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Thread: back to breast... I just need a pep talk

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Default back to breast... I just need a pep talk

    Hello everyone. I am turning to you amazing ladies once again as I don't really have anyone to talk to who could understan, let alone encourage me in my efforts to get my baby to nurse.

    I just need reassurance, or the cool voice of reason if it is due. Hope you can bear with me.

    I have posted already about my breastfeeding woes and it is a long tale so I won't bother you again with all the details.
    The "short" story is...not knowing what I was doing, no support or understanding (quite the opposite), and my own insecurities (FTM) resulted in me pumping for the better part of my 7 month old boy's life.

    We had many issues, nursing strikes, ineffective nurser, nasal congestion, bad latch, insufficient supply (fixed at 2 months with iron supplements), bottle prefference, severe vasospasms and many others.

    All my attempts at getting back to exclusive nursing were thwarted (IBCLC, positions, dream feeding etc.), mostly because of severe nasal congestion which lasted for months (still does, though it's not so severe)

    So I pumped and bottle fed. Not properly, had not known about paced feeding. Naturally, he refused the breast more and more, moreover because his latch was still bad, milk transfer as well.
    I kept offering.
    His latch improved on it's own at around 3.5-4 months of age.

    So, basically, I pumped, bottle fed, nursed at night and offered during the day in between bottles, mostly getting rejected, but sometimes he would latch, suck a few times, maybe even for a minute or two tops.

    Around two months ago, after some research and loads of newfound info I went on a mission to get baby back to breast. It's been a rollercoaster since.

    I ordered Dr. Brown's bottles with the preemie nipple, limited pacifier use to a minimum, spend all his naps lying next to him, nursing (or trying to) whenever he stirrs. He is now only fed by me, on me (it took a while, he didn't want to be fed that way), not holding his bottle on his own. And recently, I started putting the bottle in a sock to hide it. There's more, but I can't think of it all now. Doesn't matter.

    So, slowly, day by day his nose was getting better (summer approaching) and I was able to get him off the nursing pillow (big incline) to once again sleep next to me (thanks to wonderful advice I got here, to lift my own mattres to make an incline) so I could nurse him all night whenever he stirred without getting up. Also, because it was getting warmer,my vasospasms issue was getting better as well.

    Things were improving, he was latching more and more during the day. Still just briefly but it was progress. But then the rollercoaster started. Two steps forward, one back,was what I read to expect. But I was going two for two, going in circles.For each 5 steps forward I'd end up either 4 or even 5 steps back.

    Things were going great, but then I got really sick, my supply took a big hit, rebuilding it took a while, he was refusing once again.
    Starting over, seeing improvement again slowly, then the weather got worse, it was colder during the night (I sleep with breasts bare for nursing, to minimize temperature changes because of the vasospasms) and then the vasospasms worsened again,my nipples started stiffening very often once again and he started refusing again.

    I started over, yet again, but due to bad weather, low temps, wind and other things, his nose was once again congested, he couldn't breathe, had to sleep on the pillow again and naturally, another bout of refusal.

    And so on...(you get the gist)

    His nose is now slowly getting better again and I am in the process of getting to where I was once again, but wondering if the universe is trying to send me a message.
    I want to nurse my baby, so bad, but I don't know how much more rejection and starting over I can take or even if I'm on the right track.
    If I try talking to anyone about this, they say I'm crazy for still trying.
    I'm emotionally exhausted from it all, but still hoping and trying.

    I just want someone, who can understand this situation and my desire to nurse baby, to tell me if I'm crazy for still trying or if I should persevere.

    The other thing that concerns me is that in all those success stories it's usually a click that happens, at some point something starts working and there the story ends. From that I read that baby went on to nurse all the time.
    My baby is not like those, I have managed to keep getting him to latch, so he knows, but he won't stay latched, doesn't comfort nurse and won't eat long enough to get full.
    Our record was a full 7 minutes of nursing, once, a few weeks ago. Distractible as he is, that's a lot, even with bottle feeding I need toys to keep him "still" long enough to eat.
    He doesn't either know or want to work for the milk, when my breasts are emptier he sucks a few times, maybe even through a let down sometimes, but that's that.
    So I'm wondering if he could be brought back to breast at all, by just continuing doing what I'm doing. Any thoughts?

