Monday, 25 September 2017

10 Thoughts I've Had About Breastfeeding

I've always said I would try breastfeeding, even before I fell pregnant but as the time comes closer I'm getting more and more nervous. The plan is to breastfeed but if it doesn't work, I'm not going to be forcing myself to do it so please no breast is best comments! There is such a debate around what people do with their own bodies and I think that, that more than anything is what makes me nervous. Over time I've had a number of thoughts about it so naturally they all went into a post...

1. How is my nipple going to fit in his tiny mouth? My nipples are huge at the moment, well everything feels huge but I do wonder whether my nipples are going to be too big. 

2. What happens first? I have thought this so many times but I'm determined to have skin to skin and get him feeding as soon as possible at the very beginning.

3. Will anyone actually help me? You've probably read about my antenatal care gripes but what I'm worried about the most is will anyone actually have the time to help me? All I keep getting faced with is understaffed and overstretched midwives so I'm not surprised I feel this way. 

4. How painful is it when my milk comes in? When asking about this I'm usually met with OW and then that's it, I can't imagine it'll be easy but no one seems to have anything good to say. 

5. What if he's not getting enough milk? How will I know? I assume he'll just scream the house down but if I can't keep up supply, at what point do I give up. I want to really give it a go but I also don't want him to go hungry.

6. Why is it so difficult to find Lanolin free nipple creams? Your girl here is allergic and this has been my biggest challenge so far, one I STILL haven't been able to find. HELP!

7. What if I just don't like it? This is something I've thought of a lot, what if I just hate it. Does that make me selfish? Do I just suck it up and get on with it?

8. When can I start expressing? This seems to be a biggy and one that so many different people have answers to or rather opinions on. Some say three weeks, others say six weeks and I'm beyond confused. What advice do I listen to or do I just do what I think is best?

9. Do I have to hold the pumps the whole time? This is something I've wondered a lot, I assume you have to hold them in place or are there bands that do this for you? I need to find this out soon.

10. What does this breast pump do? I have the Medela Swing Maxi double pump and after taking it out of the box I was hit with, omg how does work?! Putting it together was really simple and after reading review upon review since, I think I'm more confident with it. Thankfully Medela have a really helpful team if I do get stuck with what I'm doing.

What thoughts did you have about breastfeeding? Any helpful comments would be very much appreciated.

Blue maternity dress gifted from Next
The Medela Swing Breastpump has been kindly sent to me for review purposes - see disclaimer.


  1. Hey lovely. This will potentially end up being a really long comment so bear with me...!

    1. How is my nipple going to fit in his tiny mouth? - It'll fit :) I know that isn't much help, but I thought the exact same thing. They actually take the nipple quite far into their mouths, it surprised me!

    2. What happens first? I actually didn't get the immediate skin on skin - Dougie wasn't breathing so they cut his cord and had to suction him straight away, but once he was breathing and crying, they told me to take my bra off and put him straight on my chest. They'll usually try and get you to feed pretty much straight away. Babies have absolutely incredible instinct, Dougie literally wriggled his way over to my boob within a couple of minutes and latched on. It wasn't a perfect latch at this point, and it was an odd and slightly painful feeling, but I was completely blown away by the fact that he instinctively knew what to do. This isn't always the case, but the swallowing instinct is always there. From what I remember, they recommend feeding as soon as possible, but they will give you a bit of time - they won't just force his head onto your boobs.

    3. Will anyone actually help me? Yes. As I said, Dougie was quite instinctive but they come round and make sure he's feeding, and when the midwife comes to your house the day after you go home they will watch you feed him and check his latch and ask you how it feels. There are also breastfeeding clinics which I cannot recommend enough. Also if you think he isn't latching properly then get them to check if he is tongue tied, they don't always check and the longer it goes undetected, the harder it can be.

    4. How painful is it when my milk comes in? It's painful. I won't lie. It's a weird feeling because your hormones are all over the place and that tends to be when you get the baby blues, I just cried a lot. It felt to me like I had two lead balloons on my chest, I just fed Dougie on demand, which was a lot (hungry baby) and feeding him would relieve the pain, i pumped a little sometimes too to relieve the pressure. boobs are amazing because they can work out and adjust to how much milk is needed depending on how you end up feeding. I breastfed exclusively for the first 8 months and carried on breastfeeding until he was nearly 11 months, and my boobs adapted to dougie growing and his needs changing. Cold cabbage leaves really help with engorgement.

