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If you could give a new mom any advice or wisdom about breastfeeding, what would it be.... - Page 2

post #21 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat13 View Post


So true! I had no idea at the time, but even though DH was supporting me through the tears and calling LLL for me, in his mind he was ready to fly out of the house at a moment's notice to get some formula. Makes me so happy I decided to turn down all those free samples and not have any "just in case" formula in the house.

 



Yeah, just want to second the advice to not keep formula samples in the house.. formula companies(Nestle' in particular) are not doing this for new moms out of the kindness of their hearts, they know you are vulnerable and will use it when you are desperate.

 

post #22 of 82

One more thing...you have the right to nurse your baby wherever you have the legal right to be.  Don't let anyone try to make you feel ashamed for nursing in public if you choose to.

post #23 of 82

Knowing when I might expect growth spurts (and therefore increased nursing) was a HUGE help!  And, that said, understanding supply and demand--that baby is asking to nurse more frequently in order to tell your body that they are going to need more milk as they grow!  

post #24 of 82

What I wish I had been told:

You may not love it all the time. Especially early on when it hurts so bad you have to psych yourself up not to scream when they latch on. And later, when they get distractible or wary of OAL and pop on and off until you feel like your nipples are going to run away. And when you just need a minute without another human being touching you. And when you get engorged during a night out without baby and you leak all down the front of your shirt at dinner. And if/when you go back to work and you have to pump and worry about pumping often enough, and how much you're getting, and coworkers walking in on you etc etc.

BUT, you're not a bad person if you don't love it all the time. If you don't feel like an angelic Madonna figure with infant tableau every time you nurse, you're still an awesome momma and YOU SHOULD STILL KEEP GOING. We have enough that we feel guilty about as mothers, don't buy into the idea that if you're not loving the baby hormones every second of the day, that you're not doing well. 

post #25 of 82

I really think all of this boils down to two things:  Read and learn as much as possible before-hand, and have the phone number of someone you can call anytime to ask questions of.  That's really what I needed.

post #26 of 82

For a second time around mom: Just because you don't have the huge amount of milk that you had with your first baby does not mean you don't have enough.

post #27 of 82

I think the most important thing is to keep at it.  I see so many moms quit in the first couple of weeks just because it was hard or they were afraid baby wasn't getting enough. 

 

It most likely WILL be hard (and hurt) at first, but do it anyway.   The difficult period doesn't last very long, and the rewards are so worth it.  See a lactation consultant; lots of places offer for free or take insurance.  Come LCs are better than others and breastfeeding changes once your milk comes in, so don't be afraid to go again or see someone different.  Like PP said, it's still cheaper than formula.  If you're worried about supply, find a place where you can weigh baby, either before and after a feed, or regularly for growth.  Wet/dirty diapers are another good indicator.

 

 

post #28 of 82

Babies are born knowing how to breastfeed. Breastfeeding isn't a learned skill. If you don't do anything to mess it up you have an excellent chance of breastfeeding with no significant difficulties.

post #29 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

Babies are born knowing how to breastfeed. Breastfeeding isn't a learned skill. If you don't do anything to mess it up you have an excellent chance of breastfeeding with no significant difficulties.



Hmmm...this is not true.  My first-born would either latch, and literally do nothing, or scream at the breast.  I had to syringe feed and try to nurse him for at least 2 weeks.  What do you suppose I did wrong?

post #30 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat13 View Post


So true! I had no idea at the time, but even though DH was supporting me through the tears and calling LLL for me, in his mind he was ready to fly out of the house at a moment's notice to get some formula. Makes me so happy I decided to turn down all those free samples and not have any "just in case" formula in the house.

 


Seriously!  My DH was 100% supportive, went to breast feeding classes with me, the whole nine yards but broke down in tears the second day home from the hospital, begging me to give DS formula because he was worried DS was starving to death.  It was a tough day but we got through it - see below.



Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

Babies are born knowing how to breastfeed. Breastfeeding isn't a learned skill. If you don't do anything to mess it up you have an excellent chance of breastfeeding with no significant difficulties.


Ah, I respectfully disagree with this.  I was so engourged that DS could not latch, my breasts were like bowling balls, he simply couldn't get any tissue at all.  It was my aunt that told me to manually express enough milk out to enable him to latch.  It was that simple yet he couldn't tell me! 

