Hope everyone is doing well and happy and healthy!!
I am looking for some encouragement - my guy is not nursing well and it is heartbreaking for me. We're home, and he eats my milk from bottles, so I know I have so much to be thankful for. It's just that after missing out on the beautiful pregnancy I wanted and the beautiful birth I wanted, not being able to breastfeed would just kill me. I know it's just a matter of time, that I just need to be patient...but I would love to hear some success stories if anyone has them! Was it hard? How did you know they were getting enough by breast? I'm so used to counting mL's that switching to minutes will be really weird for us...
A few days ago I thought he had nursed successfully, but then half an hour later he was hungry again. Is this to be expected? Does it mean that he didn't actually get the calories I thought he did? I'm just so new to this nursing gig, and I'm feeling really discouraged (and terrified of the idea of continuing to pump for years!).
Any encouragement will help so much. Thanks!
What age and weight is he now? Aaagh, I can't believe I'm asking that. LOL. I got so sick of those assessments!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep trying him at the breast anyway, and you may find he just suddenly takes off and feeds really well one feed, then another and another.....
Rushing atm, but I'm sure another mama will jump in and be more useful, but couldn't read and not : and
spread a lot of love
What age and weight is he now? Aaagh, I can't believe I'm asking that. LOL. I got so sick of those assessments!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm lucky enough to have a best friend who is an ex-certified lactation consultant, and I want her to just come over and watch us nurse, because I'm pretty sure it's a problem with his seal that's stopping us considering how sore my nipples are. The problem is that she has a nine month old with a sniffle . As soon as her DD gets better, she's coming over...I'd rather Gwyn still had some bottles for a while than possible RSV, kwim?
I think it'd be easier if I had experience bf-ing, but this is my first baby, and so I am totally the blind leading the blind with him right now.
He does co-sleep and we're working on the nursing lying down. He gets frustrated when he can't latch on (which I think is a good sign) and then latching on becomes even more impossible because he is flailing like...what in nature flails? I don't know, but can we all imagine that something does? Anyway, letting me know that he's very upset...but we're practicing. I could probably practice that more (lying on couch and nursing when not too tired during the day rather than football/cradle hold).
We'll look into a SNS - that might be exactly what we need. Take that back: I have no idea what we need, lol. But it is definitely worth a try!
It is common for preemies to have a weak latch, my 31 weeker who is now 7 months and over 14 lbs still does somewhat but it can be overcome with patience. Draw the baby in as close to you as possible with your hand firmly supporting his shoulder blades. Make sure to get as much of the breast in his mouth as possible. As a very last resort you can use a nipple shield.
Forget about measuring ml's. It can be really common for a newborn(which is what your baby is right now) to nurse alot even every half hour some days, that is their way of increasing your supply. It does not necessarily mean that they are starving or need supplements other than the breast. Supplementing even previously pumped milk too much can reduce how much your baby takes and reduce your supply.
Your best indicator is going to be dirty and wet diapers to know how much your baby is taking. Stop wondering how much is going in and only be concerned on what is coming out for a day or so and that will give you a good idea. You can also try EBF for a week or so and then have a weight check which will give you a good indicator of how things are going.
((hugs). If your nipples are sore definitly get some lanolin on them and just try to stick with it and not stress too much. It is hard but with patience and perseverence it will work out.
When you have a preemie you have so much to get used to. First they are born and you have to get used to the hospitalization stress and routine. My son was in three different hospitals. Second, When the baby comes home, it feels like he is a newborn. You get on your own routine. Third, if you are attempting to breast feed you throw everything out of the window. It feels like he is a newborn again. A new routine is in the making.
Sometimes I want to give up! He screams and scratches. He has made my nipple bleed. He chomps down or while it is in his mouth he moves his head side to side. I wanted to start my own thread today about this. People around me do not believe that he will get it. Sometimes he does and sometimes he does not.
Now Christmas is coming it is more frustrating. I can have him on a schedule with the bottle but I am scared if I do not breast feed then he will lose it.
