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Any top tips on Breast feeding / what you wish you had known beforehand ?

165 replies

EnchantingRaven · 20/03/2019 20:37

Hi all

I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant and hoping to ebf my LO and she’ll be our first baby.

I’m sure this is normal but I feel like I have absolutely no idea what to expect / how I’m going to cope! I’ve been reading a lot online and watched some videos on YouTube which there seems to be a lot of focus on the ‘latch’ & ensuring it’s right.

Does anybody have tips or advice of what you found useful when you just started breast feeding / getting the latch right? Is it clear you can hear the baby sucking and then swallowing? (Sorry if that’s a stupid question)

Does it hurt? I’ve read conflicting info some say it’s toe curling others not so much, is this more so down to everyone being different?

I’m also hoping to express milk so my DP can bond with her too and I can have precious sleep too!, I understand you shouldn’t really do this for a few weeks which is fine but again, any tips on how to cope with feeding on demand? Is it literally whenever she needs it so there’s no limit I can feed her? My HV came around at 28 weeks and told me it will literally feel like I’m BF all day for 8 weeks! (I’ve bought nipple cream and nipple shields incase they become sore.) I wish I asked my HV more questions but I’ve had HG throughout this pregnancy and wasn’t particularly feeling great when she was here so I’m kicking myself now.

I’m really excited to meet her but I’m really worried I’m not going to be able to get the breast feeding right! Any other tips / advice would be great too


OP posts:
Redyellowblue123 · 20/03/2019 20:45

I've breast fed 2 (currently pregnant with third and final). In terms of getting latch right, one midwife said to make sure you're bringing their nose to your nipple rather than mouth to get it in the right place- it seemed to help!
I would say if you want to express don't leave it too late as they might not take a bottle otherwise!
Good luck. It's hard to start but soooo convenient and I love the bond!

Sunisshining12 · 20/03/2019 20:47

I think it’s one of those things you just can’t imagine until you actually experience it. It’s so different for every Mother (and every baby for that matter).

I followed all the advice & had loads of pro bf support but my baby really struggled which I didn’t ever consider.

Keep hydrated, relax, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, don’t let it consume those precious few weeks/months (I was so obsessed with bf I forgot to enjoy her)

Sunisshining12 · 20/03/2019 20:49

And yes, you literally feed constantly 24 hours a day at first! No exaggeration. I used nipple shields & they were a god send

Biscusting · 20/03/2019 20:49

Congratulations! My top tips are 1) It can be really hard to start with and it feels like all you do is feed some days/nights.
2) It’s the most exhausting thing to do sitting down!
3) You are learning to do something totally new and so is your baby. You both have instincts, but it will take a little while to get it right.

stargirl1701 · 20/03/2019 20:52

I thought I was meant to do one hour of skin-to-skin. Tried that with DD1 but still seriously struggled.

I did 36 hours of skin-to-skin with DD2 and it was much more successful. No engorgement, no weight loss for her, mature milk through by day 2.

OhWifey · 20/03/2019 20:55
  • There are a million other ways DP can bond so don't worry too much about expressing / bottles.

  • if you're feeding non stop for three days and nights and not getting ANY sleep it's not because you 'can't breastfeed'. It's normal. Once your milk comes in it will calm right down.

  • it'll still be really intense for a few weeks / n months but after that you'll be so glad not t have to faff with bottles etc.

  • yes it might hurt at first as your nipples get used to it. It should only hurt for a few seconds at the start of each feed, and it can be toe curling. If it hurts for longer get help.

  • if you do need help, seek out an IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant) rather than just your HV.

  • It's hard work but it's awesome. There's no eye contact like that of a mother with her breastfeeding baby.
PeanutButterIsOneWord · 20/03/2019 20:57

I think it's useful to know what support you can get if you need it. Check if there are baby feeding groups in your area for advice and support from other new mums - I only went twice but found it so useful and reassuring.

OhWifey · 20/03/2019 20:58

And yes, feed on demand. If in doubt, offer feeding. It's not just milk. It's the greatest comfort you can offer. She's been inside you for all of the time she knows. The outside world is bright and scary. Your breast is a tiny piece of home for her.

Skylucy · 20/03/2019 20:59

For me, the most important thing has been support. You sound really well informed which is great, but you can never know how it's going to go! Someone said to me that "you're both learning how to do it" (i.e., me and baby), and that's so true! It takes a bit of practice, and I'm so thankful for the midwives, health visitors and local breastfeeding peer supporters who helped me. Are there any local breastfeeding groups/cafes near you? Any local Facebook groups? These can be great too.

