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Thread: Is it too late?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Virginia
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    Default Is it too late?

    Hello, I have a concern about my 5 week old baby not nursing. When he was born, I had an emergency C-section, which led to my milk coming in a little later than anticipated. Ever since the hospital stay, my son has not liked being breastfed, I believe mostly because at the time, nothing was coming out fast enough for him and he would fight me a lot. Because of exhaustion and not liking hearing his tummy growl, I started to supplement formula until my milk came in. Even as my milk came in, he would still fight me and it was always easier to supplement to make sure he had some food, however, I would always pump. The only thing is I would pump 1-2 oz each session and it is still the same amount. I was thinking I had low milk supply, but they feel very heavy even after pumping, so I just think that my let-down doesn't happen while pumping. Only time I had my let-downs is when he wouldn't fight so hard to breastfeed.

    I like to think I can still try to nurse bc he does still root around and try to go for my breasts when he's hungry (unless that's just purely instinct). I'm not sure if it's because my nipples aren't long enough for him or what... it does seem like they easily slip out of his mouth when he's not sucking and is just sitting there.

    I would love to stop supplementing and strictly breastfeed/pump. It's something I hold emotionally high and I have a strong sense of guilt of not being able to do this right . Is it too late to try to get him to breastfeed and just stick w/ what I'm doing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Is it too late?

    It's not too late!
    Ladies here are very helpful and I'm sure will also help direct you to additional informational resources as well as recommending in person help from lactation consultants or groups/leaders.
    You might call the hospital to ask about their lactation consultant or search for an IBCLC.
    It is good that you have kept your supply going with pumping. Pumping alone is rarely a good indication of milk supply (I was only able to get a tiny quantity out with the pump but I know my baby can get a lot more out of me.)
    Don't feel guilty but I know this is likely very emotional for you, I know my own struggles have been incredibly emotional for me. You are a wonderful Mom for taking good care of your baby. I wish you luck in getting the assistance you need to transition to breastfeeding. Don't give up yet you are still in the early days and breastfeeding has so many benefits for both you and the baby.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Is it too late?

    Thank you for your encouraging words. I don't want to give up at all... it's just a bit frustrating. My SIL is a lactation consultant and has been a huge help giving me tips on increasing my supply and it seems no matter what I do (the tea, lactation supplements, drinking a lot of water), I pump the same; but like you said, I'm sure more milk comes out when he does nurse (he's nursed from me a total of two times w/o fighting). She also helped me w/ trying to trick him by filling a syringe w/ some formula or breast milk I pumped and have it drip down my breast so he thinks a lot is coming out and will encourage him to suck more, which unfortunately doesn't work half the time and it's hard for me to do it when my other hand is holding my breast; generally I have to wait for my husband to come home to help. It makes me wonder if he just doesn't want my nipple.. very confusing

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Is it too late?

    Welcome to the forum! I'm sorry your baby was and is such a reluctant nurser. It sounds like you're blaming yourself- thinking that he didn't want to nurse because you didn't have a lot of milk early on. But that's probably not it. No mom has abundant milk in the first few days after birth, and babies are designed to do well on the very small amounts of colostrum a mom produces until her milk comes in (something which generally happens between day 2 and day 5). It's possible your baby is just a reluctant nurser- some babies are. Being born via c-section could also have had an effect; many babies born via c-section must be vigorously suctioned and that first rough experience can sometimes make them reluctant to latch on and nurse.

    Anyway, it's definitely not too late to get your baby back to the breast, though of course there are no guarantees of success! This link on nursing strikes explains a lot of the techniques used to get babies to nurse: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/. The skin-to-skin and instant reward techniques are said to be especially helpful.

    I know that supplementing at the breast is tricky, especially when you have to hold your breast. I suggest getting a supply of pillows for positioning yourself and baby, and rolled up washcloths, which you can tuck under your breast in order to get it into the proper position. Side-lying nursing is also great because the surface you're lying on supports breast and baby simultaneously, leaving you with both hands free for positioning.

    What sort of pump are you using, and how often do you pump?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is it too late?

    When you talk about "fighting" at the breast, can you describe what he is doing?
    I know my little guy has a tendency to get his hands in the way and early on when I first had to supplement (was using the feeding tube at breast) it was nearly impossible to get him latched and the tube in place if I didn't have his arms swaddled down.
    I'm lucky enough to not necessarily have to hold my breast (small) so I can use both hands/arms for holding, positioning and getting him latched and even then it is sometimes tricky.
    Now I use the Medela SNS so I can tape the tubes in place but it is still tricky to get him latched without him getting a hand full of the tubes and it is hard to get them back out of his grip. I found the football hold seems to work well when trying to keep tubing out of his hands most of the time.

    Try different positions to see if there are others that might work better for you or that he may settle into more easily.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Is it too late?

    Like mommal I also wonder how often you are pumping and what kind of pump. Have you tried adding breast compressions or hand expression to your pumping routine? How long do you pump for each time, do you pump both sides at once?

