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Thread: Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

  1. #1

    Default Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

    Hi, friends. I'm trying really hard to not stress over this, and after reading many books and scouring the forums for someone with a similar story, I'm feeling down.

    I have a 6 week old. She's everything I'd ever dreamed. I've had to begin supplementing her nursing with formula, and it is ruining my breastfeeding.

    Long story short, I never went into labor. We were hoping for a vbac, but we also scheduled a c-section on my due date (I was induced with my first child at 42 weeks and it was a difficult and miserable experience - he was almost 10lbs.) She was born 7lb15oz. I didn't get to nurse with my first - every resource I thought I had at the hospital basically handed me formula - and every person I asked about nursing with this one PRIOR to giving birth told me some form of "If poor people in [insert poor country] can breastfeed without a book, so can you!" which, obviously, was unhelpful. Especially since now, I find myself needing all those books.

    She lost exactly 10% of her weight in the hospital, and the doctor immediately suggested supplementing, so I did. I nursed her, then I gave her the bottle. She immediately started sleeping more, and eventually developed a preference for the bottle entirely. I tried to reduce the amount of formula and increase the time on the breast, but she would pull off the breast, frustrated. It got to the point where she wouldn't even latch on anymore. She had consistently wet diapers, but it wasn't *wet* wet - like a small amount of fluid or so.

    I tried pumping exclusively, too, but I never made more than two ounces in a whole day. I started pacing her on the bottle, doing everything I could to make it more complicated for her to drink from it, and that helped her latch back onto the breast...but she still cries sometimes at the sight of my breast - almost as if the thought of trying to pull milk from it stresses her out - and trying to get her to latch on is even worse. Her crying at my breast is traumatizing me, but me trying to force her on my breast would traumatize her. When she cries, I rub her head, tell her it's okay, and give her a bottle (with pacing, of course) while my breast is still uncovered. If nothing else, I want her to feel comfortable there.

    My dream would be to not need formula at all. I would want to stop buying it. It's a financial burden and, quite honestly, a pain in the tush. I don't make enough milk - I listen for her gulps and sucks and there aren't very many; she falls asleep early on in the nursing session. The formula actually gave her baby acne, she gets really bad indigestion from it, and I'm convinced it's leaving her constipated, but she prefers it because it fills her up. Even right now, it's taking me forever to type this because I'm using one hand to type, and the other hand to rub her forehead from the itchy acne she has because of this stuff.

    Any advice any of the lovely people on this forum can share, I'll gladly accept. This is really messing with my self-esteem and emotions. My husband has been wonderful in trying to encourage me, but he would tell me to just formula-feed because he thinks that would be better for my mental well-being (I don't think I agree with that.) I've read the LLLI's latest book, but I couldn't parse out a part where I could apply to what I'm experiencing right now. Anyone who can help, I greatly thank you in advance.

    -M

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

    I'm sorry that your birth experience was so clinical and unhelpful. The people in whatever 3rd world country see breastfeeding ad they grow up, so it's not some taboo foreign act like it seems to be here. So we do need books and support to get a proper latch and to feel confident in your supply and all of that. So, boo on the people who undermined you. The good news is, all is not lost! You're still in the early weeks and there's a great chance we can help you get off the formula.

    A few questions, if you don't mind, to better understand your situation:

    How many times do you nurse? I know the sessions might not result in much, but I'm just wondering where you're at

    How many ounces a day does she get in formula? How big are the bottles (how many oz)?

    How many times a day do you pump? What kind of pump do you have?

    Have you seen an IBCLC? Had any qualified person check for tongue or lip ties?

