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Please tell me it's going to be okay

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I had my first baby on Sunday and desperately want to breastfeed him but things just aren't going well. First, I had a homebirth but had to transfer because of a retained placenta, so we missed out on the first hour. At the hospital I was convinced that he needed to supplement because he wouldn't latch or suck, and I couldn't express any. For the first couple of days I tried breastfeeding as well as supplementing small amounts (by tube or finger) when he became really upset. My midwife came for a home visit yesterday and was concerned by weight loss and jaundice in the baby, as well as the fact that I still wasn't expressing anything but tiny droplets (using a pump rental). So she wanted me pumping, trying him on the breast, and supplementing via syringe or spoon every 2-3 hours. As of right now he just isn't interested in the breast, sometimes I can get him on it and he'll give a suck or two but that's it. With pumping I am starting to get more and more (but still not much) and whatever I am getting I'm feeding to him. Right now we are waiting for some follow up results to see if he needs light therapy for the jaundice. I'm just feeling really devastated right now. I feel like it's just been one thing after the other and I am so scared of not being able to breastfeed. It is something that is so important to me. This isn't at all what I wanted for my son.

I would love to hear some success stories from anyone who's btdt. It would mean so much to me.
post #2 of 16
Congrats on the new baby!

So if I'm calculating this right, the baby is about 3 days old? I never got mature milk in until day 4, and many women don't have "their milk come in" until day 5, 6, or 7.

If you're pumping half an ounce per pumping session, at 3 days postpartum, then you're doing great! It doesn't look like much when the bottle can hold 5 oz, but it's plenty for a newborn!

Right now, getting the baby fed is more important than getting him on the breast. The second goal is to get him off formula and only supplement with pumped milk/colostrum. You're doing great by not using bottles; the syringe and finger feeder is a VERY wise choice for a newborn who hasn't figured out nursing yet!

He WILL get it, because you're not offering any other nipples that might confuse him, and you're pumping to get your supply going (ideally the baby would nurse enough to get your supply established, but we don't live in an ideal world, do we?) The only question is how long it will take for him to be nursing fully.
post #3 of 16
I went through almost the exact same thing. I had pp hemmorhage and d&c, so I missed th first couple hours, and my story is almost the same as yours, except we didn't supplement in the hospital. I am going to pm you.
post #4 of 16
So babe is only 3 days old? Congratulations, first of all!!!!!!! YAY!!!

A lot of babies don't do a whole ton of nursing at only 3 days old. My first child did not really get into the "groove" until my milk came in...then he got more interested. Until that time, if he popped off, I would just put him back on repeatedly...sometimes taking an hour to nurse if needed. He was also VERY sleepy and would only nurse for a minute or two at a time because he would fall back to sleep. We resorted to stripping him almost naked to keep him awake for feedings...and rubbing his feet and moving him around and changing his diaper and then trying again, etc. Just keep trying!! It will get much better and he WILL nurse!! It's great you are not giving him any other nipples, that would make it a LOT worse. Just keep at it and keep putting him back on when he pops off or turns away. Make sure YOU keep relaxed and positive and keep the atmosphere light and happy for him while nursing, etc! :

Make sure you are getting plenty of rest, too!! And I have NEVER been able to get much at all just 2-3 days post partum with a pump...I would not be worried if I were you. You are doing great!! Enjoy your baby!!
post #5 of 16
It dosnt surprise me at all that you cant pump anything but drops. Like pp mentioned you might not see milk until day 5. Babies are ment to be able to make it that long on colostrum only. But since he wont latch supplimenting with very small amounts is the way to go.

One thing you should do is hold him a lot while topless so that if he wants to latch all he has to do is turn his head. Work with him constantly on trying to latch.

You can do this mama just keep up the good work.
post #6 of 16

DD (baby #3) was born weighing 9lbs 7oz and by day 7 was down to 7lbs 12 oz! My milk was slow to come in and by day three she would no longer latch on. She would only drink out of a dropper.
Due to a history of food allergies and asthma I did not want to suppliment with formula. I worked with a lactation consultant, continued pumping and used a nipple shield for weeks.

