View Full Version : How did you prepare for breastfeeding?
As it says on lots of posters, sucking is an instinct but breastfeeding is learnt. And that goes for mamas too ;) How are you, or did you, prepare yourself for bf? I went to seminars, read lots of books about bf, watched videos and discussed it with my MW. Lots of independent MWs are also lactation consultants.
What have you done? What hints do you have?
I think it's a really good idea to go to ABA meetings beforehand so we can see other mamas bf, and get to know them and where their library and meetings are. That way we don't have to add Meeting New People to all our other new tasks when we start going after bubs is born. With a little preparation, we can ease into bf much better than waiting for a problem to arise and then seeking help.
Another thoughtful thread from you....
I must admit I read books (2) on breastfeeding, and went to a seminar conducted by the hospital I had my baby in. I also attended one ABA meeting, and bought their booklet on "getting started" (or something to that effect).
Luckily I had some idea of what to expect, but nothing prepared me for the pain, or the sheer amount of time it takes out of the day to feed a newborn.
A good lactation consultant sorted me out, as well as calls to my ABA counsellor, but I think the best thing is to see and talk to other breastfeeding mothers. I had a lot of "knowledge" stored in my mind and books to refer to along the way when I encountered further hiccups, but I didn't actually "know" anyone who was currently or recently breastfeeding.
I agree with you, like a good Girl Guide, preparation is everything.... :)
I went to a seminar held at my hospital. They gave great advice on how to breastfeed and how my breasts work. They saved me from an early case of mastitis that I know would have stopped me early on.
Also when I was in hospital I had the most fantastic MW who would sit with me and Harry for over an hour to make sure we both were getting it. It made all the difference.
I read everything and anything on b/f and my local ABA cousellor was fantastic when I needed her.
Knowledge is power and in this case is was certainly empowering for me.
I truely don't believe that anything in this world would have prepared me for breastfeeding!!!
I found that having good support after bub came was what got me through.....a great Lactation Consultant that you have trust and confidence in is a must.
Knowledge is power
You are sooooooooo right!!! :D
I did nothing, I really wish I would have. I was told that its natural and you and baby will work it out, but its a bit hard with small nipples and a baby who didn't know how to latch. We struggled from day 1 and after shedding copious amounts of blood & tears we manage. I even had to use a sheild for about a month, but luckily MJ stopped sucking with it so i stopped using it. It took about 3months for me to feel comfortable with it and to feel tht i've gotten the hang of it. We still have days of stress as MJ won't attach properly at times, so i end up in pain.
Best advice I can give is to persevere. As hard as it is I know that i'm doing the absolute best for my little princess and thats all that matters in my mind. If I have to suffer to give her the best possible start then so be it.
Sorry to ramble on, but i've become very passionate about it lately :)
At least I was right about something today Janet :D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*hugs* RB get it all out, girlfriend ;) I have really small nipples and large areolas and had no trouble at all. There is no ideal breast shape for bf, even most women with inverted nipples can bf! It's really dependant on the support and information that you have and most women have very little support for anything let alone breastfeeding. But the rewards are so incalculably fantastic that we really need to support one another.
Oh and RB, a friend of mine is an ABA counsellor on the Central Coast if you ever need a little extra support!
This thread is a good idea, as I think that there are a lot of myths about breastfeeding being something that just happens but I think women need to realise that it is something that takes time to establish and/or requires preparation, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and then it does eventually fall into place. I think reading up and attending breastfeeding classes and seminars is important and talking to other breastfeeding mums (like by joining a local ABA group) is so beneficial.
I did read up and prepare in that regard and I knew that it was going to be something that we had to work on as it is a learned skill for both mother and baby. My problems were to do with my sensitive and small nipples and my baby was a mega sucker and that was where a lot of my pain came from, despite us getting proper latchment. I was on a rotation of shields, express machine and straight feeding. But from reading and preparing, I knew that it was something that was going to get better, take a good 6 weeks to establish and I knew where to access good advice and who to talk to. My local ABA group were amazing and I recommend any mum keen on breastfeeding to get involved beforehand or very soon after your baby is born. Seeing other women actually breastfeeding en mass at an ABA meeting and getting their advice can be so fantastic.
