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Thread: A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    36

    Default A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

    Hi Moms! I just wanted to offer a word of encouragement if you're really struggling to make it all work. I'll just tell you my experience over the last 11 weeks - no two are exactly the same and I'm not offering advice, just encouragement, by telling my little story to let you you know you can push through some frustrating stuff and eventually get your LO breastfeeding.

    DD was born healthy at 7lb 5oz 11 1/2 weeks ago. Possibly the most wonderful experience of my life was watching her do the newborn crawl up to my breast and latch on, an experience I had not had with my other children. Wow! She latched and sucked, and I thought we had it made!

    Over the next day, I got very sore, and it became apparent that she wasn't latching well at all and not opening her mouth very much. Over the week of her hospital stay (severe jaundice) she wasn't transferring at all from the breast (LC and I weighed her after feedings) and we supplemented with pumped milk. I tried every position, nipple shields, etc. Finally, my LC (who was and is excellent, btw!) said she was really stumped and that I might need to have DD evaluated for a posterior tongue tie. Also, since my nipples were quite large and her mouth quite small, it seemed she might need some time to grow just a bit.

    I was frustrated! This was supposed to be my "easy baby" after having just had a very difficult one! I EPd 16 months for last last one and was sure this one would just latch and go! Every day, I offered the breast, supplemented with pumped milk, then pumped. Many of you know the routine. At about 4 weeks I ditched the nipple shield, because I figured she was going to have to get used to my nipple at some point anyway.

    At 5 weeks she had a tongue tie release. At 6 and 7 weeks, she was still transferring less than half an ounce. We kept up the same offering, feeding, pumping routine. Some days I took a mental break and offered the breast only a few times, some days, many times.

    And then slowly, she started to transfer! By 8 weeks, she was up to 1.5 ounces! Then 2, then 3.5! Yay!

    At 11 1/2 weeks, she's been off all supplementation for 2 1/2 weeks. She's not a perfect latcher, but has improved immensely. Last week, after a poky couple weeks while she "got it," she gained 5 ounces. DD is happy to be at the breast, too.

    I almost quit about a hundred times. I'd think, just a few more days and we're done. But we kept adding a few more days and a few more days and we did it! My LC told me she knew I could do it, and it helped so much to know that she believed in me even when I didn't.

    I'm no expert - my LC knows her stuff way better than me - but I just wanted you to know that even after a couple months or more, you CAN get your baby on the breast. Be patient and try not to stress too much in the meantime. One of the main things that helped me is deciding not to let the frustration ruin my happy time with my DD. The days go by too quickly for that!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

    It's good to hear stories like this... I know I've almost quit several times already but for some reason something tells me it's going to get easier eventually. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. #3

    Default Re: A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

    Oh, wow! I can only imagine how stressful and frustrating it must have been to have things go wrong for so long after such a great start. I'm so glad to hear that your hard work has paid off! Hopefully now you'll have a chance to relax and enjoy the good parts of breastfeeding.

    The idea of "just a few more days and we're done" seems like a good approach to me... Then you only have to deal with what's happening right now because you've given yourself permission to not worry about later. And lot of the time, just getting through this feeding is as much a mom can do, right?

    Thanks so much for sharing your story!
    Karen
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  4. #4

    Default Re: A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

    You have encouraged me! Baby is 3 1/2 weeks old. I have successfully nursed 6 other children. To my surprise baby has a very poor latch, like yours had jaundice, so we started pumping and bottle feeding since he lost so much weight. I have tried a SNS, which is so hard to use, and nipple shield. LC says no tongue tied, he does have small mouth and chin is a bit recessed. I continue to pump and bottle feed. I try to nurse him at almost every feeding. I just don't understand it, don't know if I should see another LC? Would they be able to help in any way?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

    We're at 3 months now! Yay!

    I think it never hurts to get more help.

    In retrospect, I think the thing that helped us most was just patience. My LC said that she thought DD just needed to grow some and that some babies finally "get it" when they get in the 10-12 lb range. It was hard to have every week go by and not really see progress, but at 8-9 weeks, things finally just started to click, right around when she reached 10 lbs.

    I had set the one month mark as an arbitrary deadline for myself - thinking that BF had to work by then or it would be hopeless. (Probably because my sister-in-law had been through a similar situation and her DS started to BF at one month) However, the magic number for us was more like two months. Even after that, it's still a work in progress considering DD and I are still getting the hang of it since she's really only been BF for a month.

