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to ask about breastfeeding?

(140 Posts)
Thisismyfirsttime Thu 19-Sep-13 16:26:03

So, I am currently 20wks pregnant with my first baby and have been doing my research into breastfeeding. I'm asking this leaving aside whether bf is best for baby (which is difficult I know). All the information I can find from personal experiences of bf is making me feel it's really not for me. A lot of what I'm seeing is making me think it's far more difficult to get into a routine whilst bf and that it seems to take up a LOT of the day. Is this true?
Really, I would ask if some of you share the absolute basics with a complete novice please? I.e does it hurt at first, how long does it hurt for, how long does each feed take (different for different babies I know but from personal experiences), did anyone BF one and FF another- which was easier to get into routine, is it really difficult to get anything else done in the first few weeks of bf etc etc? I would value opinions from mums who bf and ff please!
I was intending to bf for at least the first 6 weeks but AIBU to consider not breastfeeding at all?

DontPanicMrMannering Thu 19-Sep-13 17:01:49

My phone sucks!

jimijack Thu 19-Sep-13 17:03:32

Hi there.
I have bf both my boys but was adamant from early in my first pregnancy that this was what I was going to do.
I didn't read anything or ask anyone about it at all as I would have got 5000 different descriptions and experiences. I wanted to learn for myself.

8 months in I am still bf ds 2.
In fact I am doing it now as I type!
I found/find it easy, clean, perfect & convenient.

I have experienced no pain.
Also don't agree that it takes up all day. It's 2-3 hourly, 20minutes tops for a good feed.

All the best with it. Any other questions feel free to ask x

FindusLasagne Thu 19-Sep-13 17:04:34

I had to FF my two for various reasons (not at all through choice). So I can't really compare to BF, which I only managed for just over a week both times.

I agree with a ^ PP that it does feel faffy because you have to be prepared. There's also all the faff of bottle washing and sterilising. If you can afford the little individual cartons, they make life easier for making up the feed. I couldn't afford these for all the time but for the night feeds and being out of the house it was definitely easier.

If it turns out that you can BF, I'd say it definitely seems easier than FF, for the reasons other posters have said. It's just that for some of us, it's not an option unfortunately. I reckon you should give BF a go to save yourself the chore of the bottles and making up sterile feeds.

Tailtwister Thu 19-Sep-13 17:05:28

The biggest problem is that everyone's experience varies hugely. Some people have lots of issues and others find it easy. The main thing for me was that yes, in the early days you do seem to spend a lot of time feeding. It's simply the mechanics of how breastfeeding works. The baby needs to build up supply and that's what they do.

The good news is that you don't have to stop your life completely to bf. You can bf on the go, in a sling. Once you become more at ease with it, it's perfectly doable to be out and about as much as you want. You can also go out without thinking about taking bottles etc with you.

If I were you I would give it a go and see how you feel about it. I didn't do much research at all before having DS1 other than deciding I would give it a go. I'm glad I didn't as I think I would have scared myself witless!

I bf DS1 until he was over 3 and I'm currently winding down with DS2 who is 3.4. Is has been lovely, I have no regrets, I'm glad I'm able to stop with minimal upset to either of us.

hettienne Thu 19-Sep-13 17:05:51

I'd remember as well that people tend to write posts about breastfeeding when they are having difficulties (and of course some people do struggle for all kinds of reasons - problems with the baby's mouth, physical abnormalities of the breasts, poor support, unrealistic expectations, infections etc etc) - no one starts a thread titled "breastfeeding is so lovely and easy, isn't it?" on a board full of posters asking for help, even if that is many women's experience. So reading help boards does skew the perception of how hard it is.

Rooners Thu 19-Sep-13 17:06:55

Hmmm, I did find the first few days a bit sore, in the sense that your nipples are being a bit stretched I suppose - but they never got overly sore or cracked, thankfully. I just let the babies feed as much and for as long as they wanted, which seemed to work.

No routines imposed, nothing else, just feeding on demand.

I wasn't sitting feeding all day by any means.

It is random and you may find it happens for a few hours in a row, sometimes, or whatever. The trick may be not to have any expectations and just to try and respond to what the baby wants.

My third is now asleep on my lap, he is 8mo, and has never had a bottle and I am not too excited at the idea of weaning him onto proper, messy food! That will mean leaving the computer and engaging with the kitchen grin

Minifingers Thu 19-Sep-13 17:07:37

"A lot of what I'm seeing is making me think it's far more difficult to get into a routine whilst bf and that it seems to take up a LOT of the day. Is this true?"

Looking after a small baby takes up A LOT of your time you will find. I'm not sure what you've got planned for your maternity leave. Other than feeding your baby, what else will you have to do that's so important it can't wait until your baby has eaten?

Breastfeeding involves an investment of your time at the beginning. If you make it to six weeks it becomes much, much easier usually, and IME makes life much, much easier and stress-free than bottle feeding, once you've got to grips with it. One of the things I found massively anxiety reducing about breastfeeding is that you're not always worrying about sterilising and cleanliness, and whether you've accidentally poisoned your baby by forgetting to wash your hands while making up a feed, or by putting the scoop down on an unclean kitchen worktop halfway through making up a feed at 3am in the morning.

