Latching, then unlatching and then re-latching.
My LO is just over a month old and has not nursed well since the day he was born. He ended up loosing almost a pound and had to go back into the hospital for jaundice. Because of the weight loss the doctor wanted us to supplement with a 22 calorie formula to help increase his weight. (He was 6lbs 15oz when he was born and now he is 8lbs 3oz which is awesome.) The other day when I was changing his diaper I noticed some blood in his stool and mad an appointment for him to go to the doctors. He said that he thinks he has a milk protein allergy so he put him on Similac Alimentum for supplementation.
I'm trying to get him away from the bottle and nurse him more, but he will freak out when I put him to breast and when he finally starts to get milk out he's fine, then he will unlatch and when I try to put him back on because I know he hasn't had enough he will re-latch and eat for 5 more minutes. Then when he unlatches again he freaks out, and I can't get him to re-latch. I end up giving him a bottle with the milk I pumped out to try and save because I am going back to work soon and he has some formula that he eats, but I don't like to use it because it is so expensive and we can't afford it until I can get back to work. I really want to nurse him, but I just don't know what to do! Also, I'm still trying to pump to keep up my milk supply, but I'm afraid that he will not get milk out when I go to nurse him and I will have to use the milk I just pumped out to feed him and it will completely be unproductive. Oh and I have to use a nipple shield because he can't get enough of my nipple in his mouth, which makes nursing him and switching him from one breast to another very difficult.
Re: Latching, then unlatching and then re-latching.
Hi, welcome to the forum!
Have you ever seen a lactation consultant to figure out why baby was unable to gain weight normally at the breast? If your baby has some latch or sucking issue that remains unresolved, that would explain both the gain issues and baby having difficulty nursing now.
Also, when a baby is being/has been given supplemental feedings, baby may begin to refuse the breast even when baby is perfectly capable of nursing normally. This occurs because the flow of milk from the bottle is so much easier for baby to 'take in' then milk at the breast. The fact is, it is too easy. Also, if baby is being given more supplement than baby needs, then baby is simply not hungry enough to do what is needed at the breast.
There is also the problem of recognizing a baby's cues. This takes practice and can be made much more difficult if baby is being supplemented/partially bottle fed. For example, you say
My question is, how do you know baby has not gotten 'enough?' A 'normal' feeding at the breast for a one month old could be as little as a half ounce, or as much as 3 ounces or at the very most 4. The point is, it varies. Also, many babies prefer to eat a little, then stop, then eat a little more very shortly. There is nothing wrong with this as long as baby nurses frequently enough over all, which at this age could be as often as 10-15 times each day.
then he will unlatch and when I try to put him back on because I know he hasn't had enough he will re-latch and eat for 5 more minutes. Then when he unlatches again he freaks out, and I can't get him to re-latch.
I suggest, please do not worry about this. It is absolutely vital when supplementing that you pump AT LEAST for every time your baby gets a supplement. If baby wishes to nurse right after you pump, let baby nurse! He may well trigger another letdown, and if not, that is what the supplementing is for, right? You do not have to worry about a feeding being 'completely unproductive." Because any time baby spends at the breast is helpful.
Also, I'm still trying to pump to keep up my milk supply, but I'm afraid that he will not get milk out when I go to nurse him and I will have to use the milk I just pumped out to feed him and it will completely be unproductive.
Is baby able to latch and nurse comfortably for you without the shield? Shields can be helpful tools, but there are many drawbacks, two of which are that baby may have more difficulty getting milk out and that your milk production will suffer. I am sorry but I do not understand how a shield, which in effect makes the nipple larger, helps baby get more nipple in his mouth. What a shield does typically is create a hard silicone nipple over the mothers nipple so a baby who otherwise cannot latch, perhaps because the mothers nipples are very flat or inverted, has something firm to latch onto. But this is something that is typically improved with nursing, pumping, learning latch techniques that work for you, and time. If baby will not latch and nurse without the shield, by all means, keep using it. But again, I would suggest it is important to get to the bottom of WHY latching is so difficult for your baby. As far as switching side with a shield, this is one of the drawbacks of shield use, for sure! Shields tend to fall/slip off even when put on properly, and if they are ill fitting or not put on properly they can be even more of a problem. Sorry I don't have a magic formula there except that it is important to be patient with yourself, shields can be a pain.
Oh and I have to use a nipple shield because he can't get enough of my nipple in his mouth, which makes nursing him and switching him from one breast to another very difficult.
Do you think you can tell us how many times a 24 hour day baby nurses, how many times a day baby is given a supplement, how much each time, how much you supplement with your own milk and how much is formula, and if the supplements typically come before or after nursing?
Also, what kind of a pump do you have, is it new, is it comfortable to pump, how much you get each time you pump approximately, and how many times you pump each day.