Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

  1. #1

    Default Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

    Looking for any advice or support. Thank you in advance and I apologize for how long this is going to be...

    I had my DS about two years ago. I wanted to bf him, but I thought it would just come easily and I didn't understand supply and demand. We gave a few nighttime bottles in the first week and my supply tanked and we eventually had to ff. I felt terrible.

    I just had my DD 3.5 weeks ago and I thought I was all ready to bf. Unfortunately DD didn't care about my preparedness. I was induced 10 days early because she was too small and they believed she was stressed. She was 5lbs 6oz and had extremely low blood sugar, so I would bf and then supplement with formula (in a bottle). She left the hospital above her birth weight. Since we have been home, she has been an extremely sleepy eater. I have tried tickling, taking off all her clothes, using a cold washcloth, everything. I will hand her to DH and he will wake her fully, and then the second I take her she's asleep again.

    After about a week of the sleepy eater, I went to see an LC and DD had lost weight. We did a feeding test and DD transferred less than .5oz in 45 minutes. LC asked me to bf DD every 2 hours for 15 min on each side and then supplement with bm or formula (offer about 1oz) and then pump for 10-15 minutes (I have a Medela Freestyle). LC only wants 15 min on each side because she said since DD is so little, she will start burning more calories than she's gaining after working at it for longer than that. She has never once "popped off" or stopped bfing when nursing...never satisfied

    We did this for about a week and she didn't gain very much. We went back to the LC and she only transferred .3oz in a half hour at that visit! The LC could not believe how sleepy DD is, she said she's the sleepiest baby she's ever seen. So she asked me to move to every 2.5 hours to see if she could get the extra sleep she needed and then maybe be more awake. DD has been a little more awake, but I think it might be because she's a little older now.

    I have been taking fenugreek and blessed thistle and I have been eating oatmeal and drinking lots of Mother's Milk Tea and gatorade and water to keep my supply going. I was offered Reglan but I don't feel comfortable with some of the possible side effects. Plus, I feel like the milk is there, she's just too sleepy and not able to get it.

    I went to the LC yesterday and DD had only gained 2oz in one whole week. So LC had me try a nipple shield because it looked like LO was slipping off my nipple and not getting a good enough latch at all times. During that session, she transferred 1.5oz in 45 minutes using the nipple shield, so that was good to hear. However, I'm still having to supplement after we bf for 30 minutes and I'm supplementing even more now, 1.5 to 2oz I even had the LC look for tongue or lip ties, and she said everything looked good.

    I'm at the point where I want to quit but I don't at the same time. I just want to know that there is success at the end of this. By the time I bf, supplement, pump and wash everything, I barely have 30minutes to do something else before I have to start the process again. This is making me so sad, because I have missed out on making fun summer memories with my 2 year old since I can't really go anywhere for an extended period of time. I send DH out to have fun with DS and I sit at home and go round and round. The house is a mess, I have no sleep, I'm tired and feeling low. I just wanted this to work out so badly. My DH tries his best to be there for me, but he doesn't like seeing me like this so he tends to remind me that we used formula with DS and he has turned out great (except for a few respiratory sicknesses that I feel guilty about and think I caused by ff)...so whenever I vent about the situation, DH just tells me to start using formula. Ugh

    Does anyone have anything I haven't tried? Any stories of success? Anyone able to come back from doing the bf-supplement-pump routine and go to straight bf? How long? If I knew for sure this would work, I would keep at it...but I don't, so I don't want to waste all this time...I might as well pump and cut out the bf all together, but I don't want to if I'm so close I just don't know when to "call it", as I tell DH. I have to go back to work at 6 weeks, so I figure I need to decide by then...I just don't want to miss out on all these things for nothing

    I'm desperate and depressed by this whole situation It's my last child and I so wanted to get it right Please, can anyone help me?
    Last edited by @llli*devdevmarie; June 30th, 2013 at 06:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

    Hi, read your post last night on my phone but was unable to reply. I'm new here too, but I didn't want your post to go unanswered for too long. I can't offer any real solutions but the ladies here have been amazing, so you've come to the right place!

    I've been there. I was there with my daughter almost six years ago and we did end up giving up. And I regretted it then, and still do. But ultimately you have to do what's best for yourself. In a situation like this I think it's best to just try really hard so that you can move on with the knowledge that you really put a valliant effort in to do what is best for your child. And it sounds like you are!

    My little one is also a sleepy eater. At the bottle and on the rare occasions he gets on the breast.

