Need New Suggestions for OALD
Hello - my one month old continues to choke and gulp when breastfeeding. I've tried alternate positions - clutch/football with his back and head elevated, me reclining, him basically sitting next to me, facing me, and nothing seems to work for longer than 3 minutes or so before he starts gulping and choking. He then wrestles with my nipple, and it's difficult to unlatch him. Once I DO get him unlatched, milk is spraying everywhere - I have tried to spray into a towel, but I will continue spraying for 5+ minutes without any let-up. I try to put him back on the breast as soon as I THINK things have slowed down, but he fights me, and I don't want to force him.
All of that said, I have tried block feeding, but honestly, I'm not sure that I have an oversupply - I have never been engorged, and while my LO is gaining weight steadily, my breast RARELY feel "hard" at all. I also don't always feel the letdown (in fact I've NEVER felt it when he's actively feeding, just prior to starting or when I hear him cry), so I can't anticipate when the spraying will start.
I'm not sure what to do at this point. I've considered just pumping a lot and giving him bottles of breast milk rather than my actual breast...? Does anyone have any other suggestions?
Appreciate any help/advice!
Re: Need New Suggestions for OALD
Welcome to the forum! And congratulations on the new baby and on making it to 1 month of nursing. That's an awesome achievement!
Definitely stay far, far, far away from the pump and the bottles. Exclusive pumping (EP) is a thousand times harder than breastfeeding, even when you're coping with a rapid letdown. Here's why:
- Pumping does not maintain supply as well as nursing does, and many EP moms ultimately struggle with producing enough to feed their babies.
- Nursing gets easier and faster, but pumping never does. If it takes you 20 minutes to fill a bottle today, it will take you 20 minutes a year from now, and you'll have to find that 20 minutes while caring for an active and mobile baby.
- Nursing in public is easy and can be done discreetly. Pumping in public... Not so much!
- Milk in the breast is always clean, fresh, available, and at the right temperature. It can't fall on the floor, spill in the diaper bag, get forgotten on the counter, or spoil in the heat. If your power goes out, you will not be stuck with nothing to feed your baby. If you nurse, you will never stand in your cold kitchen at 3 am, desperately trying to warm up a bottle while your baby screams.
- EP means unending work- not just pumping but bottle-washing and jockeying your stored milk.
- Nursing is more than food. It ultimately becomes a source of comfort. Baby is tired, teething, or has a bump on his head? The breast will soothe all those woes.
Did I convince you not to EP? :)
Oay, on to the fast letdowns. It is possible to have a fast letdown without an oversupply of milk. But seeing milk spray for 5 minutes... That makes me think that there may be an oversupply issue even if you don't feel engorged or "hard". Do you happen to be a larger-breasted mama? I am, and with my second baby I had a pretty massive oversupply- and I never felt engorged because I have rather large, soft breasts and there is a lot of room for the milk to hide in. I also do not feel letdowns and never have. Some women don't.
Do you have a pump? If so, pumping might help you figure out if you're dealing with oversupply. If you have a good double electric pump and only get 1-2 oz of milk per breast, then you're probably not dealing with an oversupply. But if you get, say, 3-5 oz per breast, then you're in oversupply territory.
Keep trying the reclined positions, and be patient! You're only a month into this whole thing and most problems that crop up in the newborn period eventually go away as the baby grows.