Breastfeeding... Need a bit of reassurance

Discussion in 'Postnatal Questions' started by Abi88, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Abi88

    Abi88 Well-Known Member

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    After a very tough start with 5 days NICU, formula feeding through a tube, I have finally got Rory on to exclusive breastfeeding. He lost 11% of his weight over 5 days in NICU but is slowly gaining it back now. I've seen a lactation consultant and his latch is good most of the time. He tends to get over excited and bite at the start but he does calm down quickly and latch nicely. But it's hard work. I know it's meant to be for the first weeks and months but I would love some reassurance it does get easier and some idea how long it took for you.
     
  2. MoominGirl

    MoominGirl Well-Known Member

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    Obviously you have read my journal so you know we also had a very difficult start with feeding. My experience was that breastfeeding was very hard at the start. I never thought it would be easy but I certainly didn't expect it to be so hard!! I think it's probably worse on the back of a difficult delivery which is much more common for FTMs combined with the fact that both you and baby just don't know what you're doing!! Support was also poor and I really felt I had to fight for the support we needed which again wasn't helpful.

    The good news is, yes it does get easier. Much, much easier. From my very foggy memory, I seem to remember a bit of a turning point around 6-8 weeks and then again at 12 weeks and that was when I knew we'd stick with it.

    If you've got a good latch that's definitely one thing as that really took us a while to sort out. Also my little man did start to sleep a bit better in comparison around 10 weeks so again the sleep deprivation became a lot more manageable. It's just so full on in the early weeks but it really is just a few short weeks in the grand scheme of things. It just really won't feel like it now!!

    One thing I would say is that if you're now managing to exclusively breastfeed after formula in NICU then that's a huge achievement. All the mums I know that have used formula in the early weeks have ended up formula feeding as they've lost their supply and all of them are disappointed that happened. Of course there's nothing wrong with formula feeding but I think there's a big difference between choosing to formula feed and formula feeding because breastfeeding hasn't worked out as again all of those mums say they didn't get the support they needed. Clearly it's important to you or you wouldn't still be doing it. It was the same for me and I know it would have hit me hard if we'd have given up.

    Biggest plus points to sticking with it. Once you're established it's easy. Especially overnight. Also I carry enough stuff with me as it is but it's so much less than if I was doing formula.

    We're still going strong at 7 months and yes I would breastfeed another baby. I would not have expected that in the first month!! I think a huge part of that is that I've come out of the rough patch and know I can do it whereas with your first it just feels never ending.

    Hope that's helpful. Sounds like you're doing great.
     
  3. night owl

    night owl Well-Known Member

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    Well firstly congratulations on the baby and well done on getting him on the boob after his NICU stay

    Yes it definitely does get a lot easier, I found it really difficult at first too, I struggled with the cluster feeding, struggled getting her latched on, she actually wasn’t even interested in feeding for her first week of life as she was so sleepy so she wasn’t learning how to latch on, she would just fuss and fall back asleep or turn her head away, struggled with sore boobs from engorgement and just generally felt drained and unwell, I have a supportive family and partner but no one could actually help me out as the baby was permanent attached to my breast and I was too scared to give her expressed milk in a bottle in case she wouldn’t latch on afterwards (nipple/teat confusion) I really wanted to throw the towel in at one point BUT I agree with moomin I think there are several turning points where it starts to get a lot easier, the turning points for me where around 3/4 weeks old when she started latching on a lot quicker and easier every time so I wasn’t having that battle anymore, then again around 7 weeks old when the cluster feeding calmed down a lot and we learned how to feed lying down facing each other which meant I could lie down in bed and watch a bit of tele while she nodded off on the boob, and then at around 8 weeks when she started having longer overnight sleeps and going even longer between feeds, and now I can honestly say I am so so glad I persevered with it, I couldn’t imagine having to sterilise and prep bottles and everything especially in the middle of the night, it is so much easier to be able to whip a boob out when she is hungry, and she is immediately calmed and satisfied, also the bonding experience is so worth it, my boobs no longer get sore and if they do I know it’s only temporarily, she still does sometimes have episodes of cluster feeding but only during a growth spurt, I now really enjoy bf and I’m so glad I’ve been able to do it, i intend on carrying on for as long as I can, I think if you can ride out the difficult early days then do so as it will be so worth it xx
     
  4. night owl

    night owl Well-Known Member

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    She’s ten weeks old tomorrow by the way and I would say for the last 5/6 weeks i haven’t struggled with it, and would even say in the last 2 weeks I’ve found breastfeeding to be easy and actually enjoyable, it sounds like you are doing great x
     
  5. Abi88

    Abi88 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you ladies! I think it's the feeling of being trapped in the house as his feeds are so frequent yet so unpredictable that it's so stressful going out. I live in a country where public breastfeeding is really frowned upon so I do feel really trapped. Its good to know the cluster feeding will end, he'll feed faster (not fall asleep on the boob so much) and we might have some sort of routine so I can get out a bit. It is worth it to me so I plan to keep with it but your words really help as these first weeks are so hard. Thanks
     
  6. WinterWolf

    WinterWolf Well-Known Member

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    It’s very hard to leave the house with a new newborn either way. I didn’t start venturing out until she was 6 weeks old hahah.

