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My ds (11 days old) is on phenobarbital for seizures. He had two brain bleeds at birth and he must be on this medicine for the next 2-6 months. It makes him very sleepy and lazy. His latch slips very often and he gets even more uninterested when he has to try hard from alot of milk at letdown. He only stayed on for 5-10 minutes, and then we were relatching 10-15 times. It is also hard to wake him and "make" him take my nipple, as it is a little flat. It could be a little nipple confusion, as he was great at birth, but after 10 days in the Nicu he had some EBM in a bottle when I was at home. I really think it is more sleepiness, as he just doesn't like to keep the nipple in the back of his mouth.

SOoooo, to the point, I just started using a nipple shield this morning. It makes a huge difference, as he doesn't slip, and it is larger, so he is forced to keep sucking. I also think he can control the flow of milk much easier. He has nursed more often, and longer, and it is way easier to put the shield in his mouth when he needs to eat. The very sleepy phase is suppossed to last 3 weeks, so do you think it is ok to use the shield for this time, and then wean him off after this? Opinions on how to help???

BTW, I have tried everything, including major baths to wake him, but the medicine has a hold
)
 

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That medicin sucks cause it makes you so sleepy! I took it briefly as a teen but ended up switching because I'd just sleep.

Anyways, I think it's a good idea to use the shield while he has trouble staying awake. Hopefully the sleepiness goes away soon! Congrats on the new babe!
 

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First of all,
to you. Your situation is similar to the one I was in a year ago and I remember far too well how scary it can all be.

My DD was on phenobarb for five weeks for seizures. While in the hospital for the first five days, the medication really seemed to be interfering with her feedings. The doctor cut the dosage almost in half and it made a difference that same day. My advice would be to check if your ds's doctor can do the same thing (if you haven't checked into this already).

As for the nipple shield, I would try to avoid it if possible. I was given the same advice (I had flat nipples too) but chose not to go that way because I'd heard how hard it can be to "wean" babe from the shield. If, of course, feedings are really not going well the nipple shield could be a good option for you.

There are also ways of encouraging babe to wake up during feedings (here's a link to some). Stripping him down to his diaper and keeping him skin-to-skin might also help.

Good luck with the feedings and keep us posted on how he does!!
 
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