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Thread: 2 week old preemie BF question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    1

    Question 2 week old preemie BF question

    Hi - brand new to the boards but familiar with LLL and I have a question for experienced BF mommies -

    My baby is 2 weeks old today- she was 35 weeks gestation and did great right from birth with breathing, etc. and didn't have to go to NICU. We brought her home with us after my 3 day stay from the c-section. She weighed 4 lbs. 6 oz. at birth and dropped to about 4 lbs. 2 oz. and stayed right there and started climbing after that. As of this past Thursday, she was 4 lbs. 13 oz.

    The lactation consultant at the hospital said she was too little to be able to pull milk from me so we were attempting the breast, then daddy was supplementing originally from formula (it really upset her tummy) but then from colostrum/breast milk that I was pumping while daddy was feeding. When daddy wasn't there, I was having the nurses give the bottle because I didn't want her associating me with the bottle.

    So, I'm pumping at home, my milk is fully in and I pump about every 3 hours but necessity (Daddy went back to work) has dictated that I also give her the bottle. We're using the Playtex natural latch. She usually gets a good latch on me (after much practice at the hospital) but will only go for about 2 to 3 minutes out of 5 to 7 with good sucking. I will even "prime the pump" and try to bring some milk forward for her by hand before we attempt. She eats every 2 to 3 hours but my concern is that since a bottle is much easier, she'll not take to feeding from me when she is big enough (which I'm hoping is this coming week since she's almost 5 pounds).

    Does anyone have experience with this? One of the nurse practitioners at my peds office is also a lactation consultant. I haven't met her yet but our Monday physical is with her and I'm hoping for some medical guidance but would also like some practical mommy guidance if someone has been there, done that.

    I'm very concerned - I don't want to have to give her formula but I also have to start school (teacher) at the end of August and logistically can't pump every three hours during the day for 20 to 30 minutes. I believe in breast feeding and want to do what's best for my baby.

    Thanks in advance for reading this super long post and for any guidance and support.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: 2 week old preemie BF question

    you realy should call your local leader she could help you with all your questions beter that we can on-line.
    I'll have some more time later this aftenoon to post.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    893

    Default Re: 2 week old preemie BF question

    I don't understand the LC saying that your baby was too weak to pull milk from your breast....my daughter is a 6 week premie with a 10 day stay in the NICU, they had a occupational thearpist start with me nursing her on day 3 of her stay....since she left the hossy she has been nursing exclusivly. My experiance with my daughter the more use she got to a bottle in the NICU the lazer she got with nursing on me & more resitant she was to latch on and nurse. I stopped bottles after the NICU stay after we left the hossy due to that and she is now 9 months old and totally refuses a bottle or anything else other than mommy. (Benefit of staying at home) I don't know what to tell you about going back to work other than my sister is a working mom and she is able to pump every 3 hours at work and her boss is understanding and has no problems with it. Being a school teacher I can see your situation.....Hope some of this helps.

    Marcie
    Mom of Madeline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: 2 week old preemie BF question

    I agree with the pp about the bottles. You should be able to get the baby nursing well it just will take some practice and stubornness on your part.
    once you can get her back to the breast it will take much less time and trouble. heres a link about how to tell if your baby is getting the milk they need:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/enough.html
    and heres a link about gettting baby back to your breast:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/back.html


    There a bunch of information about pumping and working at the lll web site.
    breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. If your dd doesn't have a problem going between breast and bottle you can nurse while you are together and then pump when you are at work. As she gets bigger she will not have to nurse as often and many moms find that babies wait untill they are around to eat.
    COuld you arrange to feed the baby over your lunch break? Or have somebody bring the baby into the school over a break?
    heres the pumping and working links:

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBworking.html
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBpumping.html

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    30

    Default Re: 2 week old preemie BF question

    My ds was 8 weeks old and spent 5 weeks in the NICU where he was tube fed and bottle fed. The hospital really didn't walk the talk when it came to breastfeeding and I was VERY worried that he'd have nipple confusion and would not BF. We worked for over two weeks on it after he got home, though, and for the two of us it was just a matter of practice, patience, and persistence. He was doing the same thing as your daughter where he'd only suck for a good 2 or 3 minutes, but now he has been home for 5 weeks and is a nursing fiend.

    One thing that helped me was to pump ONLY after he'd had a chance to breastfeed first. What was happening is that he'd be sleeping for about 2 or 3 hours and I figured I needed to pump in order to keep up the supply. No sooner would I finish pumping then he'd wake up and I'd have to give him the bottle! We used Avent newborn nipples, BTW. After this happened 2 or 3 times in one day I decided to pump after he nursed no matter how long it was in between feedings, and I found that I pumped much less after he nursed. So I figured he must have been getting what he needed, which I confirmed by monitoring his diapers. Since I wasn't getting much by pumping anymore, I just quit. I decided to trust my body to produce the milk that he needed, and that's just what happened. It was nervewracking, though - I was so afraid that he wasn't getting enough. That was two weeks ago. We had a pediatrician appt. last week and he had gained 10 oz. in two weeks, so he's doing just fine. And since that time it seems that he's nursing more and more and I'm producing plenty of milk. For us, it seemed to be simply the practice, patience and persistence solution plus the tincture of time, as they say.

    One other tip that maybe you'll find useful. He didn't nurse well at first unless he was wide awake, and even after he woke himself up, he'd fall asleep at the breast very quickly - like after that 2 or 3 minutes that you mentioned. So I started to make sure he WAS wide awake by changing his diaper before nursing.

    I don't know if you'll be able to use any of this, but it's what worked for us so I wanted to share it with you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    4,894

    Default Re: 2 week old preemie BF question

    My baby was born 7 weeks early and spent 4 weeks in the NICU, where she was tube fed then bottle fed (not to mention a host of other BFing issues like Thrush, plugged ducts, blood in the milk and use of a nipple shield!). All the nurses and LC's said that the "suck, swallow, breath" action is very tough for a Preemie and to be patient. They also said that it will come when she is gestationally 40 weeks. Of course I didn't believe them, I was terrified that I would have to pump and give bottles for the next 2 years but it turns out they were right. At exactly 40 weeks she got it! We forget that Preemies really aren't done developing yet because they look like small full term babies, but it takes time for them to get some of the things that full term babies do. Your due date is really important for the first two years - keep it in mind when it comes to every accomplishment - and remember to be patient and don't beat yourself up about having to use EBM right now, at least your baby is getting the benefits of your milk and not formula.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    37

    Default Re: 2 week old preemie BF question

    Have you considered a nipple shield instead of a bottle? We had great success with a shield for my my 10-week preemie. DS was born at 3 pound 13 oz. He was IV and tube fed for the first 3 weeks. When I started trying to BF him he was too small and weak to latch more than once per day. Then one of the LC's gave me a nipple shield and the results were amazing. Within a week of starting on the shield, the NICU doctors gave him the green light to go home -- 29 days old, and still 34 weeks gestation.

    After about two weeks at home, DS was big enough and strong enough for us to start weaning him off the shield. He LOVED the direct contact with mommy and has been feeding great ever since. Keep in mind that the shield should not be a permanent solution, as they can cause problems long term. But since your baby has already had a bottle, the shield may make a nice go-between. It will encourage her to work harder than she has to with a bottle but not to the point of frustration.

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