Establishing breast feeding with small baby after bottle fed

(51 Posts)
NobbyD Sun 31-Mar-13 20:36:21

I had my ds2 on Thursday, he was a dinky 4lb 10oz and so we were under paediatrician care in hospital for 3 days. I wanted to breast feed but due to low blood sugar levels the paediatrician wanted me to too up with formula, which I did.

After 3 days of offering breast for 10mins only then topping with formula of which he was taking between 30 and 50ml at a time, his blood sugars came up enough to discharge is.

Now at home ds has continued to want bottle and is starting to refuse the breast even when really hungry!

My milk has now come in and I'm always offering breast and desperately want him to take it. Does anyone have any experience of this and can offer advice on how to get him to take breast?

Thank you!!

tangledupinpoo Sun 31-Mar-13 23:35:51

Congratulations on your new DS! I'm not sure I have any helpful advice but am posting to bump and to hand-hold as I had a small (4lb 9 oz) DS, and had to do the topping up thing in hospital.

Sounds like your DS is doing very well to be taking 30-50 ml at a time of formula! Maybe he is just very hungry and has realised that the bottle is quicker and less effort? Not sure what you can do to sort this though, as I can appreciate with risk of low blood sugar, you will not want to 'hold out' until he is hungry enough to take the breast.

I'm a bit wary of offering any advice as situations can be so different, but my DS was always a difficult feeder, and when we did introduce a bottle to mix feed at 4 months, he seemed much more settled on it than he ever was on the breast. I thought that it must be the consistency of flow he liked.

Sorry, I feel I'm not being helpful at all. If he seems very hungry, could you maybe take the edge off his hunger with an oz from a bottle, then offer the breast? Clutching at straws a bit here.

There are lots of knowledgeable people on here. Hope someone is along soon.

tangledupinpoo Sun 31-Mar-13 23:45:28

Sorry, just to clarify, 'settled' as in he fed more calmly rather than settled as in he went longer between feeds or didn't cry as much in between etc.

NobbyD Mon 01-Apr-13 07:54:40

Thank you for your reply tango. It's nice to know someone else has gone through it.

I think you are right he is very hungry and a bit lazy so likes the formula as its quicker, easier and less effort for his little muscles.

I'm trying to express so he gets some of my milk but not doing a great job at getting much out so no wonder ds gives up.

I think I may have to come to terms with the fact I won't be breast feeding him sad

NobbyD Mon 01-Apr-13 07:55:08

*tangle sorry!

Finallygotaroundtoit Mon 01-Apr-13 08:02:23

Express as often as you can - a few minutes every hour or so. Hand express is much less faf. Aim to replace the formula with bm.

Lots of skin to skin and as your baby gets stronger and milk supply increases ds should be better at direct bf.

Oh and congratulations! grin

Welovegrapes Mon 01-Apr-13 08:05:45

Nobby I think you are doing brilliantly to be trying this. It definitely can work - I know someone who succeeded in getting their low birthweight baby back to bf.

This page has helpful info:

kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

I would also call one of the bf helplines who will be able to offer RL help.

dozily Mon 01-Apr-13 08:09:05

No advice sorry but do try either nct or la leche league helplines. Good luck and congratulations thanks

Welovegrapes Mon 01-Apr-13 08:10:30

With expressing, aim for 10 times in 24 hours, with at least one session at night. Listen to relaxing music and look at photos of baby while pumping - academic studies have shown this increases milk flow. Try to relax and hand express a bit as well - again this can help increase milk flow. (If you google the Mamet technique that helps.) use breast compressions - simple and comfortable - again proven to increase milk flow - again can google this.

Most importantly - rent a hospital grade double pump if you are not already using one - this will make a massive difference to what comes out. Nct have them. There are also online hirers.

I think you are doing amazingly to try this and your determination makes you highly likely to get there in the end thanks

NobbyD Mon 01-Apr-13 08:15:08

Thank you so much everyone all great advice.

I have midwife visit due tomorrow so will def ask about help with expressing. So far managed 30ml last night expressing and not even 5ml this morning,

Will try the hand expressing and look into double pump.

