Breastfeeding a newborn...(26 Posts)
Just had a wee query re breastfeeding.
Friends and family who has recently had babies were all encouraged to feed on demand. However all of them gave up after a few days as they were in so much pain with cracked nipples etc. they all think it was due to baby constantly sucking for hours on end.
So my main question is, is it possible for my milk to still come in if I don't want to become a human dummy??!
Obviously I don't want to let my baby go hungry but I don't want any 'comfort sucking' for hours on end eek!!
Pain from bf comes from a latch that isn't as good as it could be rather than a baby feeding on demand. At present your baby is fed constantly via the umbilical cord so feeling hungry when it is born is a whole new experience. Your baby will not be comfort sucking but feeding because it's hungry and it's tiny little 5ml capacity stomach fills and empties very quickly.
If you do start feeling sore seek help and support from a trained bf professional as soon as possible to ensure that your baby is feeding well. Your milk will still come in if your baby isn't feeding - that's induced by the change in hormone levels after the delivery of the placenta and mums who choose to formula feed from the start still have milk come in - but by controlling the amount of feeding your baby does you may well find that you have supply issues after a few days / weeks.
On the subject of comfort sucking what is wrong with fulfilling the needs of your new born baby who wants to be held close to you? You will be it's main source of comfort and your role is to protect and reassure that baby as it grows. Not fulfilling a baby's basic needs of comfort can have some very serious consequences in terms of your child's physical and emotional development. Your baby isn't trying to control you, it's explaining it's needs to you - the most important being it it's life.
Some tips for minimising pain and cracked nipples:
- let nipples air dry for a few minutes after each feed before covering up again
- express a little milk and rub over nipple: air dry
- try to get good latch. If it needs corrected, don't pull baby off as it will hurt. Stick your pinky finger in and let baby suck that as you gently detach.
You can distinguish comfort sucking from actual feeding as with feeding there will be a 'keh' sound as the baby expels breath. If baby falls asleep at breast tickle feet or ears to encourage him/her to keep feeding.
But yes comfort feeding is important to boost supply. And it is pretty unavoidable to spend many hours nursing a newborn. It won't last forever though - by around three months I think it's typical that there will be say three hours between feeds and feeds are usually shorter in duration.
I didn't start this thread so people like you could get on your high horse about comfort sucking. I can show my child love, attention and protection in other ways than having it sucking on my boob and not drinking. Plus my husband is equally as important in reassuring the baby it's loved. Should he be allowing the baby to comfort such on him?!
Thanks for advice meringue. I have no problem with comfort feeding but I really don't want to be encouraging comfort sucking.
Will see how it goes!
DS1 was an inefficient feeder (undiagnosed tongue tie), some days he would be latched on for up to 16 hours a day as well as most of the night. It didn't hurt at all.
I would suggest that pain and cracked nipples are more to do with how well the baby is latched rather than the length of time spent on the breast.
Hey OP that's a bit much - you asked for, and got, some really sound advice.
IMHO the first few days are hard work, baby can be attached almost constantly but the sucking is to get your milk supply going. DS was in NICU and he was given a pacifier early on (my milk had already come in) this helped to relax him in the incubator, although he was still exclusively breastfed for 6 months and still feeds now at 13 months. If you have a really sucky baby a pacifier may help if you need a break?
Second lanisoh and getting someone trained to check your latch.
It can really hurt too, nothing to do with a successful latch or not, just getting used to something sucking hard on your boobs! First 10 secs of each feed worst for me - this lasted about 10 days.
Wrt comfort sucking, a Neonatal nurse in NICU told me 3 day old DS was ' just' comfort sucking and shouldn't be allowed to continue. I was appalled that a professional HCP a) knew so little about mechanics of breastfeeding and b) would deny an extremely sick baby the comfort breastfeeding obviously brings.
Bit off topic, but I'm still angry (did make formal complaint)
Hi there. In my experience severe nipple pain is due to a bad latch rather than endless sucking. You would be well advised to get advice on the latch straightaway (before you leave hospital) and then find a breastfeeding cafe to attend if you do have problems. Newborns do just want to feed all the time and at odd hours. I think you just have to accept that you will be feeding permanently for the first little while but it does settle down.
I appreciate any advice but I don't appreciate anyone implying I'm not fulfilling my role as a mother if I don't want comfort sucking, my mum didn't with me and I love her to death, we're so close.
Billsticker, obv a dummy didn't cause nipple confusion for your wee baby, would you recommend a dummy? So much conflicting advice on dummies, sucking etc. don't know where to start x
My little DD isn't a comfort sucker. My other 3 dcs were. I wouldn't mind it if she was, but she just doesn't. She feeds then takes herself off the boob still wide awake when she's had enough.
Cracking advice Bert2b. Any space up on that high horse?
I agree with everyone, it's the latch that's important but you will have to accept you will pretty much be glued to your baby especially for the first three months. Lots of sucking comfort or otherwise is very important in establishing supply.
