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Thread: Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Default Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

    when my twins were born a little early (35 weeks gestation - after 14 weeks bedrest, whew!). . . I started nursing Nicholas and he did pretty well. Celia was 3'14" at birth and stayed in the NICU a bit and had trouble nursing and they wanted her to gain weight, so I pumped right away for her. Once I got home, and the overwhelming reality of twins set in, I found it easier to pump while I adjusted. At about 2 months old I set out to try to nurse with gusto. I was so excited. . .but, after having Celia screaming at me (colic) and Nicholas frustrated I tried for a couple weeks and eventually let it go. I tried getting our local LLL volunteer to help me, but I felt like I was bothering her. I found it easier to return to exclusive pumping. So, here I am at 5 1/2 months and I haven't had to supplement. Luckily, I tend to make a lot of milk.
    But, lately, I am having to drag myself to the "pumping chair" and I am wondering if they would even learn to nurse now that they are happier (Celia's colic is gone) and they are older and wiser (maybe learn quicker, but on the other hand may like their Dr. Brown nipple too much). I guess I am okay with continuing pumping, but just looking for a change.
    SO, if anyone has taught an older baby to nurse, how did you do it? I don't want to stress them out either. Nursing should be enjoyable for all involved. Maybe I could get them to take a bottle for my Dh, and nurse from me???

    Sorry so long!!!

    ~ Jill

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

    Hi Jill,

    It sounds like you and your little ones have been through a lot in their short lifetime. It's awesome that you haven't had to supplement yet. Good for you for sticking with pumping!

    Here's an article about babies who are reluctant to nurse that might help you:

    http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJulAug01p136.html

    There are lots of ideas in the sticky at the top of this forum, too.

    In general, try to hold you little ones close and give them lots of skin to skin contact. Use a sling or other soft carrier. A carrier that allows for hands-free breastfeeding is ideal. Vary nursing positions. Take a bath with babies. Try nursing when very sleepy or almost asleep. Bring babies to bed with you to nurse at night. These are some strategies that have worked for mothers in similar situations to yours.

    HTH. Hang in there!

    Tiana

  3. #3
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    Jul 2007
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    Default Re: Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

    I tried with my DD a few times and she has ZERO interest (she wasn't that into nursing ever). My DS tried today. He latched on and was sucking, but was getting frustrated that there wasn't immediate response. I even had the milk started, but he was pretty hungry. But, it was nice that he tried. I kind of miss nursing him (he nursed well in the beginning). I'll try again with him.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

    Do you have a slow flow nipple on the bottle? might help to switch over to those in order to make the bottle more like breasts (as far as flow).

  5. #5
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    Jul 2007
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    Default Re: Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

    That is a good idea (slow flow nipple). He latched on yesterday and got the milk flowing, but he still chokes a lot (even sometimes w/ bottle). I wasn't that full (I had pumped 3 hrs prior). After he sputtered he didn't want to try anymore.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

    Have you tried a shield? I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as anything but as a last resort, but it might help both with the flow and to get them used to nursing. It might feel more like the Dr. Brown's nipple. I will look in some books I have when I get home to see if there are any other suggestions!

    Erin
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

    my 5 1/2 old nursed today...and he nursed well! it was amazing. it sounds like we have similar situations. my son was born at 32 wks and was in the nicu for 6wks. i pumped the enitre time. he nursed for about 6 wks, then lost weight.... gained, lost, gained, lost. i was told all his feeds needed to be fortified so hasn't nursed since he was about 12 wks old- maybe older... i don't remember anymore. for the past 2 months he has had no interest in nursing so i have been pumping all the time as well...but today he took in a full feed like he had never stopped nursing (he was also a dr.brown addict). i have no idea why today he started but he did. so here is what i did. i went to wal-mart and bought a long piece of fabric to use as a moby wrap. i wore him topless, with him in just a diaper. i bathed with him. my LC suggested i sleep with him but my little guy wants his own bed to sleep- (maybe from being in the nicu for 6 wks). but i did find in the past few months when he would nurse it would be when he was sleepy-late at night or early morning. i don't know how to work this with twins but sleep with the baby, with you topless. i also offered the breast before every feeding, and after, in between, whenever i had the chance. i do have a confession, the past 2 wks i kind of gave up and doomed myself to a life a pumping but i got myself pulled together these past few days and started trying to get him back to the breast... so this is my point. don't worry about being supermom... some days it is just so hard to do everything. pumping is triple duty, you have to feed two babies and pump, not to mention finding time to feed yourself. it is possible for your baby to nurse now. i didn't think mine ever would. i would find a good LC. mine has been so supportive. i call every once in a while crying and she puts me back to my goals. i could not have done this without a good LC. they have TONS of ideas. oh! i always would hand express some milk into his mouth- usually he would just scream through this but today it worked. good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Default Re: Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

    Congratulations! I hope your son keeps doing so well! Sounds precious spending all that close time with him!

    I was wondering if it would be bad to just keep offering the breast and withholding bottle until they go the boob route - but I have visions of a very (or two) upset babies.

    Anyway, w/ prodding from my mom, I am going to keep offering my breasts a few times a day to see if it helps. Maybe some bathing together, etc....

    We'll see.... Here's to hoping

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

    Quote Originally Posted by prayfor2 View Post
    I was wondering if it would be bad to just keep offering the breast and withholding bottle until they go the boob route - but I have visions of a very (or two) upset babies.
    Have you tried offering to nurse before babies start to act really hungry? Sometimes babies who are used to bottle feeding get frustrated by the effort it takes to milk the breast. If they could practice breastfeeding before they are ravenous, that might help. You could also try pumping a little before nursing to get the milk flowing and give them "instant gratification". HTH.

    Tiana

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Default Re: Can 5 1/2 month olds learn to nurse again?

    i would offer the breast as much as possible... before feeding, after feeding, in between feeding, (i know this sounds awful) but wake baby up in the middle of sleeping, slip baby in bed with you and try to nurse. that is how my son first started to show interest in nursing at all... when he was very very very sleepy. i can't imagine twins- although i do have a 19 month old so i understand being busy with more than one baby. there is also ways to supplement at the breast. i forgot about this part.... it worked a few times with my son... so if they get frustrated because milk doesn't come fast enough they can get milk right away while nursing. and to let you know there is hope. my son has nursed like a champ the past 24 hours- like he always knew exactly what to do. he is actually closer to 6 months than 5... and still did it. don't give up!

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