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Thread: Fears Regarding Block Feeding

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Fears Regarding Block Feeding

    I know that I have OALD and I think that I have OS. My baby coughs, chokes, and sputters while nursing. She swallows so much air by gulping and often times seems to not have time to take a breath during swallows b/c my milk comes out so fast. She's started to go on nursing strikes now where she will only nurse for a couple of minutes before pulling away screaming and refusing to nurse.

    I've tried unlatching her while LD occurs, as well as taking her off the breast when there's no LD but she seems to be struggling to catch a break in the torrent of milk coming out. Sometimes this works, other times she starts screaming and then refuses to relatch. When I can get her to relatch, it's always a very shallow latch, which I think she's doing to help slow the flow herself. I've also tried the opposite -- letting her nurse her way through it. Same thing. Sometimes that works and she finally gets to a point where it seems to slow a little and she's more comfortable. Other times, she pulls off screaming and refuses to relatch. I can also hear her swallow a ton of air and her stomach starts rumbling. Sometimes during these nursing sessions she will also pull her legs up to her chest in pain and then refuse to nurse b/c she hurts. I've tried burping her every couple of minutes. Sometimes, however, I'll try to put her back on and she refuses. I'm confused as to when I should take her off and when I should just let her work her way through it -- both with burping and with LD.

    I also started block feeding every four hours last week and after a day and a half it seemed to work. (I can drench a folded up bath towel in less than eight hours at night and have a bad problem with spraying -- both she and I end up a mess!) I stopped doing it, though, b/c I thought "what if I misdiagnosed myself?!" or accidently did something to reduce my milk supply and accidently start weaning her or have to supplement. We've already been through so much in our efforts to breastfeed and I don't want to do anything to compromise being able to solely breastfeed for a very long time.

    I started block feeding again this weekend, but after my appointment today with my pediatrician and ob/gyn doctor, I'm worried again. I could tell that they didn't understand what I meant by block feeding and I knew their suggestion to pump the other side while I fed on one side would just exacerbate the problem of OS. They also told me to be careful and try to feed on both sides during a session otherwise I could reduce my milk supply too much -- but my daughter has never drained one breast at a feeding and I'm not sure if she's ever drained one breast during a block feeding, either. (I don't know how to tell if my breast has been drained - would I know if it has?) My question is that if I block feed for a three hour period, potentially one breast could go eight hours before a second feeding. (L breast at 9am, R breast at 12:30pm and 2:00pm, L breast at 5pm) Would this hurt my milk supply? I'm so afraid of accidently decreasing it too much.

    Also, at exactly the same time I started block feeding the first time last week, I probably began my menstrual cycle - and it's only been seven weeks since I gave birth! My ob doctor said today that it's possible that my prolactin levels went down due to the block feeding and I'm just afraid of accidently messing my body up. I had a very bad experience with the LCs at the hospital and don't trust any advice they have. If I block feed, when should I stop? When my milk supply starts to adjust by three months, will it go down too much b/c of the block feeding I started when she was so young? I have to do something though b/c either way she's not nursing when she goes on her nursing strikes.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fears Regarding Block Feeding



    I think it sounds like your doctors aren't as informed as you about block-feeding. I think it does sound like you have overactive let-down which usually goes along with oversupply, so it's definitely worth trying block feeding. I've never done it, so I'll let others tell you at what point you would know you are good and can stop...but I would think it would be when you notice your baby is content at the breast, no longer choking, etc. Don't worry about your supply dwindling away. Even IF you fix your current problem and then later realize that your supply has taken a dip, you can easily start bringing baby to breast more, and doing the things you would do to increase your supply. With both my babies I've had a time where I felt my supply dipped a bit, I've taken the steps to increase it, and it's been fine both times. What you are describing right now doesn't sound fun, so I think it would be worth it to at least try block feeding and see if that helps.


    Jeanne (my middle name IRL)


    Mommy to two girls (M & M), born Sept. '07 and Sept. '09

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Fears Regarding Block Feeding

    I haven't given my baby both breasts at a feeding since ... since he was born! One breast at a time has always worked great for me. And initially, when I had oversupply, it was a lifesaver. Giving one breast per feeding is an easy way to start "block feeding" without necessarily going hours and hours on one breast. If, after doing this a while, you are still seeing signs of hindmilk/foremilk imbalance (like frothy poops), then you might want to try lengthening the blocks of time you stay on each breast.

    You know you have high supply when you are leaking all over everything, spraying across the room, your baby can't keep up with the flow, and your baby's diaper output is STILL high even though they can only nurse for a few minutes at a time and milk is going everywhere! Which is to say, I think you've diagnosed yourself correctly! Assuming that this is all right, and your baby is putting on weight normally and wetting a lot of diapers, I would say your doctors are wrong - to be charitable, perhaps they are so used to seeing women with low supply, and they are jumping to conclusions?

    My husband used to call me the "boob bong." (You know, like a beer bong? Ha! You gotta laugh!) And we joked that Joe would make a great frat boy, guzzling at top speed.

    This gets better. Your supply will start to self regulate, and your baby will get better at those guzzling skills.

    What makes you think you've started a menstrual cycle?


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fears Regarding Block Feeding

    Thanks both of you for the encouragement! It really helps!

    about the boob bong! One morning I took my little girl off of the breast and there were three streams shooting out of my breast. My husband thought they were little strings that had somehow gotten onto my breast and was going to try and take them off so that she wouldn't get them in her mouth! I feel like I have my own built in watergun!

