Please tell me your experience of breastfeeding- I'm really confused

(23 Posts)
Wishfulmakeupping Fri 28-Dec-12 15:51:44

Would appreciate you talking me through first few weeks.
I'm about to have first child in next few weeks and have finally decided on breastfeeding. I will be the first of quite a big family to Breastfeeding so havent got anyone else in family to talk to, although a couple of friends have tried to talk me through it I'm still confused.
If I can't feed baby straight away what happens do I need to feed baby formula and breastfeeding too if so what do I give them. Do I need to take feeding equipment to hospital with me?
I've brought 2 newborn bottles, a sterilizer and breastpump with a view to expressing after a few weeks- do I need more stuff if I need to be feeding baby formula to in the early days - sorry if I sound like a total dunce I did do antenatal classes but that focused on positions rather than anything else
Thanks

NaturalBaby Fri 28-Dec-12 16:00:52

I planned to ebf so just bought a cold water steriliser and manual pump as back up.

I had a very sleepy, jaundice baby for the first 2 weeks so it was very difficult for us both to get things established.

Unless there are serious issues then forget about formula if you want to establish bf fully. I did start expressing after a few weeks but then with ds2 and ds3 I just couldn't be bothered with the extra washing up and preparing bottles - I didn't need to leave my babies for longer than a couple of hours and didn't go back to work so that wasn't an issue.

It will be hard, it will feel funny/hurt, it will take a while for things to settle down but it was so convenient and cheap and easier in the long run. At the end of the day though, you just have to wait and see how you and your baby get on with it, and you'll figure out what works best for you and your family.

FivesGoldNorks Fri 28-Dec-12 16:04:54

It's likely to be fine. I'd say focus on the bf and if you do have problems as for help from your midwife, HV, friends, MN. Good luck

Signet2012 Fri 28-Dec-12 16:05:51

I'm three months in. I love it.
My main advice would be: it's a process, don't get disheartened if the first few days or weeks are hard. It will all click into place.

Getting a good latch is vital. Take all support and help you can. Don't be afraid to keep asking them to watch you. Bf support groups are a good help once out of hospital.

My dd had to have 10 ml of formula when in hospital because she was low birth weight and struggling to keep her temp. This was given via a cup and syringe and did not hinder my feeding in any way. She has not had any since.

Do introduce a bottle with expressed milk in at some point. I think I left it too late and dd refuses the bottle so she is tied to my side!! Good luck.

CaseyShraeger Fri 28-Dec-12 16:12:43

To begin with - for first 3-4 days, probably - you'll be producing colostrum rather than milk. Fortunately colostrum is exactly what a newborn needs. Keep nursing as often as your baby is interested and that will trigger milk production. It's far better to avoid giving any formula at this stage because if your baby is taking formula he/she isn't nursing as much, and so your body isn't getting told to make as much milk. And very often that means that your supply doesn't pick up the way it should, so you panic and give more formula, which means the baby is nursing less, which means your supply drops further, which means you give more formula, and you can get into a bit of a pickle. So best to avoid giving formula until your supply is well-established (if you ever give it at all).

Expect your baby to feed a LOT in the early weeks. Really, if you are thinking "surely it can't be normal for a baby to feed this much? I seem to be feeding him/her constantly!" then you've probably got it about right. Then in my experience it's just about the point where you think you can't cope with all the feeding any more and are seriously considering formula top-ups that your baby starts to gradually go for slightly longer between feeds and you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then they lengthen the gaps a bit more and it becomes quite easy and convenient.

Toe-curling pain for the first 5-10 seconds of a feed is normal and will pass after the first couple of weeks. Pain that lasts longer than that is not normal and is often (though not always) a sign of a problem with the latch. If that happens to you try and get help to sort it out right away before you get cracked nipples, because those hurt a lot.

If you have any problems, ask here. Many posters, tiktok in particular, have vast amounts of breastfeeding knowledge (generally more than a HV, GP or midwife, unless they've made a special study of breastfeeding).

KaraStarbuckThrace Fri 28-Dec-12 16:32:30

Start going to breastfeeding support groups now. It'll be good to see breastfeeding up close and personal before you have your baby especially if you have never seen a baby breastfeeding before.
Don't bother buying formula, it'll be too tempting to use at the first hurdle and if you do find you need it is not difficult for you to get someone to pop to the shops to get some, if you don't feel up to leaving the house.
A good book to read is Kate Evan's The Food of Love, lovely guide to breastfeeding with lots of very funny illustrations.
Good luck and congratulations!

dorapeppageorgenoddy Fri 28-Dec-12 16:43:34

This thread has some more answers (sorry being lazy) breastfeeding newborn

Yes, you can go along to a breastfeeding group now- you can learn a lot to prepare yourself for your baby's arrival. LLL groups will have info sheets and books that you can borrow. Also have a look at some websites- Kellymom is a good one.

Agree that you do not need to buy formula- if you do need it in an emergency then you can nip to the supermarket. Also there is no magic window for introducing a bottle so you've got plenty of time to get the knack of breastfeeding first before you need to worry about expressing. Some mothers don't bother expressing at all because BF becomes so easy after the first few weeks.

