Preparing to bf - any tips?(30 Posts)
I'm giving birth in 5 weeks and I'm desperately hoping to breastfeed.
With dd 7 years ago I didn't produce any milk or colostrum and felt severe guilt at what I then perceived as failing her. I have produced more colostrum in the past day by having a wee squeeze than I ever have before and am hoping this is a positive sign.
All I seem to see online are horror stories about feeding so I was wondering if anyone would mind sharing their tips on as pain free and as simple anbexperience as possible.
There's no LLL or NCT nearby for help / support so I'm relying on internet strangers
Whilst starting to bf was a challenge for me and ds1 we got there. I eventually found a really supportive midwife in the hospital and there was also a breastfeeding specialist at the hospital who I asked to see with ds2 as I had struggled with ds1. I found that I had to keep asking different people to get the best support for me. Luckily one midwife taught me how to bf lying down and that really helped. She also taught me how to settle ds1 before trying to latch him. We are lucky to have breastfeeding support groups near us and I wish I had gone to one prior to having ds1 but I did phone up the helplines from the LLL and NCT. They were fantastic and a lovely lady talked me through latching ds1 on when I was upset and it worked! I never produced much milk but at the beginning with ds2 when he took a while to latch on I expressed a bit and gave it to him with a syringe.
Have you looked at the kellymom website? Would really recommend it.
Get nipple cream, I used laniosh I think it was called.
Skin to skin after baby is born, lots of cuddles... I just fed on demand which in the early days was pretty much just sitting holding the baby all day. It's hard work so make sure you have juice or water to hand, cake is good for energy too!
Get a pump if you haven't already, with dd I had to pump to get my supply up, and with Ds I had to a few times in the early days when I got engorged...
Think that's all my tips, I was lucky and once we got the hang of it bf has been great for us. Good luck and congratulations.
Be prepared to feed for longer and more frequently than you might expect!! Lanisoh. Limit visitors so that you can spend as much time as needed boosting supply. Lots of treats and box sets to hand 😀
I managed to feed my second child but didn't last long with my first. Experiences were very different. My tips are, get lansinoh cream and slather it on after every feed - even if you think your nipples aren't sore. It does hurt to begin with as your nipples are getting used to it. They always say it shouldn't hurt and in some ways they are right because an incorrect latch can cause pain, but your boobs have to get used to it even with a good latcher.
I know you say there's no nct or lll nearby but do you have a children's centre near you? They often have breast feeding drop in clinics and some hospitals/midwife led maternity units do. Try contacting your local health visiting service as they should have details of what's available.
Other than that, settle yourself in for the long haul. Get a station set up with snacks, drinks etc in easy reach, plus books, mags and the tv remote. Be prepared to sit and feed a lot. Cluster feeding in the evenings in the first few weeks is normal.
Things which were hard for me:
The pain, oh god the pain to start with. Ow.
The absolute constantness of feeding while my supply got established.
Things that helped:
Knowing that if I couldn't do it or didn't want to that it would be okay
Lansinoh nipple cream
Getting all the help I could with latch/technique/etc
A lot of chocolate and doing fuck all else except feed.
A really really supportive DH. You don't mention a DP but if you have one, brief him now that he will be in charge of everything except feeding baby, if necessary. That means popping out for more breast pads, bringing you drinks, doing nappies, looking after your DD, comforting you when you are hormonal and giving you all the reassurance you need.
I've loved breastfeeding but it was in some ways harder than labour. Labour I was in a hospital full of highly trained experts, bf was me and DC in the middle of the night alone. Give it your best shot but don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work out.
It will be sore at first, lanisoh helps but there is still a bit of grin and bear it. It is worth it for that extra closeness you feel. Don't give yourself blocked ducts/mastitis by neglecting to use both boobs, best tip I got was start each feed on the opposite side to the last feed, then if they're not super hungry and don't want the second, you're still keeping things even. If you keep using one over the other, one side can become, as my DP called it a "power boob"
Just feed, feed, feed. They feed much more than you think they possibly could. Crying 30 mins after a feed? Couldn't possibly need another feed? Yep, hungry again.
Gives you a chance to binge on box sets and cake though
Lots of good tips mentioned already but the best thing I was told was that breastfeeding is a skill that both you and your baby have to learn and, like any skill, it will take time. Don't expect it to just 'happen' and the beat yourself up when it doesn't.
Along with what everyone else has already said, try and get your baby assessed for a tongue tie at the first sign of any real problems latching (not just initial figuring it out)! Would have made the last almost 6 months a hell of a lot easier had it been picked up
Nipple cream, nipple cream, nipple cream.
If you have bigger breasts, I found shoving a cloth under the one ds was feeding from really helped.
Comfortable chair and something to do whilst feeding. Ds would happily nurse for six hour stints in the first few weeks (feeding + comfort) and boxsets saved what was left of my sanity.
Make sure you are eating/drinking enough as well.