    ATM he gets on average 4 bottles a day, 3-4 oz (we had issues with him not eating, that was my second thread here), sometimes more or less, depends on other things, the rest he eats while sleeping, solids are still minimal, if any. He nurses in his sleep (sleeps a lot, when his nose lets him) and during the day when I offer my breast he simetimes latches, sometimes just mouths the nipple, sometimes refuses. And if he latches it's anything from a few sucks to a few minutes. So, the brief breakthroughs we had are just that and all in all I'm not much further away from where I've been

    Sorry for the long post once again, thank you for your patience.
    And a big thank you to all you lively ladies who keep reading and answering all our concerns, problems and insecurities day after day on this forum. You've saved many a nursing relationships and helped a lot of mums!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: back to breast... I just need a pep talk

    You are NOT crazy to keep trying, but you that does not mean the right choice for you is to keep trying. I think you will know in your heart if/when you are ready to make a different choice.

    Every story is very different. I would not at all agree that the typical baby back to breast story (or any other breastfeeding complication story) is a "click" and they lived happily ever after. The story ends only because the person stopped telling it for whatever reason. Breastfeeding is like all other aspects of parenting...a never ending journey with many highs and many lows.

    So I'm wondering if he could be brought back to breast at all, by just continuing doing what I'm doing. Any thoughts?
    This is unknowable. What is knowable is if there is something else you could (by could, I mean, that you feel comfortable with and capable of) be trying, or trying again. There may be or there may not be, I am just suggesting that what is in your control is how you approach the situation, not what the ultimate outcome will be. So I would suggest concentrating there if you like. Maybe re-read or re- think all the ideas you have been given, the articles you have read, the things you tried before that did not work then, etc. And yes sometimes it is just a matter of doing the same things for a long time.

    You had progress in getting baby nursing more, and the progress was halted and there was some back sliding due to your and your child's illnesses. This is very frustrating I am sure, but given that, isn't it expected that there would be a time where the previous progress had to be remade?

    But none of this matters if you are unhappy with "trying." kwim? We all have bad days or even weeks. But if you are feeling very done with "trying" and in your heart you know you are done, then you are done. You know that quote, life is what happens while we are making other plans? I think focusing on a goal of some day where your baby nurses with no bottles and there are never any issues is like making other plans. Don't miss your child's baby hood thinking there is some perfect nirvana out there and if your baby would just nurse, you would be there. There isn't.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    23

    Default Re: back to breast... I just need a pep talk

    I'm sorry you've gone through all of this. It sounds like it's causing your enormous stress and exhaustion. I think you should do whatever will allow you to enjoy your baby the most.

  4. #4
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    May 2015
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    Default Re: back to breast... I just need a pep talk

    Thank you for your time, advice and consoling words.

    I don't feel, in my heart, I am ready to give up just yet. I also don't really have any set goals. I know getting my baby nursing all the time is possible but not highly probable/easy/often achieved. I am well aware of the situation so was not going for all or nothing from the start. I just want to try and get as far as I can with my baby, get as much as I can. Even if it does end up being just dreamfeeding, I'll know I've done all I could and settle with that.

    And all the trying, offering and everything else I'm doing is not really any trouble at all. None of the things I do don't take up much of my time or anything. And spending his naps lying next to him to nurse does mean I can't get much work done around the house, but I don't care. He is my first and I have the luxury of being able to dedicate myself to him now. And I get a break that way, to rest, watch tv, read, research online...Hubby helps out with dishes and cooking and other things when he's not at work.
    And either way, lo has always been a light napper and needed help in transitioning through sleep cycles. It used to be the pacifier, now it's me. I don't mind.

    All my efforts are no trouble at all, quite the opposite. I handle the rejection well mostly, have lots of patience and try try try. And when we make progress, when something new happens, I'm thrilled, elated for some time afterwards and my will is stronger.

    But when something happens that takes us back to the beginning, it's hard. Each time it's harder. The more progress we make, the harder it is for me to start over with a smile. Enduring rejection after rejection when just a couple days ago he nursed every time I offered (for however long or short) is the hardest. I cry for a day or two, regroup and start over.
    It feels like I just can't catch a break. Women around me wean their babies because they don't feel like nursing any longer; she's had enough- my neighbour said, at 8 months. And here I am, wanting it so much and finding obstacle after obstacle since day 1.