    Also, please try to remember how normal it is to have feeding issues... otherwise institutions like this wouldn't exist! Don't let it bog you down and get depressed. Over the last few weeks I've found myself crying over the issues we're having, but after googling the heck out of latching problems I've discovered just how very normal it is, and I'm determined that it won't get me down. Cheering for you!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,735

    Default Re: Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

    Hi devdevmarie. Welcome to the forum, I am sorry you are having these issues!

    So, there was a big improvement in the transfer recorded in the before after nursing weight check, right? That is improvement, that is a good sign.

    I have a couple questions, and then I want to give you my impressions of what you wrote. If I have something wrong, please let me know.

    Are all weight checks being done on the same scale, baby naked?

    How many times a day does baby poop, and what size, & what does the poop look like?

    So how many times in 24 hour will baby nurse, typically? And how many times do you pump in 24 hours? How much milk comes out when you pump (approximately?) (each session and daily)

    Is nursing comfortable for you?

    is your lc an ibclc?

    If a baby cannot transfer milk, there is a reason. was baby examined for tongue tie or lip tie by anyone besides your lc? Have you looked in your baby's mouth, run your finger under the tongue? Do you know if your lc knows how to look for posterior tongue tie?

    did your lc give you tips on keeping baby interested and awake while nursing (switching sides, breast compression?)

    Here is what I am hearing you say
    1)baby was so small and (I guess) not growing in utero you were induced early! Early induction is a serious intervention, They must have been very worried about your baby's growth even before baby was born. That certainly has nothing to do with your milk!
    2) Even with the help of an lc and formula supplements, your baby continues to grow very slowly
    3) Baby is very sleepy, the sleepiest baby your IBCLC has ever seen!
    4) Your IBCLC told you to limit nursing sessions due to concerns that baby is wearing herself out! This is typoically only a concern with very sick, very prenature infants!

    Plus, you think you make enough but baby cannot get it! so the issue is thus not low milk production!

    Why does everyone assume the issue is your milk at all? There are medical conditions that cause poor weight gain. These should be ruled out. Have you talked to your pediatrician about testing baby for other reasons baby may not be gaining or is so sleepy?

    Meanwhile, if you keep pumping at least 8 times a day, that will help keep milk production up around where it should be. The galactagogues (oatmeal, herbs, meds) only may help if milk is being removed regularly. You only need to drink water to thirst, not more than you want.

    I know you feel up against it because you are returning to work in what-2 weeks? That is very hard. But I suggest looking at it this way-
    Breast milk is the biogically normal food for an infant. Breastfeeding is the biologically normal way all baby mammals are fed. If an infant cannot grow when getting adequate breastmilk, or is so sleepy or has another issue where baby cannot get adequate amounts of milk, that is a very serious health issue that needs to be figured out! This is not really a question of supplements or formula vs. breastfeeding. That is not what I mean. Formula supplements may help baby gain. Needed supplements can thus be very important if there is not enough breastmilk. But formula only replaces breastmilk. It is not a medicine that cures illness nor does it make a baby grow better or faster than breastmilk. So supplements of any kind are just treating the symptom, not the root of the issue. Which is- why is baby not gaining in the first place! It can and does happen that breastfeeding is blamed for poor weight gain when the issue is something else entirely. Maybe (if needed) you can consider if delaying your return to work by a week or two or going part time for a bit would be possible due to needing to figure out your baby's health issues.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; July 1st, 2013 at 10:27 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,475

    Default Re: Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

    In addition to Meg's wonderful advice, have you tried other nursing positions? Have you tried laid back? You lay back a bit, baby is upright, in line with your body. Maybe with not laying down / not quite as comfortable as laying down, she'll stay awake a little more?

    I do agree with Meg though, a second opinion is warranted. If the people trying to help you aren't successful, it's time to find someone else.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
    and

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

    I cant really offer advice because I did not go through any of this but it sounded like you could use a hug
    You also asked about stopping supplements. I supplemented for the first 5 weeks and am now EBF my daughter. I pump because I work but on the weekends she only nurses. So it is possible to stop supplements down the line. (As long as the medical issues are resolved, which I cant really speak to)

