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How can I prepare myself for BF? - pregnant with DC3 - failed with DC 1 & 2

(19 Posts)
whatsthetimemrwolf Tue 20-Oct-09 22:29:27

As the title says I am 23 weeks pregnant with DC3 and would love to be able to BF successfully.

I attempted BF with DC 1 & 2 and failed miserably. With DC1 I got cracked bleeding nipples within a few days. I then got very ill with mastitus, continued expressing and trying to BF but was basically a wreck (in tears every time baby neeed a feed). With DC 2 it was very similar. I was desperate to BF so was going to the BF clinic every day to get help. I felt as if I was getting different advice each time on how to position baby. Both times I BF for about a week and then expressed for another week giving to baby by bottle as I was in too much pain to feed them.

I found the whole experience of tryng to BF one of the most stressful periods of my life (and thats saying something!). It almost put me off having a third DC. I felt such a failure and it really did ruin those first few weeks with DC as I was so stressed about feeding.

Are some women just not able to BF? I have very large droopy breasts(36FF) and my niples are quite flat. Does anyone have any advice/can point me in the right direction what I should do? Can I do anything to prepare my breast for BF? BTW I had c-sections with both and continuously asked for help BF'ing with both DC whilst in hospital but still got cracked bleeding nipples very quickly.

Thanks in advance.

whomovedmychocolate Tue 20-Oct-09 22:46:49

Do you know anyone who breastfeeds who would agree to be your buddy and hang out with you when you are first starting so you have support there all the time?

Big droopy boobs has not stopped me feeding two DCs - I think you've just not had enough help. If you want to try again - good for you. Cracked nipples shouldn't happen if you have the right attachment. (as I'm sure you've been told before and probably hate me for repeating - sorry).

Partly though it's about confidence that you can do it. I was terrified when I started off, I wasn't very good at feeding DD, it hurt and I got sore nipples and was sobbing at each feed because I just dreaded that moment when it felt like she was hanging off a very sore part of me.

But I was lucky, I got some advice on here and persevered and it worked out. But I would really recommend your canvass your friends and see if there is anyone willing to be your breastfeeding buddy.

whatsthetimemrwolf Tue 20-Oct-09 22:47:07

I forgot to say with DC2 the BF clinic said DS was possibly tongue tied but I was given no advice as to what I should do about this or how to confirm it.

whomovedmychocolate Tue 20-Oct-09 22:49:34

Sounds like you had a lot of things stacked up against you. I'm not surprised you feel so shitty about it.

Look you have a chance her to start again. Consider a doula if you can afford it, or ask for help, a lot of help. Ask everyone, don't be proud. Someone will have that nugget of information which will help you.

whatsthetimemrwolf Tue 20-Oct-09 22:51:40

Thanks whomovedmychoc - I don't know anyone well enough to ask to be a BF buddy - a great idea though. I was told many, many times that my incorrect positioning caused cracked nipples and esp with DC2 I asked for help with nearly every feed at hospital (3 night stay) and they still cracked!

luciemule Tue 20-Oct-09 22:52:38

Hello - firstly you're not a failure; you breast fed your first two children for as long as you could and that's great.

With regard to your flat nipples, if they are truly inverted or flat, when you squeeze about an inch and a half from the areola, they would not protrude. If they do not protude, this means they are not truly flat. If you find they are flat, this still doesn't mean you won't be able to effectively bf because the baby breast feeds and doesn't nipple feeed, however it might be a contributing factor.
Did you try breast shields when BF the first 2? If not, this might help. I know of a couple of mums with inverted nipples who fed continuously with shields. This might be another reason as to why you had sore nipples; attachment might not have been quite right.
It's important that you have lots of support, especially since having feeding probs with the first 2 so ask your midwife/health visitor to arrange some bf support for you during pregnancy or try to see a lactation consultant in your area if possible. One to one support during pregnancy can help to put your mind at rest before the baby comes.
Once you have the baby and if you have problmes, try to get help straight away by calling a bf supporter who can come to your home and give one to one support.

Also have a look at different positions; cradle, cross cradle hold, rugby ball (good for women with larger breasts) and lying down. Try to find a position where you feel comfortable and if it doesn't work out, don't think you've failed. You have 2 other children who are perfectly healthy and you have given the best start possible.smile

whatsthetimemrwolf Tue 20-Oct-09 22:52:45

Any ideas how much a doula costs?

whomovedmychocolate Tue 20-Oct-09 22:55:37

If she's a trainee doula it's much cheaper. Hang on a minute....

