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Thread: Feel like I am doing everything wrong...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    British Columbia

    Default Feel like I am doing everything wrong...


    This is a long one...

    The second love of my life (after my husband) was born October 13, a day early. Right off the bat, he had issues latching and didn't eat a thing for the first 12 hours of his little life. That night nurse came in, took one look at my nipples and told me they were inverted and he wasn't strong enough to nurse on them. I started using a nipple shield under her guidance and things seemed to starting trucking along well. We got him home and my milk came in quickly (I never got engorged) and things seemed to be going really well (he was back up to his birth weight in the first week!) although he was super sleepy during the day and would have to be woken up for feedings. Things shifted pretty quickly one night (he was about 3 days old) when he began feeding for sometimes an hour at a time and couldn't be settled afterward. After hours of this one night, my husband and I gave him a pacifier as it seemed he was nursing for comfort and I felt I was becoming a human pacifier. This worked tremendously well and he continued waking up regularly for feedings so I thought we at least had a good tool so I could get a little sleep.

    After he was 8 days old I noticed my right breast seemed soft and empty and looked considerably smaller than the left. He started getting fussy at that side and now will only nurse on that side a few minutes before dropping off (even with breast compressions). My left seems to be fuller and he will nurse on that side (sometimes for 45 minutes to an hour) willingly. However, even after long periods of active nursing, he will fall asleep at the breatst and once he wakes up he will scream and frantically root around as if he hasn't eaten in hours!! We took him to the clinic yesterday and he has lost weight which just breaks my heart. The nurse suggested that I TRY nursing him on the right, then give him the left and pump the right supplementing him with that milk as necessary. He still seems unsatisfied after nursing on the left (as I said even if he "actively" nurses for 45 mintues) and I find I am having to supplement him at every feed to get him to calm down enough to allow me to soothe him or he will be up for 3-4 hours at a time screaming! Adding to my frustration is that he won't accept a syringe or cup feeding so we have been giving him a bottle and he still occasionally needs his paci to soothe. My nipples are cracked and sore and I know his latch is not great even after several consultations with an LC and continued use of a nipple shield.

    I feel like a complete failure. I can't soothe my baby with my breast or anything else but expressed milk in a bottle. I feel like I am not trying hard enough and I can't stop crying (which I know the stress is not helping the situation at all). We are using both a bottle and a paci and he is not even two weeks old yet. What am I missing??? I have not been supplementing with formula but I feel so close to giving up. Every time he wakes up I feel dread in the pit of my stomach because I wonder "will he get enough breast milk" "will he be satisfied enough to sleep"...Help

  2. #2

    Default Re: Feel like I am doing everything wron

    Freddiemama, I registered for a username just so I could reply to you. I don't have any great advice for you, but wanted to offer my support and say hang in there. My son was born on Oct. 6 and we have been struggling with breastfeeding from the start. We've just kept at it and are getting better every day. Don't beat yourself up -- it's not your fault! I too was feeling like a failure, but a lactation consultant pointed out that nursing is a team effort, and it's not just me involved. Sometimes the baby just has to get a little bigger and more practiced at latching on properly.

    The main thing is, you're getting your baby breast milk. I pump all the time; just to give my nipples and myself a break. Don't beat yourself up! Whether it's from your breast or the bottle, you're doing a great thing by giving your baby breast milk. And if it doesn't work out in the end, it doesn't work out. Your baby won't starve, even if you have to resort to formula. Hang in there and enjoy your baby.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Feel like I am doing everything wron

    Hey Freddiemama,

    Like the previous poster, I too registered for a user name just so I could reply to you. The title of your posting really caught my eye, because I too felt like I was doing everything wrong in the weeks following my son's birth. I don't have any specific advice for you other than to hang in there and keep trying... and also don't beat yourself up too much about it. My son was born on September 12, and we got off to a rocky start while in the hospital. He wouldn't latch correctly, and within hours I had cracked and bleeding nipples. The nurse had me start pumping right away and we fed him colostrum with a syringe. The problems we faced were due to my flat nipples, and my son's slight tongue tie. I was also given a nipple shield in the hospital, but his latch wasn't any better with that. And he would scream and cry whenever I tried to breastfeed him. On top of that, DS had slight jaundice so we were told to supplement with formula upon leaving the hospital. We started feeding that to him along with my pumped colostrum via bottle (big mistake).

