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Help from breastfeeding people needed - BFing DC2 after nightmare with DC1

(21 Posts)
Purplelooby Wed 16-Jan-13 21:15:05

(Sorry if this is long) Firstly, I'm PG with DC2 and DC1 is only 4.5 months old - he will be 13 months when DC2 is born.

When I was PG with DC1, I tried to prepare for BFing - attending antenatel BFing sessions, etc.
After a long and traumatic birth, my milk didn't come in and because DS was quite small, this led to him being rushed to A&E at 3 days old where he remained on the children's ward, unconcious and ill, for 3 days. I'll be honest, watching my son looking so tiny and poorly with drips in both hands, I would have given up BFing, but the lovely nurses brought me a breast pump and after 2 days, I got milk.
Then, on the third day, my son suddenly woke up - I walked to him (still attached to pump) and he stared at my boob (in the pump) and cried. It was almost as beautiful as first meeting him - I lifted him to my boob shoved it in his gob and he fed from me. I cried in happiness - this was how motherhood was meant to be.

So a story should end. But. When we got home, problems started to form. He got harder and harder to latch, but worst of all he slipped it regularly, leading to it taking 2 hours for him to get 5 minutes of actual sucking. A midwife spotted a tongue tie and my (lovely) peer-supporter refered me to get it cut. Unfortunately, the appointment was in 12 weeks time. Trouble was, every feed was getting worse not better. In the end, at 2 weeks old, he was slipping his latch almost immediately (after half an hour of getting him latched). By now my nipples were bleeding and I was having to top up with expressed after every feed. My peer-supporter helped me to use nipple shields and he fed perfectly for one day, but then my supply dropped and I had to start topping up with formula as well as expressed. By now my only option was to buy an electric pump and express every feed for 12 weeks, but I was suffering from PND and the bond between DS and I was in pieces. It was time to move on.

So... DS has been EFF ever since, but I really do want to BF DC2 because a) I know the benefits of breastfeeding b) because that moment in hospital was utterly, utterly beautiful and it felt right - it is what I want for my child.

My questions then - how do I manage to BF when I have a 13 month old? How do I get past my fears from the experience above? What do I do if the same happens again? And - what can I do, antenately to prepare, because I now know from my BFing friends that the antenatel groups I attended were useless?

alisarah Wed 16-Jan-13 21:19:55

Don't know the answer sorry - just offering best wishes and, from your post, it sounds like you have the determination and strength to do it, if physically

stargirl1701 Wed 16-Jan-13 21:29:04

Hi. I know of a book called 'Breastfeeding: Take Two' by Stephanie Casemore which is written for mums wanting to bf a dc2 after a challenging time with dc1.

What about a La Leche League meeting? A local bf cafe? The NCT or LLL helplines. I am trying to relactate after a difficult bf experience and have found these resources really helpful.

All the best.

Purplelooby Wed 16-Jan-13 21:46:57

stargirl I considered relactating with DS after his tongue-tie was cut and I would be fascinated to hear how your experience goes, even though it's no longer an option for me now that I'm pregnant xx

DoItToJulia Wed 16-Jan-13 22:04:43

Oh OP, I am sorry you had such a tough time.

I suspect that the answer is you will have to wait and see how it goes.

On a practical level, I never did any antenatal preparation, but found that having the baby latched on ASAP after giving birth helped and skin to skin contact for as much of the first day/night and immediate post partum period helped.

Having support and help at home for your older DCs so that you can concentrate on establishing bf in the early days may help.

Being relaxed (ha! The irony) helps. Patience helps. Having drinks and snacks at hand helps, acomfy place to feed helps.

Hope that helps and good luck OP

Zara1984 Thu 17-Jan-13 00:13:51

Hi OP - I think it's fab you're planning ahead for how to deal with this. I had similar issues bf and it really shocked me as I thought bf would always come naturally and that with a good attitude and perseverance I'd get there - err no.

To be honest I think that with another child to look after you have to be prepared to implement "Plan B" quickly if necessary and not feel guilty about it. I'll give you my two cents and you can take it or leave it. Even though I was absolutely adamant I would bf, the experience of bf failure was so harrowing I don't think I ever want to go through it again. Next time I'm giving bf a week max to get established. If there are the same latching issues, I'm going to FF as soon as I get home from hospital. If it's mostly going ok, I'll give it a week, see how I feel and go from there. I really hate the fact that my first two weeks with my lovely boy had a huge raincloud over them from BF not working. I'm not putting my mental health and the happiness of my family through that again.