    Good luck mama!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

    Hi there - this sounds stressful. I noticed just how many times you used a frowning face in your post. There is light at the end of this! I agree that formula is not the magical cure for your baby's slow weight gain issues. The first thing I wanted to say is that you don't have to wash every time between pumping/feeding! This is a common misconception. If you store all your parts in the fridge you only have to wash them once a day. I even leave them out sometimes at work and within 3 hours I am comfortable not washing the flanges etc before a second pump. Breastmilk is stable room temp for 3-6 hours ( I err on the side of caution and cut it off at 3 hours). This applies to pump parts too in my experience.
    Meg gave you really great advice about the feeding. So here is also my thoughts about what you are feeling. The house is a mess. It will just have to be a mess! At 3.5 weeks I was still mostly glued to my recliner with my baby. My DS is 9 months and my house is still generally a mess, and I'm coming to accept that it will be for 2-3 years! Every time I look out at my yard and think, geez I've barely done anything out there I remind myself, I am raising a little human.
    I think I hear that you are going through some loss - this is your last baby as you said and you want things to be right. I went through so much loss during my birth and my initial bfing experience. No one told me it would be like that. I wanted natural and I ended up with drugs and then a c-section. My baby had low blood sugar at first due to a stressed induced birth and I was sick with an infection so didn't make enough milk for him, and I had to supplement for about a month until I finally started producing enough. When I got back to work I struggled with the pump forever, and when I finally got to a good production point I just let go, and it felt so good. I'm hearing you mainly dealing with loss and it might help to acknowledge that and see if you can let go of some of those tightly held expectations. Are you connected to any moms groups? Is there anything like that in your area? We have both baby blues connections groups and new moms/breastfeeding support groups in our area. Both saved me. Seriously.
    Hang in there. Just remember you are the perfect person for that sweet little baby and you are doing the right thing

  7. #7

    Default Re: Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    Hi devdevmarie. Welcome to the forum, I am sorry you are having these issues!

    So, there was a big improvement in the transfer recorded in the before after nursing weight check, right? That is improvement, that is a good sign.

    I have a couple questions, and then I want to give you my impressions of what you wrote. If I have something wrong, please let me know.

    Are all weight checks being done on the same scale, baby naked?

    How many times a day does baby poop, and what size, & what does the poop look like?

    So how many times in 24 hour will baby nurse, typically? And how many times do you pump in 24 hours? How much milk comes out when you pump (approximately?) (each session and daily)

    Is nursing comfortable for you?

    is your lc an ibclc?

    If a baby cannot transfer milk, there is a reason. was baby examined for tongue tie or lip tie by anyone besides your lc? Have you looked in your baby's mouth, run your finger under the tongue? Do you know if your lc knows how to look for posterior tongue tie?

    did your lc give you tips on keeping baby interested and awake while nursing (switching sides, breast compression?)

    Here is what I am hearing you say
    1)baby was so small and (I guess) not growing in utero you were induced early! Early induction is a serious intervention, They must have been very worried about your baby's growth even before baby was born. That certainly has nothing to do with your milk!
    2) Even with the help of an lc and formula supplements, your baby continues to grow very slowly
    3) Baby is very sleepy, the sleepiest baby your IBCLC has ever seen!
    4) Your IBCLC told you to limit nursing sessions due to concerns that baby is wearing herself out! This is typoically only a concern with very sick, very prenature infants!

    Plus, you think you make enough but baby cannot get it! so the issue is thus not low milk production!

    Why does everyone assume the issue is your milk at all? There are medical conditions that cause poor weight gain. These should be ruled out. Have you talked to your pediatrician about testing baby for other reasons baby may not be gaining or is so sleepy?

    Meanwhile, if you keep pumping at least 8 times a day, that will help keep milk production up around where it should be. The galactagogues (oatmeal, herbs, meds) only may help if milk is being removed regularly. You only need to drink water to thirst, not more than you want.

    I know you feel up against it because you are returning to work in what-2 weeks? That is very hard. But I suggest looking at it this way-
    Breast milk is the biogically normal food for an infant. Breastfeeding is the biologically normal way all baby mammals are fed. If an infant cannot grow when getting adequate breastmilk, or is so sleepy or has another issue where baby cannot get adequate amounts of milk, that is a very serious health issue that needs to be figured out! This is not really a question of supplements or formula vs. breastfeeding. That is not what I mean. Formula supplements may help baby gain. Needed supplements can thus be very important if there is not enough breastmilk. But formula only replaces breastmilk. It is not a medicine that cures illness nor does it make a baby grow better or faster than breastmilk. So supplements of any kind are just treating the symptom, not the root of the issue. Which is- why is baby not gaining in the first place! It can and does happen that breastfeeding is blamed for poor weight gain when the issue is something else entirely. Maybe (if needed) you can consider if delaying your return to work by a week or two or going part time for a bit would be possible due to needing to figure out your baby's health issues.
    Thank you so much for your response...I'm blown away by the length of and time spent on replies in this forum. Just amazing... I will try to answer all your questions...

