Well, some of you have been following my bfing issues (LO won't latch, so first week pumped and finger fed and now a nipple shield). Today I feel like I took a huge step backwards and I am so sad. More like depressed and completely discouraged. My LO only gained 3 oz this week. I knew there was a change by her behavior-- the constant nursing got worse, she seemed frustrated and frantic :-( So, my supply is going down with the nipple shield-- she can't empty me enough. So, after balling for hours and talking to my IBCLC I am pumping and feeding (finger and I guess bottle once I get a slow flow nipple) and maybe using the shield at night. I just can't describe how sad I feel. Being a mother to me is nursing at the breast. I just am afraid that we are even further from her latching now. I'm exhausted and just feeling awful and needed to vent to people that understand. Nursing is so important to me-- I just feel so defeated!
I am so sorry it's being so rough. I haven't followed your story closely, but why can't baby latch? Have you by any chance worked with a LLL Leader (there's easily half a dozen on this board), and have you tried a more laid back position? In my experience most latching issues are positional, and it can be easiest to work that out with a LLL home visit (assuming you haven't had that yet).
I was following your story but may have missed some parts... seems harder to keep up with everyone now that I have a baby than it was before for sure! I think you maybe tried this already but incase not I thought I'd mention I used these things in the hospital which are like little collection cups almost for breast milk. There is a hole your nipple goes in and then its a little oval shapped plastic cover desiged to go inside your bra (I never used them for this purpose and am not sure I'd recommend it but...). At the very beginning I used them just before I was going to nurse, for maybe 5-10 min. they made my nipple stick out as far as it could then right when she was all ready I pulled off the cover and stuck her on my already sticking out nipple. All it really did was help me stick out more, but it was just what she needed at the time to figure out latching.
I know you have a much more complex latch situation so it may be too little but I thought I'd mention it since I'd never heard of them before I was offered them in the hospital.
Also, someone else may have mentioned this already too but have you considered feeding with a bottle, as it sounds like you are going to try, and then giving her a chance to just hang out on the breast? She'd be full, you'd know she was getting the food she needed, and she might not really nurse much in terms of eating but you'd get a chance to cuddle in that way and who knows maybe without the stress of getting her nutrition that way eventually you/she might find a way that she does get some milk that way too.
Either way know that you are doing the best thing for your little one- making sure she gets the best nutrition she can and caring so much about her that you've tried so many things to really make it work! In the end your love for her will say so much more about you as a mom than whether or not you exclusivly breastfeed!
I am SO sorry to hear this setback. I know exactly how frustrating it is. I almost lost my supply completely at 10 days, because after I got her back on the breast at 5 days, she was sucking ineffectively. Between 5 and 10 days, she lost 10 oz and I had almost no milk left. That's when I started pumping too. She also started refusing the breast then, getting mad and beating my breast when I offered it. I guess she got so frustrated at being hungry.
I got my supply back by using a hospital grade pump and pumping often, and taking fenugreek and blessed thistle, 4 tabs 3 times a day, plus domperidone, 10mg 4 times a day. I highly recommend the herbs! It was crazy hard work and I felt like such a failure, but it DID work. One thing they recommended (which didn't work for me, but may for you) was to supplement at the breast with the tube. Since my baby girl was refusing to even consider latching, I couldn't, but yours is still using the nipple shield so it may work for you. That way you would still be feeding her at the breast, and I know how much that helps psychologically at this point. Even if you used bottles for the bulk of the milk, you could do this sometimes, to remind her where the milk comes from.
I know how time consuming it is to both pump and nurse/finger feed. At the worst point, I was doing one or the other for 21 hours a day, and got 3 hours sleep in 20 minute spurts between each round. Bottles really helped both of us to get some much needed sleep, and helped my LO gain some weight. It felt like the end of our nursing relationship to accept using them. But they are just another tool, and if they help her to get bigger and stronger, in time, she can get back to nursing. My DD was exclusively bottle fed from 10 days to 3.5 weeks, which works out to about 2 weeks, and she did latch after that. And in the meantime, remember that she is still being nourished by your body. And THAT is only because you are SUCH a dedicated mother who is willing to work this hard to give her that.
