>this< close to giving up altogether.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 08-08-2010, 11:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 2 week old daughter who was born at 35+1. She spent 10 days in the NICU for respiratory distress, being fed solely through IV and then 2 days on cannula eating EBM from a bottle. I have been pumping every 3 hours since she was born and luckily my supply is excellent and I have a huge stash in the freezer.

She has been home 5 days and I have been trying to get her on the breast ever since. She is my 6th child, my fifth preterm baby and my fourth child I have BF (all the others were incredibly easy- even my earliest preterm child (34 weeks) got the hang of it once she woke up enough and I BF her 12 months) so its not like I am new to any of this. After my last baby I know how I am "meant" to get a preterm babe from the bottle to the breast and I am doing it all. The Ped (VERY pro-BFing), the LC, Dr Google etc all tell me to do things I am already doing-

- Try to latch her on when she is hungry but not manic.
- Making sure she is latching correctly (which, again, I know how to do....)
- I have tried with and without a shield.
- skin to skin, giving her the bottle against my nipple so she knows the position, making sure letdown has occured so she gets the point, I could go on and on....

She is waking up a lot more now and has many periods of wakefulness when she chews on her hands, cries for food, etc etc. When I put her on the breast she shows interest and does take the nipple into her mouth....and then.....NOTHING. She will suck once or twice, nothing comes out and she just stops. Not gets mad, just stops. Or weakly sucks like its a pacifier (which she doesnt get- just using the example) but nowhere near enough to get the milk out. After a minute or so she just drops off and starts sucking her hand again.

After 10-15 minutes of this (unless she gets really mad or hungry) I give her the bottle of EBM and she SLAMS it. And them promptly goes back to sleep.

I borrowed a SNS and to be honest it felt pretty pointless- she knows what she is meant to be doing on the breast- its just like she cant be bothered.

Here is where I am emotionally: I have 5 other children under the age of 8. My DH is military and is not only working crazy hours- but we are moving across the world in 3 weeks. Movers start coming next week, we leave at the end of the month for 4 weeks of visiting family and finally arriving and trying to get settled at our new duty station. This means that I dont have luxurious weeks and weeks of planting myself on the couch to wait til she learns this- life is just getting in the way this time. I knew this was coming and I thought it would be no big deal because, you know, she would be a BFing pro and it would be so darn easy. Pumping is the suckiest thing in the whole wide world. It means all feedings take an hour- all of which I do with 5 other children screaming to go to the park etc.

I am a HUGE BFing advocate, almost to a fault. So it makes me feel even more like a POS to say:

I really really want to quit and formula feed. In fact, today while at BRU to buy ANOTHER piece of pumping/ BFing paraphernalia I stood in the formula section and fantasized about buying 12 cans and throwing my pump out of the window.

Right now I am miserable with this whole thing. I literally *dread* the whole process of feeding and pumping and cleaning and freezing and my nipples hurt and to be honest its really affecting how much I am enjoying this amazing time.

I dont really know what I need right now. I feel like I have all the taglines running around my head "happy Mommy means happy Baby"/ "Life is too short"/ "Why spend time being miserable" and then of course "dont quit"/ "you know its better for her"/ etc etc. I feel like my only two options are either quitting and hating myself for it, or sticking it out and just getting more stressed and exhausted and miserable. So I think I am just posting to get this all out.

If you made it this far, thank you.

Mama to nine gorgeous babies, with finale #10 due April'14.
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#2 of 14 Old 08-09-2010, 01:54 AM
 
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I dont really have any advice for you, but I wanted to give you some support. You are a great mommy and you will do what is best for your child and for yourself. Good luck on your move, that would be hard even without the difficilties you are facing.
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#3 of 14 Old 08-09-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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Oh, mama.

I'm so sorry you're having a hard time. I only have one baby and have nothing of use to add - you outweigh my baby-feeding experience about 100-fold, but I couldn't read and not post.

s

Science-loving mama to one little guy (11/09).
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#4 of 14 Old 08-09-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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Want to send some hugs your way and let you know your words are being heard.

It sounds like you are feeling the push of this move and time line. I bet this baby will get it very soon, but I bet it doesn't feel soon enough. I wonder too if your baby is picking up on your feelings like some babies have in a strike situation.

