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#1 of 7 Old 03-25-2003, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm trying to nurse dd (who has still has a bad latch and tongue/sucking problem), pump to keep my supply up and supplementing to keep dd's weight up. It's driving me nuts. Like tonight dd nibbled on and off for 4 hours. I knew she was hungry, she'd nurse for 5 mins and sleep. I can wake her but I can't make her nurse (open her mouth and suck strongly). So I wait... she wakes in 30 mins, I nurse again for 5 mins... this continues... then 4 hours has gone by - my breasts hurt, I need to pump but if I pump, my breasts take a good 2 hours to fill again. (Cause of dd's bad latch, she relies on the breast being full - she's not good at working for it when the initial letdown finishes.) In the meantime, dd wakes hungry and my breasts are 'empty' and I have to give her another bottle. It's a viscious cycle. I've tried nursing exclusively under LCs monitoring and both times, dd has either lost weight or her weight gain has dropped right off. I'm also hoping that as she gets bigger, her latch will improve so I don't want to do anything to hinder her weight gain. How have others handled this kind of situation? It's so depressing. She's now 7 weeks and I still can't get out of the house with all these feeding problems.
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#2 of 7 Old 03-26-2003, 03:28 AM
 
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What a frustrating cycle! I don't think I have any hard, fast answers, but perhaps I can offer a few thoughts that may strike a useful note for you.

I realize that you're saying your baby's latch prevents her from wanting to nurse much beyond your initial let-down, when the milk is flowing freely. I suspect that supplementing with bottles, though, is probably causing some nipple confusion and certainly contributing to her unwillingness to nurse more actively. It's the old vicious cycle.

It's important to realize that your breasts are never "empty" -- that's not how lactation works! While there is a certain amount of milk that is already made and stored in the ducts, ready to jet out early in the nursing, most of your milk is made during the nursing process. That's the hindmilk, the good high-fat milk that your baby needs for growth and brain development.

Most importantly, though, it sounds as if you have a sleepy baby! There are a number of tricks and techniques to help sleepy babies wake up enough and stay awake long enough to get the nursing and the hindmilk they need. Have you tried exploring those ideas? I'll bet a search of "sleepy baby" in this forum would yield a number of ideas.

HTH. Best wishes to you and your babe!
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#3 of 7 Old 03-26-2003, 09:28 AM
 
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Do you have a baby with low muscle tone? She should outgrow this as she get older.

Have your LCs recced a SNS? supplemental nursing system. a small bottle of milk is hung on a cord around your neck and a thin tube goes to your breast, so she gets the suppelement while nursing.

If your supply is low from lack of stimulation and tiredness, how about some fenugreek?

http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/fenugreek.html

BTW, you should be nursing every 2 hours, not every 4 hours. If she won't do a good nurse after 2 hours, pump then and offer what you get out by SNS (which you can use to "finger feed," if she won't nurse well, for now), or a dropper.

Another trick to get more milk out, is to use breast compression while she nurses. You massage your breast to help the milk flow along the ducts, and the extra stim helps trigger letdowns.

If your LC hasn't given you any of these suggestions, well, she isn't giving you all the tools in the toolbox, let's say! (I would suspect she ins't IBCLC.) Call another one, and ask for help getting an SNS, or call your Local LLL Leader.

good luck.
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#4 of 7 Old 03-26-2003, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions. What is low muscle tone DaryLLL? I haven't heard of that before. I did try the SNS at age 2 weeks and it didn't work well then, couldn't even get dd on the breast at that stage, she just sucked the tubing in like a straw and avoided the nipple. But now dd is taking the breast so I think I'll talk to the LC about trying it again. That would make things easier for me and it would help avoid confusion with the bottle nipple. The LCs I saw are both IBCLC and my LLL leader referred me to a LC cause she wasn't experienced in feeding problems like this. The LCs have said I'm doing all the right things (position, compressions etc) and dd will get it in the end. My LLL group seems to be mostly older babies and they all seem to nurse well. No one has mentioned problems like I've had - I attended 3 meetings before the birth and thought I was well prepared! Ha! I'm taking the fenugreek again. I had stopped it cause I got engorged when I stopped pumping and nursed dd exclusively for the 2 weeks.
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#5 of 7 Old 03-26-2003, 12:46 PM
 
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Wombat, you will have a *lot* of fullness in your breasts in these early weeks and months. You may leak a lot, too. All this is normal, so don't feel as if you've got "too much" if this happens and definitely don't stop nursing or start supplementing or pumping! Your body needs regular nursing at frequent intervals to make the quantity and quality of milk that your baby needs. Daryl has great ideas about the SNS and compressions -- and these are techniques that will help you and your baby get back to as normal a system as possible.

It sounds like you are making good progress, although I'm sure it seems horribly slow to you. Hang in there, mama!
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#6 of 7 Old 03-26-2003, 02:18 PM
 
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Sister, I feel your pain! My baby had a terrible latch and we went through all sorts of hell getting him to the breast. Pumping and trying to breastfeed at the same time, and getting the timing right (or wrong so much of the time), was truly the worst of both worlds. Then there were the cracked nipples, nipple confusion, mastitis, thrush, and horrendous coughs and colds. I was trapped in the house, unshowered and naked but for my strap-on nursing pillow, for weeks, and had more than one nervous breakdown.

One of the hardest things for me was the merry-go-round of should-I's or shouldn't-I's. One minute I'd swear that not another ounce of formula would pass my baby's lips; the next I'd be in tears because I was behind the pumping curve and didn't have enough breastmilk for a bottle and he was screaming, so I'd mix up some formula. One minute I'd swear that he was not getting the "easy" bottle he'd bonded with in the NICU again; the next I'd be giving it to him because he'd refuse to drink from the low-flow nipple. I felt like I couldn't come up with a plan and stick to it, and it was demoralizing. I was so angry, because this was the ONE THING I knew was more important than anything else to me and it was so hard.

The way I handled it was one day at a time, one feeding at a time: if it went well and he latched on, great, if not, and I had to give him a bottle and move on to the next time so be it. Easier said than done I know. I spent a lot of time here looking for support, as well as a lot of time researching and reading everything I could get my hands on about breastfeeding. I also spent a lot of time on the phone with friends who had breastfed, the LCs, and my midwives, looking for support and guidance.

To tell you the truth I don't even remember at this point when I finally got Evan to the breast for good. It was somewhere between 6 and 10 weeks but it's all such a blur. At some point Evan just got it (and his mouth got bigger as he grew, I guess) and so did I. It was a lot like learning how to ride a bike, where things just came together and we were able to finally get rid of the training wheels (the pump, bottles, etc.). Now nursing is a piece of cake, although I am again struggling with yeast issues.

I don't know if you will find anything of use in this post but I wanted to let you know that I've been where you are and I know how tough it is. You just need to have faith that you and your baby will get it and that nursing is so much better than formula feeding that giving up is not an option. It may take a while longer but you can do it, and it will get so much easier.

Please feel free to PM me any time you need support or encouragement. Hang in there, you can do this!

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#7 of 7 Old 03-26-2003, 02:20 PM
 
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oops double post

Come visit the NEW QuirkyBaby website -- earn QB Bucks rewards points for purchases, reviews, referrals, and more! Free US shipping on great brands of baby slings and carriers and FREE BabyLegs or babywearing mirror on orders of $100+. Take the QB Quiz for personalized advice!

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