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Tips to help me breastfeed for longer second time round.(57 Posts)
I only managed to exclusively breast feed my now four year old son for two months before switching to combination feeding and eventually just formula feeding. I'm 23 weeks pregnant with my second and I am determined to breast feed for longer this time! Does anyone have any tips for sticking it out? I've spoken to friends and family about it and they've suggested using a dummy between feeds, co-sleeping (I was too scared to do this first time), and expressing more so my husband can help out at night. I hated expressing last time! I would really like to hear what people think about co-sleeping. Thanks in advance.
What were the reasons you stopped last time? Most people I know stop because of the pain but I would guess you were past that by two months?
Can't help with the co-sleeping question as I couldn't imagine anything worse, being a light sleeper. On the few occasions we tried to do it it was a disaster for all concerned!
If you can say why you stopped it might help. I fed my first until 13 months and never co-slept if that helps!
Co sleeping definitely helped, though we didn't start doing this til DD was about 4 months.
I didn't use a dummy for her or express. The most important thing for me was being comfortable when feeding and not doing too much in the day early on. I told DP breastfeeding was a full time job for the first few months! Also eating and drinking loads, having a good feeding bra ( mine from John Lewis), and good breast pads (recommend NUK or Johnson's).
Ended up breastfeeding til she was 2.5, so something worked! Hope it goes well for you.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Combined feeding helped for me. It was great to be able to be able to give a bottle once/twice a day or overnight (although I did bf initially at night for the first few months to stabilise supply) to just free me up a bit. I actually ended up breastfeeding for longer than a lot of my friends who started ebf. They all seemed to hit a wall with it 4-6 months in, and introduced a bottle (even with expressed milk) a lot earlier with their DC2.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Just remember that all the cluster feeding and growth spurts etc don't last forever. I never thought I'd make it to 6 months (main reason being I had a horrendous abscess), but I bf till 17 months (and only stopped then because I'm pregnant again). It gets so much easier after the first few months.
We didn't use a dummy or co-sleep.
Expressing is a bitch and not as effective as actually feeding, so can affect supply. People might suggest expressing "to give you a break" but it was harder for me. I had to express instead of feed anyway, it was easier to just feed. Those night feeds are really important to trigger hormones and supply. Plus by the time your dh has got up, messed around making a bottle while baby is screaming, you'll be awake and could have fed and been back to sleep far quicker.
My top tips would be:
Don't weigh. Go on clinical signs (wee, poo, hydration, crying, sleeping, just instinct really) instead.
Just feed on demand. Ignore any "helpful" unsolicited advice and other people's opinions, just feed.
Get your dh to help out by doing housework, cooking, shopping, taking the baby for a walk while you shower etc. you just sit on the sofa with snacks and TV and feed.
Co sleeping up to you. It is easier but you have to be comfortable with it. Dummy from about 6 weeks if you feel it's neccesary.
Like pp said, it's a full time job and really take determination, stubbornness and focus. I found I had to fight against quite a lot of well meaning people who thought it was too much for me, or how did I know I had enough milk, or my milk wasn't good enough (when they weren't sleeping 7-7 or going 4 hours between feeds at 12 weeks), or a million other reasons why I should give up. I got good at saying, no she's fine, I'm fine, it's working well, there's no reason to stop.
Thank you for all the advice! I guess I was just shocked at how frequently I needed to feed last time. I didn't find it painful, just that my son seemed to want to feed all of the time and I didn't think this was normal! I now know that's very common in the early stages. Hopefully this time I know what to expect. I didn't get much support from family either, both me and my husband were bottle fed and my mum and MIL both encouraged me to switch to the bottle! I'm determined to stick to my guns this time though. I think I will try co-sleeping as it seems to come up time and again as a good strategy.
I think expressing is more work - it takes much longer to express a feed than to give it direct.
I also dislike cosleeping, I am uncomfortable and can't sleep well myself - I always had to sit up and use cushions for feeding so wouldn't have got more rest.
Things that helped me were
1. Dummy - gave me a bit of respite, used from first week
2. Nipple shields - used for 6 months. Also lansinoh cream and jelonet dressing
3. Good breastfeeding counsellor, midwife, hv. None could sort my latch but other advice and reassurance helped.
4. Quietly very supportive dh
5. Kindle with easy enjoyable books!
6. Sheer bloodymindedness.
It depends what your issues are though - I had a plentiful supply and reasonably easy babies or it might have been different!
