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Coming to terms with bf experience for DC1 before DC2 arrives(7 Posts)
I'm 35wks pg with DC2 and have just had to rush out of an antenatal class overwhelmed by emotion. This was the local 3 hour NHS-run session and they showed a video of a home birth diary ending with the mother latching her new baby on to bf.
I had a rotten experience bf'ing DS last time: my milk didn't come in with any kind of rush (and not a lot of it it seemed), despite being told the latch was good by all the various HCPs who witnessed it, he ended up in SCBU after loosing too much weight by day 5, he was tube-fed then bottle-supplemented when we went home on day 8, with the bottle feeds gradually taking over from the bf'ing until I threw in the towel at week 10. I accessed the support available to me locally through initially the midwifery team, the hospital LC clinic and then the local peer supporters.
I thought I was fine, in my most logical moments I'm completely ambivalent about whether I bf or ff, my desire is to give it a go this time and see how it goes. I'm realistic about the "work" I'm willing to put in - if I can't get my supply going properly without pumping between feeds I'm (rationally) happy with DC2 being bottle fed from an early stage. But irrationally, emotionally, this is already hitting me much harder than I expected: when I'm full of hormones and sleep deprived in the newborn fog I hate to think how much worse it will be.
I think what I'm looking for is a route to RL advice on how best to deal with recognising if supplementing is necessary in the first few days to avoid a repeat of the hospital visit, and even if it's possible to get someone to take a view on whether my anatomy could actually do this: I had breast implants 5 years prior to falling pg for the first time, after having a completely flat chest, and I've notived very limited change/growth in my breasts during both pregnancies. I read widely last time and feel I can acknowledge the choices I made last time (eg to not pump as much as recommended once DH returned to work as it was hard to spend that much more time on the sofa on top of trying to bf without another adult around to attend to DS: DS was a sucky baby but wouldn't take my nipple - he was happy with a finger and eventually a dummy so I couldn't kill two birds with one stone).
Because I'm not willing to bf at any cost, I'm nervous about being judged (and judging myself) for this: those I have met from the local peer support team have been lovely but also often overcame huge obstacles to successfully bf themselves. I don't want to ask my midwife because I was warned off the other local support groups for this reason last time (and besides don't want a repeat visit the very brisk lady they send to give you a talking to if you're having issues).
Sorry, this is long, I didn't want to drip feed and it's actually therapeutic to put all this down.
Just wanted to say that I understand & sympathise Dizzy. I'm trapped in the early-baby-in-scbu-won't-take-breast situation too. Am pumping away too & trying to cope with 4-year-old & DP back at work.
It's really hard & I share your feelings of sadness about not being able to BF. It was so important to me & it feels like I'm grieving in some ways.
I guess all we can do is our best & not beat ourselves up for things beyond our control. Please don't be hard on yourself & try to enjoy your baby when (s)he comes along.
The LLL have a book called Breastfeeding, Take Two which might help.
Just wanted to say I too had a hideous experience bfing dd she was in and out of hospital and we too had to stop due to her allergies and ultimate breast refusal.
I was beside myself with anxiety before ds arrived and while it hasn't always been easy, I am still successfully bfing him at 8 months and he has only had breast milk no formula at all.
My advise is to stand firm, ask for help and keep asking. Refuse the unhelpful (like the mw who wanted to give him a top up when he had not latched on after 15 mins) and try to be confident.
Educate yourself now, the kellymom website is amazing as is the LLL one and try the badass breastfeeder too. Breastfeeding basics is another good one.
My two children couldn't be more different when it comes to bfing so just because you had one very hard experience doesn't mean it will be the same this time around.
I wish you luck and congratulations on your pregnancy! Please do feel free to pm me if you want any support.
Thanks for your support and kind words. I've got my birth plan meeting with the midwife next week and will mention this, and also look into the reading, thanks for the recommendation stargirl. I don't want to bf at any cost, I'm a bit nervous of my local LLL but remember Kellymom has some good stuff and will get prepped for "safe" cup/syringe supplementation if that's necessary. I think I've a better idea of what to expect poo & nappy wise and looking back it was clear on day 5 DS was dehydrated and slumped, exhausted, before the midwife sent us in to SCBU.
lotsofcheese I'm sorry to hear you're in it now. Well done for persevering with the pumping, particularly with a pre-schooler. I don't think I'm up to take this on with 2yo DS but we'll see.
Well done also munxx for your bf success 2nd time round. I can remember the goal posts moving constantly: oh, yes it's hard at first but it gets better after a few days, a couple of weeks, a month, 6, 8, 12, 16 weeks. I have now observed that with perseverence it seems to settle after the 4mo growth spurt. Again, how far am I prepared to take this? My DH and other support? (DM who bf'ed both me and my sister and had a hellish first 6mo with both of us, we never stopped crying of slept more than 90mins) recently "helpfully" observed it would probably be much easier if I ff'd from the start). I don't know.
Do some reading around. My experience has been it is easier (a bit) in some ways the second time round. Harder in others (entertaining a toddler whilst establishing breast feeding is tricky) but all babies are different.
I am currently feeding my DD2 at 19 weeks and my DD1 was breastfed til she was 13 months and although I believe in breast feeding I am also a big believer in choosing what is best for your whole family.
We mix fed (no more than 1/2 bottles) both our girls from the very beginning. Currently, DD2 has 1 bottle a day with her dad and I found it to be immensely reassuring in the early days and a bit of a break for me! DD 1 gave up bottles at8 weeks but that is another story!
In my (limited) experience if you feed as much you can manage and express to get supply going a few top ups can be a lifesaver.
Try and give yourself a break. Your baby will be lovely no matter what you decide.
P.S I know that my experience is opposite to much of the current advice but it worked for us.
Agree you do what works for you as a family, luckily ds took to bfing well and for me personally it has been much easier than anticipated. The growth spurts are tough but we co sleep. Again this is what works for us as a family.
And you will find what works for you, I never ever thought I would be carrying my baby in a sling, bfing on demand and cosleeping after having my first baby travelling everywhere with what was akin to a chemistry lab on my pram (5 different meds in all) but as it has been said, they're all different.
Whatever to decide to do will be the right decision. And I hope you get all the support you want and deserve.
All the best for the birth and the days after!
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