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Thread: Is BF at 7 wks possible?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Default Is BF at 7 wks possible?

    Hey, everybody. I'm new here. My baby boy is nearly 7 weeks old and I figure, to get started, I'll post a little preface of what happened during his first little bit of life:

    So, Sol was born really without a hitch. I was induced because I was very late, and he came out no problem. I wanted to do a water birth, but they don't have the equipment necessary for that at the hospital, so I did what I could. I gave birth, and the usual, medical routines happened; he was taken from me, dressed up, left (odd, I thought, this part) without a bath of any sort with his birth-canal fluids all over him, and was allowed to cuddle with me for a while. Anyway ...

    He wasn't hungry at ALL when he popped out. Everyone at the hospital touched his cheek and he had no craving whatsoever to feed. So, when he was done with everyone holding him, he came back to me and we snuggled. Anyway, 6am (about 12 hours later) rolls around and he's still not overly hungry. A crazy nurse comes in and tells me I am doing skin to skin wrong with him, that he needs to be this way, and that way, and that if I don't feed him soon he will DIE. So, naturally, I get upset and that's when it all sort of started to devolve.

    I have flat, nearly inverted nipples. Wearing the nipple shields really didn't help me. I was berated by the nurse (whom I later dismissed), who tried to yank my boob off in order to shove it into my child's mouth while she vicegripped his head and nearly tore one of his ears with her hand. I was sobbing because she told me I was starving my child and that if something went wrong it would be all my fault. I had demanded a lactation consultant the moment I got into the hospital, but they had all left for the day (it was after 6pm when he was born); so I had to wait until well into the next day to be seen.

    The lactation consultant comes in and she really doesn't do much to help me; she gets my son on my boob, chats with me for a while, and after a half hour of him nursing, he's done and so is she. I try, and I try, and I just can't seem to do as well as she did, getting Sol on my boob and, finally, because he started lacking wet and dirty diapers, I gave him a little formula, after being begged by a nurse to feed him.

    This is where it all began - my traumatic experience with trying to breast feed. So, I've been pumping for the last 6 weeks of his life and feeding him with slow flow nipples. We've battled a hospital stay due to jaundice that the hospital I gave birth at let him go home with, constipation, colic, you name it. I am just so severely, severely depressed because I can not put this baby up to my nipple to latch. did I mention, like his mother and his father, that he also has a short tongue that probably should have been clipped when he was born? His tongue makes it VERY hard to nurse and in fact, sometimes it's even hard to get a pacifier or bottle nipple into his mouth because he can not work his tongue around it. I tried cup feeding him as was suggested and he could not lap up anything with his tongue because he couldn't get his tongue to work.

    For the too long didn't read version:
    So, basically, my problem here is that my child has a short tongue, I have flat, and nearly inverted nipples, he is 7 weeks old and has been fed expressed milk from the time he was 1 week old. Every week my milk flow has been decreasing in volume and despite my sometimes getting him to latch, it's a trial and is more depressing effort than it is worth to me. He has, in the past week, latched all of 2 times, but for less than 10 minutes a piece. Also, he will only ever go on one side; for some reason he HATES my right boob.

    I also do not have a car always available to go see a consultant or to go to the LLL around here. Nor do I have the money really readily available at the moment to invest in a supplementation device, (or anything) which is another problem as well: if there is no milk at my nipple, even if I do get it to pop out, Sol screams, kicks, punches, and gets purely unruly.

    Any help with this would be great. I really, really want to breastfeed him, I just don't have the resources, and I've tried everything I have read and can think of.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Is BF at 7 wks possible?

    A short tongue? Is he tongue tied? You can have that clipped and it should help you guys a lot. It may be work getting him back to the breast, but not impossible.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Is BF at 7 wks possible?

    Visit an ENT and see about having a possible tongue tie clipped.

    There are some GOOD reasons to not bathe a newborn. Current research shows that it helps with bonding and breastfeeding. The vernix is also protective against the harsh, dry environment of the world. A bath in the first fee hours is not needed.
    Susan
    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!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Is BF at 7 wks possible?

