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Thread: Is it too late to breastfeed my bottlefed baby?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Is it too late to breastfeed my bottlefed baby?

    My little girl is 10 days old now. My 38 week 3 day induction failed and she was delivered by c-section. She was healthy at birth with a perfect apgar score and she breastfed well soon after the birth and for much of her first day of life! But the day after she was born, she just wanted to sleep all day long. I could hardly rouse her to eat and even when I could, she'd fall asleep at the breast. I don't think she really ate anything all day. At the end of the day they weighed her, told me that she had lost too much weight, and was jaundiced. The doctors started her on formula and I also pumped and fed expressed breast milk.

    For the rest of my stay in the hospital (5 days) she was fed formula and expressed breast milk. She was still sleepy all the time and not much interested in eating. I tried to breastfeed her a little but was mostly unsuccessful. She would either be too sleepy to be interested, or would be crying and screaming and upset, unable to latch. They told me to stop trying to breastfeed so much because when she got upset like that it would burn more calories and contribute to her weight loss.

    I saw a lactation consultant who helped me with her latch and suggested using nipple shields. Since going home I have had some success with latching her, both with and without the nipple shields. She was 7 pounds 5 ounces at birth, 6 pounds 11 ounces at discharge, and 6 pounds 13 ounces yesterday when weighed at the doctor's. He said that the jaundice is almost gone and that I have to try to get her to eat as much as possible.

    I so badly want to breastfeed her and it completely breaks my heart. I am afraid she won't get enough milk and lose weight again so I rely mostly on bottles. My baby spends all her time sleeping and usually only wakes up when I wake her up to feed her. She won't stay on the breast; I can feel her latch on properly and take 2-3 swallows, then she will just fall asleep. Or sometimes she will just want to suckle without swallowing; if I allow her to, she will lay there and do this for over an hour without drinking any milk. ALL feedings take forever. She takes a really, really long time to eat. I will usually try her on the breast and after 30-45 minutes without success will give her a bottle, and then she even takes forever to drink the bottle.

    I know that I have milk because I pump and produce about 200-300 ml/day (I could probably produce more, but I don't pump as much as I should). I feed her with a combination of this pumped milk, and baby formula.

    What should I do? I really don't want to give up on breastfeeding her. Is it too late for her to be a breastfed baby? I had planned to breastfeed her and I desperately want to make it work. I want to fully breastfeed without supplementing but she isn't gaining weight quickly enough. After breastfeeding she will still be hungry, so I'll give her the bottle, but I don't want to have to do this anymore. Even with supplementing, she doesn't eat enough, as she isn't gaining weight quickly enough. What should I do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Is it too late to breastfeed my bottlefed baby?

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! I am sorry you've had such a turbulent introduction to motherhood. I hope you're healing okay from the c-section? I know that can make caring for a newborn so much more challenging than it already is!

    It is definitely NOT too late for your baby to be a breastfed baby. You have milk and your baby will latch on. These two things put you way ahead in the game. There are moms and babies who start with less and go on to have long and happy breastfeeding relationships.

    I have to go to bed but here are some links to get you started:
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; May 1st, 2012 at 08:19 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Is it too late to breastfeed my bottlefed baby?

    No, it is not too late at all. I am still trying to breastfeed my 15 month old, born unable to nurse. Check out the links. Consider getting an IBCLC on board to help you with hands on help.

    I would suggest reversing the order...give an ounce maybe to take the edge off and then breastfeed, ending with the breast. This helps baby associate that warm, full, happy feeling with breastfeeding.
    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
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Is it too late to breastfeed my bottlefed baby?

    Not too late at all! My baby was born at 33 weeks and was bottle fed EBM for the 8 days she was in the NICU and then for the first week she was home. She also had a nasty case of jaundice which made her so lethargic she would barely take the bottle. Once her jaundice really started to clear and she was much more awake, that's when I started nursing her (first with a nipple shield) and she really started to gain weight. We rented a nursing scale, so we could do pre- and post-weights. I would nurse her for 30 minutes every 2.5 hours and if she didn't get enough from the breast we would give her EBM in a bottle (but we hardly ever needed to!). She wasn't back to her birth weight until nearly 3 weeks after birth, but now at 9 weeks she nurses on demand and has nearly doubled her birth weight. Keep at it! And yes, consult an IBCLC...I wouldn't have had the confidence to do this without her.

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