7 weeks in and still not feeling great about breastfeeding(16 Posts)
I'm not even sure what I hope to gain by posting, but feeling the need to share! We got off to a shaky start (induction that ended in c section). DD wouldn't latch at first and we had to deal with all the crying, fist pounding etc - all very emotional. Eventually we got past that with the help of midwives and a breastfeeding clinic who I have been seeing ever since she was 10 days old or thereabouts.
Fast forward to now, and this is where we are at. She still doesn't always get the latch every time. So there is a lot of attempts and eventually usually she gets it. We swap sides loads because she always seems to start well and then goes slow/falls asleep/nibbles or stops sucking. She never seems to go at it with gusto if you know what I mean. So I never feel confident that she's getting a good feed. We have been supplementing via a lactation aid which is a pain in the arse and tricky to get her latched with that on. I've been resorting to using a bottle to top her up because the lactation aid is so tricky. Last week there was a 'by Jove I think she's got it moment' and I stopped supplementing, but as the week went on, I got nervous that she was losing weight because she felt bonier, and sure enough she had lost an ounce. So that was Sunday and I was thoroughly deflated. I just feel like I'm doing all this extra work to get her to exclusively breastfeed and I can't see a light at the end of the tunnel. Will she ever turn that corner and breastfeed proficiently enough to survive on that alone?
To top it all off I chatted this morning to my lactation consultant at the clinic and her advice was to keep going with the supplements either via the lactation aid or bottle, and then at 12 ish weeks we can stop supplementing in favour of solid food as the supplement!! I was a bit taken aback because I thought the guidelines were 6 months only, but she said when I questioned it that this advice was often misunderstood, and that in the case of an exclusively breastfed baby this was true, but in my case as DD is already being supplemented it was simply a case of switching the supplement away from formula and maybe to a piece of avocado or banana. I'm still very sceptical about this advice!!! I feel like I am never going to exclusively breastfeed and I'm really very uncomfortable about introducing solids before the guidelines say so. So I'm thinking in my head that my plan is to carry on until the 12 week mark, and hope she has got it by then, but if not, then opt for formula and stay away from solids until 6 months.
Does anyone have any stories or wise words?!! I'm really disheartened about breastfeeding right now. It is not the lovely bonding experience I was hoping for, and instead I hAe found myself getting frustrated at DD for not getting it which is totally not right and I feel awful every time I look at her gorgeous face.its not meant to be like this is it?!
I don't know enough to advise you but have you tried calling a bf helpline? I found the LLL one excellent.
If its really tough, you have other options. I switched to formula at 12 weeks and was really relieved. As my mum said, feeding isn't meant to be a punishment.
I didn't want to read and run, but your LC sounds a bit barking! 12 weeks old to introduce solids? If you are in the UK, the recommendation from the NHS is 6 months. When your baby can sit up unaided and handle food, she will be ready.
I can't say I've been in your position. Do you have lots of skin to skin with your DD? This may encourage feeding.
I'm sure you've thought of this but has she been checked for tongue tie? My dd's was missed by mw, hv and 2 breastfeeding peer supporters before I took her to an expert who spotted it immediately. Dd was 5 wks by this point.
I feel your pain. I remember dreading dd waking up in the early days as I knew it'd mean feeding which would mean pain. And I also got frustrated with her, which made me feel so guilty and sad. Many tears were shed in the first week!. Bf was far far tougher than I ever imagined.
mumbai the LC's advice is extraordinary....it's certainly true that we have no really sound evidence that formula fed babies are best off on milk alone until 6 mths, but we have very sound evidence that 12 weeks is too young however babies are fed...is the LC from the UK and is she fully qualified?
The fact your baby lost an ounce is a concern, but in fact it's quite hard to get a decent picture of growth when babies are weighed as frequently as weekly. What is your baby doing on the weight chart? You don't say there have been weight gain problems before - if so, what were they?
I agree she needs checking out for tongue tie.
Is your main worry that she seems unable to 'tuck in' to bf? Are you in pain when she feeds?
Well done for getting this far!
I could have written the above myself to be honest and although I didn't get back to EBM (think I had too much self doubt to believe I could feed ds myself once we had initial weight loss), 8 months on I am still mixed feeding and so glad I didn't give up - very nearly did many times!
I actually bought a lactation aid but never used it once I saw how utterly hideous it would be to clean and sterilise it after every feed so kudos for even trying that.
When you say bottle do you mean formula or expressed? If formula, have you tried expressing?
Few words of encouragement - had very similar problems to you, thought ds would never get the hang of it, then he just suddenly did, I watched a lot of dr sears youtube videos and really concentrated on positioning etc, also tried compression which helped encourage ds to feed.
Unfortunately I've never quite got off top ups but have reduced them. Don't find bf stressful anymore, it's comforting to ds, it can help prevent allergies whilst weaning etc. In my case, the first 7/8 weeks were torture so if you're anything like me you might be turning a corner soon!
