6-day old has never latched - scared, please help - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 25 Old 11-18-2009, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I gave birth to my son 6 days ago (my first). It was a long, difficult birth and I had a lot of bleeding after, so the midwives were working on me and I missed that "window" where newborns are good at latching. Then, somehow hours later the midwives and everyone went home (it was a home birth) without us having successfully latched. My son slept much of the first 24 hours (he was a healthy 10 lb. 1 oz. baby). Because of my blood loss and trauma to my body my milk was very late in coming in and I don't get much (about 1/2 oz. when I pump for 20 minutes).

We have never gotten him to latch and are using donated breastmilk while I pump. My sister is a lactation consultant and spent last weekend with us trying to get him to latch but it didn't happen. We used bottles for a few days after but my sister and another specialist recommend not using bottles at all if possible. Right now I'm feeding him using a nipple shield and SNS tubing attached to a bottle (tricky and frustrating), and finger feeding with the SNS if absolutely necessary. It is hard to get him to take enough, and trying to feed this way and then pump every 2 hours is making me feel like I'm losing my mind.

I try to do skin to skin with him but it's hard because he roots around and gets frustrated, yet won't take my nipple. He's starting to seem sleepy again like the first couple days and has lost a couple of ounces since we stopped bottle feeding. It seems like in order for him to get enough we have to feed him constantly and wake him to do so.

I am totally devastated and exhausted. I'm wondering if there's still hope. I wonder when I should accept that it just might not work for us and it won't be the end of the world if I cannot breastfeed him. It hurts to even type those words. I can't express how badly I want to nurse my son, and how totally discouraged I am. Thanks in advance for your support.

Sweet, beautiful DS born at home 11/11/09!
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#2 of 25 Old 11-18-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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Mine was like this, and the only thing that helped was to sort of squash my nipple/areola so it was easier for him to latch onto, combined with sort of gently (but firmly) shoving his face onto it until he latched. I did this with help from my LC and it took a little while for him to get it but it did eventually work.
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#3 of 25 Old 11-18-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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There is still hope. 6 days old is not too late, you have time.
Can you see another IBCLC - not your sister? I'm sure she is great and professional but sometimes those family lines cross and she may overlook something or not feel that she can speak freely to you.

I can only imagine how tired and discouraged you are. I hope you have enough people who will rally around you and let you stay in bed and have food delivered to you while you hold your baby.

This video might help you
http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastf...xpression.html

have you seen the baby dance video where the baby self latches? I don't have it handy but it may help too if you google for it.
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#4 of 25 Old 11-18-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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I don't have time for a long post, but 6 days is definitely not too late! My son was 8 weeks premature and I didn't get to even try to nurse him until he was 5 days old, and we only nursed sporadically while he was in the NICU for 6 weeks. After a few weeks at home, I was able to successfully transition him to the breast, and he weaned at 22 months.

Don't lose hope!

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#5 of 25 Old 11-18-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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Has he been checked for a tongue tie? Mine youngest has one and it took a bit more work with her than the other ones to get her to latch at first. I think hers is pretty minor and we got the bf'ing worked out so I haven't had it snipped, but that is an option if he does have one that is causing latch problems.

I am trying to remember what I did with her... I think I was having to hold open her mouth and push her tongue down because she wanted to thrust it. Then squeezing the nipple and pushing it back as far into her mouth as I could.
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#6 of 25 Old 11-18-2009, 01:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluejaunte View Post
Mine was like this, and the only thing that helped was to sort of squash my nipple/areola so it was easier for him to latch onto, combined with sort of gently (but firmly) shoving his face onto it until he latched. I did this with help from my LC and it took a little while for him to get it but it did eventually work.
my son was like this-- He didn't really start to open his mouth on his own until he was about 6 weeks old.

DH would 'help' us latch at each feeding-- dh would hold his mouth open, and I'd shove my nipple in.

Alternatively, I'd wait until he started really wailing and his mouth was open real wide, and then shove my nipple in.

