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If you are planning to breastfeed...

(28 Posts)
boolean Mon 11-Aug-08 11:34:12

This is probably a stupid question but as a baffled first time please forgive me!!

I am planning to breastfeed but am not sure whether I still need to get bottles, breastpump and sterilising equipment before the baby arrives. Am I right in thinking that you shouldn't bottlefeed expressed milk straight away, but wait for a few weeks?

Also, my sister in law had problems with breastfeeding and her husband ended up going out at 2am looking for formula so should I get all that sort of stuff sorted out now, just in case??

MarkStretch Mon 11-Aug-08 11:36:06

I would say it wouldn't hurt to have a couple of bottles just incase but you could waste a lot of money buying a load of stuff you won't need.

I b/f and bought a pump and a couple of bottles which could be sterilised in the microwave.

That was all I needed.

MerlinsBeard Mon 11-Aug-08 11:38:40

if you want to express eventually, when you buy your pump, they usually come with a bottle. When DS2 was born i had a small carton of ready made formula in 'just in case' but i didn't use it in the end. It took the pressure off me HAVING to get it right though. (The pressure was all from myself i must point out!)

belgo Mon 11-Aug-08 11:39:30

It is possible to get by without ever needing a bottle. I managed it for several months, but it was very hard for the first few weeks, I found breastfeedgin painful, and there were some moments in the middle of the night when I felt like asking dh to go and hunt for some formula milk! I'm glad I didn't have formula milk in the house, I not have successfully breastfed if I had. But if it makes you feel more comfortable to have some for an absolute emergency, if breastfeeding is going very badly for you, then that's up to you.

Do you know where to go to get good breastfeeding advice?

moondog Mon 11-Aug-08 11:40:58

Breastfeeding is an art.It takes time to master. Having formula in the house tempts you to say 'sod it' and crack it open.

moondog Mon 11-Aug-08 11:41:17

That is something you may regret in the future.

hanaflower Mon 11-Aug-08 11:44:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hercules1 Mon 11-Aug-08 11:46:25

With my first child I bought nothing, got crap advice I believed in the hospital and ended up sending dh out in the middle of the nigth to get bottles. Fortunately got proper advice the next day and ditched the bottles.

With dd I bought nothing and ignored the advice given to me in the hospitals and needed nothing else.

As moondog says it is an art and requires work and having formula to hand will mean you'll probably give up sooner.

fishie Mon 11-Aug-08 11:48:51

i did have a tub of formula as had trouble getting bf established, but no bottles as was cup feeding. i was so thrilled when i had to throw it away because it had expired. never managed to get anywhere with pumping so the bottle i have has only ever seen use as a measure for salad dressings.

better preparation would be to arm yourself with lots of info about where you can get help in your area (should it be needed)and prime everyone that you will be sitting down and getting feeding established for a while and they are to help you by making that possible, not offering bottles.

Notyummy Mon 11-Aug-08 11:49:39

You don't need formula in the house. It may help you to decide what kind of breast pump you might want and see if you can borrow one. Trying to work out how to work one when you are in the middle of a 'new baby' haze can be tricky....and you are right, generally the advice is not to bottlefeed expressed milk until you have got a supply comfortably established, and the baby seems settled and is feeding well. that means different things to different people. I started expressing at 3 weeks and dh gave a bottle a day from then on and it was GREAT. Other people start later, or only do it occasionally. The other thing to think about is budget. DH and I could afford to go out and buy an electric sterilizer and electric breast pump, even though I planned to breastfeed, purely to help me with the expressing process. That was an outlay of about £120/130 if memory serves me correctly, with no guarantee that the stuff would be regularly used. We wanted the kit in advance so we knew how to work it etc. This approach would not be for everyone.