Trainee doulas are £200.

luciemule Tue 20-Oct-09 22:55:57

Tongue tie can be easily snipped but some are reluctant to do it now. If you find out your next baby is tongue tied, ask if your local hospital snips them as it might make all the difference. Tongue tie can be genetic and can make bf hard without good support so double check at birth if possible. Often, it's harder to see a posterior tongue tie so ask a paediatrician at the hospital if you can before you go home.

whydobirdssuddenlyappear Tue 20-Oct-09 22:56:12

You poor thing. You don't need to do anything to prepare your breasts for breastfeeding. If you're unhappy with the advice you're getting, and it's not seeming to help you, see if you can go to a lactation consultant, even for one visit.
For what it's worth, I had awfully painful, cracked, bleeding nipples with my son, to the point where I was in tears when I had to feed him, and was on the point of giving up, and his positioning and latch was fine. My midwife at the time told me to persevere for a week more (he was 3wks old at the time), and that it would clear up within that time. It cleared up pretty soon after that, and life got a lot easier. Lansinoh is very helpful for sore nipples, and you can also get wool and bourette silk breastpads which are supposed to aid healing.
By the way, a friend of mine with flat nipples successfully used the 'scissor hold' (breast held behind areola between index and middle fingers) to make it easier for her baby to latch. Another friend with erm ample assets has to really hoik them up to allow her baby to latch on properly. Flat nipples and large breasts shouldn't be barriers to successful breastfeeding.
Please try not to worry. If you breastfeed your baby, great, but if you don't please don't see it as a failure. You'll still love them, and that's all that matters.
Best of luck.

luciemule Tue 20-Oct-09 22:57:25

I'm a doula.........................I charge £15 an hour (that's not an advert!!!) but it varies. I do a pregnancy bf session which many mums think is useful. See if there's a good doula in your area who has lots of bf experience.

luciemule Tue 20-Oct-09 23:00:01

I also trained as a bf peer supporter and we had quite a few mums come into the support clinic who had had problems feeding the first/second child and this had made them fearful of bf again.

luciemule Tue 20-Oct-09 23:02:05

that £200 for a traineee doula is for a birth doula - not postnatal. You could have a postnatal doula for just bf support and pay her by the hour/session if you didn't want a birth doula.

whatsthetimemrwolf Tue 20-Oct-09 23:03:05

Sorry keep crossing posts here!

Hi luciemule. I don't think I actually have flat nipples then! I did use breast shields both times after nipples became so cracked as I was in so much pain I could't put DC to the breast. I think its a very good idea to see if I can get help whilst pregnant, will speak to MW and look at those positions. Its been over 4 years since I had DC2 and this still feels very raw! Thank you for yur comments about not failing. I know thats right but it didn't feel like it and even now I feel very emotional just thinking about it!

luciemule Tue 20-Oct-09 23:06:05

It's highly unlikely that you live near me but which county do you live in?

whydobirdssuddenlyappear Tue 20-Oct-09 23:07:47

I really feel for you. My closest friend was in a very similar situation, and it makes me so sad that she's still so upset about it so far down the line
Best of luck getting the support you need.

luciemule Tue 20-Oct-09 23:07:49

So sorry - just re-read my flat nipple bit and I wrote it the worng way around. I meant....... If they do NOT protrude, they ARE truly flat!!! Sorry.

whatsthetimemrwolf Tue 20-Oct-09 23:26:58

Luciemule - I understood what you meant! I'm in Berkshire. Money is very tight at the moment so unfortunately I don't think we could afford a doula sad although I'm sure you/they are worth every penny! I really want to be prepared as possible with all the info/support I can get so thank you!

whydobirdssuddenlyap... - used lansinoh but not wool/silk breast pads...off to google them now before i go to bed! Well done to you for perservering. I also was in tears at every feed and can't imagine how you could do that for 3 weeks. I think DP is almost dreading me attempting BF again as it had such an impact on us all. Will ask MW about lactation courses thanks.

luciemule Wed 21-Oct-09 09:34:25

I'm not in Berkshire unfortunately.
I'm sure the MW can sort you out with extra support from a LC. xx

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