    Indeed, making progress does mean I'll most likely get back there again, but the further I get each time, the lower I sink when something happens yet again. It takes longer each time for me to get back "in the game" lol.

    It is better now. We're starting to make progress again. But if another thing happens to ruin it all I don't know if I can do it all again even if I do still want to. All I really want is to be able to find that limit, get to where I can with our nursing relationship "in peace" and make peace with it.

    It's the pumping that is limiting us, taking precious time away, it's annoying and it's getting harder to manage it as he is getting older. He's a handful, energetic and constantly wants to be on the move (as much as he can) and I'm alone with him a lot of the time. So getting him to nurse more would make my life a lot easier. That was part of the reasin I started my "mission"

    I still have things I want to try out withhim, some new ideas, but we have to get back on track for me to try them. So minimizing rejection as much as possible is the first step.

    But when things get bad again, I start do despair, I have no one to talk to to lift my spirits up, reassure me. Or to tell me I've tried enough times, that it might be time to come to terms with it all and stop trying - if that is what it looks like from the outside. I'm very emotional about all this so I can't really see things clearly.

    Thank you for your time and patience. I am sorry for the pity party.

    I told you I needed a pep talk... :P
    Last edited by @llli*andreica; July 1st, 2015 at 11:57 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    211

    Default Re: back to breast... I just need a pep talk

    I don't think you are throwing a pity party. I have to commend you on your dedication to keep trying. We've had major challenges I've not yet been able to overcome as well, but not the same as yours, and I don't know, if I was in your situation, if I would be able to keep trying as you have! Only you can decide if/when it is time to stop trying, and I agree you need to get to a place where you are at peace with whatever decision you come to - and that decision will be the right one, because he is your baby, this is your breastfeeding relationship, so what you choose is what's right for you both! You are one awesome mama.

  6. #6
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    May 2015
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    Default Re: back to breast... I just need a pep talk

    First, thank you all for your kind words, support and your time. Second, here I am again, lol. Well, kind of.

    If anyone is interested in our progress, after much struggle we are (or were) once again moving forward. It was a long struggle and combined with other things one that had me seriously considering giving up and switching to formula after going through my stash. I decided I would do so as soon as the heat wave that hit us ended, because I was too concerned about dehydration to think about weaning.
    The heat wave broke, his nose was better, the vasospasms subsided to a minimum. I decided to try something new, to try and teach him to fall asleep at the breast.
    I usually get him to sleep by bouncing on an excercise ball with him sitting/lying in front of me, while humming a melody (same one, just for sleepy time). i decided to start getting him of the ball, on to the bed, boob in mouth, when he is almost asleep, and slowly moving that switch earlier and earlier, my goal being him nursing to sleep, guided just by my singing.
    It was going really well, although it is a tricky thing to pull off as you need to find the "sweet spot", the right moment, not too asleep, not too awake. We're still a long way away (maybe not that long), but we've come a long way already.

    Also, since it is unbelievably hot here these days, we shower together a few times a day and I take advantage of the situation, right out of the shower, we get on the bed and nurse for a bit. He latches every time.
    We discovered a new position together and he even latches himself sometimes when we're lying around on the bed (me- bare breasted) and he sees my boob, the mood strikes him or whatever.
    He still refuses sometimes, but those times are few and far between.
    His "nursing" sessions are still short though. I have to entertain him with props or just goofing around to keep him on the breast, but it is the same with bottles so that's just how he is.
    He will wait and nurse through the first let down and that's it. But even that was starting to show improvement, on occasion. Other things are happening too and my hope rose once again.

    But, not wanting to start daydreaming again and getting my hopes up too high, thinking about it, I came to terms with the possibility that was as far as we'll come. For a "worst case scenario" I was pretty satisfied. I decided to continue pumping for about another month and a half- two months tops (he will be 9.5-10 months old by then) and then, with solids and my big freezer stash, he would be set until he's one year old.
    I am just really tired of pumping and it is getting harder as he is getting older since he demands my constant attention, I'm alone with him most days, and he's getting more mobile and more opinionated every day.

    But I want to keep the night nursing and daytime nap nursing, as well as the short minute-or-two sessions throughout the day. But I wonder if that will be at all possible.
    My question is, when I cut the 4 pumping sessions (slowly, of course) I am on now (have been for a while) will it be possible for me to keep my milk, enough for dream feeding and a few short sessions throughout the day or will my milk dry up? I know it's individual, but I'm worried about that and just want to know what my chances are...


