what you wish you had known...(70 Posts)
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?
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!!
That evening cluster feeding is normal and just to chill and watch TV (apparently ggm used to sit on the front step and chat to her neighbors with babies on boobs of an evening)
That it will hurt for the first 30 seconds of every feed for the first 8 Weeks but then its really easy.
That being able to lie beside my teething 7mo and snuggle/feed to sleep is very useful and lovely and snugly.
That being able to say I need to fed him us a great way to get will meaning family to hand baby back.
But that I would not be able to leave him for more than an hour for 6 months as he wouldn't take a bottle.
And that ebf babies do get wind.
When your milk comes in, it will taste different to your baby and they might well get upset.
We had a tremendously stressful night around day 4, when DS who up till that point had been feeding like a little champ & had barely cried, suddenly started pulling off after a few seconds and screaming frantically and clawing at my breast. We had no idea what was going on and it was very distressing looking at his little tearstained face, esp as he was obviously hungry and kept trying and trying. We concluded that it was probably thrush & he must be in too much pain to feed properly.
The next morning everything was fine again. When we mentioned it to the midwife she said "oh yes, that's just your milk coming in". Would have helped so much to know that the night before.
if I were to do it all over again, I will:
Make sure my post-natal supporter is a really good cook (hoping the DH will be up for the job again, he was brilliant this time around);
Keep family away, especially other females, most especially those who already had children. As weird as that sounds, breastfeeding takes it out of you and people with negative thoughts about it, will just make it harder. Still remember MiL trying to convince me to only feed the little one 5 times a day . At 18 weeks, my lo still feeds every hour, once in a while;
have a bottle of water handy everywhere;
accept being stuck to sofa much earlier;
count to 10 whenever it hurts.
And whatever happens, there is no need for guilt.
1. You can eat cake, lots of cake.
2. It's hard but its worth it.
3. Buy yourself a tube of Lansinoh and keep it with you at all times
4. Don't listen to advice that doesn't feel right to you. Cherry pick.
Breastfeeding is a skill; like driving a car. Not many people jump into a car and can drive perfectly straight away. When you are learning to drive you have good days and bad days, sometimes you feel you'll never get it. But you keep on trying because you really want to learn to drive and you know what all the benefits are.
You wouldn't take advice on how to drive from a non driver would you? And once you have learned to drive it is a skill you have forever.
Of course, some people never learn to drive. A few just give up but some have insurmountable problems. It doesn't make them a second class citizen.
That my NCT teacher was talking bollocks when she said if you're doing it right it doesn't hurt.
DS latches brilliantly but sucks like a Hoover. Each of the midwives on the ward were shocked when they gave him a little finger to suck. Some babies just suck really really hard.
Six weeks in it now only hurts for 20-30 seconds at the beginning of a feed but by a certain point in the evening I'm at my pain threshold and DH gives him a bottle of formula so I can take a break. I feel horribly guilty (which is daft as I'd never judge another woman for doing what I'm doing).
Dunking my boobs in hot water (in the bath) is bliss.
That if your boobs are too engorged baby may not be able to latch, so hand expressing a little milk off so they are softer will help your latch at this point. I didn't know this and had a night of a horribly hungry screaming baby.
That you may not have too many problems. Other than the above ds is 3wo and breastfeeding has been relatively easy. I didn't bf dc1/2 but to be able to do this for him feels amazingly rewarding!
Take lansinoh to hospital with you and use from the first feed!
Eat a lot (of cake) and look after yourself (or get someone else to look after you) as you get feeding established
Ask for help. Problem not solved? Ask again, and again, and again...
Push baby onto breast with heel of hand between shoulder blades not by pushing his/her head on. This helps the chin-first thing.
Don't panic during the engorgement phase - it will pass!
Thanks Zara, I did get pnd in the end I'm sure it was a combination of prem delivery and expressing stress/guilt!
There are some great tips on here
I had exactly the same as Staceym - when my milk came in DS didn't know what to do with these huge engorged boobs and we had a night of screaming. Bought a Medela breast pump (hospital sold them at considerable discount) and learnt to express. Oversupply can be an issue - it was for me - and expressing a bit first helped baby and me.
Try not to get hung up on all the negatives, yes it can be sore, tiring and unrelenting at first but my god, when you get into the swing of things it is so utterly wonderful (and convenient!) Seeing their contented little faces after a feed and knowing you did that is the best. I've just stopped breastfeeding and am feeling a little wistful!
Best of luck xxx
You need someone who has BF themselves to check the latch.
It hurts for 6 wks - if it's really painful it could be the latch.
It's a special bond that you just can't explain.
It is sooooooooooo much easier - no sterilising, no waiting whilst bottles warm, instant pacifier, gets them off to sleep, if you attach cot to bed you won't even have to get up in the night, really helps get rid of baby weight, you can eat loads - in fact you simply have to.