Toe-curling pain is not normal!! A bit of soreness for the first week or so can happen but toe-curling pain is not an inevitability and a sign that something needs tweaking. If you get any pain that is so bad that you don't even want to feed then ask for help. Some BF helplines are open 24/7 so there is always help available.

If no-one in your family has BF before then they might be surprised at the difference in feeding in the early days- BF babies tend to cluster feed in the evening so make sure someone else is cooking for you and get comfy on the sofa grin They also go through growth spurts where they feed more. Frequent feeding does not mean that you aren't making enough milk or that it's not good enough- it's just how BF babies feed. It gets easier though, they don't cluster feed for long.

If you get offers to help with the baby while you do housework etc, ask the offerer to do the chores- your job is to feed the baby! Lots of time together and offering a feed whenever your baby stirs will help get things off to a good start and you will learn to recognise when your baby wants a feed.

There are some FAQ on the early days here.

Good luck smile

CaseyShraeger Sat 29-Dec-12 06:43:01

I mean the latch-on pain for the first few seconds, EauRouge - which does seem to be normal in that everyone I know in RL had it, it's always mentioned on here and in the books as normal. It wasn't agonising by any means, but it did literally make my toes curl (and I was a lucky person who had no soreness during the rest of the feed or in between feeds, no nipple cracking,soreness or other issues and never even had to open the Lanisoh).

Which books mention it as normal? A bit of soreness while everyone gets comfy can be normal but it definitely shouldn't make your toes curl sad Toe-curling pain probably means the latch isn't right and you don't have to put up with it, a bit of re-positioning and encouraging your baby to get a big mouthful of breast can help. Some mothers find their let-down painful in the early days.

aimum Sat 29-Dec-12 08:11:56

Just remember that BF is the norm and what nature intended i.e. believe in yourself. Newborns need to feed every 2 hours so you will constantly feel like your feeding especially during 'growth spurts'. This doesn't mean that your milk isn't good enough and that formula is better, just that you're doing things right. In the early days, I found it easier by telling myself I'd stick with it until tomorrow, and then I'd stick with it until the weekend, etc...

Get in plenty of healthy snacks, some DVDs to watch, easy to prepare drinks. I found a thermal mug was useful as I could drink a cup of tea without being worried about tipping it on the baby.

If you need any help when the time comes phone one of the breastfeeding supporters in your area. They give amazing advice. Get yourself to a group ASAP, it will give you more confidence.

Doodlekitty Sat 29-Dec-12 08:23:37

I was the first in my family to bf too and I want to second what someone said about the differences. My family were convinced I was overfeeding when feeding on demand so I started scheduling feeds as they advised. Huge mistake as my son then lost weight and we ended up back in hospital. Going back to feeding on demand fixed it. I also can't stress enough the importance of bf support. My lll has a Facebook group which has been great.

Onezerozero Sat 29-Dec-12 08:30:47

I never had toe curling pain. I don't think you need to buy formula. Agree a breastfeeding group would be good to join now. Good luck! smile

forgottenpassword Sat 29-Dec-12 08:35:50

I couldn't agree more with Casey about the toe-curling pain. I have breastfed three dc - two for a year each and am still bf my 19 month old as we speak. I had that toe curling pain with all three for the first few seconds of each feed for the first couple of weeks. I don't think everyone gets it but many of us who are experienced breastfeeders do - my nct teacher who had breatfed 4 included. Tmi perhaps but I have always had sensitive nipples and put it down to that. If baby is gaining weight and no cracks etc then there is no need to worry about that nipple stretching pain (that's what it feels like to me). It will pass in a couple of weeks and it is worth it. I have to say that I got very worried with my first that I was not doing it right when some others insisted that the pain was not normal and I nearly gave up because I thought baby was not getting enough milk. So I did not find it helpful personally when people said this was not normal. I think it is normal for many of us. I would still advise getting your latch checked by a bf counsellor if you have pain at start for a few seconds but if all seems ok, persevere. It will pass and the oxytocin release you get during bf is lovely! A sort of washing over of peaceful wellbeing. Finally get some lanisoh just in case. Good luck op and advance congratulations on becoming a new Mum.

TrickyWoo Sat 29-Dec-12 08:51:33

I had toe curling pain, for a week or two max with each of mine. It did feel like let down (milk starting to 'flow' each feed). But I used to count to 10 and it never lasted longer than that, once baby was getting milk it was pain free.

lemontruffles Sat 29-Dec-12 08:58:18

I was first in my family to breastfeed too. After a dodgy start with ds1, I just loved feeding my own babies; I felt sooo proud of myself! Good luck to you smile

Lots of good advice here!

Arm yourself with facts, and good support.

From my experience of feeding 3 babies: a good latch is essential, and if at all possible, find someone (midwife, hv, breastfeeding counsellor) to show you how to position yourself and the baby., and latch successfully. I was naive with ds1 and vaguely thought the baby would immediately, instinctively and naturally latch on somehow from birth, and off we'd go. Hmmmm. Not here. The babies all tried to latch on instinctively, but I had to teach them how to do this effectively. It's a learning process for both of you, hence the need for a good teacher.