I am going to my appointment now with my lc. I may not have given you encouragement since I a frustrated too. But now you know that you are not alone in your journey. Try not to give up! It is tough sometimes.
It can be really common for a newborn(which is what your baby is right now) to nurse alot even every half hour some days, that is their way of increasing your supply. It does not necessarily mean that they are starving or need supplements other than the breast. Supplementing even previously pumped milk too much can reduce how much your baby takes and reduce your supply.
Lindsey- SAHM to Skylar (7-12-01), Leah (10-29-04), id twin boys Addison and Riley (6-17-08, born at 25w4d), and Terran (5-29-11, born at 28 weeks)
I got to the point of being so frustrated with breastfeeding not working, that I'd just let one of them try once a day, and do bottles the rest of the time. But then, one day, the one I tried did it! And then her sister did it! And then they both just took off. It was incredible. And they're still going strong at 10 months.
It really felt like they just had to get big enough and old enough . . . I don't know if it'll work that way for you, of course, but it did for us, so it's possible.
We kept ours on one bottle each a day for several months, partly for supplementation, but mostly because my milk supply got really low at about 6 pm. and the twins got really hungry at about 6 pm . . . but eventually we were able to drop that bottle and exclusively breastfeed.
I hope it works out for you. I know how frustrating it is, and how hard it is to pump AND bottlefeed, but if it helps, I'm really glad I did looking back at it.
I hope that gives you a little bit of encouragement.
He's done really well nursing the past few days - I can feel his latch getting stronger, and so I think we're just going to keep doing what we're doing for a little bit. I nurse him while Daddy makes a bottle, and then he eats however much he wants from said bottle, and then can nurse for fun or comfort or anytime he asks to. It's just so hard to eliminate the bottle entirely, because I am so obsessed with him gaining weight, since weight gain has become such a sign of a healthy baby to me!
anway, I am sending you big time nursing vibes
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It is like our babies are new born. They may take in less but more times per day. It is fustrating since you have no idea when.
Also, if a baby nurses for a short time they get their thirst met but it takes the hind milk to satisfy them with calories.
If your boy is 41 weeks old then, according to my lc, you still have the five weeks unitl your next week of opportunity. But I would not give up until then. I would still work at it. Wow your boy has grown. This is all on your milk so be proud of yourself.
My daughters' latches were pretty crummy at first. Their mouths were so small! Evey feeding would take close to an hour... every 2 hours. But, as they grew my nipples got less sore until they weren't anymore b/c their mouths had gotten bigger.
I checked out your blog. What lovely pictures. AND your son looks so incredibly healthy for a baby at his due date and born at 28 weeks. I wish you lots of luck and if you need a cheerleader PM me.
I personally made the breast the only option. They just got the hang of it out of necessity. Don't double guess yourself and give a bottle b/c you're worried he's hungry.
My dd was a 32 weeker, spent 3 weeks in the NICU. They didn't let me breastfeed there at all and were not supportive. When we came home it didn't go well at first but I was determined. It took about 3 weeks. I had to keep pumping the exact amount at first which was disappointing but if I didn't my milk supply would drop. My dd really liked using a nipple shield b/c the plastic was familiar to her. I would put her on without it (she would cry! she hated it. but I had to keep trying), then with it, then give her a bottle, then pump. Every three hours around the clock... you are in the middle of it, I'm sure! Anyway, after a week or two when she was getting the hang of it better I started to drop one pumping every other day. Also I would drop one bottle after b/f every other day. Does that make sense? I think I found that schedule on kellymom.com somewhere.
I have two friends who pumped for a year for their preemies because their kids never took to the breast. I really struggled with it - everyone who would watch me would wonder, why are you doing that to that kid? but I was determined to get her used to it and after a while she did get it. It's just you are so tired right now and so sick of the pump that it seems like it's impossible... but it's not!!
My dd ended up b/f for 18 months. Then my #2, ds, was a 34 weeker, spent a week in the NICU, b/f like a champ for 23 months!
