Author Topic: "I'm pregnant for the first time and think I do want to breastfeed. Help me?"  (Read 11256 times)

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Offline Samuel's mum

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OK - now obviously I'm not talking about me here but I'd like to ask you ladies for a bit of help. The mods are developing a child board with 'frequently asked questions' and I would love to have a set of replies here as if this question was a real one. If a new mum-to-be is surfing one day and comes across us I would like her to be inspired.

So imagine:

I'm 26 weeks pregnant with my first child. I really do think I want to breastfeed as I've heard it's more healthy but I don't know anyone who does. Noone in my family has ever done it. Is there anything you think I should know? Will it hurt? Is it worth it? I would appreciate any support or advice you could give me. TIA.
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Offline Julian2006

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I would recommend learning as much as possible before the baby comes and to be prepared for a lot of hard work.  For some women it comes very easily, and others struggle. 

I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, but did not anticipate it taking three months to get the hang of it!  Julian would not latch on in the hospital so we were trying to get him to latch, then giving him a bottle of previously expressed milk, and then me pumping for the next feeding.  This whole process took twice as long as regular feedings.  I was exhausted!!!  And this went on for three weeks!!  I was going to breastfeeding clinics and having a nurse come to the house to help me but he just wouldn't do it.  At the three week mark a nurse finally gave me a nipple shield and he latched on immediately and had his first full meal from just my breast.  I was so happy, everyone in the room had tears in their eyes!  We continued using the shield for the next several weeks and then I started having milk supply issues.  Using the shield he wasn't getting as much milk out of the breast as he would without.  It was also taking him much longer.  I went and saw another lactation consultant and I started pumping a minimum of eight times a day after he ate - I would supplement with expressed milk when I needed to and froze the rest.  I also took Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle (from the health food store) to try to stimulate my production.  Also, I started to wean him off the latch by lying in bed with him on my stomach with both our shirts off.  Being in this position he would root around looking for my breast and would latch on without the shield - I guess this is what newborns do if you put them on your stomach right after they are born.  I did this for 12 days and am happy to say that everything is great now.  My milk supply is good and there are no problems latching:)

So the moral of the story is to be prepared to fight for it.  Make sure you know what resources are available to you in your community to help you, rent a hospital grade electric pump if you are required to pump, and be sure that the people around you know that you will need support!

I am really happy now that we are exclusively breastfeeding and strongly recommend at least trying; but if it doesn't work for you, then it doesn't work for you.

Offline hatshetsut

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Breast feeding is the way to go if you ask me. I feel that nature knows what it is doing, and breast feeding is the most natural healthy thing you can do for a baby. Plus, it is great bonding time with your little one, and is low maintenance!

Breast feeding doesn't hurt, but does take some time to get you and your baby in sync with each other. I would recommend taking a breast feeding class that describes positions to nurse, recommended feeding techniques, and take full benefit of the lactation consultants at the hospital where you will deliver. Also, Tracy's books have great guidelines for breast feeding, so if you haven't picked up the BW Solves All Your Problems, I would!

If you do decide to BF, you will not regret it!
Abigail - Defines Spirited! - 5-1-06

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Offline Harvey and Theos Mam

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No one in my family had breastfed so i had very little help. I did go to "parentcraft classes" and found a lot of the information sheets they gave me to be excellent in helping towards my success.

I wasn't sure if i would like the feel of b/f or if it would be the right choice for me, but........as you can tell because i am posting here and now b/f my 2nd child, i thought it was the best experience i could've wished for.
Look for your local b/f group or mother group as they can be a great support network. And do not be afraid to ask for help as both you and baby are both learning how to feed.

Things i love about b/f
The closeness you feel with your baby.
never having to worry about washing, sterilizing or making bottles.
Great for early hour feeds as you already have your milk ready available.
Your bag is much smaller as you haven't got to load it with bottles of milk.

I got a mammoth amount of support from these great ladies on the BW when i was having a hard time with  my 2nd baby. There is always someone somewhere to listen to you and help you as best they can.
Rhian
 

Offline Petunia

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Honestly, the best advice I can give is to read So That's What They're For , 3rd Edition by Janet Tamaro.  It's funny, easy to read, and covers all the basics.  You can go from there into more in-depth things.

