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Thread: First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    392

    Default First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

    Hi, my name is Becca and I guess I should give a little background:

    My ds is now 7 weeks old. He is TRULY a miracle baby. He was born with a condition called PPHN. To keep a long medical explanation short, he spent 24 days in two different ICU's where many doctors and nurses saved his life. Looking back, I still cannot believe what we went through. He was on many medications and a ventilator. All of it seems like a movie....but thank GOD he is now home and doing well. It is almost like nothing was ever wrong even though he was in a fight for his life.

    I just need a little help and encouragment...PLEASE! Some days I want to give up. Keep in mind that he had to be trained to eat with a bottle in the NICU. It was all breast milk since I had a 5 day head start on him. My supply was/is pretty decent considering all the time I spent back and forth to the hospital. In fact, I still have some frozen milk because I had so much more than he was getting. Gradually, as he recovered, he learned to swallow and suck. And eventually, he learned to BF. Although it was VERY SLOW. But, his latch and suck have gotten stronger each week.

    My main problem is fussy feeding. Sometimes he gags and chokes as if the flow is too fast....and other times (like in the early evening) he cluster feeds and gets so frustrated because he cannot seem to get enough. He pulls away and cries. I can usually calm him and try again, but then we just go through the same thing. He had an Occupational Therapist consult in the ICU. Of course, this was with the bottle. They said that he does have a slight aversion to the nipple in his mouth...not a surprise after 10 days on a ventilator! I would have a slight aversion to anything in my mouth. They also said that he has something called "tongue tied" which is not interfering with his sucking. But, they did suggest to try and keep the feedings as pleasurable as possible. Which makes me not want to push him when he is crying and frustrated.

    I just don't know what to do.....we are still trying to wean him off the bottle. It has been 4 weeks since he was released from the hospital. I have him down to maybe one bottle a day (sometimes none) and he was getting almost everything from a bottle when he was discharged. I always pump if I give him a bottle and I do not seem to have a supply issue except between the hours of 7-10pm when he wants to eat constantly. This is usually the time when he gets his bottle feeding. He is defintely making plenty of wet and dirty diapers. His weight gain was 4 ozs in 4 days and then 5 ozs in 7 days. And we go back tomorrow (9 days) for another weight check. They have to keep a very close eye on him because he was so sick. But, the doctors do not anticipate any more problems. At this point, he should be eating just like any other newborn baby. He was 8lbs 10 ozs when we left the NICU 3 weeks ago. After 11 days, he was 9lbs 4 ozs. I am crossing my fingers for at least 9lbs 10ozs tomorrow.

    So, I guess I have two problems....fussy feedings in the early evening and the occasional gagging. It is almost as if my supply is different at different times of the day or something??

    And is it OK to give him one bottle feeding? Some days he doesn't get any. But, I do want him to know how to eat from a bottle since I am away occasionally.

    Sorry to babble on and on. I've seen tons of great advice on here and I am hoping to just get a little encouragement. Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    392

    Default Re: First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

    Oh, and one other thing I forgot. He tends to drip some milk down his chin and onto my belly. Sometimes this makes it difficult for him to keep his latch because it is kinda slippery Do you think he might have a latch issue? He seems latched on pretty good to me? I could definitely see the LC if needed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    9,280

    Default Re: First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

    First of all at your miraculous story. You truly are an inspiration and your son is so lucky to have such an amazing Mother who would work so hard to offer the best milk.

    The things you are describing re: fussy feeding and gagging sound like issues that many people deal with!

    The early evening fussies are common for a lot of babies, as is the cluster feeding! A lot of people refer to it as the "witching hour". I don't think there is a concrete explaination as to why. You might find it helps to start calming the house down as the sun goes down. Dim the lights, play some soft music, destress. Try to make sure you remain hydrated and well-fed between lunch and dinner aswell! Your supply can be lower at that time. But its also not uncommon after a long day for baby to be overwhelmed and just need to chill and reconnect with Mama (it also forces YOU to sit down). His demand for nursing isn't always about being hungry. There is a big growth spurt @ 6 weeks and he will nurse to tell your body to make more milk.

    The gagging and sputtering could be due to an overactive letdown. Your milk flow may be overwhelming for him and he can't keep up. You can try leaning back and allowing gravity to help ease the flow a little bit. Some Mothers have also found that it helps to unlatch baby and catch the fast milk flow in a burp rag, then relatch baby once the fast flow subsides.

    You are doing great Becca. You and your son have overcome amazing odds to be where you are.





    Lyn

    ETA: You can unlatch, dry his mouth, relatch. We dealt with that too. It will eventually be cute when you see milk dribbling from his mouth
    Lyn
    Nursing the girl with kaleidoscope eyes


    Mama to Daniel (12/3/06) and Lucy Jane (8/28/08)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    439

    Default Re: First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

    well I know you will get lots of advice from more experienced folks but I want to answer quickly because i saw your post and I'm sure you'll appreciate a fast answer. First of all, everything you are describing in terms of your baby's nursing behavior is SO normal!!!!!! Despite all you have been through, your LO is behaving like a normal newborn.
    I did want to specifically address the cluster feeding. This is also very normal, and it is NOT a sign that you do not have enough milk at that time. Baby will often cluster feed for a variety of reasons. First of all, the suckling is comforting to him. secondly, he might be stocking up for a longer stretch of sleep. IMO, if your baby wants to cluster feed, camp out on the couch and let him. I say do not give him a bottle at that time. Sometimes when they nurse frequently like that, it is less about the milk and more about being with mommy. If you keep nursing him, your supply will meet his needs. You always have milk available, it is never totally gone.

