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I'm 7+3 weeks with our first so I appreciate it's a way off bit already thinking about it. I definitely want to breastfeed and was wondering what support you get from midwives to establish breastfeeding? Most of the time you're out of hospital the next day so surely that's not enough time to know what you're doing? I suppose the reason Im worrying is that only one of my friends attempting bf and gave up after a couple of weeks, all of my other friends went straight to bottle so I can't expect any guidance from friends. I would hate to end up ff due to lack of knowledge or support and not sure who I would ask about it.
I always planned to give breastfeeding a go and the midwives here are very pro breastfeeding. Even to the point where they won't release you from the birthing centre after labour if you don't feel happy/confident (if you plan to breastfeed that is - they don't force you).
They also run groups and a drop in centre for ongoing support
In my experience, you don't get that much help from the hospital as they are keen to get you out the next day. Saying that, they won't discharge you until you know what you are doing because they need to make sure you can feed the baby. There is a lot of support outside hospital though- eg breastfeeding cafes. If you do the Nct classes, they run a whole session on breastfeeding and there is a breastfeeding councillor you can call any time when you are out of hospital.
The NCT classes cover breastfeeding. I was in hospital for ages when DD was born so got lots of help, I also went a couple of times to a local breastfeeding group where there were trained people to help, they were fab!
Do a google search for classes and groups in your area.
That's a relief to hear I kind of thought I would basically be told to go home whether I could breastfeed or not. So if I'm not confident I basically just say that and they have to help me until I am? I wouldn't want longer in hospital than necessary but an extra day might mean the difference between bf and ff. My mum was saying she thinks its disgraceful how quickly women leave hospital now and no wonder lots of people don't bf x
I was recommended a book by a couple of friends which I credit, in part, with me having an incredibly easy time of getting breastfeeding established and just setting me up to start with confidence - The Womanly Art Of Breasyfeeding. It's incredibly comprehensive and clear, and is really really worth a read (plus has excellent troubleshooting sections for later on)
Our local children centre offers breast feeding groups. Best thing to do is to read about it and feed baby often. Often the milk doesn't come in before two to four days after birth (or even longer) so the first few days are tiring as baby will feed all the time, a little at a time, on colostrum (thick yellowish milk) I was shocked at how often they wanted to feed, every hour during the day, every half hour in the evening, and probably every two hours at night. The first few days and nights are tiring but this is normal. Try to find some help for the first few days so you can rest a lot.
I had a difficult start with both of mine, but managed to keep it going with the right support. Here's my handy tips .
1. My hospital would keep you in until you were happy with the feeding. I raced home with my first - big mistake. With my second I got as much help as I could and it really helped.
2. Speak to your community midwife or health visitor about local support groups. Great to go for advice, support or to get your latch checked.
3. As long as the baby is gaining weight, don't get obsessed by centiles.
4. Breastfeeding is hard at the beginning. Sure, for some it comes as naturally as anything, but for most of it is tough in the early days. Remember it gets easier.
5. It's a learned skill for both of you. Give yourself and your baby a chance to learn.
6. Don't expect to compare your baby to a FF baby in the early days. I remember being in hospital watching all the mums around me relaxing with their snoozing baby while all I did was feed and feed and feed. This is ok. The baby is building up your supply. It feels like they're not getting enough but it's fine.
7. Always call someone if you need help. Whether it's your health visitor or LLL or if you do the NCT course. Don't struggle through, get support.
HTH. These are the things I wish I'd known before having my first. Also nipple cream. Religiously
I just thought of a book too called The Food Of Love. It's very lighthearted with brilliant cartoons and illustrations but explains it all in a straightforward and reassuring way.
It really does depend on the hospital/unit, if it's a UNICEF baby friendly institute accredited hospital, then they are very likely to give you lots of support and won't discharge you until baby is feeding happily.
I agree that getting a book is a brilliant idea.
Learning to breastfeed is like learning to drive- there's no substitute for hands-on experience, but neither would you hop into a car for the first time without having studied the rules of the road.
The Womanly Art is the bible and definitely worth a read, but for lighter relief and something you could read in one sitting, I'd also recommend "The Food of Love" by Kate Evans. Lots of witty advice and good pictures.
It's great to read both early on to get an idea of what to expect, and then sort of "revise" them as Dday approaches! I also found hanging out on the Infant Feeding forum here gave me loads of insight.
