Is it too late?
My daughter is 2 weeks old, and is eating both formula and breast milk from a bottle. She nursed just fine the first day we were in the hospital, then all of a sudden on the second day she would not latch on. On the third day, I was able to get her to latch on, but she was very fussy. Each day I had more and more trouble getting her to latch on and nurse. We eventually had to give her formula. My milk didn't come in until she was 7 days old, and this complicated matters. Since then, I have been pumping a few times each day and giving her this milk in addition to formula in a bottle. My supply seems to be diminishing, though, or at least is not increasing. I feel like I have to pump all day every day, and I just don't have time for that. Is it too late to try to get her to breastfeed again, and what can I do about my milk supply? Thanks.
Re: Is it too late?
Congratulations on your daughter! More than likely, it's not too late at all for you to get back up to speed with breastfeeding. Since you have been pumping and know you still have some milk supply, the best thing that you can do is get baby back on the breast as much as possible! This really does work on a supply and demand scenario, so the more she nurses, the more your body will make milk to accomodate her needs. Are you located somewhere that you can get in-person help with sorting out any latch issues? Are there any lactation consultants available thru the hospital you used? Have you tried contacting a local LLL leader or going to a meeting for some in-person support?? These things could be really helpful. Meanwhile, ask all the questions you have here and folks will chime in and try to offer guidance and support. Do come back and let us know how it's going.... but first and foremost....let baby back on the breast as often as you both can/are interested in feeding!
good luck! Jsmom
Re: Is it too late?
I'm sorry you've had a difficult time with breastfeeding. I've heard from lactation consultants that it sometimes happens that a baby will latch well at birth, but then as things change with the shape and fullness of the breast after a couple days (either from milk "coming in" or from swelling due to IV fluids during labor), the baby may have trouble latching.
It's wonderful that you have been pumping milk for your baby, and also that you have been providing her with enough formula to meet her need for calories while you two figure out this breastfeeding thing.
It is definitely not too late to get your baby back to the breast. I hope you will contact a LLL Leader in your area or an IBCLC (or perhaps both, as they can each offer different skills and types of support) for guidance. There are various things you can try, like a supplemental nursing system.
To bring your milk supply up to meet your baby's needs with 100% breastmilk, you probably will need to increase the frequency of your pumping. A newborn eats about 10 times a day, so if she isn't nursing at all, you would probably need to pump about that often, including a couple times at night, to send your body the message to crank up production.
However, if you can get her to start nursing, then you may not need to pump as often, and certainly a nursing baby is more effective than any pump at stimulating milk production. Since you already feel overwhelmed with the pumping you are doing, it may be wiser to just continue with your current pumping schedule (so your supply doesn't decrease further) and focus extra effort on getting her back to the breast.
We have heard that keeping baby skin-to-skin as much as possible can really help a non-latching baby become familiar with momma, get the hormones going, and make the transition back to the breast much smoother. Spend as much time as you can with her in just a diaper, nestled between your breasts. It's also wonderful to take warm baths together (with an adult nearby for safety). Sometimes a non-latching baby will relax in the bath with mom and suddenly begin to nurse like she'd been doing it all along.
Let us know what your thoughts are and how things go with finding some local help from a Leader or an IBCLC.