FTM - breastfeeding tips? will I definitely be able to breastfeed?

(25 Posts)
strawberrycheesecake1989 Tue 08-Sep-20 19:27:06

Hi there, I'm 38 weeks pregnant and I did notice my breasts leak once or twice a couple of months but nothing since. should I have expected milk to have come in by now? I've heard that the colostrum can come in once baby is born but is there a chance there's something wrong and I won't be able to breastfeed? what if I go to breastfeed and there's nothing in there? am I just being mad by this point?

I bought a breastpump a little while ago whilst I was getting organised. would you recommend me starting to use it to see if I can collect any colostrum? I've heard of women doing this a few weeks prior to due date but for some reason I have a feeling it wouldn't even be successful.

my boobs definitely feel different but I thought they would be quite big and full by this point but physically they haven't changed much during this pregnancy apart from the nipples being darker.

thanks in advance for any help

also any newborn breastfeeding tips welcome as I have had basically zero help or advice from any of the midwives - even getting an appointment is a challenge!

OP’s posts: |
daisyphase Tue 08-Sep-20 19:38:11

I don’t think you need to do anything to prepare. Your body knows when baby is born. Have a water bottle that you can drink from at any angle at the ready. It’s amazing how thirsty you’ll feel about 10 secs into feeding. Good luck!

unimaginativeusernamehere Tue 08-Sep-20 19:40:51

It's very rare for a woman to not make milk for her baby. More breastfeeding issues tend to be around latch issues etc rather than lack of milk.

Oneandabean Tue 08-Sep-20 19:42:15

I didn’t leak at all during my first pregnancy. Unfortunately my daughter wouldn’t latch on but managed to express and had a really good milk supply, the mw were even surprised. But I had nothing before and didn’t express before. Your milk supply will be fine once baby is born don’t stress

SelmaB Tue 08-Sep-20 19:42:56

Hi OP, you won't have milk yet. Your milk typically comes in around 3-5 days after delivery. Before this, you produce colostrum. In order to stimulate your milk, you need to feed feed feed. Lots of skin to skin. Feed on demand. Feed at night. Cluster feed - this is where the baby basically stays on the breast for a few hours at a time. It is very normal for breastfed babies to lose around 10% of their weight in the first 3 days before your milk arrives. My first lost 9% and my second lost 9.5%. This does not mean there is a problem. As soon as my milk came in, all was well. You do not need to "top up" with formula (obv you can if you want) - you just need to keep feeding. The only signs of supply issues are poor nappy output and too much weight loss / failure to gain. Fussiness, frequent feeds, night feeds, cluster feeds and so on, are all very normal. By around 6 weeks you should feel like a milk machine and then you know you're on the right track! Don't expect your baby to go 3-4 hours between feeds for a good few months. My advice is to drink plenty of fluids, eat well and rest when you can. I also found co-sleeping a lifesaver for those long nights, so it may be worth looking up safe co-sleeping guidelines. At this point in your pregnancy the best thing you can do is research breastfeeding and what to expect - the kellymom website is great - and maybe watch a few videos on YouTube of how to latch your baby. There's not much else really. Good luck and congratulations!

Superscientist Tue 08-Sep-20 19:44:15

I wouldn't use your pump to collect collosterum, you get such small amounts ~1ml so if you use a pump it will all be lost in the pump and not collected properly. You can get syringes to hand express in to if that is something you want to consider.

Some women get collosterum in advance some don't, it's not an indicator of milk supply. The trigger for your body to produce milk is the delivery of your placenta. You will produce collosterum for a few days then your milk will come in properly around day 2 or 3 after birth.

MrsMaglev Tue 08-Sep-20 19:44:15

Congrats!

I BFed DC1 til 14 months and currently at 3 months and counting with DC2.

I sweated breastfeeding A LOT first time round. I didn't find it easy to do and my son lost a lot of weight in first few weeks which made me feel terrible. Lots of midwives and lactation consiltants gave me lots of advice about different golfing styles, that I was doing it wrong to hold baby crossways across lap, that I needed more/less/different pillows to prop up etc.

We eventually found our own rhythm and I feel proud to have stuck with it and pleased I could feed him. But it doesn't always come easy!

Best advice I could give is try to relax about it - all babies are different and all boobs are different. Do what feels natural (look up laid back nurturing for feeding newborns). The website kellymom has a lot of practical advice.

Here's some self care advice too though - it can be hard so if you're struggling keep reaching out to people in real life and online. Be very kind to yourself, try to take breaks and if SO is around get him to do lions share of nappy changes etc. And always have a huge bottle of water near you! (By near you I mean within arms reach, 6 inches out of reach may as well be two miles until you're feeling confident!!)

Huge disclaimer you may find it all really easy - plenty of women do - but please don't be like me and feel bad if you struggle.

