Not fast enough?
My son spent his first 11 days on a feeding tube, my colostrum and milk came in well, my let down was good and my production was great. They fed him my milk via the feeding tube till he pulled it out one morning. At that point he needed to stay in the NICU till he roomed in with us two nights before we were all discharged. We tried right away to get latched, to no avail. It seemed he did not know how or cared to learn, he lacked a suck reflex. We tried a bottle with my milk, there was more on him then in him and he still eats like that. We got a latch once or twice at the hospital but you could not count it as a feed, he would flip out and since he was on O2 we could not let him get to far into a fit before we had to give him a bottle. It was three days into home before I got him to latch, and from there we have have had one breastfeeding session that has actually filled him up enough to sleep, it took about an hour and a half. We try breast first, it appears that it does not come fast enough and he pitches a fit, we go through a few rounds of calming him and then trying again and I give him 4oz of breast milk. He drinks that really fast, spills about an once and then he's good but he likes a top off via the breast a little after his bottle. Here is where we have some action, he hill latch on and suckle for about 10 min. It's not constant though, and it never really hits a deep suck, about 6 sucks at a time and he will fall a sleep. I am walking this new and strange line of when do I pump? how much? before? cause I need some relief from the engorgement and so he can latch. After? he has yet to drain the breast completely and I don't know if he is going to go for it or not later. I don't want to be to full or to empty and my breast pumps lowest setting is really intense. I tried to make a meeting today and he decided today was the morning he was going to the breast, both sides for about 10 min then 4 oz via the bottle an hour later. My chest hurts, I know the milk is letting down, cause I am covered in milk after a feeding. I am frustrated, after my birth took a sharp left and my son was so sick I really would like breastfeeding to work for us. Right now it is very inconsistent, he is still on O2 and he fusses with the tube. It was long, sorry. I am new to this but any direction and help would be appreciated.
Re: Not fast enough?
Hi mama, sorry your little guy has had such a rough start. But the thing that is wonderful and encouraging is that he IS nursing - so that is a great beginning. Are you getting help from a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC?
It may be the case that he does prefer the faster flow of the bottle, at least at times. Are you using paced feeding techniques when bottle feeding? The idea is to make the bottle-feeding experience as similar as possible to the breastfeeding experience. Here are some links about that:
As for whether to pump before or after feeding: I think it's trial and error. Certainly if you are too engorged for him to get a good latch, it may make sense to do at least a little pumping before. But if he is frustrated by trying to get milk out of the breast, then you don't want to be too drained by the pump, which might have the effect of having him work harder to get the milk out. So I think you need to play around with it, as you are - the right answer is: whatever works!
What happens if you give him a little less milk in the bottle? A typical meal at the breast is 2 or 3 or maybe 4 oz - 4 oz being the high side. What if you gradually work your way towards 3 oz - maybe he would spend a little longer at the breast in that scenario? Also, have you considered some type of supplemental feeding system, so that he is getting the expressed milk at the breast? Here's some more information:
If baby falls asleep at the breast and you switch sides, will he wake up to nurse a little more? Here are some other techniques for gently waking a sleepy newborn:
It sounds like you are doing GREAT mama, hang in there!
Re: Not fast enough?
:ita, excellent advice from the PP!