    The other big factor that contributed to being able to keep going until she was ready was deciding not to stress about it too much. The situation is certainly not a reflection of your love, commitment, or character. It just is a situation and you'll do your best to deal with it. I didn't want to let my frustration make what should be a wonderful time unhappy.

    Would love to hear how it's going!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

    I almost feel like the more he takes the bottle the more he will not breast feed. He will latch on and suck a couple times and do this over and over until I get the bottle. Your story gives me hope, did your baby not latch on and stay latched on as well? In the evening he will get frustrated easier, so usually in the evening I don't even try. In the beginning I would cry about it, I am a lot better about it but I still hate it. I am tired of pumping but I can't give him formula or give up. He is just about 9 pounds now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

    Sometimes I would just take a break, like you do in the evening. It helped my stress level, and I figured as long as I was at least offering multiple times a day, I could take a break at some feedings if DD was frustrated as well. For a long time she did what you DS is doing - nibbling, chewing, not latching, or off and on. I did get tired of pumping, too.

    Eventually I could detect when my daughter seemed a little bit more receptive - usually when she was still kind of sleepy but rested (like in the very early morning). So I'd lay in bed with her and just kind of relax together and offer my nipple. It all just gradually got better a tiny bit at a time. It wasn't like she all of a sudden decided to breast feed - it was just a little but at a time.

    EPing is tough, I know! I did it for 16 months for my last child because of special needs. I really, really did not want to do it again, so I just tried to look ahead at the next few days or week and commit to just a little while at a time so it wouldn't feel so overwhelming. Do you go to a support group? I went (and still go) to one weekly. It just helped to divide the time up into weeks and then I could assess whether anything had improved at all over the past week. Also, I could check DD's intake every week. It went from nothing, to 7 ml, to 15, to 25, 40, and then suddenly 3.5 ounces! There was probably a week in there where it was back at zero again. We've not gotten back to 3.5 ounces, but we usually do around 2 ish and she is gaining an acceptable amount of weight every week. So seeing a little bit of progress and getting the support kept me going as well.

    Hugs, it can work! You know way more than I do, this is only my 2nd I've successfully nursed. (BF'd #1 & #5, EP'd for #4) Hope you can find a support group!

  8. #8

    Default Re: A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

    I have not been going to any meetings, I will try to this week. Even though I have nursed 6 children I don't know everything about nursing, my first was a preemie and I pumped for 4 months, he is the only one have not nursed. My other children I really didn't have any major problems with.
    Asher seems more receptive after he has had a bottle. Yesterday he actually stay on for a few minutes, that made me so happy!! The last time he stayed latched on was when I was using the SNS. He figured out right away how to just suck to get milk out of the tube and did that for awhile and then he would latch on better after his tummy had something in it. The pain of using it has stopped me from keeping up with it. I was also worried he was going to associate fast food with my nipple.
    In the beginning of bottle feeding him I didn't realize that the bottles the hospital gave me were standard flow, so I was feeding him really fast. I am using slow flow nipples now and trying to make the feedings a lot slower.
    Thank you for your encouraging words!!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

    Looks like the group in my area meets once a month. I decided Sat. night to try the nipple shield, and we had progress!!! I had put the nipple shield away because I couldn't get him latched on and I had a hard time using it. He stayed latched on and nursed for 50 minutes on one side. I tried the other side, didn't work and gave 2 oz in bottle, which he ate. This morning he did the same thing. I tried this afternoon, he didn't latch on but I was on the phone and could not give it my complete attention. I have so much more hope than ever before, I hope to get rid of those bottles one day! Asher turns 4 weeks tomorrow

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: A Word of Encouragement if You're Struggling!

    That's so great to hear! It's amazing how you can work and work at it, and then one little thing will click just enough to let you know things can improve. For us, even after things started to get better, sometimes we'd have an "off" feeding or two or more, and then get back on track. So don't get discouraged!

    The big day for me was after about 8 or 9 weeks when I went to support group and my LC said she thought we were ready to ditch the bottles. I'd been feeding at the breast at all feedings, but also supplementing with pumped milk 2-4 times a day with a "just in case" mentality. It felt very scary to not have that "back up," but DD maintained her weight for about 2 weeks and then started to gain. She's never lost weight and has enough wet diapers and is a happy girl. I'm confident she will continue to become more efficient as time goes by - I try not to compare her with other 3mo babies who have bf well from the beginning. She's really only about one month into our breastfeeding relationship, so I cut her some slack as she improves

    Yay for you, hope your meeting goes well! And so happy your little guy is finding his way!

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