DD will be one-year-old tomorrow and is still nursing (frequently!!) and off the growth charts in both height and weight.

Just wanted to share that things can get better. Hang in there!!!
post #7 of 16
Second what everybody else said.
Could the jaundice contributing to him not seeming interested and making it more difficult to get breastfeeding established? Have you tried putting him in the sunlight?
post #8 of 16
Yes, everything is going to be okay. You are doing great. Just keep pushing the breast on that baby!

My dd was born at 34 weeks plus 6 days. We went to the hospital. We went home after 24 hours and didn't give formula. It was difficult. She was jaundiced and little. The jaundice makes them more sleepy. Dd was so sleepy we would wipe the bottoms of her feet or even her back with a wet cloth to keep her awake long enough to nurse. We were so exhausted! It was a lot of work. I recommend you try to get some help if you can. My mama spent the night here once that first week and got up with me in the middle of the night to keep me company, encourage me, and help keep dd awake and encourage her to nurse. My siblings came and hung out with her for a 4 hour stretch to help make sure I got 4 hours straight of sleep every 24 hours. And, of course, her dad was here helping all the way. I got engorged and had to pump and wear cabbage leaves and use hot compresses and take hot baths and really push the nursing, but after a couple weeks she was nursing (and gaining) like a champ. At 23 months we still have a wonderful nursing relationship.

You can do it!
post #9 of 16
If you are not too exhausted and can have someone to help you, try to bathe with the baby. Get lots of skin time and allow the baby to learn about your breasts and nipples. Don't force him to nurse, just let him smell you and look at you and cuddle. He will regain that automatic response to root and I bet will be nursing like a champ in no time. It may take a few tries, but will help you relax in the mean time. And don't stress about it right now, that will only make the whole process harder. Think postitively and repeat over and over in your head or out loud that you can successfully feed your baby!
post #10 of 16
Lots of great advice so I'm not going to duplicate, just wanted to say....

it'll be ok...you can do this mama!
post #11 of 16
Wow! I can't believe how similar your story is to my experience. Hang in there! It will get better!

I was planning a homebirth as well. Labored at home for ~24 hours, transferred to the hospital (while pushing) due to poor heart tones. Pushed for another 5 hours in the hospital, before finally pushing DD out. When DD was barely 24 hrs old the pediatrician and LC started pushing formula supplementation because my milk wasn't in yet and DD wasn't latching well. DH finally told them that our ride was coming to pick us up at 4 and we were leaving. Yes, we would have signed DD out AMA if necessary. Pediatrician agreed to release DD when I told them I had found donor milk (which I never even used, my milk came in that night).

I spent the first two week, trying to get DD to latch, pumping round the clock and talking to a LLL leader. I was exhausted, frustrated, etc. I totally feel your pain.

Here's what helped me.

First, do whatever works if it will keep you breastfeeding. For me, I ended up using a nipple shield. It was the only way I could get DD to latch. period. Yes, I know they can hurt your supply and they can be hard to wean the LO off of. To me it was worth the risks, at least I would be able to feed my daughter, who at that point had lost 10% of her birth weight.

Second, night time is not the time to fight battles. Do whatever works and is easiest. If that means pumping and bottle feeding at night fine. Save working on her latch for the day time. If you want to try using a nipple shield only at night fine, if it help protect your poor nipples, try it. You can't work on improving things if you have had no sleep and are losing it. Make things easier and get a little sleep so you'll have the energy to put into working on breastfeeding during the day.

Third, get some breast shells. They'll protect your nipples when you're not feeding and help draw them out. I have flat nipples too. I had to wear the shells for 8 wks before my nipples poked out more and DD was big enough to help draw them out. Yeah, they're dorky looking, but its not like I was going anywhere. Oh and if you keep filling them up like I did, toss the stupid little sponges they come with and start stuffing them with baby wash clothes. Then you won't have to dump them out every 30 minutes.