Babies demand feed, and will have times when they need to increase your milk flow by feeding what feels like non stop for 2-4 days. This is healthy and normal. They're going through a growth spurt and need more milk. FWIW, all mine did this a lot during first 4 weeks,then again around 6-7 weeks, and again around 3 months.

Also, I co slept with my babies which helped a lot. I wasn't ever tired because night feeds were pretty sleepy affairs for both of us, and I always felt rested in the morning. 'Three in a Bed' by Deborah Tannen (i think that's her name) was recommended to me by my hv, and gave me masses of practical info about co-sleeping, and lots of info about why this is a great thing to do with your newborn. I can't recommend this enough!

Congrats on your decision; as I said, I loved feeding my babies; I felt very happy and proud!

TrickyWoo Sat 29-Dec-12 08:59:08

Oops posted too soon.

Agree with all the benefits, which once we got going were convenience mainly! Night feeds - no bottles to prep, just top down.

Before I BF my first I spent about 2 weeks on the breast & bottle feeding section of mumsnet, you get a fantastic idea of what comments family & friends make most often, and good responses to them!

Good luck. Once you get going abd stop carrying an emergency formula carton like I did with DS to 6 months, even though I'd never had a problem feeding him in public, once we got past the tricky rugby ball holduse 6 weeks then BF is just fantastic.

CaseyShraeger Sat 29-Dec-12 10:04:15

It may well have been let-down pain; as I said, it was first 5-10 seconds for first two weeks. As I never had any other problems at all (and have been bf for about six and a half years out of the last eight) I think my latch was just fine.

I have no idea which books mentioned it as DC1 is nearly 8 and I didn't use books with the next two, but given that you say yourself that some women experience painful letdown early on it doesn't sound like a weird thing for them to have covered. It's a good job they did or I might have convinced myself I was doing something wrong.

forgottenpassword Sat 29-Dec-12 10:07:36

I second the co-sleeping too but make sure you read up on all the precautions to do it safely. New babies often breastfeed a lot. Don't try to fight it, just relax, put your feet up and watch all the box sets you have been meaning to watch. Forget about the three hourly feed rule. All babies are different. Feed whenever YOUR baby wants.

ChristmasKnackers Sat 29-Dec-12 10:18:13

Just so you are not too worried, I didn't experience any toe curling pain! One nipple was a bit sore, but it sorted itself our quickly.

Unfortunately, it seems to be that some hospitals are now so busy as they have barely any staff, that midwives do not spend as much time establishing breastfeeding as they could. However, you will have a buzzer and buzz them everytime you feed to make sure they think you are doing it right! If its difficult, ask them to look for a tongue tie and please keep asking for help.

Baby will feed loads, but don't think for a minute that's its because you don't have enough milk, it's just because that's what babies do.

You will have colostrum for the first few days, then your milk will 'come in'. This is an experience in itself and you will have massive boobs, you must ensure that baby feeds often, else they may get engorged and that makes it difficult to latch.

Breastfeeding is hard for the first few weeks, I don't know why, but don't give up. I just gave myself mini targets - like I will BF for 1 week, then it was I must do it for 10'days etc. now I am 16 weeks in and love it. The closeness you feel to the baby is amazing. In the night you have to just reach over and get the baby and start feeding. I can go out without anything on me and it doesn't matter if I'm going to be late home.

Good luck
. :0)

FundusCrispyPancake Sat 29-Dec-12 10:38:21

A friend said to me 'people say that if you're doing it right it doesn't hurt, but that is bullshit. But it does get better if you keep going'.

I am so glad she told me that, otherwise I may have thought I couldn't do it properly and given up. Slap on some lansinoh cream if your nipples get sore, its worth every penny.

Feed, feed, feed for the first few weeks to get your supply going. DM kept telling me I was doing it too much but she ff her dc, so I ignored her.

At about 6 weeks it seems like you're feeding 24/7 and I thought 'this is getting ridiculous', then suddenly DD got really efficient at feeding (10 min every 2 h) and its been fab from then on. We're still bfing 10 months on. :-D

Good luck op!

FundusCrispyPancake Sat 29-Dec-12 11:08:26

Just to add, if you really want to bf you don't need to buy all the ff stuff 'just in case'. If you struggle to bf in hospital (as I did) the mw will offer a cup or syringe of formula if they feel the baby needs milk. Make sure they know you want to bf.

If you already have all the ff stuff you will be tempted to use it , especially in the early weeks before you get really confident.

After 6 weeks I got a pump and bottle and expressed milk for DH, DMIL etc to do feeds.

FundusCrispyPancake Sat 29-Dec-12 11:25:11

Agree with tricky that its worth reading some of the threads about the (usually well meaning) comments you may get from non bfers. DM was, and still is, full of unhelpful advice. If I had listened to her I would have given up bf after about a week!

She now quotes daily fail articles about people bfing 7 year olds to me and says 'are you going to be like them? Don't you think its time you stopped that :-O '

DD is 10 month old ffs!

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