Hey, guys! I thought it would be nice to have a kind of baby feeding support/advice thread - I know many of us are breastfeeding, so let's talk about how it's going!
So, most of you know that my little one was in the NICU for my hospital stay. She's a week old today and she's absolutely at 100% - no lasting medical issues. However, we're really struggling with breastfeeding. The first day of her life, she showed no interest in eating - I dropper fed her colostrum, but other than that, she wouldn't eat. So, the nursery begged me to let them supplement her. My milk hadn't come in yet, so I had to just roll with it to get her home. They gave her a bottle without me knowing (didn't agree to that part!) and when she didn't eat right away, they started using the super duper high flow nipples that just pour out when you turn them over. :/
Now, I'm pumping, my milk is in, and I'm making quite a lot, I think - I don't pump as often as I should, but I do typically get a couple of ounces a session, definitely enough for a feed. She was getting about half formula, half breastmilk in the hospital, but now she gets maybe 1-2 ounces of formula a day. So she's getting milk, no problem.
The issue is her latch. Because of the damn bottles (I have since switched to low flow nipples, never fear, and I'm about to switch her to the bottles that are designed for breastfed babies), she bites the hell out of my nipple to get it to give milk and then sucks improperly. I HAVE to use a nipple shield, and it hurts even with that. I don't mind that so much, but I have a question:
When she nurses, she stops and starts a lot, and she always seems to fall asleep quickly. Then, after I put her down, she's hungry again half an hour later. However, if I give her a bottle of breastmilk, she drinks 2 ounces or so and then sleeps. Is the falling asleep thing common? I can't tell how much milk she's getting, but she usually only wants an ounce or so when she wakes back up, so she's definitely eating something. Also, my breast gets much emptier.
Also, I can only nurse from the right side right now because my left nipple has gone all puffy and wonky. I hope that goes away when my breast tissue catches up with my engorgement. :(
I have an appointment on Sunday with the lactation consultant, we'll probably look at my latch then, but the thing is, I know what's wrong - I just don't know how to retrain her.
How is feeding going for everyone else?
eloise - thank you! She looks so damn contented afterward, I hate to wake her - but when I do let her drift off, she just wakes up a few minutes after wanting a bottle, so I suppose I should. Lol.
wildgreen - ohhh, I understand the clamping! Norah is a total biter, it's really frustrating - she was actually right after birth, too - the first few times I put my finger in her mouth, she bit it before she sucked. And those hospital bottles only made it worse. I'm hoping my nipples toughen up some. :(
abk - I'm stuck with the shield too, I think. Every time I try without, she just nuzzles my nipple and then yells bloody murder, but the shield is much more peaceful. I think I'm going to have to try more frequently to get her on - I really only get one nursing session a day at this point. I'm trying to stockpile as well, but she's eating SO much right now that it's hard. I keep seeing things online like, oh, at a week old, their stomachs can only hold 2 ounces max! Really? Cause my kid can easily eat 3oz, and she doesn't spit up at all or throw up unless it's formula. My pumping is always enough to feed her, but it's always just short of being able to give me an extra serving to save - like as soon as I hit pumping 4oz, I was so happy - and then she started eating 3oz, and I'm only left with this little bit. Lol.
I wish I knew more, too, about building a stash up. We're now to the point where the stupid supplementing is done - she hasn't had formula in over 24 hours. I'm going to try to pump reaaally frequently this weekend while my husband is at home and can take care of Norah, because I often delay pumping times to do things with her. And maybe some Mother's Milk Tea, I tried that when she was still in the NICU at 2 days old and my milk came in the next day.
Your milk would have come in the third day anyways. It wasn't the tea.
We are doing great, sidelying nursing is my favorite thing!!
Serafina - goes to show what the hospital knows, cause they were all,oh, gotta supplement her! They really set me back.:/
Sigh. Yeah, I knew what they were doing, but I felt at times like they were going to hold my kid hostage - they never implied that, but it was honestly either agree to supplement or leave her on the IV indefinitely. Then, my husband and I were dropper or syringe feeding her only at first, the colostrum and then the formula, but because I couldn't physically get to the NICU for every feed and neither could my husband, they just went ahead with the bottle. It was actually my really awesome postpartum nurse who told me that - she flat out told me, "You know, those nurses aren't going to sit there with a dropper. I promise they've given her a bottle already." And they had, and then there was little I could do about it. THEN, the super fast flow nipples showed up because one nurse decided she was taking too long for a feed and that would help her "get interested". I got her off of those damn things ASAP. But that's where the biting came from, I think.
If I knew then what I knew now...
At least I have faith we'll get there in the end. Even if I never get to really properly breastfeed. The supplementing is over, and we get at least one session every day with the nipple shield where she's honestly not even nursing for food, but she really likes it. And it's all breastmilk, which in the end is all that matters to me.
I can empathize with you about the stress of a NICU setting. My firstborn was in the NICU for 13 days. I'm amazed that we achieved perfect exclusive breastfeeding success after that kind of start but luckily no formula was ever offered, or even bottles. He was too sleepy to nurse much, although I visited him in the hospital 2-3 times per day to try nursing him. He just passed out after a few suckles. I pumped and pumped with the hospital breast pumps, got tons out and they gave him all my colostrum and then milk via a tube through his nose straight to his tummy. Even before my milk came in they gave him donor milk from other women, as they have quite a supply there at the hospital and don't use formula at all for NICU babies. That is one thing I do enjoy in the country I live in, their "advanced" (compared to standard 20th century bullshit wisdom) and wise (natural and traditional) policies regarding birth/breastmilk.
Crazy thing is that I didn't pump during the night or at home at all, just a few times per day at the hospital when I visited, and still I managed to build up a decent milk supply and when he came home at 13 days old we took out the tube and switched to just breastfeeding, and he didn't seem to get much milk, falling asleep like clockwork after a few suckles, but I kept at it, offering him the breast constantly if I thought there was a chance he'd suckle, and he went from 7 pounds to 20 pounds from the day he came home to the time he was four months old. That's almost a pound a week, quite amazing actually. He was so darned fat! I was proud. Our nightmare came at 10 months of age when he started biting. Two weeks of tears everyday and bloody nipples, but then he just stopped, like magic. But a few months later I got pregnant and my milk vanished and we had to hurry up and get our 13-14 month old to get excited about solid foods already (he had hardly taken anything until then, he was a breastmilk-only maven).
Second born I had no issues with except turned-under lip giving a poor latch, or shallow latch, same as this baby is having issue with, so I try to correct it and sometimes succeed. I remember the issue just simply went away when he got older and more mature. Not sure how many months that took. Hopefully this little girl will get the hang of a latch that doesn't allow in air as soon as possible because when my letdown goes nuts on her and chokes her, it is a nightmare of air swallowing with the kind of latch she has (would be anyways probably but a poor latch doesn't help).
Ok, that's all the nursing stories I have for today. Here is a photo shoot of my favorite parenting practice, because it lets me keep my head on the pillow for 8-9 hours in a row, sidelying nursing!
Here's me and her in a typical night's pose:
Then when my back or hips gets tired of being on my side, I flop back onto my back and just pivot towards her if she starts rooting at any point, and re-latch her. I get so much sleep. She never swallows air when she dream feeds nice and slow and relaxed-ly. I happy.