I think that it is important that women realise that it is something that takes time (this is also in regards to feeding patterns, establishing supply etc) . That is what my preparation taught me. To give it time, and realise that there is light at then end of the tunnel. It does get better. I was told that it would take a good 6 weeks to establish and that is exactly what happend to me. For some women it takes a little longer, as every mum and bub are different, but that was a general thing. The famous 6 week thing also comes from this. I also learnt not to be too hard on myself either. Go with the flow. It was emotional (after all you have just had a baby and there is so much going on), but rewarding. I also learnt that it is important that your partner be supportive and encouraging. Dads (if they can), would benefit from attending ABA Breastfeeding classes & seminars and the like too, so that they can understand what their partner wil be going through and ways in which they can help and ways in which they too can bond with their baby through this learning process in the early days of breastfeeding. A supportive and understanding partner can be wonderful too.
But anyway, preparation taught me to persevere and that there would be light at the end of the tunnel if things were going to be hard.
What a lovely, informative post, Milly :D Thanks for sharing. :)
You know I think one of my problems is that I didn't prepare, I was so clueless yet thought I knew it all :rolleyes: If anyone can learn from my mistakes then my advice would be to read as much as possible, ignore the weight charts the MCHN are obsessed with as the weight gains are different for formula and breastfed babies this was something I didn't know, try to stick with breastfeeding even if you are being told to top up with formula,once you do this your supply takes a nosedive, get help from a lactation consultant or ABA or even a friend or relative that has breastfeed successfully and don't be ashamed to ask. I also felt that when I failed I couldn't beat myself up, I was bitterly disappointed and guilty but I had to move on and just be the best mum I could.
I also found that some of the midwives in hospital were to busy to help me when I was struggling to feed and I think my confidence was undermined. So don't be afraid to be pushy to get the help you need, feeding your baby is a big priority and don't let the hospital make you feel unimportant.
Easterlily you could write a great pamphlet about that! Maybe we should put all these hints in the top post of this thread? That is an excellent collection of advice from hard won experience.
*hugs* to you!
All I can think of to suggest is to start using lanolin ASAP. Before the bub is born!! I can't stress this enough. Along with your body adjusting to pushing a baby out, you don't need tender nipples on top of that! Toughen up those nipples, otherwise you may end up with mastitis (like me!) or black bruised nipples (also like me!) Nothing else matters. You will learn that as you go. But nothing can help sore nipples unless you lather up with lanolin ASAP!!! Try Lanisoh. It's awesome.
p.s. stick with it. I hated breastfeeding for so long, and now I love it. No bottle washing or heating. Only thing is, you can't leave baby with someone for too long!
it's great to hear these stories.
my main strategy was just to persevere. i had a determination and stubborness that just wouldn't let me give up. but i too found the first 2-3 months quite tough. for the first 4-6 weeks I remember dreading each feed. by 4 months i was really starting to enjoy it and by 6-8 months loving it and by 11 months adoring it and then a few weeks later she stopped of her own accord and i felt really sad!!
anyway, i wish my MWs would have told me that the first 2-3 months can be really hard and that it will get easier. i had to learn that from friends/relies. i was told, "Well, it doesn't hurt if you're doing it properly" by the not-so-sensitive home-visit MWs who came to see me. Lucky I had plenty of other people's support.
