Mon 1 Feb breastfeeding with Geraldine Miskin

Join us between 12-1pm to talk all things breastfeeding, from successful latching on, to the best way to express, and how much and when! Expert Geraldine Miskin will be joining us live to offer help, advice and support to b/f mums. Post your questions here. Web Ed


  • Welcome to today's webchat and welcome Geraldine Miskin who will be here live to offer her advice and support to breastfeeding mums from 12pm. You can start posting your questions now...
  • Hi Geraldine,

    We are thinking of having a second baby, and I would love to have a more positive BFing experience than I had with my first lo, who is now 2.

    After a very long labour and an emergency c-section, the bad experience I had with BFing my son left me very traumatised and feeling so guilty for a very long time. It didn't help me or him long term, and I don't want to repeat the bad experience. He would feed (or be at the breast, at least, I never knew whethrr he was feeding or just enjoying the comfort) for hours and hours, never falling asleep at the breast, but he would cry for ever such a long time if I took him away. In the end he would cry himself to sleep. He would suck anything he could get near, and only stop when I put him to the breast again. And then he would be there for hours, again, I never knew whether he was feeding or just liking where he was, and he would cry if I took him away. It went on in this cycle for a few weeks. He always had lots of dirty and wet nappies, so I assume he was feeding enough.

    And it always hurt a lot putting lo to the breast, and that pain continued for the first 5 minutes or so of every feed. It would also hurt a lot whenever I tried to move my arm or something if it had gone to sleep or started to ache after holding lo in one place for so long!

    After I think, about 2 weeks, I developed very very sore and cracked nipples. I had always used lansinoh (sp?) on them after feeding, and given them air etc. I tried the very soft shields (I think they're shields) but it didn't stop the pain when feeding and my nipples didn't heal. Lansinoh and jelonet gauze between feeds did nothing to help heal my nipples, and neither did giving them lots of air.

    In the end I stopped BFing because I was dreading every feed, and the pain during the feed was just too much and it was so distressing for me. The midwife came to the house once and said that maybe the latch was wrong, and so she put lo to my breast rugby pass style, and that helped, but as soon as she left and I had to feed again, it was back to the way it was. I called my NCT Breastfeeding counsellor, but she couldn't come for 4 days. in that 4 days, I started expressing every feed, and feeding lo the EBM. Lo would take loads of EBM (6 oz or so), and would be much happier. I didn't ever go back to BFing him at the breast because I simply wasn't brave enough (and by then I was exhausted) and gradually my supply didn't meet his demand and he then in the end he was exclusively FF.

    I would love to have a better BFing experience next time around. None of my BFing friends have had experiences like mine - their babies used to feed for 15-20 minutes and then fall asleep! Could you please help?


  • Hi Geraldine!
    I'm worried about two things...
    My baby is 12 weeks on Thursday and he's exclusively breastfed. He's always fed well and seems happy, but I'm slightly concerned that I can no longer tell when he's hungry. He sleeps through the night and has done since he was around 7 weeks, and in the day he feeds around every 3 hours. He has five feeds throughout the day. Is this enough? He's taking about half an hour to feed each time, but that seems really short if he's going to get enough milk. He's never been a big baby, but I'm concerned he's only around 11lbs at 12 weeks old. He'd let us know if he was hungry, wouldn't he? I know it's a stupid question, but I'm paranoid that he's just giving up and sleeping instead of telling me he's hungry.

    The other thing is that I've been invited to go away overnight at the end of February, when Jak will be 3.5 months old. I'd be away from him for his evening feed, then probably three feeds the next day. I know I'll have to pump excess milk to avoid being engorged while I'm away, but I'm concerned that it'll affect my milk supply and once I arrive home I won't be producing enough for Jak. If it's going to cause me a problem, I won't go, it's not worth causing problems to my supply, I just wondered if that's what would happen.
  • Hello everyone,

    Apologies for slight delay. Thank you for posting some questions. I look forward to offering some practical advice to as many mums as possible.

    Kind regards,

  • Hi Geraldine.
    I personally dont like the thought of breastfeeding but I would like my baby to be fed on breastmilk.
    Would it be ok to just express my milk and put it into a bottle for him?
    Also I know this may sound vain but I only have small breasts. Would expressing cause them to sag?
  • Hi Rhian(2),

    When breastfeeding doesn't go well it is incredibly difficult and traumatising for the entore family. Not knowing whether your baby is feeding or just 'hanging out' at the breast is a very common concern, but I think pain and dreading breastfeeding is the most debilitating, as breastfeeds come round every 3 hours and you simply can't get away or out of it.

