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Thread: 3 days postpartum: baby refusing to BF

  1. #1

    Default 3 days postpartum: baby refusing to BF

    My baby is starting to refuse breast feeding on day 3!!! Help me please!

    3 days ago I gave birth (vaginally) to a 10lb 11.2oz baby boy. I suffered a 2nd degree tear and require percocet to manage the pain so I'm knocked out every four hours and have a difficult time sitting therefore my bf holds forms are suffering. Side lying just puts him to sleep and is hard to maintain proper form since he is still flailing around. The lactation specialist came and saw me twice. My son latches well and stays awake but he lost 11% of his body weight so I have to supplement until my milk comes in. I tried to pump (madela hospital grade pump) today for 20 minutes and NOTHING CAME OUT...NOTHING. Now I see why he is losing weight. To make matters worse he is starting to refuse my breast and preferring the tommee tippee top bottle (slow flow nipple) with formula. I attempt to bf every 2 hours and top him off with 2oz of formula only when he is still screaming after 20 minutes on each breast.

    I really want to breastfeed but I am feeling hopeless since he is turning the breast down.

    What can I do to save this situation?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: 3 days postpartum: baby refusing to BF

    Hi mama,
    Welcome to the forum!

    First, pump output says nothing about your milk supply. At this point it sounds like your milk has not come in yet, which is perfectly normal. Your breasts are making colostrum which is the perfect food for a newborn baby. It can be hard to get the colostrum out with a pump but it does not mean it is not there. Sometimes hand expression can be more helpful. There are YouTube videos that can show you how to do this.

    It is also normal for a breastfed baby to lose a bit of weight after delivery. 10% is usually the cutoff where the pediatricians get worried. So you are a little bit above that, again if you got a lot of IV fluids during delivery then baby's weight at birth might have been a bit inflated and an 11% weight loss would not be abnormal. Of course it is something to be monitored but in and of itself does not indicate a supply problem at this point.

    I think part of the problem at this point is that you are giving a lot of formula. Baby's stomach is about the size of a grape or a walnut. For a baby between a month of age and 6 months of age, 2 oz of milk or formula would be a normal feeding. For a three day old it is a lot. For this age 1/3 of an oz of formula would be an appropriate amount to supplement. The problem with giving too much formula is that if you are filling baby's belly with formula, he is not going to have any motivation to nurse. And since nursing is what brings in your milk and builds up supply, excessive formula can delay your milk coming in, leading to more supplementing, etc - it becomes a vicious cycle. If supplementing, it is also important to give the bottle in a breastfeeding-friendly way. Here is some information about that:

    You might also want to consider alternatives to bottle-feeding, especially since baby is showing signs of bottle preference. For example, syringe feeding. Here is more information about that:

    Here are some tips for baby with breast refusal:

    At this point, how many times a day are you nursing? A newborn baby should be nursing 10-12 times per day or more. And how many times a day are you giving formula? How much total formula in the day? When baby does nurse, how does it feel? Is it painful? How is latch? Has the lactation consultant evaluated baby for tongue tie? Are you continuing to work with a lactation consultant? Is she an IBCLC?

    You might also want to try whether taking plain tylenol, rather than percocet (which is a combination of tylenol and oxycodone), is able to control your pain at least some of the time without putting you completely to sleep.

    Here is some more information about breastfeeding positioning, including pictures:

    Finally, just want to reassure you that there is no reason to think that you will not be able to breastfeed your baby. Many mothers have difficulty in the beginning and go on to nurse their babies. The newborn period is hard but you can do it!
    Last edited by @llli*bfwmomof3; September 27th, 2013 at 09:38 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: 3 days postpartum: baby refusing to BF

    Excellent information from Bfwmomof3.

    I just want I add that whenever you give a supplemental bottle, you want to pump. As the PP said, every time you supplement, your baby's motivation to nurse and bring your milk in decreases. So you want to use the pump to make up for what the baby is unable or unwilling to give.

    You also scantly use a good pump. A high-quality double electric pump is best. What are you using now, and how does it feel?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 3 days postpartum: baby refusing to BF

    Please read pps carefully, and the links-or have someone read them for you as you are no doubt tired.

    The lactation specialist came and saw me twice
    If this was in the hospital, is there any way you can see an IBCLC now that you are home (I assume?) Someone who is board certified (that is what IBCLC means) and spent time as an LLL Leader would be best, because right now you are working with some inaccurate information and that is making the situation worse. You can also try contacting your local LLL for volunteer help.

    I think you need help figuring out if the problem is that baby cannot latch, (and how to fix that situation) or if baby is not interested in nursing because baby is being fully fed or even overfed with formula. Or some combo.

    Mothers do not need to supplement "until their milk comes in." Milk (colustrum) is in the breasts when baby is born! If a baby requires supplements due to not being able to extract milk or some other issue, supplementation must be handled with great care, given in very small amounts preferable with a syringe or some other alternative to bottles, and mom needs to be HAND EXPRESSING (this usually works better in the first few days than pumping) and then or also pumping with a hospital grade pump that fits her correctly! And baby must continue to nurse at the breast, if that is at all possible. Your hcp is failing you if you are being told something different.

    It is early days, you can turn this around.

    You might want to discuss with your doctor alternatives to percocet for pain management. I understand the need for good pain management, I had c-section births. But I suggest you talk to your doctor about how 'knocked out" you feel on the percocet (oxycodone.) That is not helping.

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