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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help! I am about to give up on BF, but I really don't want to... This is so challenging, but I feel like we are just so close and come so far, that I just dont' want to give up.

Here are our challenges:
We had trouble latching the first couple of days for a couple of reasons - positioning, I have large flat nipples, and she had trouble with mucous in her nose and throat that didn't allow her to breath through her nose well. Then when we came home we had trouble waking her to nurse and after 24 hours were readmitted to the hospital for jaundice and forced to supplement with formula. Finally, once home again, she has begun latching well and nursing well, but has been losing weight.
Birth: 7lb. 4.5oz
2 Days old: 6lb. 13oz.
3 Days old: 6lb. 11oz.
7 Days old: 6lb. 8oz.
9 Days old: 6lb. 6oz.
So we have been supplementing formula (via a syringe) after each nursing session (per the peds and LC advice). When we were only nursing, she was having lots of bowel movements that were dark green and mucousy, and when she gets the formula she pretty much stops pooping. It has now been almost 2 days since her last bowel movement. (She has lots of wets.) My LC did a weight check before and after a 30 minute nursing session and she only gaines 0.2 oz., so I have begun taking fenugreek and mother's milk tea to boost my supple. And I try to pump after each feeding and get 1/2 oz. at the most from it. The whole nursing, supplementing, pumping process takes about 1.5 hours!!! Then it all startes again in like an hour! I am totally wore out. My 2 year old went to stay with grandma for the week, so that I can get this figured out, but I am terrified about having to care for him by myself and do all of this, too, when he returns. And last night, I had trouble getting her to latch and resorted to giving formula in a bottle all night and didn't even pump. Now I feel like I've totally blew it and I might as well give up! I am going to be devestated if I have to give this up, but I'm feeling like for my own sanity and for the sake of my 2 year old, I might have to.
 

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You haven't blown it. Take some deep breaths. Breastfeeding in the first six weeks is hard. A lot of mamas have been there before. You can do this!

You aren't going to like what I am going to say, but you really need to stop all bottles.
That just leads to confusion and even worse problems down the road.

Now, you say that she is latching on the breast now? Is she sucking and swallowing at the breast? How does her latch feel to you?

Are you sure that you are having issues with supply? What leads you to believe that you are having issues with this? Is it just the fact that she hasn't gained? Your pumping output is NOT an accurate predictor of your supply. I always had a really great supply and could only get 1/2 ounce out. Some people respond better to the pump than others. Do you have a scale at home? You may want to get one so that you can monitor how much she is really getting from each nursing session.

How often are you feeding her? At that stage, my newborn was nursing every hour. I would really increase the number of times that you offer the breast. Are you using pacifers? If so, I would stop that as well. Are you co-sleeping? This can really help to increase weight gain. Co-sleep and nurse frequently through the night. You should be waking her every 3 hours at night for now.

You say that she has lots of wet diapers. That is a good sign. It sounds like the formula is causing her to be constipated.

If you are truly having problems with supply, this page can really help with increasing it. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/low-supply.html

If you aren't having issues with supply and/or have worked to correct that problem you can try block feeding. This is basically feeding from the same breast for two feedings in a row. This allows baby to get that rich fatty hindmilk. Be sure that when you are nursing her, you allow her to completely empty the FIRST breast before switching over. This is where the hindmilk is.

It sounds like before you were giving formula she was having some green poops. This is a sign that she isn't getting enough fatty hindmilk.
 

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It's ok. You didn't blow it by giving her formula for one night. Breastfeeding can be really challenging during the first few weeks but it DOES get easier.

The best thing that you can do to get your supply up is to nurse, nurse, nurse. If I were in your situation I would seriously consider using a SNS (supplemental nursing system) to feed her formula rather than a bottle because that way your breasts will also get stimulation and be encouraged to produce more milk. I would also consider pumping on one side while feeding on the other and supplementing with breast milk instead of formula as much as possible.

Breastfeeding may be really challenging now, but it will not always be this way and when your daughter is older it will be more convenient and less challenging than bottle feeding. Breastfeeding your baby will make it easier for your to meet your older child's needs. (i.e. It is much easier to breastfeed and simultaneously read a story to a toddler than it is to bottle feed and attempt the same activity.) Once you get past the initial tough weeks, bf-ing will take less time, less money, and free up more of both resources for your older child.

I know at least one mom/baby pair who had a similar challenging start to their bf-ing relationship... 15 months later they are still going strong and breastfeeding is a sweet, calm time of bonding that she treasures
It will get better.
 

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This is what kellymom says:

What can I do to increase my baby's weight gain?

