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Baby will not latch on without a nipple shield - not gaining weight fast enough

Leone - posted on 05/02/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My beautiful little daughter will not latch onto the nipple to feed since birth and i have had to use a nipple shield for her to feed, she is now 7 weeks. She lost 13% body weight at the hospital and since leaving she has slowly gained weight but even now she is way below avaerage at 4.2kg. Dr has told me to express and give her milk via a bottle, so pretty much i have to stop breast feeding her as she is not getting enough nutrition and expelling all her energy by having to use the nipple shield then falling asleep mid feed. Does anyone please have any advice as i feel really sad that i have to stop breastfeeding and just express so she can get nutrition - she just wont take the nipple (flat nipples) even when i express and they are good enough to latch onto she wont. Previously i have been feeding her via nipple shield every 3 hours, 45 mins feed, 45 mins burping, 45 mins or so expressing and before i know it its been 3 hours and she dues for another feed, i just dont know what to do :-(

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[deleted account]

Yes....that reminds me that is one of the things I had to do.

I had to hand express a little milk or express for five mins into a bottle when my breasts were particularly full because my daughter struggled to latch onto full breasts (and it caused me tremendous pain because she sucked too hard).

Keep trying once it clicks it clicks and becomes so easy it makes the struggles worth it. :-)

[deleted account]

Feed her on demand rather than a schedule.

Bf babies gain weight differently to bottle fed babies As long as baby is getting plenty of wet nappies they are ok. Obviously keep a close eye on baby to make sure they are doing ok and are healthy, but slow weight gain isn't necessarily bad...they are gaining weight!

I used a nipple shield to help my daughter latch (jaundice affected her latching) and regularly found that she fell asleep mid feed, but it didn't matter because I was feeding on demand, whenever she wanted milk she could have it, some days that meant I was feeding her, putting her down for five mins then feeding her again others she'd go 2-3 hours between feeds. She is small but healthy (she's othe 25th percentile) and according to her chart has jumped around all over the place, I'm lucky my health visitors know the difference in bf babies.

Personally if my child was having a good number of wet nappies, and wasn't showing signs of being hungry or not thriving I would not give up bf to pump, I would just keep a close check on them and would make sure every time they were hungry or thirsty I would feed them, but if they were having any negative signs I'd feed from my breast half the time and pump for the other half, with the idea of getting back to fully bf from the breast.

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Megan - posted on 05/05/2012

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Your situation certainly sounds like what I experienced with my first.. I grew to hate that darn nipple shield!!! I have been told and have seen that nipple shields and pumps are just simply not able to express milk like your baby can. I wonder, do you have any breastfeeding support? A lactation consultant or la leche league, anyone who knows about breastfeeding and latching in your area? That could really help. My advice would be to get support and help with latching, so you can do away with the shield and most of the pumping. When I had my second child, I was so worried that I would be back to nipple shields and a year of pumping and never getting quite enough. I needed some help with latching, (I also have flat nipples) but we worked at it and it came together pretty quickly. Thankfully, they eat so frequently you get lots of practice ;) She is 23 months old and we are still going strong! I would think the weight struggles will even out, once you aren't working so hard to feed her. So, basically, see if you can get some support and help, so that you will no longer need those crutches. It can happen with some work :) It's wonderful when it does! Good luck!

Leone - posted on 05/04/2012

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Thank you both so much for your replies, i tried her tonight on the nipple an hour after i had expressed when she started saying 'neh' i think she just wanted soothing before bed and she latched on 8 times (for about 10-20 seconds at a time) so she obveously can do it when she tries, i wonder if my breasts werent empty after expressing that maybe she would have suckled for a few minutes? I will update tomorrow as i will try her again when my milk refills, but i wonder if she struggles to latch on when my breasts are engorged and ready for a feed, she seemed to find it much easoer tonight when they had been drained? Thanks so much again

Laura - posted on 05/03/2012

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I was able to get off the breast shield by 3 months, and silly me, no one told me to keep bottle feeding a little (it is so time consuming to pump, feed, pump, bf, feed etc) so now I have a healthy one year old, who didn't take the bottle after 2 months. Go to a support group, your insurance should have it included, call a BF nurse, I would think that your daughters mouth should be able to adapt to nipples anytime now. Soon she'll be climbing all over you pulling at your shirt. Best Wishes, it can be super frustrating, but the benefits are so great!

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