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Thread: Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Roswell, GA
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    Default Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

    When my baby was born, she was born two weeks early and at a low birth weight. Because of her weight the doctors wanted her on a suppliment immediatly. My milk came in five days later and I started giving her breast milk from a bottle with no problem (using slow-flow nipples). I didn't want to exclusively breastfeed immediately due to her weight being so low, I wanted to wait until she grew, and she has definately done that. I comfort nurse her when she wants, however she will not exclusively nurse for food. She doesn't associate my breast with food. I am trying to give her the breast before giving her the bottle however she gets irritated and frustrated and won't take it when she is hungry. I have even tried to give her the breast before hunger takes over. I just do not know what to do. Any advice suggestions? I'm gonna keep trying, it's just frustrating, I do not like seeing her so upset.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2008
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    Default Re: Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

    Hi and congrats on your little one!

    How old is she now? Are you able to see an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)? When you say that your daughter comfort nurses, do you feel like she's getting milk - is your breast softer when she's done? How is her latch? How many times in 24 hrs do you just nurse her without giving her a bottle after, or are you supplementing with a bottle each time?
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


  3. #3
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    May 2009
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    Roswell, GA
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    Default Re: Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

    My little one is going ot be 7 weeks this Friday. I saw a LC when I was in the hospital and they gave me a routine to follow when I left, however I didn't stick with their routine because she was so small. They told me to offer her the breast before the bottle for 15 minutes then to give her a bottle is she refuses the breast. Since she was so small at the time, I didn't want her expending so much energy for 15 minutes crying when she really needed to save her calorie expendeture for gaining weight.

    When I comfort nurse her, I think she is getting milk, my breast does get soft and I will feel the let down occure. Her latch is great...when she wants to latch :P and she has a great suckle. In a 24 hour period she will comfort nurse once or twice a day. During her other feedings she will battle the breast until no end. She seems to nurse the most in the evenings. And actually she nursed a little bit this morning on one breast for 15 minutes, but when she detached, I tried switching her to the other one and she didn't want anything to do with it. I thought she was full and tried at the next feeding to start with the other breast and she fought it for the entire 15 minutes. So then I gave her a bottle with breastmilk (I EP milk every 3 hours and twice during the night when she demands a feeding).

    I am giving her a bottle at each feeding only because she is battling the breast so much and I do not want her to go hungry. I know babies will not let themselves starve, but I just do not feel right by trying to feed her via the breast, having her reject it and not giving her something to eat. Is that what I have to do to get her to take to the breast only?

    Also, I am not so much feeding on demand (expect at night). Again, due to low birth weight, the pediatrician wants me to feed her every 3 to 4 hours. However since the nature of infants (and especially for premies) are sleepy little things, I have a hard time waking her up from her naps to make her eat from the breast. The silicon nipple is obviously harder than a breast nipple and I can get her to eat from the bottle while she sleeps because I can slip it in and she start to suckle immediatly, while with the breast nipple is very soft and you can't just pop it in without her being alert and some what hungry.
    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jenniebean5 View Post
    Hi and congrats on your little one!

    How old is she now? Are you able to see an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)? When you say that your daughter comfort nurses, do you feel like she's getting milk - is your breast softer when she's done? How is her latch? How many times in 24 hrs do you just nurse her without giving her a bottle after, or are you supplementing with a bottle each time?
    Last edited by @llli*jacqueline; July 20th, 2009 at 02:02 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

    I didn't mean to imply that you should let your baby be hungry, I hear you on wanting her to eat so you give her the bottle. Have you ever tried a nipple shield? That might be a good way to get your baby to nurse - it's "hard" like a bottle nipple so it might be a good transition tool. It also adds another element in that you will eventually want to get rid of. Are you able to see the lactation consultant again?

    How much are you giving her in a bottle? What if you decrease the amount in the bottle and offer to nurse her instead? I know you're saying it's hard to get her to latch on, it will take some persistance and determination. She's probably really used to the bottle nipple and it's easier to get the milk from the bottle, so that could be why she's preferring it. Some other things you could try to encourage her to latch are express a little milk on your nipple before trying to latch her on. If your nipples don't "stick out" like a pencil eraser, you could pump for a few minutes to get them to, then try to latch her on. I had to get in a really warm bath with my daughter in order to get her to *sometimes* nurse on my left breast - she wouldn't latch on to my left breast for her first 3 weeks of life, and a LC consultant suggested the tub thing, which worked.

