At what point to give up BF... — The Bump
Parenting after a Loss

At what point to give up BF...

Eliz77Eliz77 member
edited December 2014 in Parenting after a Loss
Hi all! I've been struggling with BF since day 1 and it's really stressing me out. I feel like a failure and like I can't give my LO the best possible. I never feel a let down or like my milk has really come in. LO wasn't thriving so we supplemented with formula while I tried to nurse and pump and hope to produce some to feed him. I never pump more than 3/4oz at the most, less if I had nursed 1sr. 

I've seen LCs. One did a weighted feed (said LO got 3/4oz in half hour) and was very concerned with how LO was doing (so sleepy, slow to gain weight, very few poop diapers). After adding more formula (at 1-2 weeks he was taking 2oz every 4 hours), he reached his birth weight at 16 days, was much more alert and everyone was happy. The other LO  had me rent a hospital pump and hoped I'd have better luck stimulating milk production with that-told me to pump every time he nurses and has formula. She also said some times it takes a month for milk to really come in. 

Now he's 3 weeks 2 days and taking 3oz formula almost every 2.5-3 hours. I still try to nurse/pump. He looks to nurse but clearly gets frustrated-roots, pulls back, shakes his head, cries, then falls asleep. He seems to suckle more than nurse, and when he does nurse, he is done before 10 minutes are up, and I can barely express/pump anything afterwards.

He also spits up A LOT on formula, which is what's making it even harder for me to not be EBF, he doesn't spit up much  when he nurses. I think he's going through a growth spurt because he's been very demanding to eat more lately, and restless. He used to nurse/take formula and fall asleep. Now he cries and seems frustrated, especially after nursing. 

My H is very supportive and tries so hard to help. He buys everything people suggest trying-lactation cookies, mother's milk tea and vitamins. I had said I'd give it a month and re-evaluate. Now we are 5 days away from that "deadline". Part of me wants someone to say to stop BF, here's what formula to use and that would be best. But a big part of me is determined to make nursing successful. I just want to know when to say that's enough and it's not going to work.

I have an appointment with a LC Friday, so I will run all this by her. In the meantime-Anyone have suggestions or "been there" stories??? Looking for both sides-nursing that started off rocky but ended up working or when you decided to pull the plug.

~ES~

~*~EVERYONE always welcome!!~*~
TTC #1 since October 2012
BFP #1 11/22/12 EDD 7/29/13 MMC 1/14/13, D&C 1/16/13
BFP #2 5/7/13 EDD 1/14/2014 Ectopic discovered 5/21/13, lost left tube
Referred to RE, blood work done August 2013, AMH 0.27, all else normal, HSG clear
BFP #3 12/1/13 EDD 8/8/14, MC 12/24/13
January 2014: RE #2, blood work repeated, homozygous MTHFR c677t, SHG clear
BFP #4 4/7/14 EDD 12/15/14 Our rainbow was born 12/6/14 at 4:26pm! <3 


Re: At what point to give up BF...

  • I had a really hard time getting DD to start nursing at first. What I ended up doing was some Internet searching on ideas and we tried them until we found one that worked. I have to use a nipple shield in order to get DD to latch. If that's part of the problem, they are amazing. DD is still nursing at 17 months and won't do it without. I did have plenty of milk supply though, so maybe someone else can help with that. La Leche is a great website to check out too.
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    Eliz77
  • Hugs! We struggled so much with BF. DS was only 3.5 pounds at birth, so we started off with issues. The pedi wouldn't let him try to BF for more than 5 minutes at a time so he wouldn't burn too many calories. We tried a supplemental feeder with formula for awhile. Then he still wasn't gaining so I EPed and we added a fortifier to my milk.

    After about 6 weeks of pumping (and never getting enough despite the fact that he only ate about an ounce at a time), fortifying, and supplementing, he still wasn't gaining. I was miserable with the pump. I had a long talk with DH and the pedi, switched to formula and never looked back.

    I loathed the LC that I had. She tried to get me to break the pedi's orders and would get on my case if I was a minute late to pump. We were in the hospital for 11 days and I ended up ordering her to leave my room.

    As for the spitting up, your LO might have reflux. DS did and would puke all the time whether it was BM or formula. The pedi put him on Zantac and it helped immensely.

    I hope this helps!
    Eliz77
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  • ((HUGS)). BF'ing can be very difficult, physically and emotionally. First, do not think of yourself as a failure. You are far from one. You are trying everything you can to do what is best for your LO (whatever that may be).