VictorianSqualor Mon 11-Aug-08 11:50:03

Wilfsell posted a great post on this recently, let me find it.

i would definetly get bottles, steriliser straight away as well incase.
i expressed when she was a few motnhs so that dh could feed her too and breast feeding was very hard for me then at least you have both options

VictorianSqualor Mon 11-Aug-08 11:52:10

I've copy n pasted what she said from this thread..

you need to develop some confidence about breastfeeding before and when the baby arrives, and you and your DH could really benefit from speaking to someone who knows about it. Is there a local BF group you could attend to get some experience? Or could you find a local BF counsellor? Or is there a midwife BF specialist at your local maternity unit?

I'm afraid it the first port of call when the 'baby is crying and won't feed' is formula without trying some other things first, then BF is likely to stop fairly soon afterwards because BF relies on demand to keep the flow up.

for example, it is really common to imagine that a baby is 'crying and not feeding' in the first 2-5 days after birth. But what happens is (typically) like this: baby often has a first suckle straight after birth. Then anytime from a few hours up to two days or so, baby will start to suck like mad, crying frequently in between to suck again. Sometimes this need to suck (crying) happens every hour for up to 24-48 hours. It can be exhausting! But this is necessary - because the baby is sucking to drain the breast and draining the breast is what makes more milk.

Sure, a bottle of Hipp formula or whatever in this period will make a baby full and quiet. And keep DHs from feeling anxious! But what happens in this kind of situation is then not enough milk is made to provide a full tummy, so when baby goes back to the breast, the crying and very frequent feeding starts again. Mum can't see any milk coming out and assumes 'she has none'. More formula is given; even less breastmilk is produced... And so on, until BF stops altogether.

So having a bottle of formula on standby, while it seems like a good idea, can often mean the end of BF completely. not always but in order to get a good BMilk supply, it is important for you and your supporters to understand how breastfeeding works: the more your baby sucks, the more milk you will produce. Just because you can't see it going in, doesn't mean it isn't. Experienced midwives and BF counsellors will be able to tell if your baby is getting milk from the wet nappies, colour of baby's poo and general wellbeing.

If the baby doesn't feed for some reason, there are other things you can do: express some milk and feed from a cup or syringe; hand express to try and get your milk flowing. You can get instant help from a breastfeeding helpline for much of the day and evening. You can change the position of the baby's mouth to get a better latch and thus get more milk out. You can try taking your top of and undressing the baby and snuggling up to let them latch in their own time and 'naturally' or take a bath with them. You can let them suck more and as long as they want to...

The plan to have formula is the very very last one I would choose if I wanted to BF, knowing what I know now...

As a very last resort, it you do feel you need to give it, there are 24 hour supermarkets you can send someone to...?

ScaryHairy Mon 11-Aug-08 11:53:42

I disagree that having formula in the house will make you give up breastfeeding sooner.

For me, breastfeeding had a strong psychological element. If I was stressing that my milk wasn't coming (fast enough or at all) it rapidly became a self-fulfilling prophesy. Knowing that I had formula to hand and that my child would not go hungry helped me to stay as relaxed as possible.

Oh, and my formula also expired and has been binned.

ScaryHairy Mon 11-Aug-08 11:55:58

Although I do agree with VS's post.
Lots of my friends have been told that their babies were starving in the early days because they were sucking a lot and not becoming full. They were told to give their babies formula because the hospital staff did not appear to realise that this constant suckling is entirely normal.

So I would get the formula if you think it will help, but arm yourselves with soem info on how breastfeeding is established too.

boolean Mon 11-Aug-08 12:26:47

Thanks all. Sounds like the most important thing is to not give up and call someone for support if it's going badly, then. I am seeing the community midwife tomorrow so will ask her about help/groups etc then. I do have friends I can call but not in the same city so it would be nice to see if there's any local networks.

Thanks for all the advice!

MrsTittleMouse Mon 11-Aug-08 12:34:35

VS is right - all the BF babies on my postnatal ward were crying and feeding all the time, and the FF baby was sleeping. But it was worth it in the end as <lazy Mum alert> it was so much more convenient than faffing about sterilising and having to be organised to have enough when you go out etc. etc. It was lovely to just grab the nappy bag and go, knowing that DD would never go hungry or thirsty.