"how long does each feed take" - depends on the mother and the baby. This is also true of bottlefeeding. Not all babies take a bottle well, and quickly. They are not machines, they will feed in their own good time, where ever the milk is coming from.

As for AIBU for not breastfeeding at all - it depends whether you agree that it has significant health benefits for your baby. If you believe this is true then you probably owe it to your baby to at least give it a go.

Katienana Thu 19-Sep-13 17:09:42

I found it easy. Time for feeds varies, I fed on demand so whenever he was hungry I offered the breast. When he was smaller it did take up a lot of time but I would eat cake and watch tv while I did it. It was great! And so easy to be able to comfort him whenever necessary. After 6 months he started solids and feeds became more predictable. I will miss it when we stop as the experience has been so lovely.

Minifingers Thu 19-Sep-13 17:09:42

"it is just the unknown I am afraid of"

But good you are acknowledging this fundamental truth of what makes first time parenting such a challenge. smile

We've all been there!

hettienne Thu 19-Sep-13 17:09:59

Agree with others that whatever feeding method you use, feeding, changing and just holding your baby is going to take up most of your time at first! Getting 2-3 hours to yourself while the baby naps doesn't happen til a lot later (if at all) whether breast or bottle.

CrispyFB Thu 19-Sep-13 17:11:27

I remember with DC1 thinking about breastfeeding at around 20 weeks too. It seemed so weird - using the things I'd been used to dressing to make into an asset.. to feed a baby. I mean, huh? But I wanted to give it a go, partly because my mother had breastfed all of us even if I couldn't remember much about it. Although the geek in me was excited by the idea of finding the best possible formula hmm and best bottles..!

I had DC1. She was seven yesterday. I have had two other DC since. I haven't actually stopped breastfeeding (aside from 4 months when I was forced to wean DD1 due to serious pregnancy complications) since that day seven years ago. I've never made up a formula bottle in my life, so I suppose it's fair to say I don't know if it is easier or harder to formula feed. We had a few struggles with DD1 and I pumped at work from 4-12 months, but it was nothing insurmountable especially thanks to help on forums like these and kellymom website.

This experience though was sooooooo not in my plans! I remember telling friends I'd "give it a go for a bit" and then "probably switch to formula" at six months or something. I had no idea my feelings would change so significantly and I never imagined I'd have no issue feeding a two year old. I'm now pregnant with our last and I am guessing by the time I've finished with this one, I'll have been breastfeeding for ten years shock

I presume the reverse is true too - there could well be people who were insistent they would breastfeed and six months down the line feel like FF was more their style.

So the only thing I would say is to go into it with an open mind. Remember that starting FF usually rules out BF but not the other way round so unless you're really set on FF, it's worth giving BF a shot.

Lweji Thu 19-Sep-13 17:14:10

Yes, it is different for everyone and every baby.

So, my advice would be to give it a go and see what happens.

Just relax and assume all will be ok.

I found it hurt the first couple of minutes of each feed, but then it was ok.
Never got cracked nipples.
I was still able to go places (including an overnight congress in Italy during maternity leave - left expressed milk) and DS fed every 4 hours, roughly.

I found it great for bonding and a great calming and soothing thing, particularly when DS was poorly. (I still remember him feeding over a bout of bronchiolitis in hospital, and taking at least half an hour, but I don't think formula would be anywhere near as good)

It was also great because it didn't involve bottles or washing or sterilising.grin

Lweji Thu 19-Sep-13 17:15:48

DS fed every 4 hours, roughly

Oh, this was his own timing, between naps and so on.
I'd still feed when he asked.

HavantGuard Thu 19-Sep-13 17:22:15

Everyone has a different experience. Even the same mother can have a wildly different experience with each new baby.

I would say if you're open to it, give it a try, as the colostrum is so good for the baby that even if you never got further than that (the first day or two) it's a boost to their immune system. You might find that it works well for you. If it doesn't, formula is still there as an option if you feel that's right for you. You can go from BF to FF anytime you want but not the reverse.

Standard MN formula advice is if you do FF check what milk your nearest shop that's open late stocks. That's the one to pick!

FlapJackFlossie Thu 19-Sep-13 17:22:46

I BF for 3 weeks. Then found out baby was lactose intolerant, so HAD to FF.

BF was a faff and no-one else could help.

FF - I never had a problem sterilising and cleaning bottles, twas easy, and DH and my Mum were glad to give him a bottle to give me a break.

Whatever suits. I bonded with my baby without trouble (so don't listen to people who say you can only truly bond if you BF).

NomDeClavier Thu 19-Sep-13 17:28:15

My view for myself and all the mothers I've ever worked with professionally is that you can stop BFing and start FFing at any point. It's immensely difficult to restart BFing. On that basis you should give it a go.

If it hurts, get help. If it takes forever after a couple if weeks, get help. If you have any worries, get help. The worst you'll be told is that it's normal and if you than feel you can't hack it you can give up.