 

Advance planning is invaluable.  I thought I had it all covered but boy was I wrong!  We went to classes, I read all (well, it seemed like all) of the books out there, came from a family that breastfeed their kids, all my friends BF and so on, how hard could it be?

 

If I had it to do over again, I would have had met with a LC privately (beyond the awesome yet over-worked one teaching the class at my hospital) prior to birth and had a plan in place to contact her asap when things started to go downhill for us.  DS latched fine at the hospital, it was when my milk came in that the problems started.

 

Sadly, LLL was of no help to me when I called.  It might be an issue related to the group in my area but when I called looking for help, the response was one of "sorry to hear that, I never had any problems and I don't know of anyone in the group that has, come to a meeting next week...." when we advice (over the phone, I wasn't asking anyone to drive to me) that Saturday afternoon.

 

LIke so many others said, it does get better and once it does, it is so rewarding and wonderful so hang in there.
 

 

post #31 of 82

Sure, babies as a group are born knowing how to breastfeed and women's bodies are designed for it, but that doesn't mean Nature doesn't sometimes need a little help, or a little help interpreting what's going on. My daughter totally "told" me at 3 days old that I was too engorged and my letdown was too forceful for her. Except she communicated this by pulling off the breast, choking, and crying, and I didn't know how to interpret this communication. Once someone with more experience helped me figure out what was going on and how to deal with it, we got on better. I don't think "it's natural, you totally got this" is very helpful advice. Those for whom it's easy won't need that advice, and those who struggle will just feel worse.

post #32 of 82

I agree, I think that "breastfeeding is natural, don't mess it up," is exactly the kind of advice this thread was started to AVOID. It really invalidates the experience of all of us mothers who had a hard time, despite being natural humans with human babies. My son seemed to be born knowing jack squat, for the record. 

post #33 of 82

nak.

it took me 2 months to get my fourth baby's latch worked out. my fourth child, you'd think there wouldn't be a problem! but she would NOT open her mouth wide enough to latch and instead slurped my nipple into her mouth. this caused cracked nipples and bleeding, mastitis, severe pain. it took alot of work to correct it and even now at 5 months she sometimes doesn't open all the way. yes, babies are born knowing to suck, but they don't always do it the right way!

post #34 of 82

Even if the latch looks textbook, it may still be off.  Try biological breastfeeding: http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/pages/recipe.html

 

This saved my breastfeeding relationship with my second son!  Once I gave him the option of latching on without any interference he did it spot on and the *excruciating* pain of the previous 5 weeks was gone.  Granted, 5-6 weeks in is often when the pain begins to dissipate, but it was such a quick turnaround that the new method had to have some part.

post #35 of 82

If it hurts, keep asking for help.

 

In the early days of nursing, my dd gummed even though all the midwives said her latch looked fine. The pain was excruciating and determined as I was, I wondered how I could possibly breastfeed only as I'd planned to with this pain. I asked every midwife and LC on duty at the hospital about it while I was there. Finally, one midwife helped me out and things got much better after a month. I was ready to give up quite a few times that month, but just kept telling myself to keep at it for just one more day. 

 

At some point breastfeeding became effortless in the baby's second month. I kept going to LLL meetings for the support.

post #36 of 82
1. Read books and take a class if you have time, but...

2. Have a LC or other knowledgeable BFing person with you for your first few feedings until you get the hang of it. I ended up supplementing some at the start and I probably could have avoided it if I had been visited by a LC right away instead of an hour or so before I left the hospital.

3. You will feel the baby sucking and it often hurts at first but at the very least it is very noticeable, my DD latched on beautifully, but she wasn't actually sucking to get anything, just comfort sucking a bit and I didn't realize it until the LC showed up as the nurses I had just checked her latch and nothing else. I was starting to wonder since it seemed like she fell asleep so quick and I wasn't feeling much and the LC helped, but I was pretty much out of there and really needed more help. If I had had it from the start, she probably would not have lost as much weight as she did. Anyway, somewhat specific, but this was the big things that all the books, advice and classes didn't really emphasize. Most focused on getting the perfect latch, so I was fine there and it helped my DD was good at it, but I didn't really understand that sucking would be unmistakable since a lot of the books and classes try to downplay any pain to not discourage people.

4. And yeah, as other have said, it gets so much easier after the few few weeks.
post #37 of 82

That some of us have to find a new definition of successful breastfeeding. 

