Breastfeeding advice(20 Posts)
Anything you'd want to share with a soon-to-be first time Mum?
I've read up a lot on the subject, practiced different feeding positions in my antenatal classes etc but really would love to hear some advice from the trenches- how bad were the first few days? What kit did you find useful/a waste of time?
I wouldn't buy an expensive breast bump till you know if you'll be doing a lot of pumping. If you want to buy one before lo arrives just buy a simple manual (avent one works well for me).
But my lots of lanisoh cream. It's great for nipples, pricey but works.
I don't think I could tell you how to prepare, but do ask for help if you're not sure about anything. I stayed in on first night and despite it being busy kept buzzing for help. They were lovely and very supportive. Much easier to get help while you are under mw care than HV.
Yes it hurts, even if you have a good latch but it does go I promise.
My best piece of advice would be to make sure you have a lot of large cushions, or a specifically designed feeding cushion. I spent hours trapped on the sofa with a baby attached to my nipple, my back in spasms because when I'd finally managed to latch him on I was terrified to move in case I dislodged him. A few strategically-placed cushions to prop him in place were invaluable. I could then lean back and rest, and drink lots of fluids. In the early days feeding can be pretty much continuous, so anything that makes you more comfortable is a necessity.
Make sure you have breast pads! I cant say its easy, the first few days are difficult, but just keep telling yourself, you have never done it before, but neither has the baby!
Dont be afriad to ask for help, dont be afraid to have a cry when its frustrating and keep trying!
I found it so had to get him to latch, but had a lovely HCA round a few days after the birth, she realy helped and simple things like acushion under your feet makes you sit better, take a deep breath, hold your boob and rub the nipple just above the top lip and draw it down - usually they gape their mouth ready
Find the number of your nearest International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC - there's a website that lists all those registered) and call them at the first sign of any problems. They cost, but ours was worth every penny (much more so than the GP who was worse than useless, and than the midwives who tried their best but were definitely not well versed on breastfeeding issues)
I was advised to stock up on loads of nipple cream and breast pads but I didn't actually need them, my nipples weren't sore and I never leaked once. So don't waste your money until you know what it's going to be like for you.
And in general, don't listen to the horror stories. I was petrified about feeding as I had a friend who told me this and that would definitely happen so I almost set myself up to fail. I actually found breastfeeding reasonably easy (obviously some teething problems) and enjoyable. So think positive thoughts
Also, for context - my first was absolute breeze, fed like a champ from day 1 and not a single issue for the 2+ years we did it. Second was a disaster from day 2 to day 21ish but with intervention from a lactation consultant from day 5 we made it through and still merrily feeding (crap latch and all) 7 months later.
Hope you're one of the lucky ones!
Bedside table with snacks and magazine
Breastfeeding teabags with fenugreek in
Decent multivitamin for bf mums (iron, vit D etc)
Mattress on floor/day naps/co sleeping
Oh wow, some great tips here!
Thank you all so much for the responses. I'm particularly happy to hear that there are some success stories even from the early days- I'd been made to believe that everyone struggles in the beginning!
Be prepared not to move of the sofa for a couple of weeks. Have easy to prepare food ready, warn everyone else you will need cups of tea bringing. Load up with box sets or a subscription TV service.
Take one day at a time. Just do one day. Then one more. Bf takes quite a bit of stubbornness- you will get times when you just think sod it, get me the formula, (I didn't have any, or I might have given in!) but it's worth sticking with.
Don't listen to anyone who tries to tell you your baby is feeding too much or not going long enough between feeds. Ignore anyone who says there's something wrong with your milk.
Personally, I'd keep away from scales and weighing. You can refuse! Go on sight- is he hydrated, weeing, pooing, crying, appropriately alert.
Learn and understand how breastfeeding works and what's normal. Namely; feeding all the time is entirely normal.
I never leaked, and never needed to pump or express. I also never took fenugreek, oats etc. I just drank as much water and tea as I liked.
If in doubt, boob out. Even if you only finished feeding half an hour before - if the baby cries, boob will fix it 99% of the time.
With that in mind, make sure your oh knows his responsibility is to ensure you are well fed and allow you as much time to sit and feed as you need.
Lansinoh is hard, sticky, drags across your nipples and is a bastard to get off your hands. Avent is much easier to apply and does the same job.
Find out where to get real life help, LLL, breastfeeding groups, baby cafe, NCT, whatever there is near you. Find this out before the baby arrives, so if you need to call for help you just need to pick up the phone.
Washable pads are softer on sore nipples than disposables.
Don't overthink feeding in public. Most people won't notice, and of those that do, most will be nice. Faff about with a big, brightly coloured feeding cover and you'll draw attention to yourself, which is what you're trying to avoid.