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OnlyFoolsnMothers Tue 08-Sep-20 19:46:14

I didn’t leak and had no issues breastfeeding. I was never in pain and found it, luckily, very straight forward. I was just ill prepared for how much a baby feeds. I thought every few hours- my LO was on my breast for hours at a time. Also bought a pump and hated it, endless hours spent feeding, last thing I wanted was to then pump
On top of that- hell no.

Gerdticker Tue 08-Sep-20 19:48:28

You are doing the right thing by asking for help now so that’s a great start smile

I think if you’re educated as much as poss, and prepared to work at it, you’ve got an excellent chance for it to go great!

My friends that haven’t done any research and just presumed it would be ‘natural’ and ‘easy’ have struggled the worst. For example, Once you get really sore nipples it’s harder to fix - best try to avoid them in the first place.

I’m sure everyone will give excellent advice here, but my one bit of advice would be: get the midwives to talk you through the latch SEVERAL times before you leave hospital. It’s a knack that’s easy to get wrong in the early days. Don’t let baby drink until the latch is spot on.

If you hit any problems when you get home, don’t hesitate to ask health visitor/ midwife or even a breast feeding consultant for help

When it goes well breast feeding is AMAZING and worth the initial effort. It’s so lovely for health, bonding... and super convenient!

Excited for you smile good luck xx

thatplaceinjordan Tue 08-Sep-20 19:48:29

Drink well
Eat more

Relax

Don't worry about how much your baby is having- you can't measure amounts from breast.

You will never express as much as a baby can get from your breasts themselves.

The red book(U.K.) takes days from American bottle
Fed babies in the 40's and is not a reliable method for tracking babies weight gain and health.

Trust yourself

Ask for help

Relax

You are not a failure if you can't or give up!

Twizbe Tue 08-Sep-20 19:51:00

I never leaked before birth and I've breastfed 2 babies now (one exclusively)

I really recommend you having a read of KellyMom, la leche league and NCT websites. I also really recommend a book called your baby week by week.

Read up on the fourth trimester and what is normal newborn behaviour (cluster feeding, evening grizzles etc)

Also have a look on Facebook for your local support groups. Many have now gone online and not all are found via your midwife or health visitor.

The hardest thing with first time breastfeeding is trusting your body is making enough milk. The signs to look for are lots of wet nappies and weight gain.

june2007 Tue 08-Sep-20 19:51:18

My advice.
1) find a local support group
2)look up sites like Kelly mom, Association of breast feeding mothers, Le Leche League uk, Breast feeding network.
See if your local NHS or childrens centres are doing antenatel sessions on breast feeding.
Look up Dr Jack Neuman. He is a Caadian mostly working in US but he is very knowledgable.

TwinkleStars15 Tue 08-Sep-20 19:52:09

@strawberrycheesecake1989 I 100% echo what @SelmaB said, she hit the nail on the head so to speak. It is extremely rare for a women not to produce milk, so take that thought out of your head. You shouldn’t use a pump to collect colostrum, it is too thick and will just get lost in the mechanism of the pump - you need to hand express to collect colostrum, and easy to store in tiny 1ml syringes. Please don’t panic about not leaking, I have had two babies and never ever leaked. I am currently feeding my 6 day old as well as a nighttime feed for my 3 year old and I have never been able to pump, I just don’t get any milk out at all, yet I can successfully feed two children! Everyone is different. Kellymom is a great site, try and read as much as you can xx

Itsrainingnotmen Tue 08-Sep-20 19:53:29

I have bf 11 dc. Never used a breast pump. Never felt the need.
Boobs are in canny nick imo (and dh's!!)
Never occurred to me I would have any problems. Had a dd very young and was prob naive as obviously some women do...

TwinkleStars15 Tue 08-Sep-20 19:56:18

Some great advice on here grin
Also, don’t let anyone tell you to eat/drink certain foods to “increase your supply” - there is no scientific research to prove that anything (other than a prescribed medication) will increase your supply, and one of the popular recommendations has actually decreased some women’s supply. The only thing that can increase milk supply is by removing milk from your breast, either via feeding, pumping or hand expressing. It’s a supply and demand thing.

nicknamehelp Tue 08-Sep-20 19:56:25

Eat and drink lots. Rest when baby does. Have a comfy spot with drink/snack handy. Get a good nipple cream. Expect may take time for u and baby to work it out and try not to worry. But remember if it doesn't a bottle fed baby does not mean u are a failure.

Mamabear2020 Tue 08-Sep-20 19:56:43

Milk tends to come in 3-5 days after baby is born, not before.

Colostrum is usually only available in tiny amounts prior to birth - babies belly is only the size of a marble so they dont need much to begin with. I wouldnt bother even trying to express before baby arrives, it will likely just stress you out and once baby arrives its better for them to be feeding direct if possible.

There is always a possibility that you wont be able to breastfeed but the majority of women can. Most issues are down to latch/tongue tie, both of which can be helped.

