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what you wish you had known...

(70 Posts)
orangeshortbread Fri 28-Dec-12 09:16:21

Am due next week am I feel quite relaxed about the birth itself but am worried about getting breast feeding off to a good start. What do you wish you had known before you started, or what would you have done differently?

OstrichSizedToLapland Fri 28-Dec-12 13:23:19

Don't look at your watch.
I drove myself mad watching the clock and just should've offered a boob. Life was much easier when I gave up timing and keeping some kind of score.

My favourite websites for help were and Dr Jack Newman

BettyandDon Fri 28-Dec-12 15:24:23

I wish someone would have forewarned me about cluster feelings. My DD2 was feeding 5-7 hours at a time. Being realistic you can not look after a toddler at the same time, so you really need another pair of hands (gps or nanny or DH to help at these times). Unfortunately I didn't have this and quit for the sake of my very neglected toddler hmm.

notcitrus Fri 28-Dec-12 16:33:26

Having a new baby and being.sleep deprived is a really emotional experience. You may well go from feeling ecstatic about your baby to feeling a total failure as a mother, at the drop of a hat. This is normal but.take all the help and support you can find.

New babies may well sleep 20 hours a day, but if it's in 20 min bursts interspersed with screaming that doesn't mean much sleep for you. Again ask explicitly for help and try cosleeping.

Any 'bad' habit a baby gets into can and probably will change within 3 days. Past performance is no guide to future performance, as they say in the finance ads.

Look for breastfeeding and other baby group help before you give birth. Groups run by volunteers tend to be terrible at updating publicity about where and when they meet, and you don't want to find the time has moved to the previous morning when in pain, desperate for bf help and put effort into getting there. Phone all such groups as early as you can in case you need them. Also try helplines and ask for details of local bf consultants or advisers - after getting answerphonrs and being rung back later I found all 4 bf advisers in my borough had moved...

Hopefully you won't need much help but if you do it's helpful to have it lined up, along with where to find a breast pump, etc. Lots of women do find it easy but don't post on these threads! Actually my SIL was helpful telling me she just stuck a tit in her ds's mouth and it just worked, as it stopped me judging myself for having so much trouble (see emotions, above)

Look at Kellymom, especially if medical types are telling you to give up bf when you don't want.

BrainGoneAwol Fri 28-Dec-12 21:17:59

You will feel solid when your milk comes in. It does pass. Get some breast pads (I use washable mostly and disposable when I don't want to risk a leak). I flooded all over the place at the start and still do sometimes.

Night feeds are exhausting. Ds took an hour to feed and settle each time. Take care of yourself and get dp/ds to support you.

When you settle in for a feed get everything within arms reach first. You may not be moving for hours.

I echo going to support groups. Gps and hvs aren't always right. LLL are a better bet... And don't do anything that your instincts tell you doesn't seem right.

Good luck! smile

MrsNPattz Fri 28-Dec-12 21:21:35

That breast feeding is very hard at first but so worth it when you turn the corner! And that babies are sick a lot!

Hellesbelles2 Fri 28-Dec-12 21:32:22

That even if the worst happens and you end up like us back in hospital being advised to give your baby formula due to the amount of weight they have lost you can continue with the breastfeeding too.

After a horrible, stressful few days we ended up giving DS1 formula - at the time it literally felt like the end of the world, however 8 months on and he is still breastfed for all his milk feeds. It took time and lots of support but I'm so glad we persevered as I can totally see how one bottle could have lead to another etc. Hopefully this won't happen to you but wanted to say don't give up at the first few hurdles if breastfeeding is something you really want to do.

MrsSpencerReid Fri 28-Dec-12 21:32:38

That if it doesn't work out/you don't like it/want to formula feed you are NOT a failure. My ds was prem, he never latched once despite some great help and for 2 months I was glued to a pump cos I thought... actually I have no idea why!, now I wish I had just enjoyed him and not spent so much time stressing. We are TTC at the mo and I have promised myself that I'll try to bf but if it is going nowhere I will just bottle feed, I still feel guilty about it now sad
In contrast all my friends are bf and despite some rocky patches doing well, look up support groups now so you know where they are and go even if you don't have probs, I still go to the bf group and have made my best friends there,good luck smile

Zara1984 Fri 28-Dec-12 21:46:32

spencer I know what you mean - I am ok mostly with DS being formula fed but I still feel guilty. The hell of bf not working really ruined the first few weeks with DS. I only kept going the second week because DH asked me to (I begged him in tears to let me stop as it was putting me on a fast track to PND). In hindsight I should've told him to fuck off and try latch DS to his boobs grin

With the next baby I would give it 1 week, tops. I mean if baby's mostly latching and there's pain/blocked duct/tongue tie etc I would persevere to the 6 week mark. But if it's anything like it was with DS, no more than 1 week. My DMIL (easily bf all her kids for a year, is a former LLL leader!) was shocked after watching me go through the struggle said she actually thought I should only persevere until I got home from hospital next time, no matter what happens grinHer view is that is should not be that hard, and there's no point continuing if it is!!

snowchick1977 Fri 28-Dec-12 22:18:54

YOU know your baby best. Ignore charts and go with your instinct, trust your body and keep going, and all will be good.

