Feedings didn't blend into each other as I dropped bottles - once my son stopped actively sucking, I took him off. At first I went slow with dropping bottles, like 1 a day then 2 a day and as I felt more confident that he was getting what he needed at the breast, I went to him only getting like 3-4 bottles in a 24 hr period and then 2 small bottles that we just mixed his vitamins in, but I nursed him after. I felt more confident weighing my little one on a scale before and after feedings - I rented one from my local pharmacy but Target sells them now. I kept track and also weighed him once each night after his bath to get a daily weight (I was really used to that from the NICU). One thing to note - with my son, it didn't seem to matter if he nursed at all or for 20 minutes (and I knew he was getting quite a bit of milk), he STILL took ALL of what we offered him from a bottle. My husband's theory on this, which the NICU nurses and his pediatrician said could very well be the case, was that because he was tube-fed for so long and even when he was bottle fed in the NICU he was still given what he didn't take from the bottle by tube, he didn't know how to really self-regulate his intake to stop when he was full. I think this was true for a while, but he has learned to regulate himself better now. So don't feel like your baby isn't getting milk from you if she's still taking a bottle after. We also found my little guy needed to suck a lot, so we'd give him a soothie pacifier, which he had while in NICU. Oh, and while he was nursing, I did breast compressions to help "empty" my breasts. Doing that also kept him nursing and not just hanging out. If I were you, I'd stop the baby from nursing after like 20-30 minutes. Have you tried without the nipple shield?
Owen's weight gain was always really good - even while dropping bottles. We went slow at first with dropping bottles, so maybe that's why. As soon as I was comfortable that he would latch and nurse most of the time, I dropped all the bottles. And he gained fine then too. On average your baby should gain between 4-8 oz a week. How has her weight gain been so far?
It's a hard thing to do really, but it is possible and is awesome when it finally happens. I talked to a lot of people, Doctors and Lactation Consultants and took everything into account and then did what felt right with us. But I remember feeling overwhelmed and confused as to how to do this. You'll get there.
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