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How to Share Feeding From Birth

(17 Posts)
Scraggyaggy Fri 21-Jan-05 08:17:42


I am hoping that someone out there will both understand my dilema and be able to solve it!

I would like to share the feeding with my dp from as soon as possible from birth. My reason for this is that I think that feeding is a bonding experience, which I think dp would really like to be part of and in addition, I would love to be able to get a stint of say 4 hours sleep.

My mw thinks this is unnecessary and that I can bf and then pass baby to dp to do all the rocking back to sleep and soothing. This seems a bit daft to me as we'll both have to get up and dp misses out on the best bit. Mybe I'm being silly?

Then, if I can do it, how long is the longest I should leave between expressing / bf so I don't dry up? If I could express, sleep for 4 hours, then get up and bf / express again then I would be a very happy girl and dp would be a very happy boy.

Can anyone help? Or explain why I shouldn't entertain this idea?

morningpaper Fri 21-Jan-05 08:28:30

This is a lovely idea and is exactly what I wanted before my daughter was born. Feeding IS a bonding experience, I agree.

It is important at this stage to focus on getting your breastfeeding relationship off to a good start. You may well be facing several weeks of incredibly difficult stress and (frankly) pain before you and baby learn to feed properly. Learning to express can also be difficult, so putting this kind of stress of yourself might be a bit much at this stage of things.

I started expressing and DH started trying to feed our daughter when she was about 6 weeks old. However, she never took to a bottle and so she was breastfed exclusively for several months.

However, lots of my friends had more success than me and their babies were fed expressed milk with bottles with no problems.

If you have a local branch of the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers that meet near you, you could go along and make friends with some of them - they welcome pregnant women and are happy to talk about breastfeeding for hours on end! They usually have breastfeeding counsellors too who might be really useful once baby has come along.

She is now 2 and a complete daddy's girl so I don't know what happened to our great intimate breastfeeding relationship!!!

Not sure whether any of this helps, but just take things step-by-step and see how it goes. Everyone seems to have very different experiences!

Good luck! xx

SoupDragon Fri 21-Jan-05 08:46:41

I'd suggest getting to grips with breastfeeding first, before trying expressing and giving ebm in a bottle. Once you've got the hang of it and your milk supply is established, then introduce the expressing/bottle. It can be tricky enough to start with without introducing the extra faff of expressing and bottles right away. My personal feeling is that you should get comfy with bf and then get down to trying expressing.

DS1 took to ebm in a bottle like a dream from around 6 weeks. DS2 refused completely. there have been no bonding problems with dh and either of them. Good luck

Scraggyaggy Fri 21-Jan-05 09:04:01

It's nice to hear that I'm not completely loopy with my ideas anyhow! I think I'll see if I can get hold of the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers as you recommend.

SoupDragon Fri 21-Jan-05 09:31:43

SoupDragon Fri 21-Jan-05 09:32:11

TikTok may be able to offer more advice - she's a bf counsellor.

Anchovy Fri 21-Jan-05 09:46:13

I really recommend this from everyone's point of view. With both of my children, DH did the late evening (c. 11pm) feed every night (EBM from a bottle, moving to formula when we were doing mixed feeding). I agree that you have to get yourself sorted and your bf established - with DS we started at about 5/6 weeks. With DD DH was literally begging me to let him start as he enjoyed it so much, so we probably started at about 3/4 weeks. The whole feed was DH's responsibility - he would prepare the bottle, get the baby up and change it, do the feed and then settle the baby back to sleep. I used to express as the same time to keep my milk up (and if we were away or DH was stuck at work I would bf at that time). It was a real godsend to me - expressing used to take 10mins (which I would do with a book and a cup of tea or glass of wine), compared to the whole feeding taking about 30-40 mins. Also DS used to be a bit of a bugger to settle, so DH would do that while I slipped off to bed. DH really loved doing this - and of course it made him brilliant at settling and soothing the baby.

DD was a bit narky about taking the bottle at first but it didn't really take too long to get her used to it. Ds took to it straight away.

tribpot Fri 21-Jan-05 09:49:57

This is a great thread for me - I've been hazily thinking about how dh and I will share the feeding (as we'll both be at home full-time) but hadn't thought of the specifics. My aim would certainly be to establish bf first, before getting to grips with expressing. Apparently the baby may well settle back to sleep more easily if put down by daddy, as he doesn't smell of milk and thus the possibility of more grub in the offing! So it may well make sense to share the workload that way at first.

