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Thread: Advice/Encouragement Needed!

  1. #1

    Default Advice/Encouragement Needed!

    So, some background information:

    My son was born at 35 weeks. From the beginning, he's been extremely sleepy, as I'm told is normal with premies. Although he will latch on, he gets too tired to feed exclusively from the breast and was not gaining weight adequately. Right now, I have him feeding from each breast for 10 min/side (unless he's not eating) and then I supplement with pumped breastmilk from the bottle.

    The whole process takes 1.5 hours and we're having to wake him to feed every 2.5 hours. I feel that he's started spitting up a lot more (not sure if it's vomit or spit up, so I'm going with spit up). Sometimes (mostly morning feedings), he's not interested in feeding from the breast at all. Sometimes we feel like we're forcefeeding him the bottle as well.

    I'm just feeling very discouraged - I'm afraid he's not getting enough to eat, but I also don't want to force him to eat if he's not hungry. I'm also concerned that the path we're on is going to lead to him taking milk best from the bottle and end up with me exclusively pumping. I know he's not at his due date yet (as of yesterday, he would be 38 weeks gestation) so he may become more alert and end up doing better on the breast.

    Can anyone share any words of encouragement - has anyone had a similar situation and ended up breastfeeding just fine? What was it like when your child became "more alert" and started feeding at the breast better? Is it normal for him to not want the breast a couple feedings a day and then other feedings do much better?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Advice/Encouragement Needed!

    Welcome to the forum!

    Now that your baby is 38 weeks, you're probably a lot closer to the time when he really wakes up and starts mastering the art of breastfeeding. Early term babies are still often quite sleepy, and some babies who are born at term are also sleepy- my firstborn was pretty sleepy for the first week or so, and she was born at 39w5d.

    Some questions for you:
    -Have you seen a lactation consultant?
    -How often does baby nurse?
    -Is baby being swaddled or given a pacifier?
    -Does baby doze off while nursing?
    -How has weight gain been so far?
    -How much supplement are you giving the baby?
    -Can you describe how you are giving the supplement?
    -How is pumping going?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Advice/Encouragement Needed!

    My DD is four weeks old and i have been in a similar situation after fixing a tongue tie. She refused the breast i started pumping and supplementing as she was loosing weight...for the past three weeks i have been doing what i called the moonwalked dance....trying to get her back to the breast....you did the right thing coming to the forum for support....We have successfully been feeding at the breast one to four times per day and she is more awake. How is pumping? Pumping made things so long for me. fortunately i had my mom with me to help at each feeding: to make things easier i would do the following....Try offering the breast and lactching right for 10 minutes. If she gets squirming i give her a little of pump milk and try again. If she takes it for a bit i supp with some puimped milk and if she doesn't my mom feeds her the bottle and I pump for the next feeding. The whole process takes me about 45 minutes cause before i was trying for too long and getting exhausted...the nurse following us said to keep it under 1 hour for everyone's sake! I was also waking DD up every 2.5 hours to feed....but that means that i was running on only 1 hour of sleep at a time. about two weeks ago i let her sleep at night and feed her when she awakes...she has been gaining since then and i don't feel like i am force feeding her...cause she seemed so exhausted but the constant feeding...So hang in there...try a few things, do what works for you,nobody has miracle answers but the ladies here have great tips and are super supportive! Sometimes things will work at times they won't just do your best.
    first time mama to a gassy but adorable baby named Makayla- Wouldn't give up breasfeeding for anything in the world.

    We co-sleep, we love and [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Advice/Encouragement Needed!

    Hi lindsay, I am concerned you feel as if you are forcefeeding your baby. Is it possible baby is now getting more than baby needs? How is output? (poops?) When will babies weight be checked again, and what is the weight check history?

    Here is my personal story- Although I never had to supplement my oldest son (at least we were never told to in so many words) I often felt like I was forcefeeding him in the early weeks. He was born at 37 weeks after long labor and c-section, had terrible latch issues and was also very sleepy. Per our pediatrician, we had him on a 'wake to eat every 2 hours' schedule. Latching and nursing was a huge drawn out struggle, and I had to pump after each session as well because I was using nipple shields and that was the recommendation due to milk production concerns.

    Somewhere around 2-3 weeks of age, we called the doctor’s office on the weekend and talked to a different on-call pediatrician. He suggested letting baby sleep ONE TIME as long as baby liked, as long as it was not more than 5 hours (or 6, I can never remember exactly.)

