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Any book recommendations/advice for someone very nervous of giving bf a second attempt?

(17 Posts)
MsBrandybuck Sat 30-May-09 14:19:25

Failed miserably with DS 3 years ago. Had loads of support but a combination of factors meant I ended up sort of mixed feeding for a few weeks and then gave up in despair. Hard to even type this post without getting teary. I am 23 wks pregnant and wondering whether it would be better for me if I don't even try it this time.
Possible factors last time seem to be:
Both DS and I were possibly traumatised by very rapid birth.
I was given a shot of pethidine less than 10 mins before DS literally shot out.
Due to SPD and PUPPPS I hardly got any sleep for the last few weeks so was exhausted by the time I went into labour.
I have flat nipples and very large norks, while DS was quite small with a small mouth.
I had an infection in my milk(colostrum was brown) so was put on ABs and had to express and then bin my milk while taking them.
Never seemed to get a proper 'let down', only ever managed to express a couple of ounces.
Lastly, not sure which if any of these factors contributed to this but DS actively seemed to reject me. DS was fed in various ways (cup, syringe) to avoid a bottle to begin with but took to a bottle with gusto making me feel like sh*t not to have done that from the beginning.

BF is now tied up with PND which followed very quickly sad.

So, has anyone managed to breastfeed successfully second time round after an awful first time?

dorisbonkers Sat 30-May-09 15:26:33

Hi MsBrandybuck. I didn't read any books in time because my baby came early but I had some of the same problems you had -- section, pethidine, early tiny jaundiced baby, flat nipples and massive tits, I never really felt let down, only managed to express 10-20 mls and we're here, still breastfeeding at 7 months (with 6-1/2 months exclusive breastfeeding). I struggled a bit mentally and was sleep deprived until we co-slept but I love it and will continue until she self-weans.

I had to resist some pressure (not from HCPs in Singapore to be fair) to top-up (although the paed said I could if I wanted to but I never did) because my baby only weighed 5lbs but after losing 15 percent in the first week she quickly gained, until tailing off the strong weight gain at around 4 months. She's still a little un, but super happy and developing a treat and now attacking BLW with gusto.

Friends really rate The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (have a read through the recent AK thread and you may want to avoid the Clare Byam Cook one....) but I used and forums where there were BFCs like this one.

Very good luck. Half the battle is having the confidence you can do it, knowing where to go when you run into problems (which you may not -- I had no physical issues at all) and realising that the near-constant feeding and suckling you'll be doing in the early weeks won't last. Be prepared, get ready meals in or get your partner to do ALL the cooking and basically stack the bedroom with books and DVDs and have a nice bath or shower when your baby is asleep (congratulations, btw). Have to hand the NCT breastfeeding and La Leche League numbers. Understanding the basics of how milk is made and how supply and demand works and expressing and feeding on cue will help if you get dodgy advice from friends or family (and sadly, some HCPs)

I hired a private lactation consultant about 8 weeks in to reassure me because in Singapore there is no LLL and HV system. She said I was doing absolutely great but that reassurance was well worth the money.

You'll be fine. Determination is much of the battle and riding through the tough first few weeks (which can also be enjoyable, although quite hard sometimes)

mears Sun 31-May-09 10:43:36

Everything seems to have been stacked agaionst you last time. Your comment about infection in the colostrum made me look for a link for you to 'rusty pipe syndrome'. It sounds to me that there was no need for you to express and discard milk while on antibiotics. No wonder you had a problem getting breastfeeding successfully established. It is inlikley that this will happen again.

rusty pipe syndrome

AcademicMum Mon 01-Jun-09 00:17:17

I also ended up bottle-feeding ds1 after expecting to BF. DS2 is still partially BF at 12 months. I think somethings that made a difference:
1. confidence in handling a newborn (too many new things all going on at once the first time). In that respect the second is easier
2. no expectations with feeding. I wanted to BF ds2 but was relaxed about not expecting everything to go OK. If it worked, great, but I didn't put a big guilt-trip on myself that I had somehow "failed" if it didn't work out
3. I knew what to expect with the birth (2 c-sections), but the first was very traumatic because I wasn't expecting to be so dependent on others etc. The second time I felt more in control and knew what to expect, had prepared the house appropriately (making sure I didn't have to go up/down stairs at all for the first week home) and this helped me to relax.

Just take each day as it comes and try not to get stressed about it. If it works out then great, if not then just remember that there is more to being a wonderful mum than how you feed your baby, so whatever happens make sure you enjoy your lo.

ipanemagirl Mon 01-Jun-09 00:37:47

MsBrandybuck, I feel so much for you when I read your post. You had a massive number of things against you last time! It's amazing you're even thinking of trying, it sounds like you were understandably devastated.

