Need some insights.
My son who was born at 32 weeks is now back home (he's 36.5 weeks old) and I need some insights as to what to expect, do when it comes to breastfeeding.
While he was at the hospital, they would give him my milk in a bottle/cup - at first it was gavage feeds - and I would latch him on either once or twice a day. His feeds are every three to four hours.
Before we left, I got him to latch on at around 930am - he drank very well (around 10 mins or so which is his usual timing) and emptied the boob. Then it was naptime. Around 1230 noon, I woke him up to change him and get him ready for the boob. He didn't latch on at all. In fact, he didn't really show signs of rooting, etc - just wanted to sleep. I gave him the bottle and he took 35ml before calling it quits. Never even woke up. :/
I was told by the nurses to feed him whenever he is hungry but I notice that he is such a sleeper and would sleep for hours on end. So do I continue on with the every three hour schedule as how it was in the hospital or...?
The other thing is that I was told to offer the breast first, try to latch him on for a max of 15 minutes and if he doesn't want to latch on, then give him the bottle. The nurses told me that he was still young and it's still early days for him to learn how to nurse 100% on the breasts. The thing is that I'm worried about nipple confusion, etc. Am I paranoid for worrying that he'd prefer the bottle over the breast?
Re: Need some insights.
When you have a sleepy baby, and small and premature babies are often sleepier than average, you need to wake the baby to feed. I would attempt to wake him to nurse every 2-3 hours during the day and every 3 at night.
You are absolutely right to be concerned about nipple confusion. These links may be helpful:
http://kellymom.com/bf/pumping/alternative-feeding.html - I especially suggest you look over the methods of supplementing a baby at the breast using a supplemental nursing system
Re: Need some insights.
I agree with mommal...I wouldn't let him go more than 3 hrs during the daytime without feeding. I also agree with the whole try to latch for no more than 15 mins because the idea is to make sure he's not too tired to take his full feeding after and/or be too sleepy for the next feeding. It's tricky with these early babies, it's such a delicate balance between working with them on latching and feeding from the breast but not having them work so hard that they struggle to gain enough weight.
A few things that I think helped me transition my former 29wkr to the breast...I rented a baby scale and recorded his weight each night and before and after feeding him from the breast and if he took less than 2 oz I gave him some breastmilk in a bottle after. I wore him skin to skin in a moby wrap a lot and at the first sign of him acting hungry at all I offered him the breast. I also hand expressed or pumped a little before trying to latch him on, because having some milk on my nipples and the milk ready to flow encouraged him to latch and nurse. It took us about 2 months after him being home before he was fully transitioned to the breast, and he came home from the NICU at 37 1/2 wks.
Good luck and keep at it - it's so worth it!