I really do want to bf. I did for 5months with ds1 and forgot how wonderful it is so really don't want to give up.

noblegiraffe Mon 01-Apr-13 08:15:22

If your milk has just come in are you engorged, making it more difficult to latch? If so, hand express a bit off first to make your nipples softer.
When he is refusing the breast, is he latching on at all? My DD wasn't particularly interested in feeding at that age so I'd express some milk into a spoon and pour it into her mouth to get her interested, then she would remember it was nice and attempt to latch. I imagine bottles are much easier so don't need this sort of prompting.

I would definitely get some real life advice, someone to come and watch you try to feed.

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:22:54

Oh hobby ...my heart goes out to you .

It's so hard .

My boy was 4lbs 6 ......we managed to get there eventually .

from what you've said I would do everything to stick with the BF

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:24:02

Brilliant advice from Welove about expressing

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:24:38

I used a hand pump and found it GREAT . What are u using ?

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:25:10

I've been told the electric single pumps are GREat too eg medela

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:26:09

What u are going thru IMO is a bit of a BFeeding Emergency .

There is no substitute IMO for face to face advice ,......from a BF expert

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:29:25

access to a double pump might take TIME . Always worth a phone all to your local SCBU or hospital ...some offer to loan them to patients

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:33:14

Ok apologies if you have tried his already . Have u tried stripping baby off to his nappy only . Lots of cuddles skin to skin . If very sleepy try to rouse him by dabbing a bit of cold water on cotton wool on his cheeks to wake him a bit . Also could try hand expressing some drops of ebm into his mouth so he gets the taste .

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:34:44

Ok apologies if you have tried his already . Have u tried stripping baby off to his nappy only . Lots of cuddles skin to skin . If very sleepy try to rouse him by dabbing a bit of cold water on cotton wool on his cheeks to wake him a bit . Also could try hand expressing some drops of ebm into his mouth so he gets the taste .

Congratulations and well done you! So difficult. I'd strip off and take baby to bed with you for lots of skin to skin. Keep offering the breast at every opportunity and I second the advice re expressing. Can u arrange for the local NCT counsellor to visit? It's free and you don't have to be a member. Also get to a BFing support group, they were invaluable when I first started

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:37:19

a word of warning as I'm sure you'll know ....m&s are not always very helpful or supportive re BF for small babes .....

can6342 Mon 01-Apr-13 08:38:41

Yes, I had a very similar situation.
My DS was born at 36 weeks and weighed 4lb 13oz. Straight away he wouldn't bf due to drowsiness and low blood sugar. He was given a bottle and then didn't even try to bf after that (despite hours of trying/assistance from midwives in hospital). We went home on bottles once his blood sugar had stabilised.
I desperately wanted to bf, and needed 1:1 support to get it to happen. Shout loud for support now, while its still early days - speak to your midwife or local bf counsellor without delay, they can visit you at home.
For me I tried everything, but it took until day 8 for him to even latch on for the first time, so I needed to express regularly to keep my supply going.
I had to keep trying to bf a lot (whenever he was awake really, and before every bottle feed) but what finally worked was taking a bath with DS, plenty of skin to skin, expressing a little milk onto his lips to try and get him to open wide, then flattening my breast into a "sandwich" and shoving it in so he could get it into his little mouth properly. You'll need 1:1 advice for your own circumstances, but it can be done.
Wishing you the best of luck flowers

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:38:53

Another option .....as well as NCT volunteer , local BF group expert to visit would be one of these expensive lactation consultants .........?????only available in big cities . I dunno

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:43:14

AWARE I'm being v negative here BUT you've gotta stay optimistic here .

There are 2 issues .

1. Your baby needs enough nutrition and calories ....

2. Your Breast need enough stimulation ...to keep up supply

I would suggest hat your next step MAY be to Gradually move from formula to EBM via a bottle ............

And then slowly reintroduce the breast again .

BUT please get expert advice on this .

spiderbabymum Mon 01-Apr-13 08:44:07

OBV in order to do the above you will need to express every 2-3 hours round the clock . A mammoth effort .

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