    Can you post her weight history? I know you posted some, but it'd be helpful to know birth, lowest, and any that you have after. If you can, post it like this so we can easily see the trend:

    Birth/lowest/age - weight

    In the mean time while we try to help you, try to pump at least 8 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes. This doesn't have to be every such and such hours, but you want to try to mimic the frequency of a newborn nursing. This will help your milk supply and give you milk that you can use in place of formula. If some days you can only do 5 times a day, don't worry. Just try the next day to make 8.

    hang in there, momma!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

    I think midnightsangel has good questions. Here are some thoughts.
    You want to nurse your baby, and that is a valid, understandable desire. But try to not let your self esteem hang on whether you do or not. Babies need their moms, and that is what your baby is getting. Your baby loves and appreciates and needs you.
    A book that might be helpful as a companion to the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding in your situation is Making More Milk.
    There are ways to supplement that are breastfeeding supportive, and ways that are not. If baby is fed with bottles, paced bottle feeding as well as cue feeding helps make those less problematic. You could also consider using an at the breast supplementer, or cup or spoon for feedings not at the breast.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

    Thank you for such empathetic responses - seriously, thank you for making me feel human again. It has been rough on me, but I've been handling it well. I just shed a few tears every now and again, take a deep breath, make some tea, and try again.

    To answer midnightangel's questions:


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*midnightsangel View Post
    How many times do you nurse? I know the sessions might not result in much, but I'm just wondering where you're at

    How many ounces a day does she get in formula? How big are the bottles (how many oz)?
    So, I nurse her successfully maybe three times a day, five times if I'm lucky. I give her formula in an 8oz bottle (but only fill it with the amount I intend to give her at that time) every two hours or so, except for between 1 and 3pm, and at night when she sleeps from midnight to about 7 or so.


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*midnightsangel View Post
    How many times a day do you pump? What kind of pump do you have?
    I don't pump as often as I'd like, primarily because I spend so much time with her in my arms trying to get her to latch or pacing her with a bottle. I mean, the pacing was a life-saver - it at least convinced her to finally latch back on. (I had to go back to work for a day and was able to bring her with me, so I did...but a misunderstanding resulted in me having to put her on a non-paced bottle the entire time - I didn't know about pacing yet - and, after that, she wouldn't latch on again. Sigh.)

    I have an Ameda Purely Yours DEBP. I also have the breast pump bra thingy that you wear with it. I use it maybe four times a day, and I set a timer for 15 mins to keep me honest on it. (It hurts a bit.)

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*midnightsangel View Post
    Have you seen an IBCLC? Had any qualified person check for tongue or lip ties?
    My OB recommended an IBCLC, but she's been on vacation and not available. She doesn't have tongue tie or anything of that nature. I did have her latch critiqued by the LC at the hospital, who mistook me for a pro because of the way I was holding my breast (I was just trying to keep the little lady from suffocating under all the flesh!) I attended the breastfeeding classes at my delivery hospital, but they're all fresh newborns...it wasn't really a space where I felt like I'd get the help I needed for the bind I've found myself in.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*midnightsangel View Post
    Can you post her weight history? I know you posted some, but it'd be helpful to know birth, lowest, and any that you have after. If you can, post it like this so we can easily see the trend:

    Birth/lowest/age - weight
    I'm not sure I follow the format, but I'll try:

    birth weight: 7lb14oz
    lowest weight: 7lb5oz (3 days old)
    last recorded weight: 7lb10oz (10 days old)

    I don't have a current weight for her - her next checkup was slated to happen around the time my oldest started school, and my husband's new job, and, and, and... I'm not sure what I should be looking for, so any insight there, too, would be helpful.

    Thanks, again. I really mean it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

    Sorry about the format confusion, but you figured it out!

    I was just looking to see how weight gain looked, and she's almost to birth weight which is a little slow but not worryingly so.

    I also misworded a question. I mean to ask how many oz of supplement does she get per bottle - 1 oz, 2 oz, 3 oz etc.

    Have you looked into an SNS, as MaddieB's suggested? it's a little tube that connects to your breast so baby suckles and stimulates your breast but gets supplement through the tube. This might help your supply since you're not able to pump as much.

    As for pumping, have you tried different sized flanges? The pain shouldn't happen, so I'd try to look into that (if you have time! I'm sure that is a precious commodity right now). The nipple shouldn't rub the tube and not too much areola should be sucked in either.

