Need BF support please — The Bump

Need BF support please

For some reason this topic always makes me so weepy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our boy came home but our daughter is still in the NICU.  I find that it takes 5-10 minutes to get him to latch well, he just fuddles around in the beginning.  Pedi is putting a lot of pressure on me to have him gaining more each day so I temporarily stopped trying to BF.  

Then, our daughter has some feeding issues, she tires easily, which is why she is still in the NICU.  They try to do 2 bottle feedings then maybe 1 tube feeding through her nose if she seems pooped.  Once again, with the pressure to eat and gain weight, I feel like giving up.

It makes me kind of emotional because i thought it would have been much easier.  I looked forward to it but it seems so time consuming and emotionally draining.

I am just looking for some support either way with this issue.  Either to encourage me or make me feel less guilty for wanting to give up. 

image image
                  Ayden & Sydney

Re: Need BF support please

  • Breathe.  Remember to breathe.

    Preterm infants -esp multiples -are really, really hard to breastfeed. 

    Give yourself a break and remember to take it one feed at a time.  This is why I just gave up and EP'ed.  For me, the six week struggle with nursing 36 weekers was a losing battle.  Once I just started EPing it got much easier and  I lasted 10.5 months.  For me, it was worth getting some breastmilk in them.  Sure they got 50% formula because I couldn't make enough pumping no matter what I tried.  But you know what - I did what I could.

    You need to get them closer to their due date to really be successful with exclusive nursing - or at least I've heard that from a dozen or so lactation consultants. 

    If it's too stressful to even EP, just do what you have to do.  No one will fault you.  You're human and trying to care for 2 new humans. 

    Three losses in 2009; Boy/Girl twins born in 2010 image
  • I agree.  For me, it was too much so I just pump and feed that to them in bottles. It was easier and allowed others to help me when I had it.  We still do 1-2 formula bottles a day, too, because of supply.  I say just give it your best shot, find what works best for you and stick with it.  No need to feel guilty, it's hard!
  • image ErinLongbottom:
    I agree.  For me, it was too much so I just pump and feed that to them in bottles. It was easier and allowed others to help me when I had it.  We still do 1-2 formula bottles a day, too, because of supply.  I say just give it your best shot, find what works best for you and stick with it.  No need to feel guilty, it's hard!

    This is our situation too. By the time they got nursing down, I was on my own with them and we never got tandem down. It was easier for me to give them bottles of pumped milk simultaneously not to mention letting others feed them including H so we both could get some sleep. I feel like I did my best without being completely miserable.  

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  • I never did get the tandem nursing thing down but EP'ing worked for me. If that hadn't worked I would have gone to formula, you do what you have to do to keep your babies healthy and keep your stress to a minimum
  • Thanks so much ladies!

    (Any other input/ experiences are def welcome!!!!!!) 

    image image
                      Ayden & Sydney
  • It is so hard.


    We used a shield for a few weeks.  We also, still, supplement.


    Personally I would try for a little bit longer BUT NOT with an all or nothing attitude.  Supplement with formula.  Give it a try each feeding but if the kid isn't doing well, that's okay!!  Trying is what's important here, not the end result -- if that makes sense.  Especially so early in the game.


    I used the Medela shields and they worked really well.  Also, I HIGHLY recommend the Breastflow bottles for supplementing.  They make the babies eat like they're on the breast.  Gabe actually learned to latch and eat well on them.  We were using a shield and he was still having trouble gaining weight.  After we used more bottles on him, BAM!  Now he's a champ!! 

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  • Lots of good advice already given, but I just wanted to add that I don't think you should give up right now.  If BFing isn't working right now, pump and give them bottles.  Then once at home you can work on it until they are able to EBF.  It is SO hard in the beginning especially with preemies.  It takes lots of work and patience but the pay off is really worth it.  Your millk supply is just building right now and can take weeks if not months to be established.  I had the advantage of already having 6-7 weeks of pumping before my babies even begin trying to BF and even then it took them about 2-3 weeks to be able to nipple all their feedings.  I had to use nipple shields given to me by the LC to keep them latched on.  We used them for a while at home too but it didn't keep me from successfully BFing them.  They are almost 12 months and I am still BFing but starting to wean them.