    5. What if he's not getting enough milk? How will I know? This was my biggest fear. Dougie cluster fed during the evenings which was exhausting (he would literally feed non stop for 4-5 hours at a time, i would just switch him back and forth from each side) and I was convinced it meant he wasn't getting enough, but its quite normal, it's just tiring for you - make sure the remote is nearby and you have a drink and food within reaching distance if you get this at any point! At the beginning, babies stomachs are absolutely tiny, they will cry when they're hungry, they will cry because they don't understand why they are out in a big scary world when they have been so cosy in your tummy before. If you do just breastfeed and he's gaining weight well, then you are giving him what he needs, if he isn't gaining weight, then they will advise you - midwives/health visitors will check in on you and there are lactation and breastfeeding clinics you can go to if you are worried.

    6. Why is it so difficult to find Lanolin free nipple creams? I think mothercare nipple cream is lanolin free...?

    to be continued as apparently I've gone over the character limit...

  2. 7. What if I just don't like it? I absolutely hated it at first. I was exhausted, I ached, he was hungry all the time. However, this did pass and I carried on. I found myself enjoying it, it was cosy and i loved the bond it gave me. also, i was lazy and didn't want to continually sterilise or spend money on formula if i didn't have to... I had days where i cried and said how much I hated it and wanted to stop but i am glad I kept going, but i think this is something only you can answer - do what works for you.

    8. When can I start expressing? So, I expressed tiny bits when I was really engorged just to relieve the pressure, and I expressed a few times to freeze some milk just in case. At the beginning, your body just keeps producing milk because it doesn't know how much the baby wants, if you carry on breastfeeding, once you settle into a routine it will adjust and only make the milk you need - the problem with expressing a lot at the beginning is that it means your body will think you need all that extra milk so you will end up with an over supply which can lead to engorgement - I only really expressed bottles for Dougie if I knew I was going to be out, so I would feed him from one side and pump from the other.

    9. Do I have to hold the pumps the whole time? I think it depends on the brand... I had a manual MAM pump and an electric single Philips pump, both of which I had to hold the whole time...

    10. What does this breast pump do? They are usually really straightforward, its a bit of a weird sensation at first, but they'll basically try to mimic what the baby does - although one thing I will say is don't be disheartened if you try pumping and you can't get much - babies are generally much more efficient than pumps, Dougie could get an entire meal out of me and yet sometimes I could barely pump anything - I found you have to be relaxed and not stressed, if i knew i HAD to pump, ie i was going out, I would get stressed and usually found my pumping wasn't very good, if I relaxed a bit, stopped, and tried again, it would work much better!

    Anything else I can help with, give me a shout :) xxxx

  3. Weirdly I never gave much thought to the ins and outs of breastfeeding before I gave birth. In fact a good few hours after I'd popped her out a midwife came round asking how feeding was going... it hadn't even crossed my mind that I needed to feed this little thing, my mind was just full with looking at her not realising I needed to do mum things. I don't think it's as instinctual for everyone haha.
    A top tip that really really helped me was to pop your little finger in their mouths and rub the top of their mouths to stimulate the sucking reflex, then really stealthily transfer the little sucking mouth to your boob!

    Don't worry my milk didn't hurt at all when it came in. But the first week of feeding was definitely tough in terms of painful nipples, I don't blame people for giving up at all!! It was toe-curling, go to your happy place kind of stuff haha! But once they toughen up it doesn't hurt at all.

    I expressed from 4 weeks and gave her a pacifier from then too and she never had any nipple confusion.

    You and your little boy will be fine whatever you end up doing. Breast might be 'best' but a sane, happy mumma is even better!

  4. I've started thinking about this recently and I'm of the same mindset as you I think. I really want to resist the pressure of 'breast is best' and go with my gut. If it works and doesn't make me have a breakdown, great if that's not the case I feel like I want to go with the 'a fed baby is best' approach and that's fine. This post has given me loads to think about though - where do I even start with pumps?!

  5. Just go with the flow. Do what feels right for you and you baby. My boy wouldn't latch on so they wouldn't let me go home. For two days! I felt like a failure, I thought women have been doing this forever so why can't I? I thought my baby would dehydrate or starve. Then a midwife suggested I try holding him in different positions until I found something comfortable and finally he did it! He then fed for 16 hours a day for a month until another midwife/health visitor told me to try a bottle of hungry baby formula every day to give us both a break. By about 8 weeks he was totally on to formula. I am so glad I tried and cherish the memories of him snuggled against me feeding but I don't think I would do it again. Nobody tells you breastfeeding isn't for every baby and every mother. We are so lucky to have options in our society. Good luck, enjoy every minute, babies don't stay babies for long and it speeds by xx