I'm months into breast feeding my ds2 and he feeds a lot! But it's not painful to begin with I suffered split/cracked nipples and engorgement simply due to the frequency of feeding but you kind of push on through iyswim? (I was having to express as well as ds was born very prem so that may have been a factor)
Dummies are contentious I know, but with DS it really helped to soothe him in hospital and at other times between feeds (you know, when you need to go to the loo and stuff )
He had one at 3 days and used it until about 6 months (he lost interest). The hospital gave him a Phillips Soothie but they are not available commercially in the UK (we got replacements on ebay)
As I said above my milk was in by then and I fed on demand and very frequently. As said above by other posters newborns have tiny stomachs and need to feed a lot. I had to record DS's feeding pattern in hospital before discharge and at 5 days he was feeding 30+ times a day.
The every 4 hours
myth rule is for much older babies in my opinion.
I would also just say that when I was pregnant the first time, the idea of comfort sucking was really not very appealing at all... in the end, the reality of those sleep cuddles where you can't do anything because the baby is feeding are actually incredibly fond memories now!
And not everyone gets terribly sore nipples from the outset - my tube of lansinoh is still almost full, and that's after 3 babies (I got sore much, much later on, and that was when they got older and lazier about their latch).
Op it isn't a criticism its an explanation as to how bf supply works. The more time your lo spends on the best the more milk you will make the next day. Its not an attack and I certainly passed ds over to be comforted by dh once I've given him a long feed, but evening cluster feeds are about an emotional comfort and boosting your spy at the same time.
Plus ds found his thumb fairly early on.
Oh and both my children spent HOURS sucking on DH's finger for comfort when I needed to sleep/have a break.
I agree that any pain comes from not being latched on properly. If the latch is correct, the baby could feed for hours and it wouldn't cause pain/cracked nipples, etc.
I think you do have to accept that the baby will feed frequently for about the first 3 months, and if you try to restrict it then you may have problems with supply. What you might see as comfort feeding is actually the baby trying to stimulate supply.
On the subject of dummies, my twins have had them since being in the hospital and neither of them have had any problems with feeding. They did latch on very well from birth though, so I'd maybe just make sure you get the latch right first and then give a dummy if you want to.
Re the 4 hour "rule" - my babies are 8 months old and only started stretching to 4 hours and dropping night feeds when they started on solids at 6 months. It's only applicable to ff babies in my experience.
Bert2be - what a shocking amount of emotional pressure to put on a new mum, how do you think that would help?!
My 9 week old DD is currently enjoying what feels like her millionth boob of the day. Personally I found she barely seemed to feed at all for the first few days, and had quite a predictable routine right up until about four weeks, when she suddenly started wanting to feed constantly. Of course we thought she was cluster feeding, coming up to a growth spurt etc., but that was over five weeks ago and nothing's changed! She was born 2 weeks overdue and has always hovered around the 91st centile for weight, so she's obviously getting enough, but she just seems to like to suck. Thankfully latch isnt an issue as she fed well for the first few weeks (although it was very sore and my nipples cracked and bled in the beginning, I think its normal to a degree unfortunately) but she's definitely getting more lazy, for every minute she spends actually feeding she probably spends two or three just sucking. I actually look forward to the night feeds, she's hungrier, so she sucks better and it's over with a lot faster.
Thanks for all the help ladies.
I'm sorry if I got defensive, I'm just fed up of people making assumptions that I won't fulfil my babies emotional needs.. I plan on making this baby feel like the most loved baby in the world, with or without comfort sucking.
I think the fact you got defensive shows exactly how much you already care for your baby. In my opinion, and I have four breastfed babies, You will know that all the advice above is right. Get a good latch for you and your comfort in addition to baby's feeding needs, it will improve supply and promote the bond you already have. I think that comfort sucking is useful early on to improve supply which in turn will help you to continue breastfeeding until you and your baby are ready to move on from breastfeeding. Only you will be able to make any decisions for you and your baby, there is no reason why Dad can't cuddle up during breastfeeding, my hubby did so we had baby bewteen us. You will find away, listen to your instincts, trust them and enjoy x
If your family ff, what they won't really appreciate is that bf is about more than milk - until you do it, you think it's just an alternative way of inputting milk into your baby. When you do it, you quickly learn that it's as much about comfort and security as food. There is nothing that settles an upset baby as quickly as a boob, and putting baby on the breast becomes an automatic response as soon as they seem at all unhappy. Sometimes they feed, sometimes they just want a sleepy milky cuddle from mum. All normal and natural - if you think about it, thinking of yourself as a"human dummy" is the wrong way round - a dummy is a fake nipple, a nipple isn't a fake boob.
Re the pain. With both of my babies, I found the first three or four days really painful - grit your teeth and endure kind of pain. I used lots of lansinoh, and it passed, so that feeding quickly became painless. I don't think it's always the latch - you should definitely get this checked, but sometimes it just takes a bit of time for your nipples to get used to it. Perseverance is key!
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