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How can I prepare for breastfeeding

(28 Posts)
Dovetale Wed 20-Jan-16 20:45:32

I'm pregnant with my second child. I want to breastfeed them but my experience of trying to breastfeed my first baby was a disaster, we never had a successful feed.

My plan was to visit my local breastfeeding support service, daily if needed, once the baby arrives, but I have just heard that it is closing down due to lack of funding and won't exist by the time my baby is born.

So I need to arm myself with as much good quality information as I can before the birth, but I have come to realise that there is a huge amount of poor/wrong information out there.

Can anyone advise which books I should be reading? Which online breastfeeding videos are worth watching? How do I find a lactation consultant if I need one? Anything else I should be doing to prepare?

Iwantakitchen Wed 20-Jan-16 20:53:02

Hi, can I ask you why you haven't managed to feed your first baby?

What I struggled with the most, personally, is that it took four days for my milk to come, I had just had a traumatic labour followed by an emergency c section, I was so tired and I felt I couldn't make my baby happy because I had no milk. I subsequently learned that this was completely normal -for milk to come in four days after birth! I have found that having a supportive partner to help with caring for the baby as much as possible whilst I rested was an absolute blessing. The first week was difficult but once home it was fine.

I can't recommend any books, as I only ever read leaflets from the nhs and the regular baby and birth books. But my only advice is to feed feed feed and don't listen to anyone who says to you that's baby should feed every three or four hours it's all balls, excuse my language.

pookamoo Wed 20-Jan-16 20:54:22

Hi Dovetale.

You can go and visit your local breastfeeding support service before the baby comes. smile

Can you find out if there are other groups in the area?

One of the best ways to prepare is to see others doing it, and while I am not saying go along and stare at the other mums, you will probably find they are sociable groups that you can join in with and chat to the other mums. You can talk through some of the difficulties you had with your first baby with a breastfeeding counsellor, and hopefully get some tips. Usually toddlers are welcome at BF support groups, so you can take your older child.

There are often local breastfeeding support workers (NCT, BFN or LLL) who will visit you at home, and if you can get hold of their numbers and even meet them in advance, it will help you to feel more confident to ask for help when the time comes.

As for books etc, it's hard to say, as the baby hasn't read the books!
This video is very clear if you are looking for attachment help, but nothing will beat having the latch checked in real life.

Arm yourself with the name and number of the infant feeding specialist at your hospital, and speak to your midwife to tell her you'd like to breastfeed - she should be able to signpost you in the direction of support.

Good luck! smile

magpie17 Wed 20-Jan-16 20:56:35

Honestly, I don't think you can prepare. Every breastfeeding relationship is unique and how it goes will depend on a number of factors, some of which are completely physical/biological and you just won't know until you try with this baby.

All that said, NCT were a great resource when I was having my own breastfeeding disaster, I hired a brilliant electric pump from them at very short notice (you don't need to be a member) and their breastfeeding advisor was a god send. You don't need to have been to the classes to access their resources.

Get baby checked for tongue tie before you leave hospital too, insist that somebody checks if you have to.

Finally, just because last time didn't work it doesn't mean it won't again. I know lots of people who have not managed the first time and had no problems the second time. Good luck!

Sunflower1985 Wed 20-Jan-16 20:58:54

YYY to visiting groups before birth.

For me relaxing was the thing I didn't realise I needed to do. I got so stressed about it and the stress (hormone) can stop the milk let down.

pookamoo Wed 20-Jan-16 20:59:57

Also, this animated video which looks a little weird because of the animation, shows an "x-ray" view of what's inside when the baby feeds.

Real life support is far, far more useful than books or videos, though.

At a push and in a pinch, there are plenty of people on the MN infant feeding topic happy to share their experiences, too - support available in the middle of the night, too!

Quodlibet Wed 20-Jan-16 21:00:44

Definitely educate yourself as to what is normal - as above, it can take 4 days for milk to come it. And it's also normal to experience cluster feeding for hours where it seems baby will never be satisfied. Again, normal - baby is just establishing your supply.

The Kellymom website is good.
Phone helplines: La Leche League.
Is there only 1 breastfeeding support service? Any Milk Spots? Check in with local sure start centres - I got excellent one-to-one, very intensive BF support from a specialist BF lady at a Sure Start a few miles away. Without this I'm pretty sure we would not have succeeded.

Google local lactation consultants, or ask LLL for a list. Have the numbers to hand.

Make use of the hospital's BF provision - ask ask ask, get them to help you with your latch.

Learn to self-express colostrum into a syringe. I was taught this in hospital and it was a godsend. For the first couple of days being able to syringe feed DD occasionally and avoid the pain from less than ideal latch kept me going. They really do drink minute amounts at birth - their stomach is the size of a large grape or walnut or something.

scandichick Wed 20-Jan-16 21:01:11

Never mind books, bookmark the kellymom website as it's by far the best, comprehensive source of correct information (and good advice). I haven't always found a solution to breastfeeding problems there, but most of the time it's a goldmine of advice. And it's free smile

stargirl1701 Wed 20-Jan-16 21:02:39

Read. Online and books. Watch videos. Go to your local support groups.

pookamoo Wed 20-Jan-16 21:03:04

Yes to magpie's comments about milk coming in 4 days after birth - if nobody tells you that's what you should expect, how would you know?

