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Thread: Breastfeeding In Hospital After Debacle First Time Around - Tips

  1. #1

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    Default Breastfeeding In Hospital After Debacle First Time Around - Tips

    Okey dokey, I'm having a caesar on Tuesday and DD2 will most likely get whisked off pretty much straight away to test blood sugars as I have gestational diabetes.

    Not ideal but not something I'm going to kick up a stink about.



    Anyway, with DD1 breastfeeding was a debacle and my determination to breastfeed actually worked against me because I just got more and more stressed out. Picture midwife after midwife coming in and trying to attach her for 90 minutes at a time, grabbing my boob and shoving her mouth against them. Really, NOT NICE not to mention exhausting.

    So, I've read up a little bit on the ABA's stuff and my approach this time will be to keep my top off as much as poss for skin to skin and basically do baby-let attachment or try to attach when baby wakes up.

    I guess what I'm asking is whether babies do often do baby-led attachment each time or whether you need to point them in the right direction by offering the boob as much as possible when they wake up.

    Also, DD1 rarely stayed on for more than a minute at a time. Obviously trying for 90 minutes was way too long so what's considered an acceptable feed before milk comes in? A few minutes? Ten minutes? Twenty minutes? I'm not going to watch the clock but I do want to have a bit of an idea.

  2. #2

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    I presume your hospital will have lactation consultants on staff? The best thing might be to call for their help early on. Regular midwives are often worse then useless, unfortunatley.

    Skin to skin and baby-led attachment are great ideas. Try and let your baby do it themselves - it'll take some time at first, but once they get the knack it should (fingers crossed) work well. If your baby is unwell for any reason or especially sleepy, it might not work so well at first - so again, getting advice and assistance from an LC might be very helpful.

    As for the length of feeds, every baby is different. If the baby-led attachment goes well, you should just be able to go with whatever your baby does. Most newborns take awihle to feed, but some are very quick from teh start, and it often just depends. One feed might be 20 minutes, the next an hour. There's no real right or wrong, just watch the nappies. One wet nappy per day of life until your milk comes in, then you want 4-5 heavy disposables (or 6-8 cloth). That's the best indication of whether enough is going in.

    Good luck and all the best for Tuesday!

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    Thanks Marcellus - I've already lined up the lactation consultant to visit me asap after the birth but the LC I saw in my previous hospital was also quite useless so I'm not relying on getting great advice. I'm also taking my expresser in with me because if I have to do it, I'd rather have my own than midwives expressing me or being hooked up to electric pumps (been there done that, won't be doing it again).

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    Sounds good! So does this LC come recommended? I admit, while LCs are generally more helpful than midwives for breastfeeding, they are not all created equal. Hopefully you can get a good one this time.
    Don't forget to hit the ABA helpline 24/7 if you need advice or reassurance too.

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    A couple of hours after my caesar I was able to roll onto my side-ish and the midwife put DS on his side and helped him wriggle and find a nipple - we didn't have to shove anything around that much, he did it himself.
    Later feeds were much trickier as he kept falling asleep, but that first one was very easy - so I would recommend trying the lying down approach!
    Put a folded up towel over your tummy, because even a day old bub can kick and hurt.
    My hospital had me trying for 20 minutes then expressing and bottle topping up. But DS was little and a bit jaundiced and very sleepy. I initially preferred the expressing - but after 6-8 weeks he was back BF for most feeds.
    Also - the middle-of-the-night nurses often have much more time. My best BF "lessons" were at 2am, when I had a midwife to myself for a while.

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    It's 'just' the hospital LC Marcellus but my local MCHN centre is really good and they can refer me to a local one once I'm out if I'm having problems.

    Unfortunately Kim, I'm not a fan of the lying down feeding after trying it with DD1. I have pelvis problems too and find it really hard to move if I'm lying down so once I'm in position I feel 'stuck' plus it hurts my hips to be on my side and ... OK, I've whinged enough

    I did the feeding, expressing, top up too and expressed for about two months but I'm hoping to avoid all that this time around - as you know, it's a bit draining (pardon the pun).