Until I read the first three chapters in her book my attitude was "I'll give breast feeding a try...if it doesn't work, oh well."  After reading those chapters I was determined that breastfeeding was the only option for my baby!  After reading the rest of the book I was armed with enough information to know that breastfeeding was possible and not to give up when the going got tough.  That knowledge and my determination were what got me over the beginning hurdles.  I ended up breastfeeding for a year.

Since you don't know anyone who breastfeeds (I was in the same boat) I would recommend seeking out a lactation consultant before the baby is born.  You'll need the eyes and ears of someone who knows more than you to help you over hurdles.  Without this kind of help, it is very likely that you will give up breastfeeding before you really wish to do so.

Offline Ennypen

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Hope you don't mind me sticking my nose in here - this is a subject I get a bit emotional about sometimes so wanted to say something.

Like some posters have mentioned many women find they can't breastfeed no matter how hard they try or how hard they fight. Me included. At first I felt a failure and was very very emotional about it... feeling like something was missing ... but I realised that I should not feel this way and in fact was doing the very best I could for my LO under the circumstances.

Please please mention somewhere in your FAQ thread that after trying hard to breast feed and still you can't you should not feel that you have failed and that you can bond just as well with a baby when bottle feeding as you can when breastfeeding.

Thanks

Helen xxx

Offline Samuel's mum

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Thanks Ennypen for sharing that. Your post will stand in this thread so I don't need to mention it because you already have very eloquently.

Thanks everyone for great responses so far. Keep it coming.
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Offline Sam's mum

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Breast feeding is definitely the best way to go however....

My experience was that it did hurt for up to 3-4 weeks and the first weeks in particular were really tough. The best advice I was given and can give away now is that it takes at least 6 weeks for it to start to feel natural but the rewards once it starts to fall into place are huge.  No sterilising, milk on tap when we're out and never worrying about if I've made enough or waiting for bottles to cool down and I love the fact that it's all down to me that she's putting weight on and growing.  Having said that my lo didn't like turning her head to the right to start with so we spent the first few weeks trying all sorts of positions to try and trick her to take the side she didn't like ;D.  My dh had to help me position her for the first couple of days until we both started getting comfortable with the latch (and for some this alone can take a few weeks).  

SOO while in the long run it's a lot easier and fantastic getting started was really hard work and at times exhausting but all worth it in the end.

Fiona

Offline onemodestdiva

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I want to metion some things that I had a hrd time with:
No matter how much people say that breastfeeding is natural and easy noone said "they don't come out knowing how to breastfeed and neither do you."  It is a learned process, sometimes with tears and pain.
There will come a day when you might wake up DRENCHED in breast milk.  Get up dry yourself off and then go back to sleep.
If your baby nurses one day it is a gift.  If you are able to go 2 then it is wonderful and if you go as long as you both want then it is a miracle.
It is okay to give your LO a bottle.  It is even convient when you want to take some time to yourself.  You are a good mother regardless of how you chose to feed your child.  A bottle doesn't make you less.
Alisha



Offline nattymarsh

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Hear Hear onemodestdiva!

I did take a prenatal class and asked for help from nurses and lactation consultants and went to breastfeeding clinics when trying to learn how to breastfeed.  It may be natural and easy for some, but for me and my lo it was the hardest thing we've ever had to learn, and I found it painful in the beginning (improper latch, cracked and bleeding nipples, engorgment). Because I heard over and over again that breastfeeding is so easy and natural I felt like a failure when it didn't happen to me right away.   I had no idea that it was a learning process and there are many variables that can hinder it along the way (i.e. my lo had jaundice)  There were many tears along the way but I can tell you that I'm glad I stuck with it because I find it very rewarding (and convienent!)  Please, please, please keep this in mind: 
You are a good mother regardless of how you chose to feed your child.


Good luck with whatever you choose to do and enjoy your new baby!