It got better! Promise!

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#7 of 25 Old 11-19-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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Hey mama, the ladies above have given you really awesome advice. I have no advice on how to get him to breastfeed, but I can offer some hope and/or support if he doesn't end up latching on.

I had full intentions of breastfeeding my son when he was born, and had that window available to me. He refused to latch on at that time, however i think we were both exhausted from a super quick but super painful birth. I was stressed and getting frusterated and I'm sure he could tell that which made nursing hard at that time. I was just about to try again when the nurses came in telling me I wasn't allowed to breastfeed due to a med I was on. They were 100% wrong, but it was hospital policy unfortanutely, and to avoid getting into all the details, I didn't want to deal with DSS. I figured I could just start breastfeeding once I got home.

We were home within 2 days, but he had already taken a real liking to the bottle. Of course the hospital finally realized they were wrong in not letting me breastfeed so they allowed me to start "pumping and dumping" until the doctor decreased the dosage on my med the day I got home in order to keep my supply. I wrote a really *nice* letter to the hospital mind you, as I blame them for me not breastfeeding. I truly do. Anyways, that's not the point.

He's not 9 weeks and, while i try everyday, he still won't latch on. I have been able to pump breastmilk for him, so now he is just breastfed through a bottle. Not my first choice but better than formula IMO.

Pumping is not the easiest thing to do and I feel like a failure for not being able to nurse my baby. But I have to tell myself that he's still getting the best milk there is, it doesn't matter where it comes out from. It really doesn't mama. You can always use milkshare and get donated breastmilk if you can't pump enough for some reason.

My point is, don't beat yourself up if for some reason he just won't nurse. it's not your fault and you're still a terrific mother if you pump or formula feed. You know what's best for your child. I'd much rather have a happy and thriving baby who's fed expressed BM or formula fed than a fussy, non thriving baby who's trying to nurse. Listen to all the advice you've been given, you still have a great chance at getting him to nurse, but please remember that you're still doing what's best for him if he doesn't nurse. If you need any support or just need to talk feel free to PM or e-mail me. I've been there. *hugs*

Alycia / SAHM to my smart & sweet 'bubs' Tommy (9/7/09) and intact new squish Vinny (9/3/12) / madly in love with my officer / advocate for our pit mix Lucy-Mama and all her pittie friends

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#8 of 25 Old 11-19-2009, 06:02 PM
 
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nm! I see you are already finger feeding and using an sns. I didn't realize those were options with my son.

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#9 of 25 Old 11-19-2009, 11:44 PM
 
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i agree get rid of the bottle all together. if he has no choice but to latch to eat he will. you need to keep the midset that there is no other option. formula does not exist! you might have to nurse him every hour to build you supply and make sure he doesnt have a pacifier! before you try to latch him rub your nipple from his nose to his bottom lip and wait until he opens his mouth to a 90 degree angle then shove his head on your boob with your nipple in his mouth and hold it there until he starts sucking. he will probably get irritated wating for you let down so i would manually express my milk first. it doesnt matter what you pump btw my LO is 8 weeks and 10lbs and i know she eats at least 4 ounces in a feeding but when i try to pump i only get 2 ounces after like an hour. i can manually express and get 4 or 5 ounces. so dont measure your milk by the pump. let your LO build your supply not the pump and be patient. sending you lots of love and hope. you can do it momma!

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#10 of 25 Old 11-19-2009, 11:48 PM
 
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I have no advice, but we did not latch for 7 weeks! I know woman who did not get her baby to latch for 3 months. Don't give up unless you absolutely can not take it anymore. :

I'm Kellie :, married to Chris , and mom to one baby girl (7/12/09).
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#11 of 25 Old 11-20-2009, 12:11 AM
 
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I had a lot of bf problems and gave up with my first, but tried harder/got more advice with my second and made it!

You have gotten some really great advice here, and mine is similar. Keep trying! If you really want to, you WILL bf sucessfully.

