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Thread: It's just driving me mad :'(

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default It's just driving me mad :'(


    I'm posting as this situation I'm in is absolutely driving me mad. My baby is 3 weeks old and I have given him bottle and breast, but then he stopped latching on and I turned to expressing and feeding him by bottle, my midwife just told me that if I carry on expressing the milk will soon dry out so I tried putting him back to the breast. My midwife came down yesterday and said if you want to do breast feeding you have to take the bottle off totally because hes getting confused. (but Ive already used the bottle twice since yesterday as he is just totally refusing breast and i really didnt want to use the bottle but had to)

    He's really praying up, I do the cross cradle hold and end up putting pressure on his neck/head to guide him to the breast and I think he gets really frustrated when I do this but otherwise he wont latch on, someimes he latches on now just very rarely and feeds well but all the other times, hes pulling away and starts screaming and I try for like a hour and sometimes 2 hours but he just wont feed of me and I end up crying so much, it's all my day revolves around trying to breastfeed and i cant get it right.

    I end up giving him the bottle

  2. #2

    Default Re: It's just driving me mad :'(

    Ok...first, try to stay calm.
    I have what may seem like a strange suggestion. But just try it because it really works for many people.
    After the next time he eats well, wait about 1 1/2 hours. Thats enough for him to be hungry but not starving. Then take off your shirt and lay on a bed or on a blanket on the floor and strip him down to his diaper and lay him on your belly with his head below your breast. Don't put him to your breast, don't try to force him to nurse. Just lay there skin to skin for a while and wait.
    Set a timer for an hour and just commit to laying there with him like that for an hour.
    What should happen- and what will likely happen- is that he will start to scoot up you and try to find the breast. Let him. Don't help him. Just let him do it himself. He should eventually find your nipple and latch on.
    The goal here is that you are trying to retrain him from the beginning- it's like going back and letting him try self-latching again "for the first time." If he can do it, then he may become easier to latch on when you are "helping" You might have to let him self-latch a few times before he starts getting it consistently, but it is so worth it once it "clicks" for him.
    Oh, and also if you pump exclusively your milk wont dry up as long as you do it frequently enough. I had a friend whose daughter was in NICU for two months and has poor muscle tone that made her unable to hold her head steady to breastfeed and my friend pumped exclusively and kept the baby exclusively breastfed for 6 months. She had to use a double pump electric though- we called it her "Robo bra" because she could just put it on and pump while she was walking around the house, doing chores, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: It's just driving me mad :'(

    Welcome and congratulations on the new baby. I am sorry you're having problems nursing him. This link covers getting a baby back to the breast: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html. In addition to the tips in the link, I would do the following:
    - Pump frequently using a high quality pump. If you must use a bottle, being able to fill it with milk means your supply will stay equal to your baby's needs. I agree with your midwife that just pumping can lead to reduced supply, but it's not something that will happen, just something that can happen if you don't do the hard work with the pump.
    -Make bottle-feeding as much like breastfeeding as possible. If you must give a bottle, do it in the following way: use a slow-flow nipple, and consider using a bottle nipple that is designed for breastfed babies (Breastflow and Adiri make nipples like these). Open your shirt, bring baby to the bare breast, and then tickle his lips with the bottle nipple until he opens wide. When his mouth is wide-open, let him have the bottle. Pause the feeding after every oz of milk, and keep the amount in the bottle to 2 oz or less. Big bottles can mean fewer nursing attempts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: It's just driving me mad :'(

    You may have a bit more luck if you first give a little (1-2 oz) milk by bottle, per Mommal's instructions above, and then try nursing? Sometimes babies get too frantic with hunger to do the work of latching on correctly. You want BOTH of you feeling as relaxed as possible. Also try giving your baby the breast when he's almost asleep or just waking up - drowsy babies often latch on better, again, before they get up and realize they're hungry and mad.

    Also try pumping a tiny bit, getting a nice letdown of milk, and letting the milk spray in your baby's mouth (you may have to massage your breasts while you're doing this). You want breastfeeding to be rewarding for him.

    It won't happen all in one day, but the more your baby latches on, the more he's being trained to latch on correctly, the more practice he's getting at the breast, and the more likely he will come back to the breast for good.

    You can do this. It's a bit rough in the beginning for a lot of mamas! You have to have patience, and trust in yourself, and just take it one day at a time.

    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: It's just driving me mad :'(

    What I did with DD2. Was got a nipple shield, cause that kind of tricked her a little bit into thinking it was the same as the bottle.

