Would you like to be a member of our research panel? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.
Planning to breastfeed but am I being unrealistic? Advice and experience please(44 Posts)
I'm 35 weeks pregnant and have always wanted to breastfeed because of the benefits to baby!
After speaking with the health visitor she advised that to establish a good milk supply I shouldn't express milk in the 1st month.
I'm totally happy to breastfeed for the 1st month but the thought of breastfeeding in public is making me cringe and the ideal solution I think would be to express milk for feeds out and about, is this realistic? I'm not totally sure as baby may become confused between bottle and breast?
Just really unsure what to do I have no friends or family who have breast fed and most people around me can't understand why I want to breastfeed so much.
Just want to add that I dont see anything wrong in breastfeeding in public I juse would feel very uncomfortable it's a personal feeling before anyone gets defensive!
Any breastfeeding advice is so welcome!!! Thankyou
I think - the first few weeks, are you going to be out and about much anyway?? I'd say, stay at home on the sofa as much as possible and have little close-by excursions to stop you getting cabin fever (is it your first?). Then you can feed at home till you're a bit more confident etc . Then you do t have to be worrying or making decisions now.
I hated expressing and blame it for getting mastitis with my first baby - I got all She Who Must Not Be Named about it and ended up with oversupply problems. I ditched the pump with DCs 2 and 3 and had a much happier experience. But some people get on really well with it.
Ps the absolute best advice I got about Bfing was - don't worry too much in the first few days about if they're "getting any" or not; wet nappies = good and as long as you have that, relax. I was lucky to have a fat little baby so I wasn't too anxious about him losing weight etc and that really helped a lot. And do try and feed as soon after birth as possible; I think that really helps as they're kind of programmes to latch on etc. I was lucky with all mine though and found it pretty easy (REALLY wasn't expecting to - I and all my siblings were bottle fed as my mum never could get the hang of it).
Yed my 1st and totally clueless on breastfeeding
Thankyou for that advise especially about the first few weeks. Youre right once I have gotten into it I might feel totally different and more confident!
I found expressing really hard and frustrating tbh. My baby was very happy to breast feed and every time i tried to express there was precious little left! I used to cry because i couldnt even get enough for one feed. In the end i just forgot about expressing and fed when out and about. I dont venture out of my home town mostly so i went to places i was familiar with and knew were bf friendly. My friend uses a breast feeding cover type thing when feeding out and about.
Expressing is a separate challenge all its own, and in the first few weeks you're still getting your supply regulated (which expressing can get in the way of). Unless you have to, I'd strongly suggest not to bother; as pp have said, you're unlikely to move far from the sofa for a while anyway! When you do feel ready to venture out, you might find there's a local breastfeeding group that you could decide to have as your first outing (the one near me is in a nursery school, so private) so if you do need to feed the baby while you're out, it won't feel like such a big deal.
At first I was really embarrassed but I soon got over it. You get good at covering yourself, and making sure your appropriately dressed (one under one over). And most town centres cater with some kind of bfing area.
Tbh expressing is a whole other level of faf and if you can avoid it im sure you will!
Also I'm pretty sure you won't be out that much in the first month.
Breast feeding is fab if you can make it work, it gives you so much more freedom. So good luck I hope it works for you
For the first couple of weeks my DS would only take expressed milk from a bottle. I slowly but surely weaned him ON to the boob by switching mid feed.
No issues with supply, and DS was a happy well fed baby.
Expressing is a bit of a pain, but I was able to build up a decent stash that I could freeze and use when we were out or letting DH feed him.
When it comes to BF in public I'd say go with the flow, you really don't show much flesh and no-one ever commented to me.
My advice would be to wear a vest under your top rather than bother with BF tops, then it's top up, vest down and pop baby on. Whilst you're getting the hang of it you could consider a cover, I had a lightweight infinity scarf thing that I used at the beginning, once you're a bit more practised you will be able to get the baby on and off without flashing anyone. There really is no need to have your boobs flapping about in my experience.
I was too lazy for bottles and the best thing about BF is that it is so convenient when you are out, no making up bottles and waiting for them to cool down etc.
