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Breastfeeding - can you prepare whilst pregnant?

(25 Posts)
3rdbump Mon 01-Oct-12 11:41:19

I would really like to try breast feeding this baby but past experiences with my other 2 children put me off! i remember very sore breasts, sore nipples and an unsatisfied baby!! i tried for 1 week with my first then gave up, and one night with my daughter and again gave up and went to formula........
Is there anythig you can do to start prepping nipples in time for breast feeding?!
I know its a little early at 28 weeks but i really want to give it a go!

ZuleikaD Mon 01-Oct-12 12:35:02

There isn't anything you can do to prepare your nipples, but you can certainly watch videos of babies latching on well. That's the most important thing for establishing breastfeeding quickly and painlessly - a good latch.

LiveLong Mon 01-Oct-12 12:42:06

I agree with*ZukeikaD*. The most important thing is the latch. That said, I BF my DS until 18 months. When DD was born I thought it wouldn't hurt because I was such a pro ... But actually the first week was pretty sore just from the friction. I persevered and it stopped hurting pretty quickly. There's a really good ointment to balm sore nipples, called something like Lanulose (comes in a purple tube). I found it really worthwhile to keep going. Good luck smile

BettyandDon Mon 01-Oct-12 12:42:08

I've been wondering the same. I couldn't feed my DD as she failed to latch even after 8 weeks of trying. I'm wondering what I can do differently this time.

Does anyone know where you can have your boobs looked at to see if they fit the definition of 'flat'? I'm beginning to think mine might be. I want to give BF a try but I also want to be prepared - unfortunately though being prepared seems to involve purchasing a ton of stuff (nipple shields, breast pumps) which we can ill afford if BF by some miracle actually works this time. It's so hard to judge in advance what you will need and when.

BedHog Mon 01-Oct-12 12:43:00

You can also go to the shop and buy yourself a tube of lanisoh or kamillosan - they make a big difference in the first couple of weeks!

Also maybe go to a local breastfeeding support group so you've got the contact established if you do need advice and support. They are usually very friendly and you should be able to take your children along if they're not at school yet.

BonaDea Mon 01-Oct-12 12:57:30

I read a fantastic book (recommended by mumsnetters) called The Food of Love by Kate Evans which is funny but very clear about how you do it! I've not actually started BF-ing yet, but thought this was an excellent book.

There is also a La Leche League book which I've bought but not yet read called 'The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding' which was highly recommended to me.

You can also see lactation counsellors via NCT and La Leche, but typically these would be paid for privately. NCT also runs breastfeeding drop in meetings which you can go to while pregnant which are free (but is likely to be full of new mums I think).

LiveLong Mon 01-Oct-12 13:51:47

Lansinoh! That's it (knew I shouldn't have guessed!). Good idea to go to local support groups too, even before you have the baby.

PeshwariNaan Mon 01-Oct-12 15:30:22

I second the recommendation for Kate Evans' The Food of Love. A great book.

Rockchick1984 Mon 01-Oct-12 17:50:12

The first few days / week is (In my experience) a little painful, despite my DS having had a perfect latch. It does take a few days for your nipples to 'toughen up' for want of a better way to put it! Definitely recommend lansinoh, I put it on as soon as DS finished a feed and it really helped.

Don't bother with a breastpump until feeding has been established. I never used nipple shields but have heard mixed reviews, if it will make you feel more confident then get some but only plan to use them short term ideally.

Agree that it's worth going to breastfeeding groups while still pregnant, and if possible get your DP / DH up to speed with the realities of breastfeeding.

The first week or 2 is harder than bottle feeding, but long term it's a million times easier AND cheaper smile I wish I had breastfed for longer, but had to stop when I was unwell and the drugs I was prescribed weren't compatible with breastfeeding sad

StateofConfusion Mon 01-Oct-12 18:28:50

Lansinoh was my saviour, getting the latch right so watch videos look at pictures and harass your mw to check every feed whilst in hospital, don't leave until you feel you've sussed it. I'd say 3 wks is when I felt I'd got it, and most people agree its 2wks or so before you get into the swing of things.

