We've spent weeks researching and testing breast pumps and bottles in real homes with real families. Read our baby feeding bottle and breast pump reviews to find out which ones were awarded Mumsnet Best.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Breast feeding Help(19 Posts)
Tha. YOu for all the fab advice. I might only 21 weeks so I've got plenty of time to follow all you advice. Thanks for all the help xx
It may be a different experience entirely with a different baby.
I had what you would imagine the worst possible start to breastfeeding- long Labour culminating in EMCS under GA and complications landing me in HDU for a night. I didn't even lay eyes on DD for 6/7 hours after she was born, and was unable to lift my arms to hold her. I pretty much resigned myself to not breastfeeding at that point. Midwife said we'd give it a try anyway, and she held DD and got her positioned for me- she latched beautifully with no help and every time after that. I never had a cracked nipple, and it never hurt. She fed for 2.5years and never had a drop of formula. This wasn't because I was great or knew what I was doing- DD just seemed to get it straight away. I know lots of people who had difficulty breastfeeding baby 1 but had similar experience to me with subsequent babies.
If I were you I would line up all the support you can get to help with your older child when baby comes along as newborns expect fairly constant feeding in the early days (but it passes fast!) and find out where your local support groups are. And use the forum here, lots of people with lots of breastfeeding experience.
I reccomend two books:
Biological nurturing - Susan Colson
Womanly art of breastfeeding - la la leche
It was very hard with my first. Luckily I knew about biological nurturing/ laid back breastfeeding. Then I paid for a lactation consultant when I had problems. (Worst point in my life).
Like some one else said up thread kellymom is a really good website for information. But I think getting proper help is what made a difference. I wouldn't have got through it without the lactation consultant. She problem solved for me then gave me options and solutions. Invaluable. Also I felt like she understood and was communicating well. It had been awful up to that point.
Second time it was much better.
Good luck. You can do it. You have already learnt more than you realise compared to last time and your body has gone through the changes
Before so you are closer to your goal than last time.
Sorry, finally tip, while the baby is getting the hang of it, it often helps to squeeze your boobs so they're hamburger shaped and point the nipple slightly to the back roof of the babies mouth (does that make sense?).
Also, please remember the first two weeks are so hard. For the first fortnight it was so painful for me, by 6 weeks it was ok and by 2months it was easy and I quite enjoy it now.
My top tips:-
Get moisturising your nipples now! Apply lanolin cream before and after every feed (I swear half of ds' feeds consisted of the stuff).
With little babies, rugby ball hold on top of two bed pillows is best. When they get a bit bigger lying down on your side gives you back your hands.
Drink lots of water, and then some more. You are providing all the fluids needed for a little human - make sure you're drinking enough.
Make sure your baby has been checked for tongue tie and google images so you can double check for yourself.
Seek help at earliest opportunity should anything go wrong and make sure your midwife checks your latch before you go home! Go to a midwife drop in clinic, call your own midwife, go to a breastfeeding supper group - they all want you to succeed.
But most importantly, don't worry. It doesn't matter how you feed, just so long as your baby is fed!
Following with interest as DS and I 'failed' at breastfeeding (total breast refusal on his part, thankfully something which is quite unusual according to the five breastfeeding counsellors I saw) so I had to express, and I am now pg with DC2. Good luck op, I hope we both manage it this time.
Local support! Nipple to nose, tummy to mummy helped me too re positioning. It should not be that sore!
Have skin to skin cuddles asap after your CS, and offer the breast asap. My dd crawled up me to latch on after my CS - it was the best thing ever. She bf with no problems for 3 years...
I found YouTube videos of different feeding positions and how to latch them on really helpful. So much information tells you to "ensure a good latch" without explaining what that means! Find a position that you're comfortable with and, as others have said, don't panic that the constant feeding and seemingly insatiable 'hunger' mean you're not producing enough - this is normal and is how they get your supply going.
Good luck and don't beat yourself up!
