I need help!
I'm new here, but I've read some of the entries, and it seemed like a good place to get some advice or at least vent. I gave birth on June 10 (due date of July 12) to a nice big seemingly healthy boy (6 lbs 6.3 oz). I had to have an emergency c-section because he was footling breech. Until my water broke, I had had a very easy low-risk pregnancy, no complications whatsoever. He was taken to the NICU immediately after the birth due to low temperature and blood pressure; my husband and I were successful in bringing him home after only one week, but the time there has created some difficulties I believe. They started supplementing him with formula almost immediately at the NICU. I was able to get him to latch though and put him to breast for nearly every feeding (always pumping after but never getting enough to avoid formula supplementation...he had strict requirements for feeding amounts). We've been home now for three weeks, and we're still supplementing (about an oz after every breastfeeding (every three hours) of either expressed milk or formula, usually 5-10 oz of formula/day). I'm seeing a lactation consultant fairly regularly, and we're not using a bottle (finger feeding and SNS). I'm so frustrated some days because it just seems like he's never going to catch on. He's started getting really fussy while latching and then not sucking or doing anything once on the breast. He was doing pretty well for the first 3-5 minutes on each breast (then falling asleep and taking lazy sucks while I compressed like crazy), but it seems like he's regressing. I just got some domperidone because I don't know what else to do to get my milk supply up. I had been taking More Milk and drinking Motherlove tea. I just feel as if I'm doing EVERYTHING and nothing is improving. Is there anyone out there with a situation like this? When can I expect him to wake up and get down to business? I've started having trouble getting a letdown during the post-feeding pumpings too. I just don't know how much more of this I can take. Exclusive breastfeeding seems like an impossible goal.
Re: I need help!
I don't have a lot of advice momma but I just wanted to offer some :hug:hug You sound frustrated. We have a lot of mommas on here who have successfully EBF thier preemies. Hopefully one of them will come along with some good advice. It sounds like to me you are taking the right steps right now. How often is your LO nursing? You said you are pumping after each feeding? how often is that? Hang in there- you can do this.
Re: I need help!
Hi mama! Congrats on your baby and getting him home!
Originally Posted by @llli*joppasmoot
First of all....totally not an impossible goal. You CAN do this. It just might take some effort to unwind some of the bad habits that NICU's can teach our babies!
It is pretty normal for early babies to have a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to learning the in's and out's of breastfeeding. It's almost like they've been set back a little, they get used to the bottles that they had in the NICU and they say it can generally take until around their due date for them to get it. My son and I were struggling to get things down and then seriously, within days of his due date, ta da! He magically stared latching like he was an old pro.
What I did in the meantime was kangaroo care, skin to skin, ALL THE TIME. I had him on my chest basically 24/7. I bathed with him, I wore him shirtless, when I was sitting there vegging he was on my chest, both of us shirtless. KC is super important in the bonding process and invaluable for establishing breastfeeding. Just give him every opportunity to be in the nursing environment that he can...he'll start to learn that's where the good stuff's at. :hug
When you do try and feed him, how is his latch? One thing that my son did that the nurses said was "typical" in early babes was sticking his tongue up on the roof of mouth. So when we would go to latch, we weren't getting a good one. I had to kind of pull down on his chin as he was latching and I could literally hear his tongue coming unglued from the roof of his mouth. Obviously it was much easier to work on nursing after we figured that out.
How many times a day do you pump and how long are you pumping? What kind of pump do you have? Were you able to get a good hospital grade? That can make all the difference in the world.
Other than that, it just took time and patience. You CAN do this mama. :hug:hug:hug
Re: I need help!
Thanks for responding! I try to do a lot of skin to skin these days. It was tougher at first because they sent us home with a biliblanket with an unwieldy fiber optic cable and an apnea monitor (he still has the monitor, but we've stopped using it because we're positive it's unnecessary). I have a medela pump in style that I use after every feeding (every 3 hours) for ~10 minutes. I do wonder about the efficacy since I generally don't get anything unless I use breast compression (and even then I only get ~10-20 mL). When I pump instead of breastfeeding (rare but sometimes I need to sleep!), I'm getting about 45-60 mL. Yesterday at my lactation consultation, he was able to get 75 mL from me after 40 min of breastfeeding (with constant stimulation: cold washcloths, blowing in the face, tickling the feet, breaks for burping, etc). I would love to eliminate the supplement, but I worry then he won't be getting enough. I know it's not helping my supply issue though. The LC gave us permission to lower the supplement amount to 15-20 mL (from 30-45), but I tried that a couple of times, and he was rooting and hungry after only 45 minutes had passed. His latch is generally ok IF I can get him to latch. He gets crazy with his hands sometimes and then the fussiness and refusal to suck. Today, my breasts don't feel as full as they have been and I'm terrified that the low supply is getting even worse. Anyway, thanks for responding so quickly; the support here is so awesome!
Re: I need help!
Is there a way that you could get a hospital grade pump? Where are you at? (in the US) I know generally with preemies a lot of insurance companies will cover it, or you can rent them from your hospital. I tried a PIS when I first came home (even though I also had a Medela Lactina from the hospital as well) and I got nothing from it. So I went back to using the Lactina exclusively.
I know you said you've been drinking the MM tea, but have you tried just plain fenugreek? you can get capsules in the store, but if you have a whole foods or something similar near you, they will sell the seeds for way cheaper and you can make your own tea or just eat them. I also took alfalfa and fennel (which can help with letdown). Here is a website that has some more info about low milk supply and galactagogues that can help you through until baby is nursing full time enough to keep your supply up. :hug:hug
Re: I need help!
The only other thing I would add is try to feed or pump every two hours if you can. BM digests in about 90 minutes so it is very common for babies to be hungry in about an hour and half or even 45 minutes depending on how much they eat.
Re: I need help!
My daughter was born at 34 weeks. At her 3 month WIC visit last week, she weighed 10lb6oz.
I had one heck of a time in the NICU. The Doctors at the inner-city hospital where Ky was born were a) not used to seeing a mom sit by her baby's side for 18 hours a day and b) not used to a mother who was bound and determined to exclusively breastfeed her preemie.
The doctors and even the lactation consultants there tried to discourage breastfeeding and instead push formula. I had one LC spend 30 minutes showing me how to bottlefeed my daughter while we were in the hospital. I left the hospital with over $100 worth of formula- which I am pleased to say was never opened.
Ky is now latching on exclusively. However, her first month and a half of life involved so much work, I can understand why many NICU moms quickly throw in the towel.
I would put her to breast, give her a bottle of my milk, then pump. I was lucky to get 45 minutes of sleep before I had to do it all over again. My breasts were bruised and my nipples so sore a cool breeze would be painful. I was fortunate enough to have access to a hospital grade pump through WIC. I also had my brother stay with us for three weeks after she came home from the hospital to help with an occasional feeding, cleaning, and cooking.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to not give up! Ignore any information from formula companies because it is cleverly designed to make breastfeeding fail. DO NOT GIVE UP!!!! I repeat, because it's so easy to get frustrated with exclusively breastfeeding a preemie. Even if baby has trouble latching on, I found it incredibly helpful for my milk supply to put her to breast at every feeding, regardless of how well she did on the breast. Also, talk with your lactation consultant or midwife frequently. If any medical professional tells you that exclusive breastfeeding won't be possible because _____ get a second or third opinion. Hold your little one as often as possible- that increases your supply and in my experience got Kyla latching more easily.
Hope sharing my experience was helpful.