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BF 2nd time round - want it to be a success!

(15 Posts)
mwro Tue 14-Aug-07 06:35:13

Hello! First of all I want to say sorry if this has been discussed here many times before. I've been looking through as many threads as I can and doing searches but it's taking me hours and days so thought I may as well post.

I am pregnant with DC2 and really want to succeed at BF this time. With DD1 it all seemed to go a bit wrong (and I ended up expressing all day everyday) and I'm not sure why. Here is some info:

1. DD1 was born 2 weeks early and was jaundiced (had to have light therapy). Her weight was fine (7 lb). I BF immediately after the birth.

2. DD1 latched on well from start and I didn't really have any pain. I also had engorgement (but again no pain) when milk came in and lots of leaking so I think I did have enough milk.

3. On second night in hospital, they gave DD1 a bottle all night instead of bringing her to me to BF. Was furious when I found out.

4. Although I thought DD1 was taking the milk when she was BF, I think she wasn't taking enough each time because 4 weeks after the birth, she still hadn't recovered her birth weight ("sucking" instead of "suckling"?). Sometimes she would be on my breast for 45 mins. Paediatrician then advised me to BF her for 20 mins every time and then give her a top-up of formula. I did this but then found she just messed around at my breast all the time and wouldn't keep it in her mouth. After struggling with this, I decided just to express all the time and she could drink my milk from a bottle.

5. When I was BF, I was alternating between breasts each time (so would try to empty one breast at one feed).

6. I have quite small breasts. Read somewhere this dooesn't matter but then read somewhere else that small breasts means they can't store much milk. Is this true?

7. I never really felt "let down" when I was BF but I used to get v thirsty when I was BF and at the start could feel my uterus contracting.

8. Never used a dummy with DD1 when I was BF.

Can anyone help?? Any tips, advice etc would be most welcome. Thank you so much.

popsycal Tue 14-Aug-07 06:44:51

Sounds very similar to my first time in about 5 of your points. I will come back with my story when I have a quiet moment. The short version of which is I have had a very successful BF experience with ds2 (and still going strong - bed time feed only) at 2 and a half years old. I also went back to wrok and successfully expressed for a year.

You can do it!!!

PrettyCandles Tue 14-Aug-07 06:55:15

Hi mwro. Seems to me that you got some very counterproductibe 'help' last time - atthe mw ffing your dd.

There are lots of MNers around who'll give you excellent and accurate advice, so I'm not gpoing to pre-empt them and maybe get it wrong. Make contact with the charities that support bfing (NCT, LLL, ABM, BFN are the ones that I know of in the UK) before you have the baby, so that you know where the bfing coffee mornigns are, and so that you feel comfortable about phoning them. I hav had wonderful help from these organisatiosn.

FWIW, I too had problems feeding my first, but went on to feed my second for 23m and am currently feeding my third (10m). I've never felt a let-down either. What I think made the difference between feeding my first and subequent babies was support and information from people whose specialty was bfing (rather than mw and drs IYSWIM).

Hope it goes well for you this time around, and expect to see lots from you on the feeding boards .

mwro Tue 14-Aug-07 06:55:44

Thanks Popsycal - sounds promising. I so want it to work this time. Look forward to hearing your story and any tips/advice you have.

harpsichordcarrier Tue 14-Aug-07 08:39:23

hello there, congratulations on your pregnancy! sorry you ended up with such lousy support and advice last time. the fact that you did bf pretty well despite this looks good I think. try not to worry too much in advance and just think - I did it once and I can do it again. you got past all the tricky stuff last time - your supply was good, you mastered latching on. the fact that things arose that got it the way does not mean that will happen again - quite the opposite, as you know what to avoid! I have given some comments below:

1. DD1 was born 2 weeks early and was jaundiced (had to have light therapy). Her weight was fine (7 lb). I BF immediately after the birth.

it is a good idea to start trying to bf and getting skin to skin as soon as you feel like after the birth

2. DD1 latched on well from start and I didn't really have any pain. I also had engorgement (but again no pain) when milk came in and lots of leaking so I think I did have enough milk.

excellent, yes it sounds like you had enough milk.

