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Thread: Transitioning NICU baby from bottle to breast at 4.5 months?

  1. #1

    Default Transitioning NICU baby from bottle to breast at 4.5 months?

    HELP!
    My baby was born IGUR at 34.5 weeks and spent 7 weeks in the NICU. During that time I EP breastmilk for her and she was fed with a bottle/NG tube. We did "dry nuzzle" and breast feed daily and she never had problems latching. We began using a nipple shield as well since she was small and my nipples were larger.

    Upon discharge around 7 weeks old, she would frequently latch and comfort nurse, falling asleep or just hanging out on the breast, but I was still pumping as they wanted her milk fortified. I have been pumping now for 4.5 months. We recently met with a doctor and he encouraged us to try and begin exclusive breastfeeding as she seemed to be doing well with the latching and not having an aversion to the breast. She has always gotten all her feeds from a bottle and in the beginning she breast fed better than bottle fed, but not anymore.

    However, over the past week or two, she will cry and scream when I place her in a position to breastfeed. I contacted my local LC (at the hospital) and began working with them. During our visit, my baby latched fine and nursed happily for about 30 minutes. At that point the LC thought we should weigh her and she only got 20mls (she eats 75+ every 2-4 now). After we broke her latch, she wouldn't latch back on. The LC gave me larger nipple shields since my baby is bigger now and I even tried squirting milk into the corner of her mouth trying to get her to latch (something I've always done since the NICU)...to no avail. The LC gave me the SNS system to try with her, but if she won't even tolerate being that close, I'm afraid it won't make a difference

    I don't think I can continue pumping longer than 6 months but REALLY want to nurse my baby longer than that. I'm getting really discouraged, and the local LC's don't have experience working with a premie that they are trying to get transitioned this late... I've read tons of information/research, but am worried that the more I try the worse she will feel altogether and then all hope will be lost.

    Any help?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,753

    Default Re: Transitioning NICU baby from bottle to breast at 4.5 mon

    Hi, welcome to the forum! first off, big kudos for providing your milk to your baby all this time, that is amazing. Heroic, imo.

    Was baby nursing fine until "The last week or two?" Or is it in the last week or two you have been trying to nurse?

    she will cry and scream when I place her in a position to breastfeed.
    Have you experimented with different positions? Are you nursing at earliest cues, or even trying "before" a cue.

    Recent reseach suggest that skin to skin encourages even "older" babies back to the breast. Have you been trying skin to skin?

    The baby nursed happily at teh appt. But not before or since? Do you ahve any sense why?

    Did your IBCLC have any suggestions as to why transfer was so low? Was there normla swallowing going on? Did she think it was a concern, or not? Intake normally varies session to session.

    Do you have an SNS? Were you shown how to use a lactation aid (like an SNS) with a sheild?

    The LC gave me larger nipple shields since my baby is bigger now
    So you had a 20 ml sheild and now are using a 24? Is the larger sheild making any difference? better or worse than the smaller one? have you ever had any luck getting baby latched without the sheild?

    and the local LC's don't have experience working with a premie that they are trying to get transitioned this late
    Are you sure? have you talked to ALL the local IBCLC's, even the ones in private practice? (if there are any.)
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; September 2nd, 2013 at 05:57 PM. Reason: please excuse mispellings and typos I have to make dinner

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