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Breastfeeding the babes!

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
I know it is a little early for this, but I thought it might be nice to have a place to talk about any questions, trials, or triumphs we have with breastfeeding.

I'll start with a total rookie mom question... what the heck is the deal with engorgement? I'm not a small chested lady to start with and I'm wondering about bras and how to choose one as having a good one is important for me. Did you need to wear a special type or larger sized bra for this phase? Or is it short-lived and you go back to normal soon after?

I've also heard that staying away from under-wire bras during breastfeeding is a good idea, to do with avoiding plugged ducts? Anyone have experience with this?

Flying my first-time mom flag over here! I so appreciate your knowledge and expertise...
post #2 of 38
Great question! Engorgement usually happens when your milk "comes in", usually between 3-5 days after giving birth, and the reason I used quotes is because your body is probably producing milk already, called colostrum, but around that 3-5 day mark is when your milk changes from colostrum to mature milk. Let me start by saying that engorgement does not always happen, especially if you are putting baby to the breast basically every time they so much as start stirring. My second baby was breasteeding every 20 minutes for the first 2 days. On day 3 my milk was in and no engorgement because baby was feeding so often. However, especially in our culture, babies are often only fed every 2-3 hours, so that when the milk matures, your breasts feel super full, the skin is tight and it may be difficult for baby to get a good latch because the breasts are so hard, like melons. If you have an average milk supply, you probably won't feel like this again unless you miss a feeding or two without pumping. What I would suggest for bras is to buy yourself one or two "sleeping" bras (for bursing). They basically are criss-cross bras or something similar and theyre super comfy. Then, around 6 weeks, when breastfeeding is established, you can go and get a couple of daytime bras. I have never found underwire to be a problem, but everyone is different. If you can afford it, I'd go to a specialty baby store and get properly fitted. The bras are more expensive, but after 5 years of wearing cheap ones, I can say they are totally worth it!!! Maybe ask for a gift certificate to a place you know sells them as a shower gift.

Also, if possible, I would suggest attending a La Leche League meeting before your baby arrives. It can be really helpful to make those connections before you have an issue, as well as seeing other moms breastfeed and being able to ask questions. smile.gif

Sorry for the novel!
post #3 of 38

Good advice.  I am not large chested, so I don't know if bras are a comfort thing for you, but I find that in the first weeks, when I am primarily at home, skipping bras altogether is much more comfortable.  Things tend to be sore and sensitive in the beginning and letting the girls breathe as much as possible is best to prevent irritation.  I second the wisdom of waiting until your supply settles down to invest in any expensive nursing bras.  If you are large chested pre-nursing, you are probably going to be astonishingly enormous while breastfeeding (so I have been told) and will want to go to a specialty store to bed fitted into a correctly fitting bra.  Before I had kids I was probably 34 a/b and after my first I was a 36 D/E.  

post #4 of 38

Well, I went ahead and bought a couple of wal-mart nursing bras early. I bought them one size up, but I am wearing it now. I decided that today I was not just not in the mood for underwire, and I today I really don't care if my bra doesn't fit perfect. (Geesh, in the mood I am in, they are lucky I am wearing one at all! :lol)


With DS, I did experience some pain from underwire as I got close to delivery and definitely afterward. I think I might be one of the ladies prone to clogged ducts! 


Based on my experience with DS, I believe I will be able to keep wearing these bras while nursing DS. (***keeping fingers crossed that I am right***)


I experienced engorgement a few times with DS...as Lida says, a couple days after birth and then anytime I went too long between feedings. (We traveled a lot to show off my baby after the first month...and usually that is when I would try to push time between feedings...suddenly super-big, hard boobs!)  Engorgement is something you will want to deal with (via feeding or pumping) because it can get really uncomfortable if you don't, s o there is no need to buy a bra just to fit engorged breasts.


For the first weeks, I lived in nursing camisoles, except at night when I would just wear a tank top. I never purchased sleeping bras, but that is mainly because I have never been comfortable wearing anything tight to sleep.  


One thing I found invaluable - nursing pads. I would leak at the drop of a hat -- my cat would meow for food, and out comes the milk!

post #5 of 38

With DD, I watched a lot of youtube videos on how to breastfeed a newborn, and that REALLY helped because the nurses in the hospital didn't show me the same tips. The most helpful tip for me was how to latch babies properly by keeping your fingers out of the way, tickling their mouth until they open wide and then pushing their head onto the breast so that the entire nipple AND areola are in their mouth (it looked a bit rough for me but once DD was there, it worked beautifully).  I just tried to find those videos again, I think a lot of them were from a dr. Jack Newman. I watched this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHs2Ql5Kylo) so many times until I knew all the details by heart. And it actually worked! 


