Re: Low Birth Weight - worried breast feeding may fail
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!
First of all, how are YOU feeling? Pre-E and a c-section are a lot to recover from, especially after you'd planned a homebirth.
Very small, premature, or early term babies are often sleepy and have trouble staying awake to nurse. I think you did right to start using the bottle- with such a tiny baby, who, as you said, has no reserves, you need to prioritize getting baby growing over the ideal "rules" of breastfeeding. That does NOT mean you must move to formula or feel like you're in a situation where breastfeeding success is opposed to weight gain. Just that you get the baby growing and nursing WHILE you work to get breastfeeding going smoothly.
Has anyone suggested using an at-the-breast supplemental feeder? Medela makes one (Supplemental Nursing System) and there's another one called the Lact-Aid which a lot of moms seem to like better. Now that baby is close to birth weight, I think you might be safe to ditch the bottles and supplement baby at the breast.
Another technique that may be helpful to you and baby would be something called "finish at the breast". You nurse, offer a top-up, and then put the baby back to the breast, so that she nurses herself to sleep, learning to associate the breast with relaxation, satiation, and pleasure.
When feeding the baby by bottle, you can try making the experience as much like breastfeeding as possible by:
- Cuddling baby close to your bare chest when bottlefeeding her
- Tickling her lip with the bottle until she opens WIDE (don't let her learn sloppy latch habits by slipping a bottle into a half-open mouth)
- Using a slow-flow nipple
- Pausing the feeding after every ounce or so, to get baby used to the ebb-and-flow pace of breastfeeding
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!"