Pretty much what the others posters have said, I fed DD1 until she was 2 1/2, the first few weeks/months were hell, struggling with latch and positioning of baby, in my opinion it doesn't matter how it looks, is how it feels, dd1 looked to have the perfect latch but she was pinching my nipples and I ended up with a version of raunauds in my nipples😌 making adjustments such as putting her arm behind me to bring her closer, using pillows to change her level to me etc made the world of difference. I thought DD2 would take to it like a duck to water, and even so, the first few weeks I thought my nipples were going to drop off! Plenty of Lansinoh and fresh air to the nipples (it can be kept on with feeds save washing off and adding to soreness plus baby had a cute little white moustache at the end of feeds 😊). The best advice of all is to not put pressure on yourself, easier said than done when you're in a sleep deprived, nipples ready to drop off state. Having said that DD2 is 7 months old and developed a lazy/awkward latch due to teething so I'm having to re-educate her latching on 😌. Find as much local support as you can, get on the Breastfeeding Network page and find local help, ask for breastfeeding peer support buddies at hospital and with health visitors. I used Breastfeeding mama talk on Facebook to get me through many a night feed, there's literally thousands of women all breastfeeding, all offering mostly great advice! We're here too 😉
NIPPLE SHIELDS. I had the horrendous toe curling pain too.
DS was at one point fed half formula and half breast milk, and the breast milk was mostly from a bottle as I was sobbing when he latched.
The shields allowed me to build up to breastfeeding more often and cutting down on formula. Once I wasn't in (completely bearable) pain from him latching onto the shields I started weaning him off of them. This was sore as well but again not unbearable and now he can latch with no pain at all. He is now breastfed except for one bottle a day before bed which DH feeds him. If I hadn't used the shields and formula in the beginning he would have been 100% on formula within his first week.
Oh and offer the breast as soon as possible after birth. Babies have been witnessed squirming up to the nipple-they're designed to feed soon after birth so get started asap. Lots of skin to skin etc also will help create that bond and get those lovely hormones flowing between you.
Don't leave the hospital without feeling confident in how you're feeding. It's much easier to sort it there than when you're back at home. Demand the nurses watch and confirm you're doing it right.
Don't give up if the baby keeps demanding milk: this is more than likely a growth spurt and NOT a sign that you don't have enough milk. The baby will have a witching hour early evening when a s/he wants to do is nuzzle and sort of feed, sort of fuss. Totally normal. Don't fall for the myth that a bottle will cure it. Ditto sleep. Formula fed babies do not sleep any better than BF ones (if they do it's because they're over-full (like us snoozing off xmas dinner!!) which is obviously bad and can lead to long term problems such as a lack of ability to recognise fullness.
Weight curves are often made for FF babies and are inaccurate for BF ones. Check which one is being used. I personally dislike weight curves: number of dirty nappies and baby being sated are more accurate IMHO...
Attitude (which you seem to have): you are going to breastfeed. Not 'might'. Not 'will try'. Are going to.
Agree with KellyMom. Also try the La Leche league book 'The womanly art of breastfeeding' (awful title but fantastic since it has a chapter per stage and you can look up specific topics).
Day at a time. Get through today.
Well done you for wanting the absolute best start for your baby (and you).
From your description it sounds like something wasn't quite right when you were feeding your Dc1 - maybe your latch was wrong, or he had a tongue tie. It is uncomfortable to start with, but it shouldn't be agonising.
You really need a midwife or someone else who knows what they are doing to observe you feed. Unfortunately the hospital midwives don't have time to do this properly.
I would find out in advance the details of a local bf support group, so you know where to get advice. Stock up on lansinoh and maybe a breastfeeding cushion. Get hold of a book on breastfeeding and have a read - I really rate the food of love by Kate Evans. And remember that if it doesn't work out, your baby will be fine anyway
Establishing breastfeeding with Dc1 was really really hard, with dc2 it was a doddle
Have a good read on the kellymom website, it helps to know what 'normal' feeding is like.
Look up images of different feeding positions-google 'biological nursing' and pictures of feeding lying down. Screenshot the pics to your phone so you've got for easy reference. It may help to have a few different ones to try if you struggled to get a comfortable position last time.
Save some breastfeeding helpline numbers to your phone so you've got them handy. Good support is vital, especially if you're struggling.
Also, last time you didn't 'only' manage 2 weeks - you managed to feed for 2 weeks which is fantastic, especially when it was so hard. Be proud of yourself.
Good luck with your new baby.
Definitely worth familiarising yourself with the support available to you locally - Home Start were my saviours, came round for home visits which was amazingly helpful, as they can help you with positioning in the chair/bed you'll actually be feeding in.
