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Thread: 4 wk old won't BF, only takes bottle -- Help...

  1. #1

    Exclamation 4 wk old won't BF, only takes bottle -- Help...

    I have a wonderful 4 week old who will only take the bottle now and screams/struggles when offered the breast.

    Initially, while in the hospital she latched on and had a great suck right away. However, after two days in the hospital and a lot of cluster feeding by nipples became cracked and very painful on the day I was discharged. My daughter had been given some formula as supplement because she was so hungry and I was in so much pain. I have flat nipples and looking back she was not likely latching on well, but no one I asked seemed to have any solutions or concerns that my nipples were getting worse. On the day I was discharged I met briefly with the staff lactation consultant who also did not off any other advice other than to keep it up.

    On the day we arrived home I made the decision to let my nipples heal (were bleeding that this point) and to supplement with the bottle. I now very much regret this decision and feel awful. Then when my nipples finally healed I developed a severe case of mastitis in my right breast and was placed on antibiotics. I continued to pump and feed my daughter breast milk via bottle; however she started to have symptoms of a reaction to what I think was the antibiotic. I was scared so I stopped offering the breast milk until I completed the antibiotics.

    Unfortunately, now she will not BF at all. She screams and cries as soon as I place her to the breast. She will latch on briefly if I use a nipple shield. I don't want to make her have a bad experience at the breast by forcing her. I think my flat nipples are making the situation even harder.

    I regret a lot of the decisions I've made up until this point and feel very guilty. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to get her back to the breast or if it's even possible I would really appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: 4 wk old won't BF, only takes bottle -- Help...

    Welcome to the forum!

    This link goes over techniques for getting a baby back to the breast: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/. The skin-to-skin and instant reward techniques are said to be especially useful.

    If your baby will latch on using the shield, USE IT. Every time she latches, that's a step in the right direction, even if the latch is a brief one.

    Are you continuing to pump? Maintaining supply by pumping will increase the chances that your baby will nurse again, since her efforts at the breast will be rewarded. If you're having trouble pumping, let us know and we'll help you troubleshoot.

    Please don't feel guilty. Nursing can be very challenging, particularly when your situation is complicated by something like flat nipples, mastitis, and/or a less-than-optimal latch.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Hudson Valley, NY

    Default Re: 4 wk old won't BF, only takes bottle -- Help...

    Dear, dear momma! Hang in there! I have an 8 week old little girl and NONE of my BF experience has been what I thought it was going to be. We haven't had any truly horrible stories, but it has still been very difficult at times and not the straight forward, seemingly natural process I expected. Especially if the "professionals" aren't really helping that much. Please don't feel guilty! It can be a tough road, but you'll figure it out. And it's your journey, not anyone else's. I am new to the group as well. There are some great threads and a lot to learn from and be comforted by. Take it all in and make it your own. Great job reaching out and not giving up!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: 4 wk old won't BF, only takes bottle -- Help...

    Hi there. My little one will be four weeks in a few days and I could have written this thread. I don't have a lot of time as I'm up in the early AM pumping. My little one has not gotten back to the breast yet, but I just wanted to say that there is a lot of really helpful information on the site linked above, and here on the forum. I've had particular success with the shield and the "instant reward" technique. If baby will latch and doesn't stay on long it's likely because the breast doesn't offer tasty milk as quickly as a bottle does, so dripping some milk into the shield can be particularly helpful.

    From someone who's right there in the same spot as you, I know how rough it is but don't beat yourself up! You made the decisions you needed to in the moment. And it's not impossible to get baby back to the breast at any point.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 4 wk old won't BF, only takes bottle -- Help...

    ihbmom, you have gotten excellent suggestions above, the article mommal linked covers getting baby back to the breast. But is the problem that baby will not nurse, or can not nurse? (or a bit of both?) Both are fixable, but here is what I suggest-

    Have you seen a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) since leaving the hospital? Please do not judge lactation consulting from what you experienced on your day of discharge. For many reasons I won’t get into here, hospital LC visits in the first few days after birth are NOT representative of outpatient, complete appointments. Of course seeing an IBCLC does not guarantee success but it almost always improves the chances, as long as you see someone you feel confident in.

    If you cannot see an IBCLC, is there local LLL or other breastfeeding support around?

    When a baby has this much trouble latching, it is time for in person help if that is at ALL possible. I speak from personal experience as well as my exp. as a LLL Leader. Yes, as pps say, you absolutely can do this, babies DO come back to the breast and ‘relearn’ to nurse. But in person help will (hopefully) give you a clear, personalized plan to follow that will help a lot.

    here is a description of a private consultation with an IBCLC: http://cwgenna.com/lconsult.html

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