I absolutely love breastfeeding, and am fortunate to have been able to feed my daughter for 18 months, and am currently feeding my 4 month old son. It's a breeze now, but both had tongue tie that caused me issues, and took time to diagnose. (Note: NHS waiting times for TT treatment can be hideous). I was very determined, but I still wouldn't have managed to persevere without support!

I feed on demand and can't really think of any tips! My children have totally different personalities, temperaments and ways of feeding. My daughter had colic and would cluster feed like mad in the evening, and sometimes for 45 minutes at a time, then sleep on me (the only way she'd sleep!!). My son is super chilled, so I know he's hungry because it's the only time he ever even slightly whimpers! He's a big lad but feeds quickly and efficiently. I guess you get to know their feeding cues.

In terms of expressing, I think it's advised to not do it for the first few early weeks because your supply is settling, and you don't want to over-stimulate and therefore over-produce. Having said that, sometimes you have to (I had to pump exclusively on once side from 3 -6 weeks due to damage caused by a poor latch), and it can be fine. I believe it only takes 24 hours for supply to adjust. Just make sure the breast is properly drained.

Ooh, it's worth knowing about breastmilk itself! When baby starts feeding, they'll get the foremilk first, which is quite watery. The hindmilk is thicker and more nutritious, so it's worth keeping baby on one side, or starting the next feed on the previous side, to make sure they get the good stuff and are more satiated.

Thinking about it, I could write loads more! But I'm no expert. Have a look at La Leche League, it's a great resource.

Good luck!

Sexnotgender · 20/03/2019 20:59

Correct latch is pretty much the key.

Look up exaggerated latch on YouTube, I liked this video.

I’m exclusively breastfeeding my 6 week old and the first week was hellish until I saw a breastfeeding support midwife who was amazing and adjusted my latch and pointed me in the direction of the YouTube videos.

I found when my nipples got damaged initially they stuck to the inside of my bra so that every time I fed I had to ‘unstick’ themSad reusable breast pads from cheeky wipes were amazing! I put the smooth side to my skin and they didn’t stick.

Lansinoh cream is great. I used it after every feed and put LOADS on. Use it before your nipples get sore and try and prevent damage.

I’m so glad I persevered.

Brown76 · 20/03/2019 21:00

I found it really useful to pay for a lactation consultant to come and do a home visit on day 3 when I was really struggling with the constant feeding and was in a bit of pain and wanted to give up. So I’d say seek the best help you can find/afford as early as possible.

I also found seeking out my local La Leche League group was amazing, it’s peer support from other breastfeeding mothers, I’ve found it very non judgemental and they run ante natal breastfeeding courses, a helpline and free books to borrow on stuff like breastfeeding technique and going back to work when breastfeeding. Their book The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding is worth getting.

My top tip is that in the first week when you are recovering from the birth and you might get ‘baby blues’ when the milk comes in, it can all feel totally overwhelming. During that time I hand expressed colostrum and fed it to my newborn via a teaspoon and this gave me a break for 24 hours to recover from the nipple pain etc. Things were a lot better after the first week.

mrwalkensir · 20/03/2019 21:02

boobs settle around six weeks - less big, easier to feed. (might not be the same for everyone, but definitely with my three).

Coyoacan · 20/03/2019 21:02

Well the one I did know beforehand and that probably saved me a lot of grief is to apply pure lanolin to your nipples every day for up to a month before the baby is born. I never had an problem with cracked nipples, nor has anyone else I know who's done this.

xtinak · 20/03/2019 21:04

Make sure you're sitting comfortably before you start a feed and have everything you may need to hand. Make sure DP knows his job while you're feeding is to feed you. Choose some good shows on Netflix.

And if it so happens to be sore for you or there's latching problems get help. If you can afford it a lactation consultant was a saviour for us.

Florescentadolescent · 20/03/2019 21:06

Just as you get to the point that you think you can't go on and your going to give up, it starts getting better. You just need to push through the initial bit.

Expressing can mess up your supply and bottle feeding can mess up your babies latch. I wouldn't risk it, but it's up to you if you want to try. Fathers don't need to feed to bond.

It probably will hurt at first. Nipple cream saved it for me. I also used a stuff as much nipple in as you can technique. Also make sure baby is fully supported. If they don't feel supported they will latch harder.

upsideyerelephant · 20/03/2019 21:07

Your milk probably won't come in until day four.

This is normal- your baby is not starving.