I wouldn't consider weaning so early - formula would be much more preferable imo.
Just set yourself little targets and you may find when you reach it, you might just keep going for another week etc.
A doctor,midwife and the LCD have checked for Tt althought none were particularly thorough but my midwife even commented that dd had a breastfeeding tongue. I think maybe she is just a slow feeder and doesn't respond we'll to slow flow. But yes in general I'm concerned she doesn't feed consistently.
Sorry that should just be LC not LCD!
I'm not in the UK either but the LC is fully trained and approved by the association here. I'm stil not comfortable with the solids advice because as you say it really is not a case of offering a different supplement-it's all about whether she is ready for solids at all and at 3 months that is highly doubtful.
Thanks for the encouragement Surely. I thinkableixed feeding is the way forward and I'm throwing out the lactation aid. It's just so awful! I'm going to stick with it until she gets to 12 weeks and review it then. In the mean time ill continue to breastfeed and offer a formula top up. I do try to
Express but I just don't find the time to in all honesty. I probably manage to express twice a day and manage to produce about 80ml in total from both. That's not enough because she will happily take anything from 40-120ml as a top up after every feed. So expressing is something I can so but won't ever be able to 100% sustain that to keep up with her.
That should be 'I think mixed feeding' is the way forward
I agree about checking for tongue tie. The advice to give solids sounds absolutely crazy! The BFN - Breast Feeding Network are a very good organisation all advice evidence based and no commercial affiliations - I did BF helper training with them.
This is not BFN advice, it is my personal opinion FWIW, but I would consider going to a cranial osteopath who specialises in working with babies. Sometimes midwives or HVs will recommend one, althought hey're probably not meant to. They can resolve all sorts of problems. No guarantees of course, but completely gentle and will not harm in any way.
So sorry to hear about your frustration and disappointment. Well done for everything you are doing. Whatever you decide you've given the little one a great start, so go easy on yourself.
Both my dc's fed in such different ways. Ds1 was a solid 20 minutes at each breast with a good 2/3 hours in between feeds. Ds2 literally fed for no more than 5 minutes at a time on one breast but was a frequent feeder sometimes only going 20 or 30 minutes.
Please don't beat yourself up about ebf. They little for such a short period of time you have to enjoy it. I mixed feed DD1 & am mix feeding DD2 (5 weeks) both due to poor weight gain. With DD1 i spent 6 weeks on a physically & emotionally drain rollercoaster trying everything to improve supply. I look at photos of her now at 6 weeks & she looks ill. Not putting any of is through that this time. mixed is an excellent option, ff isn't the end of the world, do what is right for you.
ps i wouldn't switch to solids though! Having said that I am a BLW enthusiast so no way possible at 12 weeks!
Thanks for the advice. It has been helpful and put things into perspective. Funny thing is that pre baby I was very ambivalent about breastfeeding. I was prepared to give it a go and if it worked great. But it's all very different having had her, I suppose I want to feel like I've given it my best shot. Formula is fine, I know this, so not sure why I am beating myself up! I'm feeling much better knowing that mixed feeding might be all I can do, so not going to sweat it too much. Will see what happens in the next few weeks. Thanks all
Glad you're feeling better about it! Mixed feeding is a totally viable option, I haven't doubted my supply for a while now. My ds is on 16oz of top-up a day but used to be on about 24oz so we did manage to reduce it and he's gained more than 2 percentiles (he was steady though until introducing solids). I do think you have to keep at it though, offer breast at every feed and in between bottles.
You say you stopped supplementing when you felt things were improving - that's a big sudden drop so not surprising there was a bit of weight loss - I under advice of HV halved my top-ups and ds lost weight. So I went back to full amount for a while and then HV suggested to drop each feed by an ounce and then weigh again in 2 weeks to give body a chance to catch up. When I saw after that 2 weeks that ds had still gained weight that really helped my confidence.
Funny, I was like you before birth - very blasé about bf - if it works it works, but once it went wrong, and I was searching on Internet for help (the constant bf, expressing, topping up, cleaning and sterilising was killing me!), I came across some strong views about formula and then that starting making me feel so bad about using it. But I can see I was being ridiculous and wasted a lot of time needlessly worrying. Any BM you give your ds will be beneficial - I read on kellymom that just 2oz a day an provide protective qualities I think it was.
Again re weaning, babies digestive systems are physically not ready for anything other than milk regardless of size, grabbing food off you, sitting up at 3 months. Plus it isn't anywhere near as nutritional an calorie providing as milk so very odd advice!
Oh just a couple more things, when attaching baby, bring her to the breast rather than be tempted to move towards her and make sure the breast is falling naturally so that the nipple is in line with the back of the mouth. And do try and watch those dr sears videos they were very helpful in knowing what to watch out for to see baby is drinking rather than nibbling. Plus there's no harm in keeping baby on just for comforting some of the time - all helps with supply.
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