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Thread: Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

  1. #1

    Exclamation Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

    My son is almost 4 weeks old and we've been having problems from the start. I wasn't able to BF within the first hour of birth because of medications I was given, and I had been up for almost 48 hours prior to going into labor so I was pretty out of it by that point. He slept for almost the first 24 hours and it wasn't until pretty late in the day that a nurse finally told me that I should have been trying to nurse him every 2 hours to help bring my milk in. He was never able to latch on his own in the hospital so they gave me a nipple shield which I thought was a lifesaver and now I am regretting how long I used it (about a week and a half non stop). I've heard that it could have something to do with my low supply because the nipple doesn't get proper stimulation?

    Well anyways I finally was able to wean him off the shield and haven't used it in about a week or so but he clamps down and it hurts really bad. Since birth he never really seemed satisfied so I nursed him 24/7 even for 5 hours straight 3 different times. He was STILL hungry. I went to a LC at my WIC office (she is an IBCLC but I can tell that her working at WIC doesn't give us the proper amount of time needed since she has so many appts. everyday) and thought his latch looked fine, thought the pain I was describing was normal (said it does take some getting used to), and overall thought everything was good until she weighed him and I fed him and she weighed him again. He had only taken 15 mLs in almost an hour! That week she sent me home with a pump (Medela Lactina Plus) and told me to do breast compressions while feeding him and if I had to give him a bottle since he was basically starving. She also told me not to let feedings go past 30-45 minutes(???) and to pump for 15 minutes after feeding 8x a day.

    After that we got into a routine of me nursing him for 45 minutes to an hour (I couldn't bear cutting it down to 30 and I really wanted him to be satisfied with my milk) and him still screaming his head off every time so while I pumped my boyfriend would give him a bottle of formula because I wasn't able to pump much at first. We went back to see the LC a week later and weigh/feed/weigh and this time he only took 20 mLs. His latch was still bad, he was still clamping down and now he was just not interested in sucking possibly because of the bottle making it so easy for him. She sent us home with the same instructions, pump 8x a day but also told me to take Fenugreek and eat healthier. Also, she told me to not let him nurse more than 20-30 minutes because I needed to keep my sanity (WHAT?! my baby needs to EAT!)

    We were in the same routine (feed 45-1 hour, and give 2 ounce bottle of formula and occasionally BM if I was able to pump enough) for the next week until we went in Wednesday and I told her I was really frustrated with the whole situation. ESPECIALLY his latch. We finally tried working on that but baby was just getting way too mad (he hates being messed with and she was trying to open his mouth wider) and that was causing him to clamp down even harder! But at this appt. he was able to take 30 mLs so there was SOME progress! I told her I thought his latch was getting worse because of the bottle use so she gave me a tube thing to put in a bottle of formula or BM so he can learn to keep sucking at the breast. That's where we are now and his latch isn't improving but at least we're not giving him bottles anymore.

    I guess I'm just wanting to know if anyone has ever been in a similar situation and was able to exclusively breast feed because the LC told me that I might not ever be able to. I feel like a lot of her advice kinda goes against what everyone on here has been saying. Do you think his latch will just improve over time like she seems to think? He definitely creases my nipples to the point where they're white on the ends after a feeding. And how can I pump enough to only feed him BM? I admit it's hard to do the 8x a day because I'm living with other people but I never go below 6. I get around 5-6 ounces a day and that's not even close to enough. Please help, any info or even just support would be awesome. I'm constantly getting told to just quit and I really want this to work out someday!!

    SO SORRY for the super long post but I'm so frustrated!!! I need help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum! Sorry you're having a tough time but it's great that you are sticking it out.

    Honestly, I'm very surprised at a lot of the advice the LC gave you. First, the latch. It should not be painful. Yes, breastfeeding takes a bit of getting used to - but not 4 weeks! It sounds like you may very well still have a latch problem. So the question is, will this LC be able to work on that with you? Or is there any option to see another? The sooner you get the latch fixed, the better it will be for you and baby. In terms of him being too mad, one thing to try is to first give him just a bit of pumped milk or formula, so that he is not desperately hungry, THEN try to get him to latch on.

    Second, limiting time at the breast makes no sense to me AT ALL. You want to nurse, nurse, nurse. That is what will bring in your supply. And if you can't nurse because it's too painful, then you pump. And also pumping after feeding as you're doing will help supply as well. The more you nurse and/or pump, the better it is for your supply. It's all supply and demand.

    You have great instincts, mama, and you WILL be able to breastfeed. LOTS of mamas have trouble breastfeeding at the beginning. It does not mean you are doomed to fail. It means you have some problems to solve that CAN and WILL be solved.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

    Thanks for the quick reply! I know for a fact his latch is no good. He doesn't want to open his mouth at all and when he does latch he bites down HARD. I feel like that's the reason he can't get more than an ounce an hour when I'm nursing him as normal. We worked on it for a little bit but like I said she seems very busy. I live in a small town and she works all over the county and is the only IBCLC around that I know of. She is very very nice and I like her a lot but I can tell she is just swamped with being the only LC for all the WIC offices in my whole county! When we couldn't improve his latch she gave me the tube thing so he nurses from me while being supplemented with formula or BM and that has improved his laziness but not his latch. As for trying to bottle feed first, we've tried that but after having the ease of the bottle he doesn't even try to latch, he just tries to lick and half-suck at my nipple.

