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Breastfeeding mums?! So many questions...

(20 Posts)
AllTheGlitters Wed 08-Mar-17 16:54:05

Hi smile

To cut a long story short, I am newly pregnant with my second child. With my first, my experience with trying to BF was unfortunately not good, all round. I failed at pretty much every aspect and there was no support offered.

Because of this, I have been thinking about all the things I could possibly do to succeed at breastfeeding this time around. I've tried to think back on all the different things that went wrong, but can anyone with experience tell me if these ideas are good or bad, or offer some more? Any kind advice would be dearly appreciated, I really struggled to accept that I couldn't breastfeed and it caused a lot of sadness for me, I really want to do it right this time sad

So here's what I've thought of so far:

Because I could't hold baby comfortably -

- get a breastfeeding pillow (any recommendations?)
- try different positions, biological feeding position?

Because baby didn't latch well:

- Get some contact nipple shields
- Use a pump in case I have to express and bottle feed
- Use manual pump to encourage let down/draw out nipple while baby is learning to latch
- Can I/is it okay to use nipple shields long term?

Because I combi fed as I was scred baby wasn't getting enough:

- Can I express before the birth to have some backup colostrum? Will this mess with my supply? Will giving a bottle of expressed milk ruin my chances of baby latching onto nipple?
- If okay to feed expressed while supply is coming in, look into best bottles to avoid nipple confusion

Thanks so much for reading halo

FatOldBag Wed 08-Mar-17 17:06:29

Hello, my first was a massive pain in the arse to bf. I used nipple shields for a couple of weeks and didn't need them after that. You can use them as long as you need. When they're first born they need so little colostrum as their tummies are about the size of a walnut so I wouldn't bother expressing before the birth. If you can't get your newborn to latch, just express a bit on a teaspoon and feed that way - the nurses helped me do this for dd a couple of times, then they helped me shove the nipple into baby's mouth but it took me a while to get the hang of it - being a second time mum they might assume you don't need help feeding so do ask. I had to press the bell for help every time I tried to feed. After a few weeks we both just got the hang of it.

With my second baby, he was amazing from the off. He was sucking on the blanket they wrapped him in and wanting boob literally as soon as he came out! No problems latching or anything. Hopefully this baby might be a bit more of a boob fan for you.

I wouldn't introduce bottles too early in case it discourages from trying to latch - but definitely if you think he's actually not getting enough milk at the moment then obviously it's worth a bottle of anything at that point. Good luck.

GrouchyKiwi Wed 08-Mar-17 17:21:02

For the latch it would be worth seeing a breastfeeding consultant once your baby has arrived. You might find that there are no problems and your baby latches fine. But if there are then a consultant should be able to help you work out what is wrong and how to sort it. La Leche League has good people, and a lot of birthing units now have breastfeeding consultants on hand too. Sometimes there are breastfeeding clinics provided by the NHS too. You should be able to find out information from your midwife about what is available in your area.

I had trouble breastfeeding my first as well and ended up combi feeding from 2 months before she self-weaned at 5 months. Because this contributed to my PND I was determined to do everything I could with my second child. I worked out what went wrong with my first by researching on websites like www.kellymom.com (which is a great resource) and then knew what to do if the same problem arose again with DC2, which it did. My problem is a fast letdown, so my babies tended to drown in milk, which they obviously hated! DC1 would vomit up entire feeds and hated feeding. For this the laid-back position was the best help.

Good luck with it, but try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Breastfeeding is wonderful, but if you can't do it, modern formula is brilliant too. smile

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Wed 08-Mar-17 17:24:50

I'm place marking as I was unable to pump for dc1 & 2 (both in scbu & weren't allowed on the breast initially which I think is what fucked it up before we'd even started) so decided not to bother with dc3. Then tried again with more success with dc4 but due to a very unsupportive gp had to stop at 6 months. Determined to do it this time with dc5!!

mainlywingingit Wed 08-Mar-17 17:49:00

There is too is too
Much advice for the post but this book is absolutely the best you
Can buy on the subject. Totally prepared me pre-birth

cockermum85 Wed 08-Mar-17 18:03:26

Hi there, not the most experienced but I thought I'd give my experience. I'm a ffm to a 12 day old and I'm trying my best to feed. My dd has a very lazy latch and suck (which she only mastered at all with the help of a nipple shield - I recommend the Medela ones, the hospital provided them and they're very soft) my let down is very slow too so it's all a lot of work for my girl and she gets very frustrated. She was loosing too much weight and so On advice of MW u have been expressing and bottle feeding. She's gaining weight again which is great and she will hop between boob and bottle happily (but more is more for comfort for her, it doesn't seem to satisfy her hunger)
3 days ago she took the boob without the shield which was so nice to see but still doesn't help with filling her up really.

