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Thread: Is my baby not strong enough to breastfeed??

  1. #1

    Default Is my baby not strong enough to breastfeed??

    My son is a month old today. He was born a month early due to complications via c-sections. He spent 17 days in the nicu and was bottle feed during that time. He has been home for almost 2 weeks and has yet to start breastfeeding. He is a small baby born at only 3.6 pounds. He is now 5.4 pounds and gaining quickly. The problem we have is what I can see is that he slips-off the nipple. He opens wide, latches on good but after two or three suckles he lets go or slips off. I've breastfeed three other kids so I feel I know what a good latch feels like. I don't know if he is just not strong enough to stay latched on or he is simply rejecting my breast. I'm worried this will never fix it's self and that I'm doomed to breast pump and bottle feed.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is my baby not strong enough to breastfeed??

    Hi mama, congratulations on your LO!

    I doubt that he is not strong enough to BF, although with preemies, they can sometimes take a bit longer to get the hang of it, especially after learning the bottle while in the NICU.

    They say generally that preemies can take till around their due date to get the hang of BF anyways, and then to reverse any nipple confusion can take a little patience and work as well.

    What we did was got the SLOWEST bottles we could find. We went with the breastflow bottles. They closely mimic breastfeeding action and make baby not only work for the milk, but wait for a "letdown." This might help train baby back to being a little more patient at the breast.

    Then in the meantime, just skin to skin all the time. And try and latch as much as you can. I would try and feed my son, then bottle feed, so he got his practice in. When I fed him, I generally did so with lots of skin to skin, or as close to my breast as possible so he was still getting familiar with the surroundings.

    It did take some time and patience, but we got there. You can too mama!
    Last edited by @llli*nolies.mama; June 22nd, 2010 at 03:00 PM. Reason: added link
    I'm Hillary
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is my baby not strong enough to breastfeed??

    Congratulations on your son!!

    My guess is that he likes the more instant satisfaction of the bottle. It takes time, but it can be done. My daughter was born at 33 weeks and didn't take the breast until 41 weeks and didn't nurse full time for another 3-4 weeks. The issue is that he is still so small, so you don't want him to exert too much energy trying to breastfeed. Give it time though. Once he is big enough, you can give it a much more vigilant try. Right now, I personally would continue to offer for each feeding, but if he refuses I would bottle feed him. But be sure that you have the slowest flow bottle, that way it most resembles what he would get from the breast.

    Don't be discouraged. It just takes a little more time with a preemie.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Is my baby not strong enough to breastfeed??

    My LO was 5 weeks premature and he nursed well so I doubt strength has much to do with it. I would say try the breastflow bottles or even stop bottles all together and try syringe, spoon or cup feeding until your LO learns the correct latch. Maybe suck training with a syringe...contact an LC, preferably IBCLC. It will take time.
    Michelle

    Wife to Donnie , my best friend
    Mom to Trenton 1/9/97, Dillan 11/22/01, Ashton 6/19/09

    All boys, weaned at 15 months, at home with Ashton

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is my baby not strong enough to breastfeed??

    First off, WAY TO GO!!!! for stickin' it out and still breastfeeding your preemie!

    Kyla was born at 34w; I had pPROM at 33w. My mom was an amazing support for me through my journey from EPing to EBF. She nursed three babies, all of us full term. Keep in mind 25-30 yrs ago there were no IBCLCs at your average hospital. My mom had to teach herself how to breastfeed! She reminded me every day (and same goes for you!) what a great job I was doing, that BFing a preemie is waaaaay harder/ more stressful/ time-consuming than BFing your average term baby, and how grateful Kyla would be one day to know how much work Mommy went through to give her the best start in life.

    My advice is to stay determined!!! Even if it takes months of EP (which I've heard from several mamas with NICU babies that their little babe just would not latch for MONTHS) remember that this is less about the annoyance/ inconvenience to you of breast-bottle-pump-repeat and all about giving your precious little angel the best start in life.

    Your baby is still getting all the benefits of mama's milk even if it's delivered through a bottle. Be easy on yourself! ...and STAY DETERMINED to keep giving your sweetie mama's milk! Keep up the beautiful work!

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