    I don't have a lot of suggestions because I didn't struggle, but I wanted to let you know that whatever your decision is, you will be supported. My sister had different issues when my niece was 6-7 months old. After 3 different LC's she said that the best thing one of them did for her was to tell her that it was okay to stop if she wanted, and that she was there for support if she didn't want to stop.

    Only you and your family know what is best for you at this time. Just know that you will be supported in whichever you choose.

    Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickersLilypie - (B9PH)

     

    Lilypie - (0YVF)
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    BFP # 3: 11/8/13, EDD 7/17/14, mmc 10wks

    BFP # 4: 5/16/14, EDD 1/15/15, praying for our 2nd rainbow baby 

    Eliz77
  • You shouldn't feel like a failure. You are trying your bet for your LO. EBF can be tough. I've had many moments where I second guess my supply and feel like I'm not makin enough. But DS is almost 4 months old and we are still going strong. I will say it does get easier. And even if you end up switching to formula there is nothing wrong with that. The best thing for baby is a happy momma.

    I also agree with PP about a growth spurt. Cluster feeding can really make you doubt your supply. When DS went through this I just sat on the couch all day and nursed whenever he wanted. Even if it was every hour. This will help your supply too. Sending you huge hugs! BF is hard!
    BFP #1 7/23/12: EDD 4/1/13.  MMC discovered on 9/4/12 @ 10w1d
    BFP# 2 3/9/13:  EDD 11/12/13 m/c 3/15/13 @ 5w3d
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    3/17/14 US @ 15w3d:Its a BOY!

     

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    Eliz77
  • I don't know how much useful advice I have, but I have been there and done that for sure. LO never could get enough milk out and he tore up my nipples in the process. It was really frustrating and yes, I felt like a failure too. For some women, BF is really easy but for many of us it isn't. I ended up giving up nursing and just pumped for 9 months and I feel good about what I was able to do, but it was hard work and I missed nursing even though it hurt me and frustrated him. I wish I could have gone a year or more but pumping was just too stressful. 

    Have you had LO evaluated for a tongue or lip tie? You might have to see a pediatric dentist or ears, nose, and throat specialist who has a specialty in that area. We had a tongue and lip tie revised at 3 months, but either it never really was the problem or we caught it too late and he had already learned the wrong way to suck. You could try a nipple shield too, ask the LC about it. 

     I had to pump 10-12 times per day and do breast compressions to make enough milk for him pumping, even with a hospital grade pump. I sometimes wonder if it was just too hard to get milk out of my boobs and that was the problem. Once my supply was where I wanted it though, I dropped to 7 per day and it was tolerable for a while.

    If you feel supply is your issue, it may be worth trying to track down some domperidone. Its apparently a wonder drug to help increase supply but it's not FDA approved her so you have to try and get it online from another country or get an Rx and find a compound pharmacy who will make it for you. There are approved drugs you can get here but they have some really icky side effects. If you want to go down that road, the ladies on the BF board are super helpful, really in general they are. I know some people think they are judgy of FF but I haven't experienced that.  

    You're doing all the right things and I hope you can figure it out. Most women who have problems at the start can overcome them with time, practice, patience, pumping, meds, etc. But if you think it will be a relief to switch to formula, do it and don't look back. Play around with different brands to find something LO will tolerate. It's a bit of a guessing game. 

    ((hugs))
    **Warning: Losses and living child mentioned**
    BFP#1 1/31/12, EDD 10/6/12 Harrison Gray born sleeping @ 18w6d. You changed our lives little guy.
    BFP#2 EDD 10/29/13, C/P 2/25/13, Bye little Ish, we barely got to know you.
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    Eliz77
  • Thanks all! Reading these posts has made me feel a bit better. I know what's most important is LO is  gaining weight and doing well. I know then I'm not failing him, but it's just stressful and frustrating. 

    Re: tongue/lip ties...I had asked once and was told all looked well. LO does latch well and doesn't hurt me to nurse. Are there other tell-tale signs I should watch for?

    @oopsiedaisies I meant 3/4ths of an ounce, not 3-4 ounces. 

    I get the impression my pedi supports BF but also wants to see the baby thriving and will recommend supplementing as needed. Same went for the LC they have on staff. I don't feel pushed in either direction...and I kinda wish I did!

