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Latching on problem--I think

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi, I've been posting a little on the diapering board about my 33.5 weeker. We've overcame our diapering problems, but are still having some bfing problems. I've been pumping full time since he was born and he's been taking fortified milk in a bottle. Now that he's surpassed his birthweight, we've been tring to bf with the hope of eliminating the bottle all together. And, while he seems to be latching on well, and seems to be working hard at the breast, he's just not getting much of anthing. After 3 breast feedings in a row, his diapers got consistantly drier until the last one was bone dry after 3.5 hours, so I gave him a bottle after the breast and he took the whole thing : What's baffling is that I can hear him swallowing and he seems to be drawing in milk most of the time--but, then I thought I'd try pumping after he ate and I all but about 20 mL less than what I usually get. In the bottle he drinks about 50mL and I usually pump ~120 mL every three hours and ~140 the first time in the morning. Anyway, he did have a very lazy suck in the beginning and had an NG tube and then an OG tube for the first couple of days. Even after that I really had to "nurse" his milk into him with the bottle and sometimes getting those last few drops in with a syringe. But, now he does very well with the bottle so I would think he should be able to do as good at the breast. Anyway--I know some of you had even tinier preemies then Ciarán so I'm hoping somebody can relate--Thanks!!!!!!
post #2 of 7
Hi, first of all i want to commend you on your wonderful efforts in bf'ing your baby. How premature was your baby?

I should preface this by saying I'm not a lact. consultant and I don't have a premie but I just wanted to offer some support.

I think you may be onto something with the latch. I know that the suck is quite different for a bottle vs. the breast. i've heard it said that it is harder work for a little one to breastfeed but once they're used to it it goes quickly.

This is random but what kind of diapers are you using? It's probably nothing but I used Tushies for my baby's first 2 months to be able to tell exactly when he was wet. You may be using cloth anyway and can tell even better but I know it may be hard sometimes to tell in the really absorbent disposables how much they're exrecting. Again, it may be a completely random thought but something to think about.

I wish I could help more. I saw that noone had responded to I wanted to at least say something. Let us know how it goes.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi Thanks! I'm using hemp fleece plushies. He was 33.5 weeks. His birth weight was 4 lb 14 oz, but we took him home at 4 lb 3.7 oz. He's now at 5 lb 5.6 oz The more we try bfing, the more I'm sure it's a latching on problem; I just don't know what to do to fix it :
post #4 of 7
Good for you, on the diapers. I want to do that with our next baby (cloth diapers).

Call your local La Leche League leader. I was a little sceptical about LLL at first but they were the _biggest_ help to me in being successful at bf'ing and hey, they're free .

You can find a link to your local leader at www.lalecheleague.org. Just go under USA then on the left side is a link to find a local group. THey have leaders names listed and their phone #s. I guess i'm assuming that you haven't done this but they have some techniques to help the baby overcome latching problems etc. and all their information should come out of a massive size handbook which they can look up specific problems. I will say that I ran into one leader that seemed a little clueless in one location so I called another location and she was wonderful. Also just attending the meetings I got soo much helpful information from just other ladies who had gone through what I had. We just moved or I would ask my friend who just had twins (one of whom was 3lbs.) what she's doing. I lost her phone #.

Let me know how it goes.
post #5 of 7
Do you have an IBCLC certified lactation consultant? If not, I would recommend getting one right away (in addition to calling LLL). Have her come over and evaluate your breastfeeding technique and latching. Breastfeeding and bottlefeeding are two very different means of feeding for babies, and require them to do different things, so it's not a "transferrable" skill automatically.

This is no substitute for having someone help you ensure your baby is latching correctly in person, but here's a handout on latching to take a look at:


Here's how to tell if baby is getting milk:


And trouble-shooting refusal to latch:


It really sounds to me like your baby is not latching correctly. I had big problems with my baby's latch that were not helped by his developing a preference for the bottle. This is something that can be overcome, but you really need expert assistance! And the sooner, the better.

Good luck!
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you. Those are very helpful links, and I got the phone# for our local LLL from theie website--thanks so much. I've been trying a few different things (football hold, skin to skin contact, expressing milk in his mouth etc.) and he's trying so hard, bless his little heart, but on about the 3rd bf session, he just gets so worn out, he's like a little rag doll
post #7 of 7
My ds was born at 35 weeks and didnt' nurse until he was 3 or 3 1/2 mos old. I would also see an LC. We ended up finger feeding b/c my ds didn't latch to the bottle either. I didn't see lc until ds was 1 mo old b/c I thought he was latching ok. After he was ok w/finger feeding, we used sns. Soon after that, he was exclusively on breast. If he's latching ok, but getting tired too soon- sns may be the answer. You can control how much he gets by using smaller or larger tubes or stopping the flow of supplement once your letdown happens and starting it again when your supply is slowing down. That way you are stil getting the stimulation you need and he's getting the food he needs.

An sns is about $40, I think and well worth the money. I got mine on ebay, still sealed, for about $25.

hopes this makes sense, nak
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