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Thread: is 5 weeks too late to learn how to breastfeed again?

  1. #1

    Default is 5 weeks too late to learn how to breastfeed again?

    I need help.

    My son is 5 weeks old. Breastfeeding was incredibly difficult in the hospital. My baby had jaundice so the doctor insisted that I supplement with formula to help pass the jaundice. As soon as we introduced the formula, what little strides I had made with breastfeeding were destroyed. The last day in the hospital a nurse introduced us to the nipple shield and a syringe which was extremely helpful. I was able to get my baby to latch on with the nipple shield while my husband used the syringe to squirt formula into my babies mouth to keep him latched on. It satisfied the doctors because the baby was eating more and it satisfied me because I was breastfeeding.

    The jaundice passed and we were sent home.

    At home breastfeeding was a struggle again. I couldn't get him to latch on and my husband had to go back to work so I couldn't have him there to help me with the syringe.

    I rented a pump and bottlefed my baby expressed breastmilk. He only drinks breastmilk, but I have to pump it and give it to him with a bottle. My milk supply seems okay, I can express 6 oz. every two to three hours.

    This past week I tried to nurse him in the mornings. I was only able to do it with the nipple shield and after 15 to 20 minutes of maneuvering and my poor baby screaming his frustrations.

    Last night I tried to nurse him and he flat out refused. He would not have it. I finally just gave him a bottle of expressed breastmilk.

    My question is, is it too late for my baby (and myself) to relearn how to breastfeed? Has it been too long? Have I ruined my chances by using the bottle for 5 weeks?

  2. #2

    Default Re: is 5 weeks too late to learn how to breastfeed again?

    Oh my goodness you both have been through the ringer these past 5 weeks!
    To answer your question, is it too late? Absolutely not!! Continue trying to teach your baby to breastfeed and I really feel that in-person help (from an IBCLC or LLL leader!) can make all the difference. Have you seen a lactation consultant?

    It's encouraging that baby is latching for short spurts with the shield. Don't worry about having to use the shield, it still counts as a latch!

    Trying to offer the breast often and before baby gets too hungry/anxious can help.

    Have you tried latching baby in a warm bath together?

    Keeping yourself calm (deep breathes!), skin to skin too can really help and hand expressing milk into the shield prior to latch may give baby some incentive.

    You're milk supply sounds fantastic!

    More tips on getting baby to latch below:

    http://www.llli.org/faq/back.html
    http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

    Hopefully you'll be latching with no problems soon, you're doing great hanging in there mama!!
    Punk-rock luvin mate to DH and mama to DD1 (born '03) , DD2 (born '08) and nursling DS (born '11) who survived infant botulism.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,306

    Default Re: is 5 weeks too late to learn how to breastfeed again?

    No it is not too late, yes a baby can learn to nurse again. Many babies are brought to the breast after many weeks and even many months of bottle feeding. Of course the earlier you start encouraging baby to nurse the better. Because you have brought in and maintained good milk production by regular pumping, and because your baby has shown he can latch, even if with a sheild, your chances of exclusive breastfeeding are greatly increased.

    But it’s most likely not going to be easy. It can be fairly quick, but often moms find this is a slow process, and often not a steady process. ‘Successes’ may be followed by what seem to be steps backward. And keeping up your own confidence and determination is vital-and may be the hardest thing. But many moms find it is well worth it, because exclusive nursing at the breast-or any nursing at the breast-not only has its own set of big benefits for baby, it is so much easier for mom than is exclusive pumping.

    The suggestions offered above and in the articles linked above are excellent. Additionally I suggest you build network of support from knowledgable and supportive breastfeeding helpers, and sympathetic & supportive family and friends.

    For the helpers, besides these forums, I suggest you contact your local La Leche League group or other breastfeeding support group, attend meetings, call Leaders, look into seeing a board certified lactation consultant if needed, etc. Besides LLL, local help/support may be found through hospitals, local health services such as WIC, breastfeeding coalitions, midwives, etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: is 5 weeks too late to learn how to breastfeed again?

    You might try the "finish at the breast" method...

    http://www.lowmilksupply.org/finishatthebreast.shtml
    Blessed with DS - born 9/2/09 - nursed/pumped for 12 months
    Blessed with DD - born 3/27/12 my dreamfeeder

    903 ounces donated.
    http://www.wakemed.org/landing.cfm?id=135

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: is 5 weeks too late to learn how to breastfeed again?

    Agree with all the above. I have the exact same story.. jaundice, formula supplementing, nipple shield, baby not wanting to nurse, exclusively pumping & bottle feeding...

    At 5 or 6 weeks we worked on getting back to the breast and were able to sucessfully I'm a firm believer in skin to skin time. I think that helped me the most. Forget everything else going on. Cancel any guests/company. Do as much skin to skin possible, don't stress, be patient. Good luck!!! Lots of love going out to you and baby!!! You can do it!!!

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