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Thread: Throwing In The Towel

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Throwing In The Towel


    I'm relatively new here, but have read alot of the posts about feeding preemies for help and advice.

    Like Jazzle, I have a 32 week preemie who is now considered a 'term' baby. She's been home with me for three weeks now and is keeping her weight gain up just fine, so earlier this week we got the ok from our ped to switch over to exclusive BF and not have to record every ounce she takes by bottle.

    The BF is not going well, to say the least. She fights me every step of the way, thrashing and flailing and screaming at me when I put her down to breast. Yesterday I was in tears and was lucky enough to get into see an LC who really really helped - Livy nursed well, got an ounce (weighed before and after) and just did really really well. The LC said she has all the right moves and knows what to do, but she just needs some time to get used to it. I came home encouraged, armed with the nipple shield they gave me to use, and for the first time, I REALLY thought we would be able to figure this out.

    Today....it was back to the same old nightmare. I DID have one decent nursing with her this afternoon - I just held her to breast until she tired out from screaming and then got her to latch - she nursed for about 15 minutes at a so-so level while she was half asleep. But...she latched and nursed, so is that progress? I don't know. She didn't get much as I had to bottle her almost 2 oz afterwards.

    The problem is that I just can't do this much longer - each failed attempt at nursing ends with both Livy and I in tears. Emotionally...I am just wiped out, but yet I keep trying because this is so important, and my husband and I always dreamed of having me BF our children. However, we all have our limits and I am very very close to throwing in the towel. I guess my point to this post (do I even have a point? Or is this just a rant? I"m sorry that I can no longer distinguish the two) is 1) how long should it reasonably take Livy to 'get' it with nursing and not pitch a damn fit every time she is put to breast and 2) how long has it taken other people to make the switch from bottle to breast with NICU babies? I have absolutely no idea what to think, what to expect, or what is even reasonable. We are just bumbling around in the dark and don't seem to be making any headway at all.

    Appreciate any help/suggestions anyone might have. Sorry this got long.

    Mom to Olivia - my precious miracle baby

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Throwing In The Towel

    Wow, this is hard! I have a couple of ideas--

    - Skin-to-skin contact, with no pressure to nurse. Just wear her around in a sling, without your shirt on, her in just her diaper. Or let her sleep on your bare chest. There is research that shows this "kangaroo care" improves breastfeeding.

    - Lay next to her while she's drowsy to see if she will turn toward your breast and show interest in suckling. Or just let her nuzzle and snuggle your breast.

    - Try nursing when she's not SUPER hungry. Maybe she doesn't yet connect your smell and feel with food and just gets mad that she's not getting what she wants.

    - How's your supply? Maybe try SNS (supplemental nursing system) that provides baby with milk if yours is slow to let-down.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Bryan, Texas

    Default Re: Throwing In The Towel

    Quote Originally Posted by mpoulson View Post
    How's your supply? Maybe try SNS (supplemental nursing system) that provides baby with milk if yours is slow to let-down.

    Good luck!
    I would suggest the SNS. That way she can get the milk and still latch on without having to go between breast and bottle. She is probably just used to the ease of the bottle and doesn't want to work for the milk.

    Did the LC mention anything about the SNS?
    All over the world there exists in every society a small group of women who feel themselves strongly attracted to giving care to other women during pregnancy and childbirth. Failure to make use of this group of highly motivated people is regrettable and a sin against the principle of subsidiary. ~ Dr. Kloosterman, Chief of OB/GYN, Univ. of Amsterdam, Holland


    Mama to:
    Shiloh (5/6/06) Nursed for 13 months and Josephine (7/26/08) Nursed for 23.5 mos Currently nursing my new little firecracker, Finley Catherine, born on the 4th of July!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Throwing In The Towel

    that and check out your local leader!
    Shes around to help moms...
    Some babies just take a while to get the hang of nursing.
    And she can sence your stress.
    You can do it.

    I second that kangroo care that will work wonders for both you and baby.
    She'll be near and you can relax a little

    heres a good link that might help

    and this one too

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Throwing In The Towel

    Hello and

    My DD2 was born at 25 weeks and she was in NICU until more than 2 weeks past her EDD. I felt pretty confident that she would be exclusively breastfed once she would be discharged, just to find out we had a bit of set-back (DD2 just needed time to adjust to home environment) and it took us another 2 weeks or so for her to exclusively breastfeed.

    We also experienced DD2 refusing to nurse/screaming at my breast. Here are some tricks that worked for us:
    1) if baby is hungry (or just need to feel comfortable by getting what she was used to) and wants to get the quick reward, give her a bottled EBM (or formula) first, then BF. We usually gave DD2 1/2 to 1 oz in the bottle when needed.