BUT if your life is so miserable that you think you will have a better relationship with your baby if you bottlenurse, then by all means do that. I don't regret my choice with my daughter because it was the right thing for us at the time.

For another take on actual latching, here's what I would try:

Since you're practicing latching, pump or express some milk so you're not so full and hard. Tickle the corner of Baby's mouth with your nipple, both to make your nipple stand up and to make him open his mouth wide. When he does, put as much nipple/areola in as you can. I think of it as "wadding it up and stuffing it in" and i would even keep trying to stuff a little more in after he started sucking. This is why I'd pump a little first until you get good at it... so it is softer and easier to wad/stuff.

The thing about a bottle is it gives them satisfaction without opening their mouths really wide, the key to a good latch. Keep trying to latch and keep tickling his cheek to encourage him to open wide.

For a while, while you're still supplementing, I'd practice latching when he is partially full so he is less prone to get super frustrated. Once you feel more confident with it, transition away from the bottle completely.

HTH and good luck!

ETA: he should have his mouth around the very outer edge of the areola, or close to it, when the latch is right. And practice, practice, practice! It definitely is a learned skill.

Erin caffix.gif , Happy wife of Honey Bearguitar.gif , mom of Curly Miss (11/04), Little Mister (10/06), Princess Abi (3/08), and The Bean (9/09) jumpers.gifadoptionheart-1.gif  <>< oh, and I blog.

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#12 of 25 Old 11-20-2009, 04:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lilzippy59 View Post
Hey mama, the ladies above have given you really awesome advice. I have no advice on how to get him to breastfeed, but I can offer some hope and/or support if he doesn't end up latching on.

I had full intentions of breastfeeding my son when he was born, and had that window available to me. He refused to latch on at that time, however i think we were both exhausted from a super quick but super painful birth. I was stressed and getting frusterated and I'm sure he could tell that which made nursing hard at that time. I was just about to try again when the nurses came in telling me I wasn't allowed to breastfeed due to a med I was on. They were 100% wrong, but it was hospital policy unfortanutely, and to avoid getting into all the details, I didn't want to deal with DSS. I figured I could just start breastfeeding once I got home.

We were home within 2 days, but he had already taken a real liking to the bottle. Of course the hospital finally realized they were wrong in not letting me breastfeed so they allowed me to start "pumping and dumping" until the doctor decreased the dosage on my med the day I got home in order to keep my supply. I wrote a really *nice* letter to the hospital mind you, as I blame them for me not breastfeeding. I truly do. Anyways, that's not the point.

He's not 9 weeks and, while i try everyday, he still won't latch on. I have been able to pump breastmilk for him, so now he is just breastfed through a bottle. Not my first choice but better than formula IMO.

Pumping is not the easiest thing to do and I feel like a failure for not being able to nurse my baby. But I have to tell myself that he's still getting the best milk there is, it doesn't matter where it comes out from. It really doesn't mama. You can always use milkshare and get donated breastmilk if you can't pump enough for some reason.

My point is, don't beat yourself up if for some reason he just won't nurse. it's not your fault and you're still a terrific mother if you pump or formula feed. You know what's best for your child. I'd much rather have a happy and thriving baby who's fed expressed BM or formula fed than a fussy, non thriving baby who's trying to nurse. Listen to all the advice you've been given, you still have a great chance at getting him to nurse, but please remember that you're still doing what's best for him if he doesn't nurse. If you need any support or just need to talk feel free to PM or e-mail me. I've been there. *hugs*
Oh mama, I have such a similar story! I was yelled at by a neonatologist that I "absolutely could NOT breastfeed on *that* medication" WRONG. I also didn't want to deal with CPS so I waited until I got home and he wouldn't latch. I EP'd for 3 months and one day decided I wanted to really give it a go again. I hired an IBCLC and by some miracle, DS started nursing beautifully . Don't give up, it can still happen. And if it doesn't, babe is still getting mama's milk.

OP didn't mean to threadjack but you have plenty of time to make it work. Your baby is learning too and nursing is a process. Keep at it, stay calm, and be aware of anything that could possibly be hindering his progress.
And congrats!