I do think one of the biggest obstacles is the lack of information about the reality of it. Can you ask your HV if there is a bf support group locally? I found that so useful as there are always people further on than you who can tell you everything is normal and fine.
The frequency of feeds shocked me too. It's also hard when you don't have the support around you from family. I kept hearing 'she can't be hungry AGAIN' which wasn't helpful.
The bednest things are probably quite good if you want to try co-sleeping as they still have their own space. I never found it necessary though. I actually gave a bottle of expressed milk every night for the last feed and made sure it was finished and this seemed to keep the baby going for a long period throughout the night. It was advice passed on from a friend and it worked for all of us (several different mums). Although obviously that means you have to express every day which can be a pain.
Do co sleep
Don't bother expressing
Just relax, it won't hurt like last time, and of you let yourself relax into it you all the better for it
Forget expressing and mixed feeding, what could be more complicated than all that faff, you have the equipment, it's portable
Get a bed nest of your a nervous cosleeper
I think that being surrounded by other breastfeeding mothers makes a huge difference - they tend to suggest breastfeeding based solutions to problems rather than formula as an answer, and you get a feel for what is normal (eg feeling all the bloody time for the first two months).
Definitely ignore all the 'they can't be hungry again' comments. I got them from in laws who assume that babies are fed on a four hourly basis!
Just assume that in the first weeks/months you will be feeding a lot and plan strategies to deal with that/your other dc etc.
This forum is great for support during nightfeeds, lots of others are up too!
Breastfed babies do demand a lot of time and attention, as a first time mum to a month old DD, I was stunned by how long I spend feeding her but she's thriving so it's completely worth it. I was told how 'difficult' it would be but Ive actually found it incredibly easy. A few tips though!
1) we half co-sleep! I get her off to sleep in bed with me, move her into Moses basket and after she wakes for a feed for the first time ( a good few hours later),she comes into bed with us which means I get at least a solid block of sleep. I've found her sleeping on my chest is the best position, as I feel more aware of her.
2) Dummy. I went against the grain and got one at 2 weeks as DD was using me for comfort and although I understand BF-ing takes up a lot of time, I was strapped to the sofa for 13 hours and the washing was piling up. She spits it out if she doesn't want it, and I usually offer it straight after a feed/ if she's struggling to settle at night. It's not confused her in any way, and I know she's now eating when she's hungry, not just sucking me for comfort.
3) know every baby is different. Going on 'advice', I should be feeding 2-3 hourly for 10-15 minutes each side; it's bollocks. Some days, DD will eat every hour for 10 minutes, others she'll eat every 4 for 30 minutes. It varies from day to day, depending on whether they're having a growth spurt etc and as long as wet&dirty nappies/not any alarm bells, assume it's going well.
Hi Op my 1st ds fed every 2 hrs for 4 months and he slept with us ! My 2nd slept through the night from being born and fed every 4 hrs through the dayslept in his cot . So you dont get 2 the same . Its perfectly normal for breastfed babies to feed lots , I tried mine with a dummy but they wouldnt accept one . My midwife I found very suppportive . Are there any specific concerns you have ? x
I think it is helpful to resign yourself to the fact that they will feed loads at first and find ways to cope with that rather than combine feed/stretch feeds out with a dummy. I got pretty good at feeding whilst doing other things - playing with toddler, doing toddler bedtime etc.
I agree that it's good to meet other bfing mums so you don't feel like the only one feeding all the time.
It's great there is so much positive support in advice on here. I'll look for a local bf group as I had no one to sound off to last time. I've never heard of the bed nest either so I'll check that out too. I think I'll just have to toughen up this time as I really want to bf for at least six months with this little one. Positive thinking!
Definitely co-sleep. You never have to get out of bed, baby helps himself immediately he wants some, no waiting or cying - everybody's happy. It also means you don't have to bother faffing with expressing or sterilising.
I was recommended a book called Bestfeeding which was really helpful in terms of getting the latch right.
I also swore by my Boppy Feeding pillow which didn't put any strain on my back at all.
I was exactly the same as you first time. I didn't realise how frequently newborns needed to feed and only fed (combination) DD1 for 3 months. DD2 I was determined to stick to breast-feeding. I literally whipped a boob out every time she so much as whimpered. Co-sleeping definitely helped as did wearing her in a sling so that I could still deal with the toddler.
I think knowing what to expect goes a long way to helping stick to breastfeeding.
I struggled but I just wanted to recommend an ikea hack with the cot.
(Google ikea hack co sleeper)
Lot cheaper and you can use as standard again or when they are a toddler with side off.
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