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Thread: Help Needed - Trying to Nurse 3 Week Old

  1. #1

    Default Help Needed - Trying to Nurse 3 Week Old

    Hi ladies,
    I was referred to this site to get support from other breastfeeding moms out there. I'm going to try not to write a book but here is my story:

    Our little girl was born naturally on the 14th of February, she didn't latch immediately but we didn't think it was a big deal. On the 3rd day after her birth a home nurse came to our house to do a routine check up on me and the baby. Baby girl was still not latching a losing weight but come to find out, the nurse said she was tongue tied. We had it clipped the next day and I was excited to try and breastfeed right away. Instead of it being a miracle cure, her latch was still off. We had been feeding her with a feeding syringe/tube according to the nurse so that she would still get fed and to limit nipple confusion. I scheduled a meeting with an LC for 4 days later (earliest I could get an appointment) since she still was having problems latching.

    This is what our little girl would do: she would root like she wanted the breast and try frantically to get the nipple into her mouth once at the breast but then give up in about 30 seconds by frantically crying.

    Also, my milk supply is not a problem. I pump anywhere from 2.5 - 4 ounces each time.

    At our meeting, the LC told us that the feeding syringe/tube understandably took a long time to feed with and that we could use bottles to help not making feeding such a challenge. She said that our little girl was nipple confused and she also gave me a nipple shield since my nipples are on the flatter site and that our little girl was having trouble sucking due to this. Our instructions were to try to get her to latch and give it about 10-15 minutes. If she was freaking out, to try calming her but if she wouldn't, give her a little from the the bottle and then try the breast again. If it didn't work then to just give her the bottle and try to breastfeed again at the next feeding. The LC said there was no point to stress myself out and the baby out by forcing breastfeeding and that it would take small steps to get her where we needed to be. Eventually, she said, it would happen. Also, she showed me the cross cradle hold and I was using a Brest Friend.

    Well...a week later, I was still having the same problem with out little girl freaking out constantly when she couldn't find the nipple or get latched right away. I scheduled another meeting with an LC who was closer to my home (I really liked the first LC, she was just over an hour from my house). This LC was based out of a hospital and upon meeting with me, I learned she was anti-bottle. She showed me how to let our little girl find the breast on her own and then how to let her get to the nipple on her own. This was neat and seemed to work in her office. Her final instructions were to over this weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and today) feed her only at the breast and NO BOTTLES. This worried me...since our baby freaks out so often I had no idea how she was going to be fed. She said by Monday our baby should be back to the breast. Well...I now feel like a failure since pretty much right after we got home from the appointment, I had to give her a bottle since she was hungry and freaked out screaming till she was red in the face at the breast.

    I want to breastfeed so badly but I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. Our baby girl will occasionally latch and feed for 15 minutes but then almost always pull away (sometimes her hands get in the way and she ends up ripping off the nipple shield). But more often than not, she panics at the breast when she doesn't get milk right away which causes her a lot of stress and me too. I feel ridiculous saying this but I panic too. I sometimes don't even try and go right for the bottle since I feel like I'm setting myself up for failure when trying to get her to the breast. When she does pull away, a lot of times I cry since I feel rejected. Breastfeeding has been such a challenge but something I still really want to do but when do I give up due to the stress? Does anyone have any tips or things I might be able to try to ease my little girl into this? I can't thank you all enough.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Miami, Fl
    Posts
    268

    Default Re: Help Needed - Trying to Nurse 3 Week

    first of all...
    I have not had this experience, BUT I hear about it from other mommies in my support group. One thing that they did and worked is the "rebirthing" you can find it at www.kellymom.com. The more relaxed you are, the better the baby will sense it and latch. It is good that you are following up with an LC, that is very important..Sorry I can't be of much more help, hopefully other mommies will be able to give you better advice...Good Luck!!!!!
    Working mommy to Cat, Nikki, Brandon and baby Lucas
    exclusively for the second time!
    we made it 21 months with previous son and 9 months and counting with Lucas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,131

    Default Re: Help Needed - Trying to Nurse 3 Week

    Welcome to the forum! I'm sorry nursing has been such a challenge for you and your baby so far. Of all the problems that new moms face with breastfeeding, I think babies who refuse to latch or who are resistant to latching are among the most difficult.

    I don't want to contradict either one of your LCs, since they've seen you and your baby and I haven't. But I must admit I like the LC who told you to ban the bottle better than the one who told you to go ahead with it, even if she gave you a somewhat unreasonable timetable. When we talk about nipple confusion, what we're often talking about is flow preference. Bottles deliver milk much quicker and more effortlessly than the breast, and babies rapidly figure this out. This can sometimes lead to freak-outs at the breast, because baby does not want to spend time sucking for little or no reward, trying to generate a letdown of milk.

