Things you wish you'd known before starting to bf(60 Posts)
No doubt this has been done before, but I am keen to get off to a good start with sprog #1.
I was wondering whether some of the mavens here had any tips - in particular I wanted to know what are the major things to look out for/do/avoid that scupper bfing for so many women.
To not do anything else for a couple of weeks, and even after that to stay in pj's all day and generally be a slob for a few weeks. Forget the housework, get nice ready meals, cbeebies for older siblings .
That not all babies 'demand' to be fed...and that you sometimes have to wake your baby up to get them to feed, or you can get into a serious downward spiral.
That feeding at night is often necessary to get your milk supply to establish.
That it's NOT normal for a newborn to go for days without pooing if bf - that's only true for a much older child.
To get a lactation consultant to look at your latch - it's amazing the difference a tiny adjustment can make and often midwives just don't know how to do that.
No doubt I will think of many more later.
I wish I'd known that my PCOS had made sure I didn't have enough milk glands and my poor little boy wasn't getting nearly enough milk. I was so stubborn, didn't want to use formula at all.
People will tell you "you always have enough milk" and "it's supply on demand" - not always true! I fed constantly, he was never off me and he still lost a lot of weight.
I wish I hadn't set my heart on breastfeeding - I was devastated, still am and he's 6 months old now.
Next time I will know not to set my heart on exclusive breast feeding.
Also, a tip for feeding in public. Buy lots of vests. If you wear a top over the vest you can pull the top up and the vest down so you're not exposing too much flesh (a bit cold in the autumn/winter)
That it really is pretty unlikely your body will not be able to make enough milk for your baby. Oh the hours I spent endlessly worrying that DD1 was not getting enough milk, writing down what time she fed and how long she fed for etc!
Be prepared to feed pretty much constantly for the first few weeks. It's normal.
Ignore the stuff about foremilk and hindmilk - it overcomplicates things and stresses you out.
Don't 'top-up' with formula unless you want to see a corresponding dip in your own milk production - the more you feed the more you make.
ib is right about the latch.
That it makes you hungry so you are either feeding or hanging from teh fridge door.
That you should always have a good supply of muslins.
That it is the most lovely feeling in the world when your baby does that half sleepy face and makes a contended little sigh when you are feeding them <soppy I know>.
x posts with Fruitbatlings!
Obviously if your baby is losing a lot of weight over a prolonged period of time, and you have a medical condition, then that's cause for concern, but frequent feeding and breasts feeling soft and 'empty' at times are not causes for concern. DD1 was putting on weight well, but still I worried (unneccessarily) because I couldn't SEE the milk IYSWIM.
That you will probably be doing it for up to 8 hours out of 24 for the first few weeks - your baby is normal not a feeding monster! The most useful thing I read on MN was someone saying it took 8 weeks till they really found it comfortable. DD had a mild tongue tie, and it bloody hurt for weeks, especially at night for some reason. I thought it would get better within a week or two, but in the end it wasn't till she was around 8 weeks that it stopped hurting altogether. Midwives kept saying 'Oh, it's so lovely for mum and baby, isn't it' and I kept thinking I was missing something vital. But I kept that 8 weeks in mind ,and it did become lovely in the end .
Get some Lansinoh cream - it's the only thing that works for sore nips (and chapped hands!).
That it's bloody hard work to begin with - don't be disheartened, just keep at it.
Also that midwives and other hospital staff can be really unsupportive of bf even in a hospital that supposedly promotes it, and that they often don't know what they're talking about. I found the articles here really useful and wish I'd read them before I went into hospital.
that everyone has an opinion on bfing/baby's weight/your lack of sleep.
that MN (and tiktok) is the best place to come and ask advice.(i really mean that, all other advice tends to be inaccurate, inc HCP)
that sometimes you wont want to feed, its inexplicable. it has happened me a few times but you know its what your baby needs so you do it and then your fine again.
that bfing is your baby's right and not to feel embarrased doing it in public.
wil probably think of more.