Thank you there's a lot to be going on. Sadly I don't like chocolate so will need to find a different vice... I'm already scared of the pain
Biscuits are what I snack on another thing I'd have died without is a big water bottle with a straw! I use an Avex one stops me inevitably pouring water over DD's head when I miss my mouth otherwise
Hi OP, I am currently BF my 6 week old first baby and just to give you a different perspective, I've been lucky enough to have a fairly easy time of it so far. Sore nipples for a few days and uncomfortable engorgement for a few more, and otherwise basically fine
Things that helped me:
- This video, recommended at a BF class I attended: https://globalhealthmedia.org/portfolio-items/attaching-your-baby-at-the-breast/
- I was advised to feed every 2-3 hours (2 hours until milk came in) rather than having baby constantly at the breast. This might not work for everyone but I was lucky my son latched and fed well so he was happy and it gave my nipples a break in the early days
- expressing a bit of breast milk onto my nipples and letting them air dry after each feed (also lansinoh)
- feeding lying down (so comfy!)
- when feeding in my arms, checking to make sure baby's head resting on my arm not the crook of my elbow, with nose to nipple, and baby's ear, shoulder and hips in a line (I still check this every feed)
- if any discomfort doesn't disappear in a minute, detach and relatch!!
- breast pump for when milk comes in - my boobs were so round, he could barely get his mouth on them and milk was dribbling out; I found if I pumped first for a few minutes, he was much more comfortable and fed better
- on tough days, knowing it gets easier!!
I had the same issue with dd1 but fed dd2. Get your baby latched asap after birth. Even if they are sleepy, latch them on. Read up months cluster feeding. Limit visitors for 2 weeks. It hurts until your nipples harden so get yourself some lanisoh (you can start using it now). Build a nest and sit for two weeks with someone else bringing
you plenty of food.
You might be lucky with the pain thing. Not many people say "oh it was fine" on these threads bit they are out there. Out of my 5 friends who breastfed I was the only one who was considering giving up because of the pain, the rest found it painful but bearable.
Yy to Cham's comments: Couldn't possibly need another feed? Yep, hungry again. Saying "well I don't think he's hungry, I've JUST fed him" became an in joke for me and DH because you could absolutely guarantee that DS would, indeed, be hungry.
Yes the kellymom website is very useful. I found the breastfeeding support group at my local children's centre fantastic. Ask your midwife if they have the details of any in your area. You could go along before baby arrives even if just for some friendly advice.
I was very lucky as I had a student midwife sit with me on the postnatal ward and she really helped me get started. There was also a volunteer peer support worker on the ward the next day who was very good and she did a home visit a couple of weeks later.
Have plenty snacks and bottles of water around whilst feeding as it can make you hungry and thirsty.
Despite my DD being tongue tied, we had a very successful breastfeeding relationship. She just wanted to suck constantly for the first day and almost constantly for several days/weeks (it's a bit of a blur).
As PPs have said, there will be times that you will think the baby can't possibly be hungry, but there is no harm in offering a feed as worst case scenario, they just won't feed. In most cases though, you will find they do wish to feed.
Don't listen to comments from anyone about the frequency of feeding or people who try to settle your crying hungry baby because 'they only fed an hour ago'.
Make sure you have snacks and drinks to hand throughout the day and any meals you have in those early days can be eaten with just a fork because you're likely to find that you have a baby on you most of the time.
If you are feeling engorged, take a warm shower or a bath, don't use cold compresses.
I found the early days of bf so hard and felt I wasn't producing enough colostrum/milk. But I've stuck with it - gave a few bottles in the early days but now don't.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself - the stress will affect things. If you feel you need to give the odd bottle or cup feed then do doesn't mean you'll do it forever.
I used to find the pain only lasted about a minute to which I started to sing baa baa bkack sheep rather than my initial 'ow ow ow's!) seemed to help.
My biggest tip would be refuse to leave hospital until you are confident with the latch. We didn't but I've heard others who have and they got going a lot quicker.
Thanks all. We don't have a children's centre here and there's no breastfeeding support group either. I've tried speaking to the midwives abut bf but they dont seem to want to talk about it just say to give it a go.
Can the HV help?
Getting a good latch is crucial; if the baby is not on well, unlatch, try again.
The pain stops once you both know how to latch on well and your nipples heal.
Not producing? Feed more. Even sucking on empty helps. If you can, rent an electric pump. Then feed more. Whenever the baby cries, try feeding. Then feed some more.
For me BF was one of the worst experiences of my life for the first few days, and one of the best since.
On top of nipple cream I would reccomend cabbage! It was reccomended to me by all three of my sisters in law and I pass it on to everyone!
Keep a cabbage in the fridge and after a feed or when you need to pop a leaf in your bra over your nipple. Its really quite soothing.
Buy tons of Muslins. Buy fabric breast pads not the disposable plastic backed ones they are horrid. I was given bamboo pads (look like terry) the second time around my god the comfort difference!!
Don't feel ever that you have to feed in the baby change room in mothercare it stinks.
Feed wherever you like most people don't notice anyway.
Omg and explain to your other half that if you ask them to get you a drink/snack whatever you need it right now!!!!
I think the best preparation is to have no expectations about bf as it's different for everyone. Research some good Netflix options and take everything slowly as it's a learning curve for you and baby.
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