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Thread: Baby losing interest in breastfeeding

  1. #1

    Default Baby losing interest in breastfeeding

    Dear all,
    My baby was born at 29 weeks 1240g, and he spent almost 3 months at the hospital. During that time I kept my milk supply and he was bottle fed (my milk) until 2-3 weeks before his due date. Then, I was allowed to breastfeed him at the hospital 4 meals during the day, while during the night he received bottle with my milk. I think that breastfeeding saved him as he stopped turning blue while being fed .. He ate between 30 and 80-90 grams, meals varying in size, but was quite happy on the breast.

    After a month at home, he gained 760g, but our doctor said it was not enough and I should give him formula supplement and shorten the feeding. Our feeding could last for an hour not recommended 10min/breast. From day one I had a lot of milk, so quantity was not an issue (200g per pumping session), but he though that baby was not strong enough to nurse effectively enough. So, I started adding bottle with my milk, after nursing, and my baby was nursing less and less per each meal. Now, he has 3700g and nurses only 30-50g per meal, and he needs more than 100g/meal.

    Recently he started fussing, crying even when I start lowering him to the breast...

    Yesterday, I tried to breastfeed him without the bottle and he seemed inconsolable. He ate 40g every hour for 4 hours and then he fell asleep.... With breast+bottle he usually sleeps 2h, because the feedings last more than an hour with him falling asleep and crying...

    With him screaming so much and eating less, nursing less, I am becoming desperate, especially that my milk supply is losing this battle as well !

    I am afraid that I am torturing him with nursing and depriving him of food and sleep and yet he used to nurse 100g in 10min... Some say I should stick to the breast only and survive couple of days of crying... but I am afraid that it would hurt him. What if he does not have strength to nurse effectively? Why would that change when he was better at it when he was smaller?

    Sorry if my post was too long... I am totally desperate for advice!!

    Thanks in advance!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Baby losing interest in breastfeeding

    Hi Mama,

    It is so hard with preemies - they definitely get used to the bottles they get because they are easier for them to get milk out of. My son was born at 29.6weeks and spent 2 months in the NICU and we gradually reduced the number of bottles he got in a day until we were down to just nursing. We did weight checks to see if he was gaining enough without the bottles.

    How old is your baby now? How much has he gained since birth? About 4-8oz per week is the average weight gain for young babies. If you just nurse him for a feeding, does he seem satisfied after? Does your breast feel less full? What if you tried to decrease the number of bottles you're giving him each day and see how that goes. If he seems hungry sooner when he doesn't get a bottle after nursing, you could offer to nurse him instead of giving a bottle. If you aren't able to get him to nurse, you could try again in a bit after he's calmed down, or offer him a bottle with just a little of your milk in it and then try to have him nurse for the rest of his feeding. Then he's not so hungry and maybe he'll be more patient.

    If you really want to switch him over to exclusive breastfeeding, you can do it - but it will take patience and persistance. If you're able to meet with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, that would be helpful in determining if he's nursing effectively and answering some of your questions.
    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
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    New Zealand

    Default Re: Baby losing interest in breastfeeding

    It is difficult with feeding prem babies by bottle and trying to establish breastfeeding at the same time. As they don't get the suck reflex till around 34 weeks gestation, and they tire very easily.

    In my opinion, and from others with prem babies I've talked to, it's totally normal for a feed to last an hour. My feeds with my DD were an hour, that'd be both breasts.

    The 10 mins each side is a fallacy, and just a guideline, and probably based on full term babies!

    Prem babies tire quickly with breastfeeding. When we brought our DD home, I would breastfeed her, then give a top up of EBM. At night we would bottle feed her EBM only, and I'd pump, as we could control how much she had, and therefore how long she slept. We stopped this once she was only waking once in the night, and went totally breastfed, plus one bottle of EBM just before bed at night.

    I do wonder though, when you say your DS is fussing with the breast if he may have reflux? You also mention he used to go blue? This can be a symptom of silent reflux. My DD developed reflux after we brought her home, around her due date. Thankfully for us it wasn't severe and treated with Gaviscon.

    If you do want to continue with BF, the best thing you can do is try and cut out the bottle top ups, (assuming it's not reflux that's the issue). They do get used to the bottles being easier. If you always offer the breast first, and if you think they need a top up, then give it. As you don't have an issue with supply, I wouldn't bother supplementing with formula, you could always just supplement with EBM. Whilst it may not be ideal, there are plenty of mothers who feed their baby by exclusively pumping and then feeding by bottle. The baby still gets breastmilk.

    760 gram weight gain in a month sounds fine to me. But I'm not a medical professional. My DD gained just under 1kg in her first month home.

    Try and find a lactation consultant or LLL group near you and phone the leader. They are a wealth of info.
    Alison, mummy to Erin
    Born @ 30 weeks, 2nd July 2008, 3lb 11oz, fully breastfed

    cloth nappy wearing bub.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Baby losing interest in breastfeeding

    thanks again!! I find you posts extremely comforting! I read you reply to the lady who wants to pump only and still wonder - how did you succeed to lose bottles?

    I read a lot about reflux because it is an unknown in my country, but since sometimes he nurses perfectly I wonder if that is the case. "Perfectly" means - without fussing and crying but quantity wise it is 65g. I have the feeling that he has a measure meter inside and that when he gets to 65g, he stops. Since, I feel that is not enough even then I add the bottle, should I stop doing that? He also arches his back and cries as soon as I lower him to the breast, but I though it was colic attack...

    As you wrote - it is hard time being mom for the first time and to a preemie...

    What is my question - in what situations I should not add up? As you wrote, time wise and energy wise it would be a miracle to stop pumping and to lose bottles.

    He started to chew his hand and I take that as a sign of hunger but he is doing it very often (yesterday he had a 'perfect' meal of 120g and after an hour he was chewing again)...

    I guess, that the 3h feeding schedule at the NICU is confusing me since I expect the same behavior at home. And we did have it for a while...


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