Would you like to be a member of our research panel? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.
hello! I'm just curious to the reasons that some people can not breastfeed, i really hope to do this! What could be some of the things that stop me?
Why do you want to hear things that will stop you, out of interest? People can tell you about issues like tongue tie, etc (this doesn't necessarily stop you but can be a difficulty). But the biggest challenge if you come from a family and friendship group with a lot of ffing (as many of us do) is learning about 'normal' in bfing. I'd start there, rather than with problems that might have no relevance to you
My DD had tongue-tie that none of the regular people (GPs, midwives, breastfeeding supporters) diagnosed and if I hadn't been completely bloody minded about bf'ing that would have stopped us early on. Luckily, I found excellent help privately when she was about two weeks old and we went on to bf for 2+ years.
While bf is something I very much wanted to do, I completely respect people who don't want to or can't and I think it's important not to beat yourself up if it doesn't work out for whatever reason. I have friends who range from extended breastfeeders to those who bottle feed from birth and I can honestly say I see no difference in their children in terms of health, intelligence, emotional bonds or anything else!
(p.s. good support over on the infant feeding board. Excellent advice on kellymom.com and I've heard good things about a book called The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding)
penguins i know thats true.. everyone in know who wants to do it can but i read alot about peoples breastfeeding now working out so i was alittle unsure of what problems can be encountered... so i thought u would ask
City Thanks! its great that you got help and could do it.. i plan to bf at night and then express the milk through the day and if i didn't make enough I would follow with formula to give the baby enough ounces
Inverted nipples stopped me, but I expressed instead.
Out of interest why are you planning to express during the day as that will be very hard particularly at the beginning. If you have no problems much easier to exclusively bf on demand and unusual to not make enough. Generally there's no way of measuring.
Are you going back to work very quickly? Combining bfing and expressing in the manner you describe is one of the most work-intensive and hardest ways possible of making bfing work. kudos to you if you need to do it that way, but it's tough.
I've not had my dc yet but I plan to breastfeed exclusively. I heard a lot of negatives about I but I have educated myself about it. Read read and read some more about the potential challenges and pick up some tips and hints. I feel prepared for my bf journey but I'm not going to beat myself up if it gets way too much and interferes with the bond I have with my child or my mental health.
From what I have heard you really need to establish your milk supply before expressing which takes a few weeks x
My baby wouldn't take the breast. He was born very sleepy after a long labour and for the first three days the only way to get him to take any milk was to set and alarm every three hours and use a fast flow teat to let milk flow down his throat.
By the time he woke up enough to feed he had decided he wasn't going to work for it! I expressed for 12 weeks but in the end it was driving me crazy so I switched to ff.
Well the reason I couldn't was that I was as clueless about breastfeeding as all the midwives and paediatricians who told me everything was fine... right up until the point they told me to 'top up' with formula... and it turned out my baby wasn't removing milk from my breasts, so the breasts stopped making it, and I got mastitis and didn't know which way was up, and that was pretty much that!
If you want to avoid the above scenario I recommend finding someone early on who knows how breastfeeding should look and can tell whether or not the baby is transferring milk - and if not, how to fix it.
I think one of the most important things is to know what's 'normal'. I was really lucky and had no issues at all but still had moments of panic as ds would cluster feed constantly at the beginning. It's really normal for yhem to feed constantly at points and I think it puts some off as they feel they're not getting enough whereas being aware of this can really help (although nothing prepares for reality IMO)
Please don't express. In amongst the many very real reasons you will find people don't/ can't breastfeed (tongue tie, serious latch issues, not wanting to) you will find a sizable number of women who don't believe they have enough milk. This is either because they underestimate how much a newborn needs to feed (constantly) or because they haven't established a milk supply because they didn't feed constantly. You shouldn't express before 6 weeks: even then it's incredibly hard work. A pump or your hand are nowhere near as good at getting milk out as a baby.
I would go as far to say that your breastfeeding career is likely to be doomed if you express early on. You'll top Up with formula, make less and less. It's these "just in case" measures that cause problems. In all likelyhood you will make enough if you feed from the breast frequently early on to establish your supply. It's tough but worth it.
Also use the midwives, breastfeeding clinics/ COunsellers/ helplines/ health visitors. Ask everyone to check your latch. Ask everyone to show you if it's not right. Ask ask ask. Lack of information and support (which you have to ask for) is another Reason it doesn't work for so many
Can I just hijack briefly - usernamefail, I also have a baby who didn't feed well, sleepy at birth - told to use fast flow teats. Now she is piling on the pounds at a month old - should I switch back to stage 1 teats? On stage 2 and she seems to take more than she can handle! Keen to keep sucking but then throws up if I let her take as much as she wants. What were you advised?
I think one of the reasons many women choose to give up breastfeeding is because health care professionals fail to mention how bloody hard it can be in the beginning!!!!!! Once you realise you're not doing anything wrong and it might hurt for a while it's easier if that makes sense.
In my experience (3 DC) I really wouldn't express until you have really established breastfeeding. Giving any formula to "top up" was also a no-no for me as it just reduced my supply and was a vicious circle.
Of course everyone is different but that was my experience x
thanks for your stories everyone
penguin no im just clueless haha. .i plan on taking 9 months -1year off so i have plenty of time to do it.
my mum breastfeed me and my brother and sister and i dont know why but ive always wanted to do it for that reason, i dont know anyone else in my family or dps.. who has bf and i really want to.