3. On second night in hospital, they gave DD1 a bottle all night instead of bringing her to me to BF. Was furious when I found out.

god how annoying. make a note on your maternity notes that you don't want the new baby to have any formula and make sure you point it out to the midwives caring for you.

4. Although I thought DD1 was taking the milk when she was BF, I think she wasn't taking enough each time because 4 weeks after the birth, she still hadn't recovered her birth weight ("sucking" instead of "suckling"?). Sometimes she would be on my breast for 45 mins. Paediatrician then advised me to BF her for 20 mins every time and then give her a top-up of formula. I did this but then found she just messed around at my breast all the time and wouldn't keep it in her mouth. After struggling with this, I decided just to express all the time and she could drink my milk from a bottle.

CRAP advice imo but no reason this should happen again, but if it does then come on here and we can help you

5. When I was BF, I was alternating between breasts each time (so would try to empty one breast at one feed).

yes, not a bad idea to alternate bewteen sides, buyou can always offer the "second" breast if your baby is still hungry

6. I have quite small breasts. Read somewhere this dooesn't matter but then read somewhere else that small breasts means they can't store much milk. Is this true?

it really really doesn't matter. your have the same number of milk producing glands. the rest is fat

7. I never really felt "let down" when I was BF but I used to get v thirsty when I was BF and at the start could feel my uterus contracting.

some women don't feel strong let down, it varies and doesn't necessarily mean anything. when you start to feed, try and drop your shoulders, take a deep breath and relax.

8. Never used a dummy with DD1 when I was BF.

good idea, at least at first.

Can anyone help?? Any tips, advice etc would be most welcome. Thank you so much.

mwro Tue 14-Aug-07 11:18:18

Thank you all for being so lovely and supportive. You've made me feel like it will be a whole lot better this time. To be honest, I found the whole BFing thing so confusing: has she drunk enough? is she crying for food or something else?

Quite relieved to know that not everyone feels the let-down. I kept reading about that and thought I must be doing something wrong.

The other thing I am concerned about is that when I was BFing I would watch TV or talk on the phone (not right at the start but I did after that) - do you think that could effect the baby's concentration or am I being silly?

And does anyone have ideas why my DD was taking so little milk at each feed? Or is it because I should have put her on my breast practically all the time so each time she could just take a little bit? When I say she took a little bit, I mean around 40g (weighed her once before and after).

I also live overseas (Greece) so although we have La Leche league here, I'm not sure we have all the other associations you mentioned Prettycandles. Also, is there anything in particular you really think made a difference when you successfully breastfed?

EffiePerine Tue 14-Aug-07 11:39:38

This site is useful

www.kellymom.com

Ds fed little and often (still does) and usually only feeds from one side at a time (still feeding at 10 months). Agree about skin to skin asap after the birth and putting stuff in your birth plan. I had:

- skin to skin and encourage baby to feed immediately after birth
- would like support to bf
- advice re latch

and tell them you don't want your LO to be given formula. You may find your hospital far more supportive this time round.

Before you go in, get the name and contact number of a bf support mw (if they have one) and the bf support lines. If you have to stay in and have problems you can then phone them from your bed

EffiePerine Tue 14-Aug-07 11:42:46

Did your LO have colic? That added to the confusion for me (though he had no probs putting on weight). MN was invaluable as I could ask stupid qs like 'Is this normal?' (and usually get the response 'Yes')

Mumie Tue 14-Aug-07 11:46:13

I don't feel the let down either and am never sure if dd is getting enough milk but she steadily gains weight so I think so long as this is happening everything is ok.

I usually feed from one side at a time too and haven't had any problems doing that.

But watching TV or talking would definately distract dd from her feed - especially if dh is around, so I usually take her to the bedroom where it's quiet to feed her. I also found that bf lying down is better for us, I had a lot of trouble bf sitting up especially at the start.

Good luck!

