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Thread: No latch, no/low milk supply, feeling discouraged/depressed

  1. #1

    Unhappy No latch, no/low milk supply, feeling discouraged/depressed

    New to the forum and hoping for advice/encouragement since I'm feeling pretty depressed.

    - miracle baby boy was born premature at 33.6 weeks due to previa (it's been about 4 weeks since he was born).

    - I was on bed rest at hospital for 2.5 weeks before the emergency c-section; baby was in NICU for 2 weeks.

    - he was fed with formula as well as my breast milk (very little - 5 ml each pump - using Medela symphony hospital grade pump)

    - I attempted to put him to breast (~ 5 times) while he was in NICU but concerned b/c he didn't have good latch and was exerting too much energy. He was also in an incubator for a week.

    - worked with several lactation nurses at hospital and they gave me nipple shield to use (unsuccessful); checked my flanges (correct size).

    - it's been almost 4 weeks and I feel my milk supply hasn't increased.
    Each 2-3 hour pumping session:
    Left breast is pumping out ~ 15-30 ml and right breast is next to a few drops to nothing! (I've never had breast surgery of any sort).

    - been eating oatmeal, taking fenugreek pills, lactation cookies.

    - when I put him to breast ( without breast shield), he opens his mouth wide open but gets frustrated and starts crying because I don't have enough milk dripping down.

    I've been feeling pretty frustrated and sad to the point I was crying when pumping.
    I'm also experiencing a bit of postpartum depression because this is just too much for me. The hospital stay and emergency c-section was a bit traumatic for me and now I'm feeling guilty because I can't feed my baby.

    I know feeding him with formula and supplementing with the very little amount of breast milk I can pump out is all I can do for now...

    I'm very thankful for our miracle baby, but it's been so exhausting - physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

    Anyone out there with a similar experience?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,746

    Default Re: No latch, no/low milk supply, feeling discouraged/depres

    I did not have your specific experience, but I like many other moms here had problems nursing our babies. Hopefully someone with a closer experience will also respond.

    I am sorry you are so frustrated. Low milk production is often a mystery and solving the mystery can help bring answers and sometimes, a solution. Not that the mystery can always be solved. But here is what I suggest.

    Take care of yourself and have compassion for your own emotions. Having a premature baby, or sick, or hospitalized baby is probably the most difficult thing a new parent can go through, and new parenthood is tough enough. It IS traumatizing to have an experience like this. Of course you are grateful for your baby, but you have a right to feel angry or sad or whatever you feel about the circumstances of his birth as well. You are still healing physically from surgery, but your emotional healing will take a long time. It's ok. You are not showing ingratitude for baby by not being happy about the situation.

    Give your self a break. Babies need their mothers. Your baby has you, and trust me that is enough for baby. You are baby's whole world. Of course you would love to be able to nurse your baby, and that is a legitimate desire. But you have nothing at all to feel any guilt about. If you think you have PPD, it is important to talk to your doctor or a family member or a friend and consider what help or treatment may be available.

    Is it possible to see a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) now that you are out of the hospital? There is much she can help with- helping to get baby to latch, helping you figure out the mystery of the low production, etc.

    An excellent book is Making More Milk. I highly recommend it. It not only gives you many ideas for increasing milk production, because it is written by people who have been there, it has many helpful ideas and tips for managing the exhausting tasks of "triple feeding" (pumping, nursing, supplementing) without losing your mind.

    Breastfeeding need not be all or nothing. Any of your milk baby gets is good. If it can be managed, any time spent nursing at the breast is good. Your baby has already received benefits from your efforts.

    Some moms who do not make enough milk or even who make no milk at all nurse baby using a lactation aid, some or all of the time. It is something to consider if you want.
    but gets frustrated and starts crying because I don't have enough milk dripping down.
    Have you tried instant reward techniques? Basically, dripping some milk on the nipple? Will baby latch then?

    More ideas here: baby back to breast: http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/nb-...ack-to-breast/

  3. #3

    Default Re: No latch, no/low milk supply, feeling discouraged/depres

    I just posted this for another forum but it's so similar that I'll post my experience here too.

    General details *31 weeker (now 14 weeks actual), 5 weeks in NICU, came home on a bottle, latched on boob if milk was flowing, fussy when it wasn't. I have plenty of milk and breastfed my 20 month old for 14 months with no problems.

    For the last 14 weeks I have been pumping while trying to feed her a couple times a day. Her suck was too weak to pull anything out so she only got milk when it was free flowing. Every lactation consultant told me that she just needed time to get stronger and bigger but around 11 weeks old (2 weeks past due date) they finally referred me to an occupational therapist that could see that she was having suck issues and needed some exercises. Keeping in mind that I've been an emotional wreck since day 1, the mouth exercises gave me the extra push I needed to keep me pumping a few more weeks. Day in and day out her suck was not getting better and so continued our constant struggle of breastfeeding, crying, bottle feeding, frustration, guilt....

    All i want to do is breastfeed this tiny little girl and give her the experience that my son and I had and yet each day the struggle seems more and more desperate. Finally today I met with her pediatrician. He could see the tears in my eyes when I told him she was still taking only the bottle. He told me that breastfeeding is just ONE part of raising a healthy baby and that I was clearly giving her everything she needed to thrive in other ways. He believed that 90% of breastfeeding benefits would be lost if it was a negative experience. After all, the bonding that I so longed for in breastfeeding turned into a traumatizing experience as I watched her calm down with every bottle feed.

    In the end, I've decided that today I will give up the dream of breastfeeding and move on to bonding with her in other ways. I've been losing my mind at the pump all day instead of actually sitting down and enjoying my little baby. I will have to hold my head high when I'm bottle feeding in public, knowing perfectly well that some mothers might judge me (as I may even have judged) not knowing how hard I tried. Not knowing that I pumped for months, had endless lactation appointments, occupational therapy appointments, did mouth exercises every feeds, and cried with my baby as she tried and failed to suck on my nipple. I wish there was more support for mothers who's babies just can't breastfeed effectively, whether the reasons be biological or environmental (bottle feeding in the NICU, etc). It is an insanely hard decision to make but in the end do what's best for your baby, yourself and the bond that you share. Also, formula has improved so much over the years and, although it's not our first choice, when we see our children blossom like any other child its clear that there was nothing to worry about.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,911

    Default Re: No latch, no/low milk supply, feeling discouraged/depres

    Malwith2, I'm sorry your breastfeeding journey didn't wind up where you had hoped! Nursing a premature baby can be exceptionally challenging and believe me, no nursing mom who knows your story is going to look down on you for making a choice that was best for you.

    I only want to point out one thing- perhaps for the mom who comes along years from now and finds this post?- and that is that when your pediatrician told you that "90% of breastfeeding benefits would be lost if it was a negative experience", he was just making that statistic up. Sometimes what professionals- doctors, lactation consultants, LLL leaders- see in our eyes is a mom in crisis, who wants to be relieved of her burden of guilt, pain, unhappiness, uncertainty... And sometimes those professionals will invent a reason in the hopes that they can help the mom escape a tough situation, and find some closure.

    I'm not saying you made the wrong decision- there is no such thing, when it comes to something as personal as breastfeeding! But I also don't want anyone to take that "90%" as gospel.

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