    Yes, all weight checks are being done on the same scale in the LC's office with baby naked. Baby poops at least 8 times a day, usually right after every feeding or so. The poop is yellow with chunks/seeds in it. I have seen it a shade of green once or twice, but otherwise yellow. The size of each is probably the size of a quarter or so, but it's hard to really say because it usually covers the diaper from edge to edge and it can be quite a runny explosion!

    Baby will nurse about 8-10 times a day typically, but it can be really hard to get a good nursing session because she likes to sleep a lot. I pump after each of her feedings because I always have to supplement her after. However, I will usually skip pumping after her 3am-ish feeding because I just am too tired. After her morning feeding, I can pump from 2-3oz, but for the other pumps, I normally get 1-1.5 oz. Daily I get about 10-15oz I think. It's hard to keep track because I use it up.

    Nursing is very comfortable for me actually. Once in awhile it will hurt for a second when she first latches without a shield, but it never hurts other than that. I'm not sure if my LC is an IBCLC. I have her card and it only says RN on there and I'm guessing it would say IBCLC if she was, so I would say she is not. I did ask her about lip or tongue ties. I was concerned about LO's top lip being tied, and she looked at it and said it does look like it's hard for LO to get her lip to flip up like the fish-look, but that it wasn't bad and she didn't think it was causing a problem. She suggested going to a dentist if I was concerned, but she seemed happy with LO's latches. She didn't check for tongue tie. I've seen LO stick her tongue way out so I assumed it was fine, but maybe not? I was worried about the ties until I saw her latch with the shield, and when she latches with the shield, it looks just like the text book fishy-lips. When she latches without, it does not. It's like her mouth is too small to open that way.

    My LC gave me lots of tips about keeping baby awake, including compressions and switching. However, she only has me switching once, should I switch back and forth?

    Yes, I can see it's probably not my milk supply. The LC was focusing on increasing my milk supply so that the flow can keep baby eating and because I was using a pump. That way we could increase my supply as my baby grows in hopes that it would be enough for baby when we could finally (hopefully) wean from the supplementing.

    No, I haven't really talked too much to my ped. I did tell him at the 2 week visit that she was super sleepy and he said that was to be expected of her since she was early and so little. As far as the lack of weight gain, he and the LC have been in touch and he's left it up to us at this point as to whether we want to keep trying to bf or move to ff. I have not asked him if there may be other reasons for slow weight gain.

    I do return to work in 2.5 weeks. However, I only have to go to the office 2 days a week, the other 3 days I get to work from home with my LO. Yet another reason I don't want to quit trying at this...because I'm lucky enough to not have to worry about pumping for 5 days a week, so I will have those extra days at home to continue breastfeeding. But, I won't be able to keep up the feed-supplement-pump schedule when I am working from home, so I have 2.5 weeks to wean off this horrible cycle

    We had a weight check and she is now up to 6lbs 4oz, but I know that's because of the supplementing...it seems like I'm upping the amount I'm having to supplement.

    Once of my biggest unknowns right now is that the LC asked us to bf 15-20 minutes on each side and then supplement because after that the LC said LO would start burning more calories working to get the food than she was taking in.

    However, I have heard of some mothers breastfeeding for an hour when the LO wants to! But I feel like I'm not allowed to do that...but until when? LO is now 6lbs 4oz, which is almost a pound above her birth weight. When can I start going longer and just letting LO feed as long as she wants until she is full? When she stays awake, that is... I fear doing this because I don't want to go back for another weight check and have her dropping again Do I need to get a scale?