 

The having low supply doesn't mean you love your child any less - your love is just more concentrated into smaller amounts of milk. :-)

post #38 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

Babies are born knowing how to breastfeed. Breastfeeding isn't a learned skill. If you don't do anything to mess it up you have an excellent chance of breastfeeding with no significant difficulties.


Gee, this is horrible advice.  Babies know how to suck, that's about it but that's not all there is.  Breastfeeding takes two and it is absolutely a learned skill.  A 6-month-old is far and away better at it than a newborn, and a mom who has breastfed before has a huge leg up over one who hasn't.

 

I would echo cristeen's advice about how to tell whether the baby is getting enough.  I also had avoidable low supply with my first babe (though not as severe as cristeen's - I ended up with about an 80% supply and had to supp the rest), and it was a huge PITA.  A little information would have gone a long way.  My second babe was quite similar to my first actually - sleepy newborn, needed to be woken for feeds - but since I'd learned the hard way already, I knew I needed to wake her to eat and we are doing just fine this time around.

 

I think every new mom should know the 'norms':

 

- newborns should be gaining minimum 0.5 oz/day, optimum 1 oz/day

- 6-8 wet diapers per day

- after the meconium is gone, babe should be having frequent yellow poops: 1 poo the first day milk comes in, 2 poos the second day, 3 poos the third day then evens out at 4+ poos per day

- also, the fact that there is a critical window for supply establishment, and it is pretty tight (about 2 weeks).

 

 

This is helpful to know because it offers 'hard data', which is reassuring to moms who are needlessly doubtful, and gives moms whose babies really aren't getting enough an early signal to seek help.

 

What is truly *not* helpful is "Just keep breastfeeding and everything will be fine!  Just don't stop breastfeeding!  Fussy baby?  Normal!  Frequent eater?  Normal!  Slow gainer?  Normal!  Not pooing?  Oh, that's just a variation of normal!"  It's like total denial that there could ever be a problem.  So my other piece of advice is, don't listen to people who tell you that kind of thing but *don't* offer you a way to tell when something is really not right.

 

post #39 of 82

I didn't read all the replies, but, I would really stress to them that if something doesn't seem right (for example, a lot of pain, baby not gaining etc) that they seek help...keep asking until they find an answer that works. Breastfeeding may be natural but it is not always easy. I had a REALLY hard time with all 3 of mine (one I had nailbiting pain for 6 months and 1 was mostly FF from 2 months and never latched again after about 6 months), it's only been my 3rd baby where I started truly reaching out for help. She's 3 months and we would have quit by 1 month if I had not reached out to various professionals and volunteers and even friends for help (and we've seen so much improvement and even the emotional support has been so helpful...I don't know how many times I have called my IBCLCs crying and they have listened and stood by my side). Now I have people asking me for help all the time..I LOVE helping - it is a passion for me, new moms should realize them asking someone for help is not inconveniencing and most of the time the person will want to help them. :-)

post #40 of 82

Some women are super lucky and bf is a breeze from the start.  I hope you are one of them!  

But for the rest of us (most I think!):

 

Be passionate and focused on your goal of nursing, it will be easy and smooth EVENTUALLY and it will be at least one of, if not THE MOST REWARDING thing in your lifetime. 

 

Let your babe try to suck immediately after birth, then as often and as long as he/she wants for the next 6 weeks.  Don't even think of looking at a clock or timer and if you are in a hospital just try to get out of there as soon as possible so you can get home and rest and nurse in peace and quiet.

 

If your mother or sister or other family member nursed exclusively for some time, ask them to come as soon as the baby is born to supervise the first few latches and again over the next few days for support and help.

 

If you have major problems (and I had some of the worst), hire a lactation consultant WHOSE NUMBER YOU'VE HAD SINCE YOU WERE PREGNANT.  If she is too critical and overwhelming, FIRE HER and hire someone who is kind and supportive and says you will be able to do it NO MATTER WHAT.  There is literally NOTHING that can prevent a mother from feeding her baby except a DOUBLE mastectomy, or the mother's will giving up on her.  Anything else is HOGWASH.

 

Don't pump or give any formula (no matter what anyone says) until your supply is established and nursing is seamless.  You will be the judge of when that is (if ever).  Usually it's between 6 -12 weeks.

 

If you have the opportunity, GO WATCH an experienced breastfeeding mama nurse her new infant, and watch how he/she latches on and off.

 

Go MAMA!

 

 

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