I learnt most of what I know about breastfeeding from mumsnet. The infant feeding board is really helpful if you head over there and browse. There's some great advice on here to. I completely agree that expressing during the day is going to be really hard. It'll be difficult to establish feeding properly and you'll spend so long pumping and then feeding by bottle you won't have much time for anything else. Maybe I'm biased but I've loved feeding my son, it's been hard but he's nine months and we're still going strong. Try and look into breastfeeding as much as you can before you commit to a plan to express. Unless of course you have a really valid/good reason to express for the day time?!
If you really want to bf, I would start by ditching the expressing plan. As others have said, it doesn't stimulate supply like direct feeding. It is all the work of ffing and bfing (because you have to do all the bottle feeding, plus all the pumping. It really is the worst of both). It also makes you focus on ounces, which mean very little with a bf baby.
Then get yourself a decent book. Like The Food of Love or something. Read up on the many, many ways in which bfing is different from ffing. If you are surrounded by people who ff, they will tell you lots of things are normal which aren't for a bf baby. For example:
- very frequent feeding. This isn't 'snacking' and it's not bad.
- cluster feeding
- that you don't need to worry about how much the baby is having. A baby feeding well will feed enough. In early days things like wet and dirty nappies are what you need to know about.
I really would advise creating a bedrock of understanding about normal bfing before you start to ask about problems. It can be useful to know about potential problems, but it's putting the cart before the horse rather.
I expressed and exclusively fed DD1 that way for six months, almost from the beginning. It is doable, I expressed every time DD1 asked to feed, I did not miss any feeds, this meant a lot of very hard work, but my milk supply was great.
I expressed for three weeks at the very beginning with DD2. I had really sore and bleeding nipples which I could not face latching her onto. I did the same thing as with DD1. I proceeded to latch her from three weeks, and then fed for 9.5 months.
I fed exclusively for the first 5 days with DD3, then expressed in the same way, until she was four weeks old. I had ductal thrush, which was so painful it was all I could do to not scream in agony whilst feeding. DD3 is 1 next week, and I am still breastfeeding.
Expressing early on for me is what saved my breastfeeding, without it, I would have FF, all my children.
I would never recommend this as a long term solution though. Very very difficult.
I didn't know of anyone who breastfed growing up, but was determined to do it. My MIL is an NCT b'feeding counsellor which really helped. I think it can be helpful (at least it was for me) to be aware of the commonest reasons why people stop, and to be either aware of solutions for those problems, or where to go to find help. I honestly think the biggest issue in UK that leads to women stopping is lack of proper support. NHS support is very variable depending on where you live, but NCT breastfeeding support can make up for this.
Having realistic expectations that there may be some issues getting things off the ground, but that most of these are totally solvable, was a huge help to me. DD3 had real latch issues and I was bleeding and in a lot of pain, but I was so glad she was my third as I knew there must be a problem and that it could be solved.
Educate yourself as much as you can, decide in advance how you will seek help if you are struggling (e.g.. HV, midwife, NCT helpline, local breastfeeding group). Also, avoid scheduled feeding like the plague. As an a pp said, frequent feeding on demand is so important to get things going. It's exhausting at first, but does get things going. I set myself small targets, which helped to keep going: feed for six weeks, then get to six months, then get to one year. In the end DD1 fed for 17 months, DD2 for 24 months and DD for 22 months.
Yes, absolutely yes, to being aware that for bf babies it is normal to want to feed ALL THE BLOODY TIME in the early weeks. I remember a marathon 7-hour straight feed DD did from about 8pm-3am on about day two or three. My lovely NHS bf counsellor actually gave me a high-five for that one.
And try to banish preconceptions about 'not having enough milk'. The two friends I have who went to ff very early on claim it's because their babies were just 'too hungry'...
And ignore anyone who says you should be putting the baby on a 'schedule' or only feeding every three hours. Feed on demand - that's what gets your supply going. I put DD to the boob every time she cried/ squawked in the early months. Despite her TT she still piled on the weight.
Some really great advice here. I'm no expert (first DS, six months old, exclusively bf) but things I would have liked to know going into it are:
- my baby fed ALL THE TIME at first. Sometimes up to seven hours in a row.
- there is no point trying to find patterns or follow a feeding schedule. When he cried, I fed him.
- When my milk came in on day three my boobs (not) literally turned into rockets and ds couldn't latch on. I got a hand pump from Tesco to take the edge off my rocket boobs and once my nipples were soft enough again he could finally latch on to feed.
- there is no point trying to quantify how much he drinks, just keeping an eye on wet and dirty nappies is enough.
- apparently there is little truth in not having enough milk, if you keep baby on the boob as much as possible it naturally increases supply.
- topping up with formula is counterproductive because it doesn't allow milk supply to grow to meet demand.
- cosleeping made my life so much easier, especially once I'd learned how to feed lying down on my side. Although it took me a few weeks to stop feeling guilty about not having him in the cot.
- learning to feed him in the sling was a revelation. If you have one, look up the YouTube videos on it.
Also, breast pads are a must for some women and others don't use them at all so no need to bulk buy. If in the former category, like me, boobs may also turn into
water milk pistols. I accidentally squirted milk all the way over the table in a restaurant when ds was about six weeks old because he unlatched mid feed. Awkward
Good luck with it all!
Toe curling pain stopped me. I tried for 6 weeks.
I had problems with getting the latch right in the initial stages. I was lucky to have lots of support, and it didn't stop me, bf'd 2 big fat babies for 2 years each! Best of luck OP, preparation is everything!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.