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Thread: EBF not working - baby not thriving

  1. #1

    Exclamation EBF not working - baby not thriving

    I MUST APOLOGIZE FOR HOW LONG THIS POST IS BUT WE NEED HELP!

    Hi everyone -

    I am an "experienced" nursing mother (I guess you'd say) having nursed two other children for over a year each but have found a new challenge with this new little girl in our lives. Here’s a little history:

    April 28th I was rushed via ambulance to the hospital due to an unknown disorder called HELLP where my 37 week old baby was delivered by c-section weighing only 4 lbs 12 oz. She was put on formula and given a bottle while in the NICU. Once I was conscience I slowly started nursing along with the bottle feedings things were going pretty good and after a day she was nursing more than getting formula. Unfortunately, I was released from the hospital before she was and she was back to bottle feedings more than nursing though I still came to nurse her 2-3 times a day and pumped a couple of times while away. She had lost a few ounces as to why she was still at the hospital but a day later she was able to gain an ounce and go home. So she came home weighing 4 lbs 7oz. We stopped bottle feeding after the second night going to EBF but at her next doctor’s appointment she only weighed 4lbs 6oz (it was 2 days from when she was released from the hospital). At her 2 week appointment (1 week later) she had lost 6 oz!!! I completely lost it and decided to put her on the bottle. We had been nursing nonstop all week day and night. I can’t believe she didn’t gain or at least stay the same. The doctor recommended a high calorie formula (she was on soy at the hospital) which would allow her to gain quickly. We agreed she suggested pumping but I absolutely HATE pumping and really don’t get much when I do which only frustrates me further. I have never been too good at it I have EBF two children with very little pumping at any time. We gave her the formula as soon as we got home which she threw up within the hour. Though it did make her have a BM after 2 days of not going. Although I despise it I pumped 2 oz of which she drank 1 oz from a bottle. She kept gagging but she did not throw up. Her next feeding we tried the formula again which threw up ½ the feeding. Finally at about 5:00 the next morning I realized she was only able to keep down ½ an ounce of formula or breast milk. The doctor has since told me to give her Pedialyte which she has kept down as well as consistently drinking ½ ounce of formula every hour. The dr wants her drinking more but thats all her little belly can take.

    The problem is that’s not enough. My DH tried to get her to drink more than she wanted and she promptly threw that up too. I feel that our nursing has been greatly compromised and I really don’t know whether or not its in her best interest to do so. I have tried to nurse her again since switching to bottles but my supply is getting low and she seemed frustrated about not getting anything out right away. My nipples are definitely sore from the marathon nursing we had been doing not to mention some nipple confusion that has set in. I feel so sorry for my baby. I don’t even know at this point if I want to nurse her because she lost so much while EBF. I am worried about her health she is too small to do too much waiting and seeing. I am hoping someone here has some ideas or advice. We are desperate. I know I am going to miss the nursing experience with her but I think it more important that she grows quickly.
    Last edited by @llli*sevenisrael; May 14th, 2009 at 02:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: EBF not working - baby not thriving

    Welcome and congratulations on the new baby girl! I am sorry her arrival had to be so scary. Have you fully recovered from the HELLP? And the c-section? The postpartum period is hard enough under optimal conditions, let alone when a mom is recovering from major abdominal surgery and a life-threatening illness.

    It sounds like you have done the right thing for your little girl: you've gotten her fed. I totally agree that with a baby as tiny as yours, there's not much room for experiment.

    I know you hate pumping- believe me, I do too!- but if you want to maintain your milk supply and keep breastfeeding in the realm of possibility you absolutely have to keep removing your milk at regular intervals. What sort of pump do you have? Sometimes the right pump can make an enormous difference in how comfortable pumping is, and in how much milk you can remove at a time.

    If you haven't yet been to see a lactation consultant, preferably one with the IBCLC credential, I urge you to see one as soon as possible. A good LC will be able to help you find the right pump and the correct breastshields, can give you pumping tips, can help you get your baby back to the breast, and can give you latch and positioning tips that may make nursing more effective. You may also want to rent a professional-grade baby scale- that way you can weigh your baby before and after nursing to see how much she has taken in, and can evaluate her weight on a day-to-day and even a feeding-to-feeding basis.

    It certainly sounds as if your baby is experiencing some nipple confusion. This is not too surprising considering how many bottles your baby has been getting and considering that your milk supply has dwindled, so I think it's vital that you start pumping again. (I know! I know! It's awful! ) Once your milk is more abundant, your baby may be more willing to nurse. You may want to consider supplementing at the breast, using a supplemental nursing system (SNS) instead of the bottle. That way your baby will learn that all her meals come from the breast, and won't become hooked on bottles. Also, she will stimulate your milk supply even as she feeds from the SNS tube. A good LC should be able to help you with the SNS.