Having the other children need you sounds very stressful too. Your baby is still so young. Can you find some help for the other children for even just a few hours a week or a few times a week? If they get an outing (or even some of them!), they might be more content to just hang out at home while you have more time with the baby.

Everything lining up the way it is now is not helping. Keeping everything in perspective may help. There is so much going on and so many people depending on you. Take it one moment at a time and do things to take care of yourself too.

Thinking of you!
Amy

Amy, Mom to ds 2000, dd 2004 and newest dd 3/2010!
Breast Cancer Survivor since 2007
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#5 of 14 Old 08-09-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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I know this is a very challenging time, but I just wanted to give you some encouragement. I just went threw a similar situation with out the move and 5 other children.

My son was born at 36 weeks exactly and would do something similar to what you are describing. So we kept on with it and I pumped, and pumped and pumped and pumped. By about 2 weeks old he was violently rejecting the breast and I had just about given up. I wasn't even offering the breast most feedings, maybe 3 times a week (It was way too heartbreaking for me to watch him scream and reject my breast ) And then I discovered that most premature babies don't start latching until their due date! So it gave me a little hope. But then 2 days before his due date, he just did it, with out me really prompting him. For about a week after that he would take it sometimes and not others, but really I was just pumping and giving him EBM most of the time. He is now 7 weeks old (so would be 3 weeks from his EDD) and he breastfeeds all the time! I only pump when I am at work and we have been that way for at least 2 weeks now. He will even let me nurse him on my side in bed, so I can stay asleep and he just nurses away.

My point is that, she will get it, very soon. You are doing the right thing by doing all this hard work to get that great mothers milk for her. It is very hard, but stick with it, she will get it!

Married 9/12/2009 DS born naturally 6/20/2010
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#6 of 14 Old 08-09-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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my baby was 35 wks 0 days and spent 17 days in the nicu. she came home 100% bottlefed. when i got her home, i spent 2 weeks with JUST HER getting her to the breast. i know your life is busy right now, but is there anyone at all who can come help you while you get your baby to the breast? are you in church or a mom's group? i'd call them and ask for help. or if you can, call a post partum doula and get some help.

i'll go search for my post in re to weaning from bottles/shields. it took us about 3 1/2 weeks total, but we did it. she was a very, very lazy little eater, and i think the nicu dr's made us a bit paranoid because they poked 2 oz down her every 3 hours. i'll brb with the link to the other thread...

Jen-loving Bill, mama to Teryn 18, Kalyn 16, Ricky 13, Natalie 5, Angel Zoe '07 and rainbow1284.gifAmelia Rae 22 mos bonus kids (dss) W 14, W 13 NEW grandbaby due 10/10/11

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#7 of 14 Old 08-09-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ghlight=shield

that says we only used the SNS 5-6 times, but i meant DAYS. i would have to let it run full out or sometimes even squish it to get the milk to flow fast enough for her to start sucking on the boob. good luck! i also have 6 other kids and it was not easy!

Jen-loving Bill, mama to Teryn 18, Kalyn 16, Ricky 13, Natalie 5, Angel Zoe '07 and rainbow1284.gifAmelia Rae 22 mos bonus kids (dss) W 14, W 13 NEW grandbaby due 10/10/11

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#8 of 14 Old 08-09-2010, 11:36 PM
 
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this was my situation almost exactly 6 months ago (without the other kids and added stress of moving though!). my dd was 35 and change when she was born, was in the NICU for 10 days, came home on bottles, and it took us another 10 days to get her on the breast at all, and another 4 weeks to get to the point where i didn't want to cry with pain and/or frustration at every feeding. it was really tough, and i'm not sure i would have stuck it out if i had the other stuff that you're dealing with. i'm so glad i did though, because now i have a wonderful 6 month old who nurses happily and easily in all situations, and i don't have to lug around bottles and formula or a pump. in the end, the thing that made the difference was using a syringe and tubing to remind her what she was doing (maybe once or twice a day), and offering the breast first, every time. as soon as i felt strained or stressed, i got the bottle out. we tried lots of different positions too... the one that worked surprisingly well was having her straddle my thigh facing the breast while i supported her head. oh, i also had to physically restrain her hands for the longest time to actually get any productive nursing to happen.

