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Why is breastfeeding so ******* difficult?

(22 Posts)
smk84 Thu 11-Oct-12 21:50:40

Aaarrrggghhhh, I am so bloody fed up with what is a system supposed to work , it's evolved to be this way, then why is it so bloody difficult? I am fuming over how hard we have tried and its still not working. Anyone want to join me for a foul mouthed whine or throw their toys out of the pram? Honestly, I could seriously do some damage right now I am so cross ! angry

Mrscog Thu 11-Oct-12 21:55:15

What's the problem? It can be v hard though - took me a week to get DS latched on, and then another 4-5 weeks to get bf properly 'established'.

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 11-Oct-12 21:55:35

Because once upon a time you would have grown up with people around you feeding and being there to help when it was tricky. And because anything worth doing is hard at first, and you are both still learning smile

Sorry you're having a tough time, OP. Is there anything specifically that isn't working (eg latch, let down, soreness)?

smk84 Thu 11-Oct-12 22:07:15

Thank you for replying, I have calmed down a bit now, sorry for the rant but just had to let it out! Ds is 18 weeks, not gaining enough, feeding often difficult and have tried everything I know to solve it, including seeking loads of advice. We are going to have to give formula as I can't take any more of this, and. Am bloody angry about it tbh.

showtunesgirl Thu 11-Oct-12 22:20:17

OP, I've been following your threads. Can you please elaborate what you mean by not gaining enough because IIRC his weight gain was fine.

Has he fallen through two percentiles?

whenwill Thu 11-Oct-12 22:36:54

Sort of had a look through some of your posts.
Did you go any further with tongue tie after your max. facial ap.? You are in devon (or was that someone else)? Sure you have probably researched it loads but southampton hospital (mervyn griffiths) is the guy who did the trials for tt release. So would really know what to look for and how to snip it and the age would probably be no problem (depending on teeth I think) (and no ga).
Someone else said if you pay his nhs trust £100 you can have it done there and then bill your trust to try and recoup the money- or sth- I can't fing the thread I read.
If it is causing a problem then it is a problem. If you are switching to ff then maybe no point if it doesn't affect bottles or solids.

I agree tho. Why is bf so soul destroying and hard work. One thing after another. Provides a rich and close mum-baby relationship though; good time and bad. I don't know what monkeys do about tt?!!

absandme Fri 12-Oct-12 00:31:49

I havn't read previous posts - if it is toungue tie, the ENT department at the nhs hospital should help, if not, speak to your health visitor - my dd had tt done & it made such a huge difference on the latch - good luck as bf is difficult but I swear it produces a lot less washing & sick than formula! Swings & roundabouts :-)

smk84 Sun 14-Oct-12 21:51:28

Yes show he has. Born on 50th, barely tracking 0.4. Tt was divided at 4weeks, didn't make much, if any difference. We have seen all manner of experts, including 2 lactation consultants. Nothing has really helped. When your monkey comment made me laugh! I don't really think that for us it helps our relationship, as I feel like he would like more than he gets, and with the slow weight gain that must be true!

whenwill Mon 15-Oct-12 09:53:59

but you are there for him through it all. 'Harlow's monkeys' (psycology experiment) I understand will actively choose to be with interacting, loving mum who doesn't feed rather than a feeding non interacting dummy mum. They turn out with less antisocial disorders and more emotionally balanced and better fitting into society (but probably malnourished) than those who can only spend time with feeding dummy mum.

Babies learn to understand one thing can have both good and bad sides and that these are not possible to separate. They will then cope well later with lifes' inevitable disappointments and frustration, overcoming adversity etc. bf naturally throws up difficult times even feeding on demand.

Though I don't know if I could cope with that weight loss personally. I ended up pumping insanely to get an over supply so dd could feed enough. I read you went to someone after tt snip and they still said there was one there but minor? if this is the case I would go again and get the 'minor' tt sorted, as it could have major functional issues.

LeBFG Mon 15-Oct-12 10:01:56

OP: I was feeling exactly like you at almost exactly the same time whilst bfing DS. I had given myself a deadline of one week. If no improvement, I would turn to the bottle. Of course, it did get better but it was only really at 7 months that I could say it was enjoyable and stress-free.