    Is there another IBCLC in your town that you could see while the other one is gone? I think getting a quality visit can help you assess things more deeply. A weighted feed - where baby is weighed, the you nurse, then baby is weighed again to see how much is taken in - can give some insight to of its a transfer issue. She might also have suggestions on your particular baby and how to adjust her at the breast to encourage a latch that might otherwise not happen.

    I wonder if you would be willing to try to let her nurse as she sleeps? This is called dream feeding and some babies that are refusing the breast will latch and feed while they are asleep. Are you able to nurse laying down, or maybe just reclined comfortably?

    Also, aside from all these tips, just breathe. Things might not be going to plan, but things rarely do. Baby is being fed and loved, and that's ultimately what matters. Getting baby back to breast may take a whike and some days will be great and others will be terrible. Don't let the terrible days discourage you. Any amount of your milk is invaluable for your little baby, and she's a very lucky baby to have you as a momma.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    I think midnightsangel has good questions. Here are some thoughts.
    You want to nurse your baby, and that is a valid, understandable desire. But try to not let your self esteem hang on whether you do or not. Babies need their moms, and that is what your baby is getting. Your baby loves and appreciates and needs you.
    A book that might be helpful as a companion to the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding in your situation is Making More Milk.
    There are ways to supplement that are breastfeeding supportive, and ways that are not. If baby is fed with bottles, paced bottle feeding as well as cue feeding helps make those less problematic. You could also consider using an at the breast supplementer, or cup or spoon for feedings not at the breast.
    Thank you for this - do you have an author for this one?

    I saw you recommend a SNS in another thread - a Medela one, I believe? Either way, I've been looking at reviews of it all day and am in awe. Placed an order immediately!

    I try reeeeeeeally hard not to let it get to me, but there's something about your baby rejecting your breast, or even crying at the SIGHT of you uncovering it that is really hard to take. Like, when I hold her, I think to myself, "She's so lovely, so cozy, let me see if I can..." and then she promptly reminds me that she's not there for that, LOL, and though I can laugh about it right now, it definitely hurts while it's happening. I try to be mindful of how I'm feeling in the moment when these things happen, because I don't want to spiral downward into depression. I'm just also not sure I can keep going on like this for much longer.

    Thank you for being so helpful. I really, truly appreciate it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

    This is the book: http://www.amazon.com/Breastfeeding-...king+more+milk

    This article from kellymom might be helpful http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/nb-...ack-to-breast/

    The SNS is one type of lactation aid. There are two commercial ones that I know of- the SNS from Medela and the LactAid. They can also be hand made. I never recommended one over the other as what works well for one mom may not work as well for another. But if you have already ordered the SNS I am sure you will be able to make it work for you as well as any other. There is a learning curve and they can be very fiddly, but in the case where supplementing is destroying baby's desire to nurse but baby continues to need supplements, this is probably the most effective intervention and can be helpful even if you find you do not want to use it every time baby gets supplements.

    Here is why to see an IBCLC asap if it is possible. The longer a breastfeeding issue goes on, the more entrenched that issue becomes, and the more likely one initial issue will cause more issues. If your baby is incapable of nursing normally, she should be able to see that and help you fix that problem. If baby nurses fine but you have low milk production, she can give you individualized advice on that. You want to see the best one you can find, and that may mean talking to more than once before you make an appointment. So I would suggest looking for yourself to see if anyone else is around. You can also see if there is local LLL or other volunteer (free) breastfeeding support around.

    Even with pumping only 4 times a day, 2 ounces per day is low output...Are you sure your pump is working correctly and fits correctly? Edit: also, pumping should not hurt

    How much are you able to hold baby skin to skin? Maybe while leaning back, relaxed, baby on you whether with clothes on or not? Not actively offering to nurse, but snuggling with baby on your bare chest? Does she ever exhibit rooting behavior? Have you tried instant reward techniques for encouraging interest in the breast (detailed in the baby won't nurse article linked above.)

