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Infant feeding

Breast feeding for dummies

27 replies

AlbusPercival · 30/08/2016 16:54

So first baby is due in October.

Plan to bf but don't know anyone else who has and certainly haven't experienced it, whereas I have made and fed bottles to babies in my family.

Yesterday I was cuddling my tiny baby nephew. He was hungry and somehow clamped on to my collar bone and sucked hard. ( I removed him and made him a bottle)

Do they really suck that hard on your nipples ShockBlush? Isn't that insanely painful?

Also nephew went through two bottles in two hours. I assume they get the milk a lot slower if bf, so does that mean baby could be attached to my nipple did two hours straight?

Sorry for stupid questions but trying to prepare myself for reality of it. DH has even less idea, was visibly shocked when I explained to him last week what maternity pads were for Hmm

OP posts:
YokoUhOh · 30/08/2016 17:00

Hi OP - congrats on your impending baby!

  1. Babies suck hard in order (a) to get enough milk and (b) stimulate the breast to produce more milk. This will hurt if the baby isn't latched on properly - babies have small mouths and need encouragement to open wide. Think of it like eating a Big Mac, they need to get under the areola and above it, so the whole area.

2. Babies are usually very efficient and BF as and when they need it. Tiny amounts called colostrum are produced at first, then in increasingly larger amounts. Your baby should be feeding at least 12 times a day, and on demand, so you might spend the odd day on the sofa mainlining cake! Especially when they're going through a growth spurt.

This website is great:


Good luck! Flowers
MotherOfGlob · 30/08/2016 17:08

I've have bf 2 DCs and only realised the other day how hard they suck.

DS had come off the breast and reattached just to the side of the areola and bloody hell did it hurt! But it doesn't feel painful when they're latched on properly.

As pp says, there may be a few days when you spend a lot of time on the sofa but you get to watch box sets and eat cake Grin

AlbusPercival · 30/08/2016 17:08

Crikey!! Thank you for your reply! My areola are massive, genuinely not sure a baby could get their mouth around them Blush

OP posts:
FurryGiraffe · 30/08/2016 17:13

Yes they suck on. No it really doesn't hurt if they're latching properly.

It is entirely likely you will need to spend a fair few hours a day sitting on the sofa. I think it's nature's way of ensuring you rest after birth! You need to get into the mindset that this is necessary (though temporary- it really won't last forever) and embrace the cake and box sets. Basically if you BF, for the first week or two your job is to feed the baby and your DH's job (and DM/MIL if appropriate) is to do everything else.

FurryGiraffe · 30/08/2016 17:15

Oh- neither of mine put the whole areola in the mouth. Mine are too big for that. But they put a good portion of it in, not just the nipple. If they just have hold of the nipple it hurts!

SpaceDinosaur · 30/08/2016 17:19

Been looking into this too OP as I'm due at Christmas. I believe FF babies develop larger stomachs and need to ingest more in order to achieve the cal and hydration a BF baby gets... There's so much information out there.

The colostrum BF babies get in the first few days is a little amount at each feed and baby's stomach is the size of a cherry and can only hold 5-7ml
Babies on formula have significantly more offered to them from their first feed which stretches their tummies out.

YokoUhOh · 30/08/2016 17:20

Yes, sorry OP they might not get the whole areola in (mine didn't either) but the aim is to get a good chunk in because just the nipple is ouchy

AlbusPercival · 30/08/2016 17:23

Can I ask a supplementary dim questin?

Expressing. Do I need to do that? Do I therefore need bottles and sterilisers etc?

OP posts:
FurryGiraffe · 30/08/2016 17:27

Need to? No, not at all. It depends on what you want to do and what you need to do, in terms of when you want/need to leave the baby and whether you want to use breast milk or formula in that eventuality.

I EBF DS1 to 6 months and never bothered expressing. I bought a pump, tried once or twice but found it a faff, got hardly anything and decided I wasn't bothered. Haven't bothered with DS2 either (currently 15 weeks).

YokoUhOh · 30/08/2016 17:29

I've never expressed OP but if you're planning on having a break from your baby, you might want to pump. Other posters will tell you the best pumps/bottles

AlbusPercival · 30/08/2016 17:30

So if you don't express literally every time baby is hungry you need to be there and awake to feed them?

