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How to have a better chance this time?

(15 Posts)
MrsMattie Fri 24-Oct-08 11:40:49

Hi there. I'm 35 wks pregnant with my 2nd baby and after some advice.

Rewind to 3.8 yrs ago when my son was born. Had assumed I would BF, as all the women in my children have done. Went to to BF workshop at my local hospital, read up on it all etc etc. Ended up with c-section and feeling pretty ill and spaced out after the birth. in teh recovery room I had skin-to-skin with my son for about an hour but he didn't latch on. Not much help from MW. Eventually they told me his blood sugar was low and he 'needed' formula. Don;t know how true that was. Over the next 3 days I BF'd on demand, but he never got a good latch. Milk came in big time and got very badly engorged breasts. Hospital advised using a breastpump. This just increased the supply and I got mastitis. I saw a BF counsellor who was nice, but to be honest, it didn't help that much. Struggled massively once back at home. Was Bf-ing on demand, but DS still wasn't latching on properly, despite advice from several MWs / HVS and a visiting BF counsellor. I tried feeding him by tube and cup so as not to get him used to bottles and 'sabotage' BF-ing. He rejected all of it. I started pumping/expressing when he was about 3 weeks old in between feeds, as I found BF-ing so painful. Eventually I got very bad 2nd bout of mastitis for which I was hospitalised and when DS was 6 wks old I gave up BF-ing altogether. I suffered from very bad PND after this, partly triggered (I believe) by the stress of the whole BF-ing debacle.

I would dearly love to BF this baby for just a wee bit longer and maybe in more of a relaxed fashion.

How do I go about avoiding the nightmare of last time?

MrsMattie Fri 24-Oct-08 11:41:26

all women in my family - sorry, I'm away with the fairies today!

tiktok Fri 24-Oct-08 12:20:57

MrsM - you were badly and disgracefully let down last time You can tell your carers this time round how inept the support was, and how you will prob need a lot of confidence boosting.

You already know a lot about what will help. Skin to skin with no limits (an hour may well not be anything like enough time to get bf going, especially after a tiring birth); if blood sugar is low, and baby won't feed effectively, then expressed (by hand) breastmilk is far better than formula. But the main thing is patience and staying close to your baby

moomaa Fri 24-Oct-08 21:17:42

2nd baby will be different and might just 'take to it' more. I had a bad time first time round (not as bad as you though) and have had a difficult, but succesful attempt second time. I think this baby was more chilled and more willing to try. I think I was more chilled and less naive. Both helped. I also talked to people to find which breast councillors were good and got in touch with them straight away afterwards. I would recommend finding one you click with before the birth if possible. Fingers crossed for you.

MrsMattie Sun 26-Oct-08 11:27:04

Thanks for your replies.

(TMI alert!) I am leaking colostrum like nobody's business at the moment, so they better not dare tell me I am 'not producing enough milk' like they did last time (grrr).

re: finding a good BF counsellor. My local NCT are completely overstretched (2 of them to cover two whole London boroughs!), so was thinking about contacting La Leche. Any opinions on them? The hospital BF counsellors weren't that great last time, unfortunately.

moomaa Sun 26-Oct-08 20:55:47

Never encountered La Leche. The counsellors I used were from Breast Feeding Network and they were wonderful.

The hospital expert I had first time was the worst for me. I do wonder if some of it is how much they suit you though IYSWIM.

gybegirl Sun 26-Oct-08 21:15:02

I don't have NCT available (live abroad), but have LL and they are just brilliant. They have been so helpful to me and my DD2 that I'm now a member. They'd welcome you along to your local group when you're pregnant - that way you have a friendly face should you need help you after you've given birth.
I also got a copy of Jack Newman's DVD from here www.babymilkaction.org/shop/videos.html. I'd looked at his website before which was great in helping me get my latch right.
Good luck with everything smile

Cathpot Sun 26-Oct-08 21:18:05

It is so hard when it doesnt go well, I have every sympathy. I struggle to bf dd1, and I didnt have half the problems you were having to deal with. dd2 was a different ball game from the start, it was so easy in comparison and went really well. This baby may surprise you. The skin to skin thing is very important, having help around so you can concentrate on bf at the start and good advice (come back on here!)- your family bf, is anyone near you who could help?. I watched video on the internet over and over of latching on second time to try and get a better idea of what I was doing. Also if you get even a hint of mastisis get in a really hot bath and express the hell out of the sore boob- you may get away with it. I suspect you will find it goes much more smoothly this time- good luck

VeniVidiVickiQV Sun 26-Oct-08 21:23:14

Mrs M, you can collect the colostrum you are producing now, freeze it, and use it to 'top up' your baby if the hospital insists on top ups a second time around. Hunker knows a bit more about this I think.

