My son is 6 wks and was born a little shy of the 36 wk mark. He weighed 6 lbs 15 oz at birth. I had preeclampsia.
He was in the NICU for a week. When they let him start eating I made sure I breast fed him before anything else was given. But, even with pumping my milk had not come in and I only had colostrum to give. They told me they needed to see if he could suck and feed and gain weight before he could go home... so teary eyed... I let them supplement with a bottle. I continued to offer him the breast before each day time feeding and in a few days my milk came in and while he was still in the hospital the last few days he was exclusively breast fed during the day. Night feedings were still with the bottle. When we got home the docs and nurses said to just offer him the breast on demand. So I went about feeding him exclusively on the breast...
At his check up just a few days from release he had lost an oz but doc and I were both not too worried... I thought we almost had it... but a week later... he had lost another oz. Doc told me I needed to offer formula.
He took about 2 oz each feeding. I saw a LC who told me to pump to get up supply. Which I did for 1 and a half weeks. I ended up pumping exactly one oz every pumping session for the entire time. Never went up. And it made my nipples so sore. And it made me super tired.
I decided to stop the pumping and give myself a week to let him gain weight and just offer him the breast as much as possible.
How long is it supposed to take to increase your milk with pumping?
At this point he is eating 3 oz formula and I am guessing 1 oz on the breast most feedings and wanting to eat every 3 hrs. about. Sometimes 1 or 2 but usually 3. He gained weight easily with the supplementation. The last doc visit was over 7 lbs. He had gotten down to 6 lb 6 oz. I bet he is well over 8 lbs now.
SO... my questions.
There was some nipple confusion / frustration in the hospital so I was given a nipple shield. He really latches well most of the time with it and now is starting to latch sometimes without it. When he latches and eats without it I feel a difference and I am wondering if the dulled sensation of the nipple shield / breast pump is part of the problem as far as milk production. I wonder if I should work harder on transitioning him off of it. Up until now I have not been very worried about it (last of my worries). I figured eventually he will just not need it. Has anyone heard of the shield decreasing sensitivity and therefore milk supply?
He has been a sleepy baby... but he is starting to be more alert now that he is older. I am wondering if I start to slowly decrease the bottle feedings if he will now be able to work hard enough to get my supply up. Just a little at a time. I would rather do this than pump. Even if it takes nursing him constantly.
I feel confident enough to try this now that he has gained. Does that sound like a good idea?
Our routine is let him eat off both breasts until he is finished (goes off by himself) or until I see he is not swallowing / just pacifying. This is usually at least 15 min each side (but not always active really good eating the whole time, just depends). Then I give him the bottle. A lot of times, esp lately he is not hungry any more but still wants to suck so I give him the breast... trying to get my supply up and the whole thing perfected. This all takes forever! So you can see how adding pumping is very difficult.
My breasts have gone from feeling engorged between feedings, leaking, etc. To just a little tightness and leaking sometimes. Which maybe could be normal. I also have to admit that it still takes a lot of work to get him fed on the breast. I usually have to hold my breasts the whole time, latch him on several times... wake him... strip him... strip me... all kinds of work. And honestly, esp at night when I am tired I do not get it done as well. So all in all mom & son laziness creeps in and the bottle is too easy. I am worried now that not only is my supply not going up... it is going down. And this is exactly what happened with my daughter and my supply dried up at 3 mo!!!!
I am starting to think maybe I just have some kind of supply problem... like my body can not make enough milk. esp since this happened with my daughter.
HELP! I feel like I am fighting a losing battle. I really want to Breastfeed!
Tell me it is possible to get from here to exclusive breastfeeding. Tell me it is possible!
The hospital LC were good.. the LC I saw recently was OK... but I am just frustrated... I want some really good advice that is not just PUMP... it feels unnatural to me. Am I wrong in this? Do I just need to suck it up and PUMP?
Reading some here helps a bit because I was told to pump 15 minutes.. and I always stopped expressing milk way before 15 minutes. So reading to just pump until 3 sec after drops have stopped would help the soreness I was experiencing pumping. I have also thought about not being all or nothing. Meaning if I pump half the time that is better than nothing.
I guess I need to find a different LC... I just want a really good one.
I will look at those resources.
The good news is he likes the breast. If I could just get my supply up I am sure we would be bottle free in no time. ANY SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME!