Not having breastfeed your previous children does not mean that you can’t breastfeed this time round, if you want to. If you struggled with breastfeeding previous children, you may be worried that you will experience the same problems again, but every breastfeeding experience is different, and with appropriate support you may be able to overcome problems you experienced before. Research has shown that mothers tend to produce more milk after giving birth to their second baby, compared to the first, so even if you felt like you struggled to produce enough milk before, it is well worth trying again as it may be easier the second time around. You can speak to your midwife or a breastfeeding supporter before your baby arrives to work out what may have caused your problems previously and make a plan to avoid or address the issues this time.
If you chose not to breastfeed previously, that does not mean you can’t choose to breastfeed this time if you would like to.
You may have complex feelings about breastfeeding a new baby if you didn’t breastfeed previously. You can talk these though with a breastfeeding supporter on the National Breastfeeding Helpline.
Ingram, J., Woolridge, M., & Greenwood, R. (2001). Breastfeeding: it is worth trying with the second baby. Lancet (London, England), 358(9286), 986–987. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(01)06126-8
Marian is a mother of four. She was not successful in breastfeeding her first three children so with the fourth child she was determined to give it her best. She says the first 10 days can make or break a mother – and she speaks from experience. Marian writes about her son, Paris, now 15 months and still breastfeeding.
“I desperately wanted to breastfeed all of my children but failed miserably with the first three. The furthest I got was 10 days. Fourth time around I was introduced by my midwife to a new breastfeeding group in my area, Breast Friends Ribbleton in Preston, Lancs, set up by local ladies and local midwives under Sure Start. Four ladies had just completed a 6-week course provided by BfN. With the help and encouragement of this group as well as my midwives I was successful in breastfeeding my fourth son Paris with no problems at all.
I was so inspired that I asked to do the 6-week course when Paris was 3 months old. I now help run the group. We run a breastfeeding drop-in on Monday afternoons. Three of us attend antenatal clinics and health visitor clinics in our area. We are about to qualify as probationary BfN Supporters and some of us will help answer calls to the BfN Supporterline. We aim to co-ordinate with the other 4 Sure Starts developing in Preston.
My son Paris is now 15 months old and still enjoying the benefits of breastfeeding. This may not sound very special but I can tell you that we are ordinary mothers from different backgrounds, mainly council estates, who are amazed as well as proud at what we have achieved. We have had amazing feedback from mothers who have attended our group who say they would have given up by now without support if it wasn’t for our group. I know I would not be breastfeeding Paris now if it wasn’t for the support of this group and the BfN.”