April 2013 Moms

Breastfeeding- So frustrated!

My LO will be 2 weeks old tomorrow and we are really struggling with breastfeeding.  I've seen 3 LC's since she was born and we have another appointment tomorrow.  I have large breast and nipples and she just doesn't want to latch at all and is very impatient and fights me when I try to put her to breast. I've done everything the LC's have told me to do.  Her hands are constantly in her face and it is hard for me to get her to calm down.  I've been pumping and feeding her pumped milk at each feeding after trying and she eats very quickly from the bottle. The last LC recommended using a nipple shield which helped for a day or two but now she is back fighting me again whenever we try to nurse.  The nipple shield will be in her mouth and my breast leaking and she just cries and cries until I finally give up and give her the bottle.  I've tried giving her a bottle for a bit to calm her down first and then nurse but that doesn't help either.  I am just so frustrated and don't know what else to do. Anybody else have a similar situation or advice? I really want to be able to breastfeed her and not have to give her pumped milk but I don't know how much longer we can go like this.  Thanks in advance.

Re: Breastfeeding- So frustrated!

  • I could have written much of this.  My 6 day old decided to stop latching when my milk came in.  Seeing an LC tomorrow and we are going to try the shield.  Good luck, have hope and remember you aren't alone!
  • I don't have specific advice, but I will say if nursing is important to you, hang in there!  My first was a champion nurser from the beginning, this time around LO is just not into it.  Half of the time she latches right away with no issues, but the other half of the time she fights and fights and fights.  I have seen LCs and there is no obvious reason why, it just seems like half of the time she doesn't want to nurse so she won't.  If I give her a tiny bit of pumped milk in a bottle first she will usually calm down enough and latch right away, but it's SO frustrating to have to do the bottle first when the other half of the time she latches without issue.  Anyway, breastfeeding is important to me for lots of reasons so I'm going to stick it out.  My best advice (even though hard to follow myself sometimes) is to try to stay as patient and calm with both LO AND yourself.. it's a learning process for both of you.  I have friends who struggled for the first 6 weeks, but stuck it out and ended up nursing for over a year without continued issues.  I have my eye on this 6 week goal because it seems attainable and if by the 6 week mark she is still fighting me I may reevaluate at that time.
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  • I don't have much advice but wanted you to know I am sharing your pain! My LO won't latch either. After just a few days the dr asked us to supplement with formula bc she'd lost a pound and an ounce and was jaundice and I think that ruined what latch she did have. I worked with 4 LCs in the hospital and she still lost that weight. She was absolutely inconsolable when she was awake and when I tried to get her to latch, which just made trying even worse.

    I am just about at my wits end. I bought a nipple shield yesterday and got her to latch with it, so maybe you could try that. I also fear I don't have enough milk or it won't come out because I can only pump about 1/2 an ounce from both sides combined and since you don't have that Problem, maybe it will work for you!

    I hope you can make it work! I am so incredibly disappointed that it doesn't seem like we will be able to. But if you can't, just know your baby will be healthy and happy as long as you love her!
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  • Bizzy80Bizzy80
    1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
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    image babyonthebrain2010:
    I don't have specific advice, but I will say if nursing is important to you, hang in there!  My first was a champion nurser from the beginning, this time around LO is just not into it.  Half of the time she latches right away with no issues, but the other half of the time she fights and fights and fights.  I have seen LCs and there is no obvious reason why, it just seems like half of the time she doesn't want to nurse so she won't.  If I give her a tiny bit of pumped milk in a bottle first she will usually calm down enough and latch right away, but it's SO frustrating to have to do the bottle first when the other half of the time she latches without issue.  Anyway, breastfeeding is important to me for lots of reasons so I'm going to stick it out.  My best advice (even though hard to follow myself sometimes) is to try to stay as patient and calm with both LO AND yourself.. it's a learning process for both of you.  I have friends who struggled for the first 6 weeks, but stuck it out and ended up nursing for over a year without continued issues.  I have my eye on this 6 week goal because it seems attainable and if by the 6 week mark she is still fighting me I may reevaluate at that time.

    Thanks for this.  BF'ing is really important to me which is why I really want to stick it out and keep trying.  When your LO starts fighting you how long do you keep trying with her crying before you give in and give her a bottle? I don't want to create a bad experience for her every time but also want her to at least try for a while.  Sticking it out for 6 weeks sounds like a good goal and then to reevaluate at that time.  I may try the same.