    I know it is hard to separate 'you' from 'your breasts" ... But please try. We tend to romanticize infant feeding. Infants (typically) have a deep instinctual compulsion to nurse. They do not suckle because they love their mom, they do it because instinct compels that behavior. So if a baby is NOT showing that behavior, then something is interfering with that instinct, and leading baby to seek the bottle rather than the breast. Just as nursing is not a sign baby loves mom, baby NOT nursing is NOT a rejection of mom. If you feel that you are suffering from depression, can you seek help with that?

    Here is more info:

    Finding an IBCLC: http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1
    What to expect at an IBCLC consult: http://cwgenna.com/lconsult.html
    Lactation aid general info: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...agename=doc-LA
    Helping moms work smarter not harder with a lactation aid: http://cwgenna.com/smartnothard.html
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; October 15th, 2015 at 07:33 PM. Reason: fixed a link

  8. #8

    Default Re: Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*midnightsangel View Post
    I also misworded a question. I mean to ask how many oz of supplement does she get per bottle - 1 oz, 2 oz, 3 oz etc.
    So, I give her a little shy of 2oz every two hours. Maybe a little more when she first wakes up, and right before bedtime, where she stays sleep for about 6hrs and co-sleeps with us at night.

    As for the SNS, I hadn't heard! I saw them mentioned in the book, but I glossed right over it. I placed an order for it, and expect it to arrive next week.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*midnightsangel View Post
    As for pumping, have you tried different sized flanges? The pain shouldn't happen, so I'd try to look into that (if you have time! I'm sure that is a precious commodity right now). The nipple shouldn't rub the tube and not too much areola should be sucked in either.
    I'd not tried any different sizes from the ones my pump came with - I'll look into those too, I guess I just didn't think the sizing could be that different, LOL.


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*midnightsangel View Post
    I wonder if you would be willing to try to let her nurse as she sleeps? This is called dream feeding and some babies that are refusing the breast will latch and feed while they are asleep. Are you able to nurse laying down, or maybe just reclined comfortably?
    I actually saw your post last night and went straight to trying this, and it helped a great deal! If I latch her while upright and then lay back, she stays latched for a good 15 minutes without issue. If I lay her on HER back, she nurses there too, just not for as long. I can't get her to latch while she's sleeping, but as long as my arm isn't on her back, she nurses just fine. This was a huge help!

    I'm glad you mentioned "weighted feeds," because when I went through the website for our local LCs (nylca.org for anyone in NYC who might be looking) it listed which ones had scales and which ones didn't, and I couldn't figure out why that mattered or if I needed to consider it. So THANK YOU for that!

    And thank you for the support! I really and truly appreciate it.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

    So, quick update - first, thank you so much! You both were very helpful, and made me think - when you said, "it isn't supposed to hurt," I did some more digging. Honestly, it has hurt from the very beginning, but it would eventually wear off (I have a pretty high pain tolerance, sports and all that) so I thought nothing of it. But I went looking for reasons why it WOULD hurt, and saw info about being "tongue tied." That combined with the reminder that I needed to schedule his next check-up pretty much set us straight. Her tongue is firmly planted in the floor of her mouth - she can't even lift it, let alone stick it out - and her pediatrician has set into motion the process for having it lasered off and having my insurance cover it as well as a lactation specialist to help with her recovery and nursing afterward!

    This process is moving pretty quickly, so hopefully we'll be tending to this properly. In the meantime, I'm going to work on pumping and letting her comfort nurse every now and again so she doesn't "forget about me."

    She's grown three inches and is now 10lbs, so let's hope this moves forward in the best way possible!

    Thanks a lot, y'all - I truly appreciate you. And, once I get all of this squared away, I'd love to hang out around here more - there's clearly some good vibes in this space.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Supplementing is ruining my breastfeeding!

    thanks for the update. It sounds like you are getting some good support and assistance from your pediatrician which is great. Please hang out here whenever you can! I am sure there are many moms here who can benefit from your experience.

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