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Thread: can't get her to nurse!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    2

    Default can't get her to nurse!

    I have a 5 day old baby girl who is having trouble nursing. I keep thinking that with this being my third bf child, it should be easier! (or at least I should be able to figure this all out on my own )

    She starts crying and thrashing about when I even get her close to my breast and just will NOT latch on. The rare times she does latch on, it's only for a few minutes. I don't see any of the sustained rhythmic sucking at all (so I think she's only getting some foremilk) and the latch just doesn't feel very strong. Today, she nursed a good bit from around 9am until 10am, but no real nursing since (and it's been almost 5 hours! I did try to get some in her with a spoon and that worked okay but I really want to get her latched on). She did seem to have a fine latch the day she was born, but it's been downhill ever since. I think it has to do with her not putting her tongue down over her lower lip...but I'm large chested and can't see down there when she does latch on

    She's peeing fine, but not pooping. She passed meconium the day she was born, then pooped yesterday in the a.m. (it wasn't as dark as JUST meconium, so I'm thinking it was a mix of bf poop and mec.) So really, two poops in five days! Not good.

    She is jaundiced a bit, it's getting better (it wasn't severe to begin with) but I'd still like her to get going to excrete that bilirubin.

    Ideas?? I've looked for an LC around here, no luck so far. I know there's a LLL group but I can't find their info online (have to go back through old emails to find the leader)...ugh! I'm just soooo frustrated...I'm sure this has to do with latch, but the fact that she cries and goes crazy when I even TRY to nurse her has me scratching my head. I'd think she'd at least try...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: can't get her to nurse!

    Have you tired different positions? My third baby had a little trouble latching on the first few days. He is a bit tounge tied and maybe that had something to do with it. My midwife suggested a position she had seen her LLL clients use. You put the baby with her head in the opposite hand of the breast then with the hand on the side of the breast you hold the breast and sort of cram then nipple into her mouth and try to hit the roof of her mouth to stimulate the sucking reflex. It worked perfectly and he now has trouble latching on every now and then and it is usually because he has to burp. I am not sure I described the postion perfectly so maybe someone else on here can do a better job. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: can't get her to nurse!

    Cheryl, I see several red flags in your description. No poops on days 2 and 3, and only 1 poop on day 4 is bad news, indicating that she's not getting enough milk. Infrequent nursing means she's not moving milk and your supply isn't being stimulated. No rhythmic suck-swallow-breathe pattern indicates more of the same problem.

    When you say she is peeing fine, what does that mean? How many wet diapers yesterday? How many today? How wet?

    I'm going to link to a useful breastfeeding log to help you keep track of the data that will help us (or better, an IBCLC or LLL Leader) figure out what's going on.

    http://www.wiessinger.baka.com/bfing/early/log.pdf

    It's good to hear that you were successful in spoon-feeding her -- continue this, using expressed breastmilk if you can do that, or formula if EBM isn't an option. She MUST eat every 2-3 hours. Many babies have problems latching, and it may be caused by a dozen or more different reasons, but none of it will get better if she gets dehydrated or goes into shut-down mode from being malnourished.

    In the meantime, it's really vital that you pump to stimulate your supply, every 2-3 hours right around the clock. Can you get a hospital-grade double-electric breastpump?

    I urge you STRONGLY to somehow find local lactation support. If you feel comfortable posting your state and town, folks here can probably help track someone down for you. I strongly recommend that you call your baby's doctor and/or your care provider during childbirth (hospital, midwife, whatever) to get their help in locating skilled lactation support.

    --Rebecca

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: can't get her to nurse!

    Thanks for the input guys!

    igrowold, I've tried that position and can't get it to work. The cradle is about the only one we've had any luck with at all. The football hold worked well with my last one, but not this time.

    Rebecca, she's in cloth dipes and I'd say changing every couple of hours results in *at least* one pee so I think she's okay there. I'm really watching it though to make sure it's not dwindling.
    Yeah, we're spoon feeding with ebm...dh is doing it right now. HOpefully she can get some more energy and it'll help her get awake and alert enough to really latch on well. I'll keep on the pumping too...I feel really engorged right now from her not nursing much today.

    I'm in central Ohio, north of Columbus...I'm off to do more searching to see if I can find someone...but if anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears! I'm a bit far from Columbus to make that trip but I'm sure there are many LCs there.

    Thanks again

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: can't get her to nurse!

    Perhaps you've already checked these links, but if not, they may help you find a LLL Leader nearby. For this listing of groups in Columbus and surrounding communities, it explicitly says that if you can't find a group in your area, go ahead and call one of the Columbus-region Leaders and she will help you find someone more local:

    http://www.discoverohio.net/LLL/inde...%20Information

    This next links appears to cover a region of central Ohio that is a little further north of Columbus. Again, I suspect you could contact someone here for help in finding a Leader more local to you.

    http://www.lllusa.org/web/CrawfordOH.html

    I'm sure an e-mail would be fine as well; it can be difficult for a mother of four to find a moment to make a phone call during "normal" hours, I know.

    Leaders should also know, or know how to find out, how you can get help from an IBCLC. Have you tried this link for finding an IBCLC by zip code?

    http://gotwww.net/ilca/

    I'm glad to hear that your baby's urine output continues to be good -- that's a really reassuring sign. But the absence of bowel movements is still a red flag, and you should not delay in seeking help if baby is still not latching and nursing well.

    What kind of pump do you have? It's really critical that you somehow remove milk from your breasts and stimulate them to produce more milk every 2-3 hours right around the clock.

    I'm sorry you're dealing with these early difficulties, and I hope things will very soon improve for you and your daughter.

    --Rebecca
    Last edited by quakerm0mma; April 30th, 2006 at 05:28 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,064

    Default Re: can't get her to nurse!

    You may have already tried this link, but http://www.breastfeeding.com has a list of lactation consultants by state. Each one has the city and contact information so maybe you could find one near you if you haven't already. If you don't see anyone near you, look for one that works at a center of some sort in Columbus and try calling. They may be able to give you advice over the phone. Otherwise, I'd consider making the drive. Syringe feeding or cup feeding can also work for a baby who can't latch. You could also try a finger feeder (an LLLeader or IBCLC would be able to tell you where to get one and how to use it). That can also sometimes help with learning to suck. Hang in there! I hope things get better soon.

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