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Thread: Please help...feel so alone

  1. #1

    Unhappy Please help...feel so alone

    I'm so glad I found this forum and I hope someone could give me some advice on feeding my little girl who is 3 weeks old.

    Where to start...
    I bf from birth and felt it was all going well. Myself and my midwife felt she had a good latch and was feeding well. At her 1 week check up she'd gone from 7lb8 to 7lb6...perfectly fine. I continued with bf and her behaviour became increasingly unsettled and unsatisfied after feeding (looking back I don't think I was feeding her properly as I was misinformed about bf and went by the clock rather than going by her which now I know it's wrong I feel incredibly guilty about).

    A few days later she was weighed again to find she was down 20g. The midwife told me to feel her every 3 hours and pump to get my supply up, which I did. A few days later she was weighed again and down another 40g. At this point I was told that if she hadn't put weight on in 3 days we'd have to go back to hospital. Midwife advised topping up with formula. I was v reluctant to do this but felt very backed into a corner with the threat of hospital.

    So I started topping up each feed with 1-2oz formula depending on her hunger. I hated this and felt a complete failure. However, she seemed much more content with having breast milk and formula and a few days later was back to her birth weight. I asked midwife's advice on what to do now as I really wanted to get back to breast milk only. Her response was 'you can do whatever you want now her weight is up'.

    I started reducing the formula and increasing bf so she now only had two formula top ups a day. Bf felt like it was going much better, she fed about every 1.5. hours and for about 30 mins in total (usually both breasts). I was pleased because she seemed to be satisfied and settled after her feeds. However, she was weighed yesterday and is down another 30g now. I was so upset Midwife didn't really give any advice other than to carry on doing what I'm doing and we'll see how her weight is on Monday. But my health visitor said I shouldn't have reduced the formula and to go back to top ups every feed to get her weight back up.

    I now feel at a total loss. DH and my mum are encouraging me to listen to the hv and do the top ups or even switch entirely to formula but I really really want to bf. Doesanybody have any advice or can see where I'm going wrong? I'm willing to try anything right now!

    As a side note, she is quite refluxy and will bring a little bit of milk back up after breastfeeding but formula seems to add to this problem and she brings up an awful lot of milk (what looks like her entire feed) so much so that we had to take her to hospital the other day as she'd been so sick. She was checked out and all was fine, they said she was overfeeding on formula and to reduce it down.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Please help...feel so alone

    How many times a day are you feeding the baby in a 24hour period of time?

    Way too lazy for formula

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Please help...feel so alone

    Also what happened to the milk you pumped? Can you use pumped milk to supplement or top off INSTEAD of the formula?

    Way too lazy for formula

  4. #4

    Default Re: Please help...feel so alone

    Thanks for your reply

    When topping up I was feeding around 12 times in 24hrs. Averaging 10-20 min bf and 1-2oz top up. When trying to reduce top ups I fed about 18 times in 24hrs, just going from her cues.

    Sorry, forgot to say that I was topping up with the expressed breast milk as much as I could. After her weight was back up midwife told me to 'knock pumping on the head' though have still been trying to pump. Not getting much through the day though, only about 5oz though this has increased from when I first started pumping.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Please help...feel so alone

    You are not alone. This type of thing is very very common! And it is usually solvable.

    But I am really confused by the weights. Sorry, grams do not compute for me. Do I have this right: One week baby weighs 7 lbs 6 ounces. We do not know what was the lowest weight-is THIS the lowest? Or is baby on the way back up, or still losing at this point? Were any weight checks done between birth weight and this weight?

    Lost 20 grams-.7 ounce “a few days later”
    Lost 40 grams- 1.4 ounces “a few days later”

    Back to birth weight when? And after how many days of formula supplements?

    Some time later-what, a week? Down 30 grams -1 ounce

    So now, at 3 weeks, baby weighs how much? 1 ounce below birth weight? So 7 lbs, 7 ounces?

    What about output? Was baby pooping daily during this time?

    Tiny fluctuations of an ounce or two between weight checks make me wonder if the scale(s) are part of the problem. It is important that baby always be weighed naked, on the same scale if possible, that the scale is zeroed out before hand, and that both you and the nurse or whoever writes down the weight. I would even suggest do a double check every time. Human and scale error really do happen!

    But let’s just say your baby is not gaining well for sure. The question is WHY??? Formula and pumping and topping off only helps baby gain weight faster, which might be needed, but it does not solve the underlying issue which has not been identified...It does sound as if now you are nursing frequently enough, 12 or more times a day. This is key. But how long have you been doing that? Also are you letting baby nurse as long as baby wishes, switching sides once or more times during a feeding (helpful if there is slow weight gain but otherwise not necessary.)

    You want to try to figure out, is the problem low milk production, or is baby having a hard time extracting the milk effectively, or a little of both? Or as it mostly a matter of not nursing often or long enough and now that you know not to do that, and baby is bigger and stronger, you can move back to nursing exclusively? How to proceed depends on the answers to that!

