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Thread: Frustrated While Breastfeeding - Don't Know What to Do

  1. #1

    Default Frustrated While Breastfeeding - Don't Know What to Do

    Hi everyone,

    Sorry in advance for the long post. I am extremely frustrated with breastfeeding my LO (15 days old). We have had a very bumpy road just getting to where we are now, and I am stressing myself greatly over it. I am currently supplementing with formula, and I keep telling myself to relax and that formula isn't the end of the world, but whenever it comes time to feed her formula I always feel like a failure. Here is our story:

    When we were in the hospital, my LO developed jaundice. By day two, it became extremely difficult to wake her for feedings. Her output up to this point was good. On the third day, I noticed she hadn't peed all day. I decided to feed her formula (my milk hadn't come in yet. I was pumping what I could and giving her that, but it wasn't enough) so she would get more fluid into her and lower her bilirubin levels.

    When we got home on the fourth day, my milk came in but very, very gradually. I would nurse her, but she was always hungry afterwards. We went to the doctor the day after we got home to follow up on her jaundice, and the doctor told us to supplement with formula when needed so that she wouldn't become lethargic and develop a weak suck.

    A week after her birth, she had surpassed her birth weight, but we feel that is because we were supplementing with formula. I stopped giving her as much formula and started breastfeeding her as needed so I could build my supply. My supply has definitely increased, but I still feel like it is too low for her. We still supplement with formula (she gets approx. 4-8 oz. in each 24-hr pd.), but I always try to breastfeed first. The problem is that she can spend an hour nursing and still be hungry! I pump as well so that I can supplement with my own milk when needed, but I barely pump enough to make it through the day, and some days I can't really pump anything (I have a Medela electric). I usually can get 1.5 oz. total during one pumping (both breasts).

    I've considered starting fenugreek, but each time I convince myself to try to build my supply naturally (by feeding her as often as possible). The reason I am so frustrated is because she is always hungry, and I always feel as if I am failing her. I am at the point that I don't know what to do. I am going to continue to breastfeed her, and supplement with my own milk when possible and then with formula, but each day is a struggle and she starts crying and then I get upset. I spend the entire day with her crying, or at my breast, or pumping, and we barely make it through each day. I don't know what I am looking for on this forum - maybe just some encouragement, or tips on how to build my supply. I know milk is best for my baby, and since I am producing some, I am still determined to try to make it work. I just feel like we are both miserable!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Frustrated While Breastfeeding - Don't Know What to Do

    Hi and welcome to the forum! This is a pretty common situation, just so you know. It can be so frustrating when a mom thinks that she cannot make enough milk for her baby. First off I will suggest that this is believed to be the case much more often than it actually is the case. Whether it is true or ever was true in your situation or not, I don't know of course. but here are some thoughts.
    Some newborns always appear hungry. It is normal for a newborn to want to nurse pretty much constantly. This behavior is normal and does not mean that baby is not getting enough. On the other hand it is also normal for newborns particularly under two weeks to have periods of extreme sleepiness and need to be awoken to nurse.
    The best way to tell a baby is getting enough is the weight gain and output-poops. As long as the baby is pooping appropriately, No reason to even look at how much the baby pees. Pee can be very difficult to read especially with disposable diapers.

    Ok so now, your baby's weight gain is excellent and I assume the jaundice is no longer an issue?
    Nothing that you described in your post from birth on sounded unusual or abnormal. jaundice is a very scary word but the fact is all babies have higher levels of Bili at some point. I have rarely spoken to her mom who's baby's jaundice actually reached anywhere near dangerous levels.
    I suggest you talk to your doctor if they are breast-feeding friendly, or a board certified lactation consultant. I am hoping that they will give you confidence to begin to back off on the formula. You can start weaning off the formula gradually.
    Meanwhile continue to nurse baby very frequently. A minimum of 12 times for 24 hours. This is how all newborns nurse and this is how we make sure they get enough and your milk supply is appropriate. If it is not comfortable or it hurts to nurse please let us know that indicates a problem. Just to be clear the fact that your baby will take some milk in a bottle after they have nursed does not mean anything. Something you could try if you feel baby needs to be supplemented, is giving a small amount of supplement before a feeding and letting baby finished at the breast?
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; January 9th, 2013 at 09:43 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Frustrated While Breastfeeding - Don't Know What to Do

    Thank you for the reply. I've read that this is a common problem - not feeling as if you produce enough. Because we have been supplementing with formula, it is difficult to measure her output. Her output currently is great, but I can't determine if that is because she is being supplemented with formula. If I try to stop the formula, she is fussy, hungry, and we spend literally the entire day breastfeeding.

    I am actually looking into bringing a consultant out. Her latch used to be good, but as of late it has been painful for me. Her initial latch-on is extremely painful, but this lasts for 2-5 seconds. After that, sometimes it doesn't hurt at all, and sometimes it still hurts, but only a little. I am trying to improve her latch, but it seems to be a slow process.

    The jaundice is no longer a problem. We were advised to follow up at the pediatrician the day after she was discharged for a remeasure of her levels, and the pediatrician didn't even bother remeasuring because he wasn't concerned enough with her levels. She just had her two week visit yesterday and they said she looks great. Again, I am worried that this is because we are supplementing with formula. It has been a slippery slope...we first started formula because my milk hadn't come in, and now we can't measure how she is doing on breastmilk because of the formula. I am afraid to stop the formula entirely, but I guess I could give it a try?

