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Thread: Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2007
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    Unhappy Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

    My baby was born 8 days ago, and had meconium in her lungs, so had to spend the first two hours with the docs. My problem is I have not been able to get her to latch on to the breast at all. From the very beginning, whenever I would try to breastfeed she would start to cry, hit, scream, squirm, etc. I thought maybe it was because my milk wasn't in. The hospital suggested we give her formula in the meantime which we did because she seemed so hungry, but wouldn't breastfeed. I now have milk, but she does the same thing. She is not a fussy baby in general, and is really quite happy and contented - except when it comes to eating. My sister in law suggested trying a nipple shield, which has at least let her come on to the breast, but I'm not sure whether she's actually getting any milk or not. I will nurse for 30 to 60 minutes, and she still acts hungry (sucking on her fists, fussy, etc.) so I give her formula after that and she wants 3 oz or so. I try stopping after each 1/2 oz or 1 oz, hold her, see if I can calm her down, but it is usually not until 3 oz that she will be okay (which is about how much the hospital said she should take if she is bottle feeding only). Also, she has not had any soiled diapers (only wet) for the last 2 days. I'm not sure how her weight is - we are going to buy a scale today. The first four days she lost about 1/2 lb, but then we went home and I'm not sure about her weight the last 4 days.
    To complicate things, my husband and I are in China, and don't really know where we can find help. Any advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

    Hi!
    Welcome to the forum.
    Bringing home your baby after complications can be a scary feeling thing. We understand how you feel.
    It can feel like a personal rejection when baby refuses to nurse the way you expect. Instead think about it from this angle, baby and you are having some correctable miscommunication. Your baby really wants to nurse, she may be having trouble understanding what is needed from her. After receiving some bottles in the hospital it is possible she is confused at how to suck properly in order to get milk out. This is commonly referred to as nipple confusion. A baby compresses the tongue and massages the milk out of your breast, with a bottle there is less movement and very little massage- mostly suction. The plastic tip of a bottle is very different from a real nipple.

    At eight days the good news is that you can work at teaching her. A healthy, happy, nursing relationship is still possible, don't give up hope and get to frustrated quite yet!

    When you attempt to latch baby on, try giving some expressed milk first in order to satiate some of the "starving feeling" that a baby may feel. A hungry baby is going to be less cooperative.

    When placing baby on the breast try not to hold the back of the neck because baby will fight against the sensation and will seem to refuse the offer to nurse. Here is a good link to proper latching positions and technique. Dr Jack Newman is a noted breastfeeding expert and has free videos worth their weight in gold.
    When placing baby onto the nipple, tickle the lip and wait for a wide open mouth. Then draw baby to your breast, don't lean the nipple into bb's mouth.

    The nipple shield can be tricky to wean off of, but it is still better than just bottle feeding. Every time you nurse your baby you send the message to your breast to produce milk. Nursing as often as possible is very good. How much total are you supplementing? The thing about supplementing is that you rob your breast of additional cues to produce milk. If you continue to supplement this much after feeding there is a possibility that you will produce less milk. Consider doing breast compressions toward the end of your nursing session, like when baby starts acting sleep at the breast. Gently squeeze the breast to make more milk jet out, but only during active sucking or you get a baby that coughs.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

    Most babies lose a good amount of weight after birth- normal.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

    Carpentergirl - I am having trouble opening the Newman videos. Can u tell me how he recommends you put baby to breast, if not by holding the back of the neck? I do football hold. Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

    ok, maybe I screwed that up, hold on while I triple check ok!?

    reading books hold on
    Last edited by carpentergirl; November 17th, 2007 at 04:29 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

    Ok, double checked everything. Looks like some gentle steering of the head with thumb and fingers is ok, but placing a hand on the neck isn't necessary. Here is a video from AOL, maybe this will work for you.
    Last edited by carpentergirl; November 17th, 2007 at 04:48 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

    One way to tell if she is getting milk through the shield is if she pulls away and the inside of the shield is wet. What is her sucking motions like? Does it sound like she swallows?

    I use a shield with my LO, and have yet to be able to break him of it and he is 13 weeks old. I know he is getting milk through it.

    Make sure you are placing it right, and apply pressure to your breast as she is suckling, like make it like a pancake. If you can express milk, then she should be able to be getting it.

    Have you tried pumping and then feeding her, thus eliminating the need for formula supplementation?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

    It sounds like Carpenter Girl has given you tons of help but I just wanted to send over a and say Hang in there. My LO would not latch for the first month of life. Heck, for the first 2 she would go to sleep if I pulled a breast out. I felt like a failure and cried every time she rejected me. Luckily, I am a very stuborn person and I did not give up. She is still nursing strong at 1 year 2 months! It will work out!
    Samantha: born 3 1/2 weeks early on Sept 2006 6lbs 4 oz 18 inches long with situs inversus totalis. Now a strong healthy little girl that wants to be a NICU doctor, loves her little sister and breastfeeds her dolls!
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 2,200 oz
    Alexandra: born 3 weeks early on July 2010 7lbs 8 oz 19.5 inches long.
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 1,200


    For information on becoming a Breastmilk Donor http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk

  9. #9
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

    Thank you all for your help!! I appreciate it more than I can say, and the encouragement as well. I have only a manual pump so am not able to express enough to feed her (it takes about an hour just to get an ounce), but am hoping I can find an electric sometime this week - we go to Beijing on Wed, and I'm hoping I can find one there. Am glad to hear that even after a difficult 1st month you were able to bf.

    Any advice on how to get her to take more than just the nipple via the shield? She seems to just bite down with her gums, and I know that it's better if they take in a larger area. Thanks a bunch!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Unwilling to latch, not getting milk w shield?

    Just wanted to say that you are not on your own. I could have written the same post myself. Whilst my little boy will settle during the day after breast feeding, by evening he won't and will feed for an hour then down an 80ml bottle as well. I was worried he wasn't getting any breast milk, but I can see it in the shield when he has finished. I've also been able to express some, although only 20ml in one go so far.

    I've managed to get him to feed without the shields about 3 or 4 times, but he only feeds for about 10 mins. It's a bit hit and miss as to whether he'll latch, but I just keep trying him. Was going to post on here for a few tips actually!

    Good luck with it. I'll keep an eye on this thread to see how you get on, unless you want to email me?

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