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Thread: BF'ing 2nd baby Advice (1st wasnt as hoped)

  1. #1

    Question BF'ing 2nd baby Advice (1st wasnt as hoped)

    Hi all. I am wondering if any of you have been in a similar situation as myself. I am expecting our second baby and hoping to breastfeed. I tried so hard to breastfeed our first and it just did not work out as I hoped. He was very slow to put on weight (took to week 4 before he was back to birth weight), he had a tongue tie, he had severe silent reflux and at the time it just felt we were fighting a losing battle. At 2 weeks we supplemented with formula which looking back now was the beginning of the end. We did not have the knowledge to come back from this at the time. In hindsight supplementing with formula didn't even help with his weight because it took another 2 weeks for him to get back to birth weight so then it was assumed he was a baby who was naturally slow to put on weight. Followed by a trip to A&E and overnight stay in the hospital because he was vomiting blood and they couldn't say for sure if it was from my nipple (no obvious cuts) or from his oesophagus from the reflux. At 6 weeks our breastfeeding journey ended and it was one of the saddest times for me. I'm sure that sounds crazy to some people but it really was like I was grieving. To this day I still feel guilty thinking what if or if only I had know. What helps is we have the happiest and thank God healthiest little baby now so at least there is that and although much shorter than I had hope I do think him having had breast milk even for that short time has really helped
    So I am due my second baby and 1st will be just 16 months. I really want to be well prepared, I have so many mixed feelings about it all. Although I have learned to accept things didn't go as planned the first time I am afraid these feeling of guilt will come flooding back when I breastfeed again and silly as it sounds if it goes better this time. I am also afraid my first baby will feel less of a bond, is that crazy pregnancy thinking?? :-) Any advice or shared experiences welcome. Also tips on how to manage with a 16 month old at home.
    Sorry for the long post, I felt I needed to share my story so you have the full picture.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: BF'ing 2nd baby Advice (1st wasnt as hoped)

    Hi bettyb, many moms who were not able to breastfeed as long as they liked (or at all) with one baby find things go completely ok with the next. So it is possible all will be fine with this baby as far as breastfeeding goes.

    Since your oldest child was tongue tied, that alone may have accounted for the slow gain. There is evidence that tongue tie can run in families. If you find new baby is not gaining well, do you have a path to have tongue tie diagnosed and treated where you are? When tongue tie is the issue, early treatment makes all the difference.

    But tongue tie may not have been the issue, or only part of it. If you have any breastfeeding difficulties in the early days, do you know if there is a professional IBCLC you can see? Volunteer LLL Groups or other breastfeeding support near you? My first suggestion is to build your support network NOW rather than scrambling for help in those crazy early days with a newborn.

    If you find your baby truly needs supplementing, this can be done in a way that is less negatively impactful on breastfeeding. We can provide info here in that event.

    There are things you can do to get breastfeeding off to a great start. You do not say when baby is due, but if you have time, my best suggestion is the get the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) and read the first 6 chapters (they are not long) or read as much as you can. Bring it too the hospital too (assuming this will be a hospital birth.)

    As far as your 16 month old- what help will you have? Can you get 24 hour help or close too it for the first month at least? You will need helpful help- people (and yes it should be more than one if you can manage it) who will take your older child to play and takes care of you, not someone who insists on taking the baby all the time. Your older child is basically going to be a more mobile baby at a time you are not going to be able to follow them everywhere they go because you are going to be nursing almost all the time. Of course a mother CAN nurse and walk (and run) at the same time, and as long as breastfeeding is going well you will just figure it out. And it will get much easier once baby is a little older and you are both well practiced at nursing. If you can go to a LLL or similar meeting, you will often see moms there with newborns and older little ones and can learn a great deal just by watching what they do. But for the early weeks, and especially if you are having any difficulties with nursing, it would really be best if there was someone else there to take care of your older child so you can focus on your newborn.

    Although I have learned to accept things didn't go as planned the first time I am afraid these feeling of guilt will come flooding back when I breastfeed again and silly as it sounds if it goes better this time.
    That does not sound silly at all- many moms have this fear.

