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Thread: I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

  1. #1

    Default I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

    Ever since birth, my son has had a hard time breastfeeding. The nurse took one look at my nipples and without even trying, connected me to the nipple shield. I had a natural birth and immediate skin-to-skin contact in hopes that it would help us breastfeed. After two days in the hospital and being forced to use formula because he just wouldn't eat from me, I went home hoping for the best.

    Unfortunately, it was Christmas time and I was very overwhelmed with family, so instead of trying to learn to breastfeed at this crucial time, I pumped every two hours and just fed him a bottle. I regret this wholeheartedly.

    After four months of trying to get him to breastfeed, going to two different lactation consultants (who didn't seem to help much--they just kept saying it would get better), I am at my wit's end. I need help. I want to breastfeed with all my heart. I've tried everything. My son just screams and cries whenever he comes near the breast and will not even pretend to try if there is not a nipple shield. He used to breastfeed at night, but now he won't even do that anymore.

    What do I do? Should I just give in and give him formula? I am losing my milk because it is exhausting to pump and wash bottles all the time. Is there any one with sound advice and wisdom?

    I apologize for the long post. Please give me some hope/direction. Or just tell me it's okay to go onto formula. I am stuck in limbo between giving him supplementing him with formula and pumping breast milk.

    Okay, I'm going to stop writing now. I anxiously await a reply.

    Thank you so much for even reading this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,999

    Default Re: I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

    Welcome to the forum, mama! And congratulations on making it to 4 months of nursing despite very challenging circumstances. I am so sorry you didn't get the right help when you needed it. And please do not beat yourself up over what is past. Non-latching babies are one of the hardest breastfeeding challenges a mom can face, and even if you hadn't been overwhelmed with Xmas and family there's no guarantee that those few days would have been any different. (Although with your next baby- if you plan on having more- I hope you will minimize the number of guests! I did, and it made a HUGE difference to my sanity! I still cannot forgive my IL's yapping dog for waking me up at night when I had a newborn.)

    What you should do at this point is to weigh your desire to nurse against your sanity. If giving up on nursing and pumping will save your sanity and you will be able to move forward without regret or guilt, then it's okay to stop trying to get nursing back on track. But if you're going to be wracked with guilt and continuing to beat yourself up over your "failure", then by all means keep on going! Hopefully we can help you either get your baby back to the breast or to figure out a way to work pumping into your life without it driving you crazy.

    The exclusive pumping lifestyle is certainly exhausting. 2 things that helped me when I was EP:
    - Put a big basin of soapy water by the sink, and throw bottles and pump parts in as they are used. I found it easier to do 1-2 big wash-ups per day than a billion little ones.
    - Don't clean your pump parts every time you pump! Just pop them into the fridge- I left them screwed onto the bottle of milk, but some moms put them in a ziploc bag- and use them again the next time you need to pump.

    This link on geting a baby back to the breast may be useful to you: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

    Finally, do not let supplementing with formula (a.k.a. combination feeding) make you feel like you need to stop. Many moms must supplement their babies with formula, and it does not have to mean the end of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does not have to be all or nothing, and even if your baby just gets one tiny bottle of your milk per day you are still giving him a huge nutritional and immunological asset, and you're doing something good for your health, too!
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; May 6th, 2012 at 09:00 PM.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  3. #3
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

    Mommal gave you great advice so all I can offer above that is hope. Both of my babies took a long time to nurse because of nipple confusion. But they both got it eventually. It's not easy, but it's so worth it. I came to a point where I picked a day, tossed the bottles and hung out topless with the baby all day. We both cried but it eventually happened. Good luck mama.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  4. #4

    Default Re: I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

    Wow. Thank you both so much. I needed to hear from both of you. It helps to hear such great wisdom from women who understand. I will write back with how it is going.

    Thank you again.

  5. #5

    Default Re: I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

    I think I may try hanging out in bed all day. I've known for a while that I need to do it. I think I will try tomorrow.

    Thank you again. Both of you. I will start to weigh my sanity over my guilt and see what I come up with. It is a huge blessing to hear from both of you. If you think of anything else, please let me know.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

    About a year ago I gave support to a teen mom that was attempting to do re-lactation on a 3 mo baby. It took us one month to get the baby to latch again but we achieved it and she has successfully breastfed since. I wonder what kind of help have these lactation consultants given you. It's kind of sad that all this time, getting the baby back on the breast hasn't been achieved. We used finger feeding first and then moved to an SNS on the breast when we got the baby to latch. She weaned the baby off from the SNS when the baby was like 5 mo.

    Just saying with this, that you could weigh the desire to nurse and the sanity, as mommal suggest, but if such weigh in turns out that you truly wish you could get your baby back on the breast, then maybe you need to reevaluate the strategies used and see if you can find a lactation consultant that can really be of help to you.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

    Also you say that you baby won't nurse without a shield. But will nurse with a shield? If so nurse with a shield! That is going to take you way less time than pumping and bottle feeding. Get your baby to your breast and nurse! I had friend and the only time her baby would nurse without the shield was in her sleep. So at night she'd dream feed her and the rest of the time she used a shield. She decided that her breastmilk direct from the tap was a million times better than formula OR pumping exclusively and she never did wean her off the shield. She fed her with a shield until she weaned her at 16months. And it didn't interfere with their bonding OR her child's love and affection for her breasts. She just latched better with a shield because she had nipple confusion. I would totally vote to do that over weaning or exclusively pumping if that option is there. It's still your milk and it's still being fed directly from the tap.

    Way too lazy for formula

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

    mama, good luck to you hanging out in bed with your little one today! let us know how it's going!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

    If he will nurse with a shield, do it!

    I have been pumping and feeding breastmilk for over 15 months. I wish my baby would use a nipple shield. He was born with a birth defect that precluded nursing.

    If you want to continue pumping -- breastmilk is best -- here are some ideas:
    STOP washing bottles all the time! I wash once a day. I reuse my horns and pumping bottles all day and wash at night, using a new set for the next 24 hours.
    Store horns and stuff in the fridge
    Pump 120 minutes a day. Ideally, to start, you pump 8-12 times a day. Around 4 months, I dropped to 6-8, and somewhere in the second half of the year, I dropped to 4-6. I dropped to 2-4 after he was 12 months, and now I'm pumping 2 times a day. My supply dropped every time, but it is a normal thing, even though I keep the same amount of pumping time.

    Try an SNS under the shield, so he gets milk right away.

    Good luck.
    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!

  10. #10

    Default Re: I need help. Considering weaning my four month old.

    Wow. Thank you for all of the responses. I should have clarified. He will only nurse for about thirty seconds with the shield now, if at all. Usually he will start to cry whenever the breast comes near him, even if there is a shield.

    Hearing from all of you who pump really helps. I wonder if I should do that. I'll try staying in bed with my boy today, but I hate hearing his cries and feeling like I'm torturing him. Exclusive pumping may be the way to go. Thank you again, all of you. I appreciate it so much.

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