    Please remember that just because you had a tough time with your first baby, it doesn't mean you will experience the same problems with your second.

    Getting the positioning and attachment right is the most important part of breastfeeding, however, a difficult delivery can create breastfeeding problems before your baby even reaches the breast.

    Here are a few simple tips to explore when you have your next baby:
    1. If you have had a long/tough labour and delivery, go and see a cranial osteopath who will help relieve tightness and tension in your baby's head/neck/abdomen and reduce overall problems.
    2. Make sure you know the basics of attachment before your baby arrives - so that you are in the drivers seat
    3. If you are in pain - something is not right. If your nipples are pinched like a new lipstick at the end of a feed - it is your positioning. If they are nice and round - it is something else.

    Don't suffer pain - please. Call me if you don't come right elsewhere, there is always something that can be done.

    I wish you all the very best with your second little one.

    Kind regards,

  • Jak's mums aka EmilyB

    Hi Emily,

    Well done for getting to 12weeks. You are concerned about your feeding as your little one is not giving you feeding ques and is sleeping loads at night?

    Don't worry, use your practical aids to assess things.
    Firstly - are his poos yellow and wees clear? If yes - he is getting to the hind milk and is well hydrated. By 6 months, we want our breastfed babies to be double their birth weight - calculate what this would be and see if you are on track - but yes you are right.. if he was hungry he would start to wake more frequently during the night.

    Your second question about going away - remember that if you continue to stimulate/pump the breasts according to your feeding routine - your supply won't be affected. The pump does not get as much as baby would be able to, so don't worry if you are not expressing loads of milk - just mimic the frequency and pump both sides. Once you return home, your little one will rebalance your supply.

    Use this little formula to calculate how much he needs...

    Baby's weight in kg x 180ml
    divide by no of feeds in 24hours

    So if baby is 4kg x 180ml = 720ml each day
    If feeding 6 times/24hrs = 720/6 = 120ml per bottle feed.

    Always round up to nearest kg and always offer a little more.

    Have a lovely trip and be sure to leave more than enough milk.

    Kind regards,

  • Thank you, that's really helpful! I know I sound so daft but I guess that's a new mum thing!
  • What support is out there for breastfeeding help. I am due my 1st baby today and I really want to breastfeed. However I am really worried that the midwifes are going to be too busy to help me while in hopsital and also I don't have much confidence in my community midwife just from how she has been throughout the pregnancy!

  • *Mr n Mrs Pumps*

    Hi there,

    You are not sure what causes the incredibly fast flow of your milk at some of your feeds and you are wondering what you can do to make breastfeeds easier.

    Milk flow vaies from mum to mum, some mums have super powerful let-downs and other mums have super slow or average let-downs. This can be a result of too much milk - but then your baby's poos would be green. If baby's poos are yellow - it is just a fast flow rather than over supply.

    You do seem to have a lot of milk though, as you are EBF an 11wk old from one breast in 10minutes.

    Let's look at some options:

    Feeding leaning backward with baby on top of you will slow milk down as gravity is not pulling milk down (called up hill feeding)

    Feeding laying down will also curn gravity's pull and will slow flow a little making it more managable for baby.

    Use of nipple shields to break milk flow and allow baby to control how much sprays into her mouth.

    Reducing milk supply slightly so that you feed for a 20minute stretch with no coughing.

    You are more likely to have coughing episodes in the morning or late evening as supply is highest between 1am-4am - so feeds close to these times are usually more difficult than others.

    I hope this has answered your questions.

    Kind regards,

  • HI geraldine, my daughter is six months old today and I have been expressing breast milk since she was born as I did not have any success in getting her to latch on when she was born. I found support in the hospital was very limited but I was so determined to breast feed, I expressed as it was the only option to me. I wanted to know if you have come across mant cases such as mine?
  • Mummy2aBlueBean

    You are not sure about breastfeeding your baby, but as you would like baby to benefit from breastmilk are considering expressing and bottle feeding. You are concerned how expressing will affect your breast shape.
    Hi there,

    Many mums are not sure about breastfeeding and some mums find that expressing works well for them.
    Expressing works well for some mums and not for others, so you will need to give it your best shot and go from there.

