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Thread: breast refusal, finger feeding, now what???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    6

    Default breast refusal, finger feeding, now what???

    Hello,

    Our daughter , Elia was born 3.5 weeks early, (4.5 weeks ago) but healthy and without any negative consequences. She took my breast well right after birth, and seemed to be doing fine. Then my milk came in late, and somehow she got very frustrated and began screaming at the breast. A La Leche League woman came and said she needed food, as she was getting weak, so we gave her some formula with a dropper- this was taking too long, so we started a bottle, feeding her mostly my pumped breast milk. She began taking the breast more and more as she recovered strength, and seemed happy at the breast, or the bottle. YEAH!

    Then a week or so later she stopped taking the breast, cold turkey. We then bought a feeding tube, and started finger feeding. Another consultant came and said our baby was clever and knew what was easier...she said to keep going, offering the breast when she was sleepy, trying different postions, etc.

    That was 10 days ago, and she has not improved. She can suck really well, and sometimes takes the breast and sucks vigorously for about 30 seconds, in spurts. I know she is getting milk as I often pump to get it flowing before she eats. I think she is impatient (like her mother). My question is: how long do I keep insisting? I am pumping as much as I can, and giving some formula. I need a sign of hope. I am beginning to think I should go back to the bottle, and stop insisting she try to feed from my breast, so we can all relax and enjoy ourselves (my husband included- he does his share of fingre feedings.)

    Are there cases with no hope? could she never take the breast well again? How long should I hold out?

    Also regarding pumping- I can't pump 6 times a day. I go crazy. It seems that I can get more by pumping less frequently for longer. Everyone says I should pump 15 minutes 6 times, but is it possible that for me it is better to pump 3-4 for longer? (I have large breasts....they hold alot?

    ADVICE???

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: breast refusal, finger feeding, now what???


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: breast refusal, finger feeding, now what???

    I thought mine was a purely hopeless case. You name the trouble, we faced it! 10 weeks later, we've now been 48 hours without a bottle. I think it can be done, most of the time, with a LOT a lot a lot of patience. You have to determine how long you're willing to keep at it, what you're willing to do to get there. For some people, the time / energy it takes to bf is going to be way too intensive, and *that is okay.* It is far more important that your baby has a sane mother than your baby is breastfed. Know what I mean?

    The three things that helped me immensely were:

    * Having a fantastically supportive LC (or, in my case, two or three or four) that I met with regularly. I tell ya, every single time I thought about quitting, I'd be coming up on an appt with the lactation consultant and they'd somehow convince me that things were better than I thought. I had been so close to the situation, so in the trenches of every long, irritating feeding, that I often lost sight of the bigger picture and the improvements we were actually making. LCs are in a good position to see all your notes and look at it from the outside, helping to decide when / if to move forward or backward. Their medical knowledge is a big help too.

    * Making short goals. In the middle of an awful breastfeeding experience, you see the future stretching on endlessly as awful as the now (at least I did -- see here for some examples). Don't decide that you're going to keep pumping until the kid nurses full-time; instead, tell yourself that you'll keep it up until tomorrow, until next Tuesday, until _____ and then you'll reevaluate. Even if you decide to go off the pump today, it will take time to pump-wean without making yourself sick. Just take it one little tiny step at a time.

    * Realize that after week 6, you won't have to pump as many times a day. (This is what I was told. you'll of course want to check it with your caregiver, as some people's schedules vary). This was a HUGE help to me. I gained back 4 hours or more daily once my milk supply was established. My friend Esther who pumped exclusively for a year, was pumping twice a day and still getting 20-24 oz. The insanity of pumping won't last forever.

    Keep up the good work, and do what it takes to make life manageable while you figure out what you're going to do. It's doable! Hang in there!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: breast refusal, finger feeding, now what???

    Regarding specifically your question about less pumpings / longer, I was told that when you do that, you might get more milk at first, but then your volume will start to drop off after a day or two. I guess you could try it and see what happens (if you feel like you can afford to lose the volume?) and just add another pumping if you start to notice a drop. Or if you can stand it for another week or two, I personally would recommend holding out for the six-week mark. It depends on how fragile your milk supply is. I mean, I could go hours, drink nothing, pump with people screaming in the background, and still get 40 oz a day. Other people I know have a hard time staying ahead of their baby even when doing everything right. So... do what works for you? Worst case scenario, you start losing your milk supply... is that something you can live with?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: breast refusal, finger feeding, now what???

    HI

    thanks for your replies... helpful information. we are plugging along- hoping for a sign! the thing is she CAN suck well, and occaisionally does... but not enough! I am not meeting her feeding needs 100% (I am pumping abuot 15 because I can't seem to do so at night) and she wants about 20. If I could manage to pump at night, sounds like that would be good...

    Anyway, thanks again...will keep trying day by day!

    Jessica

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: breast refusal, finger feeding, now what???

    Well ...here's where someone would usually jump in with "The amount you pump is not an accurate indicator of how much milk your baby gets" etc etc. This is true in general, but absolutely useless when you're dealing with a baby that can't / doesn't suck. Are you pumping for only 15 minutes, or are you pumping for a few minutes after you "run dry?" I could never get all the milk out in 15 minutes. Even if that's all you've got, you can sometimes increase the supply by continuing to pump after you don't get anything -- the extra stimulation tells your body to make more milk. And I assume that someone has showed you the Stanford video about compressions while pumping, and hand expression afterward? (edit: yep, it's the first link above..)

    Pumping in the middle of the night was an absolute lifesaver for me, and it helped increase my supply. I only did it at 2 AM, and not every night, but I got the highest pumping yield then ... and it was the easiest, quickest pumping because I wasn't trying to meet the baby's needs (and other children's needs) at the same time.

    My LO was the same way about "could" suck well but didn't -- I thought. I had like two good feedings in five weeks, so I thought she certainly must be capable. What I later found out was that she was capable, but it was very very hard for her, thus making her tired and sometimes frustrated. As she grew, the shape of her mouth changed enough that she could (finally) breastfeed full time as of last Wednesday. Today was the first time we didn't have to try to remember to take the bottle and the pump to church. I felt like we were missing something. So nice.

    One thing I forgot to ask: You said she sucks well at the breast (but just for short spurts), and that you think she's getting milk because you start it for her. Tip your head toward her and see if you can hear her swallowing during that 30 seconds? My LO had a hard time with milk transfer -- the milk was there, and she had her mouth on the breast, but she wasn't actually getting anything. I used compressions to practically spray it into her mouth while she was in the right position. It took time, but that helped her to figure out what to do.

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