Best of luck to you!! smile

tiktok Thu 17-Jan-13 10:29:47

purple what a struggle, and what a journey sad sad

The difficulties with your ds started at the beginning. Difficult births do impact on early bf, but this might not happen with your coming baby. When this one is born, you can have skin to skin immediately and for as much time as you want. You can have him checked for tongue tie straight away and you can insist on immediate treatment if it's needed (a 12 week wait for a tt snipping is unacceptable).

Your milk came in on day 5, if my calculations are right, and that is within normal limits, and with earlier skin to skin and no separation (because what happened with your first needing hospital treatment is unlikely to happen again) your milk will prob come in a bit earlier.

You may be helped by talking about what happened with a midwife, a breastfeeding counsellor or a health visitor - just someone who understands that bf is so important to your feelings about yourself as a mother, and who has some knowledge of how bf works.

I don't think antenatal classes about bf will help you a great deal, to be honest, in terms of information, as you seem fairly clued up about how bf works, but they will confirm what you know, so there is that. I would say you need more individual help and support, which is hard to get in a group....the person who takes the session would find it very hard to address your very specific needs in the group and to pay sufficient attention to others' needs which might be for more basic info.

So as for your own preparation, it's a matter of understanding what went on last time (which you do), accepting it won't happen again and building your confidence that if things do start to go pear-shaped, you will get any TT dealt with; you will insist on skin to skin, and you will have arranged to have help in place at home with everything inc your toddler.


Purplelooby Thu 17-Jan-13 19:58:32

Thank you so much everyone who replied - you are all making me feel like I really can do it and it sort of feels better to hear that other people have had the same. zara I do know a few other people who had problems BFing too and said that they couldn't face it a second time too. I'm not sure why I feel differently, but I felt exactly the same about my first 2 weeks with my son. I remember lying in bed and wishing that I hadn't had a baby at all, which is all the more shocking because it took me a very difficult 18 months to get PG with him in the first place.

tiktok Thank you, you've made me feel better about the milk-timing. It only came in due to pumping, but I'm pretty sure that it would have come itself if a) the birth had been more normal and b) DS had been latching properly. Also, the separation happened even earlier because I was quite ill after DS was born. I agree that the classes wouldn't help again... they were about why to BF but unfortunately, as could be predicted, the people who attended chose to do so because they already wanted to BF! I was shocked at the 12 week wait and so was the consultant midwife who cut it... How can BFing be considered so unimportant??

My biggest worry, which a few people have mentioned, is that I won't be getting any help with my toddler after DH goes back to work. My family and friends all work full time 9-5 type jobs sad.

Here's what I've done so far: Posted on here (and I'm already very grateful for these replies), bumped into my peer-supporter today and told her I'm PG again and intend to BF (she was wonderful) and also I've got back in touch with someone who ran a bumps and babies BFing group that I went to before DS was born.

Purplelooby Thu 17-Jan-13 20:01:51

Sorry - to add. I'm actually having DC2 at a different hospital because I've heard that the maternity ward there is much more friendly and supportive of BFing. Hospital 1 was absolutely amazing during my labour and when I was ill afterwards (I should add, the lovely midwife did give me skin-to-skin and out him on me to BF whilst I was in theatre), but the normal maternity ward was not good for BFing.

stargirl1701 Thu 17-Jan-13 23:37:16

Hi Purple. Glad to hear you've got a plan.

My experience was a bit different from yours. I had a lovely water birth with my DD. I felt really empowered by the experience. DD latched on within a couple of minutes and we had 2 hours of skin to skin and latching before moving from the pool room to a bedroom.

I stayed at the midwife unit for 4 days as I was determined to bf and thought a good start would help. From the beginning the latch wasn't good on the right and no one could seem to improve it. We went home on a Sunday and battled through the week. DD lost weight over the week. On the Friday I thought I had a UTI and spoke to the community midwife. She advised me to make a GP appt. I got one for the next Tuesday. I drank lots of cranberry juice on the Sat and we had a lovely day. Just the 3 of us, out walking, some good latches, going well although I noticed a white blister on the right nipple above the crack that had formed.

On Sunday evening I had pain in my abdomen so called NHS 24. They sent me to OOH for a half past midnight appt. We arrived and were told there was a 2 hour we asked for a room so I could bf. I saw the doc and he tested my urine. He said I had a UTI, a slight temperature and my right breast was hard as if it was engorged. He gave me an antibiotic and we went home.

I got worse over the next 2 hours. In agony and unable to feed DD. My DH phoned the midwife unit and they said to come in. We arrived at 5am and I saw a doc at 10am. He scanned my bladder but couldn't find anything wrong. They said I should stay for 24 hours observation. After lunch I began to shiver and the midwife got the doc back. They did some basic obs and my temp was 38.6, pulse 120 and raised blood pressure.