    Yeah, I'm actually that they didn't bathe the baby! That's a step in the right direction on the hospital's part. Most mamas have to fight to keep their babies from being scrubbed. All the average baby really needs, bath-wise, is a dab here and there with a washcloth to get off anything particularly icky, like blood or meconium.

    But I digress.

    It sounds like your real issues are:
    1. The short tongue
    2. The flat/inverted nipples
    3. The baby's reluctance to latch
    4. The decrease in milk volume
    These are all treatable problems.

    You definitely want to see an ENT and discuss your baby's tongue. Now I know from experience that babies can have short tongues without being tongue-tied (my first daughter was like this), but you want to make absolutely sure that the issue is not tongue-tie. If it's not, and there's nothing to clip, be patient! Babies mouths and tongues grow, and as they do, they become better able to latch on without causing pain.

    Flat/inverted nipples are a problem, especially when nursing a tongue-tied or short-tongued baby. (Again, I know from experience!). The good news is that flat/inverted nipples usually resolve with use: that is, the more you nurse or pump, the more likely you are to break the adhesions underneath the skin that hold your nipples flat. I started nursing with flat nipples, and now my "high beams" are on all the time. The other positive news for a flat-nipples mom is that babies don't nipple-feed, they breastfeed. A baby who is latched on properly is latching onto the elastic tissue of the areola. Have you tried using breast shells or pumping a bit before latching baby on? That may help your nipples to evert, giving the baby an easier target to grab.

    The baby's reluctance to latch is understandable, considering that he's been primarily bottle-fed since birth. The following link talks about how to get a baby back to the breast: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html and this one talks about how to bottle feed a baby in a way that is compatible with breastfeeding: http://kellymom.com/bf/pumping/bottle-feeding.html

    Finally, the decrease in milk volume should be fixable, provided you can either a) get baby back to the breast or b) increase the work you're doing with the pump. When an exclusively pumping mom sees decrease in supply, she needs to do some or all of the following:
    - increase pumping frequency (if you've been pumping every 3 hours, switch to pumping every 2 hours)
    - increase pumping duration (if you've been pumping for 10 minutes per side, switch to pumping for 15 minutes per side)
    - use a better pump- and exclusively pumping mom should use a hospital-grade pump with correctly-sized shields, but if that's not possible, anything less than a very high-quality double electric pump (like a Medela Pump in Style) is a waste of time
    - try power pumping (pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10, pump for 10, rest for 10, and then pump once more for 10 minutes for a total of 30 minutes of pumping in an one-hour period. This mimics the way a baby feeds and boosts supply during a growth spurt.)
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Is BF at 7 wks possible?

    I am just so severely, severely depressed because I can not put this baby up to my nipple to latch. Please make sure you are getting help with this. Talk to your doctor, call a LLL Leader, there are many resources online. Don’t assume it is only because baby cannot latch, this is the postpartum period and there may be many hormonal and other forces at work. There are many resources for help with ppd, and many ways to approach relieving the depression. If you decide you want to use medication, there are meds for depression that are compatible with breastfeeding. If you have any doubts about breastfeeding while using a certain medication, call a LLL Leader or go here: www.infantrisk.org & call them.

    It seems you have (understandable) anger about how you were treated in the hospital. Certainly, what you describe makes ME angry. Babies are not born starving and many are not interested in latching right away, but they do want to be with mom and snuggled close-‘skin to skin’ or not, as mom feels comfortable. There is no wrong way to snuggle ones baby, unless baby is in danger of suffocation or something-and it is so unlikely a mom would put a baby in that kind of a position! If mom and baby are given that time after birth to connect, without pressure to perform, breastfeeding often goes better (at least initially.) In your situation, due to your baby’s suspected physical issue, breastfeeding may have still been a challenge; however, the behavior you describe is outrageous in any circumstance. Unfortunately, sometimes rigid and often misguided hospital policies about infant feeding leads to this kind of behavior by nurses. To get this anger off your chest a bit, and to help other moms, you may want to consider writing a letter to the hospital describing your experience, or call and see who you would talk to. Or both! Send your complaint letter certified mail and give as many details as you can (date, time, nurses name.)