Oh yeah... and in those early days of red raw nipples i would always say to myself when she first latched on (you know that first 20 seconds of sheer agony!!) "Remember the pain of childbirth. Remember the pain of childbirth!!". For me, the pain of b'feeding was nothing compared to that. (Always good to have a point of reference!!!!!!) :p
Yes, I also think that nearly everything with babies takes 3 months to settle. This is another important thing new parents need to know. As a baby will feed more frequently in that first three months (it does not mean the mum has a low milk supply, babies just feed more frequently and this also builds your milk supply), the baby goes through colicky/unsettled stages which usually settles around 3 months (Colic - is unsettled behaviour that is usually a result of overstimulation which does not take much when you are a baby and starts around 2-4 weeks and settles naturally around 3 months when the babies learn to self soothe by being able to take their attention away from the stimulation. After all, babies have just come from the security of the womb to the big wide world, so everything is a bit overwelming. Sometimes it is referred to as the 'fourth trimester' in that you still need to think of having your baby in the womb the three months after they are born. Keeping them close and secure etc). 6ish weeks and 3 months are significant establishing times for parents and babies. 6 weeks is sort of that newborn stage and three months is getting everything settled stage. And feeding on demand is so important. It really gets your milk supply established and you and baby work together with this. That is another thing about the early weeks of breastfeeding. It really is an establishing stage for so many things.
If anyone can learn from my mistakes then my advice would be to read as much as possible, ignore the weight charts the MCHN are obsessed with as the weight gains are different for formula and breastfed babies this was something I didn't know, try to stick with breastfeeding even if you are being told to top up with formula,once you do this your supply takes a nosedive, get help from a lactation consultant or ABA or even a friend or relative that has breastfeed successfully and don't be ashamed to ask.
Thanks so much for that advice Easterlily. I was just about to ask about giving a supplement feed or even starting with some Rice Cereal even though MJ is only 4 months old. The clinic actually recommended i do it because MJ is little. She was born 3.2kg and is now only 5.5kg. She's the smallest baby in our group but looks healthy to me and my family. I don't want to jeopardise her health in any way. So what do all the experienced mums think? I think i should take JanetF's advice and call her friend in the ABA.
RB I think you should get some help from the ABA or lactation consultant. If you need to boost supply which was my problem, really struggled with this, then you can take feenugreek, fennel tea or even get your doctor to prescribe maxalon so there are options as well as expressing. I never knew I had these options so give them a try. I am sure the competent breast feeders here could give you good advice if I am saying anything wrong please correct me. I found once I started using bottles even with expressed breast milk that my supply went down and then your baby will probably self wean or you will have breast refusal.
I too was obsessed about my ds being small. He was a prem, only 2000g at birth and was always so small. He was always way down on the weight charts but was slowly going upwards, that is what I should have been happy with that he was increasing weight at his own pace. I got sensitive about the isn't he tiny, the smallest baby I have ever seen comments from people. I think with him, I just stopped breastfeeding too soon, after having chronic mastitis, him being fussy, comments about being tiny, I just started with bottles. I only lasted a month with breastfeeding.
I had more luck with my girls and was able to breastfeed longer but I won't say I was ever a great breastfeeder.
I think it is also important to make breastfeeding mothers aware of the potential problems they may face through breastfeeding. We've all heard of mastitis, but people need to know the early symptoms (fever, chills, red area on the affected breast) and to get help IMMEDIATELY as you can become quite sick. Believe me I have been there.
There is also the less common problem of nipple thrush, which I have not suffered from, but my sister-in-law did with two of her babies. The nipple turns white and feels like there is a tunnel of cold air going into it. It is painful as well and the thrush can be passed onto baby who will have white patches on the tongue. Luckily, this is also treatable.
For first time mums battling the breastfeeding I would have to echo the thoughts of those before. Persevere and don't be too hard on yourself if it doesn't work like magic. You are learning a new skill and so is your baby.
On a lighter note maybe I went too far with breastfeeding as both my kids had to be shown bandaids on my nipples when they were nearing the age of two! By then I had had enough but they understood that bandaids made mummy's boobies off limits :) :) :) Breastfeeding kids with teeth is quite a different experience to bf a newborn.