There are several simple things that have been proven to help with weight gain:

--Sleep with your baby (this increases prolactin and frequency of nursing).
--Learn baby massage -- this has been proven to improve digestion and weight gain.
--Carry baby throughout the day in a carrier/sling; get as much skin to skin contact as you can. Both of these things have been shown to improve weight gain.
--Nurse often - at least every 2 hours during the day and at least once at night. Frequent nursing increases baby's milk intake.
--Make sure you're allowing your baby to completely finish one side before you offer the other by waiting upon her cues that she is finished; i.e. pulling off herself and looking satisfied, going to sleep, changing from an active suck/swallow to more of a pacifier suck, etc. Always OFFER the second side, but don't worry if she doesn't seem to need it. It's much more important that she be allowed to completely finish one side than that she nurse both sides. By doing so she will be assured of reaching enough of the richer, more caloric hindmilk that helps her to go longer between feedings.
--Use breast massage and breast compression during nursing.
--Pump or hand express for a couple of minutes before nursing. This will remove some of the foremilk so that your baby receives more of the richer, higher calorie hindmilk.
--If supplements are medically indicated, breastmilk is preferred over formula as a supplement (exceptions to this are rare), and the average fat/calorie content of mom's milk is higher than that of formula. Mom can pump for 5-10 minutes after nursing (don't interrupt or shorten the nursing session to do this), and offer this higher-fat hindmilk to baby as needed. This is also an option for moms who normally offer expressed milk when they are separated from baby.
 

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I would definitely stop with the bottles too. That will just set you up for disaster. I like the PP advice. I just wanted to give you some encouragement. I came super close to giving up with my son Colin when he was 6 days old because my nipples had become bloody and scabbed (I used a nipple shield to get through that.) So I understand it can be tough at first.
 

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Please read the "low milk supply" stickie at the top of the BF challenges forum, too.
 

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You have NOT blown it! You've just had a minor setback, that's all!

Definitely keep up the pumping- the short term goal is to replace the supplemental formula with supplemental ebm, and then, once she's a bit bigger and stronger, she'll be able to nurse directly without needing any supplements.

I second the suggestion of the SNS rather than the syringe- it eliminates one step (rather than "nurse, supplement, pump," you have "nurse while supplementing, pump.")

Try to set some short-term goals. Can you get though today? Think you can do the same tomorrow? And the day after that? Your 2yo WILL be OK even if you can't give him quite as much attention as he craves for a few weeks. You'll have plenty of time to make it up later. And you may even get this whole nursing thing figured out and working well by the time he comes home. It sounds like you're getting overwhelmed by thinking too far ahead. It won't stay this hard for long!

Breastmilk is vitally important in the newborn stage- this is both the hardest time and the most important. Things should get a lot easier in the next few days and weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Originally Posted by nummies View Post
Now, you say that she is latching on the breast now? Is she sucking and swallowing at the breast? How does her latch feel to you?
For the most part she has been latching on well. She does suck and swallow well and it feels okay to me. I can tell when I have letdown, but it doesn't seem like it lasts long, and then after she kids of goes to a more "pacifying" sleepy suck. But she will stay on like that for like 45 minutes to an hour most of the time. However, last night I could not get her to latch at all. She would try and get frustrated and then give up. So that's when I just got frustrated and resorted to the bottle (which I know was a bad idea!) I have a feeling that the times that she has trouble latching are related to when she goes 3 hours between feedings. Maybe she's too hungry and gets frustrated easier or maybe it's because I am more engorged and it's difficult for her? I guess I will try to give her less formula supplement after each feeding so that she isn't satisfied for quite so long between feedings.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nummies View Post
Are you sure that you are having issues with supply? What leads you to believe that you are having issues with this? Is it just the fact that she hasn't gained? Your pumping output is NOT an accurate predictor of your supply. I always had a really great supply and could only get 1/2 ounce out. Some people respond better to the pump than others. Do you have a scale at home? You may want to get one so that you can monitor how much she is really getting from each nursing session.
When I met with the lactation consultant, she thought I might have supply issues due to the fact that the baby didn't transfer much milk yet it looked like she was latched well. Plus I had gestational diabetes, which she said can sometimes cause supply issues. I think I have a much better supply on one side than on the other (which is the side we "tested."). I will look into getting a scale I think.

Thanks so much for your encouragement and advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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Originally Posted by rparker View Post
Breastfeeding may be really challenging now, but it will not always be this way and when your daughter is older it will be more convenient and less challenging than bottle feeding. Breastfeeding your baby will make it easier for your to meet your older child's needs. (i.e. It is much easier to breastfeed and simultaneously read a story to a toddler than it is to bottle feed and attempt the same activity.) Once you get past the initial tough weeks, bf-ing will take less time, less money, and free up more of both resources for your older child.
I needed this reminder. Thank yoU!
 

