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Thread: 3 weeks into it; multiple problems already!

  1. #1

    Default 3 weeks into it; multiple problems already!

    My first born son is almost three weeks old. I am determined to make it breast feeding. We have had a couple hurdles already and I need some help/encouragement.
    First; he was a super sleepy baby for the first two weeks. The hospital nurses were concerned with how little he was eating so they gave me a nipple shield. Worst mistake ever. I wish someone would have told me! Constant battle trying to wean him off of it.
    Second; because he was a sleepy baby, he wasn't eating around the clock for the first two weeks. He dropped too much weight for our pediatricians liking and he told me I needed to supplement with 2 ounces of formula after every breast feeding. I had a meltdown at the word 'formula' and decided to supplement with breast milk instead. So my son would eat for 20 minutes from my breast and then drink from a bottle. He is gaining weight now.
    Three; not only have I not been able to wean him off of the nipple shield, now he prefers the bottle and will barely eat from my breast. I am very worried about my production staying strong. I pump every three hours and get between three to five ounces total. I'm worried that since my baby is never skin to skin with my breast, due to shield and pump, that my body will slow down production? Can a woman keep a strong production by pumping alone? Do you think once my son gets his weight up to normal I can quit with the bottle cold turkey? And are there any tricks to weaning from the nipple shield?
    I'm so frustrated! I refuse to formula feed my son. But I'm stressed that I won't produce enough to satisfy his growing belly. Please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: 3 weeks into it; multiple problems already!

    I'm just another first time mom, but I wanted to tell you that a woman can definitely keep up a strong production of milk by pumping alone. My baby was born prematurely and I had to stimulate my supply with the pump, because he was in the NICU and was not allowed to nurse. It's been four months now, and I have been slowly teaching him to nurse. It's been hard to transition from the bottle to the breast, but you started out with the breast so you're ahead of me. But, as far as production goes, the pump gave me an oversupply. I have been producing about three times as much as my baby drinks. And you are only 3 weeks in, so your supply will keep increasing, trust me. Right now you are "only" pumping 3 to 5 ounces at a sitting (that's actually quite a bit for three weeks postpartum), but in a couple of weeks you will likely be pumping 10 ounces at a sitting. And 3 to 5 ounces every 3 hours is perfect. That's about how much an average baby eats. Soon you'll be making too much.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 3 weeks into it; multiple problems already!

    Hi while a mother can keep up a normal milk production via pumping alone, it is by no means a sure thing. Also of course exclusively pumping is extremely difficult road to travel for many reasons. And you miss out on the many benefits to both mother and baby of nursing baby at the breast.
    So continuing to encourage baby to nurse at the breast is a good idea. I would suggest don't worry overmuch about the nipple shield at this point if the nipple shield is helping baby to latch then at least baby is nursing at the breast. Of course using the nipple shield is not ideal but it is way better than bottles for many reasons.
    I agree with previous poster that your current pump output sounds entirely normal. I have to say I disagree that it is likely you will be able to pump 10 ounces at a time that would be highly unusual output for any mother.
    The website Kellymom.com has an excellent article with many ideas for encouraging baby back to the breast. It is called help my baby won't nurse. Sometimes her search engine is a little wonky so I am sorry I cannot provide a link however it is worth searching for.
    I would also suggest that if you're continuing to give baby 2 ounces at a time with the bottle baby may simply not be hungry enough to nurse normally. 2 ounces is an entire feeding. You can expect a three week old baby to get anywhere from about a half ounce to about 3 ounces each time baby nurses. So 2 ounces would be a reasonable average especially since normally a baby will nurse at least 12 times a 24 hour day. While you sounds like you are pumping at regular intervals, remember newborns do not nurse at regular intervals as a rule they typically nurse very erratically this is normal.
    I suggest hold your baby skin to skin as much as possible. Skin to skin refers to baby in just a diaper or at most a very light onesie basically wearing as little as possible snuggled against mom while she is wearing as little as she is comfortable with. It does not refer to the breast not having a nipple shield on it. Also if you Google biological nurturing or laid-back breast-feeding you will find information on a breast-feeding position that allows baby to be snuggled close to you and is likely to encourage baby to root and nurse.
    Kelly mom also has a good article on weaning baby off supplements. Since you are supplementing with your own milk, you should be able to wean off the supplements much more rapidly than she describes in her article but it will give you a guideline.
    If you cannot find a way to get baby nursing more normally by reducing the size of supplements and encouraging baby to nurse more often to get baby nursing at more normal amount of times I suggest you contact a local lactation consultant or local La Leche league or whatever local breast-feeding support you have to get one-on-one help. It is possible baby is having difficulty nursing because of some particular issue that you need more hands-on help in solving.

  4. #4

    Default Re: 3 weeks into it; multiple problems already!

    by the way Kelly mom.com also has a good article on nipple shields that includes weaning off the nipple shield. Again I don't think this is the most vital thing right at the moment however you can find information about that there. I would also say that remember your milk production does not have to keep going up. Normal milk production goes up for about the first 4 to 6 weeks and then levels off and stays the same for the next several months, until baby has begun to eat lots of solids when it begins to gradually reduce. a growing baby does not need more and more breastmilk as baby grows. This is because growth rate slows down and also breast milk itself changes over time to meet baby's needs as baby grows.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Columbus, OH

    Default Re: 3 weeks into it; multiple problems already!

    Oh jeez! I totally feel your pain about supplementing and then weaning off supplements. What helped me both in terms of weaning and in terms of feeling confident about weaning off the supplements was getting the help of an IBCLC. She laid out the plan, and I'm the kind of person that likes a plan. Within two weeks she was exclusively at the breast. If you knew how much you were transferring to baby (with a weigh feed weigh) then you would know if you needed to supplement at all. So, for example, at first I was transferring 1 ounce, so the lactation consultant had me supplement with an additional 1 oz per feeding. And then weaning off of that. But if you're pumping 3 to 5 ounces you may be transferring plenty. Anyway, the weigh feed weigh was reassuring and the plan was what I needed to feel confident.
    Good luck! It sounds as if your supply is good, and that's awesome!!

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