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Breastfeeding tip : Recognising a growth spurt

* You feel as though you haven't got enough
* Baby getting upset at the breast (though can be a sign of other common problems)
* Baby is breastfeeding often or almost nonstop (feel like baby is always wanting to feed)
* A baby who was previously sleeping through the night is now waking to breast feed several times
* Baby will latch and unlatch, fussing in between

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What I wish I had known BEFORE I started breastfeeding

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default What I wish I had known BEFORE I started breastfeeding

Post by TashaAndBump on Mon May 25, 2009 7:00 pm

It can be so hard to decide which method you will use to feed your baby, when you have people left-right-and-center trying to tell you what's best. Of course it doesn't help that they all seem to be saying different and opposite things! If you have made your decision then congratulations! If that decision is to breastfeed then you might find this thread helpful: I am hoping that it will help pregnant mum's (and those new to breastfeeding) to 'prepare' for what's in store and to face breastfeeding empowered with the knowledge of what to expect.

Unfortunately I was not lucky enough for somebody to tell me about breastfeeding before I set off on it! Nobody ever told me what to expect before I started... I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I had no idea what it would be like or how it worked!

A few key things I have learnt that would have been nice to know before I started are:

Your milk has to come in. This means that at first you won't actually have any milk in your breasts (even if you have been leaking all through your pregnancy!) it will just be a watery substance called colostrum (although this is still very, very good for baby!) so for the first few days your baby may want to suck and suck and suck (and they won't ever seem satisfied, either! ) This is not because they are hungry, it is just because they are sucking to bring the milk in. You will know when your milk is in because your breasts suddenly become hard, full and heavy!

The thing to remember is your baby will not starve. Wanting to suck continually is normal and healthy - it is just how breastfeeding works at first - the milk comes in at the demand of your LO suckling 24/7. It does not mean that you do not have enough milk, it does not mean that your baby is too hungry - it is normal. Expect it.

The other thing to remember is that it won't last forever. You breast feed for such a short amount of time and it goes so fast... The period of time where your new baby is bringing milk in can, at first, feel like a life time, but it does pass (and soon becomes a distant memory!). Breastfeeding can be so enjoyable but it does have trials to overcome, so if you want to breastfeed you'll have to be prepared to stick at it!

I also was never told about 'after pains'. Because breastfeeding releases hormones to contract your uterus back to non-pregnant size, you can get terrible labour-like cramps when you first feed your baby. This is also normal but unfortunately it can hurt like hell! Again, remember that is passes.

One thing that really surprised me was the amount of people that I came up against, who thought they knew my baby best (and tried to get me to give her a bottle)! This came from family, friends, strangers and health professionals. But my baby is nearly one year old now and is still breastfed - she never did need a bottle like so many people tried to tell me she did! Don't be put off. You know your baby best!

Another thing I was surprised to learn is that a new born baby's stomach is the size of a walnut. It is tiny. It won't take a great amount of milk to fill them up. Please do not become stressed if you don't think you have much milk at first. This is normal, and a baby only needs a very tiny amount of colostrum in the early days. Another thing to expect is a small amount of weight loss in the first weeks before your milk comes in properly. This is nothing to worry about, and no reason to top up with formula. In fact, topping up with formula during this crucial early stage is likely to interfere with your supply and may lead to you and your baby depending on formula top ups more and more. Many women grow concerned when they try to express milk and find that very little comes out. But please don't be alarmed if this happens to you; A baby is far more efficient at getting milk out than we are. I am unable to express anything from my breasts, yet I know my baby is getting milk out of them. She is over a year old, her only source of drink and a large part of her diet is made up of breastfeeds and she is perfectly healthy and gaining weight very well.

You will hear a lot of horror stories from people telling you about "cracked nipples". This is a reality with breastfeeding; Unfortunately when you breastfeed you can suffer with cracked nipples and it can be so very painful. Even the most determined breastfeeder may be put off or stopped when cracked nipples sit in their way.

However it can be prevented: Most cracked nipples are caused by baby not latching properly. Proper latching-on can be difficult to get the hang of but it is important. The key things I discovered about proper latching were:



  • Wait for the baby to open her mouth before trying to get them to latch on.
  • Baby should not latch onto just the nipple - a healthy latch places the entire nipple and most of the areola in the babies mouth as well.
  • Once baby opens her mouth wide (as if yawning) hold your breast (like pinching a large amount of it together above the areola so it is held together so it fits in babies mouth) and push it in fast with the nipple pointing up toward the back of the mouth.
  • When baby is latched on there should be very little of the areola showing... a very slim amount above the top lip if anything - there should be none below the bottom lip (a properly latched on baby will cover more of the breast with his lower lip than with his top one).
  • Breastfeeding should not hurt if you have baby latched on properly. If you are getting pain while baby is feeding, slide your finger into babies mouth and around your nipple to get it out without grazing it between your babies gums, and start again.
  • Try to hold baby up to the breast - supported by pillows if need be - don't keep baby down on your lap and lean over them - it helps if you keep your back straight or reclined.
  • I also found that putting my legs up on something helped (like a foot stool).