RubyrooUK Mon 01-Oct-12 18:51:13

Lanisoh - yes, you need it a lot at first but not at all later on.

Also I loved the website Kellymom, which gives some amazing bf advice. I used to sit there weeping with a child who had fed constantly for six hours, weeping and thinking he couldn't be getting enough milk from me, then I would read an exact description of exactly that on Kellymom, explaining this was normal, why and you had quite enough milk, which was so so reassuring. So I'd read a bit of that as preparation.

And I agree with everyone else that bf takes a few weeks to feel like you have a grip on it. So don't feel disheartened at first if it all seems like hard work. Good luck.

debbie1412 Mon 01-Oct-12 19:10:32

If you are at home much in the weeks leading up to having your baby. Try giving the nipple a wipe with a wet wipe. I'm sure alot of the soreness is exposure to wetness that they are not used to. Doesn't hurt to start strengthening the skin up, I'm doing it :-)

Ouchy Mon 01-Oct-12 22:10:56

For flat nipples I'd suggest shields in first instance until your baby's suck gets strong enough to suck the nipple out. This worked for me. Next time I also plan to try the avent niplette to pull out the nipple before a feed.

RubyrooUK Mon 01-Oct-12 22:38:59

Just to add that I also had flat, inverted nipples before DS. I didn't know about nipple shields at the time and he seemed to make them pretty uninverted after a while. They've never gone flat again. So it doesn't always cause problems although you do have to work a lot on the latch....but when don't you with a new baby?

squidgeberry Tue 02-Oct-12 08:31:27

Don't wet wipe your nipples! They are designed to excrete a natural oil and wet wiping and even washing with soap will remove this protection. Just wash with plain water.

Best thing you can do to prepare is research all the breastfeeding support options: telephone helplines, local support groups etc, as you may not have the time or inclination when the baby comes.

Also recommend the food of love by Kate evans

kittykatskumkwat Tue 02-Oct-12 09:12:30

I agree that the first day is really hard and remains difficult for a week but once you get past that point you shouldn't look back, it's so much easier then bottle feeding. Nostumbeling around in the dark trying to make bottles and the mountains of washing up or cost!

BettyandDon Thu 04-Oct-12 15:49:14

I really appreciate seeing the advice here. I had never heard of the nipplette thing that pulls out the nipple. I am not sure though. My DD had no latch whatsoever, not just a poor latch or coming off after a few mins - she literally could not keep my boob in her mouth for a second. I am just worrying the same will happen again.

NB - first time the MWs just told me to try again in a few hours, then she ended up jaundiced and in A&E and they insisted on formula. I began expressing on the advise of my mum (paedetricians at hospital didnt even mention this). I did give her colostrum in a syringe whilst she wouldnt feed, but that was it initially and clearly this was not sufficient for 3/4 days.

StateofConfusion Thu 04-Oct-12 20:44:10

betty my ds was similar in that he didn't seem to be able to take a whole mouthful as is necessary, later discovered he had a toungue tie, so that's always something to have checked, he was also a very lazy feeder and even a bottle took hours and he didn't really suck hard just swallow what dribbled into his mouth, I was in the same posistion as you in that no one really advised or helped me and FF seemed the best option. However having learnt what I could and being armed with posistions and looking at videos/images of the correct latch, dd bf easily from minutes old and fed for a year.

StateofConfusion Thu 04-Oct-12 20:45:03

Ds was also jaundice which makes them drowsy and feeding even more effort, vicious cycle really.

sunshinejanuary Thu 04-Oct-12 22:35:32

Hi Thirdbump,
I would say there is a lot you can do to prepare - pity I didn't know this first time round though as I had an absolute nightmare establishing breastfeeding (including bleeding nipples!) before my daughter and I got the hang of it. We went on to breastfeed for 2 plus years (not a boast, just saying it is possible after a tough start!).

Basically these days many areas have breastfeeding peer support programmes and/or breastfeeding 'cafes' or drop ins. Theoretically your midwife/GP should be able to signpost these for you. If not perhaps a quick bit of internet research will bring your local ones up.

My local ones are well attended and mums before and after birth are encouraged to come along for a cuppa and a chat. There are also trained breastfeeding counsellors (NHS staff) that run it along with peer supporters.

