breast feeding encouragement needed

so my girls are 3 weeks old and we are finger feeding, we have been since day 2 my nipples are kinda big and the lactation consultant says they are just too big for my girls for right now, but pumping is a pain, and i'm not always producing enough, we have donor milk as a supplement, i'm losing all hope we will move to breast feeding.  

we have skin to skin time and i try feeding them each several times a day, we try till one of us is crying, i'm normally the one in tears. they are thriving already over a pound above birth weight but i'm a mess. need encouragement please.

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Re: breast feeding encouragement needed

  • You can do it!  It is so hard in the beginning but I am so glad I stuck with it.  In the beginning I was breastfeeding E with a nipple shield, and pumping and bottle feeding A (she was so small she needed her breastmilk fortified to make it have more calories).  I felt like all I was doing was trying to feed them - and still wasn't making enough.  But I stuck with it and around 10 weeks things worked out, E was off the nipple shield, A was able to nurse more and my supply picked up.  You can do it - it is really hard but it is so much easier then bottle feeding once you get it done.  My girls had no issue going between bottle and breast - so that might make life a little easier.  Good luck!
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  • amye84amye84
    500 Comments Fourth Anniversary 25 Love Its

    YOU CAN DO IT!!!

    You didn't mention, were your girls early at all? It can take them at least up until their due date to really "click" with BFing and sometimes even a little longer than that. The first few weeks were hell for us. There is no other way to describe it. I just kept thinking if I knew when they would get it, even if it was a long time away I would stick with it. Pure stubborness got me through and we are headed into 6 months of EBF! It took my girls 7-8 weeks of nursing/bottle supplementing/pumping EVERY feeding before they got it. But it is so worth it now! Smile The best advice I got was to never give up on a bad day. And we had plenty of those. Make small goals for yourself. One day at a time, one hour at a time.. whatever gets you through!

    Do you have helpers around who can take the babies in between a couple of feedings so you can have some down time? It is so emotional and I hear ya with the tears. Let yourself cry and have those emotions, then get back up and try again next feeding! Feel free to PM anytime too Big Smile

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  • Hang in there! The first weeks are SOOOO hard, and that's with one baby and no issues! 

    Have you had a LC come to your house?  Maybe call the La Leche League for a recommendation?  The LCs at the hospital weren't very good, in my experience.


  • Don't give up. You can do it! I struggled in the beginning too and ended up nursing both my boys for 11 months and one still gets nursed now once a day (I'm going until he is 18 months). I had to stop at 11 with my baby B because he developed a very bad biting habit. 
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  • YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

    How many weeks were your girls when they were born?

    I second PP suggestions about using a nipple shield AND hiring an LC to come to your house.  The hopsital LCs were not helpful to me at ALL.  I didn't end up getting an LC b/c of sticker shock (I live in a HCOL area and she was a few hundred bucks), but in hindsight, she was cheaper than formula and could have really helped me.

    BF was such a struggle for us for the first 6 weeks- they couldn't latch, nipple shields, to weak to nurse, couldn't tandem, etc.  Finally around 6 weeks a lot of those problems went away and I was able to start tandem feeding.  I wanted to quit, and I'm so glad I didn't.  Keep pumping, even though it's exhuasting, so you can build your supply.  You'll thank yourself later.

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  • thank you all so much. my girls came at 37 weeks. 

    I'm glad to know i'm not the only one who has struggled, i just have to take it one feeding at a time. 

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  • You can do it! My boys destroyed my nipples at first due to poor latch (and, in retrospect now that I am nursing a singleton and get it,  me not understanding/not taking the time to make sure they were latched appropriately). Anyhow, i had a really painful first 3 months with severely cracked nipples, thrush, mastitis etc. It was awful. Several times when one of my babies cried and I knew he was hungry I would start crying in anticipation of the pain. I wanted to quit over and over again but I didn't. After the first 3 months or so BFing was wonderful. My nipples healed and BFing wasn't painful. I enjoyed it and it was so much easier IMO than FF. I loved to watch my boys reach across and hold hands while I was tandem nursing. It was an amazing and unique experience. 

    All that to say that in the beginning it is so hard. I had different issues than yours, but I had issues and it was worth going through the hard part to get to experience BFing my boys. I don't think it takes 3 months for most people to get on track, so hopefully your light at the end of the tunnel will be closer than that but you can do it.  


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  • image 13pickle:

    thank you all so much. my girls came at 37 weeks. 

    I'm glad to know i'm not the only one who has struggled, i just have to take it one feeding at a time. 