    ETA: I was fortunate to have a BFing friendly NICU who was supportive of my desire to EBF them.  Whatever you choose to do try to make clear that is what BFing is your goal.  Also, because my twins were extremely premature we have had to give fortified bottles along the way so I wasn't completely able to EBF, but came very close.  Hang in there!

  • Rent a Medela Symphony pump from the hospital and pump, pump, pump. I was rooming in with my preemies and was able to do weighted nursing sessions then bottle feed the rest (after the NG tube came out) after nursing I pumped for 20 mins which helped my supply come in. Now I pump and BF them. It was a rocky start but I am glad we stuck with it. Right now I would make BFFs with the pump and supplement as needed. Even if they aren't latching well now they could always learn later. Get a LC in there to help, you need the support because this isn't easy!
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  • It is so so incredibly hard.  I have finally come to the realization that I have to do what will ultimately keep me the most sane and the happiest.  A happy mom means happy babies.  For me that meant reducing the amount of time pumping and giving up on breastfeeding.  My boys were not gaining weight on breast milk alone so we had to fortify it with neosure.  As their intake has increased my supply has done the opposite.  I did everything I could but it just wasn't working.  Now my goal is at least one bottle of breastmilk per day for each for as long as I can.  I'm still sad breastfeeding didn't work out but there are other ways to bond.  I hope your daughter can come home soon!

    Lilypie Premature Baby tickers
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    BFP #3 EDD 8/8/14, D&C for missed miscarriage at 8w, baby boy with triploidy
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  • Bf'ing is hard!  Hugs!
  • more later, but give 20 cc of formula to take the edge off and then nurse!  It is helping us!  More in the daytime, pumping now, lol...

    Our Twin Baby + a Big Girl Blog

    And with the delivery trifecra of one twin vaginal, one c-section with general anesthesia for twin B, Spencer and Sidney joined us at 35 weeks exactly on June 18.

  • BF'ing was definitely the hardest part about having twins yet, imo.  I tried BF for 4 weeks and then EP for 2 weeks.  We had to supplement the whole time.  I had 1 bad latcher and one that could not stay awake to eat.  Feedings were taking an hour and a half and they were eating every 2 hours.  The last 2 weeks my breasts were in terrible pain.  I really wanted to make it longer, but ultimately I had to do what was best for my sanity.  My advice is to not give up when you are so emotional.  I had many, many cry sessions... but when I finally gave it up it was when I could seriously say that I was ok with it.  I was bummed sure, but I knew it was going to be ok.  The breast milk that they have gotten so far is so beneficial.  All you can do is do what you can, never feel bad!  You will make the right decision because you are being the best mommy you can be. *hugs*
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  • I also agree that BF'ing has been the hardest thing about having twins. I was prepared to have a c-section (I ended up with a vaginal birth) and I anticipated them coming early (made it to 36 wks). I NEVER dreamed that breastfeeding wouldn't work. I had all the expensive BF'ing supplies-twin pillow, rented a symphony, Medela PIS too, privacy covers, lanolin, etc...everything was ready to go.

    Well, then I had these 36 week twins who could not latch. They started getting bottles on day 2 and I started pumping. I really, really wish now that they had gotten the SNS out instead of bottles. For ~6 wks, I tried to latch both babies at most feedings, fed a bottle of BM, then a bottle of formula, then pumped. I would be up for 2-3hours, sleep 20 minutes. I went to a BF'ing clinic 3x, had a home visit with a LC, and talked to 2 Le Leche League LC's on the phone. I was pumping 8x in 24 hours for the first 6 weeks and I never pumped more than 19.8 ounces in a 24 hr period.