    Her wet and dirty diaper output is still great and at seven and a half weeks she's gained three pounds since she left the hospital!

    As to my cycle, I started bleeding Wednesday night and have been bleeding heavily since. They did an u/s to make sure all of the placental fragments had been expelled and e/t looked great. So my ob dr. said that it's very possible I started my cycle...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Fears Regarding Block Feeding

    Yeah, sounds like a cycle, although it'll be interesting to see if it becomes a regular period - maybe it's just a fluke. Definitely doesn't seem to be due to lowered prolactin, though! Time of getting your cycle back varies from woman to woman. There was a post a while back about cycles and fertility, and I remember noting that the women (all exclusive breastfeeders) were all over the map in terms of how long it took to get their cycle back.

    Holy cow!! THREE POUNDS! You go baby chubberinsky! And you too, mama. You're clearly doing great!

    It's too bad that so many medical professionals are so ignorant about basic breastfeeding issues. Actually, I'm kind of floored - you are spraying milk across the room and your baby has gained three pounds in seven weeks, and they are diagnosing you with LOW MILK SUPPLY?

    Am I missing something here, or are these people total morons? (Again, trying to be more charitable, we'll go with "clueless.")

    You came to the right place. This forum rocks.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fears Regarding Block Feeding

    I hope it's a fluke! That would stink!!

    I know! She's gotten to be such a chubball! And she actually gained four if you count what she lost from the time she was born to the time we took her home!

    Our pediatrician also wanted us to put her on a feeding schedule and not hold her when she naps. I'm completely against telling my baby that she can't eat when she's hungry and I love to wear her in a baby wrap and get things done around the house or go for a walk when she's sleepy. To be charitable, I asked them if it was possible that my supply could go too low with block feeding and that was the advice they gave -- which I guess is normal for most moms but would just make it worse for both of us. It's so good to know that I can come here and be encouraged that my instincts are on track. I'm a first time mommy so all of this is completely new!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fears Regarding Block Feeding



    That advice makes me very angry. I take it back: it's beyond "cluelessness." Recommending feeding your baby on a schedule is a recipe for early weaning. If you put your baby on a schedule, and don't give your baby the chance to nurse on demand, your body won't respond to growth spurts. Soon enough, you'll be saying, "I just couldn't make enough milk!"

    So rarely are women truly not capable of making enough milk. It happens, yes, but more often, failure to maintain a supply is due to this kind of advice. Ooh, it makes me mad!

    (ETA: The ONE CARDINAL RULE of breastfeeding is FEED ON DEMAND!)

    And of course, it's natural to carry your baby around all the time at this age!

    So I'm done being charitable. Any way you could switch doctors?


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Fears Regarding Block Feeding

    Hi, mama! I know what you are going through. I wound up having to feed my baby 3 feeds per ONE boob before she got yellow stools back. My OS didn't regulate until about 10 months post-partum!

    You will get through this. Hang in there.

    Oh. My LO quit choking when I started nursing her while lying down. Not as much pressure gradient that way! You can also do an elevated football hold where she is higher than your boob and nurses you like a straw! LOL! Lying down is MUCH more comfy!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fears Regarding Block Feeding

    My husband and I are starting to look into new pediatricians. There's really no point to have one that you don't trust...

    Yeah, I feed lying back with her above me to work against gravity. It is so much more comfy! When I started feeding from the rocking chair, it got worse and I couldn't figure out why until I did some reading and found out that my lazy nursing was actually what I was supposed to be doing!

    With all of this spraying and crankiness and having to nurse lying back it's so daunting thinking of getting out of the house and having to nurse her somewhere other than home!

    When did you stop block feeding? After you noticed things started to settle down a bit? What do I do if she sleeps through a block of time during a nap? Today I fed her at 2:30 on the R breast and then she slept during the L breast block and later wasn't hungry until it was time to nurse on the R breast. Do I just skip the L breast or do I give her the L breast and next time she's hungry give the R and readjust the block times? Thanks for the help!!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fears Regarding Block Feeding

    There are different ways to do block nursing. My method was less time-oriented, and more, I don't know, boob-oriented. I nursed for a long time on one side, before switching. I wasn't checking the clock.

    Mostly this meant I did one long feeding on one boob. Often the baby slept. When the baby woke up a couple hours later, I offered the other boob. But if, on the other hand, the baby stayed awake, and wanted to nurse again shortly after the first time, I stayed on that first breast for a couple hours before switching.

    To answer your question, I don't think you should skip one breast entirely - that sounds uncomfortable!! Just switch back and forth, left and right, at reasonable intervals through the day. Don't allow yourself to get too engorged on one side - ouch! Plus, you're putting yourself at risk for clogged ducts.

    For getting out of the house, I found it helpful to always nurse right before I left! Then offer the same breast when you're out, so hopefully the flow isn't too strong and you're not spraying everywhere and dealing with a fussy hungry baby! A nursing cover might help you feel more modest, too. Letting people see your breasts is one thing, but worrying about spraying them with milk is another!

    You're doing great!! Don't feel like you need to SERIOUSLY overthink it (I'm totally the same way, and had breastfeeding down a fine science after a couple months - that's why I'm here, right?). That is, use common sense - alternate breasts, just like any breastfeeding mother, but try to switch sides less frequently than other mothers (with more normal supply).

    Keep it up!! It does get easier! In a couple of weeks, that chubbers will be guzzling that milk down like it's going out of style.

    Cheers!


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

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