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It is SO worth hanging in there. Says the mom who is SO READY to wean her 3.5 year old, lol. The green poops may not just be foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. If your baby is actually losing weight, holding her own, or gaining very slowly that can cause green poops.

And at this point your supply is still partly hormonally driven rather than just pure supply/demand so I think you will bounce back quickly once you put all this great advice into practice. I just skimmed the other posts, but I'm sure someone mentioned skin to skin (do you have a carrier? Mobys are great for this) and offer frequently.

Have you considered using a supplemental nursing system? I know it's work, but IMO a better option for seeing weight gain without using bottles. It really helped me when my daughter was not gaining well at first.

You pump some breastmilk or mix some formula, and fill the supplementer. Then you just hold the tubing against your breast and baby latches onto both. They get some breastmilk and some of whatever is in the pouch (it goes around your neck, and you can raise or lower the pouch to use gravity to make it easier or harder for baby to extract the supplement).

As baby gets bigger and stronger you can use the supplementer every other feeding, then just one feeding a day until you feel like your supply is back where it needs to be. Medela makes one, but I didn't really like it. The one I liked was the Lact-Aid. I can go into the reasons why I liked that better if you want. Hope that helps.

Try to get to a La Leche League meeting or at least in contact with a leader by phone or email. Try to relax (I know that's hard) but a hot shower sometimes helped me with supply/let down.

You can do this!


-Vijay
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by binspired View Post
For the most part she has been latching on well. She does suck and swallow well and it feels okay to me. I can tell when I have letdown, but it doesn't seem like it lasts long, and then after she kids of goes to a more "pacifying" sleepy suck. But she will stay on like that for like 45 minutes to an hour most of the time. However, last night I could not get her to latch at all. She would try and get frustrated and then give up. So that's when I just got frustrated and resorted to the bottle (which I know was a bad idea!) I have a feeling that the times that she has trouble latching are related to when she goes 3 hours between feedings. Maybe she's too hungry and gets frustrated easier or maybe it's because I am more engorged and it's difficult for her? I guess I will try to give her less formula supplement after each feeding so that she isn't satisfied for quite so long between feedings.

When I met with the lactation consultant, she thought I might have supply issues due to the fact that the baby didn't transfer much milk yet it looked like she was latched well. Plus I had gestational diabetes, which she said can sometimes cause supply issues. I think I have a much better supply on one side than on the other (which is the side we "tested."). I will look into getting a scale I think.

Thanks so much for your encouragement and advice!

Yes, increase the number of feedings. You may want to hand express before the feeding the get the milk flowing right when she latches on. If she is acting sleepy and not really nursing well, then that is a different story. When she does that, do everything you can to wake her up. Wet washcloth, undress her, tickle her feet, etc.

Also, how old is your baby? How old was she when you went to the LC?
 

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Do you have any medical issues that could contribute? How was your birth? I had placenta left in me from my c-section, my ob blew off my symtoms (most people get an infection but I did not) and I had low supply for 10 weeks until I finally passed the rest of it. This was confirmed by one ultrasound showing a mass (ob ignored) and another ultrasound at 13 weeks pp that showed it gone. This is NOT common but if you are still bleeding after the maximum normal time, let your doctor/midwife know and be pushy about it.

Dd and I did the same schedule you're describing for 10 weeks and it was soooo tough but totally worth it. We also stopped all the supplementing for 3 weeks during that time and she flatlined on the growth chart. She's 10 months now and we haven't had any more problems. If you are really having low supply issues, I would be hestitant to tell you to stop supplementing without monitoring it very closely. Dd's output was always good during her flatlining, she was gaining about an ounce a week, and I was working with an LC so she was not in immediate danger of dehydration etc.
 

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You've gotten some great advice!

Mine would be nurse, nurse, nurse!
And get a scale.

I have supply issues (reduction surgery) and have to supplement. But my supply is much better with my dd than with my ds. Because I nursed like crazy in the first weeks, slept with her, fenugreek and the scale so I knew how much she was getting. Be careful not to get too crazy with the weighing thing though. I weighed her once a day after feeding to see how much she was getting and once to see if she gained. Don't weigh her every hour


How did it go with your 2yo?Is this your first go at it or was it easy last time?

Do not be so discouraged - you can do this!! It is hard sometimes, really hard. But all worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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Originally Posted by Nate'sMama View Post
How did it go with your 2yo?Is this your first go at it or was it easy last time?
I wasn't successful at all with my 2yo son. He was in the NICU for a week - given pacifiers and bottles. I didn't have any support BF from that hospital. Once he came home I could never get him to latch or get my milk to come in. If I knew then what I know now!!! Anyway, I think I am even more determined this time. Plus, I hate to give up now, because at least she is latching, and I do have milk. We are already so much further along than before!
 