The best way to stimulate milk production is to breastfeed. It's a supply and demand system.

Having a c section does not mean you cannot breastfeed. I had an emergency one and did it for 18 months.

The amount you can or cannot express bears no relation to how much your baby can get out.

Trust your body- if the baby is gaining weight and plenty of wet nappies, you're doing fine.

One poo a week is normal for a breastfed baby.

You can have the odd glass of wine

EnchantingRaven · 20/03/2019 21:07

Some great advice here - thank you! So glad I posted. I have been goggling local BF support groups and there is a few near me so I’ve saved the numbers in my phone just in case. The private lactation consultant is a great option too - thanks for that.

I think I’m over thinking it too, I’m on mat leave now and everything is suddenly popping into my head of breast feeding, monitoring wet nappies & even just holding her correctly. I’ve not had much experience of newborns (and I’m the first one out of my close circle of friends to be having a baby) so I’m thinking this could be adding to me over thinking every little detail!

I’ll definitely go into it with an open mind though and not expect it to be easy as you see in the media / TV!

OP posts:
upsideyerelephant · 20/03/2019 21:09

Don't 'monitor' stuff. The key (I think) is to relax and trust your body. Stress can make it physically harder.

CIT80 · 20/03/2019 21:10

Always have a sports beaker full of water to hand as I found when I fed all 3 of mine the minute they latched on I would suddenly feel like I hadn’t had a drink for a week. The sports beaker made it easy to drink and feed at the same time. The first 10 days can we very hard but it does get easier so try and persevere if you can Cos once out the other side it’s the most convenient thing in the world.

darceybussell · 20/03/2019 21:14

If you press their tummy into you just as they're about to latch on it signals to them to open their mouth wider, and then you get a better latch. After a few weeks they can latch themselves on though and then it gets really easy.

Luckyduck88 · 20/03/2019 21:16

Good luck! It's been the most incredible journey for me. The first 8-10 weeks were touch and painful but I'm so so pleased I persevered and now it's absolute bliss and I can envisage being on of 'those' mums that is bf'ing a 5 year old ;)

I'm sure I'm repeating lots of things but-
Buy a very large water bottle the thirst is incredible
Buy a small portable nightlight, great for night nappies and breastfeeding
Stock up on healthy snacks (and cakes and chocolate) I was awake lots in the night and was so hungry so I kept Tupperware of chocs, nuts, bananas, fruit next to my bed
Personally I didn't even consider expressing until I was convinced that baby and I had nailed breastfeeding- your DH can do nappies, baths, swimming lessons, bedtime stories, sling wearing. Do not introduce expressing unless you absolutely need a break don't do it for him to bond it's not worth the risk of latch confusion or to confuse your milk supply. I've never had engorging or mastitis and think a small part was because my milk supply was in tune with baby not with expressing.

Ploppymoodypants · 20/03/2019 21:18

I had a planned c section at 39 weeks and still breastfed.

Milk came in on day 4

Yes to the lanolin cream. Worth every penny.

When people say it gets easier after 2 weeks. What they mean is, that your nipples will stop hurting so much.

In the first 2 weeks it can really hurt when baby latches. This makes you want to stop. But actually the pain goes in a moment or so and the rest of feed is fine.

That when the engorgnement goes after about a week, it’s doesn’t mean your supply is up. Just that it is settled (I nearly gave up as I thought my milk had dried up!).

If you have a good friend who has breastfeed, utilise them by sending messages constantly with random questions (my good friend literally coached me through the first 2 weeks and I owe her my EBF baby. She was a star)

PRoseLegend · 20/03/2019 21:18

A little pain is normal. Toe curling pain that makes you want to hurl the baby across the room is not.
I had the second kind of pain, turns out baby had a tongue tie which meant he couldn't latch properly. He got it cut at 4 weeks, and we used nipppe shields in the interim, which saved breastfeeding for me.
We still use shields on one side at 3 months, because that side has a flat nipple and he can't get a good latch. is a great website of resources and information about breastfeeding.
And don't forget, if you feel like you're struggling, ask for help here on Mumsnet, from your visiting nurse, from a local support group.
We all want you to succeed.

Hermie12 · 20/03/2019 21:19

I’d also add if you have problems experiment with different holds. I ended up using one for the left side and a different for the right as it ended up less painful and more comfortable

Ploppymoodypants · 20/03/2019 21:19

Oh and the women who answer the National breastfeeding Helpline are the most patient and helpful people, who are a mine of valuable support and information.

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