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Thread: Help! My wife is getting desperate!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Default Help! My wife is getting desperate!

    Our beautiful baby arrived last Friday by C-section, so we had a mandatory 3-day stay in the hospital. During that time, mom was in a lot of pain and exhausted from a long labor, so she wasn't really able to breastfeed. We gave him formula during the hospital stay, and unfortunately he's gotten pretty good at bottle feeding.

    Since we've been home, he's latched on a few times a day, and sometimes he will stay on for as long as an hour. However, he frequently is hungry very soon afterwards, and we're unable to console him enough to get him back on the breast. He'll latch on, but then drop off and start crying in frustration.

    My wife is pumping every 2-3 hours, but her output is pretty low (about 10ml after 10-15 minutes). So we think he's just getting frustrated that he's not getting what he was used to getting at the bottle. After trying for a half-hour to get him to latch on, my wife is usually in tears and the baby is screaming, still hungry. She's still recovering from surgery, so last night I told her to get some sleep, and I just bottle-fed the baby during the night. I figure she's not going to produce much milk if she's exhausted and desperate.

    So, where do we go from here? Right now what we're doing is: pumping every 2-3 hours for about 15 minutes, then trying to get him on the breast. If he's too hungry and agitated to get on the breast, I'll spoon or syringe feed him a little pumped breastmilk or formula (since we don't have much breastmilk to work with) just to take the edge off his hunger. Then we'll try breastfeeding again. If he doesn't latch on after a half-hour or so, then I'll usually bottle feed him. Our tentative plan is to keep doing this until her milk supply really comes in.

    I really don't know what else to do. We talked to a lactation consultant who helped us to recognize a good latch, and he seems to be doing that. But it just doesn't satisfy his hunger, and I can't seem to get him to stop crying any other way than to give him some formula.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Default Re: Help! My wife is getting desperate!

    Well first of all she's so lucky to have such a helpful supportive husband.. I'm sure together you'll be able to do it. I'm pretty new at all this myself, and I've been living on this message board since I've been home. The only advice I have would be to try to nurse your son BEFORE your wife pumps that way he'll get a little more, maybe?? Anyway I'm sure much more helpful posts will follow!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    139

    Default Re: Help! My wife is getting desperate!

    I'm no expert by any means and hopefully the LLL leaders will step in here and give you some tried and true advice but this would be my suggestion based on my experience:

    Quit pumping and nurse...a LOT. Between about 2-7 days old my baby was pretty much continuously attached. Nursing is a learned skill for both of them and there may be some crying at first. It is easy as a new worried parent to say that he's hungry and resort to a bottle of formula - but DON'T. Unless you start seeing a decrease in urination and defecation, TRUST that her body will provide for that baby and just keep nursing. It shouldn't take long at all (IF he is nursing all day) for her to produce tons of milk and the baby will soon have more than he could ever want. In the meantime he is getting colostrum and learning the muscle technique to nurse.

    By pumping first you are offering him an "empty" breast and no wonder he's mad! I understand you are trying to hurry the milk since he isn't latching consistently, but again my suggestion to you is just have faith. Nurse and nurse and nurse and it WILL work. Get rid of everything else unless it becomes medically necessary to intervene. When he cries, offer the breast. Support mom, encourage her, get her water and diapers, and make sure she trusts that babies have been fed this way for millions of years and it WILL work if you just keep at it.
    Last edited by Caprine; April 2nd, 2008 at 03:55 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Default Re: Help! My wife is getting desperate!

    i know you're desperate but hold on someone with way more experience than me will be around soon to respond....

    just some ideas, but have you thought about not pumping till after he has tried/latched

    did the LC mention a Supplemental nurser? this could help stimulate the breast to produce more while still giving him a supplemental feeding, encouraging him to breastfeed etc....

    what about giving a small amount of supplement before feeding at the breast so the immediate frustration is gone for both mama and baby

    these are all ideas given to me by leaders online shortly after my son was born

    I also had to supplement in the begining mostly due to my lack of knowledge and experience, i felt helpless but i recovered and now I Breastfeed exclusively and love it....

    be there for her as you surely are and offer her encoragement!!!
    Autumn
    Moma to *Silas* 10-30-07

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Help! My wife is getting desperate!

    and congrats on your new baby! You are definitely in the right place and I'm sure some of the other mom's will have more advice. How often is the baby nursing? Nursing is supply and demand so the more often your wife can get him to nurse the more it will signal her body to make milk. Recognizing his early signs of hunger and trying to latch before he is frustrated and crying should help. Early hunger signs include rooting and chewing on his fist, crying is a late sign of hunger. Your help and support is invaluable to your wife, keep it up and keep encouraging her. You may also want to search for a local LLL group using the grey bar at the top so your family can get face to face support.
    Proud mom of 2 boys, both weaned gradually and with love.