It's is really worth a few tricky weeks getting started and surviving the first bout of cluster feeding.
Always have drink, snacks, phone and remote in reach.
Good luck - report back to us
There isn't much that a BF can't fix. Basically for the first 6 weeks at least, if it squeaks stick a boob in it
Try and learn to feed lying down. That way when baby cluster feeds or goes through growth spurts you can lie down and close your eyes letting them get on with it.
Keep a sports bottle of water or squash near you at all times. You will get very thirsty.
It's ok to give your baby a 5 minute feed to get them to sleep then let them stay there using your boob as a pillow. I still do this with my 7mo old every so often. Nothing beats that look of shear contentment
And lastly... Only you know what's right for your baby. Ignore everyone that thinks they know best. Yes they can "possibly be hungry again" half and hour after the last feed.
Good luck OP
Loads of really good advice here. I would say make sure you have phone numbers of local breastfeeding support groups near you, you can't wait until the weekly meet up to 'pop in' if you are having issues - you want immediate help. Also, a couple of cartons of forumla milk in the cupboard is reassuring for a panicking new mum even if you REALLY REALLY never want to use it (and may never have to) but when you are worrying, it's a safety net in your worst case scenario in the middle of the night
Where to start!
Some mums don't leak. I'm not some mums and I leak buckets. Ergo I need breast pads. With dc1 I used disposable pads but with dc2 they repelled me as soon as I put them on and I think they made the initial sore nipples worse. A lovely IBLC I know gave me a pack of terry towelling backed washable pads and they are heaven! Of course you need dozens of them and I have the boots own washable pads which are fine but not as amazing as the towelling ones
Ok don't panic that I wrote initial soreness. I got this with both dc. This feels like heresy even admitting it but nipples were sore for the first week it so. Yours might be too but grin and bear it. Use Lansinoh but soaringly and in he way you use lip salve - just rub it in after feeds. I used it properly with dc2 and they got better in couple of days.
You need lots of muslins. Bm stinks after a short time!
Be patient. At some point or quite often the baby will scream its head off and refuse to latch. Just wait, persevere or walk up and down a bit to calm the baby and try again. They won't die or explode and it doesn't mean bf isn't working out. It just means the daft baby got too worked up. Dc2 did it today (8 weeks) I just sighed a bit, drank some more coffee and waited - she latched on soon enough.
Hmm what else...you don't need special bf tops but ones with buttons help or ones you can lift up easily. You probably need vests to wear underneath to cover you up.
If you are squeamish about bf in public it passes. I was a wimp at first with dc1 until I fed her in a disabled loo and vowed I'd never do it again. With dc2 I vowed I wouldn't even use the feeding room in mothercare (ours is foul - some are quite pleasant). I feed in cafes etc. no one has ever passed comment, negative or otherwise
You don't need a special diet but if you don't eat enough you will feel extra crappy. Same with hydration. This time around I'm drinking coconut water - it's got tons of electrolytes - works a treat but I stress my point you don't NEED any special food/drink its just my preference.
The first few weeks might be a bit of a marathon but every day is a goal and it gets easier when you get going. I remember after the first 6 weeks realising why most people stop around then - it's hard going - but that's the hard part over and it's a walk in the park after that.
Oh and if the baby has green poo it means your swapping sides too often and the baby isn't getting the hind milk. You will be told all sorts if stuff about what it means but you need to rule this out first.
Secondly lots if sick doesn't always equal reflux etc. some babies are happy pukers! Dc2 puked so much in the first few weeks I take spare clothes out with me - for me! It's delightful but its not a problem - except for my hard working hotpoint
Sometimes when they finish feeding they come off the breast with a big sigh and a look of utter contentment. Sometimes mid-feed your baby will look up at you and give you a big grin before continuing feeding.
Thank you for so many replies - there is so much advice and expertise here. :-)
Totally agree with moomin. It's a skill, and some people acquire skills faster, or become more proficient. It is natural, but bf doesn't always come naturally.
Lots of excellent advice here already OP, but from personal experience I wish I had known that bf is different for everyone. It was even different between children for me!
Agree with flip flop- my baby never gaped and hoovered in my nipple as well.
Saying that, she then slowly opened her mouth while feeding. Google pictures as in a good latch the mouth will be open and the top and bottom lip pushed back over themselves, so much that after feeding, dd often had red lines on her face where they were bent back.
A normal length feed can be 5 mins to 2 hours.
Sometimes dc will want to feed every 20 mins to feed, sometimes every 4 hours.
Never wake your baby to breastfeeding.
If it is not going well, and you want to give up, give up, it is your decision but MN is always here for support.
Good luck, enjoy.
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