If you do express though how does it work? I mean surely baby needs that milk now, not in 4 hours? And then you will still be producing milk when away from baby. So you express that too, and do what with it? Throw it away?

I am not this much of an idiot in my normal life I promise!

OP posts:
LotisBlue · 30/08/2016 17:34

It doesn't hurt if they are latched on properly, although it's a very strong sensation to start with. If it is actually painful then you may not have the latch quite right.

Yes, newborns spend a lot of their time feeding. Before you sit down make sure you have a drink, snack and entertainment. They get much quicker over the next few months.

If your baby is healthy and full term then you won't need to express to start with. It might come in handy a few weeks or months later, if you want to leave the baby with a babysitter, or get your dh to do some of the night feeds.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck

I highly recommend 'the food of love ' by Kate Evans as a source of info on breastfeeding

Horsegirl1 · 30/08/2016 17:37

Only advice I can give is yes it can hurt , it gets better though . Also feed on demand . Don't listen to people who say "is the bby feeding again"! My dd fed every 20 minutes even through the night for the first 8 weeks. I was utterly exhausted . I just followed my baby and eventually the feeding settled to every 2 hours. It was so easy then. No bottles or sterilising and I could feed anywhere . We fed till she self weaned at 18months . Read the womanly art of breastfeeding. It was my bibleand gave me lots of great advice x

ThinkOfAWittyNameLater · 30/08/2016 17:38

I love these questions

I am well-endowed of nork (even when not pg/bf) & mine couldn't get the whole aereola into his mouth. He got a surprising amount in though.

The latch is super important - if it's wrong it'll hurt like hell. Don't be afraid to take the baby off & try again.

I found the colostrum days totally pain free. When the 'real' milk came in, I expressed some off & fed the baby as much as possible to ease my discomfort. Remember: on demand feeding can be demanded by either of you!

I also found the first few moments of his sucking painful - not on the nipple but as the milk 'let down'. This passed after a few weeks.

My baby had a tongue-tie for the first six weeks, so yes feeds could last a long, long time. Set yourself up with a drink, snack & tv remote control - enjoy the snuggles. As he grew more confident, feeds became much more efficient at roughly 10mins a go.

I wish you the best of luck x

FurryGiraffe · 30/08/2016 17:38

Yup, if you don't express then you need to be there every time. But at least in the early days, even if you have expressed and someone else feeds, you'll still need to express even if the baby isn't there because (a) you'll be uncomfortable and (b) you need to establish supply. Basically not removing milk regularly tells your body to produce less. Unfortunately this is particularly the case at night because night feeds are important for establishing supply. This is obviously a pain because night is probably when DH giving an expressed bottle while you have a nice long stretch of sleep is most appealing. So expressing in the early days, while you are still establishing supply, never seemed to me to be worth it. Once you've got your supply going though, you wouldn't necessarily need to express when away from the baby for supply reasons, though you might still need to for comfort reasons.

FurryGiraffe · 30/08/2016 17:39

Oh and they aren't daft questions at all btw.

Horsegirl1 · 30/08/2016 17:41

Also if you express don't be disappointed if you get hardly any milk. Expressing is not a reflection of how much milk you have. Babies are super efficient at feeding . Some women can't even express 1ml but manage to fully breastfeed their babies with no problems or slow weight gain

AlbusPercival · 30/08/2016 18:05

Thanks for this, really helpful!

Anything else I should know?

OP posts:
FurryGiraffe · 30/08/2016 18:37

I think it's really important to find some fellow BF mums, especially if your DM/MIL haven't BF. You need support and people who understand what you're doing and can share experiences. So try to find a BF support group locally. Go when still pregnant if poss, then you'll have an established network for the early days.

You are likely to find people who FF fed say the following:

  • s/he can't be hungry again. Yes he can- they feed a LOT

-perhaps your milk isnt very good. Your milk is FINE.
  • perhaps you should give him some formula'. Only if you want to/are advised to by a medical professional.
  • how do you know he's getting enough'. Because he's settled, gaining weight and having wet and dirty nappies.

