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What would you like to have been told?

(37 Posts)
NorahBone Thu 15-May-14 23:03:59

Like a lot of people I found bfeeding quite hard to begin with and 6m on I'm glad I was able to carry on. But I still wish that with all the leaflets, 2 hr talks and one-to-one advice on breast feeding, someone had told me that (although my latch was ok) it might be painful at first. The relentlessly positive NHS advice made me feel like I'd failed before I started and it took the more down to earth Mumsnet page to give me the confidence to carry on. What would you like to have been told about breast or bottle feeding before you ended up sobbing hormonally in the middle of the night? (Oh, it might also have been nice if the chart showing the colour and frequency of poos had mentioned that bf babies might suddenly go from 5 poos a day to 1 every 3 days. I didn't want to google baby poo.)

Thenemesisofthevole Thu 15-May-14 23:08:47

That my ds would want to feed almost constantly for the first few days and that that was ok. The midwives all acted like he wasn't following the script which just made me panic. They even suggested giving him formula because they didn't know why he was feeding so much! He's still bf now at 6 months and is 98th centile for weight and off the chart for height- I imagine that might have had something to do with why he was so hungry!

readyforno2 Thu 15-May-14 23:14:39

That toe curling pain of the first week or so really does go away.

Iwillorderthefood Thu 15-May-14 23:15:39

That bf might not happen immediately.

So what if you need to give a bottle early on, sometimes it's better to do this, and try again when everyone is calmer and less sore. I did not sort it for three weeks second time around.

Bf is veery hard work

If you bottle feed, you do not have to feel a failure, everything will be ok, it will be a non issue in a few months time.

People who judge you for your feeding choices have not walked in your shoes, and have no right to.

Establishing bf is not the end of the issue, avoidance of nipple confusion, can lead to your baby not wanting to take a bottle at all. This too can be very difficult, and not great when you want to return to work.

You do not have to feel pressured by post natal staff, how you feed is really your choice

So far Dd1 could not be latched and I expressed for 6 months, it would have been better for everyone if I had bottle fed.

Established bf after a struggle with DD2 and continued for 9.5 months.

About to see what happens with number 3, this time I will base my decision on what is easiest for the whole family, but will give fb a good try before I make the decision. Ideally it will all work well, but I am not going to stress if it does not work out.

AnythingNotEverything Thu 15-May-14 23:16:06

I'm still bf at nearly 7 months and agree with both of you. I wish a professional had told me honestly that it might be tough. I'm a grown up - I don't need it sugar coating.

When asked, I tell people (and I think I read this on here), that the work with bf is all front loaded. With ff you have to work all the time - washing, sterilising, preparing, anticipating feed etc. with bf it's tough to start with but after a couple of months you just do it and it's suddenly so easy.

Also, I'd tell mums to give themselves a break. Some cultures have an enforced 40 day rest period for new mums. All you have to do in that first month/6 weeks is established bf. Sod the cleaning and making tea for visitors. Bf is the perfect time to put your feet up and eat cake.

Iwillorderthefood Thu 15-May-14 23:17:16


Thenemesisofthevole Thu 15-May-14 23:22:33

Oh and also to be told the fact that everyone (whether you know them or not) seems to have an opinion on how you feed your baby, and that it really isn't any of their business. (Lots of angst initially about feeding in public and now people asking when I'm going to stop bf).

PotatoPolly Thu 15-May-14 23:30:23

that bf isn't for everyone, if I decided to ff then my baby would be totally fine, and that I wasn't a failure for changing to ff (my baby is much more content & I'm not a Zombie!)

MrsWembley Thu 15-May-14 23:39:30

I wish someone <looking at you, midwifehmm> had told me about the pain. I seriously thought something was wrong with my breasts and they ended up testing for thrush (which, of course, came back negative).

And I wish someone <you, midwife, againhmmhmm> had told me about cluster feeding. It wasn't until I heard it talked about on here that I realised DD was normal.

Thank god for my HV, who was brilliant and made everything seem better.grin

stargirl1701 Fri 16-May-14 08:52:13

That some people have painful let down for weeks.