I'm only letting you know this because I'm not sure I buy into nipple confusion... my MW poo poo'ed the idea and certainly my little girl will take whatever she is given!

AllTheGlitters Wed 08-Mar-17 18:27:46

Thank you so much for the advice! halo

FatOldBag those are some really good points I didn't even consider, you're right about me needing to think about telling the midwives I'm still not confident, and that this baby might feed more readily!

GrouchyKiwi thanks for the website link, there' so much on there! I combi fed for a while too, but could just never get my DD to take the boob sad I think I didn't understand the concept of, as someone I saw on another thread put it really well, that they "breast feed" and not "nipple feed". I was just so obsessed about my nipples being the wrong shape! Sorry to hear about your PND, you did fantastically combi feeding for 5 months flowers And you're right about the formula!

Bernard that sounds so tough having babies in SCBU sad But going for six months with your other DC is amazing!

Mainly thank you so much for the book recommendation, I will definitely invest smile

Cockermum that is so helpful thank you, especially re the nipple confusion, I thought it was because of the bottles but then I never got DD to latch well so it's probably nothing to do with it! Formula feeding sounds perfect for you if you were worried about baby's weight. And 12 days old, wow, congratulations halo

SockQueen Wed 08-Mar-17 20:07:06

I use a Boppy pillow - I just got it cheaply from an NCT sale, there wasn't any research behind it! It works well for me, I use it for both cross-cradle and rugby ball hold, though do the latter less now as DS doesn't like his feet touching the back of the chair. Definitely look up different positions - biological nurturing and side-lying can be good.

For the latch, don't get too obsessed with your nipple size/shape. Mine are quite small and pretty flat, and even after almost 6 months feeding, still don't get drawn out a whole lot. Never needed nipple shields, so while it might be useful for you to have them, don't assume you'll need them! Lansinoh cream is fab!

I'm not sure what best to advise about expressing - I think get your latch and their feeding co-ordination sorted as much as possible before using it if you possibly can, because the baby will (usually) be much more efficient at removing milk than a pump. I think getting good advice and support early will be most helpful for this - look up details now of local IBCLCs, LLL groups, breastfeeding cafes etc, so that you can get some expert observation and advice once you've left hospital. Maybe watch some Youtube videos showing good latching and different positions?

You can certainly hand express colostrum before birth, but I think a pump is unlikely to be successful. You aren't likely to get enough to put in a bottle, normally just a few ml (if that!) in a syringe. You can also do this in the first few days when the baby is not actively feeding, and give them it in a syringe/spoon/cup on top of on-demand breastfeeding. Good luck!

reallyanotherone Wed 08-Mar-17 20:15:03

Kellymom, lots of excellent advice on there.

Ime the best thing to do is just feed as much as you can. Don't worry about frequency or quantity, don't fuck about with expressing, just have baby on the boob as much as possible, and keep an eye out for lots of poo and wee.

I actually found in the first few days it was the latching on and off that damaged nipples. So i just left her latched on while i sat on the sofa all day- she just roused, fed, then slept with the nipple in her mouth smile.

Feed, feed, then feed some more. Then feed again.

LivininaBox Wed 08-Mar-17 20:17:55

Lots of good advice already upthread. I would really recommend a brestfriend feeding cushion - crap name, but it really worked for me. I also really struggled to get comfortable feeding. I used to carry it in a giant plastic bag balanced on my pram everywhere I went, as I couldn't feed without it in the early days!

Lansinoh is great - put it on after every feed, don't wait til your nipples get sore.

Natural nurturing position didn't work at all for me but could be worth a shot if you have problems.

And be really brave about unlatching your baby straightaway if you think they aren't on properly. Ask a mW to show you how if you aren't confident.

Good luck!

MooPointCowsOpinion Wed 08-Mar-17 20:28:22

Lots of great advice here. I fed my first exclusively with nipple shields for 4 months, she became reliant on them and we had to wean off them slowly. She had terrible latch and we struggled through so much nipple damage and mastitis, but I was so glad that the nipple shields were there to help us!

My second I was like you are now, arming myself to the teeth with people I could call on and things I would need if it started to go wrong. She popped out and latched on like it was the easiest thing in the world, never had any problems.

Ultimately it's a skill that you and baby need to learn together, with help on hand in case of tongue tie or any other barriers. I agree with the poster above who said just offer the boob around the clock all the time, and everything else works itself out.

