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Thread: Should I even try to bf?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Question Should I even try to bf?

    Hi everyone - newbie here! I am currently pregnant with my third son, who I will deliver via c-section this month (repeat). I desperately want to breast feed him, but I have not had very much luck in the past. Here's my history:

    DS1 - c/sec, immediately asked for help in hospital to get him to latch - I knew I'd need help because of large breast size and nipple shape. The lactation consultants (3 different ones) could not get him to latch - he just did not have the sucking reflex yet for some reason, so we pumped and used cup. At home I used the shield - he'd latch for 5 min and fall asleep. I ended up pumping 12 hrs a day for 3 months and giving him bottles. It was horrible. I also had mastitis 6, yes 6 times. Miserable!!! My dr has no idea why, even took cultures and consulted with an infectious disease specialist.

    DS2 - repeat c/sec, again got help with latch - this little one latched on like a charm, was doing great! Until we got home and my milk came in. 3 Days post partum I had basketballs for breasts and they were so hard that I could not even get the pump on them. It was horrible and very frustrating for both of us, so I just quit trying. I had mastitis two more times while trying to pump and dry up.

    Pregnancy - I've had mastitis again. I saw a breast specialist - she said she has no idea why, but I'm prone to infections in my breasts, there is nothing wrong with formula so she recommends just giving him formula from the beginning.

    Clearly I do not want to do that. I'm wondering if ill-fitting bras could have contributed to all of the infections, by clogging ducts? Normally I am a DD - right now (pre-milk) I am a FF. My last infection I was cramming into a DD before I got fitted. If it could be a problem with just not having a correctly fitted bra, could I just go bra-less until we get bfing established? Could I ask my OB to give me low-dose antibiotics in the hospital to prevent an infection? Are these even reasonable possibilities, or should I just listen to the dr and not even try?

    Thank you so much for any info that you guys can provide - I am open to any and all honest opinions. If I'm just unable to bf, I will just have to face it, I suppose.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Should I even try to bf?

    Hi. I had a c-section and was a natural DD before the baby. I am in a 40F now. The best thing to do for engorgement is nurse through it. If you could invest in a hand pump to help relives engorgement that may help you. Yes underwire bras can contribute to both clogged ducts and mastitus. It is hard in the beginning and painful. That is normal. The key is to commit ahead of time to both the issue that my cause you to be uncomfortable and the amount of time that is needed to breastfeed. Shame of that breast specialist for encouraging you to "not even try". That is so sad. I would say if you can stay in the house for the 1st 6-8weeks and just wear a sleep bra with pads while you are getting your supply established and just know that your baby will be at your breast every 1-3hours around the clock, that will probably help immensely with breast infections. Good luck to you!

    Way too lazy for formula

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Should I even try to bf?

    Definitely know that whatever you think it will be like will be different in actuality. Newborns will nurse around the clock and you will have engorgement while your supply is established and meets the demands of your LO. Get a good nursing bra, but you might want to hold off on a fitting until your supply is established if you don't want to keep buying new ones as you adjust.

    The mindset you enter in is oftentimes the thing that will get you through. I knew going in that although it was natural thing and the best thing in the world for my DD, that it was not going to be fun in the beginning and that I would just have to push through it to get to where I wanted to be. GL.

    Mama to my little Diva: Miss K (7/15/06)
    And her little sister: Lulu Pie (3/21/09)

    "Don't toush da mango"
    One-handed typer Extraordinaire!
    My body creates, houses, nurtures and nourishes life. That is awesome.
    Kegel Kop says: TIGHTEN UP!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Should I even try to bf?



    I just wanted to say yes you should try! Indeed! I commend you for wanting to -

    I'd suggest maybe finding a locall LLL group before the baby even comes and possibly find and IBCLC ahead of time as well. (links in my siggy)

    Good luck
    Click here to find an LLL leader near you...or call 1 877 4 LA LECHE for help now.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Should I even try to bf?

    I think you can do it!! You are clearly a committed mama.
    I agree that you should contact an IBCLC to see what can be done. I also agree that a sleep bra and breast pads for the first few weeks are a good idea.
    As for the mastitis, another fact is that pumps do not empty out the breast as well as a baby can. It seems you've been more susceptible to infections in the past when you were pumping, the first time to feed your LO and the second time while you were trying to dry up. It sounds like maybe you had clogged ducts from not emptying the milk. Clogged ducts can often lead to infection.
    I've had a few infections myself, not fun at all. I've also had painful engorgement with both of my babies.
    Here are some links from a non-LLL site that might help:
    Getting Started Breastfeeding
    Engorgement
    Plugged Ducts and Mastitis
    Can you tell I really like that site?
    Good luck!!

    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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Should I even try to bf?

    I too was a DDcup before pregnancy and during most of the pregancy I was wearing a Gcup at the moment the nursing bra I use is an Hcup though it's very roomy after I have had my breasts emptied

    I've had no problem with infections but I wouldn't be surprised if cramming into small undergarments would cause you a lot of probelms. I have been having some issues with nipple soreness because of my wee man's bad latching but if I'm not going out I tend to avoid wearing my bra so that my breasts can get some air. If I am leaking when I sleep I sleep with a towel folded double over my chest (a spare cloth nappy, single sheet or other drying cloth might be better if you have linty towels).

