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Thread: 2 month old taking in less than 1 oz at breast (long post)

  1. #1

    Unhappy 2 month old taking in less than 1 oz at breast (long post)

    Hi there,

    Our BFing story is a long one, but I will try to keep it as short as possible. My baby had high bilirubin levels after birth, and was a sleepy baby for the first week. We had latch issues due to flat nipples but used a nipple shield to work through it (nipple shield was removed cold-turkey at 2 weeks). Baby did not regain his birth weight by 4 weeks, so I met with an LC. She weighed him before and after a feeding and he only took in a half-ounce. She said his sucking was good and he wasn't tongue-tied, and just needed to gain more weight. The theory was that once he gained weight and had more energy, he'd be able to take in more on his own at the breast. I attempted to use a syringe and tubing at the breast but struggled with it, so we started supplementing by bottle. I pump after every feeding but also have to supplement some with formula because I don't pump enough to be sufficient (not a fan of the idea, but my #1 priority was getting my baby's weight up). Side note: My LC doesn't think I have a supply issue.

    His weight is now up (mostly due to the supplementation), but we're still having feeding issues. Since birth and to date, feeding sessions take 30-45 minutes per breast. I use breast compressions and techniques to try to keep him actively sucking longer. After renting a Medela scale this week (at the 8-week mark), I found that he normally takes in less than an ounce per feeding -- not much of an improvement since the first month. He only takes in more if it's been a while since his last feeding and my breasts are especially full -- I assume because the milk is so easily accessible.

    I really, really want breastfeeding to work for us and ideally I would like to end supplementation. But I am so frustrated and exhausted -- I easily spend 10-12 hours a day feeding or in the process of a feed, and I can't really leave the house or do anything else. I feel like I've tried everything, and I don't know what the core issue is. Eventually I will also need to find a job, so this can't go on forever.

    Basically, I want to know: Has anyone else had similar issues and have insight into what is the issue getting him to take in more at the breast? Have you seen significant improvement after the 2-month mark? Is there any hope for this breastfeeding relationship? Any ideas on what I can do?


  2. #2

    Default Re: 2 month old taking in less than 1 oz at breast (long pos

    I would like to add: If I had make my own best guess at the current issue, I think it is that I have a slow flow. When my breasts are very full, my baby will actively suck for a good amount of time and won't fall asleep or comfort nurse. But when he's fed every 2 hours, the flow isn't very fast and I think he gets tired and gives up easily.

    Does anyone think this sounds about right, or have another theory?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    middle of IA

    Default Re: 2 month old taking in less than 1 oz at breast (long pos

    hi mama,

    congratulations on making it 2 months through some tough times!

    a couple of things: this kind of nursing is NORMAL. little babies take a long time to eat, and they eat a lot. nothing you've written about the pattern of feeding sounds off or alarming to me at all. in particular, it is NORMAL to eat every 2 hours. all the way until they're a year old, sometimes, though they do generally get much faster.

    except the taking in only 1 oz per feeding, which does sound on the low side. how many data points is that? are you doing before/after weighs on every feed now?

    how much formula is he getting, on what pattern?
    how much are you pumping (frequency, duration, pattern, output)? what kind of a pump do you have? is it new?

    do you have a carrier you can nurse in?
    is he sleeping a long stretch at night?
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Dallas, TX

    Default Re: 2 month old taking in less than 1 oz at breast (long pos

    It doesn't sound right to me that an LC would recommend supplementing at 4 weeks to get babe's energy up. That sounds more like something that is suggested at 4 days or very early on, for a sleepy baby. But by 4 weeks that cant be the only problem. I'm surprised she didn't have any other ideas for you. Is she an IBCLC? Can you get a second opinion?

    Just to offer you some hope...I was doing the nursing, bottle, pump routine for pretty much 3 months. My LO did have tongue tie which was fixable. But she also had a high palate and weak suck (diagnosed by a speech language pathologist) and I had flat nipples making latching difficult. And I can relate to feeling like I had a slow flow. I always do breast compressions; even now at 10 months. Anyway, we turned a corner at 3 months and kind of "got it." so there's hope. And honestly, returning to work took the pressure off a little because then I was just pumping and I knew what she was getting.

    Just out of curiosity, how does your LO do with a bottle? My DD did terribly with a bottle and milk would coming pouring out of her mouth. That's what drove us to the SLP and she recommended some exercises, feeding techniques, and different bottles that helped. Unlikely this is your problem, but I'm just brainstorming here.

    You mentioned you are supplementing with formula too because you dont have enough EBM. Also are you pumping with a hospital grade pump?
    Last edited by @llli*pizanite; June 26th, 2012 at 09:15 PM. Reason: Didn't make sense :)

    Mom to Aimee, born 8/22/11
    for 20 months!

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