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Thread: How Did YOU wean from the bottle to the breast?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    30

    Default How Did YOU wean from the bottle to the breast?

    If you were able to successfully establish a bf relationship with your baby, will you please tell me HOW?

    My son was born 8 weeks early, and he just came home on Friday at 36 weeks gestational age. My first son, who is now 3, was entirely breastfed and never had a bottle and I was hoping to do the same with #2, but he came home from the NICU as a bottle-fed baby. I have been putting him to the breast every chance I get, but he hasn't quite got the hang of it and I need to supplement him with the bottle after we try nursing for a little while. He HAS gotten a little bit better in the past few days, but the biggest challenge I am facing is that he doesn't open his mouth very wide so he doesn't latch on all that well most of the time. Many times he just gets frantic and starts hyperventilating and putting his hands and arms in the way. When he does get on, he usually gives up on sucking within about 10 minutes, and it's questionable as to how much of the sucking is actually nutritive.

    Did you face any of the same challenges? How long after your baby's actual due date was it before you were able to wean your baby from the bottle? Was it just a matter of patience and persistence before the baby finally got the hang of nursing, or did you have some special techniques that you used to help the baby out?

    If you have any tips or suggestions, I would really appreciate it. It's really tough to nurse then bottlefeed then pump throughout the day when I have a 3-year-old to care for as well. So besides really wanting to have a breastfeeding relationship with my new baby, I also need to make it happen in order to be able to provide both of my boys with the attention and care that they need and deserve. Otherwise I'm afraid that I'll have to call it quits.

    Thank you so much for any suggestions you might have!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    2

    Default Re: How Did YOU wean from the bottle to the breast?

    hi, my twins were born 71/2 weeks prem and the only way to get one home was to give him a bottle, like you i tried to breastfeed him before each bottle and he seemed to not know what to do, his arms would get in the way and he wouldnt open his mouth
    all i can say is give it time he will just do it, if you feel he has taken a good breastfed then dont top him up with bottle let him demand his next feed and take it from there.

    we have now been of the bottle!!!! for 36 hours and hes going good
    its hard expressing and feeding, its so much easier breatfeeding
    my boys due date is 29th june so they are still -2 weeks old!
    good luck he will get there

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    23

    Default Re: How Did YOU wean from the bottle to the breast?

    My weaning from bottle to breast took quite some time. She was 15 weeks early and i tried bf in hospital and she really didn't take well, then flat out refused. I kept trying when we got home, no luck. I was pumping and also had a 2 year old at home and it was hard, so i totally understand what you mean. I gave up for a few months then one night I tried again and she took to it, it was surprising to say the least. She was 9 mths old at the time but 5 1/2 adjusted. It took us about 2 mths where i totally got rid of the bottle and she had bf down pat, those were hard 2 mths pumping, nursing and bottlefeeding but the end result was so worth it. We are still nursing now at 20 mths. I'd say you are off to a good start, hopefully he'll get the hang of it soon for you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    30

    Default Re: How Did YOU wean from the bottle to the breast?

    Thank you both for your encouragement. It sounds like the method that you both used was "patience and persistence." I am using the same method myself, so we'll just have to take things one session at a time.

    I did find something that helped me out, though. I had tried BF at the hospital, but how successful can you really be when you're crammed into a corner of the NICU sitting in the world's most uncomfortable chair with the baby attached to all kinds of wires and monitors? Anyway, I saw the hospital LC a few times and she suggested that preemies often do better with the football hold, so I persisted with the football hold after we got home. Then I saw this link at another one of the LLL Mother-to-Mother boards http://www.wiessinger.baka.com/bfing/index.html. I tried the latching technique that they describe, and it worked very well. Instead of the football hold, we're back to the cross cradle hold that I HAD been trying at the hospital originally and he seems to like it better. He still jerks his head around all over the place and it takes us a few tries, but we get a pretty decent latch. This method also helps to keep his arms from getting in the way - well, one of them at least (the lower one that's pinned down to my lap).

