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Thread: advice much needed!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    11

    Red face advice much needed!

    First, let me say how truly grateful i am that this forum exists especially for moms of preemies. It's so nice to have a place to turn to where there are other moms who are going through/have gone through the same thing as me!

    I've posted in the newborn forum, but thought I should try here as i'm not sure if my BF issues are because my LO is a preemie or just regular newborn stuff. (I suspect a bit of both)

    My LO was a 32 weeker and is now almost 42 weeks. We were in NICU for 5 weeks, home for almost 3 back in PICU for 1 week (where he lost all the weight he had gained at home: 10 oz) and now home again for 5 days (back to his pre-second hospital time weight) During all of his hospitalization he spent a total of almost 3 weeks on no feeds and another week on very small feeds working up to full feeds. He was born at 4.5 and is now 7.2 He has also spent a LOT of time with a paci as it was his primary source of comfort (besides being cuddled of course)

    i should also say that he is getting lots of wets/dirties so I know that he is getting milk, but I still have concerns.

    Here are my concerns:

    1) Maybe I'm just wrong about this but i feel as though his suck should be stronger. It usually starts out pretty vigorous and strong and then just fades down to small movements. Does this improve with time/practice? How can i improve it?

    2) Since we came home from the hospital this second time he is RAVENOUS. or maybe not? he always wants to eat, at least he is giving signs of wanting to eat.I mean he would probably nurse constantly if i didn't eventually make him stop. He will fall asleep after nursing for a while but if he wakes up when being burped or moved he gets very upset and i have to put him back on breast. is this a growth spurt? Is he making up for lost time? Does he just need to be comforted? I can distract him most times by walking around, bouncing him, but my desire is not to avoid feeding him if he needs it, i just want to know what's up. He does LOVE being in his little soft carriers and falls right asleep, so i suspect maybe he just want to be near mommy? When we first got home I had an OS (due to pumping for so long) he would eat for 5- 15 minutes on one side only, every few hours or so, way more often in the evenings.

    3) He really fights me to go on the breast and almost always has. He will flail his arms and fuss and i really have to work at it. Ok sometimes maybe he isn't really hungry, but he does this even when I KNOW he is hungry. He pushes his head back and sucks on his fist.

    4) I am CONSTANTLY concerned about my supply. With his eating so often My breasts almost always "feel" empty. am i losing milk? Is he maybe just starving?? I should say that i don't pump anymore. I pumped every 3 hours during his NICU stay and had a good supply (usually between 3 and 5 ounces combined depending on the time of day) But when he came home I was of the mindset that if he wasn't eating it then he didn't need it right then and my supply would adjust to his needs. My supply has since gone down (I can tell from pumping during this last hospital stay)which is not necessarily bad as I've noticed he spits up less But with a lazy-ish suck could he not be transferring enough and could my supply just be diminishing every day?! This REALLY worries me. Have any other NICU moms abandoned the pump once home?

    5) is it time to actively work on increasing my supply? I thought supply and demand would take care of it, but maybe he jumped ahead of what I can keep up with?

    Gosh, I know all of that was long. My husband doesn't understand why I worry so much about all of this. But After not being able to mother my little boy properly for so long I am obsessed to distraction that I BF him the best I can! it's the thing that I can do for him, you know? I know you ladies can relate!

    I do think that I will see about a session with an LC to put my mind at ease, but could use some advice in the meantime.

    PS we do cosleep as I have a hard time sleeping without him right on or near me. I feel more at ease that he won't just stop breathing on me while in his little bassinet. I also can't stand to let him cry for even a minute!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: advice much needed!

    nak

    i can only address part of your post but am confident you'll get replies on the suck & supply issues.

    my ds 2 was a 35 weeker (old compared to your lo) but i found he was so much different from ds 1 in many of the things you mention. my little guy needed to held almost constantly and wanted to nurse almost constantly. it was like a growth spurt that lasted 6 weeks.i finally brought him into bed with me at night and found he'd start to sleep if he was just near me instead of my having to hold him. he nursed for comfort a lot and because I was always worried about my milk supply and his weight I let him. i comnforted myself with the fact that he had lots of wet diapers (as does your boy) and a slow but steady weight gain.

    i think the suck pattern you mention is not that unusual but other mommas may want to weigh in. these preemies get so tired so fast IME.

    hope all goes well for you and congrats on having your LO home with you.
    2005 2008

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: advice much needed!