I did not suffer that much engorgement but I was also breastfeeding very frequently in the beginning. She was feeding almost every hour or so. Maybe that helped but I really have no other reference. 


As to bra-size, HA! I looked like I had a major boob-job after the birth. They were like cup E or ever bigger. I bought one or two cheap bras. My breast size regulated down to a D for a while. Then after (I think) DD turned 7 or 8 months they went back to my pre-pregnancy size (C) and remained that way. I think at the point my milk supply became a whole demand and supply thing without have major amounts of milk stored. I weaned DD at 26 months but I took a long time (several months) and I had absolutely no change in my breast size. This is hardly scientific evidence but I think weaning her off over a long period instead of suddenly helped my breasts keep their shape. The other moms in our group who quickly weaned their babies (over a couple of weeks) did not get their breasts back. They kind of deflated and never came back.  I really don't know if it is genetics or the speed of weaning. For what's worth, my mom breastfed 4 kids each for 2 years and also weaned very slowly. Her breasts never lost size or deflated afterwards.


Hahaha, Lida, breastfeeding get us chatty :)

post #6 of 38

Best breastfeeding advice I got as a first-time mom was from my midwife. She told me if I wanted to exclusively breastfeed to get rid of all formula samples I had received and to not have any in my house because if it was there I'd end up using it. I am so glad I listened to her! It can be extremely difficult in the beginning and when it's 3 am and you're sleep deprived and have a screaming baby who just wants to eat but neither of you can figure out how to get the proper latch-on, it is very, very tempting to just whip up a bottle. There were a few times I almost sent my ex to the store in the middle of the night to get formula because I was so tired and frustrated. Fortunately he was just as committed to breastfeeding and really helped me a lot in those early days. My mw had shown him how to help get DD latched on properly and what he could do to help. Having a support system set-up before hand is so important for success. As my midwife told me, "Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world but it doesn't come naturally."


As far as bras go, ditto what everyone else has said. Buy some light support bras and nursing camis for the first weeks, for easier access and for comfort. You can probably expect your cup size to increase when your milk is in so I wouldn't spend a lot of money on more supportive bras. I personally need to have underwire bras for the support. Last time around I was up to a 34 H while nursing. Non-underwire bras just don't offer the support I need but I wait until my milk is fully in and established before switching to them.


Nursing pads are a much, not only for leaking but for nipple sensitivity as well. Holy wow do my nipples get sensitive. Walking through the refrigerated section at the grocery store is pure torture!

post #7 of 38

I loved those criss-cross front Blue Canoe organic cotton bras for the first week or two when I was really just in my room.  It's a little more coverage than a bra so I didn't feel I needed to put on a shirt if a friend brought dinner.  They're loose so I could stuff diapers in one side while I nursed the other...seemed like the thing to do to let it flow and not fuss with nursing bras and pads that early on.  Then I switch to Bravados during the day and keep wearing the loose cotton ones at night so I have something to hold a diaper for leaking- I'm super leaky.  


I'm also prone to breast infections.  Wishgarden Herbs' mastitis formula, which I think now they call something else, is excellent when taken at first symptoms; saved me a whole lot of times from a full-on fever and infection.  I always have that in my house when I'm nursing.

post #8 of 38
post #9 of 38

Great advice. I need to get to my La Leche League meeting tomorrow night. Watched the video online that was posted here. Need to find a better one for twin breastfeeding.

post #10 of 38
Oh yeah, in my rush to post, I forgot to include some links to resources:

As LilyKay said, Dr. jack Newman is one of the best authorities on breastfeeding, he has a clinic in Toronto, Canada for extreme cases, but his website is chock full of good info, and I have personally used his all-purpose nipple ointment for healing major nipple trauma after both kids and it is great! (I plan on getting a Rx for another tub BEFORE delivery this time). On a side note, anytime my GP is fielding a question from me re: breastfeeding, she looks it up on his website first!

His website is breastfeedinginc.ca

Another is kellymom.com

Kelly is a La Leche League Leader and Lactation consultant and has tons of useful info on what is normal for babies re: eating and sleeping, apart from all her great breastfeeding info. Very helpful if you are dealing with a baby like my first who WOULD NOT SLEEP without nursing. It really helped me to see DD as a normal baby rather than a problem to be solved...I'm still not sure DH is convinced tho...haha!
post #11 of 38

wow Lida, didn't know he was an authority on the subject or that he has his own website! Thanks for the link. Lots of good info on there. I found him by mistake on youtube and found the description of a "good latch" very clear as opposed to other videos (I really like step by step descriptions :))  


Here's another video about using compression to help the baby drink more (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj9tLgYn-bA). I remember doing that in the beginning too.