    As you are small breasted, you will need to express frequently to get the milk established in the early days as the pump is not as effective as your baby. Make sure you get yourself a good pump - something like the Medela swing or even a double pump may be more suitable - that way you get both done at once. You can even get a pumping bra that leaves you hands free.

    With regards to shape - breastfeeding and expressing really have very little to do the with the breast changes. The changes in breast shape and size are caused by pregnancy hormones - so once you are pregnant your breasts are in your hormones hands image for lack of a better explanantion.

    Many mums find that even though they didn't fancy breastfeeding before baby arrives - something changes once they hold their little one.

    I help many mums breastfeed at home and bottle feed in public if that is your concern. Remember - there is no black and white when it comes to breastfeeding, you can mix and match so that you both enjoy and benefit from breastfeeding.

    Hope this helps.

    Kind regards,


    You are worried that dieting will affect your milk.

    Hi Nancy,

    Wow, you and Matilda are doing incredibly well. I can't believe that Matilda has gained 1lb10oz in 3 weeks. This tells me that either you are prodcuing bucket loads of milk or your milk is very high in fat. Either way, this makes you a great candidate to diet. However, I would urge you to go gently. Remember that your body needs the extra calories to make breast milk and if you cut down too harshly, you will comprimise your imune system and start to feel tired and so on. I would encourage you to start your diet, keep an eye on Matilda's weight gain - you are looking for 1oz/day weight gain or 20-30g each day. Provided she is gaining this amount of weight - you will both be fine.

    If you begin to see that her weight gain is slowing down drastically, review your diet as you are being told you are going too fast.

    I hope this helps.

    Kind regards,

  • Mrs Calopa

    You are due today - congratulations! and are concerned about breastfeeding support being offered by an overstretched midwife team.

    Hi there,

    It is difficult to say what the level of support will be once you have your baby. Midwives across the country really do try their best but are more often than not, just too thin on the ground and over stretched. However, they will pop round and see you more often if you need support.

    There are lots of breastfeeding drop in clinics and so on, so speak to your HV about breastfeeding support local to you, or you can do a quick Google and see what is local to you.

    I am based in Twickenham near Richmond and can often see mums on the same day - if you are close by.

    Or if you are looking for a practical handbook to breastfeeding from day one - you could look on my website at the Beginners Guide to Breastfeeding. This is full of practical tips - what to expect on day one - what to do if this is not happening, practical tips for positioning/latching/feeding times/assessing things.

    I hope this answers your question and helps a little.

    Do touch base with me directly if there is anything further I can help with and I wish you all the best.

    Kind regards,

  • estherpester

    You are wondering whether I have met many mums who did not find the support they needed in hospital and have resorted to expressing for many months as it was the only option.

    Hi Esther,

    I take my hat off to you, expressing and bottle feeding is definitely a lot harder than breastfeeding or bottle feeding as you are currently doing both. This tells me that you are one little determined bunny! Well done!

    Breastfeeding is a science and it is so detailed that you can study for many years and still continue to learn. Sometimes babies can develop breastfeeding problems before they even reach the breast, and if you don't know the science behind how the labour/birth technique/anatomical combination of mum and baby affect breastfeeding, it is difficult to advise. This is my specialist interest and it has shown me that nobody is the same and all mums need to be assessed individually - midwives are birth specialists. Thats the long answer.

    So the short answer is yes, I have met many mums who have not found the help that they need and no, I have not met many mums who have successfully expressed breast milk for their baby long term.

    You are a gem and should be very proud of your achievement!

    I hope things go more smoothly with your next little one.

    Kind regards,

  • That concludes our web chat. Thank you to all the mums who posted such great questions. I hope the answers will help you and empower other mums to continue breastfeeding as well.

    If you would like more information, please visit or follow letsbreastfeed on Twitter for regular updates and special offers.

    Much love,

  • Thank you so much to Geraldine for such a great webchat on such a popular topic. Geraldine will kindly finish the questions posted, but please do not post any more today.

    For more information about Geraldine Miskin and her practice, Let's Breastfeed, log onto

    Babyexpert is pleased announce that Gerladine is happy to return to our message boards in a couple of months for more supportive breastfeeding advice - so watch this space...
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