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Newborn won't eat - HELP!

645 Views 13 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  turtlemama77
My second daughter was born on Saturday. She immediately breastfed and did so well - perfect latch. After my milk came in yesterday (Monday) she still breastfed well until yesterday evening. She would try to latch on for about 2-3 seconds and then just give up and start screaming. I've tried various positions, I've tried pumping to lessen engorgement and no matter what I do, she either tries to latch for a few seconds and gives up or won't try at all.

She hasn't eaten all night and out of desperation, I gave her some pumped breastmilk in a bottle. She ate about an ounce and fell asleep.

I have a call in to the hospital lactation dept. but I really trust the advice here. I'm at my wit's end and feeling like a huge failure. I nursed my first daughter until 15 months and REALLY want to do the same with this one.

Also, I've been letting her suck on a pacifier when she gets really frustrated, should I stop this?

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Hang in there, it may seem like a really long time since she's eaten b/c you're so stressed. FWIW, one of my twins took 6wks to learn to nurse, even after having a great latch at birth. I offered very often, & just cuddled him close when he seemed really upset about it. I also gave him ebm in a bottle, I think more for my peace of mind, I think it made things a little worse but you know how that mama's instinct works- all you want to do is feed & comfort your babe.
Hang in there & keep trying!

First- no pacifier, no bottle. If you need to get milk in her use a dropper or syringe (or you could cup feed, look on for directions)

Then, if you get rid of the artificial nipples, she'll figure it out.

good luck!

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I just wanted to second the advice to cut out all artificial nipples - babies suck much differently at the breast than they do on bottles and pacifiers. By allowing her these you are inadvertantly contributing to the problem. There are other ways to get milk into her if she will simply NOT nurse. But, like the PP said, give her time, she WILL get it!!
to you!!
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Ok, lots of stuff to try. First ditch all artificial nipples. If you must feed her your EBM do it with a dropper, syringe or cup. Watch her diaper, 5-6 wet sposies a day or 6-8 cloth is normal. She should also have at least 2 small bm.

2 is there anything new. Scented deodorant or perfume maybe? Sometimes that will irritate the babe and have them refuse the breast? Have you checked for thrush or ear infection, that can make her refuse too?

How about your let down? Is it forceful or slow? How long are you going between feedings? If she is overly hungry she might be too impatient for a slower let down.

Make sure she is using a good latch. Her entire body should face you , her mouth should open very wide and her lips should fan against your breast like fish lips. Check that the tongue is over the gums and lower lip. Make sure to pull her on chin first as well. Make sure she is getting nipple in the back of her mouth. If it is not deep enough she may not be feel the sensation to trigger active suckling. This can often lead to immediate frustration.. Make sure you are not pushing on the back of her head, this can sometimes cause an arching reflex.

Have you tried using breast compression to squirt a little into her mouth and then pull her onto your breast. Also you can compress while she is on the breast. To do this hold your breast with thumb on one side and 4 fingers on the other bring fingers together applying firm yet gentle pressure. Do not squeeze so hard it hurts. Watch her sucking as it slows, squeeze again, when her swallowing no longer increases when you squeeze rotate your hands around the breast compressing different areas.

Was she aggresively suctioned at birth? This could make her sore and not want to nurse?

Also call your local LLL maybe they can get someone to assess your latch faster than the hospital. here is the web directory
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And I know this is a longshot for a just-born babe (it happened to me when my daughter was 3 weeks old or so), but did you eat anything that could make your milk taste funny? Something spicey or super-garlicky? Just a thought--probably not the problem, but if you've eliminated other possibilities it may be something to consider. (In my case, it was boxed taco mix--she wouldn't nurse after I'd eaten the tacos! Luckily we had some EBM in the fridge, but still...I was terribly upset until we figured out what was going on! Picky little thing!
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I agree with the pp. Call LLL, call different leaders until you help. I know its scary and hard on momma when this sort of thing happens. Hang in there and
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I like the advice from pp and would also like to add that it may be helpful to get baby to suck on your finger for a few seconds and then ease your finger out and slip your nipple in. Good luck and do call on a LLL Leader or LC if it doesn't clear up soon.
Rozzie's Ma gave great advice, as did everyone else. I think breast compressions could really help keep the little one interested.
Breast compressions worked wonders for us, but I would definately call your LLL leader. I agree about all artificial nipples for now, just until you get your BFing relationship established.

Last thing to try, encourage her to latch before she seems hungry. So even if she seems relaxed and fed, you might see if she wants to latch on and nurse. She may be getting so frustrated that she is getting worked up about the difficulty of latching on. If she can nurse when happy and relaxed, or just after waking, she may get past the frustration
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My 2nd one also latched well at the start but he still had his ups and downs during the first 6w. It's a learning process, emphasis on the PROCESS. You think once they've nursed well a few times, they should continue it but they don't. At least mine didn't.

Try other ways to soothe her than using the paci this early. It'll make it harder for her. Feed her early before she has a chance to get too frustrated. If she is really frustrated, express a bit of milk into her mouth, or syringe a bit in to calm her down, then try nursing. Try changing sides - the milk might be too fast/slow for her, sometimes just changing sides will work. Burp frequently.

Hang in there. She'll get the hang of it.

If you're really worried, rent a weight scale. I did - I know some don't like them, but it gave me peace of mind. I didn't have to go to an LC or make appts.
Thank you everyone for the great advice. I've thrown out the pacifiers and we're no longer using bottles.

The lactation consultant and I tried a lot of things and I got her to latch on yesterday and this morning. Unfortunately I am really really engorged tonight. To the point where I don't see how I could avoid mastitis. I am so swollen that I can no longer even get any milk by pumping. Not one drop. The only way she can get a latch at all is by using breast shields. My breasts are so sore right now I can barely stand it. I feel like a disgusting monster and I'm starting to hate this so much. I want to do it so badly but I just don't see how I can stick it out through mastitis, thrush, pain and engorgement with a three year old on top of it all. I'm feeling very hopeless right now and all I do is cry and nurse and try to get these damn things to stop hurting so much.
Sending you hugs. That sound so difficult. Get in a HOT shower and massage those boobs. Do you know how to hand express? Keep pumping. Keep offering to nurse. Keep talking to an LC.

good luck!

Even though you're working with an LC, it might still be worthwhile to contact an LLL leader as well. Additional support never hurts! The LLL leaders I've encountered have been more than happy to meet with me one-on-one to help out.

Hang in there!!
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