Chocolatedreamsandtea Wed 08-Mar-17 21:05:16

Yy to all your ideas but stay away from bottles as much as you can - if you get breastfeeding properly you won't need them at all

Best advice is to get baby to try feeding as soon as you hold her for first time and also try and minimise the drugs you take in labour (sorry) - dd1 was induced and I had an epidural and she came out a bit dopey which made feeding hard (though I breastfed her on nipple shields for 18 months so yes you can do long term). Dd2 didn't even have gas and air and she came out and latched in the first 5 mins! You really must put them onto the boob straight away.

After that - call a midwife to help you feed every feed - at least for the first dAy. Then when you are home ask for a support visit on day 3/4 when your milk will have come in and breastfeeding might become a bit hard again.

Hope you can do it - it's the most rewarding thing when it works

AllTheGlitters Thu 09-Mar-17 01:52:12

Wow thank you again for all that excellent information. I have been looking into hand expressing some colostrum, it sounds like a really good idea for me. I'm just annoyed because I felt I was left too long before feeding DD for the first time, but that could have just been my perception. Chocolate I think you're right (*gulp*) but I will try to go as pain free as possible, I actually had nothing right up until the end, but it wasn't easy for me and it was more because I was refused anything for ages! confused - but that's a whole different thread.

I am hoping this labour and therefor establishing feeding will be easier, I was just so out of it after my first labour that I don't think I was as confident as I could have been. I panicked and gave formula the same day I gave birth to her, and combi fed ever since because I was so worried she wouldn't have enough BM, which just caused me to not make enough BM sad And yes I think I will have more confidence asking midwives to help me latch, DP had a knack of shoving her boob in my mouth, I just never felt like I was doing it right!

Chocolatedreamsandtea Thu 09-Mar-17 04:43:13

Yes shoving on not good smile people kept doing that with my dd1 too and it doesn't work. I was also left overnight with her without help feeding - some hospitals can be quite rubbish but this time you'll know like me on dd2 to badger them to help you!

Remember it's nose to nipple and horizontal along you holding shoulders and body - they have to be able to tilt their head back to get the right position.

kippersandcurtains Thu 09-Mar-17 04:57:43

I have fed three babies with varying degrees of success - last one seems to be going well (14 weeks and going strong). My advice is to use lansiloh after every feed for first couple of weeks. Get latch right and ask mw to check for tongue tie if latch is really not good. Feed lots and grit teeth past early days latching on pain (I used to count to 10 and it was ok after than initial toe curl). Then it's about confidence. Your supply will most likely be fine IF you follow baby's cues and avoid bottles/too ups/emergency formula. Google the growth spurts (lovely piece on a blog called 'Nurshable' about six week growth spurt that helped me keep the faith. Invest in sleepyhead pod. Good luck and enjoy it.

AllTheGlitters Thu 09-Mar-17 06:29:36

God chocolate what is it with that!! And me too, not overnight but I gave birth at around 5am and was discharges at 11pm the same day, no one really came to make sure DD was eating. I was hoping to be slightly less exhausted after labour and go in with preparing to breastfeed in mind (was a bit of an afterthought in the end!)

I have been looking into BF cushions and will definitely get the Breast Friend one! sounds like exactly what I need to overcome my discomfort with holding them properly smile Does anyone know if I can bring expressed colostrum into the hospital with me? How long would it last in a bag etc, or would I freeze it? Hmmm.. Maybe keep some in the fridge at home from early labour and just do it again in the hospital?

reallyanotherone Thu 09-Mar-17 08:28:24

A word of caution regarding asking M/w for help- most do not have up to date bf training, and are grossly understaffed so no time to spend helping with the intricacies.

I spent 3 days in hospital and the only help i got was the m/w saying "feeding again? I'll go get you a bottle" and me having to convince them i was happy to be feeding "again". That and one ward assistant grabbing my boob and shoving it in the baby's mouth.

And i got a massive lecture for not bringing my own formula, "because everyone needs it" despite me being sat there with a perfectly healthy baby breastfeeding.

The easiest, quickest way for m/w to solve a baby's issues with feeding is to offer formula, and ime, that's what they do.

Get determined, feed, and feed.

AllTheGlitters Thu 09-Mar-17 09:54:11

Good point really it is a shame and I would love support are but they are very quick to give formula and I know it's because they are so busy but it's definitely something I'd rather avoid! I'm going to look into La Leche League I think smile

AlexandraOrlov Thu 09-Mar-17 17:22:47

Ooh @kippersandcurtains do you mean that the sleepyhead can double up as a breastfeeding cushion? How do you use it this way?

kippersandcurtains Fri 10-Mar-17 20:37:19

Sorry for delay, only just spotted your post. No I don't use the pod as a pillow - but I put it in the double bed next to me at night and my dd sleeps there no trouble. Easy to reach over and feed when she wakes, then pop her back once resettled. Advantages of cosleeping but without the worry of squashing or overheating baby.

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