1. Have a look and youtube in advance at some different positions for feeding
2. line up some box sets as they feed a LOT in the first month or so (cluster feeding can last hours and is a normal way of building up your milk supply - it does not mean your baby is starving and you dont have enough milk. Rely on weigh ins and wet nappies to check baby is having enough!)
3. get some snacks in as well as that water bottle, breastfeeding made me ravenous in the early days
4. Also check out some techniques for putting enough boob into babys mouth on YouTube - some babies just 'get it' and others need help - they learn with you. If baby is sucking on nipple only, itll get sore fast; breastfeeding not nipplefeeding
5. stock up on lansinoh cream
6. Dont be afraid to ask for help. Lots of health board have a dedicated feeding team who can give you a hand - if not, the midwife or health visitor will have seen it all before!
7. Familiarise yourself with the signs of mastitis and thrush (just in case!)

TwinkleStars15 Tue 08-Sep-20 19:57:24

@Itsrainingnotmen 11 children?! You’re like some kind of superhero shock

strawberrycheesecake1989 Tue 08-Sep-20 20:59:51

Thank you so much everyone for all your tips and advice I will definitely take not of all of this and check out those websites (had never heard of them!) Also, thank you for the reassurance - feel a lot better about it all now! x

OP’s posts: |
slaveforpeppa Tue 08-Sep-20 21:09:03

Hi Strawberry cheesecake.
My advice is to reach out now to local breastfeeding advisors or local groups.

I believe it takes a village to be frank, you need someone to talk you through it what to expect, to show you how to when your baby is born and to have a lactation consultant on hand if you have any issues.

My experience is not typical in that DC was ill following the birth and was in the neo natal unit so I had to express for the 1st 2 weeks.

DC also had a tongue tie that needed cut twice, we used the nipple shields for the 1st few months as I couldn't get DC to latch on without them because of the tongue tie.

I have amazing help from my best friend who had a village, I had peer support when my daughter was born visit me in hospital and I had an army of mothers who breastfeed help me in my journey of 100 % expressing to then feeding DC.

They were all incredible and having someone you could message/ what's app and ask all the questions you have as they arise was brilliant.

So that's my advise, get support from everywhere you can, you need it. So many women want to breastfeed but really struggle with it without proper support. I think it's an incredibly important issue of feminism that it isn't supported as much as it should be.

For me it's been am amazing experience and I love being able to feed my DC and know that DC is getting the best I can give.

Oh and I didn't have any milk come in until after the birth.

Producing that first expressed milk felt like finding all the gold in the world.

Good luck

peachypetite Tue 08-Sep-20 21:10:34

I’ve signed up to a la leche class
www.laleche.org.uk/antenatal-courses/

MaryMashedThem Tue 08-Sep-20 21:21:49

I second the recommendation of Dr Jack Newman's website, he's super knowledgeable about breastfeeding, and also really reassuring and down to earth. There were so many things I worried about in the early days and the information on his site reassured me that it was all normal! He also has some great videos to help you recognise if the baby is latching well and what to do to fix it if they aren't.

The other piece of advice I'd offer is if you can find someone to show you how to breastfeed lying down, do it. We're 10 months in and DS has never woken up fewer than 5 times in a night. If I couldn't breastfeed him half-asleep in bed (we cosleep) I wouldn't have been able to cope. I didn't figure out the lying-down feeds until he was about 4 months old (my mum showed me in the end, and then it still took a bit of practice) but it was a total game changer.

Best of luck with the birth and the feeding!

zeddybrek Tue 08-Sep-20 21:27:51

Learn the early signs of when s baby is hungry and don't be surprised if it's every 5 mins at first. Some signs are really subtle but try and learn then now. Also mine calmed down when I matched them when they were fussing. It's not just food it's a huge comfort for them.

Nipple shields are great if you get sore nipples. Buy one of each size of you can. Nipple sizing isn't easy. This saved me and I BF for 6 months and it wasn't possible had I used shield intermittently when I needed a break.

Skin to skin is also very important. If baby is going through a growth spurt latch latch latch and lots of skin to skin helps increase your supply.

Good luck!

Orangedaisy Tue 08-Sep-20 21:34:59

Good advice here. Also don’t make any plans at all for first several weeks. I’ve had a good few friends struggle to breastfeed as they’ve been trying to pop all over the place with their baby and trying to establish bf at the same time. Never going to work imo. Your sofa, the tv and kind occasional guests will be plenty. You will get out but do it spontaneously round what works for you and baby, not what has been put in the diary beforehand. For both my DDs this is what nailed it for me, for DD2 we were super fortunate DP could take 6 weeks off (holiday and pat leave) so he could deal with DD1 while I fed, snuggled and rested with DD2.

Iwonder08 Tue 08-Sep-20 22:49:19

1) insist on getting the baby assessed for a tongue tie even if Bfeeding works at the beginning
2) use nipple cream after every feed even if it doesn't hurt
3)get the contact details of your local Bfeeding support group, mine was amazing
4)dont use a pump in the first months if avoidable
5) skin to skin contact(think lying in bed (awake!) cuddling with the naked baby) helps to produce more milk among other things

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