    7 weeks is not too late. Even though your milk supply appears to be going down (based on what you pump, which is not always the best indicator,) you have maintained your supply at least somewhat by pumping. That is very good! Since your baby’s issue is (by your report) primarily physical, then working on that part of it may very well allow baby to latch. So theoretically, this sounds like a case where bringing baby to the breast & breastfeeding is very possible. But you need to look at your overall situation and state of mind & decide if continuing to try to breastfeed is appropriate for YOU and your family. Many moms find that if they feel they have tried every avenue open to them to get help, and ultimately still could not breastfeed, they have more positive feelings about the experience than moms who felt they never got the help they needed. But the tipping point is of course, very individual. Help is there, usually, but it does take effort-sometimes a lot of effort-to get to it and find the right helper for you. Meanwhile, be proud of what you have done! By making the great effort to keep pumping you have given your baby your delicious and wonderful milk for 7 weeks-you have given him a fantastic gift of lifelong health. That is amazing and inspirational to others.

    I also do not have a car always available to go see a consultant or to go to the LLL around here -Many LCs do home visits. Have you looked into this? I realize you found your LC visit in the hospital not all that helpful but that is all too typical, in my experience. Hospital LCs are overscheduled & often don’t have the time necessary to help with difficult latch issues. Plus things can change quite a bit after the first few days and mom really starts making milk anyway, so what ‘works’ shortly after birth may not work a few days later. Don't let your exp. in the hospital sour you on all LCs. A few LLL Leaders also do home visits, & certainly, we are available over the phone, which many moms find very helpful. A Leader may be able to give you lots of support, good tips and positioning suggestions etc. For phone help, you can call any Leader you like, in or out of your area. We also have the LLL USA helpline, which is answered by Leaders, but as calls sometimes get backed up on that, best to call that and local or any other Leader as well. Just keep in mind that since there is apparently a physical barrier to nursing, your situation would be one where seeing an LC and a tongue tie experienced doctor or an ENT ASAP is important, that is beyond a Leaders expertise. If baby cannot even take a bottle well, this sounds like very much a medical issue breastfeeding aside, so I don’t understand why your pediatrician has not had you see an ENT already. Also-if you are in the US- WIC? Some, (not all) WIC programs have wonderful lactation programs. If you are eligible (and even if you are not) you might want to look into what is available in your area. Call WIC, but honestly, whoever answers the phone may not know what programs are availble for breastfeeding moms. Be persistent, and if you have a local Breastfeeding Coalition, they may have resources to suggest to you, as may your local LLL Leader.

    Meanwhile, if you want to work on your milk supply and pump output, see the excellent suggestions from mommal in pp, also the articles on bringing baby back to the breast. I would only add-make sure you are taking time to just snuggle and enjoy your baby. Maybe you cannot nurse him yet, but certainly you can bring him to your breast for a snuggle & comfort-for you both. No pressure, this is just to let baby stay familiar with you and your breasts as a place to get comfort if not always milk. Do this as often as you like, as clothed or unclothed as you like (but with easy access in case he goes for it, right?) and when baby is happy, relaxed, asleep or sleepy.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; November 27th, 2011 at 12:21 PM. Reason: oops misleading extra s lol

  6. #6
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: Is BF at 7 wks possible?

    7 weeks is definitely not too late.

    My DS was born with a mild tongue tie and a really bad latch. We (and the hospital nurses) made a number of mistakes early on that ultimately lead to my baby refusing to nurse at all (screaming at the sight of my breasts). His tongue tie was corrected when he was 3.5 weeks old. By that point, I was exclusively pumping and had almost completely given up on even trying to nurse. The stress and rejection each time was just too much to take.

    After DS's tongue was clipped, I renewed my efforts. I went back to see a lactation consultant for a second time. I went to a LLL meeting. FINALLY when my baby was almost 6 weeks old, I got him to nurse... with a nipple shield. He has been nursing exclusively ever since. He will be 11 weeks tomorrow.

    Now, I definitely do not recommend nipple shields if you can avoid it... there are some risks of your supply being reduced (hasn't happend for me), and the shields can be really difficult to wean from. So far, I have not been able to get DS to nurse without the shield, except for a couple of times.