BTW just a side note to new moms on pain. It turns out that some pain in the beginning is normal and not always a sign of a problem. With DD, I was literally gritting my teeth the moment she started breastfeeding but then a few minutes later, it will subdue (maybe this is how one can tell that it's not an issue). It took a few weeks until it was completely gone. Also DD was not interested in breastfeeding the first day and a half. I was so worried because of the whole "they need to eat every 2-3 hours" but luckily a nice old nurse told me kindly to let it go and get some sleep because once she wakes up and decides she's hungry, I won't get much sleep. And she was right. Once DD decided she'd like to feed now, she was on! 

post #12 of 38

Also, I found that I could only get a good latch at first using the "football hold."  Once DS was at least week or two old, I was able to move on to other types of holds and get a good latch.


LilyKay, how funny! I watched that same video over and over again the first month of breastfeeding. (I made the mistake of not learning ANYTHING about BF'ing until after DS was born! duh.gif)

post #13 of 38

The football hold is the only that works for me during the first few weeks too. I feel like I have more control over both baby's head and my breast with the football hold versus the cradle hold.

post #14 of 38
Yes, a lot of moms who've had a c/s find the fooball hold helpful. There is also something called laid back breastfeeding which I have heard is really helpful for getting a good latch, even after a c/s.

post #15 of 38
Thread Starter 
Wow! So much excellent advice here, this is awesome. I have read the Womanly Art and the Nursing Mother's Companion but for some reason hearing from moms can be so much more helpful and direct. I've been to a few LLL meetings too and love hearing from moms there as well, though they aren't usually talking about the beginning stages.

YouTube, of course! That is the thing that is missing from the breastfeeding books, actual pictures of breasts and little nursling latches. They do what they can with line drawings but it just isn't the same. I will definitely be referring to the website/video resources you all have suggested. I've been practicing some of the holds with a little stuffed lamb a friend bought us for the baby. Lamby has also been subjected to many cloth diaper changes as DH and I practice.

Love the idea of the cross over sleeping type bras and camis for the beginning, might wait until I'm closer to term to try to get some that fit well/have a little room for any engorgement issues or room for stuffing diapers in the case of leaking (brilliant, btw). Love that image, too funny. We have a few great maternity stores in town so I will attempt to force myself to get measured/advised by an expert... though that's gonna take some courage on my part
post #16 of 38
This is my number one website I give to clients for BFing help. http://kellymom.com/category/bf/
post #17 of 38
I have breatfed my babies for a combined total of almost 6 years and have helped many ladies in their nursing journeys. Y number o e advice is: stick it out through the first6 weeks as it is the hardest and get help from an IBCLC if needed, not from your mom, aunt, friends, etc unless they are a doula, midwife, or lactation consultant. Many friends will have advice and much if it will not be evidence based. nursing is natural but not always easy.
post #18 of 38
Originally Posted by Lidamama84 View Post

There is also something called laid back breastfeeding which I have heard is really helpful for getting a good latch, even after a c/s.


This reminded me of the movie "Babies". I watched it while pregnant the first time and remember seeing the Japanese mother breastfeeding like that - something I haven't really seen before. I have the movie so I just took a snapshot to show you guys:



This looks very comfortable.  I don't know if I did this with DD as a newborn but later most definitely. I think the baby in the picture is a new born.

post #19 of 38
Ha ha, I love the cat in the picture...yes, that is exactly what I did later on, so why not earlier.

To add to Kali's point about LCs, doulas, midwives, before asking for breastfeeding advice, you should also ask them about their own breastfeeding experience...unlike a La Leche League leaders, none of those other certifications require any actual experience breastfeeding...you may be surprised how many haven't actually successfully breastfed, or only did so for a short time...the minimum BFing experience for a LLL leader is one year. Thats because there are so many different aspects throughout a breastfeeding relationship tha you just won't encounter unless you've been there, done that.
post #20 of 38

Wow, really a lactation consultant doesn't have to have any experience actually breastfeeding. How odd. I tried to get to the LLL meeting last night. I thought it started at 7:30 pm but turns out it is at 6:30 p.m. DH and I were still celebrating his birthday then.  Bummer that in my area LLL meetings are once a month.

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