Need some breastfeeding encouragement

Tricia - posted on 01/29/2009 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My little guy turned 3 weeks old yesterday, and it has been one struggle after the other with nursing him. I'm working closely with a lactation consultant through La Leche League, but I need some encouragement. First he's got a high palate, so I have to use a nipple shield when I nurse him. Then last Monday I found our that he hasn't been gaining any weight. In the 2 weeks between first and second doctors appointments, he didn't put on an ounce. We think the problem is the high palate again: he's just getting so tired when he's sucking that he gives up and falls asleep. So now I'm pumping after every feeding and supplementing with the pumped milk. Nurse one side, nurse the other, and then supplement. I just started to use a supplemental nutrition system instead of a bottle, because the LC is worried that with his high palate, zeke isn't getting the roof of his mouth stimulated with the bottle, and that'll reduce his sucking even further. Ok, great.
The problem: I'm supposed to nurse and pump and supplement every 2 hours and it DOES NOT WORK. If I let Zeke sleep until he's hungry, he wakes up every 3 hours, nurses 5 to 10 minutes on each side, and then takes an ounce or 2 of supplement. But that's only enough milk if he's getting at least one and a half ounces from my breasts AND taking a full 2 ounces of supplement. If I try to wake him every 2 hours, he just screams and screams and screams and he won't latch on! I end up just giving him a bottle to calm him down, but even that is hit or miss as he sometimes won't even calm down enough to suck on the easy to grip artificial nipple. I'm feeding awfully discouraged: he needs to eat so he'll have the strength to eat!

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Tricia - posted on 01/30/2009

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Thanks, ladies... at this stage I only feel as good as the last feeding went, so I appreciate the support.

Brenda - posted on 01/30/2009

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Ugh, spelling.  Wish you LUCK not LUCH.....  Can't tell I'm in grad school....LOL

Brenda - posted on 01/30/2009

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I don't have experience with the high palate but my son did have a lot of trouble latching onto one of my breasts and it was a constant battale to keep him on.  The LC at my hospital didn't seem to think there was anything wrong, but one of breasts has a normal (I guess) nipple, that is flat at the tip, while the other is slightly rounded.  The rounded nipple he seemed to have trouble keeping latched to.  I am looking forward to seeing if my new baby has the same problem and discussing it with a differnet LC since I have a different hospital to give birth at (in a far more progressive area).



All I can do is give you a virtual hug and wish you luch hon, and tell you try to relax as much as possible.  You are doing your best and that's what is important!

Elizabeth - posted on 01/30/2009

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We were so there-- I promise you, this time will pass. First off (and I know how much I hated this when people said it, but it is true) the calmer you can be, the better it will go. It is nearly impossible when you are sleep deprived and so worried to be calm, but it will help.

The baby does need to eat to have the strength to eat, so talk to your LC/ped about maybe spoon feeding and/or dropper feeding. We nursed, bottlefed pumped milk, then bottlefed formula, and then I pumped for the next feeding. We did this ever 3 hours around the clock with one 5 hour stretch at night. As time went on, we added more formula after 5 (count them, 5) LCs diagnosed me with low milk supply. He was 3/4 bf and 1/4 formula fed and I bf'ed until he was 11 months (and then just so over it) so don't be afraid of formula if you need to supplement. By the time they are a couple months old, the high pallette/tounge tie/poor sucking, etc.etc.etc are just not such a big deal, so you just have to get there.

I'm a big believer in breastfeeding, but if you need to use some formula (we were, with the ped's blessing mixing it a little rich just to get some calories in him) to be able to continue breastfeeding then go for it. OR find a way to get the breastmilk into him that he's comfortable with. Watch his wet and dirty diapers, and this too will pass.

(If you need to use a formula, I would recommend either the Similac Organic or the Nestle Good Start with Natural Cultures. I think the Nestle (evil that they are) formula really is easier for the under 3 month crowd to digest. We switched back to the Similac Organic after about 3 months without any of the gas problems he had with it before. We also used the Dr. Brown bottles, which I recommend.

You are doing great! Your baby will be fine... this seems like such a nightmare now, I know, but it will get better.

Brie - posted on 01/30/2009

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Tricia...hang in there, it WILL get better.



I went through the EXACT same thing with my (now 6 month old) daughter. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get the latch-on right, and when I saw an LC she told me that my daughter had a high palate (as well as a notch in her upper gums). So, I initially had to wear a nipple shield because I was so sore- but that also helped my daughter to latch on, because it kind of elongated the nipple. The good thing was, she could latch on....downside was she had to use it until she was 3 months old (then one day she just gave it up).



Then we realized she wasn't gaining weight. So, I took "More Milk Plus" supplements, drank "Mother's Milk Tea", pumped after every feeding....but nothing worked to increase my supply, sadly. So the doctor told me in the meantime, to supplement with a little formula. She began gaining weight again, and after a few weeks they said I could start weaning her off formula.



Then she went to her 2 month appointment and the new pediatrician said she was underweight. She had LOST weight, and was in the "failure to thrive" category. I felt like the most awful failure of a mother...I wanted to breastfeed her so badly.



At that point, her doctor said to let her nurse for 10 minutes on each side, and then let her have as much formula as she wanted. My daughter was like a different baby after that, she was much happier.



So, I know I don't make enough milk to solely breastfeed, but I let my daughter nurse for comfort, then I give her a bottle when she is hungry.



Have you tried different kinds of bottles? Our daughter had a hard time drinking from them at first, but she likes the playtex nurser best now.



I know it is so exhausting and frustrating at times...but you guys will get through it :)

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