Yes, see what Janet suggests with the Lactation Consultant or ABA Contact. Also that is great advice Easterlilly and very true about the weight charts. They are out of date (about 20 years old I have heard) and based on predominently formula fed babies that grow at a different rate to a breatfed baby. New charts are being released by the World Health Organisation at the end of this year I have heard. My daughter is also a smallish child, but that is just like my husband and I. If we were put on a growth chart, we would sit similarly on the scale. Remember there are genetics involved too. In order to get an 'average' you have to get the biggest and smallest of a population. As long as your baby is gaining and following some line of a curve that that is all you need to think about. My daughter is a 10% and 25 % and very healthy, bright, alert and active. They are the signs of a thriving child. I know a lady who's child was always a 3%, and he too is bright alert and healthy. Both of his parents are of a similar makeup.
Also, that is true about supply. The minute you supplement with formula, you risk a great drop in supply and if you do express breast milk you still have to replace the express with a breatfeed at some point in that 24 hour period. The main thing with supply is that the more you feed, the more milk you make. It is a supply and demand thing. You will find that your body and your baby will work together in harmony and you both become in tune with each other.
But I would really encourage contacting the ABA. They are a fantastic resource and are packed full of helpful information and advice. Here's also a link to thier website that could be of interest. Lots of info and a breastfeeding forum too: http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au. There is even a great section on "Intro to Solids" in the Breastfeeding Information Section that may be quite useful too.
I'm feeding a 22 month old and we don't have teeth issues. He knows not to hurt mama and it's not actually possible to bite *and* suck at the same time ;)
RB definitely don't supplement. It's called weaning... How big is everyone in your family? Bf babies don't grow according to the charts because the charts are for ff babies from the 1970s. Ludicrous! Accordingly, MCHNs in the main, are as ignorant as the general population about how bf works. PM me and we'll have a chat, and get along to your local ABA. The best way to increase supply is to feed and rest. After that you can go to other means but a small baby who is otherwise perfectly fine is just a small baby. What's the big deal??? :confused: We're not all Arnie!!! :mad:
Hubby's family is quite tall and thin, mine is well varied. I have a sister that was a size 6 at 23yrs until she had my neice :rolleyes: I'm 5 ft 7 and "apparently" 20kg overweight for my height. Honestly i don't know how, i'm a size 14-16 MAX.
Her weight is increasing at a regular rate, she's always been in the 25-50% of those charts and still is. Is it true that its normal to double the birth weight by 6 months? If so, she's got over 1.5months to gain 800g. I'm honestly thinking of not going to the clinic anymore. I found out last time that the nurse that told me she's too small and gives me advice has never had children. I don't care how much you've studied, experience is what will win everytime.
RB very few mamas I know have persisted with the MCHN. Their advice is usually crap! They push formula and CC and given what we know about CC I find that truly appalling! If I get curious about my son's weight (he's only been weighed twice LOL) I take him to the vet and he stands on their scales. Digital! Cool!
I'm wondering if mums had difficulty breastfeeding their second baby, or was it like riding a bicycle?
I had quite a lot of trouble with ds (due to an extremely rapid letdown), but we persevered and it worked out fine. I'm hoping that I won't have to go through all that agony next time......... whenever that may be. :)
Also, small piece of advice for new mums - have the name and number of a few lactation consultants handy before you deliver, it's harder to find all that info when you're tired, have sore nipples, are feeling frustrated and have a crying baby to deal with.
I think it really depends on the baby as well, wattle. So I think mamas have a better handle on it the second time around but you're still dealing with someone else who's new to it, kwim?
Thanks for that JanetF. Although I do worry about her weight she is a textbook 000, being that she is the correct length and weight for that size. I do know a little girl who was 3lb born (premmie), now 2yrs old olby weighs 9kg but is a very healthy, beautiful girl. She looks healthy (as you can see by my avatar), and not skinny at all. She drinks, wets & dirties her nappies and thats all that matters :)
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