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Thread: Going backwards and am so discouraged

  1. #1

    Default Going backwards and am so discouraged

    Hi All,

    I gave birth to a 31 week old on Jan 6th. He weighed 3lbs 9oz and was in the NICU for 4 weeks. We were able to start nursing the week or so before discharge and things were great. However, it has been a roller coaster since then. He now weighs 7lbs 10oz and I have been breastfeeding exclusively since we have been home the last 7 weeks However, I am in incredible pain and I am worried he is no longer getting enough. I have only given an occasional bottle of EBM but his suck has completely changed. He seems to chomp down on the breast and despite support from lactation consultants I can't seem to correct the problem. He also seems less content after feedings. Pediatrician said last weight gain was the lowest allowable (5oz in 11 days) and I am so stressed. I am so proud that this baby has had nothing but breastmilk so far but I am afraid I am losing the battle. I am trying to pump in between but am lucky to get an ounce at a time. In addition the little guy has some reflux/GI issues we are dealing with.
    My nipples are raw and blistered and I am afraid I might have to give him bottles for a while (I have some frozen EBM). But my biggest fear is that our nursing relationship is ending. I am in so much pain and have so much anxiety as feeding time approaches. I feel so defeated. I don't know how I should proceed and I am beyond exhausted. How do I know when to to let this go? How will I adjust if this happens without feeling like I somehow failed? In addition, I have Crohn's disease and my family, while supportive, is worried about my health and thinks I need to be proud of the 11 weeks of breastmilk he received and move on to formula. Thank you for any advice and support you can provide.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    18,063

    Default Re: Going backwards and am so discouraged

    hang in there.. it sounds like you've got a few diffent things going on.
    Have you talked with your local LLL leader? She might be able to help you sort out whats going on beter then we can on line.
    You can find her in the gray bar at the top where it says find local support.
    Pick usa and then your state.
    Lots of leaders don't have any experance helping a mom with a premie so call around and find one that does.

    the pain and cracked nipples makes me wonder if you don't have a case of thrush?
    are the cracks something new or have you had them all along with pumping?

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/thrush/index.html

  3. #3

    Default Re: Going backwards and am so discouraged

    Thanks for your message. Pediatrician checked yesterday and said it isn't thrush. I have had cracked nipples on and off but this is the worst it has been. I do get a bit of a break when I pump in the lowest setting. I have met with my local la leche person. She is great but thinks there is something going on inside baby's mouth with tongue positioning and thinks he might have to "grown out of it." I have tried finger exercises on his tongue but don't see a difference.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    18,063

    Default Re: Going backwards and am so discouraged

    grown out of breastfeeding..?

    That a new one for me.
    Glad your talking with a leader thats good.
    Anyways keep at it.

    what are you putting on your nipples for the cracks?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Going backwards and am so discouraged


  6. #6

    Default Re: Going backwards and am so discouraged

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*andrea.wolford View Post
    grown out of breastfeeding..?

    That a new one for me.
    Glad your talking with a leader thats good.
    Anyways keep at it.

    what are you putting on your nipples for the cracks?
    She said he might have to grow out of this tongue issue and just figure it out in time. I just don't know how much time I have left. I am using Lansinoh.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,081

    Default Re: Going backwards and am so discouraged

    Hi Mama,

    Did the lactation consultant check his latch? Is he extending his tongue out when he latches on and opening his mouth wide? Did the lactation consultant check your nipples?

    I have used Magic Nipple Cream on sore nipples and it is amazing. I would ask the lactation consultant or your OB for a prescription for some. It was expensive, but worth it as it heals so quickly.

    If you want to continue breastfeeding, I would set up a few more appointments with a lactation consultant. Sometimes with preemies, they have such small mouths that a nipple shield can help them latch on and they can also help your nipples heal...talk to your lactation consultant and see if she feels that could help.

    My son was born at 29.6wks and was not exclusively breastfeeding until he was close to 4 months (actual), but we persisted and I'm happy to say he's still nursing a few times a day at 26 months! You can do this mama, you and your little one have come so far already! I wouldn't worry about pumping 1 oz...if you're mostly nursing him, pumping even 1 oz in between nursing sessions is great. Make sure the flange for your pump is big enough - your nipple shouldn't rub on it when you're pumping. As far as tongue issues - my son never latched on completely correctly - there was several specialists who thought he was tongue-tied and several who thought he wasn't, so we didn't do anything about it. But, either way, he didn't use his tongue correctly and he ended up having difficulty drinking from sippy cups (and he struggled with bottles in the NICU too) and has only recently been more successful with sippy cups. We did some brief feeding therapy for it but I wish we would have done more. Depending on how things go with your lactation consultant, and how his latch continues, you may want to look into feeding therapy, or at least having an Occupational Therapist evaluate him (like from your state's Early Intervention service).

    Let me know if you have any other questions and how things go!
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


  8. #8

    Default Re: Going backwards and am so discouraged

    Thank you for these great suggestions. I have a new outlook - even if I have to supplement for a bit I am determined to figure this out and continue breastfeeding.
    The LC said his latch is good. We are just unsure about his tongue movement inside. I was discouraged by the pediatrician to attend my local La Leche meetings due to baby's preemie status but I think the benefits might outweigh the risks especially since he is now 12 weeks old.

    Thanks also about the OT/EI suggestion. I hope things improve as he gets older.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Going backwards and am so discouraged

    I just learned that my little guy also has a high palate and my be the cause of my pain. Why does this make nursing so much harder? Is there anything that can be done to help?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    18,063

    Default Re: Going backwards and am so discouraged

    awe see something was going on that you couldn't see...

    how are your nipples now are you seeing any healing?
    Hows the pumping going?

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