One more thing - I called La Leche League and they found someone who had experience with preemies and she talked to me over the phone several times. That was very helpful. I never did go to a meeting! But just hearing her voice was nice.
Keep at it, just keep offering him the breast *first* before he's full, and then give him the bottle to top him off. Once he's better at nursing, you can reduce the amount he's taking in the bottle, a little at a time, until he's on the breast totally. Good luck!
Have you tried using a nipple shield? We've found that it makes a huge difference in helping our little one latch on and stay on. He also takes much larger quantities of breastmilk with the shield than without. Our son is 36 weeks and about 5 1/2 pounds.
In the hospital we were weighing Zephan before and after every feeding for a while to see if he was getting enough by breast. When he was consistently taking enough, we stopped weighing him at every feeding and instead weighed him daily. Now that we're home, we'll weigh him weekly or less often. I think the doctors want to see about 1/2-1 ounce of growth each day at this point.
To tell if he is eating enough, I generally try to nurse until he is content. Sometimes he'll go 3-4 hours before wanting to eat again. Other times it is 1-2.
I know someone mentioned babies might take more by bottle, but we've found the opposite to be true for Zephan. He is a much more efficient breast feeder than bottle feeder.
When we were BF at the hospital, I was so excited. He would latch BEAUTIFULLY, and really suck, and would stay on for 10 min or so, and then I would pop him back on the BF scale, and he would have taken about 1 mL. Our high before leaving the hospital was 10 mL and that was with a nursing/break/nursing. And it happened one time. mostly we got 2s, 3s and a few 6s and 8s.
We got him home the first week of Nov. I put him to breast every time he fussed at all, then I gave him a bottle, then I pumped. 3 weeks ago I finally got permission to stop topping him off and just putting him to breast. That way he would get hungry enough to nurse when he needed to. I wouldn't let him go more than 2 hours without feeding during the day, and 3.5-4 hours at night. He did have a flat week of gain, but is now gaining again, quite nicely.
I do have to add that we are still having to supplement with 3 80 ML feeds of 28 Kcal Nutramagin. I put him to breast first, then bottle then pump for those.
At his first transitional clinic meeting (5 weeks out from discharge) his head was in the 50th percentile, while his length/weight are still in the 20s.
It will take a ton of work on your part mama, but it can be done.
Oh, over the last week, I have been supplementing myself with fenugreek and blessed thistle. Not so much for supply (but I always worry a little bit about it, as I am not a good pumper) but to help with flow. I have to say, it seems to help, my milk does come out a bit quicker when hand expressing and pumping than before.
As far as making sure they are getting enough...I can understand. That always seemed so silly to me-I had breastfed my older 3 and I never got why someone would be so concerned about it. But then, I had this little dude, barely 6 pounds when I took him home, and after bottle feeding for weeks, I understood. Its really scary when you've gotten used to feeding 3 ounces every 2 hours, or something along that line, to suddenly have no clue how much they are actually getting. You just have to let go and follow your baby's cues. Nurse him-if he starts crying or is still acting hungry but wont nurse, go ahead and offer a bottle. I just basically offered the breast everytime he fussed, and hed nurse briefly (literraly a minute or so) and want it again 30 minutes later. As long as baby isnt losing weight and, hopefully, is gaining, then they are fine.
Fyi-I took my son in a few weeks after he started nursing full time to get him weighed and saw he was gaining. I didnt really worry about it after that. You can really SEE that they are gaining....my previously skinny little preemie has rolls now!!! Hes so rolly polly, I love it!!!
Oh also-we were sent home with supplemental formula as well (22 cal). I decided on my own to stop all the supplementing/vitamins because A.) the vitamins made him throw up and B.) the supplemental formula made him spit up and have tummy issues, lots of gas. I was also told not to worry about it once he was nursing anyway, which made me less concerned over it. Ironically his weight gain went way up without it. I think he was more comfy and as such, ate more. Obviously not the case with all babies, but he definately didnt need it and its possible it was hindering his growth. Having said that, hes still rather gassy!! lol