    2) Try different hold. DD2 has reflux and holding her upright worked better sometimes. (http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/fa...ml#positioning)

    3) DD2 sometimes calmed down when she was put to my breast while I was moving. I walked around the room or just move up and down immediately after she latched on.

    4) As some moms suggested, kangarooing really helped her to feel like latching on.

    5) Babies really do feel when moms are tense so I tried to feel relaxed before BF sessions, which was much easier said than done. While it was difficult to focus on my mind to relax, it was easier to relax my body, which helped my mind to relax at the end. I paid special attention to my shoulders and face.

    6) When it was just so hard to try to BF, I asked my DH to feed DD2, so I get some time out.

    7) Even so, I tried my best to put DD2 to my breast as often as possible. One leader told me the 3 Ps (Patience, practice, and persistence) is the key to success and I believe in that strongly.

    My favorite links (both on the Kellymom site) are:

    Good luck! Breastfeeding offers incredible benefit for all babies and moms but especially preemies. It's hard now but every week things will get much easier. Enjoy your daughter because you guys went through so much and now you can spend time together without "visiting" her
    Last edited by wakawaka; April 19th, 2008 at 12:57 PM.
    - - - Penga (@ 32 weeks gestational) and my DH

    Mother of two girls:
    Sydney (born 10/31/01- nursed until 3 yrs & 10 mos)
    Penga (born 08/15/07 - former 25 weeker who loves to nurse)

    & no more!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Throwing In The Towel

    hello I feel your pain! our 34 weeker didn't do such a great job at first and we used the nipple shield for 3 months, almost all of the time she would yell and kick and push before settling down to nurse... i actually just said to my mom today while i was nursing dd at her house " life is so much easier now" but dd is now about 4.5 ms old.
    my point is, as many times as i wanted to cry and pull my hair out, and had to hear my dear sweet child scream to the point of explosion, we now have great nursing sessions that are just wonderful. just know that you can do this!! and we are all here for you!!

    Tina - mom of Addison Belle
    5lbs 13oz - 18in

    and my VBAC ~ Olivia Grace
    6lbs 8z - 18.5in

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Throwing In The Towel

    Oh Mama, I know right where you are. I felt that way with my firstborn, who wasn't even a preemie! I challenges for different reasons, but 10-12 times a day, we were both in tears over nursing! We did make it, however. I would second the previous poster's advice for skin to skin. If you can wear her skin to skin, that would probably be even better. She'll naturally find your breast when she is relaxed and comfortable.
    The lactation consultants I have worked with were also really great about taking phone calls. Sometimes I would call with a question, other times it was just to hear someone that knew about breastfeeding tell me I could make it, and that I was doing a good job. Hearing it from my husband just wasn't enough sometimes, as I didn't think he really knew what he was talking about!
    You can make it. You've probably heard this before, too. Get as much help for yourself as you can. If you have family, friends, a church family, ask for help. Have them come clean, bring over meals, whatever. Take as much pressure of of yourself for those things as possible, and you will have more time to rest and mother your baby. Soon enough, breastfeeding will be so easy it will be hard to remember it was hard!
    Best wishes to you!
    Mommie to big sister Eszter, and twinnies Sophia and Josiah

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Re: Throwing In The Towel

    I know how you feel. I had a 24 wk preemie and pumped until I had the chance to try and BF. We tried forever and I ended up 'throwing in the towel' the one thing I am glad I did not give up on was pumping the milk for her. I wanted to give here everything I could any way I could.

    Hope you little one is doing great!
    Proud mother to a 24 wk preemie girl, born 9/6/04 and to a full term baby boy, born 4/9/08.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Throwing In The Towel

    My son was full term and for the first few weeks it was a battle. We called it the pregame show- he would fuss , I would cry for a good 10-20 minutes before he would get a good latch and then we would have to strip him down to nothing for him to stay awake at the breast.

    It was alienating and hard and that is why I am so so proud and so deeply connected to our now very strong and wonderful nursing relationship.

    It isn't always easy at first, but it does get easier.

    If this is something you really want to do, try to hold on, come here get support , call the local LLL
    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Re: Throwing In The Towel

    Thanks for all the great advice -we're doing it Livy just suddenly 'got it' and started nursing pretty good and now is doing very good when we get her at the right time (if she gets TOO hungry it isi still a battle). She's not yet taking enough for a full feeding so I supplement wtih a bottle but I hoep that within the next week or so we will get to that point. I am back to work which complicates things even more. But it is a definite, definite improvement!

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