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Is it ever NOT hard at the beginning?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
I'm 24 weeks pg, and very determined to BF my LO when he arrives, and came on this part of mothering to get educated! I'm pretty freaked out by all I'm reading though, as far as how tough it is in the beginning. Is it always hard? My sister seems to have had a very easy time of it, so I thought it was pretty instinctual and easy...

Any suggestions for "preparing" for the early weeks? Things to do right off the bat to prevent problems??

post #2 of 47
BF for me would have been a breeze, except I did have a side-issue of an inverted nipple. Also, between weeks 2 and 3 I had an oversupply issue (or she stopped growing fast, either way we got out of sync) that resolved itself w/ a couple nights of daddy time.

If you are looking for advice, I highly recommend making sure you have a relaxed atmosphere. A quiet, comfortable, warm place. Make sure you have everything you need to be at peace...a book, a laptop, a drink, slippers, pillows, etc. Go topless and keep the room warm enough for your baby to be naked. Skin to skin contact can get you two insync.
post #3 of 47
I have heard a few women talk about how easy breastfeeding is or was for them.... only later to see posts or hear from them about little speed bumps they hit. for me I had a number of problems, from jaundice <a sleepy baby>, low supply, slow weight gain, constipation.... but to me it was still easy, it just took some detication and faith. and today... the jaundice is gone, my supply is meeting my babies daily need and we have been 4 days with no bottled pumped milk as a filler, and my 5lb 11oz baby is now 8.5 pounds! its all been worth it!
post #4 of 47
IME, it just depends on the mama and the baby. My mother BF'd 5 babies and never had so much as a sore nipple (she weaned all of us by 6mo though). My sister is still nursing her 17mo and she had a hard time getting him latched ONCE in the hospital. My poor DS and I had huge latch problems though and I wound up trying to EP.

It also depends on the support system you have as well. The hospital I had my DS at was totally unsupportive of exclusive BF'ing. Their answer to my latch problems were formula and pumping and being the young, new mom that I was (not to mention I was worked up because we had so many visitors), I just went along with it.

Only a very small percentage of woman truly can't breastfeed, so more than likely you'll be fine. Just don't let anyone interfere like I did.

ETA: Oh, and I'd like to mention that the only reason I went along with the nurses advice at the time was because I THOUGHT that those first few days wouldn't matter that much. I thought I would be able to get the hang of BF'ing as soon as I was in the comfort of my own home and then BF exclusively from there. Little did I know that the first few days are the most important!
post #5 of 47
It was hard for the first two days. (She was born on a Sunday and no LC's were working, and I couldn't get one to see me until Monday evening). But the LC got her latching with a nipple shield that night, and by the end of the first week, she was done with the shield and nursing like a champ. It wasn't the smoothest beginning but it really wasn't that bad -- and our learning curve was over in a week. She's two and a half now and still nursing so the vast majority of our nursing time has been quite easy peasy.
post #6 of 47
I think there are usually at least a few small issues. Our issues were so small that we didn't really need any help. I think it's good to prepare for some common problems (i.e., read about how to latch on correctly, how to avoid and treat thrush, plugged ducts, etc.) and know what your resources are in your area.
post #7 of 47
Also, keep in mind that most mamas that come on here are looking for advice for the issues that they are having. Those who have an easy time of it dont usually post to tell everyone how easy they've had it, y'know?

Best of luck with your little one!
post #8 of 47
Don't forget your lanolin cream!

That is my top issue. It's not a latching problem, but those first couple weeks I get incredibly sore, tender, and even scabbed nipples. Once they "toughen up" I'm good to go. (I always thought that was an OWT.) You can also use expressed milk, rub it on the nipple and let air dry, if this is an issue you end up facing.

Good luck and congrats on your upcoming LO!
post #9 of 47
Yes, sometimes it is quite simple. Sometimes the "issues" are so minor you don't even consider them issues. Esther Ro, my third, was one of the easy babies. She latched on right away in the hospital and nursed for quite some time right then & there. She's the only one who actually nursed the 15 minutes on one side the twits at the Navy hospital told me they "should".

She did the same thing as my other two...latched on at about 24 hours old and stayed there (it felt like) for the next two months straight. But that's it.

Never had so much as a sore nipple with her.

Now, with Bobbie, she was my first and I had a bit of a time getting the hang of it. The first time I nursed her in the hospital it was perfect, so easy that the nurses were amazed. But then they snuck her a bottle and that started some latch problems. I also had to contend with nurses telling me what I was supposed to do (did you know that if you have a c-section you MUST use a pillow and nurse in the football hold? ) and we wound up every single time after that with both of us crying. But the bumps smoothed out fairly quickly once we left the hospital, and though she's the one with whom I had to deal with engorgement & poor latch & biting hard enough to draw blood, I don't count it as "hard", really. It wasn't picture perfect, but meh. You get on with it.

Linda was a near-term preemie, and it wasn't until she was almost four years old that I learned some of the issues I had with her were typical to near-term preemies. I had been following the advice for term babies, & it's pretty much the opposite of what you need to do with the NTPs. So we had to figure it out on our own. We had to swaddle her for the first three months of her life to get her to nurse, and she was jaundiced and so somewhat sleepy...Again, I don't consider it "hard" per se.