I'm quite conscious of making sure dh feels involved, I have male friends who have felt rather excluded from the early days mainly because breastfeeding takes up a big chunk of time, and then the mum thinks 'well, might as well change the baby and put him down' - suddenly there's nothing left for the bloke to do except the less-fun auxiliary chores of shopping and cooking and suchlike.

Will discuss it with him at this stage when we're both feeling rested and rational!

mears Fri 21-Jan-05 09:54:13

Scraggyaggy - I can appreciate where you are coming from but I have a differing view. I do not think it is necessary for partners to feed their baby in order to bond with them. Yes it can be lovely for them to participate but not for bonding reasons. I breastfed all 4 babies and my DH only gave feeds when I was at work night shifts. He did enjoy these occasional feeds but he did not feel the need to feed our babies to bond with them. He used to sit very close to me and watch them breastfeed which he found truly amazing. He would sit for hours with a baby on his chest, tucked under his chin. He loved the cuddling far more than the feeding, so I don't agree that feeding is the best bit. I think the most important thing is to get breastfeeding off to a good start and well established before introducing bottles. Introducing them too soon can interfere with the baby's ability to breastfeed properly (it is a different type of sucking) and also the regulation of your milk supply. There is no set time for that but I would suggest that it takes at least 3 weeks, if not longer, to get feeding properly established.
Skin-to-skin contact is the in thing at the moment and is encouraged as soon as possible after birth and at any time afterwards. Babies adore it and I would suggest that your DP should join you doing that. You can feed baby then have a sleep while DP has a cuddle skin to skin. Just a thought...

NotQuiteCockney Fri 21-Jan-05 10:00:15

My DH loves having skin-to-skin with DS2. He uses the sling a lot more than I do (the extra weight doesn't seem to bother his back as much as it does mine). He sings to him and rocks him and does all that. For a long time, he could put him to sleep by letting him suck on his finger, but that seems to have ended now.

Expressing and bottles are a big faff, and bottle-feeding isn't as bonding an experience as breastfeeding anyway. Your husband will probably find his own way to bond with the new baby in the first weeks, before bottles are sensible, anyway.

tiktok Fri 21-Jan-05 10:03:52

I am with mears on this one. Feeding is a bonding experience, but it is not the only bonding experience! Fathers can show the baby from the start that love and closeness don't have to be involved with feeding. There is a wealth of experience showing that father's support for breastfeeding is very important - support in the sense of encouragement and acceptance - and this is far more important than actually doing it.

The time of exclusive breastfeeding is so short - 6 months is nothing at all in terms of 20 years dependence on parents! And during this time, there are so many important opportunities for partners to get involved with the day to day hands on care of their babies. There was research published a week or so ago which showed dads bathing their kids at least 4 times a week led to great benefits in closeness and co-operative, socialised behaviour later on.

Expressing can be a chore. Getting bf established 'direct' needs attention and time, and it has to be said, some women don't get along with expressing effectively, either. If you want to do this, then of course go ahead, but you don't need to be doing it from the start...there is really no rush!

Think again, scraggy - there is nothing 'wrong' with what you are suggesting, but it's just not necessary

katzguk Fri 21-Jan-05 10:08:51

hi Scraggy

I wanted to do as you did and share breastfeeding, but like the others on here have suggested 6 weeks is the best time to start trying. Dh and i had a great system going from about 6weeks, where i would feed DD at about 9pm and then express a bottle for her from the other side and pop it in the fridge and go to bed. DH would then feed DD at midnight adn she would then want her next feed at about 3am. So i was getting a nice 6h sleep,.

The other advantage to waiting is that you will probably be able to pick up on a slight routine, ie my DD fed every 2 hrs during the day but would go 3/4 hours between feeds at night.

Scraggyaggy Fri 21-Jan-05 10:37:45

Well, I am pleased that I can do it. I suppose as you say, it is a case of seeing how we all get on with bf first of all and move from there.

Anchovy - what sort of pump / method did you use to express? 10 mins is amazing!

collision Fri 21-Jan-05 10:43:57

I use the medela electric pump and got 10oz out in about 15 mins! It is great!

katzguk Fri 21-Jan-05 10:46:32

i used an avent manual pump and could easierly get 8 oz in 10mins.

Some breastfeeding drop in sessions offer the options of having a look at the different pumps, i found the noise the eletrci one mad every off putting.

plus i had a badly cracked nipple (due to poor placement of DD) and found with the manual pump i could control the pressure and hence the amount of pain!

Scraggyaggy Fri 21-Jan-05 10:59:35

Katz - Don't you get tired pumping for 10 mins??

katzguk Fri 21-Jan-05 11:03:19

nope not really but then my milk flow was very fast got quite a lot of milk for each pump!!

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