Mama to one 2 yr. old tornado banana.gif
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#13 of 25 Old 11-20-2009, 05:11 PM
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Just seconding the advice to make a nipple sandwich as well as getting your nipple to be erect. With my first we used a nipple shield and the sns (what a pain that was), transitioning to just a nipple shield for the first 6 weeks and finally to just my nipples until he was 2.5. Hang in there- you can do it!
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#14 of 25 Old 11-20-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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i agree get rid of the bottle all together. if he has no choice but to latch to eat he will. you need to keep the midset that there is no other option. formula does not exist! you might have to nurse him every hour to build you supply and make sure he doesnt have a pacifier! before you try to latch him rub your nipple from his nose to his bottom lip and wait until he opens his mouth to a 90 degree angle then shove his head on your boob with your nipple in his mouth and hold it there until he starts sucking. he will probably get irritated wating for you let down so i would manually express my milk first. it doesnt matter what you pump btw my LO is 8 weeks and 10lbs and i know she eats at least 4 ounces in a feeding but when i try to pump i only get 2 ounces after like an hour. i can manually express and get 4 or 5 ounces. so dont measure your milk by the pump. let your LO build your supply not the pump and be patient. sending you lots of love and hope. you can do it momma!
Very respectfully, I have to say that this was not my experience and we *had* to use a bottle with my son or he wasn't going to get the nutrition he needed. He was hungry, and tired, and crabby! We saw three LCs plus a speech therapist who was very well trained in feeding issues. I would highly suggest a speech therapist. My son was born at 35 weeks and had major suck-swallow-breathe and latch issues. He did not have the strength to get what he needed no matter how "starved" he was. He just could not do it. My opinion of expecting a child to get what they need from nursing when they can't is like expecting a newborn to go prepare themself a bottle from the fridge. I pumped and used the SNS too, and HATED the SNS because it was so much work, so then used the Haberman. The speech therapist put him on a different type of bottle from the Haberman (can't remember what) and it was really like a regular bottle, which the LCs did not like. However, she had lots of experience with latch and I trusted her. Long story short, within about a month, he was latching well, I was done pumping, done with bottles. It was a month of pure hell, but it was worth it in the end. He nursed for 19 months. Its not too late!! Try to see someone who can help you. Goodluck!!
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#15 of 25 Old 11-20-2009, 05:51 PM
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I just wanted to agree with everyone else who said that they've gone weeks before the baby could latch. Good luck!

M, mom to DS1 (8 yrs), DS2 (5 yrs), and DS3 (2 yrs).

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#16 of 25 Old 11-20-2009, 06:02 PM
 
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I know that I keep posting advice... but I just wanted to suggest posting in the finding your tribe section for a recommendation for a really good experienced lactation consultant. My mom, my grandma and my aunt all tried to help me breastfeed after ds was born-- they had nursed 11 kids between them all. But I needed someone who has seen and helped hundreds of women with different problems.

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#17 of 25 Old 11-20-2009, 06:13 PM
 
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I also have to chime in with some support and hugs from a Mama who has tried desperately to find BF success. When I say I've tried everything, I mean everything. My little babe nursed well with SNS and then bottle for three months and now latches occasionally with a shield.

Continue to get support, Mama, there is hope. We all know that breast is best, and breast milk is best. If, however, after you have exhausted all of your efforts, it is still not working for you, it is okay. It will not be because you have not tried hard enough. If you can pump enough milk that is a blessing, if you are able to find donated milk that is wonderful, too. And you know what, as much as we may not have wanted to go this route, giving formula will be okay, too. The very most important thing is that your baby feels loved unconditionally, and that you not be too hard on yourself. Sometimes things don't go according to plan on this parenting journey. Hold your baby close, and "nurse" with your heart. That love is worth more that anything else.