    At 6 wks, I knew I couldn't keep it up. I wasn't enjoying my long awaited babies as much as I I decided to quit attempting to latch and only pump when it was convenient and NOT stressful. So, I started pumping 4x/day. I can get 8-10oz total. So, I figured that giving each baby 4-5oz/BM/day was better than nothing even though it was heartbreaking to me that BF'ing wasn't working.

    A few days ago, at 10wks old, I decided to just try and latch my son without a shield.  My son latched correctly for the 1st time!!! I actually just got him to nurse again this morning. Now, obviously, I have big supply problems. I'm considering taking domperidone. If I can get him to latch correctly all the time though....I know I can increase my supply by a baby latching properly & often too.

    So, at least keep pumping for now. If you do try latching a baby, stick with the stronger nurser for can add the 2nd baby later. It's too hard to work with 2 babies that aren't good at latching.

    Some people are able to maintain a good supply with only pumping. My husband's cousin had a singleton and she pumped 8x in 24 hour and pumped 8 oz at each session (64oz/day)!!!

    If we hadn't struggled with infertility, I would have given up a long time ago. The only reason I have continued to work so hard is that I know this is likely the only chance I'll ever have to breastfeed.

    Good luck to you!!

    Wedding Fall 2007 Off OCP's since 9/08-started with BBT charts Saw Ob/gyn May 2009 Blood work normal except single copy of MTHFR Clomid 50mg May 2009 Clomid 50mg + IUI June 2009 Femara 5mg + IUI July 2009 Normal HSG July 2009 Femara 5mg + ovidrel+IUI August 2009 Femara 5mg +ovidrel + IUI September 2009 November 2009-normal lap December 2009-met with RE December/January-Injectible med cycle with IUI-Abnormal sperm morpology found-only 0-1% normal All Head defects. Jan/Feb 2010 1st IVF with ICSI-5 week chemical pregnancy :( Feb 2010-male infertility doc says DH's anatomy and blood work are normal so nothing he can do. :( FET July 2010-BFP! Twin m/c @ 5.5 wks :( Dec/Jan 2011 IVF #2 Only 4 eggs retrieved-Ganirelix dose messed up BFFN Feb/March 2011 IVF #3 ER 3/9 9 eggs, 7 fertilized, ET 3/14, No frosties. BFN IVF #4 ER 8/22 9R,7F ET 8/25-3 embies, 1 frostie! Beta 9/2= 54, 9/6=274, 9/8=625, 9/12=2953, 9/16 greater than 10,000. B/G TWINS born April 2012 @ 36wks & 1 day! July 2014-going back for the frozen embryo! ET 7/28, heartbeat seen at 6wks1day with SCH. Miscarriage confirmed at 6wks4days

  • I EBF my boys. We had some struggles in the beginning but an LC helped us work through them. A refused the boob for pumped milk in bottles at every feeding (except about 2/ day) and R would latch but he didn't take much in before he got sleepy. He was gaining okay according the AAP but my pedi wanted him gaining more. The LC did a weighed feeding and he really wasn't taking enough. We tried the nipple shield with him and he doubled what he took because it stimulated his palate (or something like that) to make him keep sucking. I also used the nipple shield with A to transition him from the bottle back to the boob. 

    The shields also helped me tandem feed them. They weren't strong enough to hold their own heads when they were so young, obviously, so the shields allowed them to latch themselves while I held their heads.

    Whatever you decide is right for your family will be the best decision for you. Happy mommy= happy babies. GL! 

    m/c 7/17/10
    Dx: MFI- 3% morph
    IUIs: Gonal-F + Ovidrel + b2b IUI= BFNs
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    Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
  • Thank you everyone so so much for your input!

    I wasn't sure if i could try again later when they are stronger or if they "won't know how". 

    Right now i am pumping "about" every 3 hours with a hospital grade pump and getting 4-5 oz per pumping, and also supplementing with formula.

    The nipple shields really are annoying.   I find them very frustrating.  Our boy likes to wiggle around a lot and then it moves around, and i have to try to relatch a million times.  


    image image
                      Ayden & Sydney
  • (lo, I have been tying this forever, while pumping, nursing, diapers, and dealing with a 3 year old :)  but WOW, 4-5 ounces a pump is AMAZING!!  I MAYBE get that in a day!)