I wish you all the luck in the world if you decide you can face trying again.

But if for whatever reason it doesn't happen for you despite all efforts, I wish you to walk away from bf without too much regret, you can only try and I've met many women who have not found that they could bf for similar reasons.

The thing your baby is obviously going to have is a massively loving mother and imo that is 1000 times more important than anything else. I know countless stupendously healthy and well adjusted children who were 100 % bottle fed.

I think the priority is that we try our best and than move forward not looking back just doing our best. And our babies first need us to love them, everything else comes second. I wish you all the best.

elkiedee Mon 01-Jun-09 10:34:07

I failed to bf ds1 and was very upset about it for a long time.

I also struggled with ds2 initally, following an emergency caesarian and finally established breastfeeding with a lot of one to one help from a hospital bf counsellor, however, the hospital also made me give him top ups as he wasn't regaining the weight he'd lost. But I gradually phased out the top ups between 2 and 5-6 weeks, and he's been exclusively bf since (will be 17 weeks tonight).

Are there any bf support groups near you, or breastfeeding counsellors linked to voluntary organisations like the NCT, Breastfeeding Network and others?

I got the help I needed initially because I just kept asking for support with breastfeeding in hospital, and made it very clear that I didn't want to use formula again, even so it wasn't easy. I knew this time that some of the advice I was getting from health care professionals wasn't based on a very good understanding of breastfeeding. I also relied on paid childcare for ds1 who was 21 months (I'd been back at work full time in between and he has a CM) and a lot of practical and more importantly, emotional, help from my dp, mum and dad. And mumsnet, information I'd read here which helped me make sense of past experience and find my way through misinformation, and again, some emotional support.

There are good and bad books on breastfeeding but I would say I found real people and online support more helpful finding my way through.

Also, once I had time not in hospital or attending medical appointments, I started to take ds2 out to baby groups where I can just sit and chat or listen to others chat about something else while I'm feeding.

elkiedee Mon 01-Jun-09 10:36:51

I also wanted to say I know lots of people who succeeded second time after not being able to first time, and some who managed it third time round (my mum, my stepbrother's wife). I think confidence that you at least know about how to do the other things makes a real difference.

tiktok Mon 01-Jun-09 11:00:33

MsB, some great suggestions on here already.

It might help to talk through what happened with a knowledgable person, good at listening and at understanding the technical aspects of bf. Try a breastfeeding counsellor, all will e trained in this.

I second mears - from what you say, there was no need to express and dump the milk. I have never heard of 'infection in the colostrum' and yes, I agree, it sounds like rusty pipe which is harmless and self limiting, and not an infection. It is not treated with ABs and even if it was, no need for the baby not to bf.

Your baby's apparent rejection (which must have been very upsetting for you) was not of you but rejection of being messed about with - cup and syringe feeding can serve a purpose but they are not satisfyingling sucky ways to feed Your baby took to the bottle more happily because it was dependable and he could suck it....nothing to do with his feelings about you.

If you have a midwife you like and trust, perhaps you can also talk with her and get something in your notes about your concerns for bf this time round.

Hope everything goes smoothly. Happy bf after a bad experience can be really healing and I hope this happens for you.

mum2JRC Mon 01-Jun-09 14:09:06

I only managed to breastfeed my 1st son for 8 weeks due to latching difficulties. It was not helped by him needing a hernia op at 3 weeks old and probably the stress that went with it all. I then expressed for a couple of months but felt I would not manage this 2nd time round so I really wanted BF to work this time.

Both my boys were born by emergency c-section.

So this time I did loads of reading etc. before the birth so I felt prepared before my son arrived.

Someone posted about the book by the La Leche league (The womanly art of breastfeeding) It is a really good book and covers from birth until you wean and covers problems, being at work etc.

The KellyMom website has lots of vuluable info too.

I also watched some videos on youtube about latching and some of the ones by ?Jack Newman were quite good.

There is quite a few breastfeeding cafes/support groups now so it might be worth googling one that is close to you so that you know where you can go once your baby arrives.

My second son is now 3 months old and took to breastfeeding quite easily. I think it defintely helped with the knowledge I gained in pregnancy and like someone else said I think a happy BF experience defintely starts to heal a bad experience form last time.