Cracked nipples can also be caused by continuous latching on and off, as often happens when a) baby was not properly latched on in the first place or b) baby does not fill up on feeds.

If you can latch your new baby on properly and keep them on for 10 - 20 minutes they will most likely not need the other side and may sleep for a couple of hours. If, however, they keep falling asleep as soon as they are on the boob they are likely to sleep for 10-15 minutes but then wake up wanting more milk. Try to make sure your baby is full before they come off the boob; If you notice your baby falling asleep as soon or very shortly after they are latched onto your boob, stroke their cheeks or pull the nipple back gently to encourage baby to start sucking again. This keeps baby from falling asleep straight away and coming off (thus preventing the problems outlined above).

This video shows a proper latching on:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox8ht-EV ... /id11.html

The key thing to remember is, if you are struggling with breastfeeding seek support. Either while you are in hospital (via midwife or health care provider) or once you get home (ask your health visitor or midwife about local groups and what support there is out there. If it helps, ask your midwife to show your how to latch on before you leave the hospital. While Anna was in special care a very nice neonatal nurse saw me struggling and without me saying anything she came up to me, took hold of my boob and pushed it in, showing me how to latch Anna on... from then on it was all so much easier. So if you need support ask for it, even ask to be shown how to breastfeed and if the person you ask can't show you / doesn't know then ask them to find someone who does / can!

Remember: You can breastfeed. Don't let anyone tell you you can't / you need to top up with a bottle. Your body was designed perfectly to breastfeed just as it was designed to carry a baby inside of you. If you want to breastfeed, don't let anyone stop you!


Last edited by TashaAndBump on Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:13 pm; edited 3 times in total
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TashaAndBump

Female Number of posts : 121
Age : 29
From : Essex
Tell us about yourself : Mummy to Anna (17 months old) Pregnant with identical twins! Smile

Due 29th January - Can't wait to breastfeed babies 2 and 3 :-) Anna stopped breastfeeding at 16 months 2 weeks.
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default Re: What I wish I had known BEFORE I started breastfeeding

Post by TashaAndBump on Mon May 25, 2009 7:01 pm

Please add your own - What do you wish YOU had known before you started breastfeeding? Smile
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TashaAndBump

Female Number of posts : 121
Age : 29
From : Essex
Tell us about yourself : Mummy to Anna (17 months old) Pregnant with identical twins! Smile

Due 29th January - Can't wait to breastfeed babies 2 and 3 :-) Anna stopped breastfeeding at 16 months 2 weeks.
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Points : 175
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default Re: What I wish I had known BEFORE I started breastfeeding

Post by gingerpig on Mon May 25, 2009 7:42 pm

Ahhh what a great post! Not much to add, but just really agree with you on the needing to know just HOW MUCH newborns feed. My MW told me I didn't have enough milk because of my c-section with D, and that she was crying when she came off my boob because of that, and not because all I needed to do was put her back on my boob, and wait for my supply to increase automatically! Which it did, and I'm still bfeeding her more than 2 years later. But that's also a little scary, think early breastfeeding best done one feed at a time, and every feed you do, benefits you and your baby.

gingerpig

Female Number of posts : 38
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Tell us about yourself : I'm 38 and a SAHM. My daughter was born 10th Feb 2007 and my son born 28th Jan 2009. I am tandem feeding them and am a breast feedinghelper with the BfN. I had big problems feeding DD at first, but now it couldn't be going better Smile
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default Re: What I wish I had known BEFORE I started breastfeeding

Post by Natasha on Tue May 26, 2009 7:52 am

:aww: totaly agree with whats been put.

Also what I didn't like was how they put breastfeeding across in the antenatal classes, she made it sound like a chore and that I will have my titties out every 2 mins and I will never ever get a break.

She didn't say how beautiful and bonding it was and how good it can make you feel.

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Breastfed Lottie for nearly two years and Livi for 13 months.
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default Re: What I wish I had known BEFORE I started breastfeeding

Post by ldnug on Wed May 27, 2009 8:33 am

About Mastitis and the symptoms as I only knew I had it when fitting in bed and then had to have strong antibiotics!!!

The second time I knew what to look out for and avoided it!
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