    I feel like my supply is low because of the fact that he is only taking an ounce per feeding at the most and I rarely get another ounce when I pump afterward. Do you think I would benefit from power pumping? I really want to be able to supplement with ONLY expressed milk and cut out the formula completely but it just seems impossible since I only get 5-6 ounces per day at the very most. I take Fenugreek, drink lots of water and eat oatmeal daily. Is there anything else I can do to get my supply up or get more from the pump?

    Does anyone else have experience with a baby who just doesn't want to open his mouth? He opens just enough to get the nipple and then sucks a little more in but clamps down right at the base of my nipple. I don't want his bad latch to cause even more problems from the pain so I want to fix it as quick as possible. I try to do the breast sandwich thing and he doesn't seem to like that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Default Re: Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

    Has anyone checked him thoroughly for tongue tie?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

    No, not that I know of. Should I ask his pediatrician or the LC? Or would I have to go to a specialist?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

    Pediatrician and/or the LC should be able to diagnose the obvious forms of tongue tie. You can probably make a fairly reliable assessment yourself, when it comes to obvious ties, just by checking out pics on the internet. Here are 2 good pics: http://www.tonguetie.co.uk/. Notice the divot in the top of the tongue? How it sort of looks like the top of a heart? Like the frenulum seems to be tethering the center of the tongue down, preventing it from fully extending?

    What sort of medications were you given with labor?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

    I can't give you authoritative advice but I wanted to tell you I have been in your situation!! And you CAN do this. It sounds like you are getting close to doing it if your baby's intake is increasing according the pre- and post-feed weights. Your goal is to nurse and pump--with the hospital-grade pump (very important) as much as possible to increase your supply to the point where you're pumping all of the milk you need for supplements, which it sounds like you're getting close to. At that point, you'll know that your milk production is adequate. When I was at the stage where I was finally pumping enough to supplement with only expressed breast milk, I was so frustrated because I had done all this work to improve my supply and I would nurse and then baby would still need a supplement. I was confused as to why she couldn't get it directly from me--I was making enough milk. My IBCLC told me to just stop pumping cold turkey. And sure enough, there was plenty of milk for her as soon as I stopped pumping it all out.

    They say that the pump doesn't remove milk as efficiently as a baby, and I think that is in general true, but in my experience, I am convinced that the hospital-grade pump turned all the way up was removing milk more efficiently than my newborn could. Yes, my 11 month old is much more efficient than my consumer-grade pump, for sure! But I do believe that my baby was able to nurse better and get more milk after I stopped pumping. I'm not telling you to stop pumping--you don't want to do that until you are producing all the milk your baby needs and your LC is convinced that your baby is able to transfer efficiently. But once you are there, you might find that breastfeeding gets easier when you no longer have to pump. After I stopped pumping was the first time I ever felt my breasts get full in between feedings. I was pumping so often and with such a powerful pump that they were always empty (which is what help my milk supply!!!). AND, my baby always had a "looks good" latch, but breastfeeding did hurt. When I stopped pumping, it felt SO much better. I think it was partly because my baby was older and stronger and had developed a better latch and partly because she didn't have to work so hard to get milk from my breasts because they hadn't been drained by the pump. Definitely keep working on that latch with the LC. But it may also improve with time.

    Pumping 8x per day is going to achieve two things for you--it's going to get you more milk to give as supplements AND it is going to stimulate your body to produce even more milk. So you'll get to the point where you're exclusively breastfeeding faster. I know it's really hard. But the more you pump, the more your milk production will increase, and the closer you'll get to being done with this whole situation. Exclusively breastfeeding is glorious compared to what you're going through and you WILL get there. You're making progress.

    I understand the inclination to question the LC's putting limits on the amount of time you spend nursing. Of course, the more you can nurse the better!! But I will add the perspective that I think she might be trying to keep this manageable for you. That is also important. If your LC wants you to offer the breast every 2 hours during the day, counting from when your baby STARTS nursing, then if you nurse for and hour, then pump for 15 minutes, spend 30 minutes eating, taking a shower, washing pump parts, whatever, you literally have 15 minutes left before you have to nurse again. It gets impossible. If you nurse for only 30 minutes, you may find it is feasible to nurse with more frequency and to pump 8 times/day. And these are the two things that are most critical for improving your milk supply, even faster than will long nursing sessions, as I understand it.

    You'll get there!! Just hang in there! You are doing it and it won't be like this forever!
    Last edited by @llli*sprocket; May 3rd, 2013 at 01:10 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

    I was given fentanyl two different times, once in an IV and an epidural also. Apparently in the heat of the moment I was shouting for them to give me anything I wish they wouldn't have listened to me!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

    It's so nice to hear that someone else was in a similar situation and made it through! Just hearing ANYTHING other than "oh, you tried but it's not working out" is making everything go so much better today! Even if it's just in my own mind!! It's really hard with no support. My boyfriend tries to be as supportive as he can but I can tell it's wearing on him too, especially knowing there's an "easy way out."

    And I'm definitely going to get him checked out for a tongue-tie. I tried to look myself but he doesn't even open his mouth for food, let alone someone wanting to mess with him. I did notice he has a really long tongue and there is a crease midway down his tongue that looks like it is being held down (if that makes any sense?) but he wouldn't let me get a real good look.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Needing lots of advice!! VERY LONG POST

    Hi mama, don't feel bad about that (having the epidural and the fentanyl, I mean). Labor is painful! Having an epidural and IV fentanyl does not mean that you can't successfully breastfeed.

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