That infective mastitis is different from mastitis.

That you can contract sepsis from infective mastitis.

That SNS exist.

That you can feed from one breast.

That mix feeding is ok when getting over sepsis.

That there is so much more to bf than nose to nipple and big gape.

That posterior tongue tie exists and NHS Tayside are shit at spotting it.

That not pooing in the first week home is a concern.

That the pain is like razor blades being scored down your nipples.

That there isn't much support of things go wrong - advice becomes formula feeding.

That bf in the UK is harder than other countries because we don't see it and female family/friends can't advise beyond try formula.

bouncinbean Fri 16-May-14 09:06:39

That it takes time for the baby and you to learn how to latch on and find the right positions that work for your body shape.
How important your mood is for the milk to let down. I wish I'd sent my mum home much sooner as she was adding to the stress and hence making it worse.
If you can express it can help your little one get more milk and help your supply establish.
A dummy can be a godsend even if you are breastfeeding as not every baby will get confused and it gave my nipples some rest.
And like so many people mention - it's bloody hard work.
That you have to think of the long term benefits. Yes it was tiring and relentless in the first 12 weeks, but the benefits are huge once you get over this period.

Mrsantithetic Fri 16-May-14 09:15:09

I wish i had known about cluster feeding and regulating supply themselves because I thought dd was starved and not getting anything.

I wish I had been told you don't lose weight if you bf if you eat cake and pizza.

I wish someone has warned me about following the advice of nipple confusion would mean I probably left it too late to introduce a bottle and so never had a longer than 3 hour sleep for the first 14 months.

Oh and how to wean her when your pregnant and she is 21 months old grin

deepinthewoods Fri 16-May-14 09:19:06

That good help is out there but it may take a few attempts to find.

Writerwannabe83 Fri 16-May-14 09:24:11

That when it comes to positioning, what works for one mom won't work for another. There is no 'perfect' technique.

Signs to look out for that indicate there is a problem with the latch.

How utterly, utterly draining it is - emotionally and physically.

That it can take weeks and weeks to feel comfortable and confident with what you're doing.

That there's no shame in admitting you're struggling and that it's ok to ask for help.

That emotional breakdowns are completely normal due to sleep exhaustion and frustration with BF difficulties but it doesn't mean you have PND.

How time consuming it can be, that it can feel like every hour that passes is another one where the baby has been attached to you.

How BF for the first few months is nowhere near as heavenly, simple and lovely as adverts and antenatal classes would have us believe.

smokeandfluff Sat 17-May-14 21:51:41

Love your last comment writer!

I wish the info about b feeding given to pregnant women was a little more realistic. My expectations of the whole experience were a little high...
Only bf for a few weeks before I cracked and changed to formula. Would have loved to have known about
-cluster feeding
-comfort sucking
-that leaving the baby for even 20 minutes can be terrifying in case they get hungry
-that before the milk comes in that you might be feeding the baby for hours on end and they will still be hungry!
-that the baby might only sleep when attached to your nipple!

NorahBone Sun 18-May-14 12:38:23

that before the milk comes in that you might be feeding the baby for hours on end and they will still be hungry!
God yes! Wish I'd known this the first night back from the hospital. And that they stimulate your mlk by constantly coming on and off the breast - fine unless your nipples are torn to shreds sad

FiveExclamations Sun 18-May-14 12:51:48

That when it comes to positioning, what works for one mom won't work for another. There is no 'perfect' technique. <- THIS

That even medical professionals who knows with absolute certainty that their experience and position/methods are the right way to go may be wrong and that you shouldn't feel shit when midwife after midwife after maternity support worker frowns and says "no wonder she isn't feeding, you need to be doing something different to what the last person said, the last person was being silly, even though she said exactly what I'm saying now about the person before that."

11 years ago and I'm still a bit bitter sad.

Oh and my DD's failure to feed was not my fault for having big breasts (actual said by a maternity support worker).