Another service I know runs locally and may well be up and running in many other areas is that if you let your community midwife team know you are keen to breastfeed they can arrange contact for you with one of the staff that work in their nhs breastfeeding teams (caled different things in different PCT's!) know you would like to meet with them in advance or have a visit after bierth for support and advice.

Also, many hospitals have breastfeeding counsellors that attend the postnatal wards but you may need to ask rather than assume they would offer to reccomend this service!

Also I would totally second the Lansinoh, best stuff ever if you can squeeze it out of the tube, it's like glue!

I hope my input isnt too convoluted! I remember the stresses of establishing breastfeeding and am currently 34 weeks with DC2, I will definitely be hassling every service going in my area for support!

Good luck!

BettyandDon Sat 06-Oct-12 13:59:08

Thanks stateofconfusion! Sounds like we had a similar experience. My DD was checked for tongue tie by numerous people. One MW said, well she is not tongue tied but she can't push her tongue out all the way (????), the BF counsellor said 'well I can't say for sure if she is not tongue tie'. A bit like Shakespeare I thought, to be or not to be....

I'm beginning to think my nipples are on the flat side, my DD had a form of TT and was too tired from the jaundice. Even though we moved on to expressing and formula it was so gutting as she was still rooting for boob for weeks. But, she never got the latch despite trying and trying -even when she was 8-10 weeks old.

Right I am going to hassle my MW on Weds for some local support groups / contacts. I have a lot of bottles, pumps, sterilisers, nipple instruments in my basket from Amazon. Am wondering if I buy and keep everything in tact if I can send it all back..

Cookiesandcream06 Sat 06-Oct-12 17:55:11

My DD was tongue tied and struggled to BF and had to give up sad i need every tip going as the midwives were CRAP and offered no help/support whatsoever. I want to do everything i can this time round, am stocked up on shields, cream etc. can anyone offer any advice/experience with these things which suck your nipples out ? I have large boobs and worry my nipples aren't very big which will make latching on even harder so want to cover all bases!
(And I will be getting them to check tongue at delivery as it wasn't picked up last time - oh and apparently it's not hereditary - funny that when both myself and my mum are !?)

StateofConfusion Sat 06-Oct-12 18:08:22

Nice to know I'm not alone, as I also had the same betty no one ever 'diagnosed' tongue tie just got lots of maybes, then he learnt to poke his tongue out and it forked like a snake, the HV noticed at weigh in and said no wonder you couldn't ebf he's got a really tight tongue tie, less than a week after he started the snake impression I noticed blood on his lip and it had torn itself and suddenly he drank his milk up like a little lamb.

I've no idea about sending stuff back as some places can be funny, but if its sealed and un-used I'm sure its fine, if you've tried it and didn't get on there is a huge market for 2nd hand stuff, I got a good price for my breast pumps.

Rockchick1984 Sat 06-Oct-12 18:19:28

There was a thread on money matters a few weeks ago where a lady had purchased slimming tablets from and was outside 30 day returns with no receipt (just the dispatch note). They refunded her on these as they weren't open, so would hope/assume they would be equally good if needing to return other items. No idea what the policy would be in store, or if it would differ in any way smile

midori1999 Sat 06-Oct-12 22:35:56

I didn't manage to breastfeed my first 3 DC, despite trying, but am still breastfeeding DD3 at 16 months and going strong! So it can definitely work even if you didn't manage the first times.

I would say a bit od determination is key. If there are problems, there is a reason for them and they can be solved. Also, I agree it's good to go to breastfeeding groups beforehand and to familarise yourself with what constitutes normal behaviour for a breastfed baby. I switched to FF with DS's 1 and 2 as they were big babies and I thought they were too hungry, which midwives/HV's confirmed, although I now know that how they fed was normal for a breastfed baby, they can feed what seems like almost constantly at first.

If you are sore then it is usually due to a latch problem, you really shouldn't be sore if all is going well and also be aware that someone needs to watch a full feed to check the latch, they can't just peer at your baby feeding and say one way or the other.

I would also suggest hanging around in the MN feeding section as reading the posts on there give a lot of information and helps you know what to expect.

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