It will get better! By 8 wks DD was completely weaned off of the nipple shield and latching well. It took about 2 weeks to transition her, but I took it really slowly and didn't push things. BF-ing is so much easier now at 4 months than I imagined it could be during those first hard weeks. And its so much easier than bottle feeding. I went back to work at 12 weeks. So I pump and DD gets my milk in bottles during the day. A total PITA to wash all those pump parts and bottles. I love, love, love the weekends when all I have to do is unhook my bra.

So hang in there. I did it. Other women have done it. Its hard, but you can do it too. PM me if you want to.
post #12 of 16

I have a good friend who had a not-planned C-section and her baby was re-admited because of jaundice and was 100% finger-fed expressed milk for about the first 10 days of life. She pumped every 2 hours, and worked to get him to latch, but didn't 'force' anything. It was hard work to get him to latch well at the breast in the first 2-3 weeks, but she had good LC support and a supportive family. At 4 months old when her acquaintence stopped nursing, my friend's response was "oh my goodness WHY would you stop now - it just got easy!"

Sometimes when things are bad you need to hear that other mamas have gone through it and it has been OK. You can do this!
post #13 of 16
My milk didn't come in until the 5th day.

The only good part of the situation leading up to that is that I was booted from the hospital 42 hours post-op, so there was no one watching over me. I got to play cavewoman and cavebaby, and just go with my instincts. I was so angry at hubby and aunt, who helped get me into the surgical situation despite there being nothing wrong with me or baby, that nothing they said made a bit of difference, and they knew that they might be thrown off the balcony if they even THOUGHT of suggesting anything formula-related (my aunt tried, but the look I gave her shushed her), and that saved us too.

I couldn't have pumped anything. I just kept DS with and on me, shirt up or off all the time. Baby slept in my arms as I read and slept and ate and slept and read and stared at him etc. He would nurse, sleep, nurse, sleep, nurse, sleep. He did start to get a bit annoyed as time went on, but then finally on the 5th day it all started to change over...got a bit thicker, there was liquid on his mouth when he's pull off, etc.

If I'd been watched over (just like what happened in labor...I seem to be part cat, needing to be ALONE) none of that would have happened, I'm quite sure.

As much as you're comfy with, go cavewoman. Do what instinct tells you to do. Drink water, eat food, don't do housework if you're doing things like that already. Hugs to you.
post #14 of 16
You can do this and it will get better!

LOTS of great responses here. I don't have a lot to add since I haven't been in your situation but our ped in the hospital recommended that I spend lots of skin-on-skin time with baby - under the covers for us since it was winter. We spent lots of time those first few days/weeks like that. I don't think she was recommending it solely to encourage breastfeeding but I think it really helped us - they need that intimate touch, they need to smell you, they need to get to know you just as you are getting to know them.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for your replies. Things are already going so much better. We did end up spending 2 nights in the hospital for light therapy. We had to supplement formula but were able to do it with finger feeding. And at midnight on the second night he had his last bit of formula because I was pumping enough milk :. We are working really hard on the breastfeeding. I'm using a nipple shield and he seems to be doing okay with it. We are also supplementing pumped milk just until he is a bit better. I am so relieved that things are going well. Thank you all again for helping put my mind at ease
post #16 of 16
Glad things are going better.
Lots of great advice.
I was there just back in June. I had a c section and
things weren't going to great with nursing. She lost a pound in
the hospital and she didn't seem to be gaining. I was worried.
Very worried. I didn't think it was EVER going to go right. My husband
told me it was ok if I decided to bottle feed. But I kept going.
A leader from Le Leche League told me that by week two it would
all turn around. And I guess that was the magic number because it
did. And now she's a chunky monkey who eats like crazy.

The baby will get it. It will happen.

Ps...I also had a clogged milk duct, mastitis, and thrush in the first week we were home and we still made it! Good luck!!!
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