People mean well but questions like this can really dent your confidence because in the early days you feel like you haven't a clue what you're doing anyway half the time! This is why you need BF people to talk to. If you can educate your DH a bit about BF so he isn't saying this stuff then that's good.
JeNeRegretteRien · 30/08/2016 18:45

Just to reiterate what someone else said about how the let down can hurt at first. I was told my baby had a good latch, and I didn't know this, so I didn't understand why it was still hurting. It's only the first few days though, then it hurts a little bit just at the beginning of a feed, then not at all.

Also, I totally recommend using Lasinoh cream from the beginning to avoid/soothe cracked nipples.

doleritedinosaur · 30/08/2016 18:45

I've breastfed my DS for coming up to 18 months now but starting to drop the last feed.

It did hurt for first 2 weeks with latching as you get used to it. I used Lanisoh a lot & just used to "air" the boobs. I had vest tops on all the time & just got them out when needed.

Cluster feeding can happen a lot but it's just the baby building up your supply. DS fed for 7 hours once until I called enough & went for a hours walk then he slept for 4 hours.
But usually it was 2-3 hours of feeding at a time & I just used to plonk him on the pillow & watch box sets.

You will get extremely thirsty so always keep bottles of water/squash handy.

I can't express at all, I suck at it but I can breastfeed. About 6/7 months DS dropped down to 2 feeds at morning/night when he was eating more solids. So there is an end in sight during all the cluster feeding.

About to do it all again in 27 weeks, it means not faffing with bottles, they wake in the night plonk on the boob & done.

Just ask to see a lactation consultant in the hospital & if you can get to a breastfeeding group in the next few weeks as the advice is invaluable.

dylsmimi · 30/08/2016 19:09

My only thing I would say would be don't put pressure on yourself either way to bf or ff for a set amount of time etc. I wanted to breastfeed but on the early days the thought of doing that for 6 months was so hard so I said 'I will do today and see what tomorrow brings' fed both my dc for almost a year and didn't have problems or pain. I found it easier when out and about as I could stop when baby was hungry and feed, didn't worry if we wanted/needed to stay out longer. I am also lazy in the night and it was easier to pick up baby, feed whole reading/mumsneting and pop back I to cot. Also the horemones of breastfeeding help you go back to sleep easier
Don't worry about how much your baby is feeding/taking there are no oz measures on breasts! And their stomachs are tiny - as long as they are putting on weigjt you are doing well
Good luck and always ask no matter how silly the question seems - we've all asked/thought it!

LotisBlue · 30/08/2016 19:20

My top tip is to learn to feed lying down, so much easier for night feeds

Horsegirl1 · 30/08/2016 19:24

I remember the let down pain with dd3 . I used to have to hold my breath and count to ten when she latched . It did hurt alot but passed after 10 seconds. It lasted 6 weeks. With dd4 I never experienced let down pain so it shows that it's different for everyone

hownottofuckup · 30/08/2016 19:29

2 of my DC just seemed to know what they were doing and got on with it. 1 was prem and (my first so we both) needed quite a bit of support to get it going in the beginning (she wouldn't feed, kept falling asleep, a fantastic midwife just came in, whipped her nappy off, tapped her bum, tickled her feet and gave her back, sad do that she'll get the hang of it. It was so matter of fact it made it seem simple, really helped)
The other had a tongue tie, it was painful and I got mastitis. But the tongue was snipped very quick and I got anti-biotics and fed through the mastitis.
I think I persevered as I really didn't want to ff (I get mild OCD/postnatal anxiety and worry about germs) so I didn't feel I had another option and basically just blind faith it would be ok.
My one piece of advice would be, for the first few weeks you need to spend a very large portion of your time cuddling your baby and offering him/her a feed at Every opportunity. Every time they stirred I offered them a feed (or sooner in DC1's case) don't rush them and do encourage them by tickling their feet/cheek if you need to. They really only need feeding/cuddles/sleep in the first few weeks, don't get distracted by thinking they need entertaining, they don't and an overtired baby is hard work.
If you can, look into safe co-sleeping. It's seriously saved my sanity, but obviously you need to have it set up properly.

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