Its SO hard now that it barely feels possible. I know. But when you look back on it later, you will realize how short a time it really was, and how much it was worth all the work. You CAN get past this hurdle!
If you need to talk or vent or whatever, I am available.
Sunflwr~ Yes, I've worked with a number of different people to help with the latch and I am also a CLC. I'm working with an IBCLC now. I have tried the laid back position a couple of times and she gets really frustrated so I stop. I haven't heard of many people having luck with that? But, I will keep trying because maybe as she gets stronger she will do better at it?
EKnuck~ Thanks for the encouragement! I'm feeling slightly better today and trying to stay positive, but I am really stressed about this huge setback. I get really overwhelmed by it sometimes :-(
Brussel~ I will try those shields! I haven't tried those yet. I have tried other ways to pull my nipple out though with no luck. I do let her hang out at my breasts as often as I can. And, I'm still nursing with the shield when I can and when she wants and isn't frustrated.
Cseky~ I'm gonna look that up and check it out! I haven't heard of that. I am seriously trying every single thing I can think of and anything that people offer as help/suggestions. Something has to work right?! I hope so.
Dealic~ I'm so thankful to have you here for your support-- especially because you have made it through to the other side! I feel a little better today (its my birthday and my hubby has been really sweet) and I'm trying to stay positive. I still have moments where I just feel so down :-( and like I'm getting further and further from my goal. I am trying the tube at the breast when I can, so far it hasn't worked, but I just keep trying things. My LO does a lot of similar things to your daughter. I could tell my supply was going down because of how she was getting frustrated at my breast too. It's just so hard. I probably will write to you often to get your feedback and support :-) Thank you.
Thanks everyone for your support! I used a bottle at 2 feedings today which was so hard. I will keep everyone posted on how we are doing.
We had a lot of trouble with the tube at the breast. It was hard to coordinate getting it into her mouth with the nipple shield. What worked finally for us was having my husband drip milk from the tube into her mouth as she approached the breast, catching the tube in her mouth as she latched, and then lowering it so it barely flowed, and she had to work to get the milk. It worked to get her on the breast, but honestly we didn't use it as a supplementation method after that.
I know what you mean about being reassured by knowing someone who made it to the other side. I felt the same way: just knowing people who had succeeded, even after weeks off the breast, was so reassuring. That's why I am trying to return the favour. I know what a difference the support made to me.
It has been so crazy with the pumping and feeding by myself during the week that I haven't even had time to do anything else! It's absolutely nuts! I really hope this turns around soon-- I'm getting so discouraged :-(
Dealic~ I'm going to try your technique when my hubby is home. I was thinking of doing something like that too. I also had an LC tell me to try putting the tube under the shield and then slipping the shield off. I am willing to try anything! I keep telling myself we are going to get it soon-- I set little goals in my head to keep me sane. My goal is to have her latching by the end of next weekend because she will be 6 wks on tuesday. I get sad when I think about the fact that if things would've went well we would be really getting into a grove by now and really enjoying my short time off... I hope we get this down before I have to go back at 3 months. Time is just flying by. It's funny that I thought maternity leave would be a break!!!!!
Anyway I will keep checking in when I can.
I am open to any ideas anyone has on getting my LO to latch.
Thanks everyone. Still in the same boat :-( No change really. Keep trying to latch all different ways, anytime I can (I have to time it right during the day when I'm alone-- have to fit in pumping and feeding and cleaning supplies and maybe taking care of myself a little). I am seeing another lactation consultant this Friday. I have high hopes for her. She is also a cranial sacralist which I've heard can be helpful. Please everyone say a prayer for us or send positive thoughts our way or cross your fingers or something!