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How to prepare for breastfeeding 2nd time around

23 replies

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 28/03/2017 13:02

I had a rubbish time with baby 1. With hindsight, the issues I think were PCOS, EMCS for pre-eclampsia before I'd ever gone into labour, tongue tie and poor supply. I worked pretty hard at getting a good latch but it was a miserable experience with pain for me and poor weight gain for baby until I settled on a better mix of breast and formula. By ten months I was well established back in work and only breast feeding morning and evening in bed and then baby just gave up on it.

This time I would like to mixed feed, although it made me sad last time, I can see that it's convenient for us (and much less sad than having a constantly hungry baby). Aside from identifying sources of support, is there anything else I can/should do to prepare? I'm planning a C section this time. I'm now 35 weeks pregnant.

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BroomstickOfLove · 28/03/2017 13:12

I think that sources of support, a knowledge of what is and isn't normal and a reasonable meet of breastfeeding peers are probably the main things.

It's probably worth seeing if you can get hold of a breastfeeding counsellor (or someone on here) to go through some of the problems you had last time and think about what you would like to have happened given the actual, real-life circumstances, and to see what could be done this time round. And also to think about how you want to do the mix feeding, and what your priorities are - things like when you plan to intoroduce formula, whether you will use a bottle from the start or cup-feed etc, how you will establish your supply etc.

CSLewis · 28/03/2017 13:15

Buy The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding book, published by La Leche League. A really great mine of information about all the possible issues, and made me fall in love with the idea of breastfeeding all over again.

Most importantly though, do you have a friend who has/does breastfeed, to support you and advocate for you in your desire to breastfeed? As this will make everything a whole lot easier and more pleasant for y, if you have someone to talk things through with, who will support and encourage you.

Good luck, I hope everything goes well for you.

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 28/03/2017 15:44

It's difficult to identify what I wanted first time around apart from outcomes. So I wanted milk that wasn't obtained through pain and that satisfied my baby and made him gain weight at an acceptable rate.

Most/all of my close friends have breastfed way past the 18m mark. None of them have had the same issues as me so I felt that although they are generally supportive, they don't have the answers.

I'll buy the book. It's been in/out of my amazon basket for ages. I think the fact that I don't like the name has always prevented me from checking out.

Thanks both.

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Orangebird69 · 28/03/2017 15:47

Get in touch with LLL. And for goodness sakes, give yourself a break. Don't be hard on yourself. I'm sure you'll be fine this time. But if not, mixed/formula is ok too! Hope all goes well for you Flowers

UndersecretaryofWhimsy · 28/03/2017 15:50

I'd suggest identifying an IBCLC in your area ahead of time so that you have the phone number there ready if you have any issues. They seem to be much better at spotting tongue tie and can often snip it, or refer you for the snip, straightaway. It sounds like poor transfer due to the tie might have been your major issue last time, and poor milk transfer would naturally lead to a struggle with supply. Also worth finding out where and when your local bf groups are in advance.

Also check whether the hospital are happy to put baby skin to skin as soon as born if you are feeling up to it.

domesticslattern · 28/03/2017 16:05

What made the biggest difference for me with DC2 was that I cancelled everything! Visitors, chores, normal life etc. DH took 3 weeks off work and I spent that time in bed with baby or pottering gently. I got a cleaner in and ordered everything online. We had masses of time to establish breastfeeding, and we needed that, it took hours and hours of effort. With DC1 I entertained visitors, cooked Sunday roasts etc- did none of that second time round.
So my answer to your question is to get some support in other parts of your life, especially if you are having a CS and have another small child.

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 28/03/2017 16:22

domestic slattern - happily I am very well supported, so that's not an issue. Have cleaner, useful DH, local grandparents, DC1 will continue in nursery, so it could be much worse. Within reason I have enough money to spend on stuff that will make life easier. None of my visitors will expect perfection when the visit so I'm pretty relaxed about that.

Orangebird - I agree. At the other side of breastfeeding last time, I couldn't really understand why I'd given myself such a hard time. I wish DH had given me permission to stop rather than respecting my wishes and standing back to let me make decisions. I would hope I'd have more confidence to stop if it's not working this time. I hope that an aim of mixed feeding will take the pressure off. What I don't have much confidence in is my own body's ability to provide, although I know things are not the same with every pregnancy/birth/baby.

UndersecretaryofWhimsy - DC1 had a tongue tie which was snipped at about 2 weeks old and whilst it might have helped a bit, it wasn't the magic cure I was hoping for. I was pissed off that it was me (+google image search) that diagnosed it, even though I'd asked in the hospital about whether he'd been checked for it.

I have bought the LLL book. A friend has recommended NHS breastfeeding support which she found better than the specialist midwife I saw. I'll do some research when I've got time for clinic times and phone numbers etc.

Does anyone think there's any point in the detailed record keeping I was doing about how many minutes the baby fed for and on which side and at what time? With hindsight I feel it contributed to the pressure I was under but without any discernible benefit.

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UndersecretaryofWhimsy · 28/03/2017 16:54

Does anyone think there's any point in the detailed record keeping I was doing about how many minutes the baby fed for and on which side and at what time?

Nope. I kept it up for about 3 days then gave up. It made me feel pressured and frazzled but wasn't at all useful. Nappy output better indicator anyway, I think.

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 28/03/2017 18:34

That's what I wanted to hear. It was a record of how hard I was trying but it wasn't reflected in weight gain. It made me unhappy and frustrated but didn't identify why I was having problems or how to fix them.