    Then again as was suggested I tried to start BEFORE she was too hungry, I would start with my breast, if she got too frantic I would give her a little bit of bottle, not a "full" feeding just enough to settle her out of the crying screaming franticness, then offer the breast again. She would scream, pull her hair out and all kinds of things. But, after pumping for 2 1/2 years for DD1 (by the way my supply was fine pumping only for DD1) I didn't want to have to go through all that again. Any way, I gave myself a week! I wanted to pull my hair out too and I cried a lot too, but I didn't go any where, didn't have any one over, etc for a week. I just worked on getting DD2 back to the breast fully. When hubby came home I would have him old her for a little while and I would try to destress-take a bath, or have some hot tea, etc. It was maddening but by the end of the week she had it and we never went back to bottles again. By the end of the second week we were able to get rid of the nipple shield too!

    I also sought out my local LLL group and started going there and talking to other bfing moms for support.

    If he has taken the breast before I think that is half the battle. Now just try not to use the bottle unless it's a last resort, and like I said it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can give him the bottle just long enough to get him into not crying and screaming and then give the breast again, and again...I had to go back and forth several times each feeding, till she would do it.

    The baths, and drowsiness, and skin to skin didn't seem to effect my DD's too much. I tried all those things and neither one made any difference in their wanting to breast feed. Funny enough though with my DS right now, all those things they say-bathtimes (some people say in the bath it's more like being back in the womb and sometimes you can get them to breast easier), skin to skin, rubbing cheek, etc all that he really responds to. In fact, bathtime to him means time to eat and eat and eat! lol My DD's just would look at me like I was nuts! lol hahaha

    Wife to
    Vincent since 2001
    SAHMommy to
    Lela 2006 EPed 2 1/2 Years
    ~Donavon & Jeremy~ 2009
    Belle 2010 Nursed over a year
    Raphael 2011 Nursing like a champ
    Raphael & Hubs

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    ~Heather's Prairie~

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    B.C., Canada

    Default Re: It's just driving me mad :'(

    Your issue sounds identical to the difficulties I had with getting my DD to latch on (she's now 1 1/2 months old). Don't despair; patience is valuable in this situation. Take each breastfeeding attempt as "practice". If it doesn't work out, then feel pleased that at least you and the baby practiced breastfeeding. Thinking in that manner helped me to maintain my sanity : ]

    Also, remember that the most important thing is that the baby receives your breastmilk, whether or not it's actually from the breast; the bottle still delivers that nutritious milk to the baby. So, having your baby on breastmilk is a huge plus, compared to mothers who are stuck feeding their baby with formula. So you're already a step ahead of the game.

    The fact that your baby has latched onto you in the past is very promising for the future. My baby similarly was latching sometimes in the beginning, but then went to nearly exclusively being bottle-fed, seeming to almost lose her ability to latch onto my breast. Try to bottlefeed followed by breastfeeding, rather than breastfeeding followed by bottling.

    If a mom breastfeeds then bottles, I think the baby learns exactly what we don't want them to learn: that they don't have to try hard or do anything during the breastfeeding-attempt because the bottle is coming soon. Oftentimes the bottle just seems to be so much easier to latch onto and drink from, compared to the breast; so, basically, breastfeeding followed by bottling seems to just teach the baby that sitting in front of your boob and doing nothing will get them the food in the delivery method they prefer: in a bottle. I think breastfeeding followed by bottling just isn't very effective for some babies, including mine.

    Some other valuable things that helped me:
    *Always remember that each chance the baby has to even attempt being at the breast (regardless of whether the baby latched or not) is still great practice! Try to always view it that way

    *Give the bottle first (just a small amount, milk about an ounce or two), then try to breastfeed.

    *Try transitioning (it’s optional, though): For the first few times (maybe for a day or two) try breastfeeding for only about 20 minutes maximum after having given a bit from the bottle. If the latching/feeding is not working out, then give the baby the bottle again in order to finish the feeding. This helps your baby to start associating positivity with breastfeeding.

    *After transitioning for a couple of days, go to the next phase: After a couple of days of doing bottle-breastfeed-bottle, begin to not give the bottle after the feeding. The baby will be very unlikely to cry for food if you gave a couple of ounces from the bottle at the start of the feeding. Honestly, don’t worry that your baby received too little food even though your baby only received an ounce or two. You can even skip the transition phase (bottle-breastfeed-bottle) actually; but you can do the transitioning if you are initially worried about giving too little food. I really found that, just as many people told me in the beginning, that babies will simply eat sooner the next time if they received only a little food at their previous meal. So, for example, if your baby normally eats every 3 hours when receiving a full feeding, the baby may be hungry again after 2 hours if they only took a couple of ounces from the bottle, attempted breastfeeding for 20 minutes, then got nothing else. Babies are just like adults in this manner: if we don’t eat much at a previous meal, we’ll simply be hungry sooner than usual. The baby won’t starve or get weak or anything like that. I was sooo seriously worried about this (and so was my husband) at first. But our baby simply wanted to eat sooner than usual the next time. The hospital nurses and Occupational Therapists at the hospital all advised me to do this, and to not worry at all, and they were completely right.