  • image Bizzy80:

    image babyonthebrain2010:
    I don't have specific advice, but I will say if nursing is important to you, hang in there!  My first was a champion nurser from the beginning, this time around LO is just not into it.  Half of the time she latches right away with no issues, but the other half of the time she fights and fights and fights.  I have seen LCs and there is no obvious reason why, it just seems like half of the time she doesn't want to nurse so she won't.  If I give her a tiny bit of pumped milk in a bottle first she will usually calm down enough and latch right away, but it's SO frustrating to have to do the bottle first when the other half of the time she latches without issue.  Anyway, breastfeeding is important to me for lots of reasons so I'm going to stick it out.  My best advice (even though hard to follow myself sometimes) is to try to stay as patient and calm with both LO AND yourself.. it's a learning process for both of you.  I have friends who struggled for the first 6 weeks, but stuck it out and ended up nursing for over a year without continued issues.  I have my eye on this 6 week goal because it seems attainable and if by the 6 week mark she is still fighting me I may reevaluate at that time.

    Thanks for this.  BF'ing is really important to me which is why I really want to stick it out and keep trying.  When your LO starts fighting you how long do you keep trying with her crying before you give in and give her a bottle? I don't want to create a bad experience for her every time but also want her to at least try for a while.  Sticking it out for 6 weeks sounds like a good goal and then to reevaluate at that time.  I may try the same.

    Definitely keep that 6 week goal in mind, and keep seeing the LCs if you can!  Even if anything for confirmation that you're doing all that you can!  I really do have faith it'll get better (for both of us! lol) 

    Actually a few nights ago we had a REALLY rough night where she would not eat at all for 6 hours and I was in complete freak out mode and my husband got onto kellymom.com (without me asking him to) and was reading me info and somewhere he read that if LO fusses for about 10 minutes at the breast it's important to stop trying and get both baby AND mama completely calmed down before trying again.  I have been following this 10 minute rule since.. if she just won't latch after the 10 minute mark I put my boob away, give her a paci, cuddle her on my chest.. we both calm down and then after 5 or 10 minutes I try again.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but if on the second attempt I reach the 10 minute mark that's when I reach for the bottle.   

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  • AmyG*AmyG*
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    ok so first things first, keep up your supply by pumping every time baby eats.  pump for about 20 minutes, but if you are not pumping enough oz be sure you are pumping for 5-20 minutes after the milk stops flowing to signal a higher supply.

    Ideally rent a hospital grade pump which will be more likely to help you get or keep a good milk supply while you work this out.

    Of course, LC and ENT check for tongue tie, especially side or posterior tongue ties which can limit latching ability.

    And then work on the bottle.

    Use the slowest flow premie bottle nipple you can find. Make it slow flow so baby has to work to get milk, like they work at the breast, so they won't prefer the bottle as being easier.  tilt the bottle downward a bit, sit baby upright a bit so that the milk can't flow out of the bottle with the force of gravity.  

    Use a bottle nipple ideally shaped like your nipple after nursing or pumping, similar length, and diameter of nipple even. yes the idea is weird, but it may really help baby latch onto the idea that the breast isn't strange feeling in their mouth.

    use appropriate amounts of milk in the bottle, 1 oz per hour since the last feeding.  keeping amounts small, more like at the human breast, where baby will get 2.5-3 oz max for this age, and possibly a lot less than that for a younger baby. remember baby is born with a stomach the size of one swallow of amniotic fluid, about 1 tablespoon or the size of a marble.  then it stretches out to the size of a shooter marble, then a golf ball.  stomach should stay the size of baby's fist.

    slow feeding down, pause every 1/2 oz to burp for a minute or two and switch sides you feed/hold baby on. this slows feedings down and mimics switching sides and the pauses between let downs.  

    Let baby take the bottle into their mouth with suction instead of just pushing it in there. several times during the feeding pull slightly outward on the bottle so baby uses stronger suction to pull it into their mouth, this can help with their strength of their suck.

    make it so bottles become as close to breastfeeding as possible,  ideally hold baby bare chested up to you for skin to skin when feeding.  also several times a day hold baby on your chest, laying back skin to skin.  this shows baby that your breasts are comfy, and avoids the situation where baby is being pushed onto the breast and seeing the breast as attacking them. ;) the skin to skin will give you a boost to your prolactin levels which is the breastfeeding hormone. Be sure that baby has every opportunity while laying on your chest to scootch over and check out the breast and nipple on their own with no pressure to latch.

     

    for some baby/mom teams it works best to go cold turkey, put the bottles away, use a finger feeder to give milk without using a bottle, and encourage baby to get all sucking satisfaction at the breast.  often use of a supplemental nursing system to give milk at the breast directly, or use of a syringe to give them milk immediately when they latch.  similarly to pump just until let down when trying to latch so that baby doesn't have to work for the latching.

     

     

    AMYG*

    I don't type posts; I type novels.

  • I've had the same problem, my daughter is 3 weeks old and has only started nursing since yesterday. I gave her skin to skin, and she latched on once, what I did yesterday was an hour before she had to eat and after she took a bottle I would work on her to latch on. And now she's taking the breast, but she gets a little frustrated so I try to do it before its time for the next feeding so I can work with her latching on and then she eventually takes the breast. Good luck
  • JSS1002JSS1002
    5000 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its Combo Breaker
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    I have extremely large breasts (42H right now, was a 42DD before pregnancy), and I have had some issues, but not the same ones as you.  LO latched right away and has a good latch.  Only recently have his hands started to get in the way, and sometimes I have to get DH to come over and hold his hands while I get him latched on (that obviously only works when DH isn't at work).  my main issue is what position to hold him in -- the only thing that works for me is side-carry/ football style, and he's so LONG that the chairs we can nurse in are limited because his little feet bump up against the backs.