    My Pediatrician is a lactation consultant and I have spent 2 sessions with her already, and the babies have been home one week (today, her, tomorrow, him). My main concern is that they get enough to eat, no matter the source, at this point.  Ideally, I want to nurse 100%, but I doubt I will get there!  A few things helped me a lot.  The first was the shield.  At 35 weeks, they just can't do it themselves, although Spencer has a few times.  The second, was nursing one at a time.  Yes, nursing together would be much faster and easier, but holding them in position is too hard for me.  But, that said, my LC said that since Spencer is a stronger sucker, he actually helps Sidney (our weaker sucker, tiny at 4lbs 3 ounces), because he forces letdowns for her.  So you might try tandem nursing.  One tip she gave me on the shield is to practically turn it inside out and then put it on and kind of push your nipple in - that has helped it stay on me (although Sidney loves to try to yank it off).  Tip 3 is from earlier (my pumping session :) ), we d0 20 cc or so by bottle to take the edge off - a frustrated baby will never latch. Nor will a sleepy baby and my issue is that nursing (and eating) puts them right to sleep (my LC said to undress them to wake them, well, Sidney is sleeping in only her diaper right now, so that did not work :) )

    I have started thinking of myself as a Caesar salad - nice to have on the side, and nutritious, but not 100% necessary.  yes, I would love to get them nursing full time and get rid of formula - I hate giving bottles, I hate the smell of formula, I nursed DD for 21 months, I have milk, but right now, I need them to grow and get bigger and stronger before we try to go whole hog.

    I hope some of the tips she gave me help you!



    Our Twin Baby + a Big Girl Blog

    And with the delivery trifecra of one twin vaginal, one c-section with general anesthesia for twin B, Spencer and Sidney joined us at 35 weeks exactly on June 18.

  • My boys are 10 weeks old.  I've cried over breastfeeding almost every day of these past 10 weeks even though I've tried to embrace the "a happy mom is a happy baby" attitude and im not anti -formula.  I just want to make this work! :)

    Its incredibly hard!! My tip is take it one day, one feed at a time.  I have finally i think* got my supply up a bit.  The past week, I have tried to EBF.  The boys still had to have a few feeds of formula (we have to fortify).  We still use nipple shields, they still fall asleep, they arent great at it. I just had to get rid of either BF, pumping, or FF. I was dying trying to do all 3 at every feed. 

    Each time I wanted to give up, I told myself i would tomorrow.  I still do that. Just know that you are doing an amazing job! Good Luck!!


  • Still working through all my emotions, and I still feel like trying to BF again every 3 or so days, but ultimately you have to do what is best for you, and formula won't hurt them at all.  At all.  My LC basically said that moms of twins get a free pass to do whatever they can to get the babies growing and yourself is all about survival at first.  Nothing you can do short of running away makes you a failure!  Take care, it is so hard!!
    BFP#3: 3/1/11, EDD 11/11/11 - Missed M/C diagnosed 4/7/11 (7w6d), D&C 4/8/11

    BFP#4: 7/6/11, EDD 3/15/12 - Missed M/C diagnosed 8/8/11 (8w4d), M/C 8/19

    BFP#5: 10/8/11, EDD 6/17/12, U/S on 10/27/11 - fraternal twin boys born 6/3/12



    Waiting for my buddy, s0ulchicken, to finish cooking her own twins!
  • Lots of good advice already.  I just want to add that BFing is really hard at first, but will click all of a sudden.  I was at the LC one day and she told me that the boys would start latching themselves within the week.  I laughed at her.  And wouldn't you know, three days later those boys both latched on with no help.  We started with nipple shields but were able to wean off of those around 6-8 weeks. 

    Just remember that the insane part doesn't last forever, and once you push through, BFing is easy.  Once you and that babies figure it all out, you can literally lift your shirt and lunch is ready.

     Good luck!

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