    This is probably way too long, but any advice on any part of this is so greatly appreciated...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*garsmum View Post
    Hi there - this sounds stressful. I noticed just how many times you used a frowning face in your post. There is light at the end of this! I agree that formula is not the magical cure for your baby's slow weight gain issues. The first thing I wanted to say is that you don't have to wash every time between pumping/feeding! This is a common misconception. If you store all your parts in the fridge you only have to wash them once a day. I even leave them out sometimes at work and within 3 hours I am comfortable not washing the flanges etc before a second pump. Breastmilk is stable room temp for 3-6 hours ( I err on the side of caution and cut it off at 3 hours). This applies to pump parts too in my experience.
    Meg gave you really great advice about the feeding. So here is also my thoughts about what you are feeling. The house is a mess. It will just have to be a mess! At 3.5 weeks I was still mostly glued to my recliner with my baby. My DS is 9 months and my house is still generally a mess, and I'm coming to accept that it will be for 2-3 years! Every time I look out at my yard and think, geez I've barely done anything out there I remind myself, I am raising a little human.
    I think I hear that you are going through some loss - this is your last baby as you said and you want things to be right. I went through so much loss during my birth and my initial bfing experience. No one told me it would be like that. I wanted natural and I ended up with drugs and then a c-section. My baby had low blood sugar at first due to a stressed induced birth and I was sick with an infection so didn't make enough milk for him, and I had to supplement for about a month until I finally started producing enough. When I got back to work I struggled with the pump forever, and when I finally got to a good production point I just let go, and it felt so good. I'm hearing you mainly dealing with loss and it might help to acknowledge that and see if you can let go of some of those tightly held expectations. Are you connected to any moms groups? Is there anything like that in your area? We have both baby blues connections groups and new moms/breastfeeding support groups in our area. Both saved me. Seriously.
    Hang in there. Just remember you are the perfect person for that sweet little baby and you are doing the right thing
    Thank you for all your advice and support. It was so nice to hear that you had a similar experience with labor and bfing not turning out how you expected and that you had to supplement but were eventually able to let it go. I will look for a local group. My first search showed a couple that met quite a distance from my house, but it might be worth it anyways. Thank you again!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*elliemommy View Post
    I cant really offer advice because I did not go through any of this but it sounded like you could use a hug
    You also asked about stopping supplements. I supplemented for the first 5 weeks and am now EBF my daughter. I pump because I work but on the weekends she only nurses. So it is possible to stop supplements down the line. (As long as the medical issues are resolved, which I cant really speak to)

    Good luck mama!
    So good to hear that there may be hope, thank you!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,735

    Default Re: Desperate to breastfeed but failing :(

    Is there a way you can see a board certified lactation consultant? They WOULD have IBCLC after their name. For all I know their suggestions won't be any different, however, I am hoping they can clarify how much your baby is able to take at the breast and help you improve that if needed. An IBCLC cannot 'diagnose' tongue tie one way or the other, (neither can an RN) but they should have the expertise to form a suspicion. They also might know what dentist, ent or pediatrician near you can make such a diagnoses and treat tt as needed.

    The consult should last at least 90 minutes one on one with the IBCLC. Here is more on what a consult entails: http://cwgenna.com/lconsult.html

    Hold up! baby is a pound over birth weight? So is gain rate now on track and everyone happy? If so, yes that would be the time to start working on easing back on the pumping and supplements.

    What I am hearing is your baby nurses with normal frequency (I know baby is sleepy but if baby wakes up and wants to nurse more often, that would also be normal) and you are still able to pump 10-15 or more ounces a day! 12 ounces or so is about half what a three week old baby typically needs per day. So I agree milk production is not the issue. With that amount of supplement, what is the daily weight gain rate now? Baby's poop certainly sounds normal. I wonder if you cut back on the supplements if baby would wake up, nurse more often/more vigorously, which would mean you could cut back on the pumping etc.

    Once of my biggest unknowns right now is that the LC asked us to bf 15-20 minutes on each side and then supplement because after that the LC said LO would start burning more calories working to get the food than she was taking in.

    However, I have heard of some mothers breastfeeding for an hour when the LO wants to! But I feel like I'm not allowed to do that...but until when? LO is now 6lbs 4oz, which is almost a pound above her birth weight. When can I start going longer and just letting LO feed as long as she wants until she is full? When she stays awake, that is... I fear doing this because I don't want to go back for another weight check and have her dropping again Do I need to get a scale?

    This is probably way too long, but any advice on any part of this is so greatly appreciated...
    Yes I have to say the burning calories thing does not make a ton of sense to me. But your baby’s poor gain had to be explained somehow and maybe this was a problem, but not anymore as baby gets bigger and stronger. Studies have shown that nursing is no more stressful (or is less stressful) than alternative feeding methods including bottles. If baby was nursing and nursing way for ages on a dry breast, or baby has a horrendous latch or poor sucking skills and cannot extract the milk that is there, yes, that would eventually mean baby uses more calories than baby is gaining. But is that the case? You DO have milk and presumable baby IS able to extract milk. She is not living just on the bottle supplements. Yes it is true that nursing sessions can take a long time especially in the early weeks and it is entirely normal.

    Due to the weight gain concern, I do think a scale might help you. Mommal knows more about using a digital infant scale at home for making sure baby gets enough. But you could also discuss this with your IBCLC assuming you can see an IBCLC.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; July 3rd, 2013 at 11:33 AM. Reason: she not he

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •