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Thread: How to get back to breastfeeding

  1. #1

    Default How to get back to breastfeeding

    Backstory:
    Had trouble getting my baby to latch well in the hospital after emergency c-section caught me by suprise. The nurses suggested using a nipple shield, and in the interests of getting my baby to finally eat, I agreed. This is my first child by the way.
    He insisted on using the nipple shield almost exclusively, and not knowing it would be an issue, we continued. We introduced a bottle, for his daddy to occasionally help, at 3 weeks.
    When he was 2.5 months old he suddenly started refusing breastfeeding, only taking a bottle. So, thinking it was just a phase, I began pumping and bottlefeeding.
    He is now 5 months old, and will only breastfeed while sleepy, eg middle of the night.
    We have since discovered (at 3.5 mo) baby has a cow's milk allergy, and acid reflux. I have changed my diet and we give him meds for the reflux, but I am thinking these issues may have been hurting him before he swore off breastfeeding, giving him a negative association?
    My milk production is slowing, I assume from pumping through the day (I pump about 20oz/day) instead of breastfeeding, and I am so tired of the time spent pumping then feeding. We have to wedding to fly to mid January, and would LOVE to get baby back to breastfeeding exclusively, if at all possible!!! The thought of hauling pump, bottles, storage, etc, is daunting.

    My question is: what can I do to get my baby back to breast, or is it too late now? Is going cold turkey with the bottle an option? I have tried slow coaxing, but he and I both have little patience for it.
    #firsttimemom if only I knew then when I know now, this would've all been very different. Lol

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: How to get back to breastfeeding

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on making it to 5 months, despite a lot of challenges stacking up against you!

    It's never too late to try to get a baby back to the breast. You do have some advantages- your milk production is good, and your baby was nursed until 2.5 months and continues to be willing to latch in the middle of the night. This puts you on a much firmer footing than a mom who is trying to relactate and get her baby to the breast, or who has a baby who was never nursed or will not latch at all.

    That all being said, there are no guarantees. You could give this your all and still have it not work out.

    The best way to get an older baby to the breast- usually- is the frustrating, patient, slow coaxing approach. Here are some things to try:
    - If you are using large bottles, knock bottle size down to no more than 2-3 oz at a time. 2-3 oz is a completely normal feeding size, and breastfed babies generally compensate for the small size of the average feeding by feeding a lot more often. So, baby gets less in a bottle = baby gets hungry more often = more opportunities to try to get the baby to latch.
    - Try offering the breast at different times. Try at the beginning of a feeding, try at the end, and try in the middle of a feeding. Sometimes giving the baby 1-2 oz will take the edge off his hunger, making him more likely to try the breast.
    - Try offering the breast in different positions and in different locations. A dark, quiet bedroom is often the best place- it reminds baby of nighttime (when he does latch), it's low distraction, and it's dark so baby may be cued by the smell of milk and latch on before he realizes his milk is showing up in a less familiar container.

    Regarding the cold turkey approach, I think most people would say not to do it. It's too unlikely to work, too likely to make baby even more resistant to the breast. But if you feel like you have nothing to lose, I don't think it's guaranteed not to work. You would want to watch baby's diaper output- which is a proxy for hydration- carefully, and back off if it seems like he's not peeing enough.

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