    I have also read to bottlefeed first and then nurse her. I think this could help, since sometimes when she gets to the breast she is so fussy that her latch is poor and she has difficulty taking the breast. However, I hate to give her formula before breastmilk, and I seem to have trouble pumping. In a day I can pump about 2oz., which I usually end up giving to her as supplement in one feeding.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Default Re: Frustrated While Breastfeeding - Don't Know What to Do

    At this point, it's not unusual to 'just spend the whole day breastfeeding'. I spent the first 6 weeks literally in my PJs, on the couch with my phone, remote, kindle, and water/snacks nearby. A lot of mom here would say the same thing. Your job right now is just to feed the baby! Everything else can wait. The more she nurses, the better your supply will be.

    It sounds like you're really nervous about stopping the formula, but you can do this! Have you read this article about weaning from supplements http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basi...rease-formula/

    As for pumping, don't be discouraged if you don't get much -it isn't a true indication of your output. The baby is much more efficient. Your sudden nipple pain is a little concerning. Are there any symptoms of thrush? white patches in baby's mouth, itchy, burning, or bright pink nipples? Did you have antibiotics at all during your labour? Note that your baby does NOT have to be symptomatic for thrush to be present though. Definitely see a LC if you can!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Frustrated While Breastfeeding - Don't Know What to Do

    Totally normal to spend the entire day nursing at this point, and nothing could be better for your supply than to do so. If you're concerned about weaning from formula, that link Carm.3 posted tells you how to do it without jeopardizing the baby's intake.

    One thing you really don't have to worry about at this point- and I'm not sure if you are worried about this or not- is the jaundice returning. Once you've flushed the bilirubin from the baby's body, it's not going to come back.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    San Diego

    Default Re: Frustrated While Breastfeeding - Don't Know What to Do

    Hi Mama. The first month post partum is so hard with everything you're going hormonally, learning to take care of a new baby and breastfeeding.

    I also had a newborn with jaundice that wasn't gaining weight or pooping enough to get the bili out. I think DS hovered around his bottom weight for over a week before i started supplementing. I felt like a total failure. At first we supplemented way too much, way more than you are. I ended up buying a baby scale doing weigh feed weighs to get an idea of how much he was getting from me. This way I only supplemented enough to ensure that he got at least 2.5oz combined at each feeding. I was able to get the supplements down to a minimal amount, of about 4-5oz per day. From there, i just simply cut out a little bit at a time and am now able to exclusively breastfeed. His weight gain is still on the low side, but he's healthy and his doc isn't worried.

    For me, it also hurt for a few seconds at the beginning of each nursing session. I don't know if that's too uncommon, but many women I've spoken with also experienced that. It's gone away for me now. I think if you remain 100% dedicated to breastfeeding.. nursing on demand, initiating nursing if DD is sleepy, taking herbal supplements if you can, pumping following each nursing session... You'll have no problems ditching the supplements. My son is almost 5 months old, and he just very recently stopped eating for hours on end each day. You and DD just need to find your rythym. Also, if you're nursing all day, you can't expect to get a lot on top of that from pumping. You're body adjusts and eventually will make near the exact amount of milk your DD needs. I don't think two ounces, on top of nursing, is bad. Also, just because you get off to a rocky start doesn't IN ANY WAY mean that you won't get to where you want to go. It may not be the path that you envisioned, but it could very well lead you to the destination you wanted. Trust me. You can look up my posts.. and i have MANY... with all of the struggles I've had. Just now, at 5 months, am I finally feeling like i can relax a little bit. You'll do fine.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Frustrated While Breastfeeding - Don't Know What to Do

    However, I hate to give her formula before breastmilk,

    and I seem to have trouble pumping. In a day I can pump about 2oz., which I usually end up giving to her as supplement in one feeding.
    Do you know that two ounces is a "normal" TOTAL feed at two weeks? and just s few days ago, one ounce would have been typical? A baby this age typically takes in about 2 ounces per feeding and nurses 10-12 times a day for a total intake of 20-25 ounces. In the next 3 weeks or so, that typically increases up to about 2-4 ounces per feed for a total of between 25-35 ounces a day. Then that is all baby needs from then on. It's important to know what normal intake is, very often a baby is being supplemented too much or when it is not neccesary.

    Don't worry about what you pump per session. That means little or anything especially this early and especially when mom is also nursing.

    Unfortunately as you have found, Supplementing tends to snowball and eventually milk production is impacted. If you can see a good IBCLC, (get references or talk to a few ahead of time to find one you feel confident in ) that will help. It is very nervewracking to back off supplements, I get it. Of course you don't want to underfeed your baby. But the longer you wait the harder it will be.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Wink Re: Frustrated While Breastfeeding - Don't Know What to Do

    Hello mkmommy! Welcome to the forum. I just wanted to chime in as well because I was posting very similar situation to yours just merely 5 weeks ago and I wanted to say that I totally understand the frustration and the feeling of failure you mentioned. You can check out my earlier post for details!

    However, this forum has been a godsend and everyone has been just so supportive so I have been hanging in there and literally still at 7.5 weeks now, continue to be nursing/feeding every hour or stimes, 2 hours if LO is less fussy. My LO continues to be able to nurse constantly and till now, I cannot put her down alone in her crib or daybed coz she starts crying even after a good feed. Hence, she needs to be held all the times she is not feeding so when I say baby is "attached" I do mean it literally!=)

    But do hang in there and I am positive you will be able to cut out the formula just like I did as long as you continue to nurse on demand and expect that to be a full time job!

    As for the pain, I also (even to now) have that pain from time to time especially when latching on. I feel like there must be something off with baby's latch but then sometimes it doesn't hurt at all. Am hoping it will go away itself soon!

    Also for the supplementing, my LO also chugs down a bottle like there is no tomorrow if/when I give her one but since her weight gain is good and doc isn't worried, I think she isn't really that hungry so just EBF instead.

    Hang in there mommy and best of luck! You will at times feel super frustrated but when your baby starts smiling at you or looking really satisfied after a feeding, you will feel so happy.

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