    LO weighed in at 7lbs, 7 ounces today, up a pound in a week! So, he is on the right track, I just wish it was due primarily to BF. We go for his one month check up next week and will see the LC then,  not this week. I will keep trying as is and see what happens. 

    ~ES~

    ~*~EVERYONE always welcome!!~*~
    TTC #1 since October 2012
    BFP #1 11/22/12 EDD 7/29/13 MMC 1/14/13, D&C 1/16/13
    BFP #2 5/7/13 EDD 1/14/2014 Ectopic discovered 5/21/13, lost left tube
    Referred to RE, blood work done August 2013, AMH 0.27, all else normal, HSG clear
    BFP #3 12/1/13 EDD 8/8/14, MC 12/24/13
    January 2014: RE #2, blood work repeated, homozygous MTHFR c677t, SHG clear
    BFP #4 4/7/14 EDD 12/15/14 Our rainbow was born 12/6/14 at 4:26pm! <3 


  • @mamalamb10

    I seem to pump 3/4ths of an ounce in the AM, regardless if I've nursed 1st or not. As the day goes on, I pump after nursing, and I get very little. If I pump and bottle feed without nursing, I manage 1/2 to 3/4ths an ounce. We did one weighted feeding at the LC's office, 1/2 hour of nurse/sleep/nurse and she determined LO got 3/4ths an ounce during that visit. 

    I have not had any blood work done since having the baby. In the past, my thyroid levels have been normal. Sometimes my prolactin levels come back high, but I would think that would help here, no?

    At birth, LO weighed 6lbs, 7 ounces. When we were discharged, he was 5lbs, 15 ounces. At our 1st pedi visit three days later, he hadn't gained weight and the Dr recommended we supplement a bit more as well as see his LC. LO then quickly started gaining over the next 1.5 weeks, and is now 7lbs, 7oz at 3 weeks, 2 days.

    My goal is to nurse every 2-3 hours, and will pump afterwards. If I don't nurse and FF instead, I will pump. But seem to get very little doing this. I also have not been keeping up with tat at night with LO being so fussy and demanding more feeding. Meaning-have not been pumping and when nursing frustrates him, I go right for the bottle. I was hoping to see my supply increase with more demand, but instead, seems like I have nothing. 

    I don't think we have any latching issues. He will latch right on, sometimes he seems happy to stay and nurse, other times he seems frustrated that he has to work hard and not getting much.

    If there is hope, i want to stay with nursing and make it work. I just don't know when it's time to throw in the towel. 

    I'm pumping as I type this, after giving LO  bottle, 20 minutes in, and so far I've gotten like 1/2 teaspoon out of one and nothing out of the other. It's so discouraging not to see much output. I haven't nursed sine 11am, so I feel like I should be producing something.

    ~ES~

    ~*~EVERYONE always welcome!!~*~
    TTC #1 since October 2012
    BFP #1 11/22/12 EDD 7/29/13 MMC 1/14/13, D&C 1/16/13
    BFP #2 5/7/13 EDD 1/14/2014 Ectopic discovered 5/21/13, lost left tube
    Referred to RE, blood work done August 2013, AMH 0.27, all else normal, HSG clear
    BFP #3 12/1/13 EDD 8/8/14, MC 12/24/13
    January 2014: RE #2, blood work repeated, homozygous MTHFR c677t, SHG clear
    BFP #4 4/7/14 EDD 12/15/14 Our rainbow was born 12/6/14 at 4:26pm! <3 


  • Hang in there, Mama! I completely empathize because my " plan" was to BF up to a year if I could. My son was 8.4 at birth (37 wks), and dropped below 7lbs. He was latching, but I just wasn't producing. I worked with a LC, supplemented, nursed, pumped, watched my diet, and by the 4th month I couldn't get anything from my left breast, and my right was producing less than an ounce. I stayed with it because I felt encouraged when my OB said he was still benefiting from the antibodies with the minimal amount he was getting from me the first 3 months. When my left side gave up, I threw in the towel. I sat there with my first mug of coffee and felt horrible! Guilty, and pissed at my body for making the entire journey so difficult. My son is a very healthy 13 month old, had one minor cold, and is tall like Mama. Should I be blessed with a second, I would do my best to BF, and feel confident that formula is great nutrition, too. We switched to formula with rice, and the spitting up was reduced significantly. My guy was gassy from my high veggie diet during BFing (it seemed all the culprits were in my diet) Good luck! Go easy on yourself! ( iPad blob)