Offline Monika aka annamum

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I would say, get in touch with LLL or any local breastfeeding organization before you have your baby. That way, when you experience problems with nursing you will know whom to call and ask for help. Some hospitals have a free lactation consultant on staff and all you need to do is to call the number and ask the question.

It really may be tough at the beginning, especially for a first time mom with little or no help from outside. Just handling a newborn is a demanding and stressful job, learning how to nurse is just one more thing to handle and at times it may seem daunting. But, in a long run, it is so worth it, there are emotional, nutritional and health benefits for both mom and baby.

I agree, you may need to have a book on breastfeeding available. I found it easier to nurse and read in the first weeks, my baby didn't mind me reading while she was at my breast and as you can imagine, I was spending a lot of time doing that. My favorite one is : Dr. Jack Newman's "Guide to Breastfeeding" (called The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers" in the USA.

Personally, if you are commited, don't have cans of formula at home, it may be really tempting at times to open one. If it is not available, you may have enough time to rethink your decision before you go to the grocery to buy one :).

And always you can come here, you will get a superb support on this board!
tandem nursing mama to sweet Anna (Feb 2004) and Alexandra (born at home Dec 2006)

Offline Samuel's mum

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Some fabulous responses - thank you ladies.

I'll move this to the FAQ board soon.

Would anyone else like to post?
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Offline momma2g

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Hello .
Do as you see fit!  If your not confortable breastfeeding you may not stick with it it is difficult in the first few weeks!  I BF both my girls.  No one in my family ever breast fed so I had no one to ask advice from but if you decide to go with it there is a wonderful organization call the la Leche league. http://www.lalecheleague.org
they have a web site with tons of people all over the world to answer any question you can think of here is a link also I did supplement with formula when I was out and pumped to bottle feed on occasion if you are going to BF for more than 6 mons invest in a good pump.  But not until after the baby is at least 4 weeks old and has your milk supply regulated trust me it is very uncomfortable if you don't wait as i soon learned.  Also every formula package you read starts out by saying Breast milk is best. Tracy has a blurb in her book about nipple confusion as well which is help ful however small or newborn nipples work best when feed from bottle and breast. good luck on whatever you decide
Momma2g

Offline evanskimberley

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Silly practical things, work out before hand (whilst still pregnant) where you can and you feel happy to breastfeed in public. For instance, does you local shopping mall have facilities, what are they like, if you go food shopping, can you do it there?
This helps you get out and about and not feel like you have to stay in even if you are feeding on demand in the early days.

Drink loads and loads of water. Gets lots of rest.

At the end of a feed get things read again for the next feed. If you have designated feeding chair, have glass of water handy, keep the phone there, snacks incase you get hungry, TV remote!!! Bfeeding is a lovely time to bond with your baby, but it can be a way of getting a bit of 'me; time too!!!

Invest in a few good bras. I mean a few, cos they will need washing frequently due to leakage, so get breastpads in too!! Splash out and buy really good quality bras that are pretty and and feminine, but still do the job. it will help you to feel 'normal'. Make sure you get them fitted by a professional. Many shops have trained bra fitters and in the UK, the NCT have a service where they will come out to your house to measure you and sell you the bras. (You don't have to be a member)
Kimberley


Offline Mrs. Gravy

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Expect to be nursing around the clock for the first while. 

Forget about the housework.  Concentrate on nursing your baby when he/she demands it.  Don't ever try to force a schedule.  Breast feeding works best when it's on demand.  Doing otherwise can mess with your supply.

Find a local LLL group in advance, so you will have support when you need it.  Find a Lactation Consultant in case you run into problems.

Read all you can about it before the baby.  http://kellymom.com/store/reviews/index.html - has some great books and reviews.

Stick with it.  The first few weeks are the hardest but it gets easier.  It is one of the best things you can do for your child. 

Expect your family to have questions.  They're probably used to formula feeding and maybe starting solids at an earlier age than is now recommended.  Be prepared to educate others.  101 Reasons to Breast Feed Your Child - http://www.notmilk.com/101.html  Print copies and hand them out to people who question what you're doing!

Be confident that you are doing what is best for your child.  Being educated will let you put up with the questions and comments others make.
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