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Thread: Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    17

    Exclamation Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

    I had a 6-week premature son in December. I was instructed to double pump every 3 hours to maintain my milk supply until he was ready to breastfeed directly... For about a month I was mostly pumping, occasionally attempting to breastfeed directly but having to supplement with a bottle after due to a very sleepy baby and poor suck.

    Anyway, by 4 weeks, I had enough of the pumping (very sore nipples and tired of sanitizing all the equipment all day long). With the help of the nipple shield, I was able to switch over to exclusive breastfeeding within a couple of days. My son was latching on well and after a couple more weeks, I was able to ditch the nipple shield. All seemed well for a very short period of time...

    Then the colic began, he was spitting up excessively, always hungry, very gassy, crying all the time, explosive green stools, etc... After reading an article on the LLL website, I realized I had an oversupply and he was getting too much foremilk. So I tried feeding one breast at each feeding, and then when that didn't work, one breast every other feeding (i.e. 2 feedings at one breast) and block feeding. This worked wonders and my son's crying fits stopped, for another very short period of time.

    Then severe latch-on problems began... Every time I came to breastfeed, the baby would be crying for HOURS trying to latch on. Silly me, I didn't realize it was because the block feeding was causing my breasts to become too full to latch on.... not until 2 months after this misery began did I make the connection.

    So I stopped block feeding and went back to one breast every feeding. Again, things got better temporarily... yes, he did start becoming gassy again, spitting up more, having explosive poops, and crying a little more from what appeared to be stomach cramps... but I'd trade this any day rather than deal with the latch-on problems. I was ecstatic... I thought my breastfeeding problems were all over. I had a good few weeks.

    Then yesterday, my son, who usually eats every 30 to 60 minutes, took one of the longest naps he ever took in his almost 4-month life - 3 hours! Great, huh? Not really... while I did manage to get some things done around the house... when he did wake up, he couldn't latch on to either breast because they were so full. I ended up having to go back to the dreaded pump to empty them enough for him to latch on. In response, my breasts have become even fuller and one of them has a large painful clogged duct. I feel like I did during the engorgement days after birth. Now, the baby's really getting the foremilk and is having the worst gas/spitting up problems to date AND the latching problems returned.

    I don't know what to do anymore. It seems there is no happy medium. I feel all alone. No one I know that breastfeeds has ever had such problems. Is it because of all the initial pumping I did when my son was first born? I don't know. All I know is that I'm extremely frustrated but don't want to give up. I was planning on breastfeeding for 2 years but have already encountered so many problems. Anyway, since block feeding is not going to work given the subsequent latch-on problems, has anyone tried alternative methods to reducing oversupply, like sage? If so, did it work for you? Any pitfalls I should worry about?

    Any tips/advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    ~Sarah

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

    don't be afraid to call your local leader she can help.
    sometimes the colic comes from allergies to something in your milk, do you drink lots of cows milk.? Thats the most common allergy for infants in the us.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Default Re: Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

    Thanks for the advice, andrea_ohio. I drink about 1-2 cups of cow's milk per day. I tried eliminating it from my diet and it didn't do anything for the colic. I had a visit from an IBCLC and she doesn't think my diet has anything to do with the baby's colic. What is most problematic though is not the colic but the latch on difficullties due to the engorgement. It seems like there are glass marbles floating underneath the areolar tissue which makes it even more difficult for the baby to get a good grasp. When tha IBCLC came, everything seemed fine and dandy... the baby latched on well and she didn't see any problems. It is usually the middle of the night when the problems escalate as the baby is finally starting to sleep for longer periods without eating.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

    Hello, Sarah!

    How would you feel about continuing with the block feeding to once again make your production managable?

    I understand that engorgement (and thus, difficulty latching) is your major concern. My best suggestion is to try to hand express just a little (just enough to take off the pressure) before latching baby on. Another technique that might work is reverse pressure softening (RPS). You can find a description here: http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/engorgement.html

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

    I'm feeling your pain. I thought my issues were over as well and now my LO is spitting up tons of milk and eating every 1- 1 1/2 hours. What did women do 200 years ago if they had these problems? (and couldn't afford a wet nurse) I really wonder...
    Andrea - mama to Laith 02.20.07 and Sommer 01.21.11
    'Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.' - Noam Chomsky

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

    Eating every 1-2 hours is normal. Your LO is only almost 2 months. I walked around in a bra all the time because my LO was nursing so often. It does get better, and it is good for your milk supply.
    My LO did that for awhile, now he is eating every 3-4 hours. I don't really look at the clock, I just nurse him when he seems to want to nurse. Sometimes it's every 2 hours, 3, 4, I follow his cues.
    My LO started to spit up around 3 months and I was concerned. He would spit up after eating and up to 2 hours later. It seemed like so much, but it has toned down a bit. He still spits up, not as much though.
    I tried removing items from my diet, as my son was colicky too. This didn't work.. and he isn't colicky anymore.
    Hang in there, trust me, it will get better!
    Lori
    Proud Mommy to Michael who is 3 now! Michael was nurseynursed for 2 years!!
    I did not make up this persona, but if I did, I would make myself 50 pounds lighter and 5 years younger!!!!

  7. #7
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    Feb 2007
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    Default Re: Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

    BTW, block feeding does work... I have an overactive let-down and Michael was getting too much foremilk. This made him gassy. My milk supply is more normal now, not too much. I think pumping early after having a baby plays with your milk supply.
    My son only nurses for 5-10 minutes and then stops. He was doing this every hour ( about a month ago). he still nurses for only 5-10 minutes, but a longer stretch in between. I had to pump a bottle yesterday and I pumped 4 oz ( one breast in 7 minutes), so my LO is getting a good amount out fast!
    Proud Mommy to Michael who is 3 now! Michael was nurseynursed for 2 years!!
    I did not make up this persona, but if I did, I would make myself 50 pounds lighter and 5 years younger!!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    17

    Default Re: Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

    Thank you Lori, andieu, and Jolie for your support and encouragement. It's somewhat comforting to know I'm not the only one dealing with this.

    I tried the reverse pressure softening a few times... it did loosen the areola considerably, but the couple of minutes it took to do that would make my son so impatient that he wouldn't be able latch on from his screaming, and by the time he would calm down, the areola would harden up again and we're back to square one. Even though the link describing RPS says it's not meant to express milk, I found it extremely efficient at getting out milk... it was actually pretty fascinating to watch long streams of milk shoot out for several seconds across the room! ...so while I didn't find it useful for softening the areola, I did find it useful for getting out excess milk.

    I know herbs are a last resort, but I felt I exhausted my options and was desperate. I tried sage (half of the recommended for this purpose), and it did make my oversupply manageable. I also am back to block feeding now and the latching on issues and colic are getting much better .

    The spitting up is still a major problem, as is his wanting to eat almost every 30 to 60 minutes... but I guess I can't have everything!

    ~Sarah

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

    It sounds like things are starting to look up for you. Block feeding can take some time to work...especially if you have had oversupply for several months...but it will get better. Short, frequent feedings can actually be helpful at this point, in terms of baby getting enough hindmilk (the less time milk has spent stored up in the breast, the higher the fat content, as a general rule).

    Keep up the good work, mama! You're doing a great job.

    Tiana

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    548

    Default Re: Alternatives to Block Feeding? Long story, but please help!

    Just wanted to say you're awesome, it's amazing that you're doing so well with a premie!

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