thinking of breast-feeding: what do I need to know, what can I read?(67 Posts)
Katatonic I think that more then books what is really really helpful is to see breastfeeding women. This will sound totally stupid but until DS was born I didn't realise that women didn't breastfeed. I mean I knew that women didn't but I'd been so surround by women breastfeeding I really didn't understand that not breastfeeding was even a thing.
So go to a breastfeeding cafe, or LLL meeting or your local NHS support group, or NCT playgroup while your still pregnant. Just see and chat to women who breastfeed.
So on one hand I;d say don't bother with a book but on the other hand I love reading and reading things abiut babies so here are my top three books that helped me:
why love matters
What mothers do
The Politics of Breastfeeding
I found Kellymom and advice on here very useful but primarily I think you need to be flexible which you won't learn from any book. Don't worry though once the baby arrives he/she tells you what they need and you can respond to his/her cues.
For some weird reason I had read everything up to the birth and almost nothing for afterwards, but I still managed to find out what I needed and bf (still bf at 2.5 years).
breastfeeding is not like a meal, its like breathing. babies do it lots. expect some sucking every 20 minutes round the clock with a newborn and beyond. in fact, you might not notice any break in the suckling. though baby will be fast asleep and you won't know it. especially if s/he keeps his/her eyes open.
your baby is part of you like your arm or leg. don't expect him/her to have a separate existence for a long, long time
This is beautiful I wish someone had said this to me at the beginning
I think rabbitlady's post is beautiful too.....and spot on.
Wrt cluster feeding - some ff babies cluster feed too. Either way if you accept that the first few weeks will be feed sleep nappy repeat, you'll be grand.
I'd say try not to read too many books! The advice on here is good, and if you can get good support from your MW/HV and local children's centre (bf groups) then that will certainly help. Try not to stress about it and take it as it comes. I found the first couple of weeks hard but then it started to get much easier and by 6 weeks or so it was so natural and easy it was hard to imagine anything else.
What I hated the most was the unhelpful advice from my DM/DMIL who had no experience of breastfeeding and just seemed to pity me the whole time. (They are otherwise wonderful people, I should add. They just had zero knowledge about bfing). Try to avoid/ignore where possible.
I agree that the first part of rabbit lady's post is lovely...but air drying is not recommended anymore and pillows will be good for some and not for others......just do what works for you.
Yes that's true I never had pillows but dd was light as a feather! Other people swear by them though.
One practical thing is that an armchair was no good for me, not enough elbow room and useless once dd got too long, anywhere else fine just not chairs with arms
Do not, whatever you do, read Gina Ford. With my first I thought it would be great to have her on an early routine. I totally messed up my supply because I thought she couldn't possibly need feeding again if I'd fed her less than an hour before. I ended up mixed feeding and only kept the bf up for 3 months. When dd2 came along, I pretty much offered her a boob every time she whimpered. Still feeding her 14 months on. I like the "feeding is like breathing" analogy too.
Also, bf can feel like harder work at the beginning, especially if you go out with friends who are formula feeding, but it is actually much easier in the long run. No getting up in the night to make bottles and after a few months they only take a few minutes to feed.
Ah, it's easy to feel overwhelmed as everyone has different experiences that they want to share and different bits of information that helped them.
There are so many things that could happen with breastfeeding- or it could just go swimmingly from the start. As long as you know the basics of how milk production works, what good attachment looks like and where you can get help early on, then you should be fine.
I'd add to what people have said so far:
1. Don't give yourself a hard time if you find it difficult. Most women, in most of the world, throughout most of human evolution, learn to breastfeed by watching several other women breastfeed and asking questions, a process that starts when they are young girls and never stops. Most of us don't have that opportunity, so unsurprisingly we often find it tougher to learn.
2. Given that, videos and breastfeeding cafes are a great way to learn. The internet is your friend in this respect.
3. Babies have a pretty good instinct about this. Here's an amazing example: http://www.breastcrawl.org/video.shtml
4. Language choice can really help. Shifting from thinking about "feeding on demand" to thinking about "feeding on cue", for example. Demand implies a small tyrant; cue implies someone trying to let you know something.
Good luck and enjoy!!
I thought i was quite knowledgable about breastfeeding when i was pregnant, i knew all about the latch, positions, colostrum, when the milk comes in, fore milk / hind milk etc etc... But I found that no one ever talked about how long each feed would take! For some reason I had got 'little and often' in my head, but never anticipated that each feed would take an hour and a half! Then she would be ready again in 20mins! I had seen mums breastfeeding while out shopping & they were feeding baby for 10-20mins or so, that's what I thought I would be doing. But oh no, not with a newborn!
Re mix feeding - yes u can mix breast milk & formula in the bottle. The important thing with expressing is u must keep pumping! When I started to mix feed I lost my supply after a week, thinking I could get away with expressing 3 times a day :-( [Although having said that my Hv thinks I wasn't producing enough anyway due to the problems I had with dd.]
Good luck with whatever u decide to do :-)
To be fair though purpke ff babies too can take an age to feed. I know 3 ff babies who all take well over an hour to drink their bottle.
Glad you haven't been scared off OP but agree with crikey, its normal to feel overwhelmed. In fact if you follow crikey's advice I don't think you will go far wrong
Find a breastfeeding support group near you and start going as soon as you start maternity leave. It's invaluable and you might meet people that you later count as some of your best friends.
Finally, I agree with crikeybadger. Those are the three important things to know. Everything else you can find out later.
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