    Also, yes, your supply is different at different times of the day. that is also normal. In the morning you will have more milk. In the evening you will have less, but the milk in the evening is higher in fat. this is very natural. for example, when I pump at work if I pump at noon I can get 10 ounces, if I pump at 4 pm I might only get 5 ounces. Your LO is still so young, and your supply is still regulating itself. Quite likely when he is choking and it seems like it is too fast, likely it is your letdown that is overwhelming him. This will even out eventually. One thing that helps is do not let yourself get too engorged before nursing, because if you are really full then the letdown will be even more forceful. If it is spraying out, you can let it spray into a cloth and then latch baby back on when the spray is done.

    if you want to be away from your baby and leave a bottle, the general rule of thumb is 1 1/2 ounces per hour that you will be away. So if you're away for 4 hours, leave 6 ounces. I would make bottles around 3 or 4 ounces each, and then see how your baby responds (i.e not finish a bottle, or finish a bottle and still want more)

    hope this helps! WELCOME! this is an awesome site, and it has been wonderful for me. I hope it will be for you, too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    2,631

    Default Re: First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

    I have no advice, but I want to send congrats and your way for your fighting family. good for you all, I am confident that you and your baby can work past this problem.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    392

    Default Re: First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

    Thank you both for your quick responses! It is very encouraging when you both say that his behavior is very normal. Just reading these two responses can keep me going for a few more days. And hopefully, I continue to get some improvement from him and I will still be doing this for many more months. I didn't BF my two year-old daughter because I didn't have support and I regret it so much to this day. That is why I am reaching out for help this time.

    I will try to quiet my house in the evening...but it is very difficult with my toddler who is a loud one. LOL! But, I will just try to camp out with him like you said.

    I am not as worried about the gagging...but it just scares me a little bit. So, I will DEFINITELY try to pull him away and wait for the letdown to subside a little. I've seen it spay before when he pulls away. In fact, it has sprayed right on his face a couple of times!

    Thank you sooo much!!!! Any other words of encouragement would be awesome.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    331

    Default Re: First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

    All the advice I was going to offer danlynclark said- the leaning back really worked well for my LO and I- we actually ONLY nursed in the side lying position with me leaning back until almost 4 months old.

    So much of what you are talking about I went through and Owen's birth was as text book as possible- so know that as frustrating as these things are they are normal , and considering what your guy has gone through it's AWESOME!



    Keep going, I promise it gets easier!
    Allie, moma to Owen born 11/23/2006 and breast feeding ever since. .

    No time for flash cards! ~fun and learning for toddlers and preschoolers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Sunny Arizona
    Posts
    3,171

    Default Re: First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

    Wow, you are doing so well with everything you have been through! That really is an amazing story and I hope that you'll become a bit of a regular on these boards since you are bound to inspire and help so many other new moms.

    I totally agree with everything the previous posters have already stated but just wanted to add that you could try block feeding to help with the overactive letdown(OALD) I had this and my poor son would gag and choke and spit up a lot. We tried blockfeeding for a few weeks and it got a lot better. To block feed you just keep you son on one breast for the entire feeding, then offer the same breast for every feeding for a preset block of time i.e. 3 hours. Then you switch breast for the next 3 hours. What worked for us though was doing feedings, not watching the clock. So my son would get the right breast for 2 feedings then the left for the next 2 feedings.

    You'll find what works for you. Keep up the amazing job, you are doing great mama!

    Amy married to my bestfriend since 10/30/04

    Proud SAHM to DS born 2/17/07 and DD born 9/11/08 Both weaned together 11/2011
    Currently milk, peach, peanut and tree nut free. DD has outgrown her wheat, cheese, egg, garlic, and citrus allergies

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    833

    Default Re: First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

    WOW you're a trooper, infinite kudos to you, you've been through so much and come so far. In case you feel like you're not doing well, take a step back and see how much progress you've made. Truly impressive that you've been able to keep up with the pumping and then get him back on the breast after all the bottles. What an inspirational story and you've overcome far more in 7 short weeks than many nursing mothers ever need to. Way to hang in there.



    The fussy/cluster feeding evenings were legendary in my house LoL. Check these topics out:

    Cluster Feeding and Fussy Evenings
    Growth Spurts

    Don't be like me and worry a lot about that behavior. I thought it mean I didn't have enough milk. This link show you the ways to tell if your baby is getting enough:

    Is your milk supply really low?

    HTH and WELCOME!!!!

    Erin (32), breastfeeding CLW, knitting cloth-diapering crocheting, heirloom tomato-growing philosophizing poker-playing feminist artist mama to my 19 month old daughter! Baby #2 due January 2009.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    796

    Default Re: First time poster...need some encouragement and help!

    I am proud for you!! Evenings were like that with my dd for a couple of momths, I just laid on the couch and let her stay on the breast while I watched t.v.

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