I did this in spite of my dd being very ill for 6 weeks of her life, being hospitalised, contracting 2 viruses and always being very underweight for her age. She is 11 weeks old tomorrow and still only 8oz above her birth weight, but, i do know best, and I have carried on breastfeeding throughout and she is slowly gaining weight.


zoobaby Fri 28-Dec-12 22:36:17

Stock up on lansinoh. Have a couple of tubes and locate them around the house.

You may hear something from one person and then the next person may totally contradict what you just heard.

BF babies can be very windy and crying doesn't always mean hunger (though 9 times out of 10 it is). Sometimes it can be discomfort and you need to give them some help with winding/massage.

zoobaby Fri 28-Dec-12 22:40:34

Oh yeah, and if you apply lansinoh as liberally as I did, then it can leave residue on your bra. This comes off easy enough by doing a bit of handwashing with dish washing liquid.

zoobaby Fri 28-Dec-12 22:42:16

Stock up on lansinoh. Have a couple of tubes and locate them around the house.

You may hear something from one person and then the next person may totally contradict what you just heard.

BF babies can be very windy and crying doesn't always mean hunger (though 9 times out of 10 it is). Sometimes it can be discomfort and you need to give them some help with winding/massage.

StuntNun Fri 28-Dec-12 22:46:28

Don't get disheartened by these posts, it isn't always difficult. My DS3 latched on without help from the first feed despite having to be in an incubator for the first two hours due to breathing difficulties from the general anaesthetic. He regained his birth weight by five days and has continued to feed well (now 6 weeks). You never hear the good stories on these posts but sometimes it does just work out.

Mustmakemarmalade Fri 28-Dec-12 22:50:06

That newborns feed and feed and feed
That hormones make them fall asleep at the breast
That you will be stuck to the sofa for hours at a time
That it is uncomfortable but lansinoh is awesome

Had I known all this I wouldn't have spent my dd's first six weeks clock watching and resenting not getting other (completely trivial) things done.

Dd is now 12mnths and only feeds for 10 mins at a time now; I actually miss the cluster feeding!

Best thing I read which has always stuck is that a newborn's wants and needs are the same thing

I think that if you accept that this is a massive job that you are taking on, and continually seek out help if it is needed, you will be fine!

caramal Fri 28-Dec-12 22:52:31

People don't tell you how hard it can be. I think I was one of the lucky ones whose baby latched on straight away but he was such a hungry baby and it was do draining for me. He would also sleep all day and cry all night (up until 5am at times hmm) I'm glad I did bf but wish I hadn't listed to HV's and MW's when after 4 months I wanted to stop they gave me a lecture on why I shouldn't couldnt. Then later on at about 7 months they were advising I should so he would eat more solids and put on weight I couldn't get him to stop. Ended up with PND and I think a big factor was absolute exhaustion best thing i did for me and my son was stop at 11 months he's not as clingy to me and a strong happy healthy little 2year old now

Top tips
- don't forget your breast pads!
- Lansinoh works wonders
- try expressing by hand
- get OH/DH/family to help with feeding with expressed milk..don't be ashamed to ask for help and have a well deserved rest

Mustmakemarmalade Fri 28-Dec-12 22:53:08

Sorry...a massive but totally amazing and important and rewarding job xx

byhec Fri 28-Dec-12 23:00:41

The phrase "they can't possibly be hungry, they've just had a feed" doesn't exist, if in doubt, try to feed them!

Onesliceortwo Fri 28-Dec-12 23:14:31

Absolute best piece of advice I was given was before I had DD was by my Community Midwife - she told me that I was not under any circumstances to allow myself to be discharged from the hospital until I could confidently get baby latched onto both sides by myself ......
This is exactly what happened. DD was born at 9.08 am, I was kept in that night and I rang the bell to ask for help a few times in that first night as DD cried and cried and cried - the next thing I knew, the breastfeeding 'expert' was assigned to me the next day and by that night she had us both feeding - ask for every bit of help you can get and listen! It doesn't just 'happen' and it does take time and work (so does making and sterilising bottles!) BUT ...... it's free and incredibly rewarding.
Also ... don't totally rule out FF - We had a very difficult start with DD (congential condition not picked up through a scan so all a bit of a shock and sent me a bit loopy) Again, my community midwife spoke sense (we love her!) At ten days old I was absolutely exhausted (CM stayed on until day 28) She was very clear - "you need sleep, this baby needs a bottle .....' and again, that's exactly what happened. I went to bed at 8pm, DH fed DD a bottle of FF at midnight and the next thing I knew it was 4am, and I'd had some sleep - my boobs were absolutely enormous but I didn't care ... the world felt a much better place for some decent shut eye!
Go easy on yourself and do whatever feels right for you. Listen to the advice that makes sense and ignore all the advice that makes you feel crap!
Enjoy it!