EffiePerine Tue 14-Aug-07 12:11:35

Re distraction, depends on the baby and the age. I couldn't watch TV or do anything else now, but was fine reading etc. when DS was a small baby. The distractable thing gets worse as they get older (luckily everything else about bfing gets easier!)

PrettyCandles Tue 14-Aug-07 17:54:35

I didn't find that anything 'external' distracted the baby from feeding in the first month or so. After that a sudden loud noise might startle them enough for them to cry briefly, but boob soon sorted that out - as it does most things at that age. From 3-4m they start getting more distractable. Until then watching TV etc was fine. If anything it helped me to relax and accept the long long feeds. None of mine took less than 45min for a feed in the early weeks.

As well as the quality of advice and support, what helped me was giving myself permission to do nothing. I didn't have to be SuperMummy, running around making supper, housework, entertaining my 2yo (and recently my 6yo and 4yo). All I had to do was rest and feed, with a little childcare thrown in.

Ds1 was at nursery for 3 mornings a week, and there's always videos/DVDs. In any case feeding was a good time to sit on the sofa, cuddle ds1 with one arm while I fed the baby on the other side and read to him. I had trained him to hold the book on a cushion on his lap while I was still pg.

Dh left a plated meal ready for our lunch (usually sandwiches and salad) and I had filled the fridge with frozen home-made meals in foil cartons, so I just had to remember to pop one or two in the oven early enough.

Not stressing about the 'quality' of each breastfeed was an important lesson. Sometimes a feed is shorter or longer, the baby seems more satisfied or less so, feeds at greater or lesser intervals, and so on.

You don't need to feed the baby every time she cries. Sometimes a cuddle is wanted, sometimes some peace and quite, sometimes a burp or fart is bothering her. The big idea is not to rush, neither in what you do for the baby nor in what you do for yourself.

rainbow83 Tue 14-Aug-07 22:09:31

hi,

I had a nightmare tale which i'll spare you because i think i've told it a zillion times on mumsnet.. about my feeding experiences with dd1/ to cut a LONG story very short I ended up with surgery to clean out my breasts of abscesses!

With dd2 i have learnt something: the most important ingredient to breastfeeding success is CONFIDENCE. Have confidence in your body's ability to proivde that milk. babies will cry if they are breastfed or bottlefed!. If you are determined to breastfeed, just keep feeding on demand and usually by around 4-5 months if not alot earlier you will be a very confident breastfeeding mum.

saltcod Tue 14-Aug-07 23:15:36

You'll be more confident & more determined to succeed second time round! I only managed 2 months of mixed feeding first time round (3 weeks early & wouldn't latch on for the first week) but am still BF 2nd time round at 7.5 months & loving it

You can do it too!!

mwro Wed 15-Aug-07 07:26:45

Wow - this is certainly making me feel more positive about it all - thank you.

I don't think DD1 had colic. At the time, I did wonder if it was colic when she was crying but looking back I am almost 100% sure it was hunger. I think one of my problems was that if she had just been on my breast for 45 mins or so, I couldn't possibly see how she could be hungry almost immediately afterwards - but I guess if she wasn't taking much milk that then would have been normal. Perhaps I should have been putting her on my breast all the time...

Re the hospital here - there was a sign on DD's crib that she was being exclusively breastfed but the nurses ignored that. Then tried to lie to me - DD had thrown up milk before my milk had even come in but they told me it was my milk from the previous evening that she had thrown up. I mean how stupid do they think I am?!

I also think Rainbow is right about confidence. I remember someone visiting me in the hospital while I was feeding and asking me "are you sure she's swallowing?" etc etc. Made me quite paranoid about things I hadn't even thought about.

And Rainbow - your story sounds horrific! Poor you

rainbow83 Wed 15-Aug-07 18:03:48

oh yep and i'm still breastfeeding now and she's 7 months, i never thought i'd say this but i love it despite having a horrendous time with my first baby who fed ALL the time and couldnt latch on for weeks. my second baby latched on smoothly and fed for never longer than 10 minutes. good luck!

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