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Breastfeeding during the first week

(15 Posts)
MaverickSnoopy Tue 13-Feb-18 11:07:16

I've had 2 children and am pregnant with my 3rd.

I found breastfeeding enormously difficult. I mixed fed with my first until 6 months and with my second until 3 months. I was miserable throughout and never seemed to get it. I did a lot of expressing too and so it was a very ending cycle of breastfeeding/expressing/topping up with emb or formula. It was definitely harder the second time around and I'd been so determined.

I'm reflecting because I want to try again this time. I'm wondering if I misread all of their signals which led to the topping up and vicious cycle. Day 2 with both of them and they screamed and screamed and seemed so hungry. I was literally sat there all day and night doing nothing but "feeding"/sat there while they slept with my boob in their mouths. I was so worried they weren't getting anything from me that I immediately introduced formula. Day 3 the same so I gave some formula. By day 3 with my second my milk was well any truly in but her weight had dropped significantly (more than recommended amount) so I just assumed she wasn't getting what she needed from me and increased the formula. Was the right/wrong?

I was terrified in both cases that they would die through me "thinking" that they were feeding, but we're in fact not. I felt that the screaming indicated how hungry they were and I acted in panic.

I guess what I'd like to know is other people's early experiences and if what I have described is normal. I really want to try again I don't want to fall at the first hurdle again.

OhHolyJesus Tue 13-Feb-18 11:11:14

There is no right or wrong when it comes to feeding your child and staying sane IMO!
For me once latch was sorted we were fine but many friends had tongue tie and supply issues.
My advice would be just to give it a go - it was easier for me after 6 weeks so but it's your 3rd child, they are all different and you will know best.
Good luck OP xx

Gunpowder Tue 13-Feb-18 11:22:51

The KellyMom website has loads of good resources/info on what to expect/what’s normal for the early days. I think breastfeeding can be so hard and often support is needed to make it work. Does your hospital have feeding specialists? If you get a good one early on that really helps. I think your experiences are super common and I completely identify with wanting to breastfeed but being worried about starving your baby. It’s such a responsibility.

noodleaddict Tue 13-Feb-18 11:31:43

I'm not sure I can help much but I know with my first I'd never heard of cluster feeding so initially probably didn't feed on demand as much as I should have (thinking she couldn't be hungry already). This led to her having low blood sugars in the first couple of days and having to top up with formula. After a bit I decided to ignore the midwives telling me to feed every 2 hours and just fed on demand and was able to switch to ebf. I also found it helpful to use a timer when she was feeding and stopping it when I could feel she was no longer sucking so I could see how long she was actually feeding as opposed to just being attached on the boob. She'd often fall asleep whilst feeding when she was tiny so I found I had to keep her awake to get a decent feed out of her by tickling her feet, wiggling her arms and legs around etc. With number two I accepted that she'd just want to feed loads in the first few days and went with it to help build up supply. She got a bit jaundiced so I was a bit anxious about her feeding too but just made sure I fed every 2 hours or so (she was much sleepier than dd1) and it did sort itself out with ebf. I know undersupply does happen but your body is designed to feed the baby too so try not to panic! Consult with the midwives too if you're concerned. Also remember to look after yourself and stay hydrated. Best of luck with it!

MaverickSnoopy Tue 13-Feb-18 11:35:10

Thanks. I do appreciate your comments. I guess I just don't trust my instincts, or at least I didn't in the past. That's the problem.

I was given lots of support the second time but none the first time. Ironically I did better the first time! I saw about 6 midwives who came daily to check on feeding. Everyone said I was doing it well and the latch was checked. It was just when I was on my own that I struggled to understand when/how much/long long/if they were actually feeding. It just never embedded with me the second time around and I didn't get it at all. I've read kellymom to death and agree it's a great source of help but on a practical basis nothing I did seemed to improve things.

Part of me wonders if it's normal for them to scream lots in the first few days....I guess that's the bit that I worry about...what does it mean!

Marcine Tue 13-Feb-18 11:41:45

It's normal for them to cry of they are not on you/at the breast ime. Particularly at night - mine wouldn't be put down at all at night at first and I just dozed while swapping them from one side to another and back again for 8 hours!

If you are feeding and they stop swallowing or fall asleep then swap sides to get them going again, I did breast compressions a lot at first with my smallest baby too.

Situp Tue 13-Feb-18 11:46:09

OP, getting an app which tines feeds and where you can log formula feeds and wet and dirty nappies can really help with the anxiety.

I am using one called Baby manager and it has been really good. DD is 3 weeks old and being able to see how long she has fed today and how it compares with previous days is really good. Where I am, they only weigh babies once a week for the first 3 weeks and then nothing until 6 weeks so I wanted a bit of added reassurance.

MaverickSnoopy Tue 13-Feb-18 11:50:13

Thanks noodle and marcine. I feel a bit better after reading - like I can give it another go. I think my expectations of them must have been too high.

Don't talk to me about timing feeds. I timed their feeds and naps and studied the correlation for about 6 months. It taught me a lot about their wants and needs....I just struggled to act on it!

My first also got a bit jaundiced which just made me worry even more.

