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Thread: Struggling to BF exclusively

  1. #1

    Default Struggling to BF exclusively

    Hi, I have been supplementing my 7 week old using a bottle almost daily since he was about 3 weeks old as I have low milk supply (I can only pump about an ounce an hour). My supply dropped in the first week as my son was not nursing well most likely due to the drugs given for a c-section I had (and I did not know to pump then). I believe I can increase my supply if he nursed effectively, however he always falls asleep at the breast or gets frustrated a few minutes into nursing (I'm sure due to flow preference). I have tried SNS and Lact-aid in lieu of the bottle (in addition to finger feeding, syringe, eye dropper, etc), but baby still falls asleep and does not get enough. Is it too late to "teach" him to latch correctly and nurse effectively? The challenge I face is that he has flow preference and my low supply does not help. The bright side is that he always takes the breast (I think he prefers it over the bottle) but obviously eats better with the bottle and gives me peace of mind that his nutritional needs are being met. Lately I feel like throwing in the towel and come closer to accepting that I may have to pump exclusively, but I can't get myself to give up on the possibility of BF exclusively. Everyday is frustrating and the feeding process is exhausting (can take more than an hour at times). What can I do? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Struggling to BF exclusively

    What makes you think baby isn't getting enough?

    An ounce an hour is actually normal milk supply.

    EPing stinks. Don't do it unless you HAVE to.

    Have you seen an IBCLC for hands on help?
    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!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: Struggling to BF exclusively

    I don't see anything from what you describe that makes me think you can't breastfeed in the long term. But you could use some hands on help. I would recommend contacting an LC, preferably an IBCLC. Hands on help at this point can make ALL the difference! You can do this! :givbes

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Struggling to BF exclusively

    w/pp. I have a 9mo DS who had LOTS of trouble at first, he too ALWAYS fell asleep while BFing, he had a VERY weak suck and wasnt able to remove the milk effectively, causing me supply to drop After getting some help from my FABULOUSE local LLL leader, supplements, pumping, pumping,and more pumping,lots of tears, paitence (w/myself) and putting DS to the breast (he too prefered boob) as often as he would take it, he finally got it all figured out and my supply issues are no more! He has been EBFing since 6mo and growing GREAT.
    So I just wanted you to know your not alone and YES YES YES you can do it!
    Also for the first 2mo or so of pumping I was only getting about .5-1oz every 2 hours The better/more he BF the better my supply got
    Good luck momma your at the right place for some great support/help

    Im Jenn
    Mamma To:
    Kelsey BF 3 months
    Kenneth BF 3 months
    Blaze BF 3.5 years (tandem)
    Bristol BF 3.5 years (tandem)
    Raiden BF 15months & counting


    In need of some


  5. #5

    Default Re: Struggling to BF exclusively

    Thank you for your responses and the encouragement! As a new mom, it's hard not be so hard on oneself. I saw a LC when DS was 3 weeks who said I may have low milk supply which is why baby falls asleep. Pumping only an ounce an hour convinced me it's true (especially when I hear and read about moms who can pump +5 ozs - lucky them!) Raidensmama - That is exactly what I'm going through - DS who has a weak suck and pumping after almost every feeding to empty breasts which DS does not do, many many tears, and it is so great to hear you persevered and are now EBF - what a feat!

    Can I still use a bottle to supplement or is this interfering w/ any chance of EBF? DS consistently only gets 1 - 1.5 ozs from BF over 20 minutes (based on LCs weighing him before and after feeding) so supplementing (at least 2 ounces) seems necessary.

    What makes it more difficult is that lately DS usually won't take a bottle after BF even though he's still hungry so I feel it has to be either breast or bottle and with the latter he gets more (and #1 rule is feed the baby). There were a few days I have tried nursing him more frequently (at least 12 times a day) but this becomes very overwhelming as it can take over an hour per feeding as mentioned earlier, then pumping, supplementing, burping, cleaning parts can take another hour then next thing I know I'm into the next feeding session. I don't know how I've managed to maintain my sanity but it's definitely been tested.

