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Hospital birth and bf question

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
If you have a baby in the hospital (C-section) and your milk does not come in (even with pumping) until you get home, five days later, what do you do about bfing the baby in the meantime and what do you feed him/her in the meantime?
post #2 of 9
Hello and welcome to the boards.

Even though your "milk hasn't come in" you still have colostrum - although it may not seem like much is in there it is the perfect amount for a newborn and that's all they need. Be sure to put the baby to the breast frequently and you should have no problems.

I had a c-sec with my second son and my milk came in after three days, but even if it had taken longer I would not have thought to give substitues - colostrum is like super milk it's so good for the baby I would be glad my child got so much of it before my "real milk" came in.

Here is a link to LLL with some great info on colostrum:
post #3 of 9
well--if the hospital is giving your grief about making the baby eat something, you can always request they do cup feedings or finger feedings. you do not have to let them give the baby a bottle!

but colostrum is fine, and as long as the baby is latching on and sucking, they should not even bother you to give a supplement.

HTH and good luck!
post #4 of 9
GREAT QUESTION!! I really wish I'd asked this one before I had my baby . I had to have a c-section and with the pain and the pain meds, I was rather out of it. I had rooming in but I needed someone to hand baby to me. It was hard to manage after a c-section. On discharge day, the ped. came to inform me baby had lost nearly 11% of her bodyweight! (shouldn't lose more than 10%) and I'd have to bring baby back for DAILY weight checks until she starting gaining weight. No one had told me before this she was losing too much weight. Then my milk came in on day 4 and I was engorged so baby couldn't latch on. Then baby lost 14% of her bodyweight and peds. and LC said to supplement. She gained weight but that caused us huge problems with the breastfeeding. My advice is to be prepared - monitor baby's weight, and check whether an LC is available, and if you can use some system like SNS to supplement if necessary. My impression is the peds. won't give you a choice about supplementing if your baby loses more than 10% of her bodyweight. LC's seem to vary on this subject.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, this is actually my second post on this board.

Going back to the question--so what DO YOU DO if the baby has lost too much body weight and the LC is ruthless and wants you to supplement with formula? The ped says that the baby has lost too much weight and LC insists on a formula supplement, even though it is not a "bottle" it is still formula (supplementing from a tube alongside breast). How can you tell them that you don't want to supplement? Do you have to listen to them while you are in the hospital? Is there a way to avoid giving formula?
Just wondering how to handle it.
post #6 of 9
I would try to discuss w/your ped ahead of time and have a plan with them to cover all of the 'what ifs'. Otherwise, I would think that just repeating no, no, no and never letting baby leave your side would take care of it. Also get everyone with you (DH, your parents and ILs). If baby's latch is ok, baby will be getting colustrum- just not milk and that should be enough.

If you really feel you do not need the supplement, just say no. They work for you and you don't have to do anything you don't want to. (I would think they would need a court order to go against your wishes, but I'm not a lawyer and have no idea for sure.) If you decide a supplement is necessary, definitely go with any of the alternate feeding methods and not the bottle.

Print out all of your resources and bring them with- or bring any of the books you've used that will show supplementing isn't necessary. You can have printed back up that way. Even discuss it with your ob. They may not have much to do with it, but the more people you have on your side, the better.

Check ahead of time to see if the lc on call is IBCLC and if not, what experience she has. This may make you more comfortable taking her advice if she does recommend a supplement.
post #7 of 9
I suppose you tell them you don't want to supplement.
Would donated breastmilk be an option?

If milk comes in on day four...is that really that late?

Do you have an idea at what point you'd be willing to say okay to formula?
post #8 of 9
Well hopefully you won't have to handle it but it's good to be prepared. I think a lot depends on the situation at the time. Baby's initial weight is a factor -my baby was 6lb 3oz and dropped down to 5 lb 5oz. My milk came in on day 4 and she still continued to lose weight cause of the engorgement. I got the impression that babies are not allowed to go under 5lb. On day 3, my baby was miserable, hungry and inconsolable, screamed for the whole night and we couldn't console her. We didn't realise she was hungry as I WAS nursing her (she just wasn't latched on well) and all the books I'd read said baby didn't really need anything other than colustrum. I supplemented with breastmilk using syringe finger feeding. I didn't want to but after 1 day of supplementing her weight went up and she was content and happy so I think it was the right decision at the time. I recommend you consider the situation at the time - you may agree your baby needs supplementing. Also in the hospital I got the impresson that the LC's thought the peds were too conservative but the LCs answer to the peds. And therein lies the problem. I suppose I could have refused to supplement (although I bet I would have had to deal with the hospital social worker and possibly Child Protection, but I used to be a CPS worker so I knew I could handle them) but I was getting worried about the weight loss (by 14%) and I wanted to get her weight up. My LC didn't "force" me to use formula, but I wasn't used to pumping (and only had a little Avent Isis pump) so had trouble pumping enough initially and had to use some formula. I hated that but it wasn't for long and now she's off it so I'm happy. Don't mean to scare you with all this but I'm rather annoyed at all those breastfeeding books - I felt misled - it's great to have ideals but there's little detail about what to do when it doesn't work and in the real world, one has to deal with peds who have other ideas. BTW babies usually lose 5-7% of their bodyweight. It seems anything beyond 10% leads to ped. intervention. Now you hear LCs talking about far worse scenarios but honestly I don't think modern medicine allows you this much freedom.
post #9 of 9


As I wrote on another thread, I had an ultimately successful experience with supplementation. I believe this was because:

--I pumped every time ds was supposed to nurse and didn't at all and also pumped if he only nursed a little. This stimulated the breast and it meant that even when we did have to supplement, he got mainly colostrum and only a little formula. LaurelAmar's supplemental nursing system idea is a good one. But I so wanted ds to get that colostrum! It's really good for the baby.

(as you know, no baby prefers formula, as breastmilk tastes better--colostrum is super fatty and sugary. When I pumped it left sugar crystals on my nipples as it dried. )

--we did finger- feeding and my dh did a great job making it an occasion for baby to learn to nurse correctly.

--my dh helped me work with the baby. we roomed in and dh stayed on a fold-out bed. Even though I didn't have a c-section, dh brought me the baby. (he slept with the baby on his chest a lot!) Dh diapered him. Dh helped me keep him awake to nurse (we only had to supplement if baby didn't latch on and suck 15 minutes.)

The best thing you can do to make sure breast feeding goes well in the hospital is to have your partner or a good friend stay with you in the room. A good idea to have an advocate with you anyway, since you are having surgery and will need help.
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