As long as you have a 24 hour Tescos and a DH/DP/GP around, then there really is no need to buy anything in "just in case". I hated expressing, by the way. Is there any reason why you are so keen?

Seabright Mon 11-Aug-08 13:02:49

Why not join your local freecycle group www.freecycle.org and get some kit via it? That's what I've done, then I don't worry about spending (yet more) money.

I'm hoping to breastfeed but I had a large (benign) tumour removed from one breast so I'm aware it may not be possible to do 100% breastfeeding and that expressing or a mixture of formula/breast/expressing might be the way for me to go, due to my one dodgy boob!

For me, I am just happier being ready for whatever happens by having some kit ready - and much happier because I haven't had to pay for it!

VictorianSqualor Mon 11-Aug-08 13:07:12

I have a MAM handpump kit I only used once as I got it free from them when they were giving them away.
CAT me if you want it.

Scarletibis Mon 11-Aug-08 13:27:32

Hi Boolean - I didn't have bottles etc in the house and I don't think you need them.

As Mrs Tittlemouse says expressing is hard work. I wasted a lot of time with my first - faffing around expressing and storing breastmilk that she did not drink. I did not bother with DD2.

slinkiemalinki Mon 11-Aug-08 13:39:35

I had a carton of formula in the house, I ended up giving it away - I had a totally determined approach not to break the seal and despite a few hiccups I didn't.
I did buy the pump and all that gubbins and used it all once she was 4 weeks. DH and I went out for a meal once a week and my mum babysat and did the late feed. It meant we had no problems switching to bottles at 8 months or so when I gave up, and I was very glad of the night off! But I have heard expressing is not for everyone and certainly wouldn't bother so that someone else can feed the baby while I'm sitting there. There are other ways to bond!

boolean Mon 11-Aug-08 13:51:44

MrsTittleMouse - mainly keen on the idea of letting my other half do a night feed or two so I can get some sleep!!

VictorianSqualor - that would be fab, thank you! Although I don't know what CAT is or how to do it!! blush

MrsTittleMouse Mon 11-Aug-08 14:04:47

Ah I see. Sadly that isn't usually a good idea - especially in the first weeks - as the evening and night feeds are the ones that ensure that your supply is kept up. So you're more likely to have supply issues if you express in the day to give bottles at night.
I've posted on here before about the typical EBM situation - the Mum half kills herself expressing between feeds (not always easy - I would struggle to get an ounce or two), the Mum labels and freezes the milk, the Mum organises stock control and defrosts the appropriate amount with the right date, the Mum sterilises all the bottles (and the pump). Then the Dad sits down in an easy chair and gives the bottle and tells everyone how happy he is to be "helping". grin

chipmonkey Mon 11-Aug-08 14:09:17

Just a word of warning if you have an interfering mother or MIL!!

When ds1 was a week old, I decided to go to the supermarket. I left ds1 with dh and MIL. I was gone for one hour and had fed him just before I left. When I came back, they had opened the "emergency" formula and taken the "emergency" bottle out of the packet and were about to give ds1 a bottle because he was crying. They hadn't even sterilised the bottle! I was absolutely fuming! Luckily she didn't get time to use it but it made me very wary of letting anyone know about my emergency supplies!

VictorianSqualor Mon 11-Aug-08 14:09:24

MrsTittlemouse is right about it being inadvisable for night feeds to be cut out early on, there is no rule as to when/how to start expressing but too often women express so they can get some sleep, then use the bottles when out and about, then supply dwindles and they panic, then they use formula and it's the end of breastfeedingsad Or baby decides it prefers bottles and won't breastfeed and breastfeeding is over.sad

Email me at fan-fkn-tastic @ hotmail.co .uk with your address and I'll pop it in the post, probably not until next week though as I have to get to the post office.

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