    Glad to know I'm not alone and thank you again for providing me a glimmer of hope!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Struggling to BF exclusively

    can you get a supply line so he is getting extra milk as he is feeding from your breast?

    i found the hardest time was weaning from the pump, and onto full breastfeeds. it's so confusing to know when to pump and when to feed, without compromising either.

    prem babes are exhausted! the have endured birth (often with c-secs and drugs), heaps of medical intervention (think pain, trauma and lack of sleep) and they are often low on iron which makes one even more tired. then, to top it off, getting a feed is a work out!

    if i were you i would think about your timing with pumping and breastfeeding to make things easier for bub when on the breast. if he is gettig frustrated at the beginning of a feed, perhaps pump until the first letdown starts, then put him on (save hims a bit of work) .. and persist! you can do this. be patient with yourself and your bubba x
    Breast is not best ~ it's the only first baby food

    If breastfeeding offends, you are staring too hard

  7. #7

    Default Re: Struggling to BF exclusively

    Have you tried switch nursing? That is, taking him off the breast as soon as he starts to fall asleep and switch to the other side, switching back to the first side when he slows down again, repeating as often as necessary. Sometimes that will keep a sleepy baby interested a little longer.

    Breast compressions are sometimes helpful too.

    It sounds like a really frustrating situation. But if he prefers the breast over the bottle (heck, if he takes the breast at all!), that's a very hopeful sign! It'll get better.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Struggling to BF exclusively

    I have tried a supply line but the problem is DS does not suck effectively so he gets very little milk even from the tube. I have tried switch nursing but baby falls asleep and/or spits up during the switch. I think he's become desensitized to the different methods used to keep him awake (wet washcloth, tickling his feet, etc). Yeah, it's a major struggle. .
    I spoke to a LC today who said I should see a pediatric occupational therapist who might be able to help strengthen his suckling through orthodontic exercises or something like that. I'll let you know how that turns out. Thanks for your replies!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Brussels, Belgium

    Default Re: Struggling to BF exclusively

    And how many wet/soiled nappies is he making per day? Those are the general standards for know if LO is getting enough. Do you use a soother? Also remember that you can measure LO's supplemental milk and then give it in a cup so his inborn need to suck is only satisfied by going to the breast.

    It sounds alright to me that he takes his time at the breast, and quite normal to make a lot of milk while your body tunes in to how much this baby needs. My DD just had a lot of need to nurse and did so at least once an hour for months. Your breasts don't 'know' if you're nursing twins or a singleton, they 'figure it out' gradually over a couple months. It sounds alright to me that he wants to bf a lot and eats slowly with relish like a gourmand at his meals. The wet/soiled nappies in a log would tell me if he's getting enough on an everyday basis. Remember one soil is the size of an OK gesture with your thumb and forefinger.

    It sounds like your LC isn't an IBCLC. I taught a few things to the LC at the major university research hospital next door. A hospital LC is often just the person who knows the most about bfing but is not necessarily equipped with specialist knowledge, or did a particular course of study/internship. An IBCLC is one who's done that. Check out LLLKaren's signature line. Or how about calling a LLL Leader?
    Katharine in Belgium
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    DD2 Feb 2015 - natural birth VBAC with DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Struggling to BF exclusively

    He produces 5 to 8 wet diapers but only 1 qualifying stool (at least a quarter size) so at least I know he's not dehydrated. But his stool output, or lack thereof is concerning and thus the need to supplement (then he's pooping about 4 - 5 times a day). I have been working with hospital LCs since he was 3 weeks and I'm still in the same situation. As he gets older he is starting to lose some of his baby instincts, ie, opening his mouth when nipple touches his cheek or lip. He sometimes forgets how to take the nipple in. His tounge gets in the way and it's frustrating for him and me. I do plan to make it to my next local LLL meeting and am hopeful that I can find some good help.

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