    Absolutely.  The first 6 weeks I would tell myself that I couldn't quit today, but I could tomorrow.  Then after 6 weeks I said I needed to get to 3 months, then I could quit.  Then it was 6 months.  I did replace a couple of nursing sessions with formula bottles at that point b/c I needed a break.  My next goal was 9 months.  When I got there, I was ready to be done, and really freaking proud of myself! 

    So many of us struggled, so many.  It's so, so, so hard in the beginning.  But once you get past that learning curve for all of you, you'll be happy you stuck with it.

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  • Don't give up!  My situation was a little different but also difficult in other ways.  It is so hard at first and I can imagine it's even harder when your milk supply isn't even established yet.  Give it a few more weeks for you supply to build up.  I had to use nipple shields for about 3 months with my twins.  It took them a long time to the hang of latching and staying on.  We are still successfully BFing at almost 10 months.
  • My boys were 37 weeks, too, and the beginning was really hard.  We had to use nipple shields for both babies and I wasn't able to tandem nurse them for some time.  It was a real challenge, but around a month things started to click.  Now we're at 10 months EBF and going strong.  It gets much easier and is so worth it - I've never once had to prepare a bottle at 2am or worry about having something for them to eat when we go out!
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  • Hang in there!! You can do it!!

    Give yourself a bit of a break and remember how emotionally charged you are with all the crazy hormones too. Your body is an amazing thing that can totally do this. It's OK to cry - just take a deep breath and remember this too shall pass!

    Great work momma!

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  • Jen0204Jen0204
    2500 Comments Third Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper

    I can honestly say that breastfeeding was the hardest part for me.  The girls never got latching down and the few times they did latch they got frustrated quickly, which I think was due to my crappy supply. The most I ever got pumping was 18 ounces, which is not much for 2 babies.  I stopped at 3 months when I was only getting 7 ounces, even with pumping 8 times a day. 

    As hard as it was and as annoying as pumping was, I'm glad I did it.  My nephew got a cold and a stomach bug early on, and he wasn't getting BM.  My girls so far haven't had any issues other then reflux.  Is that because they had BM?  Who knows, but I know that BM has lots of extra good stuff for them so I'm happy that I was able give them at least some BM for the first 3 months.

    I struggled often with whether or not I should quit so that I could take all of that time I was spending pumping and spend it with my girls instead.  One of my friends had the best advice - she said to quit when the thought of quitting didn't bring me to tears.  I felt so strongly about it that I got really upset when I would think about them not getting at least some BM.  At the end I was getting so little and going back to work the next week (which would likely make my supply drop more since I couldn't pump as much) so the idea wasn't as upsetting anymore.  I still feel guilty at times and I regret that I never got to feel the bond of breastfeeding that women talk about, but I did the best I could for my babies and that's all we all can do.

    Check your insurance, it might cover an LC.  Mine did, though we had to pay a copay for me and each baby, so it was $45 each visit.  But she was very helpful and I'm glad we met with her, even if we were never able to figure out why I couldn't get a good supply.

    Good luck!

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  • The first six weeks were by far the hardest for me.  BFing was painful, and my girls often didn't seem very interested.  I visited a LC, and I also called the LLL, and one of their leaders came to my house to work with me.  We were able to work it out, and I BF my girls for 11 months.  Good luck to you!
  • I could have written this post myself.  The responses give me hope, so thank you!  I am in tears at least once a day, usually at night.  My little guy can't latch for the life of him, I think his mouth is just too small.  And I do not make enough milk for both babies.  Also my right nipple no matter who is on it is always extremely sore afterwards.  I have gone to just trying a few times a day and then pumping the rest.  But the whole feedings take over an hour and it is exhausting.  That is with hubby's help too... no idea how I will handle it when he goes back to work.  I have another meeting with an LC tomorrow but really I have lost hope in them too because I saw them 4 times at the hospital and once last week and none have helped so far.  We will see.  Good luck to you!
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  • You can do it!!  My boys were also born at 37wks and the LCs said they were technically "late term preemies."  They would get frustrated with holding the nipple in their mouth after a while and would cry, so we used a shield, too.


    Personally I think it will be easier for you to use bottles than to finger feed.  My boys go between bottle and breast really easily (and from the beginning!) and I attribute that partially to the bottles we use.  We use the Breastflow bottles, which forces them to suck similarly to how they suck at the breast.  Gabe actually wasn't able to latch at all but once we started using the bottles was so much better.  Now, neither boy needs the shield, and they latch well.  In a week or so we'll be trying tandem feeding.


    Basically -- stick with it and bottles are okay.  You're doing a GREAT job just by trying!!! :) 

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