Engorgement and Latching Help! (long sorry)

 My baby is 9 days old. My milk came in around day 3.She was early (3 weeks) and small (5 lbs 8 oz) and had a vacuum assisted birth that left a big bruise/scab on her head. Plus she came out with meconium and was grey so we didnt have skin to skin contact for about an hour after birth. 

 SO she has never nursed very well at all and doesn't latch well. I will position her the way both LC have adviced me to and have done everything I can think of to get her to NURSE but she won't last for more then 10 minutes at a time. If I try to switch breast just forget it. Eating time is OVER.

But she is so small that I know she needs to eat for longer then that.I  have talked to several LC and they gave me a pump and advised doing 15 minutes of nursing then pumping then 1 oz of pumped BM (she usually ends up drinking 1.5 oz though).   

Well sometimes she eats for 15 minutes but just off one side like I said before and then she goes nuts shaking her head and crying and she just wont settle down at all to finish. Until we put the bottle into her mouth then she is calm and drinks and falls right to sleep.

 And now for the past 5 days if I don't pump every 2 or maybe 3 hours I am in horrible pain and my breasts are so hard they feel like rocks I can get about 8 oz all together usually. Baby only will eat every 3 hours so sometimes I cant feed her before I pump ( I cant wait that extra hour for her it hurts too bad!) Is this bad? I have about  150 oz saved up in about 5 days of pumping (not including what she has eaten). 

How can I stop this horrible engorgement?! Does it go away ever? Please say yes!

Thanks for reading all this. =) 




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Re: Engorgement and Latching Help! (long sorry)

  • your body is working to the demand you are placing on it, by nursing the baby and pumping you are demanding extra milk. You may want to decrease your pumping times slightly to help with this. I am a little concerned about your supply tho if baby is bottle feeding still. Have you tried not supplementing? KInd of forcing her to just nurse? Perhaps if you don't give that supplement she will nurse more often (every 3 hours is OK but many babies will nurse more often). I don't think 10-15 minutes of nursing is really that short of a nursing time, I also think its fine that she may only take one side, in fact this type of block nursing can help with engorgement and over supply.

    I think I would try to eliminate or slowly cut back on the supplements (clearly you have enough milk and if she's nursing she CAN do it, they learn tricks and habits too). and pump after just to comfort not to drain, you may see that she starts to nurse more often if not getting that 1-1.5 oz after. Of course I can't actually asses you or your baby thru the computer, a good way to tell how much she is getting is to do a pre and post bfing weight on her, an LC or hospital may be able to help with this. My son was 35 weeks and once my milk was in his nursing sessions were never more then around 10 minutes (accept for comfort as he got older). Perhaps if you weighed her you would see she was getting enough from the breast.



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    My babies were BOTH in a rush to meet mama, Logan born July 24, 2009 at 35.2 weeks, 5lbs 10oz, 1 week in the NICU. Eliya born March 22, 2012 at 35.6 weeks, 5lbs 12oz, 5 days in the NICU
  • pp has good advice! I just wanted to say that engorgement led to our latching issues.  I pump after she eats to be sure I'm totally empty so my breasts are soft when she wants to latch on.

    Also, 10 minutes may be more than enough! if you are very full your milk might be coming out quickly and thus she can't feed for very long! if you can, go to a lactation group meeting and weigh her before and after to see how much she's getting.  Or as long as she's getting enough weight gain and wet diapers, she's probably fine!

    I know it seems like things aren't going well right now but it sounds like you're dealing with things as best as you can.  The first month of bfing was just rough for us but now our relationship is smooth.

    Just remember that being engorged for a long time sets you up for mastitis.  Don't tell your body that it needs to make more than your baby needs by continuing to pump so much.  My LC told me to feed and then pump to empty.  On the first day just pump until it stops dripping and check the time.  If for example that took 8 minutes, the next day, pump again after feeding and only pump for 7.  Continue reducing daily and your supply will go down without too much pain.

    And yes, block feeding can help!  

    You're doing great, stick with it and you both will get better at it! 

  • First of all she's only 9 days old and she was early.  Cut the girl some slack and yourself.  She's still learning and so are you and your boobs.  This a brand new really hard skill you are learning.  It will get easier.  When she's bigger you'll just put her near the boob and she'll know what to do. 

    I agree with pp if you cut back on the supplemental BM that will help the engorgment.  Also empty your breast/s all the way at a feeding, try a warm compress before you feed her, switch positions each time you feed( football, crossover and crossover but with the other arm under baby) and get enough rest and food.  All of that will help.

     GL you'll both be pros soon! 

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  •  Wow thank you all so much. I can't believe how encouraging you are.  I went and gave LO a bath right after writting this and she was kinda mad at me and needed some comfort and so I nursed her it was about 20 minutes before she usually gets hungry but she ended up nursing for about 10 minutes on each side! and then fell into a beautiful milk induced sleep for several hours refusing the bottle we had made. 

    Just now I nursed her again (this time just about 8 minutes a side) and she is sound asleep without even thinking about a bottle. augh I am so happy!

    I will be cutting back my pumping times now too.

    Thanks for your kind words and thoughts. I feel like I can do this now =) 


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