How can I breastfeed exclusively?

Julie - posted on 01/10/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )




Hi, my baby girl is 1 week and 3 days old, and I have been trying to breastfeed exclusively since her birth but I am having a lot of trouble. In the hospital, I nursed her as often as she demanded it but pretty quickly she started falling asleep very soon after starting to nurse. She lost a little too much weight and she was dehydrated, and the nursing staff was concerned. The pediatrician said she was ok but we would need to watch her closely and to call the day after I got home from the hospital. When I called, she was only having like 1 or 2 wet diapers a day and hadn't had a poopy diaper in over 10 hours, so the pediatrician told me to give her an ounce of formula with each feeding to make sure she was getting what she needed. I went to the pediatrician two days later and she told me that the baby looked ok so I could cut back to 1 oz. formula every other feeding. The problem is that every time I feed her, she falls asleep once she gets on the breast, maybe after 1 or 2 minutes. And I try to keep waking her up but it really doesn't work too well, and she seems to be sucking very lightly. But then when she comes off the breast, or I take her off since she's sleeping and not sucking, she gets upset and starts looking for food right away. So I keep putting her back on and she falls asleep, then she comes off and gets upset again. She often will also come off the breast herself and then when I tru to put her back on she gets upset and cries and wants nothing to do with it, but still keeps looking for food. I am pumping once a day in the morning, but I get very little when I do, about 20 ml or less.
I would really prefer to breastfeed exclusively, but I just can't tell what the issue is. I don't know if my milk supply is just low, if my milk flow is too slow for her, or if using the bottle has made this so difficult.
Any suggestions or anyone who has had a similar experience?


Lori - posted on 01/11/2013




It sounds to me like you've got a "sleepy baby". The link here has some good ideas about how to keep your baby awake and interested while nursing.

If your baby doesn't nurse effectively it can affect your milk supply. A milk supply works on supply and demand. As milk is removed from the breast, that stimulates your body to make more milk. If the milk isn't removed from the breast then your body is being told that the milk isn't needed. Since you are feeding formula to your baby at every other feeding, you need to also be pumping after each feeding. Even if you're not getting any milk, or very little milk, pumping for 5 to 10 minutes after each feeding will help to stimulate your breasts to make more milk.

As you do start to get more milk each time you pump, you can use that in the bottle either instead of formula, or mixed with the formula. The next link is a good guide of how to wean off of supplements (formula) and back to the breast exclusively.

And if you haven't yet... I'd also suggest contacting a Lactation Consultant. Preferably an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). My IBCLC is/was a wealth of knowledge and always had good suggestions for every snag I ran into while breastfeeding. If you don't have one yet, you can ask your doctor or ask the nurses at the hospital where you delivered if they know of one in your area. Or you can use this link to find one close to you.

Another good resource is La Leche League. They have a hotline you can call for assistance too.

"If you are unable to find a Group or Leader near you, 24-hour breastfeeding help is available toll-free in the US from the LLL Breastfeeding Helpline-US at 877-4-LALECHE (877-452-5324)."

And they probably have meetings once a month somewhere near you. If nothing else, it's good to get to see and get to know other breastfeeding momma's in your area.

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