The other thing many mums struggle with is cluster feeding, so have a read up on that, and growth/developmental spurts. These can all make you feel like you're not producing enough, or not quite getting it right, and are all normal.

These are the kinds of things that you might find out about at the support groups if you can go along before the baby is born.

Quodlibet Wed 20-Jan-16 21:03:43

And yes to all-night support from MN feeding boards. The first few days and weeks can be tough, but lots and lots of obstacles that seem insurmountable when you are in the middle of them turn out to be short term problems that you move past.

BertieBotts Wed 20-Jan-16 21:07:26

Kellymom, The Food of Love, Analytical Armadillo, the MN breastfeeding boards!

Write down the BF helpline numbers and stick them on your fridge or save in your phone along with the open hours.

Research any and all local breastfeeding support groups, cafes, drop ins. There is likely to be more than one even if you have to travel. At a pinch look for sling meet groups - you tend to find attachment-parenty people there who might be able to point you in the right direction.

See if your local NCT offer any breastfeeding preparation classes. Or google for local antenatal classes which might offer such a thing.

Look into hiring a postnatal doula if cost is not prohibitive.

You can google for lactation consultants. Just make sure they are an IBCLC, NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor, or La Leche League leader. Anyone can call themselves a consultant but those three are the titles which carry weight.

The most important thing you need to know is where and how to look for help if things aren't going as planned.

Might be worth seeking a debrief on what went wrong last time, too.

Tatie3 Wed 20-Jan-16 21:08:36

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by the La Leche League is excellent (just skim over some of the airy fairy hippy bits) and was invaluable to be. I'd recommend stocking up on lasinoh, breast pads, nipples shields etc. before baby arrives to avoid scrambling to buy them once he/she is here.

CocktailQueen Wed 20-Jan-16 21:11:26

Great advice here. I was told at the hospital, make sure baby is 'tummy to mummy' and 'nipple to nose' - that way, your baby is in the right position to latch on best.

Nct has fab bfing advice too.

SnozzberryMincePie Wed 20-Jan-16 21:17:41

I really like a book called 'food of love' by Kate Evans.

I think it is a good idea to read up beforehand as once you have the baby your brain will be a fog, and midwives tend to all give slightly different advice which I remember made my head spin at the time.

SnuffleGruntSnorter Wed 20-Jan-16 22:04:25

You've had some wonderful advice above, I just wanted to add that I found the first few days incredibly, incredibly difficult and I would have given up except I had the new mums from my antenatal class encouraging me - telling me that they'd been through the same and it turned out OK etc etc. The community midwives were also very helpful smile

Surround yourself with people who will cheer you on (and bring you a big cold drink!)

DataColour Wed 20-Jan-16 22:10:30

You can definitely prepare! I didn't with my first and assumed everything would just work out but it didn't and unfortunately due to various I couldn't bf him.
I was determined to get it right with DD. Read loads, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was amazing. Just make sure you know what's normal... Lots of people told me what's normal and they were wrong.

DataColour Wed 20-Jan-16 22:11:51

I did succeeded with DD BTW..we never had any problems and she self weaned at 4.5yrs!

TheDuckSaysMoo Wed 20-Jan-16 22:14:54

All of the above, plus buy a tube of lansinoh to smear on your nipples after each feed to prevent cracking or soothe them if they have cracked (lip salve for your nips). The best thing I learned after a bad experience with feeding dc1 was to just sit on a comfy seat and do something enjoyable while your baby feeds. Read, watch a box set, anything that helps pass the time so you are not stressed about it. This is harder to do with dc2 when dc1 is demanding attention, but don't stress about increasing dc1's screen time while you establish feeding - you can pare it back again later.

Dovetale Wed 20-Jan-16 22:42:54

Thank you so much everyone, I've been off reading Kellymom, I must get some sleep now but I will be having a look at your suggestions this week.

Quodlibet Wed 20-Jan-16 23:57:12

Also: important to remember that BF, like sex, is a skill you have to learn! Yes, it's 'natural' and driven by natural urges, but initially, neither of you has a clue what you are doing and consequently you'll probably be a bit crap at it!

catsofa Thu 21-Jan-16 00:20:05

Food of Love by Kate Evans is really good, I'd highly recommend it.

MrsHenryCrawford Thu 21-Jan-16 02:51:00

I found the book 'breastfeeding solutions ' by Nancy Mohrbacher very useful. If you Google her she also has a good info on her website. Best of luck

littlealien01 Thu 21-Jan-16 12:37:13

Kellymom and find where bf support is available maybe through hv., surestart, Nct, private lactation consultant make sure you have the contacts and work out how you will get there with an unhappy baby in the early days (maybe save a taxi fund just for this?)

Focusfocus Thu 21-Jan-16 19:24:06

I haven't read the thread but doing these helped me -

1. Stored all helpline numbers before birth
2. Got a private session with Lactation consultant before birth and immediately after birth before anything else to check for tongue tie
3. Collected colostrum in syringes and froze before the birth in last couple weeks -this is only advised for diabetes mums which I am not but it helped so much X as DS was sleepy and wouldn't lath at all for the first day and those syringes kept his tummy full of colostrum till day 3 and have him energy to suckle
3. Keep him suckling - best way to get supply up
4. Freeze meals ahead evough for at least two or three weeks
4. Co sleep safely to preserve night time sanity
5. Anything you can express stick in freezer wth date and volume unless you need it
6. Read lots of BF threads and potential problems in Mumsnet

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