NutellaLawson Sun 18-May-14 15:42:32

that the latch can LOOK correct but the piranhas on nipples pain two months in tells you it's not. (It did eventually pass and I was able to bf until 13 months) still meant literally hundreds of really painful bf sessions, though sad upside is it has made me judge less. it took stubborn grit to keep going and those who say 'enough' have my complete sympathy. ds2 was a painful start but not nearly as bad nor as long, so even those who tell you it hurt them too may not have experienced your degree of pain.

That bf is not as convenient as you might assume. You don't always know whether your baby has a full tum or will need topping up in 20 minutes, making leaving your bottle refusing baby nigh on impossible for any length of time (how many times did I need to explain this to my mum who only ever ff)

that expressed bm is like gold and to see it poured down the sink or spilled is a new kind of heartbreak.

Baiocca Sun 18-May-14 19:24:12

That it is ok not to 'leak' and it does not mean that you don't have enough milk. A registrar at the hospital wanted to keep me overnight and have me expressing every three hours to check how much milk I had because my boobs did not leak. Nonsense as some mums can't get much out with a pump but stil manage to successfully bf! Needless to say my baby is 4 months, EBF, and growing perfectly!

minipie Sun 18-May-14 20:16:15

That tongue tie is an extremely common cause of many BFing problems (and also of reflux and wind), and very easy to fix if caught early enough, but the NHS doesn't check for it confused

deepinthewoods Mon 19-May-14 07:27:51

Toungue tie is not that common. It affects only around 3% of babies, and of those only half will have problems breastfeeding. Toungue tie is often over diagnosed and other problems giving rise to breastfeeding difficulties are attributed to it.
Many problems are not being remedied due to poor breastfeeding support training within the NHS.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 19-May-14 07:46:11

I agree deep - when I started having problems it was suggested DS may have a tongue tie so I went to see a Lactation Consultant who although felt DS had a small tie it wasn't severe enough to either affect feeding or require a Frenulotomy.

I have since sought support from a Breast Feeding group, phoned helplines, had a Peer Supporter come to my house end I even saw the Breast Feeding Co-Ordinator for my County. My attachment/latch issues were addressed and now DS feeds like a dream smile
I think it's because I've been having difficulties that has added fuel to the fire that I should just give bottles. I don't think my family understand why I've endured the difficulties and had some hard emotional times because of it when formula is available. They can't work out why I didn't just make the switch when I started having problems.

My nan tried but failed to breast feed her two children (my mom and my aunt) and my MIL was the same when she tried to breast feed my DS. I do wonder if because BF didn't work for them they don't believe it to be a good enough source of nourishment, hence why MIL suggested I give a few bottles of formula a day "just in case".

deepinthewoods Mon 19-May-14 07:55:42

It's hard for non- breastfeeders to understand writer. When my first child was born my mother brought me a bag of bottles and formula "just in case", despite knowing my intention to breastfeed.

Formula is rarely the answer to breastfeeding problems, and often is suggested when in fact it can make problems worse not better.

For family members not used to breastfeeding it can be hard to get their heads around some of the basics. "How can you see how much baby is drinking?" is a common one. Breastmilk when expressed looks watery when compared to formula.
Well meaning realtives will suggest formula to give Mum a rest, without realising it will double her work the next day.

It is a paradigm shift from a formula feeding culture.

tiktok Mon 19-May-14 12:22:58

deep, I agree....tongue tie definitely exists and it definitely causes problems, sometimes quite serious ones.

But it not 'extremely common'. It is sometimes under-diagnosed (leading to mothers battling on, unaware of it, or having been told there is no tongue tie) and sometimes over-diagnosed, leading to unnecessary treatment that actually makes no difference to the feeding difficulties.

We are in a bit of a mess with it.

minipie Mon 19-May-14 12:29:29

happy to be corrected! smile

though, in my defence, I said it was an "extremely common cause of many BFing problems" ie it may not be that common in the population as a whole but it is common amongst the population of women who are finding BFing difficult.

also, I'm not sure how anyone knows that "only 3% of babies have tongue tie" - since most babies are never checked.

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