    But in my case, I am grateful (and annoyed at the same time) for those darn shields because it allowed me to break free of the exclusive pumping nightmare. After being bottlefed for so many weeks, DS is used to that silicone feel and that's why he prefers the shields.

    Anyway... just wanted you to know that it definitely is possible to BF this late in the game. Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is BF at 7 wks possible?

    Correcting something I wrote in my novel above- Plus things can change quite a bit after the first few days and mom really starts making milk anyway err, my bad. Colustrum is real milk (and how) and moms are 'making milk' from birth on (even pre-birth.) This misunderstanding-the idea that moms do not have milk or enough milk until the milk quote un-quote "comes in" is a pet peeve of mine and here I go saying basically the same thing-I meant: when, a few days post birth, the milk changes over gradually to mature milk, volume increases, and the moms breasts are more full, that can affect latch.

    Also, I am a former nipple shield user due to *initial* (ie, temporary) flat nipples and poor latch, and with patience and persistence, weaning from nipple shields is not just possible but likely. Yes, they are way overused, and used inappropriately. But if it's the only way to get baby to latch-I usually say go for it. If necessary, mom can pump/hand express as well to help with any possible supply issues.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2011
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    Default Re: Is BF at 7 wks possible?

    So, alright, an update. I've been trying more and more every day to breastfeed him. He really seems like breastfeeding is something he wants to do, which is great, but a few issues have arisen:

    He gets overly zealous and will suck until my boob is STREAMING and I do mean GUSHING breast milk out. He pulls away because he gets too much and then my boob is so wet, and usually my nipple has collapsed, because it is just so slick that he won't relatch. Then he gets frustrated and mad, and usually I just put him down after that.

    He has a very low tolerance for not getting the boob immediately, too. If I have to struggle to position him right he immediately starts fussing. While breastfeeding, too, he'll put up a little bit of a fight; he particularly likes to grab onto my boob and basically yank it out of his mouth, which ends up hurting me like crazy. If he ends up relenting the latch, he will start to claw at my boobs and always seems to find my nipple and just TEAR at it. Pain, pain, paaaain.

    He also is very partial to my left breast. I'm sure it's because it has more milk in it (usually it pumps out a whole lot more than the right), but I think it's also because holding him on my right side, cradle or cross cradle, seems to be a pain for him. (Cross cradle moreso because I'm not a lefty and it's a pain in the batootch to get him to stop wiggling normally.)

    We were doing pretty well in the days before yesterday, but then last night I think he latched wrong and now my left nipple is just puuuulsating with pain. I've found that lanolin doesn't help much at all at reducing the pain and didn't know if there was anything else I might be able to try since my nipple hurts so bad that even putting it into the horn with the lowest setting on the pump KILLS me.

    Oh well. At least I've got a stock of breast milk now in the fridge from when I wasn't solely pumping and feeding it to him. I really wanted to breastfeed him so that everything took less time (ie: not having to pump, feed, change, then only have ~1 hr or less to myself to try to get the house clean or to do work online to help out with bills since I'm not getting 60% from my job anymore, or to, HAH, try to feed myself or get something to drink), but it is definitely, as was described on kellymom, two steps forward and one step back.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is BF at 7 wks possible?

    I don't really have any advice but I just wanted to say you are amazing for still pumping and still trying and wanting to breastfeed and I know if you persevere that you will succeed!

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Is BF at 7 wks possible?

    Any suggestions other than swaddling for a baby that fights and wriggles and cries at the slightest millimeter movement of your nipple inside his mouth? Also, man, does he EVER get distracted when he is trying to focus on breastfeeding and then also tries to concentrate on pooping while on the boob.

    My mother just had some surgery, so I'm staying overnight with her just for company and in case she needs anything, and she sat there laughing (which actually relaxed me - normally I would just get frustrated and go fix a bottle of booby milk) and said he was the most fidgety and the biggest fighter of a baby she's ever seen been put to the breast ever. AND she works at WIC.

    That's just my luck.

    Thank you everyone for your responses, well wishes and enthusiasm thus far.

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