    After we get latched on, though, we still have two issues that we need to work on. Firstly, I usually have to do the "lower lip flip" to improve the latch. I'm hoping that this problem is just due to his mouth muscles being weaker and also unable too small to cover a whole lot of the areola, which means that as he gets bigger this issue will hopefully resolve itself. Secondly, he doesn't really suck hard enough and falls asleep before he's eaten properly. Again, I'm hoping that this will no longer be an issue as he gets bigger and stronger and can therefore stay awake longer and suck more strongly.

    The only way for him to GET bigger and stronger, though, is for him to eat! So we have to keep up the bottle feedings (and the pumping..........) It's so heartbreaking to give him the bottle, though. Not because using the bottle means that we're not BFing, but because he seems so agitated and uncomfortable using the bottle and I feel like I'm force-feeding him most of the time. He sputters and grimaces and milk dribbles out of his mouth..... But when we are BFing, he is so peaceful and relaxed and when he's finished he drifts off to sleep as he falls off the nipple. It kills me to shove the bottle in his mouth, but I know that I have to do it in order to make sure that he's properly fed. I hope he gets better at BFing for both of our sakes.

    Anyway, thanks again for the responses and I hope the new information that I learned and shared above helps someone else.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: How Did YOU wean from the bottle to the breast?

    Have you thought of/tried a nipple shield? My sil had a 32 weeker and they gave her one in the hospital. He didn't get the hang of it until 36 weeks even with the shield, but they finally got it and he nursed for six months--they never did get rid of the shield. I used a shield to get my dd back from bottle to breast, but she was post term. After about 4 weeks of using the shield I started weaning from that and she is 6 months now and nursing is going great. I know there are some drawbacks to the shield, but it might help get things going for you and then you can "wean" from the shield. My aunt had twins born at 32 weeks and she used a shield with one of them for about 8 weeks before she could nurse shield free. She ended up nursing both babies for over a year.

    Erin
    Wife to a grizzly
    Mama to my little deer (12/05) my loving bear cub (9/07--), and our little tiger (3/22/10)
    Born by one c-section and 2 amazing VBACs


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    227.5 miles on my new shoes
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    30

    Default Re: How Did YOU wean from the bottle to the breast?

    Thanks for the nipple shield suggestion, Erin. It sounds like it worked very well for all those ladies in your family! I think ds has gotten the hang of latching on, though, so I wonder if it would help me at this point. ????

    The cross cradle hold seems to work much better for us than the football hold. And ds has figured out how to open, although I still have to pull his lower lip down after he gets latched on. But I was very discouraged tonight after he nursed well (or so I thought) on both sides for about 20 minutes each and then polished off 2 ounces (his whole feed) right afterwards. It makes me wonder if he got any milk when he was BFing. Has anyone used one of those digital scales to see how much milk your baby gets when BFing? I feel like I need to SEE what he's getting when he's BFing before I feel confident enough to start eliminating the bottles. He's still only 5lbs 6oz, so I also feel like he needs to be just a little bit bigger and stronger before I can trust him to take what he needs from the breast unless I have concrete evidence of what he's getting.

    Sigh. So close and yet so far!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    12

    Default Re: How Did YOU wean from the bottle to the breast?

    A quick left-handed post - DS is asleep in right arm

    See if you can get a Haber Feeder. Medela sells them. It is shaped to require increasing amounts of suction from the babe, and is a funny shape that makes their lips flange properly. I have a friend whose babe used one very successfully w/o niple confusion. These are best used w guidance fm an LC.

    http://www.medela.com/NewFiles/speci....html#haberman
    Liz

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    561

    Default Re: How Did YOU wean from the bottle to the breast?

    Baby gets fussy with the bottle but loves the breast? What a smart kid! ;-)

    Seriously, though, I would suggest that you hire the best LC you can find. They are well trained in handling situations like yours.

    Hope things improve soon for you.

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