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Thread: I don't want to give up

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default I don't want to give up

    First of all, Hi I'm new to the boards

    On Sept. 30th I gave birth to my first child, a baby boy. He was born at 32 weeks, 4lbs 6 and had an almost 4 week stay in the NICU with very few complications (which we're so thankful for). He's now 5 weeks old (actual age) and 5lbs. We're now all together at home but I'm having some real breastfeeding issues with him.

    I started pumping when I was in the hospital, I've never had a problem with my supply (approx 3 ounces every 3 hours, which I understand is normal) and I continued pumping throughout his stay. When he was in the hospital the doctor and nurses assured me that he needed to use a bottle so that he could learn his suck, swallow, breathe motions. They had to measure how much he was eating, so I wasn't allowed to breastfeed him. Being a first time mother and not really knowing a great deal about breastfeeding I thought this would be okay.

    I was allowed to breastfeed him for the first time 3 days before he left the hospital. It seemed to go well, he fed for 20 minutes on one side, 10 on the other and then finished off with 30ml in a bottle. I breastfed him a further 4 times before we left the hospital. Each of these times was with a nipple shield because I was told that my nipples were too small.

    Since we have been home he will not breastfeed. I tried it with the nipple shield but he just didn't like it and kept knocking it off. I gave up with that and tried without. Turns out my nipples aren't too small after all and he fed well the first time. Since then I have tried to gradually increase his breastfeeding sessions in an attempt to get him off of the bottle. Now he just cries whenever I put him to the breast, he kicks me and squirms and refuses to stay latched for more than a few seconds.

    I get upset, sometimes cry, and just give up and give him the bottle. He gulps it down as if he's not eaten for a week. He's been gaining weight on the bottle and I am scared that if I keep trying to push the breast onto him that he will start to lose weight because he's not getting enough.

    I've considered just pumping for him and giving him EBM in a bottle at every feed, but I have to give back my rented pump this week and I can't afford to buy an electric one myself (I have a manual pump though). I don't want to give him formula.

    I am just really upset because I was really looking forward to breastfeeding him and now I just dread his reaction every time I try.

    I don't want to give up but I don't know what to do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    out of my right mind

    Default Re: I don't want to give up

    Poor mama! You've been through so much. Hang in there though. I too pumped and gave bottles (due to latch issues) but was able to successfully switch DD back to breastfeeding. I just always tried to nurse first, and then when both of us were at the end of our patience, I would give a bottle if I had to. Someone recently posted some instructions on manual expression that were really good (even I figured it out finally! ) that I'll see if I can find for you if you'd like, just as a back up. Trust me, a new pump (if you HAVE to) is still way cheaper than what you'd spend on formula for 12+ months. But I truly believe you can get it if you keep trying. Our LOs are smart, and it doesn't take any time at all for them to figure out that a bottle is quicker and less work than nursing is, which is probably causing your problems. Oops, my LO's up! Hang in there! HTH

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: I don't want to give up

    's to you! I am so glad you found this board! There are so many moms here that can help you out. I have to run now but I just wanted to give you some quick support. You can do this so please don't give up! Relax and take your time. My quick advice is to go to a quiet room with no distractions. Your LO is used to getting milk fast out of the bottle & is wanting instant food. That's ok. He will learn that if he takes a minute, milk will come. But you need to try to relax to help your letdown. Your baby & your body know when you are tense. You are doing great! Just keep trying!

    Sorry to have to run but I will check back with you later.

    Loving my Beautiful High Needs Baby Girl born 12/28/06

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Re: I don't want to give up

    I had a lot of latch issues with my preemie munkey, but there were several things that worked for us.

    THIS BOARD. sounds silly, but just having that support, the people to vent to that dont necessarily KNOW you irl can be a big big help.

    keep trying to introduce. something that I didnt get right away is to not necessarily just offer, but offer it similarly to the bottle. What I mean by this is hold him football style (sidetoside but on a head higher up angle) and hold your breast in your hand, kindof massaging it and put it to his mouth. Im trying to think how to word this, you want to be kindo squeezing it, like you are holding a bottle.

    Something else that may help is pumping first.Get the milk coming and then offer it to him.

    I attribute much of our success to kangaroo care and cosleeping as well. Kangaroo holding helps their little bodies in so many ways, and it seems to me like it also helps them kick in to their own instinct. If nothing else, it will help with your bonding.

    Being in the NICU and then coming out of the NICU are both really hard. There's just so much...

    Feel free to pm me if you need anything

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default Re: I don't want to give up

    The football hold idea is good, i had never thought of that.

    I am going to pump before a feeding, i thought about that yesterday and i think it will reduce frustration for both of us!

    We can't co-sleep (unfotunately!) because DH is a bad sleeper and rolls around a lot. He sometimes crushes me so i don't trust him to not crush a baby.

    We did kangaroo care in the hospital and i have continued cuddling him this way at home.

    Thank you so much ladies!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: I don't want to give up

    Congrats on your baby and welcome!

    Those early weeks can be so tough. Do you have access to lactation consultants? I would also highly recommend you get in touch with your local LLL group if you have one. They can be very helpful.

    I was given a nipple sheild shortly after Henry was born due to engorgement and was very sad about that and worried I'd also be using it... but eventually we were able to wean him off. Even if you only have one good nursing session per day, that is something to be proud of. As your baby gets bigger and stronger you can increase those sessions!!

    Gotta run but good luck!! You can do it!!!

    Anne- Mom to two active boys: Henry 10/06 and Jamie 4/09

    Looking for an LLL leader in your area? click:

    confused about abbreviations? check this out:

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Re: I don't want to give up

    Congrats on getting your little one home. I think it may be helpful to remember that he's still just 37 weeks gestation -- or late preterm -- and babies this age can still have trouble with BF. However, they get better as they mature. (Often they are a few weeks older than full term before they really "get" it because they've had a number of oral experiences so they can need a bit more time.) This is a situation that usually requires "tincture of time" -- with patience, persistence and practice thrown in!

    Rather than put pressure on yourself and your baby during BF sessions, think of them as "practices" vs. actual feedings and let go of all pressure to perform. If he BF, hurrah; if he doesn't, you can pump and keep the milk moving until he gets it together. (And he will...) When wanting baby to BF, it's easy to feel tense, smoosh baby into the breast, etc. -- behaviors that may feel uncomfortable for baby so he may begin to "resist" when placed in a position associated with that feeling.

    Did you "kangaroo" your baby -- take his shirt and your shirt off and place him on your chest between your breasts skin to skin for 30-60 minutes -- when he was in the NICU? Do you still do this? I would suggest beginning all/as many as possible BF practices by kangarooing him. Just enjoy skin time together and see where it leads. (You could pump first -- or not -- depending on whether you think that may help.)

    There are techniques for bottle-feeding that seem to be more compatible with BF oral behaviors. Also, the feeding-bottle nipple flow rate can make a difference. If flow is too fast, he has to use his mouth differently -- and he gets used to instant gratification. If you'd like more on this, I have some info -- contact me personally.

    Someone asked about contact with an IBCLC. Was there someone you saw or talked to in the NICU? Ongoing contact with someone in your area can be very helpful.

    Hang in...it's worth it and there is still lots of time to get where you want to go.

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