    I use cotton breast pads (not brushed cotton because then you get lint issues) and sometimes use waterproof (plastic lined) breast pads on the outside of the cotton pads if I am feeling especially leaky. One of the midwives at the hospital suggested cutting menstrual pads in half to use as bra liners but I found that most of the panty liners on the market that are of any decent absorbency seem to have "odour minimising" perfumes... and who wants to eat lunch from something that smells like a floral toilet cake

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Should I even try to bf?

    Just wanted to chime in that all LC's are not created equally. The IBCLC LC is a superior LC--one that is truly trained to deal with all sorts of lactation issues, not just someone they have on staff at most hospitals. Follow the link to the Number3's siggy to find one near you.

    Also, check with your local LLL Leader. You don't have to be a member to call. She'd be able to point you in the proper direction with qualified help!


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Should I even try to bf?

    I didn't have time to read through all of the other posts, but wanted to say definitely give it a try again! It sounds like you will be quite disappointed if you don't try.

    Regarding the bras, yes a well fitting bra is essential, and just going without one for awhile is fine (even better!). I did this early on because I got mastitis several times. I leaked a lot, so I ended up changing my shirt frequently, but it was worth it. For the first several months I only put on a bra when I was going out of the house, and I took it back off as soon as I got home. I also bought bras that were a bit loose. I stopped wearing a bra at night and put down a towel on the bed to catch leaking milk. I kept a supply of clean towels and shirts handy for night changes.

    Once your milk supply regulates and is in sync with the baby, breast infections are less likely. They are most common in the first few months, so if you can get through that time you may find the problem relieves itself. I have heard of doing low dose antibiotics, but I'd probably reserve that as a last resort if it were me. It could increase your chances of getting thrush.

    Definitely try to find a local LLL group and good IBCLC for support and professional help. And, of course, you can always come here as well!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Should I even try to bf?

    I'm sorry you faced so many obstacles with your first two kids! I can completely understand why you would make the switch to formula. I still think it's worth giving BFing a try this time around: maybe the third time will be the charm!

    You might want to consider going bra-less for the first few months. It is totally okay to do so! I know there are people out there who will tell you that your boobs will be dragging on the floor if you go one microsecond without a bra on, but they are wrong. It's pregnancy and genetics that determine where your boobs will end up, not your bra.

    You might also want to consider starting to take a good probiotic so that your personal microflora is in a really healthy state. I would think that would be better at warding off infection than a low-dose antibiotic. Overuse of antibiotics can actually make infections harder to treat, as bacteria can evolve resistance to the antibiotics. Abx can also wipe out the beneficial microbes that naturally occur in your body.

    Lay in a great (hospital-grade) pump, a prescription for antibiotics, a consultation with an IBCLC, a sack of potatoes, and a head of cabbage before your baby arrives. There is no comparison between the milk-removal capabilities of a hospital-grade pump and a consumer model, and if you need to remove milk in a hurry (like if you, G-d forbid, get mastitis again), the hospital-grade pump should do a pretty good job at emptying you out.

    The prescription for antibiotics should be something you have in hand, so that you don't have to wait for your doc to get in to the office if you start feeling mastitis-y over the weekend.

    I would make sure to see an IBCLC as soon as possible after your baby is born. Having someone help you with positioning- especially after a c-section!- can make all the difference.

    Cold cracked cabbage leaves are great for relieving engorgement. Just pop them in the freezer for half and hour and stick 'em in your bra (if you're wearing one!). There's some compound in the leaves that takes the swelling down. Poultices of cold grated potato are supposed to be good for mastitis- you slap the potato onto the infected area and change the poultice every time it gets warm.

    Finally, I know you already have a repeat c-section scheduled, and I am very hesitant to sound as if I am questioning your birth choices, but have you considered having a vbac? Cesareans make bfing harder for a lot of women and a lot of babies. Pain can make it harder to position yourself right and get a good latch. Painkillers given to the mom during a c-section can reach the baby and make him/her sleepy and unwilling to nurse. I don't want to sound as if I am pushing you in one direction or another or judging your choice- I just want to mention it. I know this is a sensitive subject for a lot of women, so please disregard this paragraph if you feel like I've overstepped.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    @llli*emama is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: Should I even try to bf?

    Definitely try again! I had a caesarian and have always been really chesty so I know what you're talking about. I also had a very difficult time BFing in the beginning and it used to get me so upset, I would just cry and cry.

    I only have one LO but I had terrible problems getting her to latch. As I have mentioned many times on this forum, it's amazing but because my LO was so small and had such a weak suck, even the LLL LC we brought in said that we should just use bottles for a while. So we did. 5 weeks went by with me pumping, getting very very painful clogged ducts and only getting 1/4 - 1/2 oz at a time. If anyone wanted to give up, it was me. But the thing is, I really didn't want to give up. I knew I'd regret it.

    IF you find that you have given up, do yourself a favor and keep trying even weeks or months after switching. Keep pumping and give as much breastmilk as possible to your LO even if you're mixing it in with formula. I tried to get my LO to latch on when she was almost 6 weeks old and it worked! It was painful at first, but I was so thrilled.

    And I have a friend who got her LO to latch on when he was 5 MONTHS old so just keep that in mind. If it doesn't work at first, keep your eyes on the prize and keep trying trying trying no matter how much time has passed.

    Best of luck with your delivery and with the newest addition to your family!

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