    Anyway, we did that, and my son slept for a little over 4 hours. Then he woke up, and actually wanted to nurse, and nursed for longer than he ever had before! From them on, he woke, usually on his own, often enough for to nurse at least 10 times a 24 hour day. (Which is normal nursing frequency.) Sometimes he slept 30 minutes, other times 3 hours, but overall, we got the total of feedings in we needed. We still had struggles with latch and nursing sessions taking a long time, but it was such a difference nursing him WHEN and how ever long he liked. It was a huge turning of the corner. With the help of lactation consultants, we got off the shields and by about 2 months I finally was sure I could "do this" and eventually I nursed my son for many years.

    What you are doing now-nursing every 2.5 hours and limiting baby to 10 minutes a side, plus supplementing- may be working as far as getting enough milk into baby, and that is vitally important. But it is also very unnatural and may not only be exhausting you, but may be keeping baby from finding his own natural rhythm. So I would suggest, talk to your pediatrician about backing off on the supplements and/or the schedule to see what happens-you can always go back to either if needed. I especially wonder about the 10 minutes per side thing. Is this a minimum or a maximum?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Advice/Encouragement Needed!

    Sorry for the delay in reply everyone! My account got frozen yesterday, but I appreciate all the advice! As an update, I took LO in for a weight check today and he's gained 12oz in 6 days - double what they expect! Yay! Therefore, the doctor told me I could stop waking him up to feed him (as long as he doesnt sleep more than 5 hours and is still feeding 7-8 times per day) and to not worry about supplementing from the bottle anymore and let him feed exclusively from the breast.

    Now, this leaves me with a bunch of new questions!

    I've been pumping/storing milk all along - pumping after every feeding. While I dont want to continue pumping after every feeding, I do want to keep pumping and building my supply. How do people recommend I decrease my amount of pumping? I'm guessing I'll probably keep pumping mostly in the morning, as that is when I get the most milk. I'm also thinking I may still have to pump once during the night for comfort reasons. What advice do people have about decreasing the amount of times per day that I pump? Do I do it immediately after little one feeds?

    Also - when I feed him - I should keep him on one side - hoping he drains the breast - before moving him to the other side - correct?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Advice/Encouragement Needed!

    Oh, and also, I know that it's not good if one breast doesn't get drained completely - is there a way to tell if he's completely drained one?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Advice/Encouragement Needed!

    I would suggest, take this slowly and do what feels best for you. How is that for nice and vague?

    Here is why though-it's becasue what happens next is going to depend on how baby and your body respond to the new plan. First off, now that baby is no longer getting supplements, baby may well want to nurse more often or longer, including overnight. Which is good! But it might leave less time for pumping.

    If you find yourself getting uncomfortably full, and baby does not wish to nurse, then you might want to pump or hand express for a little, at least enough to feel comfortable. Basically, to wean off the pump.

    Assuming baby is going to start getting all he needs at the breast, which I think is a good bet based on that extreme weight gain, there is no need to pump in order to build your milk. Your baby nursing would, normally, keep your production where it needs to be, and pumping above and beyond that might be too much.

    If you do want to pump due to production concerns, I would suggest pump whenever it is most convenient for you.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; November 12th, 2013 at 07:04 PM. Reason: clarified something. I hope

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Advice/Encouragement Needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lindsay1023 View Post
    Oh, and also, I know that it's not good if one breast doesn't get drained completely - is there a way to tell if he's completely drained one?
    No need to worry about baby "draining the breast." Ugh I hate that phrase! Draining is for bathtubs!

    All this really means is that it is not good for production to let the breasts stay full for long periods. If there are big latch issues, like tongue tie, or severe engorgement, a baby may have a hard time getting much milk out of the breast, and this can cause not only weight gain issues but poor milk production down the line. But as long as baby is nursing normally well and with normal frequency, this should not be something you even need to think about.

    I suggest, Let baby nurse as long on one side as baby wishes, and then offer the other and baby can nurse on the other side IF and for as long as baby wishes. You will learn your baby's 'signals" over time but some ways a baby shows he is done on one side is by pulling off, or pulling/tugging on the breast, or just hanging out without actively nursing... or, by rooting around for the other side! If baby is done after only one side, or has fallen asleep, just offer the other breast first next time. As long as baby continues to nurse with normal frequency, (10-12 times a day, or more, in the early weeks) all is probably fine. If you start feeling very full between sessions, or anything else alarming, let us know.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; November 12th, 2013 at 07:02 PM.

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