    And for the pity party again... all that said, all the wonderfull progress we've made, me finally getting close to that place where I'm okay with how things turned out and there it is again. The vasospasms are flaring up again, my nipples are blanching and turning rock hard and he is spitting them out when they stiffen. Yesterday he was willing to try 2-3 times before giving up (I'd keep switching nipples and they'd keep stiffening again as soon as they're in his mouth), today he's almost down to just one try. I'm hoping it won't all be ruined again.

    And his nose is getting bad again too .
    Filthy hot weather has us under the AC most of the time, until the new heat wave subsides. That is wreaking havoc on his nose (dry air) and making my vasospasms worsen.
    Actually, the pumping is.what causes the vasospasms, but the temperature changes make them stiffen.

    I've tried to figure out why the vasospasms and I have no idea. I rent a hospital grade pump, so no improvement can be made there. It is pretty gentle. The suction settings went down a notch after the last flare up. The flanges are too big by the standards but I've always had good output with the standard size.
    Well, to rule that out,I went and ordered the smaller, 21 mm flanges. Tried them once, it hurt like hell and I'm back on the old ones. Maybe I should have gone for the even bigger ones, lol.
    My nipples are flat-ish and can't reall stretch that far out, so it helps when part of my areolas are in there and it's all getting sucked in together and stretching, if you get what I mean.
    Maybe that is bad for the vasospasms. But it was far worse with the smaller flanges.

    It's like I'm pumping and pumpingand all is well and then one day it just starts hurting. It's like the suction gets tighter, everything gets sucked in a little further and it hurts. And it can't heal until the next session so by the end of the day the vasospasms are really flaring up.
    I just don't know.

    That is the other, bigger reason why I'm tired of pumping and want to stop.

    I've turned the suction even lower for now (the output on one side isn't really great with the lower setting - the other one is actually doing better with lower suction lol), am putting warm gel pads on my breasts often and being careful about not walking barefoot and avoiding the cool air from the AC. That's all I can think of to do. That and hoping it'll get better before he starts refusing to nurse again. I cannot and will not go through all that again.

    Does anyone have any other ideas/suggestions/thoughts as to what could be going on. I don't know what else to try...

    Thank you for "listening".

  7. #7
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: back to breast... I just need a pep talk

    Are you using heat for the vasospasms? You want to keep a heat source like a hot water bottle or heating pad available for that moment when the vasospasm strikes. It's not quite as good as preventing them in the first place but it should provide near-Immediate relief.

  8. #8
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    May 2015
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    Default Re: back to breast... I just need a pep talk

    Yes, of course. Have been doing so for months now, before every pumping session and in between.

    At this point, when the vasospasms hit, it doesn't hurt anymore. Basically it's just blanching and stiffening. The nipple becomes very erect and feels like a skin covered pebble. And no milk will come out when it's like that.

    Before, when the vasospasms were at their worst, I couldn't go through the day without ibuprofen, it hurt horribly. Then it was milder, then just discomfort. Thankfully, because it's been months now (6+) and enduring that amount if pain was hard enough for the first half.

    But baby spits it out when it's like that. Even in his sleep.

  9. #9
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    May 2015
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    Default Re: back to breast... I just need a pep talk

    The reason I posted about our progress in so much detail was to provide info and possible ideas for mums who are trying to do the same thing I am, since I know how valuable each bit of information was to me when I was doing research on the subject.

    But I see now it appears to be a bit much to plough through so maybe I should just point out the part with the (first) question LoL


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*andreica View Post
    I decided to continue pumping for about another month and a half- two months tops (he will be 9.5-10 months old by then) and then, with solids and my big freezer stash, he would be set until he's one year old.
    .....

    But I want to keep the night nursing and daytime nap nursing, as well as the short minute-or-two sessions throughout the day. But I wonder if that will be at all possible.
    My question is, when I cut the 4 pumping sessions (slowly, of course) I am on now (have been for a while) will it be possible for me to keep my milk, enough for dream feeding and a few short sessions throughout the day or will my milk dry up? I know it's individual, but I'm worried about that and just want to know what my chances are...
    :-D

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