I remember thinking that none of this was in the bf prep class before the birth grin. It was all about 'bonding' and how 'tactile' bf was. It's true, no one tells you how fecking difficult it is. That the bubba needs to feed almost all the time in the early days. How it isn't really feasible to pump and give bottle to DH. That routines just need to be ignored in order to keep sanity. As another poster says, in the olden days, other mums would have been on hand to show/hand out invaluable advice.

Hope things improve for you OP.

tiktok Mon 15-Oct-12 10:13:25

LeBFG, how do we prepare women for this in a way that they will remember????

As an NCT bfc, I do classes a lot and I have observed many classes. I have never seen one that didn't include the facts that it can be challenging, time consuming, unrewarding and in need of help and support....and my challenge is to ensure this is communicated and retained.

I don't go on about it being tactile and bonding - but of course these aspects are mentioned. I suspect these are the bits they remember smile

I often say to classes that a young baby will need to go to the breast at irregular times, and that it is normal for this to happen 8-16 times in 24 hours. Their faces look shocked and honestly, I get the impresh they think I am making it up. Recently, I decided to repeat this several times in the class, coming at it from different angles and saying it in different ways. I still think for some it doesn't stick.....because for very sensible reasons, their minds are on the birth not the day to day reality of afterwards.

LeBFG Mon 15-Oct-12 11:22:04

"their minds are on the birth not the day to day reality of afterwards." this is definately the case. So true.

The nct classes I had were in France so not a country known for it's high bf rates. Perhaps the classes reveal why!!

How to make these things more obvious? Good question, but I have no answers just a few comments. A lot of my interest was focussed on the information concerning latch and how it would feel (things you can only know once bb is born - so a useless focus for me with hindsight). There was a lot about why bfing is great for babies. There was also a lot about breast massaging hmm. Although all interesting, perhaps these things distract from the real issues you may encounter at the coal face so to speak.

smk84 Mon 15-Oct-12 14:35:09

When will I am very interested by the research you mention. Ds has never actually lost weight, just slow to gain. We saw Ann Dobson (lactation consultant) a couple of weeks ago. She examined him very carefully it seemed and didn't mention tt at all. When I said he had it snipped at 4 weeks she said that as it had been done already that that was it really. The max fac specialist also said it wAsnt worth doing any more, but I am sure something is not quite right. She di say he has disorganised suck and wrote notes for osteopath , we have been but it didn't make any diff. So will go again but other than that I feel stuck. I really feel my supply has dipped so we are going to try a babymoon alongside pumping. Did you pump long term to keep your supply up?
Le bfg and tiktok, my antenatal 1st time taught me virtually nothing about bf. reams about why I should and how time consuming it is, but nothing on the mechanics or overcoming problems. I think far more info about problem solving needs to be included for those that want it, eg in an extra optional session. For example when ds1 was born, I had no idea how to feed , and knew nothing of cluster feeding, tongue tie, how to protect nipples etc. so 2 weeks in when I thought he was starving(he was actually cluster feeding ), we started giving formula, and didn't even know how to prepare a bottle. (I never thought I would need to, and I have a biology degree but that didn't teach me how to feed my baby !). This time I didn't bother with antenatal, and we are just clinging on with advice from here. I have spoken to some great people on the helplines which are fab, but my real life support has been patchy, and the problem is that if your Hv is crap, that's the only person you are likely to speak to or see twice. The problem is that it is too late once you are faced with a lack of knowledge and a screaming baby. I think we need more education antenatally. Those who will care enough to bf will remember, and if not, then give hand outs that people can dig out at 2 in the morning when the baby is screaming but not latching, and you phone delivery suite and they tell you to give formula! Sorry for this rant I am just so frustrated! Ultimately I think it would help to educate at secondary school. How I could get to 29 without knowing the benefits of breast milk astounds me!

tiktok Mon 15-Oct-12 14:51:55

smk, I hear your frustration and despair with it all sad

I don't think antenatal classes should say much about the 'benefits' of bf, to be honest and the ones I do, and observe, cover it hardly at all. I think it fair enough to acknowledge that how babies are fed has an implication for their health, though.