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    It's 'just' the hospital LC Marcellus but my local MCHN centre is really good and they can refer me to a local one once I'm out if I'm having problems.

    Unfortunately Kim, I'm not a fan of the lying down feeding after trying it with DD1. I have pelvis problems too and find it really hard to move if I'm lying down so once I'm in position I feel 'stuck' plus it hurts my hips to be on my side and ... OK, I've whinged enough

    I did the feeding, expressing, top up too and expressed for about two months but I'm hoping to avoid all that this time around - as you know, it's a bit draining (pardon the pun).

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    Fiona, it's great that you have done so much research. I am sure this time will go better. Your plan is a really good one.

    Another thing you might want to keep in mind is that you don't have to allow the midwives to touch you. I really think that trying to shove a baby onto a breast is very counter-productive (and I know from experience it's also very unpleasant!). You are quite within your rights to ask for hands-off help - that is they can watch but not touch!

    Many mums find that Baby Led Attachment works best in a reclined position if you can manage this after your c-section. If not, lying on your back will be just fine also. You can do this at every feed, but it is best done when your baby is calm. Crying with hunger tends to get in the way of instincts!

    If it were me, I'd also have the ABA helpline number with me in hospital, and the number of a local IBCLC qualified LC in case the ones at the hossy are not helping. Some hospital LCs are brilliant and some are not as experienced as others!

    All the very best hun

  9. #9

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    I'm one of those breastfeeding success stories *despite* the breastfeeding nazis, not because of them.

    DD#1 was very sleepy when she was born (blame the peth) and they came along, manhandled me, shoved boob in mouth, insisted I express, then complained about how much I expressed. The usual, I'm sure you can relate. They didn't want me to leave the hospital until BF was established. Of course, after I got home, drugs wore off, baby woke up, my milk came in, and everything worked just fine.

    DD#2 was the ultra-heavy-duty sucking model of baby. She'd suck a tennis ball through a hose, and she had apgar 9 and 9. So of course she latched on enthusiastically as soon as she was let loose near a boob, and wasn't keen on being un-latched so we were giving her fingers until we got a dummy. My milk came in on day 1 she was sucking that much. I didn't get any BF advice at all with this baby, come to think of it ...

    DS is sort of an average of the other two. Wasn't sure what to do with nipples (you just lick them, right?) so it took until he was 6 hours old to have more than a cursory suck each feed. He kept falling asleep. Midwife said I wasn't feeding him often enough to get my milk in and supply up and that I should express. Pft. He got a touch of jaundice for a day or two, my milk came in on about day 3, baby worked out that boobies are the best thing EVER when that happened, jaundice cleared up, and now he's well on his way to being a roly-poly little barrel of lard like babies should be.

    Bottom line - don't let anyone rush you or hassle you or get you stressed. If it is hurting to feed, change positions or try and sneak more boob into their mouth so it doesn't hurt. They really do need that bottom lip folded down like all the brochures say. If you've got an existing crack it'll hurt like hell as they latch on and then settle a bit later in the feed, and if you're not using the same angle that made the crack it WILL heal in a few days. Once they fall asleep on the boob and you can tell they're not actually sucking for milk (they don't swallow, or their tongue vibrates in this really freaky way), lick your finger, slip it in the corner of their mouth and get them off or you'll get sore nipples from oversucking. And don't bother with schedules, feed them when they're hungry, not by the clock.

    And of course, try and relax and get in the mindframe that you're going to succeed by default, not fail Breastfeeding nazis make you feel like you're going to be a failure. If they do that, tell em to go away.

  10. #10

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    RE, I'm sorry you had such a difficult start. The rough, hands-on approach really is not the best way to be going about things. I do think though that the work "nazi" might be a bit strong. The midwives have good intentions but sadly many of them do not have much training in helping mums to breastfeed so they do the best they can. It would be great if they all had proper lactation training and were taught "hands-off" ways to help mums. But in the meantime at least mums can empower themselves with knowledge before hand as Fiona is doing, and understand their right to ask to not be touched.

