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How long does it take to get the hang of breastfeeding?

(42 Posts)
Cinnamon84 Mon 22-Aug-16 17:10:50

I gave birth to my lovely ds exactly a week ago, I managed to get him latched on quite painfully after the birth and then a couple of times at home until I realised it was hurting too much and felt wrong. There is an excellent bf clinic I've been doing to every day and when I've got experts helping me latch him on I manage to have a successful feed while I'm there.
To give my sore nipples a break I've been expressing milk and cup feeding (which is a massive faff and about a quarter of it ends up being spilt) and topping up with formula, and his weight has dropped 7.7%- I thought that was in the normal range but mw wants to keep an eye on us now which makes me feel s bit crap.

I'm really really keen to crack this but everytime j attempt to feed him by myself at home it I end up not doing it properly and hurting and feel like I haven't made any progress. I'm anxious at the fact that dp goes back to work a week tomorrow and I'll have to express and cup feed by myself.

I really didn't expect it to be so difficult! How long should it take to get the hang of this? When does it get easier?!

BBQueen Mon 22-Aug-16 17:36:38

Are you using Lansinoh? It's a lifesaver for sore nipples. You can put it on before feeding to protect your skin. I think it was about two weeks with each of mine before it stopped being agony each time I got the baby to latch.

By all means express if it's helping, or consider mixed feeding (a bottle of formula every bed time worked for me), but Lansinoh might mean you don't have to express to get a break any more and everything will be a bit easier.

Terrifiedandregretful Mon 22-Aug-16 17:39:54

For me it was painful and endless for 4 months. I don't recommend that? Have you had him checked for tongue tie? I found expressing an absolute nightmare and did it from 3

fulltothebrimwithloveliness Mon 22-Aug-16 17:42:29

The midwives told me 6 weeks and for me, they were spot on. It was pretty hard going for those first few weeks. Things did get easier though and I fed dd til just before her second birthday!

tiktok Mon 22-Aug-16 17:48:59

Ask again about whether you really really need to cup feed. It is a massive faff. Bottle feeding does not 'confuse' the baby. That is a bit of a myth. What can happen is the baby rejects the breast if he persists in getting a poor experience at it but as long as you continue to work at a happy effective breastfeeding (direct) experience you don't need to worry. Babies are not great at cups and they are fine at sucking. The bottle feeding feed with ebm is far more satisfying for both mother and baby. Cup feeding is a pita and it is not even necessary in many situations.

Terrifiedandregretful Mon 22-Aug-16 17:50:05

Oops posted too soon. I hired a hospital grade pump and expressed for a month so my boobs could heal. Dds tongue wasn't diagnosed till 6 weeks and grew back which I think is why it took us so long so crack it. I hope it is quicker for you flowers

Terrifiedandregretful Mon 22-Aug-16 17:50:51

I found expressing a godsend, not a nightmare!!! Not sure where that came from!

GiddyOnZackHunt Mon 22-Aug-16 17:53:22

6 weeks for me too.
By 12 weeks I was confident to go away for a few days and not need nipple shields, lanolin, any top ups etc.

Cinnamon84 Mon 22-Aug-16 17:59:36

Thanks for the responses, I really want to stick at it but I'm so tempted to express and bottle feed- think I will make a call by the end of this week.
Tiktok that's a comfort, maybe trying a bottle isn't such a big deal.
Re tongue tie- a bf counsellor did suggest that but a bf specialist mw at the local bf clinic said its not that, but he does have a short and square tongue and basically it's a big nipples and small mouth problem, so hopefully as he gets bigger it should be a bit easier.
I'm going to carry on expressing and will try and improve the latch at the clinic tomorrow and ask whether we can occasionally use a bottle while my nipples have a break

Cinnamon84 Mon 22-Aug-16 21:52:21

Those of you who've said 6 weeks etc, did you persevere for that whole time or did you give your nipples time to heal? Did you just spend all day feeding on and off? Feel like I've screwed up the whole bonding as when I'm off expressing dp is cup feeding

Zebrasinpyjamas Mon 22-Aug-16 22:11:05

Dc1 took 8 weeks to get it. Before then I was using nipple shields to help him latch but feeds took ages.
Dc2 had a tongue tie and is reluctant to persist with the boob. She much prefers expressed milk in a bottle as its easier for her. Her tongue tie got cut at 4 weeks. 11 weeks in and she still will bf a bit but I end up topping her up with expressed milk. I regret not preserving with practising bf while we were waiting to get her tongue tie fixed. She got too bottle dependant.

I agree Lansinol is essential for healing. You could Try the medela shields too if you have serious cracking? It makes feeding less efficient for the baby but does take he pain away.
Also maybe seek a second opinion on whether your baby has a tongue tie as they can be hard to spot.

