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Thread: Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    484

    Default Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

    Hey Llladies!

    With my son's first birthday fast approaching, I've been getting nostalgic about our breastfeeding relationship. There have been rough patches...emergency c-section, mastitis, 4 cases of thrush, endless night nursing, teething...but the good outweighs the bad by an embarrassingly large margin. I hope we nurse well into toddlerhood!

    I've collected below the thoughts I wish I could send back in time to my newly post-partum self, the "me" who felt in over her head, exhausted and, not infrequently, perplexed by conflicting advice I was getting. I hope other mamas can chime in with other ideas that I will invariably miss.

    1. Nursing around the clock is normal and desirable in the early months.
    - You may well "end" a nursing session after 40 minutes only to have another "start" 5 minutes later.
    - Feeding baby on demand is vital for establishing your supply (think 10-12x/day, often more, for newborns)

    2. A good latch is key.
    - Learning efficient milk transfer ASAP will save you considerable pain and distress. Watch for a pause and listen for a swallowing sound to confirm good milk transfer.
    - With a proper latch, breastfeeding shouldn't be painful. If it is, check your latch.
    - Check out these videos if you have any confusion:

    http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...agename=videos

    3. Most GPs and paediatricians are about as well trained in breastfeeding as they are in astrophysics (I.e. not at all).

    4. Co-sleeping and side-lying nursing helped me sleep better. It took about 2 weeks to really get the hang of it, but it was worth it.

    5. Babies get distractible and become fussy around 3-4 months. Odds are, it'll pass in a couple of weeks.

    6. Responding to baby quickly builds trust and helps you develop an efficient non-crying communication system.

    7. Don't worry about nursing in public. Be patient with baby and focus on getting comfortable together. Don't worry about those silly covers either, nobody is watching you (except maybe a LLL member who might walk by and smile...nay, radiate...approval)

    8. After a few months, well-functioning breastfeeding is convenient and enjoyable! You stop feeling like an insomniac dairy cow pretty quickly and soon feel like a powerful, life-giving force.

    9. Night nursing is a wonderful way to nurture and nourish you baby. It isn't a bad habit. It won't leave you dragging a 30-year-old on your nipple to your annual mammograms.

    10. When your breastfeeding is going well, look up the contact info for 1-2 IBCLCs near you, a location where you can rent hospital grade pumps, and the location for after-hours clinics. Being prepared will save LOTS of worry just in case you ever need it.

    11. Attend LLL meetings early and often!

    12. Nothing is more important than you and your baby. As much as possible, let everything else go by the wayside and focus on nursing. Only mama can feed baby. Everyone else can stand in line, preferably with a cooked meal for you in hand.

    13. The effort is worth it! I love seeing a giddy little face looking up at me with hands clapping happily as he drinks his milk. I wouldn't trade that experience for $100 million.
    Last edited by @llli*alphawoman; October 9th, 2012 at 12:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    399

    Default Re: Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

    Love it!

    To add: Clusterfeeding. It's normal to feed for several hours straight, or near straight, in the evenings. It's good. It promotes supply and for some babies, allows them to sleep a longer stretch.
    Ellen

    Mama-surgeon;
    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    794

    Default Re: Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

    I wish I had known that NO ONE at the hospital was useful in helping me BF. And it seems to be that way for a lot of people. I took a class there that made it seem easy, but then even the LC who taught the class pretty much abandoned me after coming to see me at the hospital. She also told me it wasn't normal for babies to eat as frequently as mine and that my supply must be low (which it might have been since we didn't get off to a good start at the hospital). Also, the nurses told me we wouldn't worry about my LO not eating well for 24 hours -- by then we had jaundice and other problems and needed formula and light therapy!

    I also have seen too many moms (and I did it, and still do!) stressed out about breastfeeding. We did a combination of BFing, pumping and feeding expressed milk and occasional formula for the first month and all turned out fine. I was just constantly upset I was doing it all wrong and would get mad when I had to do formula (which was decreasing quickly -- I wasn't seeing that part!) I also wish I would have enjoyed all the TV watching while BFing -- I felt like I should have been "doing something," or was stressing that my baby wasn't sleeping in the crib, wasn't napping enough, etc.
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and "Baby Brother," born 6/23/2014, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,504

    Default Re: Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

    I've had three different nurselings now, and have learned new things with each one of them! So even if you've "been there done that" with a first baby, a thread like this can still be helpful

    1. Before you milk comes in, get a box of GOOD nursing pads. The cheapo Gerber ones work okay for a little bit of leakage; but if you've never nursed before, you have no idea how much you are going to leak or if you might end up with oversupply, so better to start out with something a good deal more absorbent for those first few weeks (or months).