    First I would suggest, try to redefine your experience with your baby in your mind. It sounds to me as if you breastfed your child for over a month despite great difficulties. It sounds to me that the supplementing was entirely appropriate given the information you had at that time. Plus you had a horribly frightening experience with baby vomiting blood! (more on that below.) Despite not being able to breastfeeding, of course your baby is very healthy and bonded to you. If there is any guilt here, it is for the health care providers who did not support you better in your desire to nurse your child!

    I am also afraid my first baby will feel less of a bond, is that crazy pregnancy thinking?? :-)
    I do not think this is crazy, and in my experience, many moms DO feel guilty about their new baby taking their time and focus away from their older child/children. I felt this myself after I had my second and third child, even though all my children nursed a long time, and even though my third child was born when her brothers were much older- 9 and 6! This is a universal concern that has nothing to do with breastfeeding. Moms feel this even when both children were bottle fed or breastfed as well as when one was nursed and the other not.

    "Welcoming" a new sibling into a family is hard on the older children, in particular the next oldest. It just is and there is nothing that can be done about it and it certainly does not matter how the new baby is fed. A child may be very excited to welcome a sibling and truly love the new baby, but still feel resentment, anger, frustration, sadness, etc. depending on their age and personality. When you think about it this makes a great deal of sense. Of course it is not a pleasant thing to see the mom who only belonged to you need to focus on another person!

    Many moms feel sad and worried about their older child's reaction when second baby is born, because these "sibling rivalry" reactions are so common and can be upsetting. But usually there are no worries on this score with third, fourth etc. child. Why? Because by then mom has figured out these reactions are normal, they will fade, and there is nothing to worry about. What are you going to do- make every child an only child? Most people have at last one sibling and there are no lasting emotional issues! In fact of course, many of us come to love our siblings very much and enjoy a lifetime of closeness with them. My younger sister was born when I was not yet two. (I was several years younger than my older siblings so I had been the baby for the whole family until then. From as far back as I can remember I was very jealous of my little sis- and I was also very close to her, she was my constant playmate (even though we also fought a ton.) She is still my closest sibling. By the way, I have absolutely no memory of her babyhood or of how she was fed. None. But I do know we were both bottle fed formula and we both had very close, very loving relationships with our wonderful mom.

    Here is how I have always thought about it. The oldest child is the ONLY child who experienced mom's undivided attention for part of their child hood. They got the best deal! So try to put aside ideas that you would be somehow hurting your child or your bond with him by nursing his little brother or sister.

    Oh, re the vomiting. Sometimes this happens if a capillary breaks inside the breast and baby swallows mom's blood. It can be quite a bit of blood and mom may have felt nothing. Have no idea if this is what happened just mentioning that. If that happens again, just know it is entirely safe to continue nursing. In fact there are very few situations where nursing cannot happen.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; July 24th, 2017 at 10:53 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: BF'ing 2nd baby Advice (1st wasnt as hoped)

    Thank you so much for your reply, what great advice. A lot of what you are saying I have thought myself but it is nice to have someone else repeat it back to you and just to know someone else gets where I am coming from.
    I actually downloaded a copy of that book so will buy it now on your recommendation. I am not due for another few months so I do have time.
    As for support, we have very little to be honest. My husband will hopefully be off for the first 3 weeks. He is a massive support and totally on board with breastfeeding. That was another thing that really knocked my confidence last time, my extended family didn't support me when breastfeeding. Mainly I know because they don't understand it. It was like we were just being silly new parents trying to breastfeed so much so when our son wasn't putting on weight I had my MIL tell me to give him a bottle and her sister ringing me telling me how MIL was worried sick that he wasn't putting on weight and would we just give a bottle. We were really made feel like we were starving him! Of course in the height of everything with all these different opinions you don't know what to think, looking back (and my husband totally agrees and is so cross over it) it was unacceptable and we should have said something. But look that is something I have to get over too. I don't know could I ever change their opinions anyway so I think I just have to learn to ignore these comments. I do think I will be much more confident this time and hopefully will be stronger because I am prepared for this attitude this time around. As for a wider support network I am definitely going to make sure I have all numbers ready and to hand should I need them.
    I have also thought about it being possible that this new baby could have tongue tie too. Part of the problem where we live is it takes weeks to get an appointment to have the tongue tie snipped. For that reason I think we are going to have to book an appointment even before the baby is born. I forgot to mention in my last post that I had a planned c-section last time and will this time too. Are there any additional steps I should take because of this?
    Again thank you so much for your advice and support.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: BF'ing 2nd baby Advice (1st wasnt as hoped)

    I had all 3 of my kids by C-section birth, so I could go on about that forever!