Fazerina Fri 28-Dec-12 23:23:14

So much good advice here and I would echo so many posts! I would also say there are so many people offering advice in the beginning and many love the feeling of being 'in the know' as either parents or grandparents or midwives or whatever and that you are a first-time mummy a bit overwhelmed and tired and hormonal. Try to just ignore as much of it as you can (unless of course there is a real medical issue or something similar) and just concentrate on your baby and what you feel he needs at any given moment.

BFing is a natural and instinctive thing, but you will both need to learn it and this will take time and patience (and really sore boobs, which happened to me, but may not to you). In a few weeks time it will hopefully 'click' and then if you're able to, try to learn to feed lying down to give yourself a rest.

One thing I wish I had realised before DS was that BFing is so much more than just food; it's an amazing feeling of closeness and comfort and a magic cure for any and every situation. Still is and DS is now 19 months. It's like his home away from home, as I saw written somewhere.

sipper Fri 28-Dec-12 23:24:36

Lots of great advice already. My addition, from personal experience, is there is often an emphasis on what the mother is doing/how the mother is doing things/the mothers technique. And not always enough of a look at what's going on with the baby. I had bf issues with two of my dd's and was very fortunate to get them treated early on - first week with one dd, day two with another dd - by a cranial chiropractor. Feeding suddenly was brilliant. Success stories on both counts once the babies little niggles were sorted.

jinglebellyalltheway Fri 28-Dec-12 23:29:28

that if you are put on medications that are "safe for breastfeeding" that does not mean the baby will have no nasty side effects from it, it just means the baby will have no serious side effects from it.. and the HCPs will not tell you the potential side effects before you start taking the meds (so you can make an informed decision) because they're not supposed to discourage BFing if a med is "safe for breastfeeding", you'll only find out when you go to them with a baby with nasty runs and stomach cramps or whatever it is, and they go "oh yes that's quite a common side effect if the mother is taking <x medication> " angry

stargirl1701 Fri 28-Dec-12 23:31:23

You can get a life threatening blood poisoning from bacteria entering your body through a cracked nipple.

The existence of hydrogel pads.

The existence of SNSs.

You need to 'do the reading' - The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Babyled Breastfeeding.

Breastshells help the air circulate round your nipples - you don't need to walk around with no top all day.

The baby feeds ALL THE TIME!!!!

When the latch is wrong, it fucking hurts.

Getting the latch right is so hard.

The let down reflex can be really sore.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Fri 28-Dec-12 23:33:57

That a successful mother can be one still in her pjs on day 14 with takeaway boxes scattered about the living room floor and no routine for eating or sleeping.

PinotGrigioandaMincePie Fri 28-Dec-12 23:47:12

That it is time consuming! DS could feed for 50minutes, have a 10minute rest then feed for another 50minutes and it didn't mean that anything was wrong. As above, a comfy chair and a drink & snack close to hand are essential in the early days.

I wanted to BF but was also happy to FF if it didn't work out. I still BF DS who is now 9months so it did work out well for us. I feel that part of this was that I didn't put pressure on myself.

Having said that it took 3 days to get DS to latch on after a very successful first feed in the recovery room. This required a lot of support from Midwives, BF support workers and my husband and I could easily have given in without this help. Please ask for/accept any help you need to make it work for you but don't be too hard on yourself of it doesn't work.

Good luck!

ChunkyTurkeywiththetrimmings Fri 28-Dec-12 23:53:31

I totally agree with many posts so can't add much...

That each baby is very different & so is the bfing experience.

My DD; no tongue tie, hurt a LOT for 2wks despite being told it was a 'good latch' - blisters, bleeding, toe-curling pain, the works - but suddenly at 2wks, it just clicked & it was fine."Struggled" to gain weight (on 2nd centile for a few wks after born on 9th) and fed for hours, with seemingly no pattern initially. Could barely express anything, but leaked loads.

My DS (#2): severely tongue tied but less pain than with DD, gained weight v well, express loads with same pump, fed regularly every 2hrs from the start but quite quickly (longest feed in 7wks is 45mins once or twice). Still leak LOADS but now also have the 'fun' horrendous let-down pains/sensations, when he's crying & feeding, including subsequent let-downs during the feed!!

My top tip; take each day at a time & repeat "this will pass" as a mantra!! smile

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