Re: Need some reassurance and help- confidence shaken
Hey mama, don't panic! You're in a rough spot but it could be worse, and all sounds fixable.
Difficulty with latching is very, very common with newborn babies. Latching is an instinctive thing, but it is also a learned skill that takes time to perfect. I suggest trying the following, if you're not already:
- Try latching the baby on before he is exhibiting hunger signs. A baby who is hungry enough to be crying is often a baby who is too frantic to latch well.
- Instant reward. Before latching baby on, express a few drops of milk onto the surface of the nipple. The taste of milk may remind him that breast + sucking = milk + happiness.
- If baby is frantic, try offering him your pinky finger with nail held down towards his tongue. A few seconds of sucking on a finger may remind baby that sucking- not thrashing and screaming- will make him feel better. Once he's a little calmer, try latching him on again.
- If fast letdowns are a problem, try nursing in reclined positions, enlisting gravity to slow milk flow. Reclined positions are also great for keeping baby on the breast, because gravity holds him on the breast.
- Experiment with supplementing at the breast using either a Lact-Aid or Medela Supplemental Nursing System. At-the-breast supplementers can be tricky to use but they eliminate the need for bottles, and if your baby's difficulty with nursing is in part caused by confusion stemming from bottle use, the supplementers could help him overcome it.
- Make bottle-feeding more like nursing. When it's time to use a bottle, unbutton your shirt and cradle baby close to the bare breast. Tickle his lips with the bottle nipple until he opens WIDE- you don't want him learning sloppy latch habits from having a bottle slipped into a half-open mouth. Pause the feeding after every oz or so to get him used to the normal pauses that come with nursing.
- Try the "finish at the breast" technique. Instead of concluding feedings with a bottle, have baby end all his feedings at the breast. This teaches him to associate the feeling of satiation and calm with nursing, rather than with a bottle.
In your shoes, I think I would want more data on my side. Right now you're not sure how well baby is able to transfer milk, and that makes you understandably anxious about breastfeeding in general! I would call the LCs and see if one of them can hook you up with a professional scale. By weighing the baby before and after feedings, and subtracting the before from the after, you can gain an accurate picture of milk intake. You'll know when your baby has done a decent job at the breast, and when he hasn't. When he has, no worries and no supplements needed! When he hasn't, okay, time to feed him some expressed milk or formula.
How often are you pumping at this point? And what sort of pump are you using?
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"