Tell me it is possible to still breast feed (long sorry)

(15 Posts)
lemonsherbet Mon 15-Jul-13 18:57:12

DS is now 12 days old. When he was born the midwives were happy he could latch on. At day 3-4 I felt that I did not have enough breast milk. The boobs went hard but after 1 feed in the morning they felt that they were completely empty. He had urates in nappies at day 4 and again called out midwife. They said he looked OK. Again latch on was checked and again told OK. They also kept telling me they could see him swallow and could hear him. I felt that he was tiring himself out at the breast and was not feeding.

Day 5 and they weighed him and he had lost 20% of birth weight. Admitted to hospital and they NG feed him overnight and gave me a breast pump. It was at this stage I noticed that he had a heart shaped tongue. I pointed out over the next 5 days that I thought he was tongue tied. They told me he could latch so it was OK. Anyway discharged later at day 10. I telephoned a private lactation consultant who said he had a poor suck and that he had a 90% anterior tie and was not surprised he was struggling. To be fair I could only get 10ml out with the hospital pump but I suspect was not using it efficiently.

Since discharge she (the private consultant) is the only person I have seen. The HV is not due to visit till day 16. The midwife has not turned up, but then I had expressed concerns to 5 MW who all said everything was fine. I am still having to give top ups. I am expressing using a normal pump-doing slightly better get 20ml out.

I have lost all my confidence that I am able to breast feed. He still falls asleep on the breast. He ended up having a large top up this afternoon (given via a tube he has to suck on that is attached to my finger). This top up was after an hour attempted feed, where my breasts felt that they didn't refill. Had a feed this am and pumped breasts afterwards and nothing came out. My DH says we are only 48hr post snip so may take longer to come in. I just read everywhere that the first week is where BF established and feel I am starting from nothing trying to ramp it up and am already almost at the 2 week stage. The HV knows the situation but will not see me earlier. I need some encouragement and wondered if anyone could give me some.

MyNameIsSuz Mon 15-Jul-13 19:07:43

Poor you, it sounds like you've had a rough time of things. I can't advise on everything but a couple of things are similar to the issues we had at the start with my 9-month-old.

Are you pumping straight after a feed? I never managed to get anything out doing that as he'd emptied me! Even though it didn't seem like it as he slowly nibbled away delicately like a sleepy baby bird rather than actually properly sucking. I only ever got 30-40ml at a time, and that's in a good half-hour two-boob pumping session, at least an hour after a feed. I also struggled to get anything out unless I was leaning forward and really pressing the pump snug against myself.

Mine also always fell asleep on the breast, and as a result lost a lot of his birth weight in the first few days. I went to see a specialist and our routine became: strip him right down to his nappy for a feed, if he falls asleep blow on his face or tickle his feet to wake him up. After boob 1 change his nappy (whether he needed it or not, just to fully wake him up) and straight onto boob 2.

Whereabouts are you? There's a fantastic support group at the hospital in Oxford if you're anywhere nearby.

MyNameIsSuz Mon 15-Jul-13 19:09:03

Also, I think that until the baby is 4 weeks old you are still allowed to talk to your local midwives. You may find they are more helpful and see you more quickly than the health visitor.

lemonsherbet Mon 15-Jul-13 19:15:08

I think my worry is that he was falling asleep before due to getting so tired with the poor suck.How can I tell the difference between a sleepy baby and one that is struggling with feeding. I express after most feeds. I also did an expression session this afternoon with no feed before and got a bit more out. I am in Cambridgeshire.

MyNameIsSuz Mon 15-Jul-13 19:44:51

Hmm, I see what you mean, I'm afraid I don't know. Does he seem different to how he is after a top-up feed? Less content or anything?

mawbroon Mon 15-Jul-13 20:20:10

Did the lactation consultant also check for a posterior tie? It is common for there to be a posterior tie behind the anterior one and feeding will be difficult and tiring if there is still a restriction.

this video shows how to do it.

Also, have a look in his mouth when he is crying. How far up does the tongue lift? Does it curl at the edges? If it curls, or there is not much elevation, then that would also point to a posterior tie.

There is a group on facebook called Tongue Tie Babies Support Group. Ask to join and you will find all sorts of knowledgeable people on there

dizzy77 Mon 15-Jul-13 20:33:41

OP, sending my encouragement: in a similar place early on with DS1 two years ago. Whilst we bf'd until week 10, i can post from my perspective if i had my time again knowing what i do now. Sounds like you're already doing all the right things, eg topping up with a finger/tube etc and pumping as much as poss, it's miserable when not a lot comes out.

I'd suggest not hanging on too much for help from the MW and HV, especially if they're in no hurry to visit: some are really knowledgeable but some are not. If you already have an LC are you in touch with the local La Leche League? I found them amazing in their support when I was preparing for the arrival of DS2. Our branch has "leaders" who work on a rota to support locally and regular meetings, they really know their stuff.

tiktok Mon 15-Jul-13 21:40:01

lemon on what you have said here, you have had truly awful maternity care sad sad

In time, you might want to complain about this.