    I don't have a ton of advice, just sympathy because being extra large breasted adds a whole other dimension of difficulty to this. 

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  • chalimachalima
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    I would agree with all of AmyG's advice and also add that if your babe likes being swaddled, try swaddling her to keep her hands and arms out of the way. Just make sure it's not even more stressful for her.

    Keep up the effort. Remember that this is likely just a phase. If you stick to it, it will get better. 

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  • Molly&Molly&
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
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    image AmyG*:

    ok so first things first, keep up your supply by pumping every time baby eats.  pump for about 20 minutes, but if you are not pumping enough oz be sure you are pumping for 5-20 minutes after the milk stops flowing to signal a higher supply.

    Ideally rent a hospital grade pump which will be more likely to help you get or keep a good milk supply while you work this out.

    Of course, LC and ENT check for tongue tie, especially side or posterior tongue ties which can limit latching ability.

    And then work on the bottle.

    Use the slowest flow premie bottle nipple you can find. Make it slow flow so baby has to work to get milk, like they work at the breast, so they won't prefer the bottle as being easier.  tilt the bottle downward a bit, sit baby upright a bit so that the milk can't flow out of the bottle with the force of gravity.  

    Use a bottle nipple ideally shaped like your nipple after nursing or pumping, similar length, and diameter of nipple even. yes the idea is weird, but it may really help baby latch onto the idea that the breast isn't strange feeling in their mouth.

    use appropriate amounts of milk in the bottle, 1 oz per hour since the last feeding.  keeping amounts small, more like at the human breast, where baby will get 2.5-3 oz max for this age, and possibly a lot less than that for a younger baby. remember baby is born with a stomach the size of one swallow of amniotic fluid, about 1 tablespoon or the size of a marble.  then it stretches out to the size of a shooter marble, then a golf ball.  stomach should stay the size of baby's fist.

    slow feeding down, pause every 1/2 oz to burp for a minute or two and switch sides you feed/hold baby on. this slows feedings down and mimics switching sides and the pauses between let downs.  

    Let baby take the bottle into their mouth with suction instead of just pushing it in there. several times during the feeding pull slightly outward on the bottle so baby uses stronger suction to pull it into their mouth, this can help with their strength of their suck.

    make it so bottles become as close to breastfeeding as possible,  ideally hold baby bare chested up to you for skin to skin when feeding.  also several times a day hold baby on your chest, laying back skin to skin.  this shows baby that your breasts are comfy, and avoids the situation where baby is being pushed onto the breast and seeing the breast as attacking them. ;) the skin to skin will give you a boost to your prolactin levels which is the breastfeeding hormone. Be sure that baby has every opportunity while laying on your chest to scootch over and check out the breast and nipple on their own with no pressure to latch.

     

    for some baby/mom teams it works best to go cold turkey, put the bottles away, use a finger feeder to give milk without using a bottle, and encourage baby to get all sucking satisfaction at the breast.  often use of a supplemental nursing system to give milk at the breast directly, or use of a syringe to give them milk immediately when they latch.  similarly to pump just until let down when trying to latch so that baby doesn't have to work for the latching.

     

     

    Wow, thanks for this! 

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  • AmyG*AmyG*
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    no problem! I'm usually over on the breastfeeding board if you need more help.

     I've been giving breastfeeding advice for over 12 years now,

    and I know that with a lot of patience and stubborness and trying different things, most moms are able to overcome a baby who won't latch eventually. different things work for different mom/baby pairs, so what one LC says may or may not work.

     

    a very common reason for baby refusing to latch is tongue tie, so triple check that is not the issue.

     

    if the latch issue really came about after mom's milk came in, perhaps mom has overactive let down and high milk supply, so baby refuses to latch because they are drowning literally at the breast with milk spraying out too hard.

     

    and for some it's a temporary thing, where they got overworked and overfrustrated at the breast, and then mom gives a bottle and they "latch on" to the idea that a bottle is the way to eat and then you go thru all the hints for dealing with "nipple confusion" which is really bottle nipple preference.

    Often moms will decide that it means they must Exclusively pump, which of course is an option.  but just because baby refuses to latch or latches poorly as a newborn means absolutely nothing about their ability to latch and nurse well at the breast with training and experience as they get older. 

    AMYG*

    I don't type posts; I type novels.

  • Bizzy80Bizzy80
    1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
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    image Molly&:
    image AmyG*:

     

    Wow, thanks for this! 

    Yes, thank you for all of this. 


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