    Once we were home from the hospital, we saw a lactation consultant when DS was 4 days old. She set us up with an SNS tube feeding system to use instead of the bottles. DS refused to use that attached to my nipple, and we always ended up having to finger feed him using the SNS instead. Which took upwards of 45 minutes per feeding, just to get 1-2 oz into him. It was beyond frustrating and ridiculous, and finally my husband and I gave up and went back to bottles.

    We made an appointment to have DS's tongue tie looked at, but the ENT was on vacation so we didn't even get DS's tongue clipped until he was 3.5 weeks old. And during all of that time leading up to the appointment, I got more and more discouraged with each attempt to breastfeed, and it got to a point where I wasn't even trying anymore. I would try maybe 1-2 times a week, for about a minute before giving him the bottle. He would scream bloody murder and twist away any time I offered him my breast. I cried and cried each time... I hated the rejection.

    After his tongue tie was corrected, I tried to feed him the instant we got home from the appointment, but it was the same old story - DS refusing to nurse. But I kept trying over the next few days. I also went back to see another lactation consultant, and attended my first LLL meeting where I met some wonderful and helpful ladies. They didn't really offer me any new information on how to get DS to latch, but they encouraged me and made me feel like it wasn't a completely hopeless situation.

    I am happy to say that FINALLY last week (DS is now 6 weeks old), I got him to nurse with the nipple shield! I have to say, I really can't stand having to use that thing... it's so messy and difficult and he still pinches my nipple half the time.. but at least he is finally nursing! It started with 1 or 2 feedings last Thursday, then the next day I did it a few more times, and by Sunday I even got brave enough to nurse him for his nighttime feedings instead of relying on the bottles. He has not had a bottle since Friday night, and I have only pumped once each morning since then (to build a freezer stash). AND... today I actually got him to nurse for 25 minutes on one side on my bare nipple - no shield!! He refused it the next feeding, but at least now that he's accepted my nipple once, I know there is hope of weaning him off the shield eventually. It gives me the motivation to keep trying.

    Anyway... sorry for the super long story. I just wanted you to know that even if you feel you've done everything wrong, you still have lots of time to work on the problems and establish a breastfeeding relationship. I felt like a total failure just like you do... but you're not a failure! You are doing your best. You'll get through this.. don't give up!
    Last edited by @llli*FujiApple; October 25th, 2011 at 05:30 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Dallas, TX

    Default Re: Feel like I am doing everything wron

    This sounds like me 6 weeks ago. And I can totally relate to dreading the feedings. My DD was doing the same thing, falling asleep at the breast and seemingly waking up hungry. We discovered a milk transfer issue due to a combination of factors.

    Did your LC weigh your DS to see how much milk he was able to transfer in a feeding? Mine was only able to transfer an ounce after 45 minutes, and that's how we knew there was an issue. Has he been checked for tongue tie? I'm sure others will chime in with more questions and advice; meanwhile, hang in there. It will get better! I never thought it would for me, and as everyone said, it finally did! You are doing a great job and have come to the right place for support!!

    Mom to Aimee, born 8/22/11
    for 20 months!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Feel like I am doing everything wron

    Welcome, mama. 5.5 years ago I was more or less in your shoes- baby wasn't gaining, I had awful cracks, and I was using bottles and quite a lot of (gasp!) formula to feed my baby because she was unable to get enough from me. Every nursing session was stressful, I was crying all the time, and I was exhausted because I was either nursing, pumping, bottle-feeding, or washing bottles all day long. I felt like a total failure as a mom and as a woman.

    Well, guess what? Eventually things got better. I was able to ditch the bottles and the formula and just nurse, and the cracks healed, and the baby grew. I went on to nurse that baby for 3 years, and while the first 6 months were the hardest 6 months of my life, they also helped make me a better mom and a better person.

    So that's my pep talk for you. It gets better, I swear!!!!

    It sounds like you actually got some pretty good advice. Pumping is exhausting, but if there is something that's not right about your baby's latch, pumping is going to keep your milk supply going and enable you to have a 100% breastfed baby even if you do have to use some bottles. Yes, bottles are not recommended for babies this age, particularly ones who have trouble nursing... But you do what you have to do. Nipple confusion is a possibility, but not an inevitability. Keep the baby on the breast as much as possible and he should retain his willingness to nurse.