agree with the other posters re almost constant feeding for first month or so (with my ds it didn't calm down until he was about 10wks) that no matter what you do in the first few weeks/month you will smell of stale milk, that for as long as you continue bfing (6mths, 1 yr etc) you will be restricted as to what tops you can sensibly wear, that even if you're worried/nervous about bfing in public beforehand before long you won't care where you feed your dc as when s/he wants milk they want it then & there! that it's amazing watching your baby grow and develop and know that it's your bm that is doing it! Oh and yes always feeling hungry/thirsty! (a good excuse to eat chocolate ) and probably lots of other things I can't remember
would agree about not trying to do anything else. That being in your pjs for weeks is not evidence that you are Not Coping, it is evidence you are Focusing On What's Important. Remember when your granny had her babies, women were kept in bed for 2 weeks and no messing.
would say, if your baby has jaundice, even quite mild jaundice, it can be difficult - I'd say get specialist advice (maybe on here) asap and take it seriously - they are very sleepy when jaundiced and may not feed enough, which doesn't help your supply come in.
a picture/film of feeding can help a lot - unfortunately i didn't see a picture that helped me until ds was 11 weeks old but once I'd seen it I knew exactly what I was aiming for. I can't find the one I saw and don't know which others are good - maybe someone on here can recommend youtube films etc?
That many, many babies want to feed every couple of hours (at least during the day) for quite a few months. I remember believing that, after the first couple of weeks, three hourly was normal. Based on the small sample of my friends, much shorter periods are equally normal for a demand fed, breastfed baby.
That an insulated mug is great for your mental health. Make a cup of tea and you can come back to it after the inevitable feeding interuption and still have hot tea. Bit shallow that one .
That Lanisoh is the nipple cream to buy. It's more expensive than the others for sure, but soooo much better IME.
Ask the Dr or midwife to check your baby for tongue tie before ou leave hospital. It's fairly common and can make BFing difficult - but is easily sorted!
Get numbers for BF support groups and see if there are any support groups like La Leche League that you can go along toif you are having any probs or questions.
Don't be surprised if baby wont take breast and bottle. My DS never accepted a bottle which sressed me out, once I'd accepted it we were all a lot happier!
Prepare for everyone to have a view on BF and prepare for hvs to possibly be unsupportive and ill informed.
good luck and enjoy your baby!
To just not care about being shy. Was only 20 when I had dd, fed her myself for 7 weeks but the thought of wapping the twins out in public had me blushing so hard I never left the house for fear of needing to feed her whilst out lol.
I wish someone had just drummed into me 'bugger what anyone else thinks, just get on with it.'
Have food in house. Food you can eat w/ one hand, i.e. bananas etc. Feed as much as you feel is right. Don't listen to anyone who says you are feeding too much. Don't let dc sleep through feeds. Don't express too early. After a night time feed, wake DP up to settle baby while you catch up on sleep. Don't have in-laws, parents stay over for at last the first two months.
Oh and when you get it right, it's lovely
That it can hurt, quite a lot, for the first six weeks or so. But after that, so long as the latch is OK and there are no other problems (such as tongue tie), it can be a real joy.
That you have to learn how do it.
That it really does hurt at the beginning.
That you will probably need to get your baps out in front of your dad/fil/other random visitors..
what people have said, the constant feeding and accepting that it's a fulltime job
and what ib said, that you can't always trust every baby to demand to be fed
and, in my case, that my dd had a disability which meant she couldn't feed effectively
I wish someone had told me about over supply and how to spot and deal with it.
unrealistic expectations of a newborn is the single biggest mistake imo.
These are derived from our culture, our feeding history and market forces NOT the inaquecy of the mother, however.
That it does get easier (and it is hard to start with). That most questions/problems you come up against someone will have posted about before on mumsnet - there is loads of useful info on here.
Avoid Antibiotics during pregnancy and post-birth at all costs (not always possible, I know!) as the nasty little blighters can, and do wipe out your 'good bacteria' so you will spend a whole year suffering form recurrent nipple thrush that makes feeding incredibly painful and never quite fully dissappears.
I give myself a well-earned pat on my back for perserverence though, and between bouts it is the most rewarding, satisfying, bonding experience I have ever had.
(I took an anti-biotic just before baby was due due to a suspected kidney infection, then anti-biotics post casearean and some more after that for a womb infection.)
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