    What a rough start, but it sounds like you're doing a great job nursing him up strong. My twins were 33 weekers and your LO sounds a lot like my DS who was 3lbs 3oz at birth and 4lbs 4oz when we brought him home at 5+ weeks.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    1) Maybe I'm just wrong about this but i feel as though his suck should be stronger. It usually starts out pretty vigorous and strong and then just fades down to small movements. Does this improve with time/practice? How can i improve it?
    If he's having enough wet/dirty diapers he's probably doing fine. My preemies had pretty gentle sucks as well but if it gets him milk, it's probably ok. Does he slow down because he's sleepy? You could try to keep him awake by taking off his clothes first. But, honestly, it doesn't sound like a concern.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    2) Since we came home from the hospital this second time he is RAVENOUS. or maybe not? he always wants to eat, at least he is giving signs of wanting to eat.I mean he would probably nurse constantly if i didn't eventually make him stop. He will fall asleep after nursing for a while but if he wakes up when being burped or moved he gets very upset and i have to put him back on breast. is this a growth spurt? Is he making up for lost time? Does he just need to be comforted? I can distract him most times by walking around, bouncing him, but my desire is not to avoid feeding him if he needs it, i just want to know what's up. He does LOVE being in his little soft carriers and falls right asleep, so i suspect maybe he just want to be near mommy? When we first got home I had an OS (due to pumping for so long) he would eat for 5- 15 minutes on one side only, every few hours or so, way more often in the evenings.
    My twins nursed all the time too - tiny tummies and all. And my DS especially really needed extra holding. Because they're preemies, it takes longer for them to develop the self-calming techniques that other babies do. For example, bringing their arms in to a more fetal position is really calming for them at this age, but my son couldn't do that for a while - just didn't have the muscle control. The sling really helps pull all their body parts together - organizes their nervous system a little. Cluster feeding and fussiness in the evenings also VERY normal.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    3) He really fights me to go on the breast and almost always has. He will flail his arms and fuss and i really have to work at it. Ok sometimes maybe he isn't really hungry, but he does this even when I KNOW he is hungry. He pushes his head back and sucks on his fist.
    Not sure on this one - could it be a fast let-down?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    4) I am CONSTANTLY concerned about my supply. With his eating so often My breasts almost always "feel" empty. am i losing milk? Is he maybe just starving?? I should say that i don't pump anymore. I pumped every 3 hours during his NICU stay and had a good supply (usually between 3 and 5 ounces combined depending on the time of day) But when he came home I was of the mindset that if he wasn't eating it then he didn't need it right then and my supply would adjust to his needs. My supply has since gone down (I can tell from pumping during this last hospital stay)which is not necessarily bad as I've noticed he spits up less But with a lazy-ish suck could he not be transferring enough and could my supply just be diminishing every day?! This REALLY worries me. Have any other NICU moms abandoned the pump once home?
    Also very normal. I felt full for weeks and then, your supply regulates and you feel "empty" but you're really not. Your breasts are just learning how much to make. If he's got enough wet diapers, your supply is probably fine. Once I got my twins nursing at home I abandoned the pump completely. It was scary (there's something satisfying about seeing the milk and being able to measure it) but the baby will do a much better job of regulating your supply if you just keep nursing on demand.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    5) is it time to actively work on increasing my supply? I thought supply and demand would take care of it, but maybe he jumped ahead of what I can keep up with?
    He'll take care of increasing your supply when he needs it. Just keep nursing on cue and you'll be fine.

    Hope that helps. It sounds like you're doing a great job!
    Mom to A&B (we're 3!) and baby M

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: advice much needed!

    Ladies, thank you for your replies! I think he IS just a cuddly cuddly baby that needs to be near/on momma all the time! I'm more than happy to oblige after all I missed out on weeks of cuddle time too!

    Once I got my twins nursing at home I abandoned the pump completely. It was scary (there's something satisfying about seeing the milk and being able to measure it) but the baby will do a much better job of regulating your supply if you just keep nursing on demand.


    Dojomom you are SO right about that! I keep saying how hard it is to go from seeing your exact milk output to just trusting that there is enough there! While in the NICU it became kind of a sport for me to try and get more and more milk at each pumping. Kind of kept my sanity in check I wish there were a little flap on my breast so i could open it up and peek in there to see what's going on!!!!!

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