     

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    Eliz77
  • I didn't read everyone's responses so forgive me if I'm repeating anything. First of all, you need to know you are a wonderful momma no matter what route you decide. Your story sounds similar to mine. My baby lost 14 oz in the hospital and didn't gain any weight for 3 weeks. We were nursing at least every 3 hours and she seemed to be satisfied after nursing. It was so upsetting seeing the scale stay the same. Her pedi suggested triple feeding until she started gaining weight steadily. That is where the baby nurses, no longer than 15 min per breast, then you pump until empty, then feed baby that pumped milk. She started gaining about 1 oz per day. It also helped to get my supply to increase since that milk wasn't left behind. I also took fenugreek supplements and ate lactation cookies. Breastfeeding is hard and it is draining but for me it did get easier after that first month. It's exhausting being the only one feeding. Please let me know if you have any questions or just need some support! You can do it!! Hope your appt with the LC goes well and that they are able to help. (((Big hugs)))!
    Pregnancy Ticker
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    Eliz77
  • I meant to say that 3-4 oz per pump is an awesome volume for a 3 week old! When my daughter went to daycare at 10 weeks she was only getting 4 oz bottles every 3 hours. I looked at my pumping log when I was doing that triple feed thing and I would only get about 10 ml per breast after she had nursed.
    Pregnancy Ticker
    BFP 4/17/13, MC began 5/2/13 @ 6 weeks
    EDD 12/27/13
    TTC since 2/2013
    BFP#2 9/23/13 EDD 6/8/14
     
    My FF Chart


      
        
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  • I know this thread is a little old, but wanted to weigh in! BFing is a bitch. Finding a person who says it's easy is really rare. You need to do whatever you're going to be happy with and not stress out. I had a terrible time with my supply, took every supplement, cookie and tea out there. The thing that really helped me the most was domperidone. My Dr prescribed it about a week after having DD when I still barely had any milk. DD was super fussy, probably because she was so hungry and I felt so terrible and guilty. It helped within a few days, but my supply was always low. I could BF on demand, but if I tried to pump, I would barely get an oz. Even if my boobs were about to burst, barely anything would come out. And some women don't really feel a let down, I barely did, I never got engorged and never leaked. I was someone that just could not pump. It would take me a whole day to pump 4oz.

    If you want to keep trying to keep up your supply, offer boob first, then formula. It's hard. But you're doing a good job and you're feeding your baby the best way you can!

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    KMW08Eliz77
  • I missed this thread when you posted it. Since it's been brought back up, how are things going in regards to BF'ing?


    I too had very low supply. John also had some latching issues, which his frenulum was clipped when we were still in the hospital. We were both frustrated so I ended up doing EP'ing and supplementing with formula. I was pretty much 99% formula 1%BM. I met with LC's and decided that I would continue doing everything that I could for 1 month to see how it went. By 1 month I was able to produce 4oz all day. I ended up pumping twice a day and was still getting 4oz total in a day. At 4wks I quit cold turkey. The thing that surprised me was that I leaked for about 2weeks after -- WTF body, really?!?! As of last week I could still hand express some milk (minimal) but I wasn't leaking enough to need any absorbent pads.

    Honestly, quitting pumping was the best thing I did. It helped my mood, mental state and I was able to have more quality time with LO. It also didn't dictate my day and I was able to get a more structured day figured out. 

    While I'm disappointed that BFing didn't work out like I wanted it to, I'm just proud of myself for trying. I'm used to my body failing me (all the losses) so what's one more thing to add to the list right? LOL. Overall the main goal was to have a take home baby, anything else is just an extra perk IMO. 

    BFP#4 3/17/14 - rainbow Baby BOY arrived 11/10/14 !!

    DX: Uterine Septum - Resection 9/5/13 || MTHFR Hetero A1298C || My Chart

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    [Deleted User]Eliz77
  • @kmw08 Things haven't really changed. I had a couple good days where LO was nursing more and I didn't have to give formula every time. I would also pump 1/2-3/4ths of an ounce to also give him like 2-3x/day with FF. Now I barely pump anything, at least not enough to feed him. LO still looks to nurse but after 30-40 mins (of nurse/sleep/nurse) gets frustrated, shakes his head, pulls back and screams until he gets a bottle. I am definitely more than 90% FF. I still nurse because it seems to soothe LO at times, especially when it's not really time to eat and he's tired.  I have noticed sometimes if I pump before attempting to nurse, he seems more satisfied, but that happens only in the mornings. I see my LC this Friday and if it really is pointless, I think I'm ready to pull the plug.