    Also, How often is baby fed, (how many times each day) and how much each time? Is baby given bottles, and if so, are they being given with a slow flow nipples and using paced bottle feeding techniques? Is baby fed on cue or on a schedule? Does baby seek the breast after being fed or at any other time more for comfort? Comfort nursing is often a path to getting baby nursing.

    It takes some babies many weeks or even months to breastfeed. It is certainly not too late. But it will take effort to get baby nursing at the breast. The issue to understand at this point is if there is some physical issue preventing baby from nursing effectively, or is the issue now more one of baby being used to being fed another way.

    It is not that he does not want your breast. Your baby, like all babies, is biologically compelled to nurse. Some babies are unable to nurse effectively and get frustrated, and some have learned to expect to be fed another way. Both of these are usually solvable issues.

    How is your surgical recovery going? Do you have any symptoms of retained placenta?

  7. #7
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    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Is it too late?

    Thank you everyone for your suggestions!

    I am using the Medela pump (double pumping). I am pumping 7-9 x a day (or at least try to.. I do take w/ me in the car if I know we are out in town for a bit) for 15-20min at a time. He feeds about 8-10 x a day.. I don't really have a set schedule, I pretty much feed on cue, and I feed him about 2-4 oz each time, depending on how hungry he is. If he sleeps longer than usual, I will wake him up to feed.
    When I pull out my breast, he will have his mouth near it and if I try to nurse, he will start to cry, nurse for a few minutes, pull away and cry again. His hands do get in the way and have tried to swaddle him. What kind of tube do you use to help?

    I have recovered very well, hardly any pain unless I try to do too much. I switched to Playtex Nurser bottles w/ the drop in liners, which mimics breastfeeding. With the pump, I have started to do more breast compressions while pumping. More has started to come out.. not a lot, but it's a bit noticeable.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Is it too late?

    Thanks for answering our questions. Just to clarify-

    Which Medela pump? Personal use or hospital (rental) grade? The latter is typically considered the most appropriate pump for when a baby is not nursing and/or mom is trying to increase/bring in milk production.
    Your pump frequency is good. Milk extraction frequency is considered most important for increasing milk production, so any time you can get another pump session in, even if it is short, try to do it. 15 to 20 minutes is the typical recommended pump length ballpark, and while it is long enough for many moms, some moms may benefit by going longer sometimes. (After all, baby would surely nurse longer than that at some sessions.) But, you do what you can.
    Paced bottle feeding is a feeding method and is considered effective in helping to prevent overfeeding and nipple (flow) confusion, and can be done with any nipple (unless the nipple is actually so difficult to extract milk from it is counter-effective, as some seem to be.) Paced bottle feeding allows baby to have control over the feeding, which is vital and more like breastfeeding. There is no bottle or nipple that mimics what happens when a baby nurses, marketing claims to the contrary.
    With the pump, I have started to do more breast compressions while pumping. More has started to come out.. not a lot, but it's a bit noticeable.
    Great! 1-3 ounces TOTAL is a normal feeding amount at this age, so every little bit will get you closer to that.
    He feeds about 8-10 x a day.. I don't really have a set schedule, I pretty much feed on cue, and I feed him about 2-4 oz each time, depending on how hungry he is.
    Great, Cue feeding is good. Also the amount baby is taking in seems reasonable. But you might want to try to keep track of what baby is taking in total each day for a few days. Here is why.
    4 ounces 10 times a day is 40 ounces, much more than most 5 week olds would need. 2 ounces 8 times a day is 14 ounces, which is much less than baby would typically need. Most breastfed babies take in somewhere around 25-35 ounces in a day. (Other sources say 30 is the most a baby is likely to take in) This is the most a baby takes in, the needed amount does not go up as baby ages when a baby is breastfed.

    If baby is getting more than baby needs with bottle, even a little more, that may make baby much less interested in nursing. This is another reason why paced bottle feeding can be so important.

    What kind of tube do you use to help?
    I believe(?) mommal was referring to an at the breast supplementer aka. lactation aid. These allow the baby to be supplemented at the breast rather than with bottles. But baby needs to be latching and nursing for them to work (although yes they also can help get baby doing that.) There are some you can buy and some moms make their own.

    nurse for a few minutes, pull away and cry again. His hands do get in the way and have tried to swaddle him
    laid back breastfeeding positions often help with the flaying hands. This is misplaced kneading behavior, baby is trying to get a hold of the breast and this is difficult in some nursing positions. Nursing for a bit and pulling away is normal for a newborn baby who is trying to figure out breastfeeding. I think the trick is to be persistent but gentle, and know when to pull back and when to try again, when trying to help baby learn to nurse. Have you looked over the ideas in the kellymom article? She really covers all kinds of great ideas. Try not to get discouraged, any time baby shows even some interest in the breasts is a step in the right direction. What does not work today may work tomorrow.

    bottle feeding breastfed baby: https://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

    Feeding the non-latching baby: https://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000...ching_baby.pdf

    Hand expression: https://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000...expression.pdf

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