i have a feeling she may pick up on this very very soon... like within the next week or so. it's really strange, but it seems like they're not going to do it and not going to do it and then suddenly, bam, they're doing it. it's just hard to remember that in the heat of the moment. and don't be fooled into thinking she's so starving she just can't WAIT for the bottle... the bottle just pours the milk in there without her having to suck at all almost... she's not slamming it, it's just flowing out.

i think you would be entirely justified to switch to formula feeding right now. absolutely no one could say you haven't tried hard enough... and your other kids need you too. so there wouldn't be any judging from my end if you decided that you weren't able to do this anymore and you need to make a change.

that said, i think you will regret it if you do. this newborn (especially with preemies) period is so so rough, and seems so long and difficult while you're in it, but in 3 weeks you're going to have a term baby, and in a few weeks after that, you will have a baby who is a pro at breastfeeding. and in 6 months, you'll be where i am, looking back at those horrific days and nights and thinking to youself how long ago it seems and how short a period of time it really is.
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#9 of 14 Old 08-10-2010, 12:11 AM
 
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First, .

Second, I agree with Silverfish. Although I only have one DS, he was 36 +1 and it was NOT easy. He wouldn't latch, the people at the hospital wanted me to feed him formula, I was tired, I just wanted to give up. I didn't, I told myself to just do 10 days. Well, at a week, I got mastitis. That was the first of three times I'd get it within the first month. Each time with a fever of 102 or higher each time my DH left at 8 a.m. for work, so it was just a really sick momma and DS. He also wouldn't latch without a shield. He would take forever to nurse, and as soon as he finished he'd want to start again. I kept telling myself that I could quit after x number of days. And, like Silverfish said, and like you know, soon x days becomes 3 months, then 6 months, then a year.

My DS just turned a year, and I was reflecting back on how hard the start of our BFing relationship was and how happy I am that I stuck with it. I know you know all of that, but sometimes it helps to hear it again. Your little one needs the breastmilk even if she doesn't know how to make that happen. That all being said, only you can know what's best for you and your family and ultimately you need to make the best decision for you and then embrace it.

Kristin , married to DH , mama to DS 8/4/09 and EDD 6/24/11
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#10 of 14 Old 08-10-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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No advice, just hugs. I hope you find a solution that works for you.

Mama to three

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#11 of 14 Old 08-14-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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sorry you're dealing with this all at once mama.

i'm still pumping for my 34 weeker, but no lies here, it IS exhausting, even st this stage fo the game.

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#12 of 14 Old 08-15-2010, 10:24 AM
 
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((Hugs)) You're going through a lot right now, and I hope it helped to get some of it out.
A couple of thoughts as I read your post. First, your baby is only 37 weeks old which is still not full term, and your baby may still need time to figure out the whole suck swallow breathe thing at the breast. Your baby is not being lazy. It can take time for them to figure out that things work differently at the breast. There's a lot going on in your life right now, and your baby will pick up on your emotions.
The other thing is that breastfeeding may have been easier with your other children, but please remember that this baby is her own unique person and things may not be as easy for her. It's important not to compare and think that things should be going a certain way right now. Every breastfeeding relationship is unique.
This sounds like a great time to draw on any and all possible resources for help. Friends and family, spending the money to hire someone etc. You're still recovering from birth and the stress of having a preterm baby in the NICU, and on top of that you have 5 other children who need caring for and your moving. The move alone is stressful without adding a preterm baby to the mix!
Best wishes whatever you decide to do. Remember it's your family, and you have to do what works best for you.
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#13 of 14 Old 08-17-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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I totally understand what you're feeling. My full term NICU baby didn't latch until she was three weeks old--six weeks older than your LO is now! I'm not sure that we would have made it if I had other children and a move to deal with at the same time. Huz is in the military too, so I know what those moves are like.

You have to do what's best for yourself, your daughter, and your family. No matter what that decision is, do not feel guilty about it.

If you happen to be anywhere near Austin, TX (or Ft. Hood), PM me and I'll distract your kids for a few hours to give you some alone time with the LO.

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#14 of 14 Old 08-17-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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Another commiseration poster- my full term babe had/has a weak latch and could barely suck.

Momma to DD (12/04) hearts.gif and DS (11/09) hbac.gif.
I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!

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