    Some practical suggestions:
    - Moist healing. Keep the cracks slathered in lanolin, keep the humidity in your house high (hard in winter, I know!).
    - Use a mix of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment on your nipples to combat inflammation and infection. Use a pea-sized amount, mixed and applied using a clean finger. Does not need to be washed off prior to nursing.
    - Go topless/braless as much as possible. No need to chafe already sore nipples!
    - Work on the latch! Keep going to the LC- is she an IBCLC?- and keep trying to perfect the latch.
    - Make sure the LC and pediatrician checks the baby for tongue tie.
    - Give it time. Your baby will grow and his mouth will grow, and as that happens his latch will improve even if you do nothing.
    - Pump. I strongly suggest using a hospital-grade pump and pumping every 2 hours during the day, and every 3 hours at night.
    - Instead of doing a zillion washing-ups a day, leave a big basin of soapy water by the sink and throw used bottles and pump parts in there, so that you need only do one or two big washing sessions. I personally found that less taxing.
    - You do not need to wash the pump every time you use it. Just leave it screwed onto the most recent bottle and throw the whole thing in the fridge. When it's time to pump again, you can pump new milk on top of the old. My LC said it was safe to do this one time before washing everything again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Feel like I am doing everything wron

    I would suggest ditching the bottle, and giving supplements at the breast via an SNS.

    But you may also have some latch issues going on with that. Hands on help is best for that, but where are they cracked? Tip or base?

    Thrush can also be this painful and cause what looks like nipple trauma. Also tongue tie can make baby's latch bad and cause trauma to you.

    Keep practicing!! If you quit and opt to EP, it's a lot more work. I EP out of necessity, and I would much rather nurse. But if you try, the chances are good you will overcome this.

    And you won't like this...but the pacifier can contribute to a bad latch by teaching baby to suck poorly. You may want to take it away.

    I have so BTDT. My first baby... He didn't want to nurse. He preferred bottles, which he had had one while I was in emergency surgery following transfer to the hospital after his birth. I pumped myself right into an oversupply, and I had a very fast letdown. But some time and encouragement, and I nursed that kid for a couple years. You will get there. Don't give up!
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Default Re: Feel like I am doing everything wron

    As with many of the PP I have been in your shoes. We had tongue tie, tongue confusion (DS always put his tongue to the roof of his mouth), and thrush all by 3 weeks in. I thought that I was a failure. It does get better. As he gets bigger and his mouth gets bigger he will get a better deeper latch, nursing is a team effort it is not just you that has to do everything your LO needs to practice as well. I found that going to a local meeting helped, not necessarily with new information but with support. Sometimes we just need a little cheer-leading.

    You are NOT a failure and you are doing your best. Hang in there.
    I am Klisti, I married my best friend Kris two years ago.

    The love of my life, Wyatt 8-28-11 AKA the little dude

  8. #8

    Default Re: Feel like I am doing everything wron

    I'm right there with you.... my baby girl was born Oct 14th and we have been struggling with latching, inverted nipples, frustration, guilt, crying constantly, etc for 2 weeks. I feel like giving up but know in the long run I'll regret it. All I was taught about breastfeeding before giving birth made it look so easy and natural, I had no idea how difficult this would be. "Aren't our miraculous bodies designed for success in this area? It must be my fault somehow. I must be a deficient mother..." Reading your post and all the responses has helped me feel not so much like its all my fault. Its ok to be frustrated. Its ok to cry. Its ok to supplement with formula (gasp!) to make sure our babies grow and are healthy. Its ok to do so with a bottle (double gasp!) We have to be patient with ourselves and our babies. I don't know about you, but I have to lower my perfectionist expectations of how mothering should be.
    Some practical advice for sore nipples that someone gave me: cabbage leaves. I am in this moment typing with one hand, holding my baby with the other, and enjoying the cooling soothing relief of having cabbage leaves stuffed into my nursing bra. No, this is not what I imagined motherhood would be like, but it is perfectly imperfect and I'm eternally grateful.

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