    It will get easier. Just accept he’ll swap from feeding to sleeping on you all day, set up a nice little nest with snacks and Netflix and enjoy the newborn bubble x

    (Just make sure to weigh him frequently if you had supply and weight loss issues early on)
     
  7. Abi88

    Abi88 Well-Known Member

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    The doctors are keeping a close eye on his weight as he lost so much. I have been weigh g him on the kitchen scales and he seems to be gaining 25-30g per day but we will see at our next appointment on Saturday. He should be nearly back to birth weight by then, fingers crossed!
     
  8. MoominGirl

    MoominGirl Well-Known Member

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    Night owl you're helping refresh my memory lol. It's amazing how fuzzy 7 months have become.

    I think for us 6 weeks was the latch - we really struggled. 8 weeks was the cluster feeding settling down. 10 weeks was a dip as I had the joy of mastitis as little man dropped the midnight feed really suddenly. Then 12 weeks it seemed much more manageable. I also felt more confident generally with just getting out and about and just felt vaguely like I knew what I was doing!!

    I think night owl makes a good point about support. My husband was hugely supportive and I really couldn't have asked for more but as no one can actually feed the baby for you, it's actually a really isolating thing especially when it doesn't come easy. I didn't expect it to feel like that. In those early weeks, you really are rooted to the sofa!! Once baby starts feeding less frequently it isn't nearly as bad. I still have a little nest set up as little man still falls asleep after a feed!!
     
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  9. Abi88

    Abi88 Well-Known Member

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    We have already done 10 feedings averaging half an hour each today although he's now sleeping snuggled up to me so that's really nice. My bum feels numb from sitting down so much (or possibly the lingering effects of the epidural) It's a real shock given that I was walking 5-7km a day and swimming and doing yoga right up to the day before the birth! But then I think how quickly these newborn weeks will pass and how much I'll miss the cuddles. Just wish I could be less sleep deprived so I can enjoy it properly.
     
  10. MoominGirl

    MoominGirl Well-Known Member

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    Honestly if you've done all those feeds and he's clearly content then I really think you've got this if you want to stick with it.

    It was like that for me in that although it was a struggle, little man clearly loved it even though I really didn't and it just made it even harder to give up. There were plenty of times I wanted to throw in the towel believe me!!

    I was the same in that I was really fit right up to the point I went into labour so it was really hard to adjust to being rooted to the sofa. It really helped to get out with the pram every day not just to keep active but it also helped my energy levels and made the time pass a bit quicker after a rough night!
     
  11. WinterWolf

    WinterWolf Well-Known Member

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    Being glued to the couch with a sleepy newborn was amazing for me! I was in a lot of pain postpartum though so the thought of moving was not appealing at all. They stop being so snuggly very quickly, enjoy it while it lasts x

    (I say that but my 6 month old still naps on me half the time hahah)
     
  12. Kholl

    Kholl Well-Known Member

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    These early days are INTENSE - and they should be. Nursing dominated my LIFE for the first 4-6 weeks, and then it was the easiest thing in the world. It's impossible to put into words how much better everything gets. Now my oldest is almost 8, it just goes so fast, so I know this stage feels never-ending but you'll blink and that baby will be running circles around you :) Congratulations!
     
  13. Gemsy

    Gemsy Well-Known Member

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    Yes yes yes....it gets so much easier!! They start to feed faster and more efficiently. I did 5 months with my first, before giving up as juggling expressing\working was getting hard. I'm on 4.5 months with my second, and I don't see stopping any time soon, it's so easy! She's a real guzzler and I've only just got her to feeding every three hours instead of every two. I've always found the hardest part is to trust your body during growth spurts as they get older. You have to recognise that the extra feeding is designed to increase your supply, and once you see that and trust it will pass quickly, life is much easier. X
     
  14. Abi88

    Abi88 Well-Known Member

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    Just incase anyone is reading this and also wondered if it gets easier... Get support from a lactation consultant and if it doesn't get easier keep going back. Rory has been diagnosed with a posterior tongue tie today, 1 day before his 6 weeks birthday and on our 3rd lactation consultant. Luckily it isn't severe so we just have to adapt feeding positions but after horrible pain and blocked ducts on both sides I hope this is where we turn the corner! I've had to supplement with formula as the blocked duct reduced my supply but hopefully we can work our way back.
     

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