    Find a local LLL leader

    For each and every one of us, the person from whom we can learn the most is our own baby: listen to him. - Mary White, LLL co-founder

    The best-kept secret in child psychology is that children who were never spanked are among the best behaved."
    Murray Straus, Ph.D.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Help! My wife is getting desperate!

    with pp. I would take a vacation from the pump. Keep baby in bed with mama and nurse, nurse , nurse. It seems like they only want to do that for the first few weeks. Trust her body, you can do it! Count the output and don't be so preoccupied with the amount of times babay wants to nurse.

    Ds wanted to nurse for an hour, stop for 20 min and then nurse again...patterns like these are normal. After a while their bodies will get in synch. Also sleep is great, but try not to interveen with the bottle it sets BFing back, because her body thinks it doesn't need to make milk. Actually I would get rid of formula b/c if it's in the house it's easy to resort to during the night.

    Good Luck
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    SoCal
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    Default Re: Help! My wife is getting desperate!

    Also don't get frusterated at the pump output. Baby is a much more efficient pump and even mamas with an established supply ofter only get an oz or 2. Again that's why I would stop pumping and exclusively nurse.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Where the Wind Comes Sweepin' Down the Plain
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    Default Re: Help! My wife is getting desperate!

    This link entitled "My newborn has never really gotten the hang of nursing. How can I get him back to the breast?" may be helpful. http://www.llli.org/FAQ/back.html

    Here's one on increasing milk supply: http://www.llli.org/FAQ/increase.html

    I also just want to commend you, dad, for being supportive of your wife. Here's one more link http://www.llli.org/FAQ/dad.html that's about a father's role in breastfeeding, although some of it, it seems, you're already aware. I like this line in particular. "The support of a baby's father can help the breastfeeding relationship succeed."

    Can you all get an LC or local LLL lady to come spend some time at home with you?
    **Margaret**(the artist formerly known as mommamags) Mom to red- and curly-headed, blue-eyed, chunky-thighed Michael Thomas, 24 May 2007, 9 lb/22 in. As an infant, he was my little suckling pig. Now he's a total ham!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    15

    Default Re: Help! My wife is getting desperate!

    First off, thanks everyone for your support. Reading some of the other posts, it's good to see we're not alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caprine View Post
    It is easy as a new worried parent to say that he's hungry and resort to a bottle of formula - but DON'T.
    We've been trying to do this, but then we can't get him to settle down and take the breast. After he breaks the latch, he starts screaming and keeps screaming, and we're unable to get him back on. I'll take him for a while and rock him for a little to get him to calm down somewhat, but if we try to relatch him, he either won't relatch or will relatch briefly and then break off and start screaming.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caprine View Post
    By pumping first you are offering him an "empty" breast and no wonder he's mad! I understand you are trying to hurry the milk since he isn't latching consistently, but again my suggestion to you is just have faith.
    Interesting, it was the lactation consultant who suggested that we pump first in order to "prime" the breasts and get the smell of milk enticing him. We'll try nursing first and see how that goes. But again, I just don't know what to do once he gets into the inconsoleable phase. Mom gets more stressed, as does baby, and it just seems like a vicious circle.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    139

    Default Re: Help! My wife is getting desperate!

    Quote Originally Posted by txdaddy View Post
    After he breaks the latch, he starts screaming and keeps screaming, and we're unable to get him back on.
    For one day, try this: imagine he'd never had a bottle. He's just a new baby and she's a new mom (?) and they're going to figure this nursing thing out. Her body knows just what to do and when the baby lets it know he's arrived, it will respond in course. If he cries while feeding, try to figure out what's wrong. Burp? Latch? Position? Colic, diaper, tired, etc.? But don't wonder if he wants to eat another way because this is the way babies eat of course. Sometimes mom might need you to distract him for awhile when she is tired or frustrated, but otherwise let her spend a full 24 hours in bed with that baby.

    Keep it up - you're in a tough spot and you're doing great. Clearly you both want what is best for that baby and he's a lucky guy.

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