Have a look at her website www.howbreastfeedingworks.com

Lots of skin to skin contact is great as you know.

Beachcomber Sun 26-Oct-08 21:45:29

Kellymom is great for good advice too.

www.kellymom.com/

I found La Leche great when I was having trouble feeding DD1.

I found feeding DD2 much easier as I was more confident and was able to trust my instincts.

Also post on here for support and advice and you will get a limitless amount of both.

I remember saying over and over to myself with both DDs "where there is a will there is a way". You definitely sound like you have the will!

Good luck and let us know how things go.

Beachcomber Sun 26-Oct-08 21:53:16

I had mastisis three times with DD2 and agree with Cathpot about expressing. I found I really needed to empty the sore breast as much as possible with a hand pump (have no experience of electric pumps).

Also although it is blardy painful I found feeding my baby on the sore side helped and then I would express afterwards.

it is hard to describe but to me it felt like I had to draw the soreness out my emptying the breast as much as possible.

Anyway, hopefully you won't have to deal with this this time round.

AuntyViCtimoftheZombies Sun 26-Oct-08 23:41:22

Some good advice here already but would just add that if you find you do have to express, I found that the amount you express is critical and that depends on what you are expressing for. If you are expressing purely to reduce engorgement (but baby is feeding normally), I found it important only to express the minimum you can get away with to reduce the discomfort, otherwise as you found it could increase your supply even more and make things worse. On the other hand if you are expressing instead of a feed (for instance because baby is refusing to feed or was given EBM or formula instead), then of course you will need to express more so that your supply is maintained - ideally as close as you can estimate to the amount baby would have drunk otherwise. And as Cathpot said, if you find you are getting blocked ducts or startings of mastitis, you just have to do what you can (feeding or expressing like mad) to empty that breast until it gets better!
Also, if you keep a check on your breasts regularly, you may be able to spot warning signs before ending up with full-blown mastitis - e.g. if part of your breast suddenly goes very hard and swollen, even if it isn't painful, then you probably also need to act on that before it gets worse. If the lumps aren't going away when you feed/express, then heat (hot bath as Cathpot said or e.g. wheat packs) and massaging that area can also help to clear the blockage.
On the positive side I have read that it does usually go better 2nd time as your body has "learnt" what it needs to do! Hope you will find things all go better this time.

MrsMattie Mon 27-Oct-08 09:21:30

Thank you so much everyone. Wow. I wasn't expecting so many replies and all so helpful. Thank you.

BloodshotEyeballsintheScarySky Mon 27-Oct-08 09:30:16

I was in a similar situation (dd with low blood sugar, 'needed' ff etc) although I never managed to even express, but I was shocked at the reaction of everyone in the medical profession. Not one of them thought it was any big deal that I couldn't bf although I desperately wanted to. Without exception they advised me not to bother and to ff if I hadn't mastered it within the first few hours hmm.

I did attend a local bf clinic when DD was four days old and they were very nice but not massively useful and I failed miserably at it. I found the biggest problem was that, when she was 4 days old I was pretty much told that was that and I'd missed the boat (not on here I hasten to add). Looking back now, that was bollocks.

Next time I intend to pester the LLL, BFN and anyone else before the birth so they are totally on my side and ready for me if I come calling.

Good luck. I really hope it works out this time. smile

MrsMattie Mon 27-Oct-08 09:39:50

Thanks Bloodshot...

That's awful that they said it was 'too late' at 4 days in angry.

My biggest shock was that the hospital i was at had made such a big deal about being pro-BF - running workshops, BF posters everywhere etc - but when it came to the crunch, the MWs I encountered seemed pretty ill informed about BF and weren't supportive at all. It was quite crushing, really.

Still, I'm a hardened second timer this time around - they won't be able to fob me off so easily again wink

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