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Thread: Refuses to latch on

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9

    Default Refuses to latch on

    I am about to give up compeltely on BF. My dd refuses to take the breast. She was born 9 weeks early and spent 8 weeks in the NICU. She was also IUGR. She is now 15 weeks adjusted age. She is my firstborn and I assumed I would breastfeed her. We got a little help with brestfeeding in the NICU but not much encouragement. I figured we would be able to work things out once we were home and I could try it many times per day. I tried her both with and without the nipple shield and she never seemed to get much milk. Maybe 5-10 cc. I fed her breastmilk from a bottle after each breastfeeding and she always took a full feed from the bottle. I talked to the LC from the NICU and she said maybe dd wasn't strong enough yet and to give her some time. A few weeks later I spoke to her again and she suggested using the nipple shield 4-5 times a day and pumoing a little first to get the milk flowing. This worked well for a few weeks. Dd was spending more time sucking but even after sucking for 20 mins she would be hungry 30 mins later and take a full feed by bottle.

    I got advice from a LLL leader to banish the bottle and was unsuccessful with both syringe and cup feedings.
    I wanted to get rid of the bottle so the next thing I tried with help form the LC was a supplemental nursing system with the nipple shield. Unfiortunately, dd was still not able to get full feeds at the breast this way and ended up getting frustrated because when she shifted position of moved her arms the milk flow would get cut off and she would get mad. I had just stopped using the SNS and went back to just the nipple shield and she went on strike and has refused to nurse at all ever since.

    I have tried holding her skin to skin for long periods holing that when she awakens for the next meal she will take the breast... no such luck. I have been trying the tub "rebirthing" and she is relaxed enough to put part of the breast in her mough but won't actually latch on and suck. I try offering the breast before during or after a meal and she turns away and or cries most of the time. Occasionally she will be interested in playing with the nipple but since she's teething she will inevitably gum it which is painful. I have tried pumping to get the milk flowing and sometimes she will lick it, other times she will get mad. I have tried putting a litte milk in the nipple shield and she willtake it and do2 sucks then pull away. I have met with two different LC's and they were both stumped. When they tried their various tricks to get her to latch on she fought it screaming. They said sometimes a baby will spontaneously decide to nurse later on. Is there any hope?

    (BTW I am pumping and exclusively giving her my breastmilk, but 6 months of this has been exhausting.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Refuses to latch on


    I so know what you are going through. My preemie (15wks early) refused to latch, nothing worked. She hated being near my breasts, so i gave up and dcided to just feed her bm with a bottle. Well when she was about 9 mths old (5 1/2 mth adjusted) I out of the blue tried to get her to breast, well she took to it like she's been nursing all along. I can't explain why she did it but she did. She turned 2 last month and we are still nursing. So I just wanted to give you some hope and i hope you can edstablish nursing in the future.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Refuses to latch on

    Thanks. My dd latches on for a couple of minutes twice last week but hasn't been interesed since. I have some hope that she may be working herself up to breastfeeding. She is 4 months adjusted now. I don;t know how to encourage her. Sometimes when I offer she still cries so I back off right away.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Refuses to latch on

    I went through a similar experience with my baby. Literally, I threw away the bottles so there was no temptation for me. I co slept with her and basically kept her on the nipple all day everyday for two weeks! Every few hours I would pump and cup feed but only enough that still left her hungary for the breast. It was the 14th day when it clicked for her. Then she started being successful at eating. From that point on she ate every hour and a half for about 3mths and then every two to three hours there after. My daughter was 30 weeks with IGUR. Good Luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    1

    Wink Re: Refuses to latch on

    HI,

    i am new here but very grateful to know i am not alone with this troubling heartbreaking situation, though i would not wish this on anyone.

    long story short is that when my first, my ds, was born he spent 11 days in the NICU but with help with a nipple shield, and after one month was able to latch on and stay on (he needed a nostril hole - inside nose - created for him as he was born with tissue where it shouldn't have been as it blocked breathing in that nostril for him). and he stayed on until weaned2 weeks to 1 yr becuase of being pregnant with #2.