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You can do this. I have been there. It is amazing how frustrating challenges can be in the early weeks. Even veteran, dedicated nursers like myself feel tempted to give up when things are this hard.

My advise is this:

Check out this website http://www.drjacknewman.com/ I found the videos on positioning to be very helpful. I avoided repeating similar problems with my DS just by tweaking my latch and positioning and learning how to watch for swallowing.

Don't focus on weight, focus on diapers to decide if your baby is getting enough. 6 to 8 diapers a day means your baby is eating enough. Does your baby appear healthy? Or is she lethargic. Some babies loose more weight than others in the first week or so, especially if their fluids were inflated with an IV during labor.

Don't freak out about poop. Babies are not very regular and 2 days of no poop is nothing to worry about (unless the baby is in pain or there are other symptoms.)

Try supplement feeding pumped milk. Formula is not the best for clearing a jaundiced baby's system. BM is also a natural laxative.

Remember a newborns stomach is very tiny. At your baby's age her tummy is only about the size of a grape. It does not take much to fill her up. Frequent meals is the key.

Take calming deep breaths before nursing to help settle you and help your let down. Being tense and worried makes everything harder. I am speaking from personal experience here.

Also, while you can, get in bed with baby, no shirt for either of you, and snuggle, snuggle, snuggle. Skin to skin contact does wonders for the soul, triggers all of the yummy hormones you need for nursing and stimulates a baby to nurse more frequently.

Kick everyone out of the house so you have no distractions. I did much better when I was alone with DD during our breastfeeding challenges. The feeling of being watched and listed to (there were some tears on both baby and my part) made me tense. Even DH's presence was distracting.

And a final thought, just because someone is a LC does not mean that they have the best advice or information. Seek a second opinion if the advice your getting is not working or seems to go against your mommy instincts.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by binspired View Post
I wasn't successful at all with my 2yo son. He was in the NICU for a week - given pacifiers and bottles. I didn't have any support BF from that hospital. Once he came home I could never get him to latch or get my milk to come in. If I knew then what I know now!!! Anyway, I think I am even more determined this time. Plus, I hate to give up now, because at least she is latching, and I do have milk. We are already so much further along than before!
So see you're already doing so much more!! You are doing it!
Don't give up now mama.
If she is latching and you do have milk that is almost the entire battle. Wait a bit and see if she gains and then reevaluate.

Does she sleep with you? I think this really helped me this time around.
 

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However, last night I could not get her to latch at all. She would try and get frustrated and then give up. So that's when I just got frustrated and resorted to the bottle (which I know was a bad idea!) I have a feeling that the times that she has trouble latching are related to when she goes 3 hours between feedings. Maybe she's too hungry and gets frustrated easier or maybe it's because I am more engorged and it's difficult for her? I guess I will try to give her less formula supplement after each feeding so that she isn't satisfied for quite so long between feedings. QUOTE]

Hang in there mama! You're doing an awesome job.


Your situation sounds a lot like mine. DD was 7#2 at birth and 6#8 at 2 weeks. When she was born she was very sleepy. She has a tiny little mouth with a high palate. I have large breasts with flat nipples. It just wasn't a good combination. For the first two weeks I was pumping round the clock and feeding her with a syringe. I'd try and try to get her to latch on and she just wouldn't. When she dropped to 6#8 at two weeks I finally "gave in" and started using a nipple shield. For us it worked. With the nipple shield she was able to latch on and really eat. She started gaining weight and was past her birth weight at 4 weeks. I was able to (mostly) wean her off the nipple shield by the time she was 8 weeks old. I say mostly because we still use it some times. DD will do the same thing you described above if she's really tired and during the night (she only feeds once overnight). I came to the same conclusion you did, she's just too tired to try hard and its harder because my breasts are full. So I'll use the nipple shield then. The rest of the time she latches on just fine.

So hang in there. Go ahead and do what works for you. And rest assured that it will get easier. My DD is 3 months now and while we still have some challenges (she has a hard time nursing when we're out of the house) its gotten sooo much better and its sooo worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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Originally Posted by AbbieB View Post
Check out this website http://www.drjacknewman.com/ I found the videos on positioning to be very helpful. I avoided repeating similar problems with my DS just by tweaking my latch and positioning and learning how to watch for swallowing.
This site really is great! I do notice that she is not actively swallowing much - I feel it when I have a letdown, but it doesn't last more than a couple of minutes and then she is back to just a passive suck.
 
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