    Can you see a IBCLC -a Board Certified Lactation Consultant-someone who will be concerned about helping you get baby back to the breast exclusively, (ask her) and not ONLY on weight gain?

    You will also get help and suggestions here of course, I am just wondering what local options you have.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Please help...feel so alone

    Thanks so much for your reply. Sorry about the confusion, my brain is fuzzy at the moment.

    The weights go like this...
    15/2 Birth - 7lb8
    20/2 - 7lb6
    25/2 - 7lb5.5
    27/2 - 7lb4
    1/3 - 7lb8
    7/3 - 7lb7

    I started supplementing 27th Feb with every feed until 1/3 then started reducing the formula.

    Output has been normal for the whole time luckily! About 8 wet and 2-4 poop per day.

    She was weighed naked each time but on 3 different scales so I suppose it could've been that contributing to the readings.

    Once I started reducing the formula (on 1st March) I was feeding her anytime she wanted for as long as she wanted. Some feeds I would switch her onto the other breast. But as I was slowly reducing the formula she didn't want to be fed as often as the last 2 days when she has only had 2oz formula of an evening, as the formula seems to make her fuller for longer.

    I think out of the issues you've mentioned it may be a case of low milk production. Since using formula I definintely feel as though my breasts aren't as full as they were before. I'm considering renting an electric pump to get my milk supply up - do you think that is a good idea? Also I am on iron tablets for blood loss at birth - I don't know if that would affect things?

    I searched for local lactation consultants in my area and couldn't see one but there is a breastfeeding clinic once a week I could go to and on our antenatal courses there was a woman who led the breastfeeding session and was very pro-breastfeeding and she said we could call her if we had difficulties so I might do that.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Please help...feel so alone

    Well I am not sure low supply is the problem, or if it is, it's pretty minor. Baby's output has been good...what about other growth indicators?

    If your supply has been harmed buy the supplementing, the cure is to nurse baby as much as possible, and you could also pump as needed. Whether it's a good idea depends on other factors. Do you hate pumping? Will your baby nurse lots? If your baby will nurse very often and there is not a milk transfer issue, then baby nursing will very likely be all that is needed to bring back normal milk production.
    If going the pumping route, Yes an electric pump is better! For increasing milk production it should be hospital grade rental if possible.

    You could also consider galactogogues.

    See this article on low milk production and also the book Making More Milk. http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp...es/low-supply/

    But I also wonder if nothing was ever wrong, except perhaps you not nursing baby long enough and often enough at first, and there was an incorrect weight check in there somewhere. Because the poops tell a different story than the weights.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; March 8th, 2013 at 10:59 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Please help...feel so alone

    When you go to the Breastfeeding clinic, you could consider running this possibility by them...

    maybe baby lost considerably MORE than the weight checks show after birth. The recorded loss of only 2 ounces between birth and one week is a very small amount, and I doubt it represents total initial loss.
    Due to blood loss at birth (did you need a transfusion?) your milk took longer than average to become abundant, so gain after week one was not great. Plus you were scheduling feeds (right?) leading to baby not nursing frequency enough and possibly reducing milk production. Then the formula supplements cause baby to nurse even less, your pumping was not enough to keep increasing production.

    If your production was reduced slightly due to 1 blood loss after birth and 2 poor breastfeeding management (not nursing often enough, timing feeds, supplementing with formula without offsetting that with frequent enough pumping on the right kind of pump), then the key now is probably going to be encouraging baby to nurse VERY frequently, switch nursing, breast compressions, and some additional pumping as you can, in order to offset any supplements. As soon as you can stop supplementing you should be able to stop or at least way cut down on pumping.

    But it is important that you make sure baby is able to nurse efficiently. Hopefully they can help you with that at the clinic. Ask the person you see what their credentials and training are and what their experience is.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Please help...feel so alone

    Hi, mama, welcome to the forum! All of what pp have said above sounds really good! I just wanted to add a few things--when you visit the nurse or LC, you might try weighing baby, then nursing baby as much as she wants, then weighing again to estimate how much she took in. I did this at my LC's and my LO was getting about 2-3 oz per breast. Another tip which I utilized to get him to nurse more was to change his diaper in between breasts, since as a small newborn he fell asleep after nursing one breast. The diaper change woke him up again (and unfortunately upset him, but hey you gotta do it anyways, right?) and he was then eager to nurse on the second breast again.

    As to making more milk, the kellymom articles are great. I've also heard of eating more oatmeal--I regularly include this in my diet, but am not sure how much it impacted my supply since I had an oversupply at first and worked to regulate that. The one key is to nurse, nurse, nurse! Even if she doesn't cue, offer, and she might take it, you'd be surprised.

    Good luck! And don't feel alone now--you have all of us! This forum really helped me out through the early days .

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