I wouldn't worry about it too much now see how you feel when the baby is here
Expressing is lots of extra work and expressing and then skipping feeds by giving a bottle might mess with your supply a bit. Do you think you could work on your confidence to feed out and about? Maybe use a cover if that helps, or go to quiet places or places with feeding rooms the first few trips out? A lot of the time unless you whip a whole boob out people would have to be looking hard to realise that you are feeding.
Also, and this is unrelated to feeding out and about, it is totally normal for baby to want to feed all the time to start, cluster feeding goes on for 6-8 weeks or so and it can be exhausting but it really does get easier. I am writing this while feeding my youngest ds who fed constantly for 8 weeks after he was born.
I think expressing for out and about, particularly in the early days, would be a huge faff and may mess with your supply. Before I had DS1, I hadn't clocked how many bfing areas there were around and about. Nearest city to me (Southanpton) there is John Lewis, Boots, Mothercare, Debenhams, IKEA and, I think, mamas and papas. I never noticed any of these places previous to having a baby.
Just enjoy the breast feeding bit first before you even start to think about expressing. The beauty of breast feeding is the flexibility and ease - why anyone would want to faff about expressing and bothering with bottles beats me!
I had massive oversupply so found expressing really easy from pretty early, but I know it isn't really recommended in the first few weeks.
Also the best thing about BF as far as I was concerned was that I could go out without faffing with bottles or worrying about not having enough milk with me. As others have said you do get quite good at doing it discreetly. I BF until dd was 18 months and never had a negative comment when out. In fact I did have a few very positive comments, one memorable one from a vicar when i was feeding outside a cathedral.
I would say try not to worry about it now and see how you go. Maybe start by trying feeding out somewhere you feel comfortable such as a baby group meet up or in a BF friendly cafe with a nice corner. Big muslins are a bonus if you want a bit of privacy and have a baby who doesn't mind having something over them when feeding.
If you are feeling self concious one of the cover ups with a hoop neck (so you can see baby) might be a good idea. Like this type of thing www.daisybabyshop.co.uk/breastfeeding-cover/breastfeeding-cover-brown-with-baby-blue-spots
It didn't come naturally to me at first but my Mum gently bullied me into carrying on and I ended up breastfeeding both my sons for over a year - it was such a fabulous option once we got the hang of it, easy cheap and instant, without even thinking about the health benefits. I do miss all those cosy cuddly feeds! I'd also look out for local baby cafés/breastfeeding groups as they can give you lots of advice on getting baby to latch properly that will make it easier, and give you more confidence when you do feel like getting out and about. Good luck!
I tried to express but never got much with a breast pump. Then ds rejected bottles completely, screamed everytime a bottle went near his mouth. Went straight from breast to sippy cup after a few months.
However I had no problem breastfeeding.
So expressing is not a realistic option for everyone. Some breast feeding covers are great and it is easier to placate a screaming baby in a cafe when you don't have to faff with bottle.
Some women find it very easy to express, others can't at all but nevertheless breastfeed very successfully (I am in the second category!).
Some tips for helping you feel more comfortable about breastfeeding outside the house:
- Wait until you are confident feeding at home first- e.g. what position works best for you.
- Get some proper breastfeeding tops, which allow you to latch the baby on without exposing too much skin.
- Always have a giant muslin or scarf to hand, so that you can drape it over yourself whilst you latch the baby on.
- Try going to a local breastfeeding group.
- Find out which local shops/ shopping centres have parents' rooms which you can use for feeding (John Lewis is really good for this!).
IME, few people actually notice whether you are feeding the baby or just having a cuddle. A small baby is a great excuse for finding a nice cafe and getting yourself coffee and cake whilst you breastfeed them
I started expressing on day 3 as I would have given up bf otherwise. We took expressed milk out wherever we went and dh did some night feeds with it. It also meant dd would take the bottle, whereas if you wait the recommended time they do sometimes refuse the bottle.
It was hard work though, as when we were home I was either feeding dd or expressing milk for the night/day trips.
I also read around 4am is when the hormones are the highest for breastfeeding so I'd always do the feeds from 4am and express soon after as it's easier to express in the mornings.
I also had a breastfeeding cover which I used in public once as we ran out of milk!
Thankyou ladies. Really think I need to concentrate more on my feeling abour breastfeeding rather than worrying about expressing! I know i 100% want to BF i just feel really nervous about it not sure why hopefully when little one I'd here ill wonder what all my fussing was about!