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Cakescakescakes · 28/03/2017 18:42

After two weeks with a tongue tie there is a lot of catching up to do in terms of nipple pain, sloppy latch, poor supply etc - very hard to get up to speed with that lag. I had a tongue tie snipped at 3 days and it was miserable for a few weeks after as his latch was so week. If you think there is one this time then you are in a great position of knowledge to push to have that snipped. That's a really key thing. Also drink loads and loads of water and apply lansinoh before and after EVERY feed. Good luck :)

SquedgieBeckenheim · 28/03/2017 18:51

I didn't have a typical BF experience with DD1, so getting things established with DD2 was very different. However, I was honest with midwives that I'd BF before, so they left me to it. I got no help or support from midwives in hospital as they thought I knew what i was doing. I wish I'd lied to them as they may have helped more then it may not have taken 3 weeks to get DD2 latching properly.
So if midwives ask, make sure they know you need help!

Isadora2007 · 28/03/2017 18:56

A comfy v shaped pillow. Easy access tops for comfortable feeds. Good box set dvds or Netflix etc. Water bottles and graze type snacks available like flapjacks and nuts etc.

I had a basket of wee toys for ds to play with as a treat while I fed dd. It was also a handy tv time or reading as you can be one hand free quite easily.

I'd not keep notes, unless it reassures you. Just feed as and when baby wants. And don't even get them weighed if you don't want to. Wet nappies and your instinct tells you when all is well.

Good luck 😊

Orangebird69 · 28/03/2017 20:36

OP, I'm 17mo into bfing my son. We got there in the end but it wasn't easy. He want a big baby and although he gained weight as he should he always looked skinny (although he was off the centiles for length by the time he was 5mo so it kind of made sense). I also couldn't express enough to give myself a break. He was also jaundiced to I had to be militant with feeds. His heel prick test came back with high IRT levels so another two weeks of panicking he had CF and that was the reason he was skinny (he's only a carrier so Phew!).
I bad a bfing timer app thing. As soon as I deleted that app, I unclenched. As long as there's wet nappies, weight gain and the occasional poo, you'll be doing just grand, regardless of the method of feeding.

Sorry, that went on a bit but your reply made me a bit emotional. You'll be grand x

Orangebird69 · 28/03/2017 20:37

wasn't a big baby that was meant to say!

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 28/03/2017 21:34

Midwives at my hospital seem to be in favour of bf in principle but none of them were much actual help in practical terms. I felt that although they were "on message" there wasn't much feeling behind it. The person who was most enthusiastic about breastfeeding was the anaesthetist. Generally the care I had was good though.

It might have changed by now, but it wasn't possible to get a tongue tie done in my health authority 2 years ago, we had to be referred to a hospital in a neighbouring city. I probably would be more pushy this time if I was met with resistance.

Would you take a V pillow to hospital?

Orange bird I'm glad you got there in the end. 17m is good going.

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mycatloveslego · 28/03/2017 21:42

I struggled with DS1. Midwives were no help, breastfeeding groups were all closed for 2 week Christmas holidays ( bad timing to have a baby!)
The only thing that kept me from giving up was having a lactation consultant visit me at home for an hour. It was honestly the best £70 we have ever spent.
She was amazing and spent time teaching me different feeding positions, checking the latch and checked DS for tongue tie.
I'm 38 weeks and have already got a lactation consultant who'll visit me when baby arrives, sadly not the same one as we've moved. If you can afford it, I would definitely consider it.

Orangebird69 · 28/03/2017 21:49

Yes to a v pillow! My midwife literally delivered him, grabbed my boob and got ds latched on within seconds. He stayed there for about 3 hours Shock. She had already established with me that I wanted to bf I must add, and that I wanted skin to skin straight away. I feel I was very lucky with bfing, even if it did make me cry sometimes.

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 28/03/2017 22:43

Lactating consultants are few and far between where I am (if googling ibclc is to be believed). The one in my city isn't taking bookings. I don't like the look of the one in the closest other city - her website seems to have a lot of manipulative bullshit on it. There is one about an hour away who seems more my style, but not sure if she'd come this far for a home visit (or where we can work out somewhere suitable over there).

I was under GA when DC1 was born but my mum says I fed him reasonably soon after coming round and it was immediately painful. It's all a bit of a daze.

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UndersecretaryofWhimsy · 29/03/2017 09:05

Might be worth messaging the LC you like the look of just to check? For most women it's a mission and a passion so I wouldn't be surprised if she was willing to go out of her way.

Wishing you lots of luck with BF #2, it does seem that lots of people have a smoother BF experience with #2.

UndersecretaryofWhimsy · 29/03/2017 09:12

(Just to be clear, when I say it's probably a passion for most LCs, I mean to support women who want to BF in whatever way they want/need support, not to militantly insist on BF. Don't want to put the fear of God into anybody!)

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 29/03/2017 19:27

I read it that way Undersecretary, don't panic!

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Writerwannabe83 · 30/03/2017 12:28

Hi OP - congratulations on your pregnancy!!!!

I had a really shitty time trying to establish breast feeeding with my first, it took about 8 weeks and that time was pretty horrendous in various ways.

I'm currently 20 weeks pregnant with number 2 and I'm praying to God that it will be easier this time round!!

Let's just hope we might be more chilled out this time which may help? Grin

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 31/03/2017 06:58

Nope, I'm hoping for spontaneous improvement. If being more relaxed helps, that'd mean the first time around was partly self inflicted Wink

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