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Thread: Is it possible to go back to the breast?

  1. #1

    Unhappy Is it possible to go back to the breast?


    My 4-month old hasn't been nursing since she was 1.5 months old due to illness. She is healthy now, eating enough and gaining weight well.

    In the last two weeks I've been trying to switch her back to breastfeeding. She agrees to nurse only in the morning, only when she is still sleepy. Otherwise she refuses the breast and cries (she is a very calm baby otherwise). I have been trying to use a nipple shield (I got it from an LC at the hospital 3 months ago) but it didn't make a difference.

    When she does nurse in the morning, she'll be at one breast for 10 minutes and then fall asleep, and nurse again after 1.5-2 hours at the other breast for 10 minutes. Then I supplement with a bottle (she typically takes in another 1 oz from the bottle after nursing). (When she doesn't nurse, I pump around 3 oz from each breast in the morning).

    But at other times during the day she generally refuses to nurse and cries for the bottle.

    I am exhausted by the constant pumping... and I'd love to switch back to exclusive breastfeeding (she will however have to get BM in a bottle when I'm at work).

    Is it possible at all for us to re-establish breastfeeding? How do I get her to like it again?

    For the bottle feeding, I've been using Playtex slow-flow latex nipples - is there something better, that resembles the breast more?

    Since she was ill and tube-fed for 10 days, she's been taking a pacifier. Does that interfere with my attempts to get her to nurse again?

    Any advice will be more than welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Is it possible to go back to the breast?

    I haven't done it myself, but there are people on these boards who have successfully gone back to breast from bottle - I'm sure they'll pipe in with some good advice. You can do it, but it may take a lot of patience and hard work. Good luck!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Is it possible to go back to the breast?

    Thanks so much for your replies! It is so reassuring to hear it's possible and other moms have done it.
    I took her with me in bed last night - first feeding I had to give her a bottle (I guess she was too awake) but the two other feedings she took the breast (for 10 minutes and 15 minutes)!

    What worries me is whether she is taking in enough milk. She generally wouldn't take the other breast when she's done with one. Should I try to top her up with a bottle (of breastmilk of course)? Or trust that she will regulate her intake naturally?

    I'm going to ask our pedi on Thursday, but even though "officially" he is pro-BF, he would prefer me to feed her the hypoallergenic formula. He was very reluctant to let me switch her back to breastmilk after she recovered from the bowel inflammation (even though it was 99% certain that the breastmilk or breastfeeding were not the culprit). I am pretty sure he will be sitting on the fence on this issue as well.
    There seems to be a hidden BF anxiety among pediatricians - maybe because it cannot be quantified and they never know exactly what's in it...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Is it possible to go back to the breast?

    Have you met with a lactation consultant at all? Preferably board-certified? They might be able to assess you better in person and work out a plan to get back to the breast. I think you are right that a lot of pediatricians are nervous about breastfeeding because it's hard to quantify. It is also a matter of training - many pediatricians don't get much if any training in supporting breastfeeding.

    If you worried about how much she is getting, you can also weigh her before and after a feeding. You will need access to a sensitive scale designed for the purpose - NOT the regular ones in a pediatrician's office.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is it possible to go back to the breast?

    It's been almost a month and not much has improved... most mornings she takes the breast for the first and second feedings of the day. Sometimes she won't do even that... I offer the breast as frequently as possible, I wear her in a baby wrap in just her diaper, she sleeps near me in bed - but she won't take the breast. A lot of times what happens in the morning is that she latches on, stays on for two-three minutes after let-down, then latches off and refuses to return.

    I tried using the First Years Breastflow bottles, which work apparently in a similar way to the breast. It looks fantastic, really. Guess what? She gets so frustrated by this bottle that usually she refuses it just as she'd refuse the breast!

    I've been wondering about the pacifier - she is very dependent on it and apparently gets all her sucking needs met by it. Maybe I should take it away? Should I do this gradually or go "cold turkey"?

    It seems that I have no choice but to go see a lactation consultant - the problem is that I don't really have those $150 and the insurance won't pay.

    I found a breastfeeding support group at the hospital near us, I'll go there tomorrow and hopefully it helps.

    I am NOT giving up!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Is it possible to go back to the breast?

    sorry your having a hard time.
    Some babies are just picky eaters and things have to be just right or they will refuse!

    Do you think she is in pain when she eats?

    I hope you have good luck with your meeting.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Is it possible to go back to the breast?

    I'm sure she is not in pain when she's eating.
    She's actually doing great and is a very calm and happy baby! Which makes everyone around me raise an eyebrow - "everything is finally going well, why change anything?" is what they think, and sometimes say. It was the same when I insisted on switching her back to breastmilk after 3 weeks of that nasty hypo-hypo-allergenic formula.
    I put away all pacifiers today. She nursed this afternoon, after crying for 45 minutes.

  8. #8

    Smile Re: Is it possible to go back to the breast?

    Just wanted to let you all know: thanks to your encouragement, and to great help from LLL's amazing local leader, we are now 100% back to the breast!!

    It did take an "aggressive" approach: just take away the bottle and the pacifier, and spend a few days with the baby in bed. At some feedings (especially in the evenings) she would cry for half an hour before agreeing to latch on... but that is also over now. She is still nursing every 3 hours night and day, but I notice in the last few days that she is sleeping longer at night. We're getting better at this!

    Again, thanks ladies!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Default Re: Is it possible to go back to the breast?

    I'm so glad things are going well!!!!!

    Mom to
    Matthew born April 2009
    Jonathan born March 2011
    loving and

  10. #10

    Default Re: Is it possible to go back to the breast?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sixyearplan View Post
    I also want to say that be prepared for her to want to nurse a lot at night without a pacifier. It's a trade off, but for me it was well worth it. We started cosleeping at three months and now at 10 months DD still nurses all night long some nights. But I cherish the time and haven't forgotten we were very close to EPing.
    Oh yes... she does that. She nurses herself to sleep around midnight, I put her in her crib (right near our bed) and when she wakes up at 4-5 AM, I take her to our bed and she nurses on and off until 9 AM... then I get up and put her back in her crib, where she sleeps until 11.

    I love the co-sleeping, and I love this schedule of ours, but it will have to change because next week I'll be working twice a week and I'll need to leave the house at 7:30. She'll be with her daddy one of he days, and with a sitter on the other. Upon advice of the local LLL leader, I bought a sippy cup (the baby is now 5 and a half months old). But I'm not sure how this will work because for the sippy cup she needs to be awake!

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