    2. If you're tired of wearing a nursing bra with nursing pads all night while your supply regulates (stops leaking), there are other ways to keep your bedsheets dry. Stick a large absorbent cloth in the front of your shirt, or sleep on a towel to catch the leakage. While you're sleeping is the best time to let your nipples breathe; they'll heal better that way, too.

    3. Nursing on demand is important, but you don't HAVE to nurse every single time your baby cries. Especially in the first couple weeks, you need to take care of yourself, too, and get a good break once in a while from the constant friction to your nipples. If it's hurting you so much to nurse that you are crying and yelling, it's not doing you or your baby any good to continue at that time.

    4. IF YOU HAVE A BABY IN THE NICU, don't let the nurses "bully" you about how often and for how long your baby feeds. An undersupply on your part may require more and longer nursing sessions, while with an oversupply your baby may well be done nursing in 5-10 minutes of good, constant suckling. Be educated yourself about how to nurse effectively and what to look for, consult with an LC if you think you're having issues, and stand up for your rights as a nursing mother.
    Last edited by @llli*pianosinger; October 10th, 2012 at 03:31 PM.
    ~Sylvia~

    Wife to Nick, m. May 2005

    Mommy to Gabriel (b. January 2007, 8lbs. 15oz.), nursed 18 months.

    Isaac (b. August 2009, 9lbs. 1oz- naturally), nursed 22 months, through PPD/PPA and emergency gallbladder surgery.

    and Corban (b. March 2012, 11lbs. 6Oz.- naturally in the water), my NICU baby, still nursing strong at age 2!


    Daughter of God

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

    Totally agree with alphawoman....

    would like to add that this forum is amazing help too..... If there are no LLL meetings nearby... this forum can be one of the first places to ask questions, find support....
    Thanks to all those ladies who take time out to reply and troubleshoot queries
    First Time Mom to A born on April 3rd 2012

    Seven months and counting thanks to my family and this forum here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,982

    Default Re: Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

    I wish I had known that you don't "have to" pump! There's no need to pump at all with your first baby, except under very specific circumstances. Get through the early engorgement with massage and hand expression, but step away from the pump! Pumping early on pushed me into crazy oversupply with Joe. With Maggie I didn't pump for four weeks, and sure enough, no issues at all!


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

    Great thread

    And YES YES YES JoMo! I completely agree about the "have to" pumping. Why in the world I was told the same, I'll never understand. Those were some HARD days!
    FTM 4.24.12


    Erin

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Paris, France
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

    an insomniac dairy cow Love this! It's exactly how I felt at the begining!!

    Would just like to add: When baby's diaper output is good, weight gain is good and baby is happy don't let anyone convince you to supplement with formula just because once a weigh-in was a bit less than usual (which happened to me with DS)

    ps great idea for a thread for all the new Mummies ;-)
    -Ishy-

    Married 28 july 2005
    Mummy to my DS , born 30 july 2008
    proud to have BF him for 8 months
    Now a Mummy for the 2nd time to my DD , born 15 june 2012 for 15 1/2months! Still whenever we can and

    DS Stats
    Birth: 7lbs 15oz - 19.5inches
    4 yrs: 35lbs 4oz - 3feet 5.5inches
    5 yrs: 40lbs - 3feet 8inches

    DD Stats
    Birth: 7lbs 13oz - 19.5inches
    6.5 months 12lbs 14oz - 26inches
    9 months 15lbs 13oz
    15months 20lbs 11oz - 30 inches

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    399

    Default Re: Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*caledonia View Post
    an insomniac dairy cow Love this! It's exactly how I felt at the begining!!

    Would just like to add: When baby's diaper output is good, weight gain is good and baby is happy don't let anyone convince you to supplement with formula just because once a weigh-in was a bit less than usual (which happened to me with DS)

    ps great idea for a thread for all the new Mummies ;-)
    I would broaden this to add that if those three things are going well, then ANY nursing behavior is probably pretty normal and not worth getting too worked up about. Nursing patterns change quickly and often and it's not worth obsessing over behavior changes if everything else is going well.
    Ellen

    Mama-surgeon;
    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,038

    Default Re: Things I wish I'd known when we started BFing

    Watching the clock is pretty much useless. Watch your baby. Fit your life to baby's needs instead of trying to schedule baby around the rest of your life.

    They grow up so fast; by meeting baby's needs, you are building a foundation for a lifelong relationship of love and trust that can never be replaced.

    Crying is baby's way of communicating. The sooner you respond, the sooner s/he will learn she can trust you to be there.

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

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