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Thread: Back to Breast--Suggestions, Experiences, Success Stories?

  1. #1

    Default Back to Breast--Suggestions, Experiences, Success Stories?

    I started breastfeeding in the hospital and received almost no help or support from hospital staff, who seemed to be too inconvenienced any time I asked for help, so I stopped asking. Eventually my nipples began to crack and bleed and I was offered a nipple shield, but even that was too painful by this point. By the time I healed my baby was stuck on a bottle.

    I've tried several times to go back to breast, using nipple shield and SNS and anything I could think of, to no avail. I decided to mourn the loss of that experience and have been pumping constantly to give her as much milk as I can, and supplementing with formula.

    As she turned three months and became more mouthy I decided on a whim to try again--and she latched perfectly right away! I was floored. I cried with joy and nursed her twice more.

    Today after work I nursed her once. The next time she REFUSED AGAIN and demanded the bottle. I'm at a loss, and even more depressed than before because now I KNOW SHE CAN DO IT AND SHE ENJOYED IT.

    ANY advice, support, suggestions, personal experiences, words of wisdom, or just kind words would be much appreciated in this trying time. I'm still not sure what to do at this point, but now I just don't want to give up again, even though her frustrated tears make me want to never try to offer my breast again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    23,402

    Default Re: Back to Breast--Suggestions, Experiences, Success Storie

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on making it this far under some really challenging circumstances. Exclusive pumping is not easy!

    There are no guarantees when it comes to getting an older baby to the breast. Maybe you'll get everything you want, maybe you won't- and there's no telling what outcome you're going to get. You just have to hope, and keep on trying!

    This link explains all the techniques I know of to get a bottle-fed baby to the breast: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/. The skin- to-skin and instant reward techniques are supposed to be especially helpful. In addition, the more you can offer the breast when your baby is relaxed and/or sleepy, the better- many babies are more willing to nurse when they are in that state. So if your baby is sleeping long stretches at night, that might be counterproductive to your goal, and you might want to start waking her up.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Back to Breast--Suggestions, Experiences, Success Storie

    Thank you for your response, I've actually visited that site before but it's been good to refresh my memory a bit. When she nursed those few times, I had pumped first to ensure she would get milk instantly, and so that the nipple was prepared and easier for her to latch on to. Maybe I confused and frustrated her when I got overzealous and thought maybe I wouldn't need to pump first.

    I've been trying so far today to offer as much as possible without letting her get frustrated, and not doing so when she's hungry (because then she will get frustrated). She's done a lot of nibbling and just playing with it in her mouth like she does most things.

    Is there a point that I should just give up again? I feel like I'm sure she can do it--she did it so perfectly the other night and I'm just not sure what happened. Maybe I'm not doing my job keeping her comfortable or something.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    23,402

    Default Re: Back to Breast--Suggestions, Experiences, Success Storie

    The point at which you should give up is when you feel in your heart that it is time. No-one can make that decision for you, because no-one knows what is possible for the unique combination of you and your baby.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Back to Breast--Suggestions, Experiences, Success Storie

    UPDATE: I've gotten her to take the breast about once a night since posting this. She still won't nurse for nourishment, but I offer often and each time I give her a bottle. Most of the time she gets really angry and yells at me. But about once a night after she wakes up and after I feed her and she starts smiling at me and talking to me I'll rest her on my chest and offer and she'll sit with the nip in her mouth and continue chatting with me in her funny half-whine kind of way as if she's saying, "Look, mom, I don't know what you're doing here but I'm not gonna scream at you... this time..." and then she calms down and starts to nurse, and usually she puts herself to sleep this way. I've been keeping my breasts out and keeping her close during feedings and while cuddling and while she sleeps. I'm going to interpret these small steps as good progress and hopefully in time she'll stop fighting so much and get used to it, and then start taking the breast for her feedings.

    This is mostly important to me because I know that if she would nurse for her feedings she would only need a very small amount of formula, if any at all. For some reason she just seems more willing now than any time I've tried previously--maybe it's because I've gotten more comfortable holding her (she's my first baby and the first couple months were awkward and I was always scared I wasn't holding her right and that I would hurt her, even though she was such a big baby and not nearly as fragile as I expected a newborn to be)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Back to Breast--Suggestions, Experiences, Success Storie

    That's great progress!! Keep going mama!
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