    But the first thing I have to ask is, is a VBAC even a possibility? While of course a mother can nurse her child after a C-section birth as I am proof of, there is no doubt C-sections tend to bring on a host of issues that are not typically present with a vaginal birth, especially a non-medicated vaginal birth.

    Also if scheduled C-section is needed, will it be scheduled for due date, before, after? Babies gain about a half pound per week in the last several weeks of gestation, so being born even a week or two before 40 weeks can make a huge difference in infant size and strength and again, while even premature babies can nurse, even nurse right away, even slight prematurity tends to bring on additional issues that it helps to be prepared for.

    Also can you tell me generally where you are? (what country?) How responsive to any special requests you might make regarding the birth do you think your hcps might be? one of the hardest things for me about C-sections was being out of control of my child's birth and loosing control of my birth plan. With my third child I designed a C-section based birth plan that helped me. In some ways that operation was the most traumatic and it helped tremendously to know that my husband and doctor were well aware of and capable of abiding by my wishes for the post birth experience of my baby, because for a while there I was too out of it to communicate normally.

    Sorry your relatives were not supportive of your efforts to breastfeed! It is a common problem. Very good your husband IS supportive and can be home with you for the first 3 weeks. His support will make all the difference. When I had my oldest and things were going so badly my husband was my rock. Luckily his mom was wonderful to me and supportive of breastfeeding but unfortunately she and all other relatives were 3000 miles away and since we had just moved I had no friends to lean on either. I was a mess...before I had a baby I had never even held a newborn in my life. Good heavens I was clueless. But somehow we muddled through and I give almost all the credit to my husband (We also had a wonderful LC who saved our bacon.)

    It sounds like your husband knows he may need to shield you from your relatives unhelpful commentary! Maybe a friend or someone can help you at least by caring for your toddler here and there in those early weeks. This is a nice tip sheet for dads, it sounds like he already knows just what to do but these are just some extra hints. http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...t_partners.pdf

    If you can line up any additional care for your toddler that may be very helpful as well. But there are many things you and your toddler can do together while you are camped out on the couch or bed nursing.

  5. #5

    Default Re: BF'ing 2nd baby Advice (1st wasnt as hoped)

    It will have to be a c-section this time again. Last time it was at 38 weeks. Hopefully it wont be any earlier this time but we have to see how the pregnancy is progressing. I have a personal medical issue which would require a section anyway but also last time I had cholestatis of pregnancy so that determines how early I have to deliver. I didn't feel that out of it to be honest last time and once I was stitched up I was with my baby in the recovery room and could breastfeed straight away so that I was happy with. I am going to request the same again this time. Also I felt last time the baby should be dressed (in case they got cold - 1st time Mom :-)) but I know now that maybe I should just strip them down to their nappy and spend as much time skin to skin as possible? Would you be able to share a little of your birth plan because other than requesting to get my baby straight after the operation i am not sure what to ask. My consultant is very nice and accommodating so I can definitely run any requests I might have by him and see how I get on.
    Looking back I think it did take a couple of days for my milk to come in and I don't remember feeling the let down that everyone talks about. I will be more in tune this time for sure. Also last time my nipples were very sore and deeply cut the first 2 weeks, probably from poor latch from the tongue tie. From the start I could see my baby had a very shallow latch. It took a few weeks to heal, probably because I was feeding less mostly :-(
    Do you have any experience with silver nipple shields. They sound good but would like a recommendation before I go ahead and buy them. I will buy anything I need in advance to be as prepared as possible.
    To be fair the baby barely left my arms for the first 6 weeks anyway and I wouldn't have it any other way. Despite a nurse telling me in the hospital that I should put my baby down or I'll get post natal depression when it comes to putting him to sleep in the cot and he wont go. I was actively encouraged by a number of nurses not to keep him up as much as I did. I kid you not!
    I have to prepare as if I have very little support so then if I get any it will be a bonus :-)
    Sorry for all the questions, I hope I am not bombarding you. It is really good to be able to talk this through.

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