But you then say "Ultimately I think it would help to educate at secondary school. How I could get to 29 without knowing the benefits of breast milk astounds me! "....so did you want to know the benefits or didn't you? smile

I honestly do not think that talking about sore nipples, thrush , tongue tie and difficulties with latching on at secondary school age is going to do much good - how long do you think women would remember this stuff?

The real gap is not antenatally, in my view. The real gap is when the babies are here - it is preposterous that midwives and health visitors, who have far more contact with individual mothers than anyone else, at a crucial time, cannot help a mother sort out whether her baby is 'starving' or just feeding normally. In your case, smk, you needed more input because of your anxiety issues and history of PND - a baby who was screaming and needed feeding a lot is going to freak you out more and the right sort of real life help should be there for you.

gwenniebee Mon 15-Oct-12 15:03:29

tiktok I wish I'd done your classes, then, coz my NCT definitely said nothing about how bloody difficult it is. I was told my nipples might be a bit sensitive for the first week or so, but lansinoh would make it all better. All the health professionals made out it was easy. Well, I reckon it was worse than actually giving birth, getting bf going. 13 weeks in and it's still not quite right despite copious quantities of outside help, and I keep being given conflicting advice wrt time at the breast, feeding one/both sides per feed etc. Dd is dropping centiles and it's flipping upsetting.

smk I'm right there with you!! Well done us for persevering, eh? smile

tiktok Mon 15-Oct-12 15:23:08

gwennie, you could open a new thread and I will try to help.

NCT classes should include info about comfortable and effective positioning and attachment, and should say to get help if soreness persists.
They do not - or should not - present soreness as inevitable.

tiktok Mon 15-Oct-12 15:24:01

I don't say to people that it's always difficult, either, 'cos it isn't smile Mothers need to know it can be and that there is help available.

smk84 Mon 15-Oct-12 15:42:13

Tiktok I didn't know anything about breast milk until I was 29, and I think bf should be given a place in compulsory education. Yes I would have liked to have left school understanding why bm is the natural way to feed a baby, and I would see benefit in including something of the biochemistry of breastmilk and its production in science modules. If children are to learn about how sperm is made, how energy is produced by mitochondria, and how our eyes enable us to see, then would it not make sense to include how bm is made and how it nourishes a growing baby? I don't think it would be a good idea to educate about all the problems though! The idea to me would be for boys and girls to leave school with an ndrestanding that bm is the natural way to feed a baby, and for girls to be given chance to realise that their breasts are amazing, not just for sex!
Yes gee nice, it is flipping upsetting! Yes we'll done to us!wine

smk84 Mon 15-Oct-12 15:42:54

Sorry gee nice equals gwennie on my iPad !

LeBFG Mon 15-Oct-12 15:54:16

As an ex-science teacher it was also the first time for me at nct finding out about ducts etc so I love the idea smk84. I'm sure pupils would love to know actually that breasts have another function in life too. If this was done tiktok, you would still have to go over it all again, but you wouldn't be sounding it out on virgin ears so more'll sink in.

tiktok Mon 15-Oct-12 15:56:43

smk, I agree totally with that - enter adulthood with a good grasp of the biological specificity of breastfeeding, and that would have to be done at school. Then, when it comes to the 'real thing', genuine and knowledgeable practical input from the appropriate services and support and encouragement from everyone/thing else smile

whenwill Wed 17-Oct-12 20:35:51

Pumped like crazy at first as thought there was something wrong with me. don't do that!
For the first 5.5. months I pumped every few weeks after feeding in the afternoon and eve. 1-2oz dd fed for the first let down (except very rarely at night lying down would stay on while sleeping and boost supply a bit too) and once I had slight oversupply she could sustain it for a couple of weeks.

I did have blocked ducts though and thrush every time they cleared but no mastitis.

my supply would reduce one feed at a time starting with the evening then afternoon then morning. v. distressing. dd was really hardly ever milk drunk and upset a lot with sunken fontanelle. I used medela supplemental nursing system at one point but really faffy and not sure it was helping.

When teeth came through and i could feel bottom ones digging in I almost went to formula until I came on MN and found out about possible tt.

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