    When I was supplementing via bottle, one thing that I think helped my baby avoid nipple confusion was to make bottlefeeding as much like breastfeeding as possible: when it was time to giver her a bottle, I would open my shirt, cuddle her close to my bare chest, tickle her lips with the bottle nipple, and then put it into her mouth only when she had opened really wide. That way she didn't learn lazy latch habits from getting a bottle slipped into a half-open mouth.

    Hang in there! If you can get the right help and really commit yourself to making this work, I do not doubt that you can have the same fulfilling breastfeeding relationship with your new baby that you had with your first 2 kids.
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  3. #3

    Unhappy Re: EBF not working - baby not thriving



    At this point she doesn't even want to stay woke to eat more than 1/2 an ounce of anything. I am just going to keep trying the bottle and pray she puts on weight. We are going to the doctor regularly to get weighed I just hope she's not back in the hospital soon. I need to get off these medications any way. I'm not really comfortable giving them to her. Life right now is really chaotic and I don't know how we're going to make it. I can't deal with this on top of everything else --she's no longer throwing up so I am happy for that little bit. Now to get her to eat more.

    Thanks for your advice.

    Oh and yes I am trying to recover from the HELLP issue. According to the callous doctor who performed my c-section I should be happy to be alive. He said I had the worse case he's ever seen. Apparently I had a total of 4 seizures during my episode, I'm lucky to be alive dealing with all these problems. That being said I think I may be a bit sensitive about the livelihood of all us at this point and worry about her more than I would otherwise. I just want her to gain weight FAST.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: EBF not working - baby not thriving

    I am practically in tears as I write this post! I too had HELLP...I had never even heard of it until it hit me. My little girl was born 9-20-01 and weighed only 4lbs 13 ounces! We supplemented BF with formula too. If it helps at all, she is now a thriving 7 year old with no major health problems! In fact, once we got through the first few months, she has been great!
    I am going to leave the BF comments to other moms on this site. I wanted to give you my support on the HELLP. I can remember how lost I felt, that there was noone around that understood what I had been through nor what I was going through. I had horrible Post Partum Depression. I totally felt as if my body had rejected being pregnant and that it was all my fault. Take heart though, she can make it through! She's just got it a little tougher than some other babies.
    My first suggestion to you in case you aren't doing it, even though it is warmer outside, layer your baby up! On my first DD I kept TWO onesies on her and TWO light sleepers. That way she didn't burn calories trying to keep her body warm. I also kept her swaddled any time she slept. By two months, my daughter was almost 9 pounds! Good luck to you and thank G-d you made it through it to see your daughter grow!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: EBF not working - baby not thriving

    op don't be afraid to contact your local LLL leader, shes around to listen.
    I had emergancy c-section so I know how you feal. Talking about it will help!
    and time.

    most babies that tiny don't take more the an oz or so of formula or breatmilk at a time. Their tummy is about the size of their fist to start out.

    I'm sure you can get her back on track!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: EBF not working - baby not thriving

    http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns..._increase.html


    how I can increase my babies weight gain....

  7. #7

    Default Re: EBF not working - baby not thriving

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*beccib72 View Post
    I am practically in tears as I write this post! I too had HELLP...I had never even heard of it until it hit me. My little girl was born 9-20-01 and weighed only 4lbs 13 ounces!
    Wow someone else actually had this awful problem? I too had never heard of it and am not enjoying the recovery process at all though at this point I'm just happy to be here. It has changed my life.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: EBF not working - baby not thriving

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sevenisrael View Post
    Wow someone else actually had this awful problem? I too had never heard of it and am not enjoying the recovery process at all though at this point I'm just happy to be here. It has changed my life.
    Yep. There are actually others. I had pre-eclampsia and HELLP, and it helped to join the pre-e and HELLP foundation to be able to talk to other moms that had gone through the same thing I had.

    Are you still experiencing symptoms? What kind of treatment are they giving you? Generally speaking delivery of the baby cures both pre-e and HELLP, although depending upon your factors, some things can hang around a little longer.

    It almost sounds like you may have had eclampsia as well...that is generally what causes seizures. Did they mention that to you too? Did you have high blood pressure? Severe edema?

    As far as baby goes, the HELLP can cause growth restriction in the baby...so she definitely has some catching up to do. Did they mention HMF? This might be a situation where she would benefit from that instead of having to resort to formula.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: EBF not working - baby not thriving

    Yes, although it is a rare disorder, there are others that have been afflicted! I think the worst is that it catches you totally off guard! You hear all the time about people with Pre-e but not HELLP. In fact, my in-laws actually thought we made up the name until they saw pictures of me in the hospital and I gave them an article about it.
    Feel free to continue sharing your feelings about the whole experience. Even though it was 7 years ago, I remember it all like it was yesterday! Well, I should say, I remember coping with the recovery. As I am sure you were, because of the Magnesium they were giving me, I don't remember much of the birth. I felt totally "robbed" of that experience. But, I am happy to say that I have had 2 more children and although I had some high blood pressure issues, I did NOT have HELLP again!

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