    I feel very guilty and it stresses me out. When LO is able to nurse, he doesn't spit up and is a lot less gassy. All the good intended people in my life who promote BF are weighing on my mind. I KNOW they would support me either way, and feel they are helping me by offering advice on BF, but it makes me feel pressured to make BF work. All I can think is even if LO is getting something, I clearly am NOT pumping enough so when I go back to work Feb 1st, then what? I can't pump for him so he'll have to be FF.

    Another thing that is puzzling me-I seem to produce more out of my left side-it's the only side that leaks or will spray when massaged. LO doesn't want to nurse on my left side and has been this way since birth. Part of it seems to be he favors laying on his left side, but even when I hold him to my left like a football, he gets fussy about nursing. I don't know. I never expected nursing to be so hard.

    ~ES~

    ~*~EVERYONE always welcome!!~*~
    TTC #1 since October 2012
    BFP #1 11/22/12 EDD 7/29/13 MMC 1/14/13, D&C 1/16/13
    BFP #2 5/7/13 EDD 1/14/2014 Ectopic discovered 5/21/13, lost left tube
    Referred to RE, blood work done August 2013, AMH 0.27, all else normal, HSG clear
    BFP #3 12/1/13 EDD 8/8/14, MC 12/24/13
    January 2014: RE #2, blood work repeated, homozygous MTHFR c677t, SHG clear
    BFP #4 4/7/14 EDD 12/15/14 Our rainbow was born 12/6/14 at 4:26pm! <3 


  • Thank you so much to all who have commented! It really helps reading these comments. ((HUGS))

    I see the LC at the pediatrician office tomorrow after LO's 1 month check up. The LC I saw at the hospital has also been in touch with me and we're going to catch up after tomorrow's appointments, so I do feel I have my bases covered there. None of them are pushing me in one direction or another, i actually feel even the Drs are pro-BF. BUT I obviously am feeding LO enough since he's gaining and thriving, and that's all that matters. I just wish it were a case of 75% BF, 25% FF or something. I feel it's more like 95% FF at this point. 

    I don't know if LO is having a growth spurt, but he is getting increasingly frustrated with nursing and demanding more FF more often-going from 2.5oz every 3-4 hours after nursing to barely nursing and taking 3.5-4oz every 2 hours in just a week. I have no idea if this is normal for his age/weight (will be 5 weeks in 2 days, and I think he's at least 8lbs by now). I'll discuss all this with the Dr tomorrow as well as both LCs. 

    I'm still feeling guilty just because I really wanted to nurse, but I know in the big picture, I am doing the best I can and LO is doing well. I'm sure a big part is PP blues and my own wants. I pumped for an hour after LO tried/wouldn't nurse and managed just 1/2 an ounce. I know pumping isn't indicative of your supply but this seems really poor to me.

    ~ES~

    ~*~EVERYONE always welcome!!~*~
    TTC #1 since October 2012
    BFP #1 11/22/12 EDD 7/29/13 MMC 1/14/13, D&C 1/16/13
    BFP #2 5/7/13 EDD 1/14/2014 Ectopic discovered 5/21/13, lost left tube
    Referred to RE, blood work done August 2013, AMH 0.27, all else normal, HSG clear
    BFP #3 12/1/13 EDD 8/8/14, MC 12/24/13
    January 2014: RE #2, blood work repeated, homozygous MTHFR c677t, SHG clear
    BFP #4 4/7/14 EDD 12/15/14 Our rainbow was born 12/6/14 at 4:26pm! <3 


    KMW08
  • meagpt22 said:

    @eliz77- yes I feel like the amount of FF your son is getting is normal. Around 1 month DD was drinking 3-4 oz per feeding every 3 hr. She has stayed at 4 oz every 2-3 hr since then...increased frequency due to dropping night feedings. But obviously check with your dr.

    This. My lil guy (2mos on Sat) did the same pattern and is still at 3-4oz every 3hrs.

    BFP#4 3/17/14 - rainbow Baby BOY arrived 11/10/14 !!

    DX: Uterine Septum - Resection 9/5/13 || MTHFR Hetero A1298C || My Chart

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    Eliz77
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