Best of luck!
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#18 of 25 Old 11-20-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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**Okay, so my son woke up early from his nap and I had to cut this short before, but I was going to say that as much as pumping is hell, it is necessary to keep doing it to get your supply up and maintained. My son would "nurse" but wouldn't get getting anything, but I just kept putting him on the breast, and then giving him the bottle or SNS afterwards. What about trying something to boost your supply for pumping? Also, I don't recall getting too much more than you're getting at 6 days pp. I can't recall for sure, but we were in the NICU, and I remember being shocked (and sad) by how much more another mom was getting who had given birth the same day. One other thought...maybe rather than giving up completely, you could consider not placing so much pressure on yourself and maybe supplement some of the time. I know that it is so incredibly tedious and depressing dealing with latch issues, but hang in there if you can. It will likely really improve in time and with some good help.
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#19 of 25 Old 11-21-2009, 06:44 PM
 
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Have you thought about craniosacral therapy for you baby? Sometimes difficult births can impact their ability to latch properly, so it might be worth a try.
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#20 of 25 Old 11-21-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by anielasmommy09 View Post
i agree get rid of the bottle all together. if he has no choice but to latch to eat he will. you need to keep the midset that there is no other option. formula does not exist! you might have to nurse him every hour to build you supply and make sure he doesnt have a pacifier! before you try to latch him rub your nipple from his nose to his bottom lip and wait until he opens his mouth to a 90 degree angle then shove his head on your boob with your nipple in his mouth and hold it there until he starts sucking.
With all due respect, I REALLY disagree with these points. Having been in a very similar position, if a baby is physically incapable of latching, giving him "no choice but to latch" is just plain wrong. I'm sorry to be blunt, but the advice in the first example above may be true for some babies with few if any issues, but it is NOT true for babies where structural problems are preventing the baby from being able to open wide enough to latch, or for tongue-tied babies, or any other case where a restriction is literally making latching impossible.

Re: the second example, it is really not optimal for any baby to be "shoved" on to the boob and held in place. Babies can and WILL fight this, understandably. If structural restrictions are the issue, using brute force is not going to help, period. Again, I mean no disrespect and I know this poster is only trying to help!

Ok, on to the good news! Lily did not latch for MONTHS. I am not kidding. We finger fed for the first 6 WEEKS before getting her tongue clipped, and still had to work beyond that, but she is now 19 months and we are still going strong. So no, 6 days is not even remotely too late.

This is my story of the 5 months it took us to get onto the breast. I post this not to suggest that it will take you anywhere near this long - ours was an extreme case - but to demonstrate that there is no "deadline", okay? You can do this!

I do think you need to seek out another LC, definitely the best IBCLC you can find. Do get evaluated for tongue tie (posterior ones can be tricky to spot - so even if one person says it's not tied, they just may not be familiar with the different grades of ties), either by the LC or by an ENT or other practitioner who is very familiar with them.


Quote:
it doesnt matter what you pump btw my LO is 8 weeks and 10lbs and i know she eats at least 4 ounces in a feeding but when i try to pump i only get 2 ounces after like an hour. i can manually express and get 4 or 5 ounces. so dont measure your milk by the pump. let your LO build your supply not the pump and be patient. sending you lots of love and hope. you can do it momma!
I do agree with THIS part of the post I was disagreeing with before. And I want to emphasize, like another poster, that continuing to pump is EXTREMELY important right now. Yes, it does suck, I did it round the clock, every 3 hours (critical to maintain your prolactin levels) for months, middle of the night alarm clock and all. But your supply will thank you for it!

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Have you thought about craniosacral therapy for you baby? Sometimes difficult births can impact their ability to latch properly, so it might be worth a try.
I also very much agree with this, especially if there are any restrictions on the jaw. It is very much worth it to check out craniosacral/chiropractic care, particularly after a traumatic birth.