    *When you try to give your baby your nipple, it is helpful to try to express some milk while trying to help the baby latch on. The milk from your breast can help get your baby interested in your nipple, so your baby may latch on.

    *If you get a letdown while expressing your milk during your latching on practice, try to refrain from forcing your nipple into the baby’s mouth in an attempt to get the baby to “catch” the milk spray. This may frustrate the baby as you will likely be frantic trying to shove your spraying nipple in their face. It’s okay if your milk doesn’t all make into your baby. My main point: keep the experience positive. If you can get some letdown spray into your baby’s mouth, then, that’s great. If not, then there’s no need to force it.

    *When breastfeeding, try to refrain from holding the baby’s head like a baseball: with your entire palm on the back of the baby’s head. Perhaps this is not what you do anyway, which is great. But if you do, then you can imagine that this will result in a negative eating experience. Doing so to babies usually results in them trying to pull back, away from the breast, because of the force/pressure being exerted on the back of their head. It’s a natural reaction that even adults do when someone else is pushing their head forward; we recoil and try to push back. This results in a struggle between the mother and the baby: mother pushing baby’s head forward towards the nipple, while baby pulls his/her head back away from the nipple.

    *Instead of focusing on putting the baby’s face on the breast, just try to focus on supporting the baby’s back, neck and head equally. I find that if I’m feeding on the right breast, I’ll have DD’s head supported in the crook of my arm (in my elbow, basically) with my hand on her bum. It’s a very relaxed and natural position. Here’s a pic:


    Or, to get the initial latch, I may start off holding her similar to the following pic:
    (Notice how the lady isn't grasping the baby's head like a baseball, but rather, she's lightly placing her hand behind the baby's head as a support so that the head simply doesn't fall. In this picture she's using two arms to hold the baby. I just use one hand to hold the baby, that same arm supporting the baby's body, so that the other hand and arm are free to help guide the nipple into the baby's mouth.)

    Once she’s latched on, though, I switch my arms so that I have her in the first position I mentioned: her head in the crook of my elbow, my hand on her bum.

    *Either way, here's how I help guide my nipple into my baby's mouth: I bring her lips to my nipple while using my free hand to form the nipple into a rocket-shape (I use my index finger and middle finger to do this by placing my index finger on one side of the areola, and the middle finger on the other side; then I press those two fingers into my breast). The triangle/rocket-shaped nipple helps the baby latch on by giving the baby a nice, big mouthful of breast to latch onto. Here’s a pic that gives the idea:
    (This picture shows the mom with her hand underneath the breast; I don't do that because it's too awkward with the baby in the way. I approach from the top. Also, I don't use all of my fingers to accomplish this, the way they do in the pic. I just use my index finger and middle finger.)

    Once I have the nipple in a triangle shape, I do the following step…

    *Lightly run the nipple on the baby’s face starting from the nose down to the mouth in a direct line. If you do this, it can help stimulate your baby to open their mouth.

    *Try—and I emphasize the word “try” cuz it’s not always possible and shouldn’t be forced—to only put your nipple (or the bottle) into your baby’s mouth once the baby is open wide, almost as if they are yawning. That’s a general guideline. My baby rarely ever opened wide as if she were yawning. As long as the baby isn’t slurping your nipple (or the bottle) into his/her mouth the same way you’d slurp a spaghetti noodle into your mouth, then it’s alright. This will help the baby get a good latch, so the baby will be likely to get milk from the breast when sucking, rather than the baby sucking and not getting much if anything from the breast due to a poor/improper latch.

    *A key for me was learning to catch my baby before she was too hungry. As a new mom, this took some time to learn, but definitely look for your baby’s hunger signs, such as rooting, licking lips, sucking on their hand (or on anything available! lol). Or even just be watchful of the time. If it’s nearly time to feed your baby again, but the baby’s not necessarily asking for food yet, then you can go ahead and try to feed your baby anyway. Your baby will likely not be crying yet, but have an empty stomach. When you can catch your baby early enough, you can even try breastfeeding first (before the ounce or two of bottlemilk). Again, offer the breast while expressing some milk (whenever I mention expressing, I’m talking about hand expression, not pumping). If the baby doesn’t latch on, then do the usual routine by giving the bottle followed by another breastfeeding attempt.

    *This website gave me several breastfeeding ideas: http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/

    I hope my experience helps you in some way. Take care.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    B.C., Canada

    Default Re: It's just driving me mad :'(

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*trd View Post
    I hope my experience helps you in some way. Take care.

    I'm not sure why I put "P.S." at the ending on my previous comment. Lol. Just ignore it

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