If your baby is weeing, pooing, sleeping and growing, he or she is doing fine.
If you can feed without a special pillow, you have more flexibility away from home. If not, use one. Do what works.
I echo all these messages have someone on hand if you can to make you snacks to keep that milk supply nice & thick (my bf became the best peanut butter on toast maker ever) Take a huge glass of squash to bed ever night as BF made me SO thirsty especially at night. I found the washable breast pads better than the disposable as they would wash up lovely & soft where as I found the disposables itchy against my sensitive nipples. Just be prepared to stay indoors for a couple of weeks as I found leaving the house as a breast feeder too stressful & looking back I should of just relaxed & enjoyed being indoors a bit more. BF didn't work out for me like I'd hoped so only did it for a month but I would always try again with next baby.
Good luck & enjoy it before you know it your little one will be drinking out of beaker and you'll wonder where the time went
If you warm the tube of lansinoh up then it softens and goes all oily. I gave birth on November so I would keep the tube on the radiator, or under my armpit while feeding so it was nicely warmed when I needed it.
BF is completely different to FF. not just in the blindingly obvious way of milk comes out of you and not a bottle, but the composition is completely different. BF newborns will feed little and often, and not say every 3 hours like perhaps a FF baby would. Formula fills up their tummies and takes longer to digest. If you've reAd up on feeding schedules in parenting books then be prepared to throw that advice out of your mind. Unless the author has proper knowledge and experience of BF it's probably a load of tosh. I wish I knew this when I was pg with my first, I'm a trained BF counsellor and it saddens me that so much inaccurate information is spouted by parenting 'experts'.
Do not be concerned about a baby that only fed 20 minutes ago who wants more milk. It's not a reflection on your milk supply, it's normal and natural and just go with the flow. This stage does not last forever and helps get BF established.
That said feeding should not hurt, if you get pain after the first initial sucks the baby is not latched on correctly. Do not ignore the pain, try to re-latch if this does not work seek out local support, ask your HV for groups you can pop along to. A poor latch could signify tongue tie.
I just used cheapish v shaped pillows, Ikea had good ones, or Amazon. Lansinoh, Medela nipple shields for when it got sore, pads, a table right next to you for food/drinks/remote, and Netflix. Food you can eat one handed and prepare easily in the thirteen seconds you will have sometimes. It will be hard in the beginning but for me it was worth pushing through. Good luck!
Have a footrest for when you are sat on the sofa. Makes it so much more comfortable! It was either a health visitor or midwife who shoved a pouffe under my feet at some point in the first few days and it made such a difference. Also, drop/relax your shoulders. I was so worried about getting dd latched on I was all hunched over and tensed up. DH had to keep gently reminding me to relax my body, I was like a tightly coiled spring in the first couple of days!
It does hurt but it will fade to nothing at all within a couple of weeks.
They can want to feed constantly - mine did, especially in the evening. It took me a little while to just accept that yes, she did just want to be on me feeding/snoozing gently for four or five hours before bedtime and that all of our lives would be much nicer if I let her have her own way!
Breastfeeding doesn't equal a longer wait for baby to sleep through, dd slept straight through with no night feeds (11pm to 6am ish) at about 8 weeks and never looked back.
Good luck with it; get help if you are struggling and don't blame yourself if it doesn't work out.
A sports waterbottle is your best friend. Fill it up and you can leave it next to you on sofa/bed. I was incredibly thirsty the first couple of weeks of breastfeeding.
Echo not going mad with creams and breast pads. I only started leaking this week and my dd is almost 5 weeks old. Lanisoh lasts for ages (rub between your thumbs to warm it up before applying).I am planning on breastfeeding for at least 6 months and I can't see myself ever needing to replace the nipple cream.
If you need to use nipple Shields note they come in different nipple sizes (I didn't realise and wasted £8 although in the end I could cope with the sore nipples).
Breastfeeding in public (or in front of family /friends) isn't as scary as I thought it would be although i didn't do so for 2 weeks until I felt confident in what I was doing.
Read up on co-sleeping and breastfeeding lying down so you can get some rest.By day 3 my dd was in our bed.
I found breastfeeding painful at first but not horrific and by day 10 it was fine for me. if it isn't fine for you its absolutely OK to express or use formula.
They shouldn't go for more than 3h without a feed when newborn. They can feed for hours and hours and hours without stopping for more than a couple of minutes. If they are a bit dehydrated their soft spot feels a bit sunken. Milk coming in at day 3-5 can be sore. Expressing a bit by hand can take the edge off and make it easier for baby yo latch on. It's not necessarily as hard to get to grips with as the internet makes it seem. There is a lot of help available to get started.
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