breastfeeding tips(19 Posts)
I'm now 28 weeks pregnant with my 2nd & I am determined to breastfeed, so i was wondering if you could all post some advice/tips/warnings for me? I'm trying to get myself ready but have no idea what to expect!
Kellymom is a brilliant web site, and has evidence-based advice on everything.
This might come in handy when you're worrying at 4AM: www.emmapickettbreastfeedingsupport.com/twitter-and-blog/low-milk-supply-101
And join a support group on Facebook, lots of posts to show you the type of issues people run into.
It's really really hard (at first/at times) but it's really really worth it . Read up on any challenges ahead of time.
Can you find someone who is also determined to breastfeed. It's easier having a friend to bounce experiences off of.
Find out where/numbers for any local breastfeeding support- la leche/ NHS support/ breastfeeding drop ins or cafes.
The one thing I found no one told me was that the second night, they fed all night. However my milk came in very soon after that! ( I did have big babies with big appetites, who got very cross there was no 'real' milk yet!!)
It took me nearly two weeks of painful incorrect latches before we finally cracked it and went on to breastfeed for just over a year.
My advice would be to ask for all the help you can get. My midwife gave my information to a lactation specialist and she came out twice. She would also ring periodically to check things were going OK. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Don't stress if they don't feed to much for the first 24 or even 48 hours. Your colostrum at the start is so rich that they only need a little bit for their teeny tummies. On day 3 or 4 when your milk comes in its a different story...! :-)
There will also be times when they just feed and feed, particularly in the evenings when supply can be lower and when they have a growth spurt (week 6 is a big one). A lot of people think that they aren't producing enough milk and so start topping up with formula. But actually your baby is feeding loads precisely to increase your supply - so just veg on the sofa with a good book and don't try and achieve anything (leave housework will DH is home, breastfeeding was a brilliant excuse for not being able to do anything except hold and cuddle the baby).
I found feeding out and about a bit scary to start. From about three weeks old I went to some baby groups (bumps and bundles type groups) where I did my first public feeds. These are perfect as everyone else is also a bit bewildered and trying to figure out how to keep their own baby happy so no one cares if you flash a bit of nipple by mistake!
Get some lasinoh cream - apply liberally before and after feeds when starting out.
Despite what the propaganda says - everyone I know who was successful found it a least a little bit painful to begin with. If you've got sore nipples from a bad latch, even when the latch is sorted, feeding will still be sore as you heal (Nobody told me that - all everyone said was once the latch is right it won't hurt).
They feed lots and lots and as said above it's not because you can't produce enough, it's because they are building up your supply.
I went to my local La Leche League meeting a few times - before and after my son was born. They were really supportive and I think the helpline would be a great help too.
I second asking for as much help as possible! A couple of girls in my NCT group had babies with tongue tie - both picked up fairly late, so if things aren't going well make sure someone has checked for this.
Ooh, also - if they're still feeding very frequently even at 6 months plus, that's still normal and often a growth spurt - all I could find online at the time was how often newborns fed, but virtually nothing on older babies!
And - stock up on snacks to keep by the bed and a large water bottle - you will get very hungry and thirsty especially in the middle of the night. I loved the free pass to eating as many biscuits as I felt like!
Where I live they offer a free snip if your baby is tongue tied - I was amazed/horrified to find this isn't across the UK, if you have difficulties this can sometimes be the problem - stick with it, I phoned every support line I could and got all the help I could (2nd time around). Took about 3 months to feel like it was easy but i absolutely loved being able to do it...only downside is my boy is still very 'into' boobs at nearly 4 (stopped BF at 14 months, still worth it though
Just because it is natural does not automatically make it easy. Your boobs will hurt in the first few days, from milk let down and intense usage. You will also feel after pains to start with as breastfeeding encourages your womb to contract.
My top tips: research safe cosleeping and learn to breastfeed lying down. You are going to wake up a lot, but it becomes a damn sight easier when you can roll over and just stick a nipple in their mouth. It gets even easier (and slightly disturbing?) if you decide to keep going past six months and wake up to find they have helped themselves.
Expect to be touched out, especially when they are cluster feeding and literally cry as soon as you put them down. You are not bad for feeling that way. They are not bad for wanting it; you are their world and boobs are the answer to practically everything.
A sling is invaluable, if you ever want to move from the sofa (if not, just grab Netflix and a lifetime supply of biscuits!). I found my first DC could easily be winded in the sling, quickly went to sleep and I even got the knack of feeding them whilst walking around the shops. It gives you your hands back for food, drink and the remote control.