I wish you all the best with it allsmile

Ineedmorechocolatenow Mon 01-Jun-09 14:21:40

I'm curious to read this thread as I also had a very traumatic time with it first time round (like you, I find it really hard not to cry when I'm forced to remember the experience). I'm due on Friday and I am so desperate to BF this time. I'll look out for that book mum2JRC, thanks.

I'm also a bit daunted as DS is 2.5 and a bit of a handful. Also, I can't devote all that time doing skin-to-skin or sleeping when the baby sleeps as I'll have both on my own a lot of the time. If the baby is feeding so often and at night, not sure how I'll cope with no sleep and a grumpy, hot, bored toddler and a newborn.

I've made up a bag of special toys and books for when I feed the newborn and have lots of Cbeebies programmes on tape that he loves. Also have snacks and juices at the ready....

Any other tips?? DH only gets 5 days paid leave, and we can't afford for him to take any more as I'm a SAHM.

nosleeptilbedtime Mon 01-Jun-09 21:26:12

MsBrandybuck, I failed to breastfeed with DD, it was awful and upset me for many months after, I like you had a lot of problems including mastitus and breast abcess etc.
Have to tell you it has been SO MUCH easier second time around and I have successfully fed my DS for 7 weeks now... and really enjoyed every minute! I feel extremely happy and proud of this after my awful expiriences with
Please do try breastfeeding again as it is really so worth it, hopefully you will find it much easier this time.
good luck!

AcademicMum Mon 01-Jun-09 22:44:01

Ineedmorechocolatenow, I know exactly this feeling. DS1 was 3 when DS2 was born and a real handful (as typical of an energetic 3-year old). DS1 also got very jealous of feeding ds2 and would start playing up whenever I started feeding. The main thing is patience (expect a bit of jealousy, it will settle down after a while), but make sure that whilst the baby is sleeping you use the time to have lots of cuddly time with your ds, so he knows he is still special.

It is difficult to not be able to catch up on sleep whilst the new baby sleeps, but try to maximise opportunities for this at the weekend/when your dh is home. For example after the baby has had his/her morning feed at the weekend then get your dh to take the baby and your ds to the park for an hour or so whilst you have a lie in. Something else we did was to put both ds's into the same bath in the evening (which my dp would give them) which gave me half an hour or so of precious time in the evening to just sit and relax on my own.

Also try to take your ds to lots of groups where you can sit in the background and feed (cookery, music and movement etc) whilst he is busy so that he is so busy he doesn't notice that your attention is not completely on him. Walks in the park are also easy whilst bf as you have food on tap and can feed whilst your ds is busy running/playing/getting rid of excess energy.

Finally, regardless of feeding method, it is a difficult time for the older sibling. They are used to having your whole attention and don't realise the amount of attention a new baby needs. This will also happen with FF though too.

mum2JRC Tue 02-Jun-09 13:44:08

Inneedmorechocolatenow I would completely agree with AcademicMum on entertaining a little one

My 1st son was only 2 years 1 month when DS2 arrived. DS2 is now 3 months.

Initially it is challenging entertaining a toddler whilst getting to grips with feeding. I think my son has become a CBeebies addict but luckily he's outside a lot now the weather has warmed up.

Think of also some games you can play whilst sitting down feeding.
Puzzles, drawing, reading and role play games are all quite good when you've only got one hand free.

The hardest thing I've found with a toddler and a baby is bath and bedtime. It's getting easier now but it has felt pretty hectic!

Ineedmorechocolatenow Tue 02-Jun-09 20:40:14

Thanks so much mum2JRC and Academicmum. I'm being induced at 8am tomorrow, so I'll be putting all those ideas into practice very soon. I'm so determined to BF this time that I feel stronger about the whole experience (IYKWIM). I'll let you know how it goes x

MsBrandybuck Wed 03-Jun-09 03:45:18

Thank you all so much for your replies. Sorry to see so many others with problems too. Will have another read and post a proper reply in the morning when hopefully I will have managed to get some sleep. The SPD is worse this time and I'm only 24 weeks now and struggling a bit sad

Ineedmorechocolatenow Wed 03-Jun-09 04:30:11

MsBrandybuck - Hope you got some sleep. I'm not asleep, as you can see... a fellow sufferer of SPD... hence being induced in 4 hours time (!) at 39 + 5.

Hope your SPD calms down a bit. Mine kicked in at 10 weeks this time round (I was on crutches and bed-bound at 32 weeks last pg). My physio is excellent and has kept it mostly at bay this pregnancy.

Good luck with the feeding and the rest of your pregnancy xx

newtotheplanet Wed 03-Jun-09 05:42:56

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