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    Fionas - apologies if I missed something in your post I was wondering if they can they let you try and BF bub before they do the BSL. This was what happened with DD2 - it was a much more relaxed affair than I had imagined and they let me feed prior to doing them. When they did it was literally next to me and took about 5 secs. xxxx

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by MantaRay View Post
    I do think though that the work "nazi" might be a bit strong.
    I'm not sure where I picked that phrase up, another forum maybe? Seems to be in common useage in some circles.

    Not the sort of person you want around when you're new to BF but they seem to be in abundance. Sit down, shut up and do what I say school of thought ... I think Fionas has had a very similar experience to me with them.

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    RE hun, I have certainly had experience with them also. I just wanted to point out that there is a definite problem with lack of training in a lot of cases, but that I think they are genuinely trying to help. And of course there are some fantastic midwives out there also.

    Your post was very helpful BTW, thank you for sharing.

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    Mak - my ob's midwife said that they'll probably let me have a go but that theatre is so cold that it may not be v successful. Obviously I'll ask for blankets and all of that but I'm not going to stress TOO much about the first feed. I know in an ideal world it would happen, but if I can't control that situation then there's no point me getting het up about it too much and thinking it's the end of the world if I can't. That's exactly the mindset I had last time (if I give ANY formula, we're doomed) and I just got more and more stressed, upset and anxious which I think played its part in my milk not coming in until Day 6. Sorry getting off track a little, but that's why I'm aiming to be more relaxed about it this time because although the "I can do it, I'm determined to do it, I WILL do it," attitude works for a lot of people, it just doesn't work for me. I'm determined enough as it is, I don't need to put that added pressure on myself.

    RumpledElf - that was VERY helpful, thank you and kind of reiterates what I'm aiming for which is to follow my instincts more and to relax rather than following what other people tell me to the letter and thinking I'm doing something 'wrong' if I don't.

    I am a lot more relaxed this time. Although DD1 and I never got the hang of breastfeeding, I did try to attach her in Week 7 (when I'd finally calmed down ) and she went on a lot easier. That, plus reading lots of stories on BB, I guess has taught me that whatever problems we may encounter in the hospital (and hopefully we don't) it really isn't the end of the world and most are fixable. Rome wasn't built in a day. Of course, I'm still hoping I come home with lots of milk and a BFing bub rather than leaving the hospital sore, tired and in tears en route to the chemist to buy a bloody expressing machine.

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    Just wanted to say good luck for Tuesday and thanks for the post! I have had some similar experiences as you and need all the help I can get for this time

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by MantaRay View Post
    Another thing you might want to keep in mind is that you don't have to allow the midwives to touch you. I really think that trying to shove a baby onto a breast is very counter-productive (and I know from experience it's also very unpleasant!). You are quite within your rights to ask for hands-off help - that is they can watch but not touch!
    Good point to remember! I really wanted to give breastfeeding the best chance of success, but i also really did not want anybody touching my body or baby in order to 'assist'. So similar to Fiona, i did heaps of reading on breastfeeding, i joined the ABA, i did a BF class when i was pregnant, and took my copy of 'Breastfeeding Naturally', and pics of baby led attachment into the hospital. Having the information (in my head and on paper to refer to) helped my confidence in my ability to give BFing a go, and also to let the midwives know when i wanted help (and what sort of help) and when i didn't.

    Good luck!

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    Yep, I'll be very vocal this time around re the touching if I'm not OK with it - I may or may not be. I wrote lots in my pre-admission notes and they called me beforehand and I feel much better for having a chat. Basically they've said that they'll give me all the advice/help they can but it's totally up to me what advice/help I choose to accept eg. she mentioned using their electric expresser and I said I categorically won't be doing that because a) I hate them and b) they didn't work for me as well as my own.

    On the touching, I don't count myself as a delicate flower by any means but the constant shoving breast into baby's mouth for long periods made me completely against the idea of seeing an LC when I got out and I couldn't even stand DP touching my breasts for almost a year. (I know now that a good LC wouldn't do that but I didn't at the time).

  18. #18

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    have you got an aba group nearby. mybe you could go to meeting before bubs is born and see if they have a trained lactation consultant in the group. they might come visit you in hosi if you ask nicley and help you out?? just a thought hospital don't need to know who they are, for all they need to know it is a visitor.

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