    Here's what I think makes sense:
    1. No more going straight to the bottle. I know trying to latch is really hard on you and the baby, but you have the best chance of getting things right now. The more bottles baby gets, the more difficult it will be to transition to the breast.
    2. Try swaddling baby at the breast. It prevents flailing and pushing off the breast, and also can calm baby down. (Remember, a newborn is used to tight quarters from being balled up inside mom! Being free to thrash can be disconcerting.)
    3. Try to latch baby on before she is giving you hunger cues. Hungry babies can rapidly become frantic.
    4. If baby becomes frantic, offer her your pinky finger to suck, nail held down towards the tongue, not up towards the delicate roof of the mouth. A few seconds of sucking on a finger can calm a baby enough to allow a second latching attempt.
    5. Try instant-reward techniques. Express a few drops of milk onto the surface of the nipple or dribble some on from a bottle. The taste of milk in the baby's mouth may stimulate her to begin to suck, and to stay on the breast longer than she would otherwise.
    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!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,603

    Default Re: Help Needed - Trying to Nurse 3 Week

    Modernmom, please take a deep breath and get the word failure out of your head. You are not a failure. You are having difficulty breastfeeding when you really want to do that. That is extremely frustrating and perhaps scary, but it does not make you in any way a failure.

    Breastfeeding is about confidence, more than anything else, and when breastfeeding does not go well, mom’s confidence is undermined. Fight against that. You are with your baby 24-7 and you are her MOM, so you know her better than anyone else. You also know yourself and your family/support system best. So, while it is vital to seek breastfeeding help when such difficulties arise, remember to trust yourself to know what will work best in your circumstance.

    At LLL, when a baby cannot nurse, we suggest moms keep in mind the 4 “keeps”

    1) Keep the milk flowing. This is vital for bringing in and maintaining a milk supply. You are doing that by pumping. You do not say how often you pump but if a baby cannot latch or nurse at all it would be great if you can pump 10 times a 24 hour day. If you cannot do 10, do what you can. Once baby starts latching and nursing you can cut back (and eventually eliminate) the pumping. It does not have to be on a set schedule, babies normally cluster feed so you can ‘cluster pump” if you like. Or you can pump on a schedule. Do whatever works best for you. Here is a pumping chart so you can easily keep track of how many times a day you have pumped. http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...umpigchart.pdf
    2) Keep your baby fed. This can be done with your pumped milk, donor milk and/or formula as necessary. Bottles are ONE option for feeding the non latching baby. There are many others, including an at the breast supplementer (lactation aid) such as the Lact-Aid or Medela SNS. These will work if a baby is capable of latching, but it can sometimes help when a baby has a poor latch or is reluctant to nurse. Other options are cup feeding, spoon feeding, or syringe feeding. The reason many LC’s suggest using bottle alternatives is not because they are ‘anti bottles” but due to the fact that bottles can cause so many issues, more than I can list here. HOWEVER, if a mom finds that bottle alternatives do not work for her, of course bottles are another option. If you wish to keep using bottles, I suggest using the bottle feeding techniques described here: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf
    3) Keep baby close: Newborns need to eat and to be held in loving arms. That is it. Hold, love, cradle, adore your baby. You can do skin to skin if you like, but it is not necessary if that is not comfortable for you. You could just lean back, say, on the couch, with baby secure on your chest, and with ‘easy access” to your breasts should baby start to root. (So, wear just a loose t-shirt rather than a bra, high neck shirt and a vest, kwim?) This closeness will help you connect with your baby, watch baby & learn baby’s cues, it will help your baby remember that all good things come from mommy and to feel they are safe and secure all while you both relax. If baby wants to nurse, let her, if she starts to get frantic, maybe give her a small amount of milk from the bottle or whatever you are using (or try the instant reward tip from mommal) and then try again. Mommal suggests several great ideas for encouraging baby to the breast. This article has more: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html Use what works for you and your baby.

    4) Find and Keep a good breastfeeding helper. It sounds like you liked your first LC much better. This does not mean the second LC was wrong, but maybe she was wrong for YOU. You want to get help from people you are comfortable with and trust. Other helpers could be your local LLL Leaders or any experienced breastfeeding mom.

    Having a tongue tie clipped is not always a miracle cure, many babies continue to have latch difficulties. But a baby with tt would have a very difficult time EVER latching and nursing effectively or without harming mom. So if your baby had tt, the clip did not hurt and most likely helped in that now it is possible baby WILL physically be able to latch. What happens a lot is the tt causes babies palate to not develop quite right in the womb and that can cause continued latch issues. The best cure for this is time. It is also possible that the clip was not enough or scar tissue has formed and baby still has poor tongue mobility.
    Also sometimes babies with no tongue tie or any other physical barriers have latch issues for no discernable reason. It just happens, and the early weeks are thus a struggle. But very rarely is it impossible for a baby to latch and nurse. It takes persistence to get through the tough times but I have never ever met a mom who did not find it worth it to keep trying, especially this early, as it really IS early days yet and entirely likely you will be able to happily nurse your baby just fine.

    If you have not already, try laid back positioning. I kind of describe it above with the couch scenario, here is more info & pictures. It may feel awkward and fumbly at first, this is normal. Keep trying it anyway, and go ahead and make any adjustments you like in how far/little you lean back and how you position baby, this type of positioning really helps a lot with tricky latch issues.
    http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/ and http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Help Needed - Trying to Nurse 3 Week

    Try getting a letdown going, so as soon as she starts sucking, she gets something. My first baby reacted like this, as he really preferred the bottle, and it took some weeks of patience on my part, and finally picking a day to simply stop giving any bottles, to get him on the breast without a fight every time. You can do it!
    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!

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