So, they called an ambulance and I was taken to the regional teaching hospital. They thought I had retained placenta so I was sent for an ultrasound. Nope. Blood cultures were taken.

DD had lost a lot of weight and her blood work was now concerning the doc. She was put on formula and I was asked to express milk and send it to the lab. The left milk was normal but the right came out into the pump in green strings like cooked spaghetti. The lab advised not to feed from the right but keep pumping.

Blood work indicated sepsis so I was put on 3 IV antibiotics. I then had a serious allergic reaction to one of them - stopped breathing. The milk from the right changed to red clumps. I was sent for another ultrasound to see if I had a breast abscess. No.

After 4 days I felt better and the IVs came out. The blood cultures indicated infective mastitis. I returned to the midwife unit with 10 different oral medications. I then had a minor allergic reaction to one of them. My milk on the right was still going into the pump in red clumps.

I went home after 4 days in the midwife unit when my milk had returned to normal. I was instructed to feed DD in the left for 30 min, give her expressed milk from the right, give her a formula top up then express from the right for 30 min. This took 90 min and she fed every 120 min or so. I managed to do this for 24 hours then I realised I was never going to be able to sleep.

So I stopped bf. I finished all my medications including the dreaded iron tablets! After stopping for 8 weeks I decided to give it another go.

I hired a pump from the NCT (now very familiar with these) and pumped 4 times every day for a week. My milk then returned and I upped to pumping to 8 times a day. I'm trying to do lots of skin to skin. DD has done a lot of licking but only latched twice. I'll give it to 6 months (4 months at the mo) and if I haven't been successful I'll stop then.

Relactating has helped me develop some positive bf emotions as I had some very negative associations after everything that happened. I now feel I would try again if we have another baby. I certainly know a hell of lot more about bf than I did!

It's been good to write this all down too. I wish you every success with your bf journey as you try again for dc2.

tiktok Fri 18-Jan-13 11:46:47

stargirl, amazing story.

Very interesting report of the emotions involved in all this.

I wish you well and continued strength smile

Purplelooby Fri 18-Jan-13 23:15:44

stargirl that sounds like an awful thing to have gone through, but I can totally, totally relate to your reasons for relactating. You are incredibly strong for going through with it and it sounds like you're not putting pressure on yourself which I'm sure will help. I actually latched DS onto me a few times (just before his TT was cut) to see whether relactation might be feasible and there was definite improvement in his latching, plus I got that familiar ache under my arm-pits, so I'm sure I would have made milk. I was going to buy try using LactAid so that DS could stimulate my milk back and we could share the comfort.

In the end, DH gently told me that he would prefer me not to - as soon as I'd started letting DS latch a couple of times, he became very fussy with me. He's a very, how can I put it, spirited baby ('high-needs', I think I've heard it described). I have a lot of respect for you for doing it.

Purplelooby Fri 18-Jan-13 23:26:54

Had to post again - someone just sent me this link which is a petition to get tongue-ties cut within 3 days of birth TT petition

MikeOxardInTheSnow Fri 18-Jan-13 23:40:21

Don't forget every baby is different. Dd was a bit of a nightmare to bf, we needed nipple shields etc. Ds was straight on and was the easiest to feed baby ever! Wishing an easy baby for you.

Purplelooby Fri 18-Jan-13 23:53:35

Mikeoxardinthesnow I have a friend who BF both of her DDs - she told me that with her first it was a horrible experience from start to finish, but DD2 basically just got on with it by herself, taking 4 hours between feeds from birth and never losing an ounce of her birth weight. Oh how I want DC2 to be like that. And I want them to be BIG. GREAT BIG healthy bouncing baby next time please body.

stargirl1701 Sat 19-Jan-13 14:35:32

Hi Purple. I'm sending good thoughts your way for dc2.

Purplelooby Sun 20-Jan-13 20:35:11

Thanks everyone who replied to this. I'm afraid a started an MC this morning, but I'm still going to take all of your advice to heart in the future. thanks

MikeOxardInTheSnow Sun 20-Jan-13 21:05:52

I'm so sorry, how awful for you. I really wish you good luck for the future, and big hugs for all you're going through right now. x

stargirl1701 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:31:04

Oh Purple. I'm so sorry. X

stargirl1701 Tue 22-Jan-13 04:46:00

Hi Purple. I've been thinking about you all day. Sending love and hugs.

Purplelooby Tue 22-Jan-13 20:14:59

Thank you so much xx

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