  6. I Breast fed my daughters, this was the only thing I had in my birth plan.
    Firstly, I'm not the best writer, I'll try my best to explain.
    My first daughter was born after a 4 day labour and was a 9lb baby, I was absolutely shattered with iron Anemia.
    My daughter wouldn't latch on and I found out my daughter was extremely ill with Strep B and was on antibiotics, so I was extremely worried about my baby, especially with her not feeding and being so unwell. The midwifes kept telling me it's in your birth plan to breastfeed so you must keep trying, as if I wasn't. I was in tears. I insisted that they get me a bottle, eventually they did and my daughter took the bottle and I continued to try and get her to latch on, eventually she did and I breastfed her for 13 month's.
    My second daughter I had obstetric cholasstiss throughout my pregnancy and had to have her delivered 4 week's early and because of the Strep B I had IV antibiotics through the labour, she was 2lbs lighter than my first daughter. I thought because I had successfully breastfed my first, I'd have no problems. I was wrong, I couldn't get her to feed atall, again the same with the midwifes, you breastfed your other daughter. I took no notice and told them to get a bottle, it took me 5 weeks of feeding her with a bottle, a cup and still trying her on the breast. I was able to borrow a Breast pump from the hospital to express my milk and believe me it's a long process hooked up to a pump, but I was determined to Breast feed. I was giving her formula in-between my expressed milk.
    My own midwife at the time was a man and he was amazing, he brought a student to my house to show her that everything they are taught about breastfeeding is wrong and he asked me to show her my daughter taking a bottle, feeding from a cup, a sringde,taking a dummy and feeding from the Breast, they are taught that babies cannot differentiate the difference? Basically my belief is more women would breastfeed if they didn't feel so much pressure on only giving them the Breast.
    I never ever thought it would have been difficult to Breast feed but it didn't come easy for me, but I can tell you that, once it works it's the best feeling in the world knowing that your baby is thriving because of you.
    In the early stages my nipples did get sore but after every feed I put some Breast milk over my nipples and that calmed it down.
    Another bonus is you don't need to take bottles everywhere you go.
    My opinion is do what's right for you, if you can breastfeed Yay, if not don't be made to feel bad for formula feeding, as long as the baby is thriving and you don't get stressed, that's the most important thing.
    I also did a breastfeeding course, so that I can teach new mothers who are struggling. Any questions just ask lovely ❤

  7. I worried about most of these things before Tyler was born! You've been given some really good advice in your comments so I won't repeat myself but I will just say that I had so much help in hospital with breastfeeding! I had no clue what I was doing and all the midwives I had(we were in for a week so had loads of midwives haha) were super eager to help! I know the NHS is stretched and I felt that pre natal but in hospital it felt like they had so much more time for me xx

  8. Don't worry about the milk intake too much, as long as he is having wet and dirty nappies e will be getting enough. At the beginning your boobs will feel pretty much empty but don't worry because their tummies are the size of a cherry so the colostrum will be enough and he will feed frequently. Cluster feeding is another one to be aware about, in the evenings babies tend to snack A LOT. My girls would be on the boob pretty much 90% of the evening and it was bloody hard but it's how baby gets your milk intake up. You got this. Xxx

  9. Hahaha I felt like Daisy the cow a lot of the time it was hilarious. Honestly though, try not to stress yourself over it, as you've said,if it doesn't work for you guys then that's okay. Personally I think that's the best attitude, too much pressure is always a bad thing. The medela breast pumps are so good, I had the swing and it was so much better than the manual, I couldn't get much like but it was good haha! I really hope you just have a lovely experience with lots of support whichever happens. I'm sure your boy will be more than content :) xx

  10. I found I spent so much time worrying, when it came to it, Amelia had a Milk intolerance and got so ill from breastfeeding we had to go to formula. Sometimes I think you can't always prepare for everything haha.

  11. I had pretty much all of these thoughts before having Harrison, so much time stressing and then we never ended up even breastfeeding. You'll have help in the hospital and midwives should be able to answer any questions you still have, but I suppose you'll learn with experience :) :)

  12. I found breastfeeding SO hard, ridiculously hard looking back! I had no clue what I was doing, felt I had no help or support and ultimately I ended up very depressed and fumbling my way through! I think we've all asked these questions at some point. xx

  13. I’ve just come across this post, really late to the party, but I have severe anxiety regarding breastfeeding as I’ve heard it can be difficult. I had a chat with my perinatal team recently who all agreed that my anxiety is warranted and that baby will get just as much nutrients if he/she is bottle fed. To help, I’m going to be expressing and letting baby have a mixture, sometimes breast milk, sometimes formula.
    These sorts of decisions are hard, but it was nice to read that someone else was having thoughts similar to mine. How did breastfeeding go in the end?


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