It's much a matter of perspective. There are definite issues...but most are just little bumps in the road we all have to deal with.
post #10 of 47
Pretty easy and smooth here! There are almost always a few little hickups, espessially i think with your first, its a new skill for both of you! and you are learning it at a time when you have to learn all this other stuff too! My advice is to put the baby to the breast as soon as possible, lots of skin on skin for both of you, put away the clock, and try to enjoy it take photos, the nursing photos of poppy as a newbie are some of my faves! i wish i had taken more. I also think its good to read lots and lots about all the issues you might face, because i read so much i realised we had thrush very early and got right on top of it so it was not an issue. Good luck
post #11 of 47
Smooth sailing here. We had some issues when my milk came in adn I was just so thrilled that she latched at all on my hugely engorged breast that I let her stay there with a bad latch, then my nipples blistered, then I thought the pain was due to blistering and not due to her bad latch. Once I focused on helping her latch the blistering cleared up in about 24 hrs and we were back to smooth sailing.

I will say that I spent HOURS and hours and hours watching vidoes online of people breastfeeding, and I bought the book "Breastfeeding Made Simple, 7 Natural Laws for the Nursing Mother" on the recommendation of my doula/ prenatal class instructor. The videos made me feel comfortable getting into different nursing positions and knowing what to look for for a good latch, and the book was good for reference when I ran into a snag or had a question or wasn't sure if she was getting enough.

I also had midwives who helped me get her latched and eating within a half hour of her birth and were very supportive.

First and foremost- I'd say RELAX (being relaxed is surprisingly important) and have FAITH. Don't think, "this is going to be hard" or "I'm having trouble, I must be a bad mother" because it makes the problems seem harder than they really are. It's like if you fail a math test, don't think to yourself, "I'm stupid" you'd think, "this teacher tests harder than I expected, I'll have to study more next time." YKWIM?
post #12 of 47
SO EASY!!! I had supply issues, but that was a bit later in the game, and only with one of my three breastfed children. (My first was formula fed.)

Your baby will pretty much know what to do, I think. Don't wash baby's hands for a couple hours, she needs to smell them because the amniotic fluid on them smells like your nipples. I think this really helps babies find the breast.

Mine were all in hospital births with NO breastfeeding support at all. And all four knew just what to do and no problems. (my ff baby did breastfeed in the hospital... long story.)

Congrats on your upcoming arrival!!
post #13 of 47
I had a rough time at first with ds1 and dd. However, ds1 was an "emergency" section, and I didn't have a chance to put him to the breast for about 14 hours. I'm sure that made a difference. DD was just...different. Her nursing was so erratic that I was still leaking after 18 months!

With ds2, otoh, everything went really well at first. I didn't have any problems - cracked nipple that got infected - until a nurse at the hospital interfered, and that didn't last too long.

If it helps any, even with the really rough starts, I've found breastfeeding to be one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I'd push through anything for the first few weeks to get to the later ones.
post #14 of 47
It has been so easy for Adam and I. From day one, he latched on perfectly and now 3 years later, he is still nursing great. I did have a small supply issue while I was pumping at work for him. BUt other than that, no issues. I went to LLL before I had the baby. i went every month and got a lot of great advice. My biggest piece of advice is to just go with the flow of your baby. Adam woke up every 2 hours for the first 18 months of his life. It wasn't until about 6 months ago that he finally has been able to sleep all night without nursing. I just go with it. I had no preconceived expectations and just remembered that it is a finite amount of time.
post #15 of 47
With my first it was a breeze ... even his chronically shallow latch didn't cause any problems like everything I had read said it would. The only thing for me, as said somewhere above, was to use lanolin periodically -- not even all that often -- for about the first week, otherwise I'd start getting a little sore.
post #16 of 47
Originally Posted by urchin_grey View Post
IME, it just depends on the mama and the baby.

With dd it was BRUTAL. I'll spare you the details, but it was UGLY for 6 weeks.

Ds? A breeze.

For success- ASSUME it will work. Plan for it to work. Make it work.

No bottles, formula or artificial nipples in the house at first. Know that any artificial nipple at any time has the potential to cause problems.

post #17 of 47
BF has been wonderful, there's a small learning curve, but it's so worth it. You've gotten lots of great responses - I just wanted to add that you probably will spend LOTS of time nursing. I try to prepare mentally before each birth...really clear my scedule of anything but taking care of that new one. In some ways the first months are really hard, but it can be a nice break from the busy world. Have a super comfy nursing spot, and take advantage of all the time you'll have to watch movies while babe snoozes one the Boppy. I remember feeling like all I did was change diapers and nurse for the first few months, but soon enough they're off your lap and crawling around! Best of luck!!!!!
post #18 of 47
Most people who post will be here asking for help, yes? So it looks a lot grimmer than it really is. But I think it's helpful to get an overall idea of potential problems so that you can recognize them early and have a few ideas on what to try. Maybe you won't run into any of these problems, or maybe just one and the first solution you try will work, then you're golden, but it's nice to have some contingency plans.
post #19 of 47
We didn't have any major problems at first. DS wasn't interested right away, I don't think he really latched well til he was 12 hours old. I had a hormonal fit (bawling, etc.) when my milk came in and got my doula to come and have a look at his latch, which I was conviced was wrong. (Nothing was wrong. )

At 6 weeks we introduced a pacifier which caused latch changes. We removed the pacifier and spent a few weeks re-establishing good latch. That's been our biggest problem (and it wasn't fun, but wasn't any where near what some women go through) and we're still going strong at 16 months.

Anyway, as PP's have pointed out, most women posting here are looking for help with a problem, which makes it seem like most women have problems.
post #20 of 47
ds took 10 days to latch and then bf for 3 years. dd got on right after birth and it was wonderful; I was so worried that she wouldn't. It's better to know that there could be issues instead of assuming it's all "natural & instinctive" because that's what I thought the 1st time around and it was quite a shock. What kept me going the first time around was support from dh & Mom and me just really wanting to do it for my ds.
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