you! Yes, I've been along to a couple of the local support groups - I'm a peer supporter at one of them, so it was nice to show off DS2 too. I agree it's early days, and I can see we're heading in the right direction, I guess I'm just being a little impatient to get it all sorted, as we're nearly there.

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