I would also say get some Lansinoh and slather it on at every opportunity, also worth wiping your boobs with a damp flannel after every feed as baby's saliva can make them sore. Feed at every single opportunity, even if they've literally just finished feeding (and you are thinking that they cannot possibly be hungry), offer it again. If in the slightest doubt, offer a feed (this won't go on forever, even if it feels like you have a baby permanently clamped to your boob).
Also (and I know this might be controversial with issues around nipple confusion - although it was never an issue for us) invest in the best breast pump you can afford. I got the Medela Swing and the Calma bottles, and when DS still wouldn't latch properly after 3 days they were actually what saved us - broke the cycle of him being too hungry to latch properly, and then not sleeping as he was hungry, and then being too tired to feed, etc etc. It's also a bit kinder to your nips, so if they're feeling super sore you can express a feed and give them a break. Even if you don't use it in the early days, it's a godsend for if you need to go out without baby, if they have a nursing strike, etc.
Above all, grit your teeth and keep going - it's not always comfortable and it's definitely not always easy, but it shouldn't be too hard so as to be unbearable (and no, you shouldn't have to put up with agonising/bleeding nipples). And ask for help, you don't have to do it alone, and there is lots of support out there.
Breastfeeding is different for everyone my first was born by emcs and I was in hospital all week and I had lots of help , my next two took to it like ducks to water. I found it really easy none of mine ever had a bottle. But I did have lots of help with my first, my advice is relax I've seen so many women who are so tense it's no wonder their milk doesn't flow
Establishing breastfeeding for DS1 was the single most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. The second most difficult thing I have ever done in my life was establishing breastfeeding for DS2! DS1 was EMCS, DS2 was ELCS.
I got mastitis seven times with DS1 - eight if you count the time I got it both sides at once. I had thrush, I had blocked ducts. My nipples were so shredded with both boys that they'd quietly vomit up my blood after many feeds. I had to scream into a pillow and curl my toes for the early weeks of feeding every time they latched on. Cluster feeding - continuous night feeding - was also an unbelievable shock. That was the only thing that was easier with DS2 - only because I knew to expect it (nobody talks about it in antenatal classes) and how to manage it.
But you know what? Neither of them ever got a drop of formula and I fed both until a year and a half and there is nothing - NOTHING - I am prouder of in my life than those things, because of the utter hell I went through to get there. If you can really grit your teeth and make it through those early weeks (possibly even months) of hell, and you're lucky enough to avoid PND which may complicate things, you may also get the same sense of unbelievable achievement.
You need two things - excellent real life support and an absolutely single, bloody-minded determination to get through it. The first you can find if you look in the right places. The second, I think, does have to be built-in. I was totally 'meh' about breastfeeding before DS1, but then hormones (or something) gave me the drive that meant my giving them formula would probably have killed me. That's not a judgement on anyone giving formula - that was just where I was at when breastfeeding and comments like 'just give him formula, it won't kill him!' made the red mist descend.
People will say 'how they were fed won't matter in years to come'. I can't actually believe that, personally. Cracking breastfeeding will stay with me for years to come.
So, yes it hurts at the start (I used to count to 10 when baby latched on, and then the pain would subside).
After a couple of weeks there is absolutely no pain whatsoever once your nips get used to it. You won't regret persevering.
Camilosan helped a lot and you can apply it even just before a feed as does no harm to baby.
What I struggled with was the holding position.. I found the way the midwives teach is a bit weird (baby horizontal on a cushion on your lap). My sister put me right.. baby held in your arm and crucially his arm tucked behind you so he's close... made all the difference.
Like I said after a couple of weeks you won't feel anything other than relief. Good luck
Im 20 weeks Pregnant with my 2nd child. I really wat to breast feed.
with my first it didnt go well and only managed 2 weeks.
i had emc section, an struggled to get a comfortable position.
before i went to forumla my breasts were cracked dripping with blood and my little boy was yellow jaundice. every inch of my hurt like toe curling pain when he was feeding.
i had pn depression and i think part of it was because i felt like a bit of a failure.
my little boy is a happy healthy little boy may i add. and nearly 3
this time im having a planned c section so trying to pre pare my self this time.
as it was my first pregnancy last time i kind of was a bit niave thinking id be fine.
what are the best tips and should it be ever that painful or did you ladies just take to it.