I still wept my way through the first few days with DD of course, feeling like a failure, that I'd never get it right, etc etc. God I was hormonal! But the book prep did help, the midwives were very encouraging, and it all worked out in the end.
Good luck! It's a lovely thing to do once you've cracked it.
Pleased you could remember the author's name, diggum.
Thanks ladies this is all brilliant advise and has put my mind at ease x
I had to stay in hospital for 5 days much to my despair, I wanted out the same day! They recommend you stay 24 hours and are very supportive when it comes to breastfeeding, they don't kick you out after x amount of time so don't worry about that . After you leave, there are lots of breastfeeding support groups you can go to, BUT don't feel guilty if you can't for whatever reason. I couldn't due to low supply, DS was losing weight and I felt awful about it. Breastfeeding can be really hard and painful but if you really want to do it, stick with it until 6 weeks - that's when breastfeeding becomes 'established' and gets a lot easier!
I've got the details of 5 private consultants on standby. I don't trust the midwives or HV to help.
I think it's really important that your aware that it really does hurt in the beginning but the pain soon goes away. I found being prepared for this really helped me to get through it!
And nipple cream really can't be stressed enough, lasinoh, not the cheap stuff it doesn't work! And after EVERY feed.
The first few weeks are hard and then it becomes a doddle and it's so worth it.
darthvader by all means use any help you can get and breastfeeding consultants will be wonderful help, but don't decide now to not trust the midwifes or hv. They can be wonderful help too, and take as much advice from them as you feel you need!
'food of love' kate evans is very good and entertaining, I second that recommendation. I would add that looking for a breastfeeding groups in your area and go as many times as you can/want to before your baby is born. They are a real lifeline. IME they not only help with the 'mechanics' of breastfeeding but all the other things (emotions/practicalities/social stigma etc.) that can be associated with breastfeeding. Congratulations by the way!
The best I would advise you can do is a bit of preparation in case its not straightforward.
Get all your BF telephone numbers (MW, Local support group, private consultant - maybe even stuff like breast pump hire, baby chiropractor, tongue tie practitioner etc.if it's something you might use if there are problems) All in one easy to find place.
Find out where to buy stuff and what you might need - my DS wouldn't latch so I needed nipple shields and a pump ASAP. You dont need to buy them but you will need to be able to send someone out with clear instructions of what you want - make, model sizes and so on.
If you don't need the info- no loss, but knowing you have a bit of a plan B just in case can really help take the edge off the anxiety if you dont both immediately take to it .
Because you sound determined and pro active you've already given yourself a great head start. Good luck!
I think a lot of it depends on what's available in your area.
The MW who delivered my DD, was fab, helping us with our first few feeds....but then I went to the post-natal ward. They were shockingly understaffed. So even when I asked for help, there was no one available to help me.
We do have a breastfeeding cafe at the children's centre once a week, but that's a bit hit and miss depending on how many people turn up.
In the end, I couldn't get the hang of it on my own, and gave up after 3 weeks and formula fed.
But my friend, who gave birth a week after me, in a different area of the country, got visits from a lactation consultant who did some sort of breastfeeding magic on her, and she is still breastfeeding her son now at 15 months
Look for support groups in your area, ask the midwives for help, know of a lactation consultant you can call on if you need help. And it may all be fine. I was prepared for bleeding nipples, non stop feeding and no sleep but my baby latched on perfectly from day 1 and it was easy from the start. I wasn't quite prepared for the frequency of feeding in the beginning but all in all breastfeeding was probably the easiest thing for me. We hear all the hard, tough stories but just wanted you to know it can all be fine.
The best advice I got at a prenatal class was to express in the shower from week 39. The first day nothing came, the second day it took 15 mins for a drop, the third day 10 mins for 2 drops etc.
By the end of the week my colostrum was near the surface and I did keep it up all the way to 10 days overdue!
No question it helped that first night. Baby got a hit straight away and never got hungry/frustrated. Hence I had a fairly stress free first night apart from the sleeplessness.
And I packed lanisoh in my hospital bag and used it religiously from Feed 1 until I stopped BFing. Never had any chafing. I had tubes all over the house!
Yes lanisoh is brilliant, keep it somewhere warm so it's easier to apply.
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