Babies: 0 - 3 Months

BFing mom with serious issues!

My 3 day old baby is jaundiced.  While we were at the hospital, the nurses and lactation consultants told me to nurse her for 10-15 minutes on each side and then supplement with at least a 1/2 oz of formula.  Which I had been doing.  She was latching on and nursing, although due to the jaundice she had to be woken up quite a bit and her latch wasn't that great either.  They had us feed her with a syringe to give her the formula.  Now my baby will not latch on at all, which is miserable because my milk is in and my breasts are engorged.   She screams and cries if we try to get a latch going. All she wants is the syringe, whether it is breast milk or formula and it's making things so so difficult. I am extremely worried tonight because I have noticed no urine output at all and she should have had at least a couple of wet diapers by now.

So, I have been trying to put her to my breast first and if that doesn't work we give her around an oz of my pumped breast milk.  So, my questions are: Is an oz enough to nourish her well?  What if she spits up, does that mean she'll still be hungry or that she isn't getting anything?  Should we stop if she spits up?  I feel bad because the nurses really pushed that formula supplement and the past couple of times I haven't done it, but that's because she barely gets through an ounce before she starts acting satisfied.  And I don't want her to be sick and throwing up all the time due to being overfed.

I'm just really scared because I want her bilirubin numbers to be down so she doesn't have to go back to the hospital for phototherapy.  If she has to, it will break my heart to be away from her for even a few hours, much less a few days! :(


Re: BFing mom with serious issues!

  • Oh, and what is a good way to cure fussiness at the breast? I have tried skin to skin for awhile before we nurse her, we try soothing her and encouraging her even though she's frantic, and a number of other things.
  • An ounce seems reasonable for a 3 day old baby to me. How long has it been since she has had a wet diaper? I would call the RN's at the hospital and get advice you don't want to mess with elevated bili levels. You can have brain damage issues, including CP and hearing loss. It is just not worth it!! 

    Regarding the BFing, it is hard work. Even when things are going well. My DS latched perfectly at the hospital, my milk came in perfectly and I felt like this BFing stuff is going to be a breeze. It is so hard at first. They fight the breast, your nips get sore, they are on your boob freaking constantly. I would keep trying what you are doing and call a LC at the hosptial for help with latch. You won't regret it! <HUGS> GL HTH

  • Go to a lactation consultant, right away. When I was at the hospital, my LO wasn't latching on correctly either, but I didn't know it, and all the nurses (and even the lactation councelor) just said to line him up and make sure there's no areola showing. Which is partially incorrect. The areola has nothing to do with latch at all. So since he wasn't latching on correctly he wasn't gaining weight by 12 days (he lost a whole pound) and we were told to supplement. Well that was fine, but the pediatrician never said anything about a time limit or what, and now we're having trouble getting him to only breastfeed.

    But its gotten much MUCH better since we've gone to the LC. She actually watched him latch and corrected him, and showed me what to do, and now he actually latches on with no problem, and takes a bottle. Its been the best thing for us. I also was using a nipple shield, and was using it wrong, and she showed me how. And if you're using one, just so you know, you're only supposed to need it for a few days. I used one for 5 weeks before we went to the LC, and it took him a long time to go back to the nipple! Go to a Lactation Consultant! Not a Lactation Councelor, they aren't trained as much, and there is a difference. If that's all that's around, then that's better than nothing!

  • I agree with pp's, go see a lactation consultant. I would personally try everything within my power to try to BF and not supplement with formula until it is a last resort, especially if your boobs are making enough milk and you can pump and keep a supply going. You might have to syringe feed until her bili count gets back to normal and the jaudice is gone, then focus on teaching her how to latch properly. It's harder work, but you can teach a baby how to latch late, especially if you've never introduced a bottle. A great resource for all questions related to BFing is You might want to check it out and see what they have to say about the benefits of BFing a jaundiced baby and any tips they have for a babe that's fussing at the breast and not wanting to latch. You could probably also get support from a local LeLeche League chapter.
  • My milk didn't come in for 5 days, and LO's bili count was up to 19, so we were supplementing.  A wonderful LC suggested using a SNS system--Supplemental Nursing System.  It was kinda a pain to use, but it kept LO at the nipple and used to nursing.  We only supplemented 60ml at most per feeding though. Sometimes he would only eat 20-30ml.



  • I would use the syringe of breast milk... an ounce is sufficient for a 3 day old..also maybe get a nipple shield my LO loves it..
  • Don't worry - her stomach only holds app. 1 oz at a time at 3 days old.  Their tummies are tiny which is why they need to eat so often.

    Keep putting her to your breast. She will latch again.

    It is hard to tell when the diaper is wet when there is so little pee -- take a kleenex and press it against the diaper when you change her next.   Diapers are so absorbant that she may be wetting them and you just can't tell.   If the kleenex stays dry give your pedi a call.

    Our baby was jaundiced to the point he needed to be in an incubator under teh lights.  Even if it comes to that it clears up quickly. Things will be ok!


  • If your breasts are engorged, that could be the reason for the poor latch.  Have you tried pumping for a minute or so to relieve the engorgement before you put LO to the breast?  I had this problem with my first DC and it solved all of our problems.


    Good Luck!  I hope everything works out for you.

  • I agree with the pp.  Pump a bit to get the let down out of the way the flow going, then quickly put her to your breast.  Or you can just rub some BM on your nipple and she should start sucking the milk off.  Try dripping it from the dropper onto your nipple with her mouth right there.  As it drips off your nipple put her mouth over your nipple.  She should hopefully latch on then.

    Call the LC.  Also the La Leche League has some 24 hotlines to call in some cities.  You can also leave a message and they are very good about getting back to you quickly. 


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