How can I help my son to improve his sucking stamina?
My son was born at 32wks and today is 11wks (3weeks corrected gestational age). He spent 4.5 wks in the NICU and went through the normal gavage tubes/bottle feedings of expressed breast milk, but I was able to breast feed a few times a day. Since he's been home we have actively been working at it, but supplementing with a bottle after weighing him.
He's willing to latch on & suck. The issue is that after a short while he loses stamina and falls asleep. I can wake him up easily, but he just isn't able to maintain a steady/strong suck and therefore is getting very little milk directly from the breast.
I'm maintaining my supply by pumping and have tried all of the standard remedies-- skin to skin, pumping first to encourage let down, seeing 3 certified lactation consultants, giving him a pacifier to practice with, and simply being patient with the hope that when he passed his due date the "lightbulb would go on". It's been 3 weeks now since his due date has passed.
My support system for help ended last week. I was fortunate to have a family member with me 24/7 for 11weeks, but am now trying to encourage him on my own. The process of trying to nurse, bottle feeding, pumping, washing the bottles/pump equipment, attempting to eat & get some rest is becoming frustrating.
Hoping for some ideas of what more I can try.
Sincere thanks for the amazing support from LLL.