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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My good friend has just learned that the reason for her month old baby's lack of weight gain is a weak suck and problems from his head being at a weird angle during the birth and getting vacuumed three times to get him down the birth canal...
so, her LC has recommended she use the haberman bottle and do exercises to increase his suck strength and get some food into him...but she doesn't want him to actually nurse, only to comfort suck...
I am concerned that if he does not continue to nurse sometimes he will reject the breast, which my baby did for a while...how can I help her to keep him from not associating food with the breast while she works on him with the haberman?

thanks!

p.s.
also, her baby seemed fine for 2 weeks and was pooping and peeing but gained NO weight...could it be that he was only getting fore and not hind milk?
 

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I'd want a second opinion if an LC recommended anything against nursing as much as possible. Also if the babe has a neck issue from birth causing a weak suck, poor latch, I'd try and find a chiropractor who works with infants to do an adjustment. Also, at 2 weeks they've usually lost weight and started to regain, you hope they're gotten back up to birthweight at least but sometimes they take longer.
 

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The reason they're recommending not nursing might be that the LC believes baby is spending more calories trying to nurse than he is getting from the milk. My DD2 was like that, although earlier on-- we mostly had it resolved by a month old. In her case, she was just weak from mild prematurity and a traumatic birth and some fairly severe jaundice. We supplemented at the breast with pumped milk using an SNS until she was able to transfer more milk on her own.

Have they done before-and-after weights to determine how much milk baby is actually getting? I would think that a baby who's peeing and pooing is getting plenty of milk, and I think that if such a baby was not gaining, I'd start looking into metabolic issues or other underlying medical problems. To weigh baby on a very accurate scale before and after the feeding would tell how much baby is getting.

Is baby actively losing weight? Has baby stopped losing, but still hasn't regained birthweight? Or is baby back above birthweight, but is gaining very slowly? I would think that those are very different situations. In the first two cases, at a month old, I'd take it very seriously, and aim to get breastmilk into baby by any means. In the third case, I'd look for another opinion and in the meantime keep nursing on demand around the clock, possibly supplementing at the breast and pumping between feedings to increase supply.

I would really think a second opinion is called for in this case. You're right that taking baby off the breast greatly increases the chance that they might not ever get baby to nurse again, especially if the situation continues past the early newborn weeks. Nipple confusion is no joke when it happens to you. If baby is in serious trouble it might be called for. If baby is just gaining slowly, but is gaining, I would do something much less drastic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
He was born 9 lbs and 4 weeks later was not yet at 10 lbs...the LC did a weigh before and after, but didn't let her nurse as long as she usually does (over a half an hour on each side) and found he was not getting very much...but a different LC had done a weigh before and after a few weeks ago and had thought it was okay...I wonder if the reason why he has been peeing and pooping but not gaining was because due to his weak suck he has spent all his time getting foremilk and not enough hind milk...I really don't want them to deal with nipple confusion...my baby had that and I had to retrain her to associate the breast was milk using a lact-aid when she was almost 3 months old.
I've told her that I think she should let him nurse or comfort suck after she has fed him with the haberman...I don't think that I will be able to get her to see a third LC...she has said that she will keep pumping every 3 hours and feeding with the haberman for one more week and then re-evaluate...her maternity leave will be up in a little more than a month and she is worried that she will have to spend it all dealing with this-and all this pumping means not being able to hold him as much, and she is becoming a nervous wreck. I am not sure how much to encourage her or what to tell her...I pumped and worked on nursing for three months before we got it, but I didn't have to go back to work...anyway-she has been doing the pumping and bottle feeding for less than 3 days and he has already gained 5 ounces...I want to encourage her, but I don't want to push, kwim?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
and in terms of the neck issues...she is taking the baby to a cranio sacral therapist and a physical therapist...both the LC and CST said he had something called "tortoise something"...anyone know what this is?
 

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Did anyone mention that she should see an occupational therapist that specializes in correcting the 'suck'? We finally realized we needed to see one...scheduled an appointment and then Finn finally just got stronger sucking. (the way I knew this was by renting a gram sensitive scale from the hospital. I would weigh him before and after nursing. One day he suddenly trasferred a lot more milk!)
How frustrating for your friend. It sounds like you're giving her a lot of love and support. Ultimately, she'll make the decision for herself...
When I had this problem, no one suggested that I stop nursing (I wasn't told about the 'burning more calories than taking in" possibility). So I would nurse forever, then pump, then feed him...all day. But...at least I got to hold him all of the time!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by radiowave View Post
and in terms of the neck issues...she is taking the baby to a cranio sacral therapist and a physical therapist...both the LC and CST said he had something called "tortoise something"...anyone know what this is?
Don't know the spelling exactly but it's torticolis: fancy name of preferring to face one side over the other, very common and nothing scary. CST may help a lot so could a chiropractor. If it weren't interfering with nursing it wouldn't be a thing at all, just encourage baby to look the less preferred way and wait til they grow out of it.
 

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Weak suck is hard to deal w/. You can't let baby nurse and not be getting anything and just be wasting calories, but you don't want them to like the bottle better (though this is less of an issue w/ the haberman b/c of the no flow nipple). I would see an LC and get a good before/after feed weight after a normal nursing session. Ilana had an undx weak suck till 4 mos and she was basically FTT then and my supply was nothing and never recovered. She weaned at 9.5 mos and never enjoyed bfing.
For us, it was enough to nurse as long as she would (though our bfing Dr told us no more than 20 mins w/ Olivia b/c of that, but neither nursed that long anyways) and then feed her w/ the super hard to suck on nipple. Maybe she could do that every other feed if he's getting enough during the normal bfing. Then she could pump after those feeds and feed the rest via bottle, we did this w/ Olivia b/c she was not sucking enough to drain the breast. Unless mom has severe oversupply, foremilk vs hindmilk doesn't really matter, it's volume that matters.
 

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My 2nd DD had a very similar issue-- weak, weak suck. They think it was due to a super fast birth, but who knows . . .

I used the haberman after doing research on it, since it was supposed to strengthen her jaw. I would not say it worked well for us. In fact, it almost seemed like she was losing her instinct to suck at all.

The best thing for DD was the cranial-sacral therapy. I felt an instant difference in her strength, but then she regressed after a week. By that point, she had gained enough weight (all along, not just that week), and she was older (6 weeks) so she was more awake. I did the non-stop (and I mean NON-STOP) nursing session for several days, constantly monitoring her weight. She was successful after that.
 
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