I feel more in tune with babies now though and I'm convinced that I must be able to do this and am wanting to work out why I struggle so much with breastfeeding.

I think it's the constant cycle of them feeding to sleep and feeling like they can't be getting enough yet never being off the boob. I know this stuff is supposed to be normal but when their weight keeps dropping, that's an issue and that's why I'm thinking about it so early on this time.

MaverickSnoopy Tue 13-Feb-18 11:51:54

Here they weigh babies daily and they won't discharge you until they have regained their birth weight. I felt so bound by it and found it very stressful.

tmc14 Tue 13-Feb-18 12:30:53

As well as Kelly Mom site, I’d recommend the Jack Newman videos. I found them really useful. I am mixed feeding due to weight loss/tongue tie/milk very slow at coming in. I think the only reason I’m vreastfeedjng as much as I am is because of those sites, and seeing a Lactation consultant. Is available to you, I’d maybe speak with one prior to birth and get them in as soon as possible. I had a lot of conflicting advice from non-specialist midwives. Good luck! x

MaverickSnoopy Tue 13-Feb-18 13:07:34

Thanks, I've not heard of Jack Newman but I will certainly look him up. I will also get in touch with a lactation consultant. Good advice to get in touch with one before the birth. I nearly got in touch with one after the birth of my last child but I was so lost in the midst of it all that I didn't. I was also put in touch with an amazing lady who had all the training but was working alongside the health visitors and I saw her. She filled me with confidence when she was around and I believe I could do it....but for some reason it just didn't work out.

tmc14 Tue 13-Feb-18 14:05:45

I was going to a lot of clinics etc for support, but the jack Newman videos were great as it was a lot of actually breastfeeding women, up close, with things to watch for. So, in the middle of the night or home alone, it gave me a lot of confidence that we were doing it correctly.

Be kind to yourself, whatever happens. I cried for 3 days when I was told to top up by the Midwife, and I still feel sad about it. But I try and concentrate on the fact I have a wonderful, healthy, happy baby & am still partially breastfeeding, so he’s getting benefits from breastmilk as well.

tmc14 Tue 13-Feb-18 14:19:42

Another idea is to start hand expressing colostrum before the birth & storing it in syringes in the freezer for use the first few days. I don’t know if this is a good idea or not but my friend did this for her second after not being able to get breastfeeding going with her first. Meant she knew the baby was getting calories while she figured out breastfeeding. Again, not sure if this is a good idea or not but something to consider.

TheDailyMailIsADisgustingRag Wed 14-Feb-18 11:37:58

Hi @op

I also mix fed my eldest dc for only a few months and was gutted not to be able to EBF, as I’d planned. With us, it was a little different, as dc1 had a serious infection, shortly after birth and had to spend a week in NICU.

With dc2, (now 3 weeks old), I was determined to get it ‘right’ and EBF. I contacted several Lactation Consultants prior to birth, to see if I could get one to help me in hospital. Only one responded, to say she was moving to Australia, so couldn’t help.

DS and I had latching problems from the start, but we battled through on day zero in hospital, by hand expressing a lot into a spoon. Then, when he was a bit stronger from the expressed milk, we managed getting ds to latch, with help from MWs and eventually on my own. We stayed in an extra night, for more help with feeding, (and got basically none btw, but that’s because postnatal care was generally not great that night). On that night, ds just randomly stopped latching at all and I had to top up with formula, as he’d been too long without a feed. He then ended up in NNU as well, where he had to go on a 3 hourly feeding schedule with formula top ups. He latched a few times in NNU, but always needed a top up.

I’ve contacted some LCs since we got home, but none of them will travel to my home. I can’t drive, due to csection. We’ve been to the only local BF group twice, been referred from there, to a tongue tie clinic twice and been told both times that ds’s TT isn’t serious enough to snip.

I’m now having to pump a lot, in order to get breast milk into him and we now have to do some formula feeds and top ups as well. So, basically, I’m doing exactly what I’d wanted so desperately to avoid sad.

I’m telling you this, as it’s fresh in my mind. Prior to the birth, I’d have said I simply had bad luck, that I’d got it wrong somehow, or that I didn’t put in enough effort with dc1, that I could have EBF if I’d tried harder, or if she hadn’t been sick etc. But here we are, mix feeding again, despite my best made plans!

I feel alright about it, (most of the time), as ds is still getting a good quantity of breast milk every day, (albeit from a bottle), and the odd breastfeed too, though his latch is still a bit dodgy, so it’s more of a hobby of his than a meal grin! I’m hoping that if we persevere, he’ll eventually get the hang of it, but don’t know. If we end up mix feeding for a few months again, then that’s just the way it is.

Obviously, give it a really good go, but don’t beat yourself up about how it went with your previous two dcs or pin everything on being able to EBF this time.

dustpan Wed 14-Feb-18 13:11:07

Hi just to echo what pp said about seeing a lactation consultant before the birth of possible, I did this & it really helped me both practically and emotionally to talk through how and why breastfeeding "failed" the first time and it gave me a route map for the second birth. If the same lactation consultant could visit you on the ward too after birth to watch you feed and witness the screaming they might be able to help discern if it's hunger or just new baby out of the womb crying. Good luck!

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