Don't get baby weighed every week to avoid the potential upset of low weight gain one week followed by high the week after, with all the self-doubt that brings. With DC2 I just had fort nightly weigh ins and found it a lot less stressful as it evened out the peaks and troughs.
I just had DC2 yesterday and the first 24hrs have been so much easier than with DC1. I fed her laying down in bed on and off all night and we both got plenty of sleep in between. i spent the first few days with DS trying to feed sitting up in bed and putting him in a Moses basket and no one got any sleep.
Thank you so so much for all of your advice and tips! makes me feel so much better hearing it straight from the horses mouth, all I get from midwife is "Ohhh breastfeeding is much easier than bottle, is amazing, it's so easy for baby, and for bonding"
they never tell you about the downsides that might make someone stop bf-ing
Sit still. Drink loads of water. Do nothing but feed, feed, feed and rest up. I tried to do too much first time, when I should have been putting my feet up and letting my body recover and make milk.
Oh, and my HV prescribed a bar of chocolate to be eaten at 4pm every day ;)
I should add I'm still feeding DC2 who's almost 2. I didn't get past a few weeks with DC1.
Please call a local lactation consultant before you give birth. Establish you're happy to talk to them, that they do home visits, and their prices. Put the money aside now for two home visits, in an envelope. Imagine it's like any other critical baby purchase (car seat etc)
Call them as soon as you want reassurance - they'll be happy to talk to you on the phone and the sooner you get help IF there is a problem the higher the chances of resolution
Remember most midwives and health visitors and GPs are not qualified lactation consultants and often can not identify feeding/latching problems so use a LC for advice. (Much easier than having to get out to a feeding group imo)
On a very practical note, make sure you have water within reach breastfeeding makes you extremely thirsty. Get comfatable, remote control, drink, I pad once you are latched on it's like being shackled! In the early days fb hurt! So I took parecetamol and once they were latched I didn't dare move!
Pads, pads, pads! I always found it horrible when I would all of a sudden be soaked.
Keep a cabbage in the fridge, leaves in your bra under pads will relieve soreness.
For me bf was not easy, I had to learn, my HF was bloody useless and my mum and nan spent a fair amount of time manipulating my boobs to the right position. Despite all that it was worth it, I would hate to have given up at the first hurdle.
my son was TT and could not latch properly - it was very painful not for a few days, but for a looong time. He got the snip which helped, but was what extremely helpful and I strongly recommend if you end up in the same situation (or if your birth was too long/short) was to see an osteopath.
I second what PP said - don't worry if they seem to be constantly feeding, even if your boobs feel totally empty, they are just increasing your supply.
If you struggle, get support. I found BF to be difficult and painful at first but extremely worth it in the end. Mine self-weaned at just after he turned 3
I joined the LLL whilst still pregnant & went to 2 or 3 meetings and found it invaluable to spend time with real mums feeding their babies (& toddlers). I I found it such an amazing resource to actually see real mums breastfeeding & to listen to their different stories and hear the highlights and problems they'd faced. 1 thing I did was make sure I put about checking for a tongue tie in both my birth plans.
I've been incredibly lucky & have had 2 fairly straight forward breast feeding journeys. Not sure if these were helped by knowing what to look out for in regards to mastitis etc.
1 of the best tips I was given was to try & breast feed as soon as possible and do as much skin to skin feeding. Bf is all about supply & demand so the more you feed the more milk your body will produce. My babies both fed differently so to know that is also important. My daughter fed for roughly 40 mins on each side when she was 1st born & would often posset it all up & then need feeding again. So it's fair to say she fed a lot including cluster feeding a lot in the evening (seemly non-stop feeding) but then slept fairly well at night. However, my son, was a grazer & would feed for about 30 mins in total but more regularly. He then wouldn't sleep at night without being on the boob (not just falling asleep on the boob but staying on it all night!!) so I soon learnt to feed him laying down.
I also learnt about things like let down, which is when your milk starts flowing & for some people (me) as you're feeding on 1 side your milk can come spurting out of the other side so have lots of muslins (& breast pads) ready.
Yes it can be very uncomfortable but if it's truly painful all the time (for me the letdown was toe curling but then eased off) then you need to get yourself checked out at a bf clinic.
1 last tip (sorry - so much to say about the topic). When my SIL had her baby & we went to visit when my niece was 6 days old my SIL would take her off to another room to feed her so we didn't really get to see the baby & I really felt for my SIL. My daughter was born 9 months after & in the 1st few days I spent some time feeding my daughter looking at the mirror to see what could be seen & how to latch my daughter on without showing too much flesh. I found using 2 tops (vest top underneath) was a great solution & still use this now with my booby monster 18 month old!
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