HANG IN THERE! Your efforts are so awesome, mama. Please ask me anything, if you like!
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#21 of 25 Old 11-22-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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I had totally forgotten about the craniosacral therapy, but we did do that as well. It is at least worth a shot, especially after a difficult birth. Our LC showed me something to do with my finger in his mouth to kind of prepare him to be able to latch too. Maybe someone could show you this. I also wanted to add that my son and I were separated as well due to extensive tearing for me and then him being preterm and having to be looked over by the neonatologist. I believe it was probably 6-12 hours before I was able to attempt nursing him. So, while that window is important, it isn't necessarily critical. There are moms who adopt children who are able to breastfeed them and they obviously don't have instant access to one another typically. Good luck!
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#22 of 25 Old 11-22-2009, 10:18 PM
 
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I believe it was probably 6-12 hours before I was able to attempt nursing him. So, while that window is important, it isn't necessarily critical.
I was also going to mention that. DD2 was taken to NICU at birth for breathing difficulties and testing for possible birth defects and I was not able to feed her for several hours and she latched on well when I was able to get to her. IMO there is something else going on here for the OP than just not getting latched right away.
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#23 of 25 Old 11-23-2009, 04:48 PM
 
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Hang in there. I had my baby 5 weeks early do to HELLP syndrome. I didn't see her for 48 hours and didnt start pumping for 72 hours, so dont stress out about having lost that magical window. She got formula in the NICU but we all went home on day 5 and by then I could pump enough for her. We did pumped milk in bottles exclusively. At 2 weeks I started trying to put her to the nipple here and there and was able to get a few suck suck swallows, after she had finished a bottle. Then we were able to get more and more successful, a few weeks after that she was a champ at nursing. Waiting for when she was really hungry and opening her mouth wide helped in the beginning. But I didn't stress over it - she was still getting breastmilk in the bottles, so if that's all I could ever do for her then that's what I would do. We also use pacifiers. I know people are afraid of nipple confusion, but I think my dd has anti-nipple confusion - she will suck on bottle (and we've tried 2 brands - likes them both), my boob, paci, my finger, her hands - even tried going for my dh when she was really hungry and he was holding her.
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#24 of 25 Old 11-23-2009, 07:36 PM
 
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OK so the main issue here is to get baby on to the breast - there is a wonderful website called www.biologicalnuturing.com run by Susan Colson a LLL Leader and IBCLC, it is perfectly possible to get baby nursing back to the breast - I did this a couple of weeks ago with a mother who also had 'missed the window' her baby is breastfeeding exclusively at the breast now and all is well, it is perfectly possible. One main thing NOT to do is to 'put' the baby onto the breast, baby must take the breast himself, if forced to take the breast a baby can refuse and this can take months to rectify. If not doing the biological nurturing - which I would really recommend, here are the things to remember, ear, shoulder and hip in a straight line, tummy to tummy, point your nipple at the baby's nose, let baby open wide (almost to 180 degree angle), you should be able to see at the corner of the mouth a little of the tongue on top of the lower gum working at the breast, baby should not have hollow cheeks and really as long as baby is close enough in to the breast you really shouldn't have to do anything else, if the baby is having problems in opening wide enough to take the breast then post again and we'll work out whats going on - good luck and practice makes perfect - all should be well soon enough!!

PS I just wanted to add that going to bed with your baby and letting baby have free reign at the breast is a wonderful thing and if you have a support team along side you - perfectly possible - just something I wanted to mention to you - and lots of mothers love doing for a couple of days!!

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#25 of 25 Old 11-23-2009, 08:45 PM
 
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i don't advice for getting him latched on, but i wanted to suggest hand expressing your milk. when my milk came in i tried pumping but it hurt and i couldn't get much out at all, so i started hand expressing and found it to be so much easier. do you have the baby book by dr. sears? in the book, it explains how to do it properly. i followed that method and now i am able to express 5 oz in about twenty minutes.

good luck mama. just remember women have had bumps in the road during the beginnings of breastfeeding for thousands of years, and you'll most likely get through it and be a successful BFer.

Breastfeeding, delayed/selective vax, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, homebirthing mama to son River 8/10/09 and daughter Austen 10/13/11
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