So many problems breastfeeding (sorry so long)... — The Bump

So many problems breastfeeding (sorry so long)...

My son is 1 week and 1 day (disregard my ticker, haven't had time to change it yet).  In the hospital after DS was born he never nursed well.  He would latch on and then just sit there and not suck at all.  The nurses and LC's in the hospital made the situation more stressful by trying to ram him onto the breast.  He would go into hysterics, I would cry, it just didn't work.  Then his blood sugar levels dropped and they told me I had to supplement w/ formula.  So we did SNS instead of a bottle and that helped bring up his blood sugar levels.

Once we got home we continued to have problems.  We had an excellent LC come out to the house and she was able to help us to get him to latch and nurse very well in the time she was there.  However, that night he would not wake up AT ALL for feedings.  We tried everything to wake him - diaper change, cold cloths, etc.  He became very lethargic and ended up admitted to the hospital at 4 days old for dehydration and slightly elevated bilirubin levels.  The hospital required that he be fed by bottle for the 2 nights we were there so they could monitor his intake, and output with diapers.

We were able to come back home on 10/29 and since that day there are times where I cannot get him to latch properly because he tries to attach to the nipple like he would a bottle, but occassionally I can get an OK latch.  However the times when he does latch he has gone back to his ways of sucking a bit and then stopping and falling asleep.  I've tried doing tons of skin to skin contact, and compressions while he is nursing, and removing his latch to start again, but nothing is working.  He also goes through these phases where he acts hungry and I nurse him, he falls asleep quickly, wakes up 10 min later and wants to eat again.  This cycle has gone on for several hours.  Yesterday we rented a scale that weighs him and shows his intake.  We've only used it a couple times so far, but after one 20 min feeding it showed that he took in .4oz, and after 2 other 20 min feeding it showed that he took in zero ounces.

I really want to nurse him, but both DH and I are very worried that he is not getting enough milk from me.  We've supplemented with bottles after feedings, which I hate doing because I feel like it is deterring us either further from breastfeeding.  I'm feeling so upset over this because breastfeeding was really important to me, but I cannot stomach the thought of him ending up back in the hospital. Watching the nurses make several attempts to put an IV into my 4 day old, plus draw his blood constantly, was the absolute worst moments of my life, that I never want to re-live again.   

I'm sorry this is so long.  I just don't know what to do anymore.  

BabyFetus Ticker

Re: So many problems breastfeeding (sorry so long)...

  • Keep trying is my advice to you. I had alot of problems too -my milk didn't come in until day 7, and she was losing weight like crazy, and I couldn't get her to latch, she just wouldn't open her mouth. Then because of all the issues we had I became chapped, bruised and bloody. But I stuck it out and kept trying and eventually she got it. We were supplementing with a little formula after 1-2 feedings/day starting at 2 weeks until last week due to supply issues. But we NEVER skipped a feeding. So she always got the breast first and if it wasn't enough then she got the bottle. Now we are doing great-and both love our bonding time :). (It didn't get really good until about 6 weeks)

    So keep trying and see if you can have that same lc come back out to see you, and reassure you it is ok.

    Also try picking him up under the arms and dangling his feet - it worked to wake up dd, or poke him in the side (gently) that worked for us too to try to keep her awake. good luck

    My beautiful redhead Lily Anne (3.5yrs)
  • Oh my gosh, you poor thing.  That sounds like a nightmare.

    I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding.  DD and I had some problems getting started, and I'm so glad I was stubborn and kept up with it.

    But, there does come a point where you're breastfeeding more for yourself (because you know it's best and you want to do it) than for the baby (who just wants to eat).  No one can tell you if you're there -- but if you do get to the point where you feel you need to stop, please don't feel guilty about it.  You've given it a serious effort!

    Okay, now for any suggestions I might have.  First -- have the nurses and LC checked out your son's mouth?  Is he tongue tied?  (If so, the procedure to fix that is super quick and easy and you should have it done asap -- DD had this done, feel free to ask me questions about it.)  Does he have a good suck reflex?  Is his palate high?

    DD's mouth (even after the tongue tie was cut) is just not shaped for nursing.  She can't form a good latch, so she was losing too much weight.  So, we've been using a nipple shield since she was about 2 weeks old.  She's doing GREAT with it, and she's still EBF at 3 months.  A nipple shield won't solve all breastfeeding problems, but if your son has difficulty latching, it might help.  Talk to your LC and see if she has suggestions.

    As for waking to feed -- I think you're doing all the right things there.  We'd strip DD down to just a diaper so she was a bit chilly, poke her feed, stroke her face, rub her tummy.  Sometimes I'd change her diaper in the middle of a feeding because that woke her up.  If he falls asleep and wants to eat 20 minutes later, I'd definitely let him (which it sounds like you're doing).

    I think the biggest issue is that he's just not getting enough food.  If he's nursing for that long and not even getting an ounce, there's no way he can get enough to fill himself up.

    So, if I were you, I'd do two things.  First -- pump like crazy whenever you can (preferably after each and every feeding).   Your son isn't stimulating your body to produce enough milk, so if you don't pump you will have almost no supply.

    Second -- have that good LC out to your house again ASAP.  Keep working on your latch, but also have her check out the baby's mouth and talk to you about maybe using a nipple shield.

    Good luck!!!!

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Apparently the doll needed a time out... image
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  • I'm so sorry! BFing is really tough. My LO kept losing weight and fell asleep all the time while eating, too. Just keep feeding, round the clock. I felt like he was always eating and falling asleep on the breast (which he did at first), but it does get better. Ditto pp, offer the breast first, then a bottle, and pump to keep your supply up. I was so worried that giving formula for a while would mean the end of BFing for us, but I stayed consistent with pumping and we weaned off formula after a couple weeks. My pedi recommended the Playtex nurser bottles, since those are close to real BFing. GL!
  • Have you had LO checked to see if he is tongue-tied? Also, maybe pump and give him bottles (at least it would be bm and not formula). Pumping might help with your supply.  If I am really engorged then DD has a harder time latching because the nipple is shorter - expressing some first helps me. Maybe you have a very slow letdown - you could try pumping for a sec first and then get LO to latch on. Also, don't have him to warm with nursing - it makes them too comfortable and then they fall asleep. Have him as naked as you can for feeding, and keep waking him up if he falls asleep until he has fed well...I hope it gets better for you. If you have to keep supplementing with formula to avoid dehydration then I would pump to keep your supply going - as a nurse told my friend: just because you have to use a bottle for a couple of weeks, it doesn't mean LO will only ever take a bottle. And now her DD won't take a bottle!

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