I've only ever BF my own and even with pumping it was easier than all the babies I've FF professionally (and working as a maternity nurse that could be 24/6), even taking into account the fact I wasn't recovering from giving birth at the time I was FFing. It's time consuming, expensive and stressful. BF can be time-consuming and stressful bit it's free!

No-one can tell you how you or your baby will get on. Heck even though I have no doubt about my capacity to BF I don't know how this one will get on with it! You just have to roll with it, and that goes for pretty much every aspect of life right from conception on wink

Minifingers Thu 19-Sep-13 17:32:29

Flap - if your baby was lactose intolerant you have never experienced normal breastfeeding.

Babies who are intolerant of cows milk would have a horrible time bottlefeeding, but we wouldn't assume their experience was representative of normal bottlefeeding.

Incidentally OP - if you have read Flap's post and want to know more about lactose intolerance, this is a good article. Most, (but not all) lactose intolerance in babies is transient and doesn't necessitate stopping breastfeeding.

nevergoogle Thu 19-Sep-13 17:40:21

give up any thoughts of routine and go with the flow.

NotYoMomma Thu 19-Sep-13 17:40:27

I tried bf

it did not agree with my anxiety

I have a crazy healthy baby who has a lovely routine (that she set herself)

im pregnant again.

I would rather chop off my mega boobs than try bf again - I just didnt like it and couldnt hack it.

good on those who do but people just dont like to admit sometimes that they disliked it or dont want to shrug

baby can have some colostrum and thats it

maddening Thu 19-Sep-13 17:51:34

I found bf v easy - hardest in first 4 mths but for out and about it was easier - didn't have to plan feeds in advance - and no worry of running out if out longer than planned.

Also got us through illnesses easier - when ds had a tummy bug for example he would only keep down bm. He had one at 10 mths and then at 18mths and both times the bm got us through smile

It didn't hurt too much at start - couple of times when it did nipple guards got me through.

maddening Thu 19-Sep-13 17:56:12

Ps the first few months is when you get more noticeable growth spurts - generally at 3, 6, 9 & 12 weeks - they were hard as more time on breast but each only lasted a couple of days - can make you doubt your supply but I went by the fact he was gaining weight.

firesidechat Thu 19-Sep-13 18:01:04

I'm afraid that I haven't read all the replies because I'm supposed to be making a cream topped chocolate pie and I can't put it off much longer.

Personally I thought breastfeeding was so much easier and more convenient than bottle feeding. Admittedly my bottle feeding experience is somewhat limited. I only tried on a handful of occasions when the stupid health visitor suggested that youngest daughter needed top up feeding. Try telling a baby that! She wasn't having any of it, but I did have to buy and mix formula and mess around with a steriliser for a while.

The first few days/weeks with breastfeeding were a bit tricky. A nurse in the maternity hospital (we had to stay in for 5 days then) pulled my first daughter off of my boob mid feed and I got a really nasty blister as a result. The best advice I can give you is buy some nipple shields just in case. It took the edge of the soreness and got me through until the nipples hardened up. You do have to sterilise them, but it's a lot less hassle than bottles and teats and I only used them for a very short time and not at all for d2.

Breast milk is free, always there when you need it and good for your baby. The only downside that I can think of is that your partner can't do a feed and especially at night that can be a bit trying. However my husband found other ways to help and get involved.

I would recommend giving it a go.

SHarri13 Thu 19-Sep-13 18:01:54

I think a new baby takes up all of your time regardless of your feeding method. My advice would be, give it a try. In my personal and professional experience most people don't continue.

It hurt all three times for me but that was mostly due to engorgement which most will experience despite method of feeding. I also had varying amounts of nipple soreness due to lazy latches in the first few days.

Just do what you have to do. See how you feel when your baby arrives but please do give it a try, any amount of breast milk is worthwhile and beneficial. Also, please don't get too caught up on routine in the early days, there's so much learning and recovering to be done that a routine on top of that will be very difficult.

neunundneunzigluftballons Thu 19-Sep-13 18:17:18

Done both. It is not as simple as one easier for routine because for me undoubtedly ff babies need routine bf not so much. personally I don't especially like routine when I am on ML. i like to be free to stay over an extra night when I am staying some where. I like hanging around unexpectedly for coffee when I meet someone for up town. I much preferred bf and I also had the health benefits they all rave about. 2 sick all the time ff babies and ds has never been to the doctor aged 22 mths.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 19-Sep-13 18:28:28

Firstly, having a newborn takes up your entire day regardless of how you feed them. And I wouldn't worry about routines whilst they're little. We were totally baby led and our DS fell into a three hour feeding pattern all by himself.

I struggled to bf. I thought I was until DS lost a lot of weight very quickly and just screamed. Turned out he was hungry and I had no milk. I went to a breast-feeding clinic at the hospital who were brilliant and I tried to express and top up with formula for four weeks. Didn't make a blind bit of difference to my supply and I ended up ff. DS turned out to have a milk allergy too.

Saying all this, I would still try and bf no.2 (if we have no.2!). Bottle feeding is more of a faff. A lot of people mix feed too, don't forget.

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