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Thread: Have I ruined our chances at breastfeeding?

  1. #1

    Default Have I ruined our chances at breastfeeding?

    Hi! I am a first time Mom to a 2 week old boy. Unfortunately, breastfeeding is not the norm in my family but I was determined to breastfeed my baby. After his birth, I was told by a L&D nurse that I have "flat" nipples. I was given a nipple shield and told to use it but that's literally the end of that advice. After two days, I was told by a LC that not only was this shield the wrong size for me but I was not using it correctly. I was given a size that seemed to feel better but by then my nipples were cracked, bleeding, and extremely painful. On the 5th day, I saw another LC who advised me to stop breastfeeding and only pump until my nipples were healed. While they healed, we fed our son my breast milk from a bottle. I have tried to put my son to my breast and, though he does attempt to go for my nipple, we're not able to get a decent latch. I don't know if it's because of my so-called flat nipples or if it's because he's not getting the instant satisfaction he gets from the bottle's nipple. I feel horrible that he gets so upset. I am seeing another LC tomorrow and I'm really hoping it is still early enough to correct this issue.
    Has anyone had success breastfeeding after introducing a bottle? Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Have I ruined our chances at breastfeeding?

    Hi and welcome. I know you are looking for personal experiences involving early bottle use, but since you are seeing an LC tomorrow I hope you do not mind if I jump in and reassure you that many, many babies have come to nursing at the breast after being bottle fed. It is very early days and there is every reason to believe that with the proper help, your baby can and will nurse.

    At this point I think it is really, really important that you see an experienced IBCLC who is capable of assessing the entire situation and giving you a plan that will work for you. She should offer ideas for getting baby to latch and help baby to latch during the session. I am not sure you have to be bottle feeding at all at this point, this is something you can figure out with your LC. If you do, your IBCLC can show you how to give bottles appropriately so they impact breastfeeding success as little as possible. She will also talk to you about pumping and how to make sure your milk production is allowed to be all it can be. Since things change very rapidly in the early weeks, you will want to leave having a follow up appointment already set or at least some way to contact her with questions and concerns after your appt.

    Many mothers nurse just fine with "flat" nipples. In most cases, "flatness" is actually a temporary situation caused by any number of factors- engorgement, pain, medications, edema for IV fluids.... Sometimes there is some anatomical issue, but again this need not be a barrier to a baby nursing.

    Nipple shields can be an excellent tool if and when they are used appropriately- if they allow a baby to latch who otherwise can not. But unfortunately they are thrown at mothers all to often with no instruction or when they are not needed at all- the same thing happened to me in the hospital after I had my first baby.

    Newborn babies fuss and cry. Of course you do not want to ever withhold needed nourishment from you child. But once you know that your baby is capable of latching and nursing, it may be important to work on that through the frustration- both yours and baby's, without resorting to bottles. There are many ways to help baby with this. One is to offer to nurse very frequently so baby is never overly hungry. Another is to offer a very small amount of milk in the bottle or cup or syringe, and then offer the breast. Another is to dribble expressed milk onto your breast to give baby some instant reward...these are just a few ideas.

    Here is a description of what you might expect to experience at a consult with an IBCLC: http://cwgenna.com/lconsult.html
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; March 7th, 2016 at 07:10 PM.

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