    I'll think of some other things and will be back later! Keep trying mama!
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Roswell, GA
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    Default Re: Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jenniebean5 View Post
    I didn't mean to imply that you should let your baby be hungry, I hear you on wanting her to eat so you give her the bottle. Have you ever tried a nipple shield? That might be a good way to get your baby to nurse - it's "hard" like a bottle nipple so it might be a good transition tool. It also adds another element in that you will eventually want to get rid of. Are you able to see the lactation consultant again?

    How much are you giving her in a bottle? What if you decrease the amount in the bottle and offer to nurse her instead? I know you're saying it's hard to get her to latch on, it will take some persistance and determination. She's probably really used to the bottle nipple and it's easier to get the milk from the bottle, so that could be why she's preferring it. Some other things you could try to encourage her to latch are express a little milk on your nipple before trying to latch her on. If your nipples don't "stick out" like a pencil eraser, you could pump for a few minutes to get them to, then try to latch her on. I had to get in a really warm bath with my daughter in order to get her to *sometimes* nurse on my left breast - she wouldn't latch on to my left breast for her first 3 weeks of life, and a LC consultant suggested the tub thing, which worked.

    I'll think of some other things and will be back later! Keep trying mama!
    Unfortunately I can't see the LC unless I pay a pretty hefty fee :/ I usually give her 3 oz. in her bottle. I have tried reducing the amount in her bottle and then giving her the breast and she still fights it, however I have no tried the eping milk to get the nipple to be more erect like an eraser. I'll try that method, and if that does not work, then I'll try the bathtub method that you mentioned. Thanks for the tips, and if you or anyone else has any other advice please post >_<; finding information on this subject is really tough!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    New Zealand
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    Default Re: Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

    Jenniebean's tips are great. Also, remembered one thing I was told when my daughter was in NICU. She'd get impatient waiting for letdown, so would latch and unlatch and generally be fussy at the breast. The nurse suggested pumping a little just until you get letdown, then putting baby on the breast. Saves them the extra effort to get the milk there.
    Alison, mummy to Erin
    Born @ 30 weeks, 2nd July 2008, 3lb 11oz, fully breastfed

    cloth nappy wearing bub.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    1,081

    Default Re: Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

    I will be back later but this is a good site to check out.

    http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,081

    Default Re: Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

    So I've been thinking about this. What position(s) do you nurse her in? When you're holding her head, make sure you hold at the base of her head, so that your thumb is underneath one of her ears and your pointer finger under the other (like in a C shape). I say this because if you hold the back of a baby's head with your hand, they will automatically push their head backwards, it's like instinctual, she's not trying to fight nursing. When you hold her head like this, you can use your other hand to hold your breast and can use your thumb and pointer finger above and below your areola to squeeze/compress your breast so it's not as wide - you want it to be compressed parallel to her mouth (does this make sense?). This will help her to latch and you might have to hold your breast like this during the whole feeding for a while. And if you've been doing cradle position, try the "football hold" where the baby rests on a pillow at your side - her feet going beside your body sticking past your back and her body almost in a sitting position with her head upright in front of your breast. (Remember not to press on the back of her head though).

    Let me know if any of this helps!
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Roswell, GA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jenniebean5 View Post
    So I've been thinking about this. What position(s) do you nurse her in? When you're holding her head, make sure you hold at the base of her head, so that your thumb is underneath one of her ears and your pointer finger under the other (like in a C shape). I say this because if you hold the back of a baby's head with your hand, they will automatically push their head backwards, it's like instinctual, she's not trying to fight nursing. When you hold her head like this, you can use your other hand to hold your breast and can use your thumb and pointer finger above and below your areola to squeeze/compress your breast so it's not as wide - you want it to be compressed parallel to her mouth (does this make sense?). This will help her to latch and you might have to hold your breast like this during the whole feeding for a while. And if you've been doing cradle position, try the "football hold" where the baby rests on a pillow at your side - her feet going beside your body sticking past your back and her body almost in a sitting position with her head upright in front of your breast. (Remember not to press on the back of her head though).

    Let me know if any of this helps!

    I am holding her head, that may be the problem. I'll try the positioning with my hand at the base of her head like you mentioned. Thanks so much for all the tips and help to get this going. Still struggling though!


    Thank you everyone for the support and tips I really appreciate it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    1,081

    Default Re: Needing help and advice transitioning from Bottle to Breast

    You're welcome. Let me know how the different positioning goes and if you need more suggestions.

    You might want to check if you have a local LLL chapter - that might be a good way for you to get some help in person.

    This is hard work, but it's so, so worth it. Keep it up mama!
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


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