Also, i think some of the stories about people getting aggro when Bfing in public must be a bit exaggerated. I fed 3 x DCs for a year each, frequently in public, and no one ever batted an eyelid. See how you feel when you get there; one day at a time and all that. Not long to go now!!!
Not everyone is able to effectively express. I would honestly just see how you feel when your baby is here. Other than hospital appointment I have not feed out side the house yet, my baby is four weeks old. I have been out to cafes, shopping etc but not as much as most due to c section complications.
There is a free app which you might like to down load called feed finder, it is like trip advisor for breast feeding.
Yeah just a mother voice to say don't express if you don't have to. It's not a glamorous process
massive understatement and with your first at the beginning you will get nearly no milk which will be disheartening and probably worry you too. If you are not surrounded by breastfeeding cheerleaders, then I would just say, ignore their opinions on breastfeeding because they won't have a clue, do get in touch with your breastfeeding peer support group at a local sure start or lll before you start so you have somewhere to go quickly for advice (although mumsnet is fab!!) and don't expect to be able to feel/see the milk levels. The baby knows what it's doing. All you have to do is very frequently let them have a try at feeding. The bottle feeders around you will tell you the baby is feeding too often, or just feeding for comfort. They aren't! Just ignore!
Re feeding in public after you are confident at home, as everyone else suggested, buy yourself some nice plain stretchy long vests from h&m or primark and wear your normal tops over the top (h&m maternity section do some nice ones with a built in bra bit which are good and comfy plus the let down straps). Lift your normal top up, pull the vest top down and you have only the envelope space between for your nipple area which is all baby is interested in so no one sees anything! But it does take some practice and is easier as the baby grows. The first month is just survival, don't expect to get out much in the first month. Short walks and visits to family is about it really! If you need to go to the shops, get something quick and local where baby can wait for a feed, or online. Once you are used to feeding in pucnic it really is the biggest. Convenience as you don't have to take any equipment at all! Why would you express and get rid of one of the advantages! Nobody gives a toss, nobody looks. I've been breastfeeding all over for five years and never had anyone take a second glance.
I had to express to get my milk to come through as Dd was 3weeks early. With help of a lactation consultant I was fully bfing by 6weeks. (Milk came in attending 4 weeks). I started expressing 3months later to freeze, get a lay in but I can't seem to getc a lot out but my Dd continues to thrive from the tap!
I use bf tops, I love them they make me feel less exposed, but I don't think they are essential. I've been feeding her everywhere, days out to castles etc, cafes, shopping, the local library. Only place I had an incident was at the hospital! An elderly gentleman was staring at us while feeding, but an elderly lady at another table shot him with dagger eyes, which he noticed and stopped, then she gave me a very kind smile and nod!
Before I gained my confidence feeding in public I used to pop back to the car to feed. I kept a book and a bottle of water in there and it worked fine. It doesn't take long to get confident though and no one can see anything whereas expressing is very time consuming and a bit of a faff when you are tired plus you then have to lug around a bag etc. I regularly went out with just a wrap and a small handbag with a spare nappy and wipes.
In the early days you can, if you want, aim to go to places where you can feed in private - there are more than you think as pp have said.
When your baby is really little, a muslin over your shoulder can do as a cover up and after a while you'll realise that people can't really see anything anyway and it mostly looks like you're cuddling. Back to the room in a cafe is a good option if you're still feeling unsure.
I was more bothered about showing off my wobbly belly than anything which is where vest tops come in handy. Unclip feeding bra and pull down vest top rather than lifting a shirt or whatever. The baby's head covers your breast in any case.
It is best to wait really...you might find that the baby doesn't like bottles at all. Do you have any mum and baby groups you can go to in the early days? I got loads of tips from there, but I still didn't feel confident doing it in public. I expressed if we went out or gave formula, so I eventually combi fed until 5 months. Have you considered this if you really will feel uncomfortable? I expressed at 2 weeks and DD was fine with bottle or breast...but I have been told I am lucky to have a baby that doesn't mind either. I do wish I had tried it in public as maybe once you've done it, you might not feel as bad as you think. Xx
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.