    We were reassured that what was creating this issue for him would not repeat it self again as what happened to him was genetic fluke which caused both the need for nose surgery at 7 days old as well as a moderate hearing loss.

    Instead, after a beatiful labor and spontaneous water birth, i was devestated to find out that our dd was put into the same NICU - also becuase no nostril holes - this time both were missing so she had to be intubated as well (he didn't).

    and even harder was that i was not allowed to practice bf at all until original nose surgery was done. (5 days old) and different from him, i couldn't nurse him or try prior to surgery, her personality was already different and in the times i tried after surgery she fought me tooth adn nail which was different from him.

    eventually she came home after 15 days, but was hooked on t eh bottle (he had also had bottles at night but would easily bf in day and no confusion) whereas she woudln't feed in day off me.

    i figured if i just get her home it woudl be different.

    but it hasn't gone well at all.

    she clearly emotionally refuses to even try at the breast, even after a full bottle when she isn't hungry.

    at first i let her gain weight, then i tried on my own, then i broke down adn needed support adn called lll in my area.

    i found the emotional support to keep trying,i now have had a lc come out two times and i think she knows what she is doing and she even admits to recognizeing my unique circumstances and that my daughter won't even try a SNS becaause of her personality, the fact that her nose has been messed with so much ( she has had 5 surgeries becuase after the original one, we check in a couple of weeks and it has started to regreow back inside the nose hole, so it is rewidened in a operation with anesthesia called a dilation).

    i have tried everything - pumping before, after, botleing her, trying when she is asleep, even tried the rebirth bathtub last night.

    each time i try and nothing seems to happen, it breaks my heart, but i don'ti want to feel resentful towards her, i also don't want to give up but i have an active 21 mo old toddler with a hearing loss and it is overwhelming at times how to handle all this.

    so, i was feeling especially blue and sad and envious of other women who can just bf this morning and when i read the post about the baby spontaneously latching on at 9 mo, i cried because that is my secret hope, and the possibility that this might happen for us (as it seems with her NICU stay, nose issues and personality this might be the only way).

    I hope that this does, so thank you for being willing to share your stories as it allowed me to both feel less alone and like there maybe some hope.

    good luck to one and all and thanks for listening

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    2,770

    Default Re: Refuses to latch on

    Have you ladies tried nursing in a sling? Slings are great baby calmers (once the babies get used to them; sometimes there's a learning curve), and some LOs nurse better while snuggled up and on the move.

    Also, have you tried nursing while the hair dryer or vacuum cleaner is running? When Haley gets particularly fussy and is hungry but too fussy to nurse, I will turn on the hair dryer. She starts to "zone" a bit and then latches right on.

    These are just suggestions. I know your situation is a lot more complicated than all that, but I thought I'd mention these ideas in case they help. Keep up the good work. You're doing great!
    I love my kids. I care for them accordingly. What more can I say?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Refuses to latch on

    i've also been pumping for almost 7 months now for my 32 wkr. i thought i would stop last week because i was so exhausted but just couldn't. he latched on last month like a champ and lost 4 oz in 3 days...so instead of putting a tube down him in the hospital i agreed with the doctor that he needs breast milk, in a bottle. i have to add a scoop of formula so he gets extra calories- he is almost 7 months and weighs 11 lbs. i just wanted to tell you i understand the frustration. my milk drops every time i stop taking reglan (with makes me feel like i am in a fog) so i gave myself a week break, which means my son gets more formula then breast milk and next week i will go back to the reglan. i hope he will latch on again and be able to gain weight still... i have also done the baths, skin to skin, slings, co-sleeping, nursing while he is sleepy... nothing has worked. it gave me inspiration to hear about the 9 month old that started nursing. wouldn't that be wonderful! i think it is amazing that moms do so much for these tiny preemies, they are such a challenge from day one but so worth it! my little guy just started really smiling and laughing! it made me realize i can keep pumping if he can go through all he has been through and still smile.

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