Zebrasinpyjamas Mon 22-Aug-16 22:14:14

P.s I thnk expressing is only possible with a hospital grade pump that allows both sides to be done at once . Also it can screw up your baby's attempts to feed if they are hungry just after you have done a big pumping session. That's what I've found anyway!

Deux Mon 22-Aug-16 22:26:33

Have you tried lying down on your side and baby lying down beside you?. It can be easier to manoeuvre and get the latch right, ime.

Terrifiedandregretful Mon 22-Aug-16 22:31:46

Expressing and bottle feeding saved me. My nipples healed, and it was actually a lot quicker than direct bf as dd fed so inefficiently. I still did a bit of direct feeding from my less painful side, then after a few weeks I phased the other side back in (I was absolutely terrified and cried and cried but the pain had gone). I agree that hiring a hospital grade pump is the way to go.

MrsNuckyThompson Mon 22-Aug-16 22:39:56

It took me several weeks to crack it. Then it was like it was the easiest thing in the world and I fed DS til he was 2! I was cup feeding and all the rest. I remember the faff, the dread of the 'timetable' and the utter exhaustion. It will pass.

A couple of thoughts:
- has your baby been checked and double checked for a tongue tie?
- any chance you could have thrush? This will make feeding very painful
- any chance of you paying for a lactation consultant to come to your home to spend a couple of hours?

I found having the consultant there in my own environment a real help. I was set up on MY sofa with MY feeding cushion and it just made it so much easier to replicate when not there. In particular I tried different holds apart from the cradle hold which looks/feels the most natural but isn't necessarily the easiest to sort your latch with.

Look at YouTube as well- there are so many handy videos.

Good luck.

icclemunchy Mon 22-Aug-16 22:56:52

Have you tried laid back or biological nursing? Nipple shields can also help if your nipple a have been badly damaged. Also get that tongue tie checked again. If it hurts something isn't right and needs investigation

Do you have a local la Leche league? A leader can often come visit you at home if you can't get to them and their coffee mornings are fab.

Cinnamon84 Wed 24-Aug-16 06:41:27

Thanks all, went back to the clinic yesterday and had a good feed while we were there. Attempted to do the same at home but think it was slightly off and nipples are really sore again... I'm hoping they toughen up soon. Since having a few feeds at home it's completely disrupted the routine we had going- sleep for 2/3 hours, I pump while dp cup feeds... He was on the breast on and off for about 2 hours, I'd put him down to sleep and he'd be rooting again in half an hour... Is that just normal? So anxious to get this sorted before dp goes back to work on tues, have no idea how I'll cope!

doleritedinosaur Wed 24-Aug-16 06:49:01

The rooting is completely normal, he's going to be trying to build up your supply so will feed a lot. My DS around 6 weeks fed for 7 hours.

Have you got a pillow to help your position?

My midwife said 6-8 weeks to get it right.
It took about 2 weeks for my nipples to not hurt with lanisoh & regular airing.

Cinnamon84 Wed 24-Aug-16 14:17:08

Can anyone recommend a bottle/teat for mixed feeding? Starting to feel like I can't solely breastfeed now, went back to the clinic, another person checked for tongue tie (no signs but again noticed a short tongue), latch was fine but was so painful! It's knocked my confidence again and think maybe it's time to try bottle feeding sad

doleritedinosaur Wed 24-Aug-16 14:19:05

How long have you been feeding for? It took over two weeks for me to not wince as DS latched on. Have you been able to find a position that doesn't hurt?
But you do have to do what's best for you.

Cinnamon84 Wed 24-Aug-16 14:27:13

He was born last Monday, so this is day 9... I just can't work out if the pain is normal or not, everyone keeps saying it shouldn't hurt, and I'm not sure if the damage is from early on or if I keep latching him on wrong now

Cinnamon84 Wed 24-Aug-16 14:29:46

Also it's not just initial pain, it feels like he's really chomping throughout the entire feed. Really stuck between perserveing through the pain as I'm sure it will be worth it in a couple of months time, or making it easier for me and dp by switching to bottles and gradually easing in more and more feeds at the breast each day

Toria2014 Wed 24-Aug-16 14:48:57

It was agonising for me for the first three weeks and then suddenly it was okay. I did dread every feed in that three weeks, we called our DD the boob shark! But then it was okay, I did have to be hardline about getting the latch right though and prise her off if it wasn't right and try again. Two years on and we are still going strong!

Toria2014 Wed 24-Aug-16 14:51:08

If you latch on wrong, the nipple gets grated! Really painful. If the latch is right the nipple should elongate in the mouth and not get grated. If your nipple comes out flat the latch is wrong, elongated and the latch is correct. Thats how I understand it. I watched a lot of videos so I could see how it was supposed to be.

mrsmugoo Wed 24-Aug-16 15:03:37

Both times for me it's taken 8/9 weeks. I went on to feed DS for 10 months and am currently 3 months in to feeding DD.

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