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Thread: Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    5

    Red face Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

    Hello, I am new to this board and really happy to have found it. I was wondering if some of you might be able to shed some light on my situation. My 6 month old daughter had been breastfed since birth, until about 2 weeks ago. From the start I've supplemented her with bottles, although it was never something I wanted to do. I really wanted to nurse exclusively, but it always seemed as though I didn't have enough milk for her. I did all of the recommended things to increase supply. I could never figure out if it was a supply issue, or if there were other factors involved.

    Around 3 months of age, she began having nursing strikes about every 2 weeks, which made things even more difficult. Since then it's been as though she just prefers bottles. I could get her to latch on, but only if she's not distracted, and she'll only suck for a minute of so. I began giving her bottles, and pumping several times a day. Over a few week period, I noticed my supply dwindling. I went from being able to pump 2-3 ounces, to only a few drops. Then, two weeks ago she started biting hard with her new teeth, and I made the decision to wean her. I felt horrible about it, and I still do. I've always wished to nurse her into toddlerhood.

    So, now today, she was fussing, so I decided to offer the breast just to see what would happen. She latched on and nursed for a minute! Then I tried it again later, and it worked again. I am able to squeeze some milk out by hand, which surprised me because I thought for sure I'd dried up. Now I'm all excited, and I'm thinking of maybe trying a nursing trainer to get her back to the breast. But, I'm nervous because I don't want to get myself all worked up and then be rejected again. Also, I'm kind of embarrassed because my husband doesn't understand why I'm so adamant about continuing to nurse, and he thinks I'm just driving myself crazy. I feel like I need his support to be able to do this successfully, but I doubt I can get it from him.

    So, I'm not sure what kind of advice I'm looking for, but anything anyone might be able to offer would surely help. Just getting it off my chest has been helpful as it is.

    Thank you so much!
    ~Meredith

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,421

    Default Re: Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

    Hi Meredith. Relactating or a major build of milk supply is stressfull emotionally for many women, so you need to make sure that you don't drive yourself crazy!

    Come on down to the "Relactation and Induced Lactation" area of the board!

    There are two parts of bringing baby back to breast.

    1. Building milk supply
    2. Latching baby on

    Here's a bit of an overview:

    With an older baby, it is easiest to build up supply first, BEFORE attempting to latch.

    For building supply, you simply need to remove milk from your breasts 10 - 12 times per day. Manual expression is great if you are OK with it. A pump can be more effecient, of course. I don't like washing out bottles and pump parts, so I express milk by hand diretly into a milk storage bag or bowl.

    You can take supplements or prescription medications to increase supply. Some mothers don't need them, some do.

    When you are ready to work on bringing baby back to breast, STOP bottle feeding, but use alternate methods of supplemental feeding. Many women have good results with an SNS system. Cup feeding would be a good alternative too. My guess is your baby had and has nipple confusion and prefers the bottle too you because it's easier. So, taking away the option of a bottle is a start.

    The more psecific you are in questions, the better we can answer them! Good luck and keep us updated!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

    don't be afraid to contact your local leader she can help!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

    Thank you so much for your help. I actually talked to my husband about it this morning and he was very supportive. I think I will try the SNS system, because I don't think I'll be able to pump 10 times a day, and I'm already off to a good start since dd is already latching without much trouble. I'll definitely check out the board you recommended as well. Thank you!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,437

    Default Re: Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

    Hello and ,

    I'm glad you found us. There is a very supportive group of ladies here who are all in various stages of the relactation process. We've had a lot of success around here lately! I'm sure many of these mothers will share their experiences with you.

    The sticky at the top of this forum is a great place to start for gathering information. There are many different approaches to relactation.

    How are things going for you today? Can you give us an update? How can we support you?

    Best Wishes,

    Tiana

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

    Just curious, when I stop using the bottle, would a sippy cup be a good method to replace it? I have a tough time with the SNS (she keeps grabbing the tube and playing with it), and cup feeding seems over her head, she just bites the cup.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

    THANK YOU! I'm so glad to have found you! Things are ok today, I recieved the SNS yesterday and have had little success. She just wants to play with it and won't latch. I tried it this morning and wound up frustrated so I decided just to work on pumping a lot and not latching. I'll try again tomorrow and let you know if anything improves. Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

    Congratulations on making the decision to relactate. ITs great to hear that your husband is supportive of your decision. Having a supportive family at home really helps.

    It is very common for older babies to play with the SNS. Will your lo suck on your finger? If so you can tape the tube from the SNS to your finger and finger feed her. Sometimes they can get used to the tube this way and then its not such a transition when you tape it to your breast. Just keep putting her to the breat every chance you get.

    What kind of pump are you using? A hospital grade pump is going to be the best at bringing back a full supply. If you can rent one for just a month or so that will really help. Are you taking any supplements? Many women find that blessed thistle and fenugreek help them with increasing their supply. Eating oatmeal or oat based products will naturally help increase your supply. Try to stay away from instant oatmeal (it doesn't work as well).

    Just remember that the more stimulation to the breasts the better. Frequency is more important than duration at this point. So even if you just have 5 extra minutes to pump or hand express its better than nothing. Learning how to hand express can make this especially easy because you can do this almost anywhere in the house or in public (while going to the bathroom, cooking dinner, getting drink, while playing with your lo, watching tv, etc.) A good website to learn how to do this is http://www.lactationinstitute.org/MANUALEX.html.
    Good luck and keep us updated,
    Corey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,437

    Default Re: Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

    You could try threading the SNS through the bottle nipple, to get her used to using it. I explained how to do that in a recent thread, but if you can't find it, I'll try to copy and paste it here, as it is kinda lengthy.

    Wearing your baby in a sling or other soft carrier, giving lots of skin-to-skin contact, bathing with your baby, and bringing baby to bed to nurse at night are all a real benefit to relactating mothers. The closeness encourages baby to experiment with nursing more often, and it boosts your prolactin (milk-making hormone) levels.

    Corey's last post has lots of great ideas, too.

    Hang in there and keep us posted!

    Tiana

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    246

    Default Re: Restarting breastfeeding? (long)

    I swaddle my baby's arms when I nurse so that he can't play with the SNS.

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