Meantime, you need an assessment by someone knowledgable.

Yes, it is possible for you to breastfeed. Expressing - both breasts a couple of times each session - and feeding direct as much as you can...good basis. A call to one of the bf helplines is a good idea, too.

KeepTryin Mon 15-Jul-13 21:52:14

Hi. You're doing great to be persevering with this. Remember that what you pump is not an indication of how much milk you have. The pump is not as good at removing milk as baby. Keep going, let baby feed as often as you can to keep your supply going and hopefully increasing. Contact all the various consultants, support groups etc and keep posting on here for support. Can your DH or someone help you call midwifes/hv/lll etc? Take some of the pressure off you? I hope the TT gets sorted and things get easier for you. Are you due a weigh in soon. Might be reassuring if baby is gaining ok.

Twattybollocks Mon 15-Jul-13 22:10:08

You have had truly shocking care, 20% weight loss, it was lucky they weighed him when they did. how are his nappies now? Has he been reweighed? Is he now gaining? There is something you can get called a supplemental nurser, where he can get a top up whilst feeding at the breast and stimulating your supply, the idea is that you gradually reduce the amount of the top ups until he is feeding exclusively at the breast. Do feed as often as you can persuade him to take the breast, do lots of skin to skin and keep a close eye on nappies, he should be producing at least 6 wet nappies a day and 2 dirty ones, with the poo being seedy and yellow.

lemonsherbet Tue 16-Jul-13 15:14:57

I know antenatal it was very good. Post natal has been rubbish. The paed consultant telephoned the HV on day 8 to ask her to see me. Day 16 was the earliest she could see me.

I was an emergency c section so can not drive. The nearest LLL is 16 miles away, which would be OK if I could drive but since I am now relient on public transport would take me over an hr to get there. We had the tongue tie treated privately because we were told the HV would need to assess and then refer. It was treated by a lactation consultant, she did say it would be easier to rescue my supply now than at 6 weeks. I am just fed up the past 2 weeks have been a case of expressing and feeding. I feel it is taking away any chance to enjoy being a mum. I just feel that if I give a bottle of formula than at least I know he is being fed.

There is a NCT group local with breast feeding supporters. Do you think they will be of any help?

KeepTryin Wed 17-Jul-13 09:06:06

Hi lemon. How are you getting on? Try the nct bf supporters. They might me able to point you in the direction of more support as well. The first few weeks are tough breastfeeding with or without additional issues. But believe me when I say, once any problems are sorted, it becomes the easiest thing! So convenient, no thinking required except is it left or right this time! smile For me I feel it started to settle at 4 weeks and by six weeks I think we'd cracked it! Do your gps have a drop in where you can take DS to get weighed. You might be pleasantly surprised...?

puzzlejig Wed 17-Jul-13 09:26:55

Hi not got much time to post but ds had tt snipped at 3 weeks. He was at that point totally bottle fed with mixture of ebm and top ups. By six weeks he was totally bf so it can be done. However just wanted to say in hindsight was v stressful time, it did affect the first few weeks and sometimes I wonder whether it might have been.better to carry on with bottles, but that's from the perspective of 2 1/2 years on and its all so different and intense in first few weeks. The first weeks of his life are a blur of round the clock expressing, mastitis and worry which makes me sad. I did go on to bf for 2 years. Hope that makes sense, be kind to yourself. I can post again this eve with some things that helped us if that would help.

lemonsherbet Thu 18-Jul-13 07:59:46

Hi, I got in touch with the NCT, who were brilliant. They sent someone round to the house last night. They have worked on correcting my latch and giving him a deeper hold. I can now "properly" feed off the one breast (but it takes a couple of attempts). They will also send someone round on Friday to check everything still OK but I can text them in between. With hindsight I wished I had got in touch with them sooner rather than relying on the midwifes to help me with breast feeding.

The NCT lady also thinks my ability to BF can be rescued. She basically said to express last night after offering him the breast. But to not offer too long and then top him up and have a couple of hours sleep. I think it was obvious how exhausted I was from the continual cycle of feeding, expressing and top ups. That has really helped and no longer feel like crying whenever having to try and feed. She was also very positive with me. Telling me I was doing OK and that most people would have given up. My DH and myself were at breaking point the day before and even tried giving him a bottle, but she was not judgemental at that. We had been researching which bottles and teats to get before she arrived but by the time she left we were 2 different people.

KeepTryin Thu 18-Jul-13 11:57:36

That's great news!! Really glad you got some help and that the NCT support was good. Good to hear you are starting to feel more positive. I cracked at day 5 and ff for three days along with pumping. I remember the feeling of dread that accompanied each feed. It does pass. Well done for sticking with it! You should feel really proud of yourself and your lovely DP for supporting you grin keep posting if it helps.

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