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Hi there,

I'm looking for support from anyone who's been able to get a baby from bottle to breastfeeding using the Lact-Aid. My son is 3 1/2 mos. old and has only nursed, briefly, maybe 20 times. He didn't latch on at all for the first two months. In addition, I have a low milk supply (pump 8-12 oz. in 24 hours). DS has donor milk and my pumped milk but no formula (we're very blessed in this regard).

Our last try before giving up entirely is to use the Lact-Aid. We've had a little success (just started a couple of days ago) but I am super frustrated and don't know how long I can stand to try to force my baby to do something he clearly doesn't want to do.

Has anyone had success doing this? I realize our situation is somewhat unusual because we have both a low supply and a non-latcher. (BTW, he can latch, he's just not very interested and often cries when I try to nurse him. Not always, though.)

In terms of my low supply, I use a burly hospital grade pump, I've tried oatmeal, fenugreek, mother's milk tincture, hops, and I've been on a huge dose of domperidone for over 2 months ... I've come to accept that I'm just not going to make more milk. If I want to have a nursing relationship with my son it's going to have to be with a supplementer.

I'm struggling with the LA, trying to latch DS while holding the tube in place. My son is a squirmer and constantly has his fist in his mouth, so I really only have one hand available to try to latch and get the tube in there. Tape helps, sort of. Every feeding feels like a wrestling match, and I usually can't get him to nurse. Also, we live in a small town and there's virtually no professional lactation support, even at the hospital. No LLL either.

Just wondering if anyone's been able pull this off, or if I am being foolish to put us through this. My inner voices are telling me conflicting things: "Don't give up now when you've tried so hard for so long. Babies and mothers are supposed to breastfeed." or "Don't put yourself & the baby through this anymore. It's not working, and you'll look back and wish you had these weeks and months back that you spent so upset and frustrated."

Anyway ... just hoping someone in a similar situation might have some words of wisdom. Thank you for listening!
 

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BTDT

Get yourself some bandaids - not the itty bitty size, but the next smallest size, and put them on your breasts just above your areolas. Then when it's time to nurse, thread the tubing through the pad portion of the bandaid to hold it in place. After a while you'll be able to get rid of the bandaids. I don't use tape or anything of the sort anymore.

And pumping is not an accurate reflection of how much milk you're making. Although at this point it may be because it's been so long, but you may be able to make more if you get him on the breast. I know I can't pump more than maybe half an ounce a day, but he's getting more than that (he's mostly on donor milk though).

I would also recommend trying different nursing positions. We nurse exclusively in football hold - it's so much easier with the LA than a cradle or cross-cradle hold. I can lie him on the Boppy on his side, tuck his lower hand between him and me so I only have to contend with the top hand, and hold his body to me with my elbow. Then I can use my free hand to hold the tube and my breast, and the hand that's on him to corral his flailing arm and help him latch. At 5 mos I still have to use the Boppy plus extra pillows at every feeding, but that's how I make it work for us.

My recommendation as you're starting is to make at least 2 bags at a time. Over time you'll get better at it (quicker). At this point (after 3 mos), I only make one bag at a time, use a single bag/tube each day (I wouldn't do this with formula, but I do it with BM), wash tubes once a week (I have 6), and mostly give the milk to him cold. I also thaw a day's worth of milk at once, and pour it into a glass pitcher in the fridge so I only have to fuss with it once a day. Some mama's milk needs to be strained through a fine mesh strainer, so I do that when I thaw it. Any fat clumps need to be pressed through the strainer to prevent clogging the tubing - which will piss off the baby.

As for the actual act of getting him on the breast, when my little guy starts refusing, I find it useful to put him in the nursing position, give him a bottle until he calms down and relaxes, and then pull a switcheroo. You have to do it quickly so he doesn't get upset, but my guy is willing to do it.

I'd also look to your bottle nipples and make sure you have the slowest flow nipple you can find. Replace all your nipples if you have to. I use the Born Free newborn nipple - the faster the bottle flow the harder it will be to get him onto the breast.

Feel free to PM me with question or for more support... we've been on this road for 5 mos now, and I'm more than happy to share what I've learned.

HTH
 

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Oh, thought of a couple more things. When I was ready to transition FT from bottle to breast, I spent 3 days doing nothing but caring for the baby. Nothing for DH, no cooking, nothing. Topless and with baby, that was it. And if he was hungry we nursed. During those three days, the bottle was not allowed, period. And once we'd made the transition, we didn't do bottle at all for about 6 weeks. By that time he was comfortable with the breast and I felt able to re-introduce the bottle. Now he'll often take a small bottle at nap time or bed time. During those times when he's so amped up but exhausted... I know he needs to sleep, but he won't nurse down. I can swaddle him, lay him on the bed, lay down next to him and give him the bottle (I can't nurse side-lying with the LA... some women can, but I can't).

I also had a rule, while we were transitioning - if he started at the breast he finished at the breast... I didn't let him decide he was done with the breast and switch to the bottle. It was frustrating for both of us, and there were a lot of tears, but I had to be consistent with the breast for my own sanity.
 

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I was able to do it too - my daughter finally made it to the breast when she was 5 months old, after severe latch problems. you can read the whole crazy saga here. It was definitely the lact-Aid that finally did it for us.

If you like the sound of the Band-Aid idea, I say definitely give it a shot - it's very inventive. I personally HATED fussing with tape of any kind, but YMMV, for sure!


And I, too, used to do a sort of switcheroo, putting her into position (a little differently, but similar idea). I think I included it in the above story. But I would add that after a while, try to start on the breast if he seems to be calm enough. He'll soon start associating it with feeding. And like Cristeen, I thought finishing at the breast was key. It worked well, over time!

One other question - any thoughts on the reason for your supply issues?

Best of luck! You can so do this!
 

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Oh, and random 1:30 am musings... have you had his latch evaluated by a LC? I know my MW said my guy's latch was "perfect", but the LC took one look and diagnosed a lip tie, which was a major contributor to my supply problems (if not THE problem).
 

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BTDT too, with my last DS. The suggestions you have already received are awesome, so I won't add any more. Except that sometimes, since my flow is *much* slower than the lact-aid, I start with the tube in place and then take it out, so he can nurse bare, and then pop it back in when he starts to fuss. Dr. Newman has some videos about popping the tube in throught the corner of the mouth while the baby is nursing. I've never quite been able to do this. I usually just relatch.

I second the trick of tucking the baby's arm between you and the pillow. Otherwise forget it--baby pulls and fusses and you both end up frustrated (BTDT too many times to count).

We are tapeless at our house, but it can be tough. I used bandaids for a long time until I could transition.

Most of all, I just wanted to send some support your way. PM if you want to chat any more about it. Herbs, low supply, lact-aid, etc. can be so frustrating when your friends just whip out the boob and go.
 

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I missed the first time through where you said there were no LCs near you. I'd look in neighboring towns for LCs or LLL leaders. Even if it means driving to them, just to get his latch evaluated. I'd also recommend attending some LLL meetings, even if you have to drive for them. I drive about 20 minutes each way for my meetings, and have been for over a year now, but it's really great to get that in person support and be surrounded by people who are supportive of BFing through all the problems. It's really great when I can go to a meeting (like I did last month) and report that we've mastered X. Small things that everybody else's babies did immediately after birth, but these women have watched us struggle and were all rooting for us to make it this far, and they were wonderfully supportive when I was able to report that he can now latch on his own (without me correcting his latch).

I also found more donors at LLL meetings, but I don't know if you have sufficient.
 
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