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I don't know where to turn(17 Posts)
Sorry if this is long but it is a bit complicated.
I had my baby 9 days ago now, he was born following a c-section and a long labour at term +10 weighing 9lbs. I had a bleed in theatre and left the hospital with a iron level of 8. When we went home the first four days were really tough, he was breast feeding for about one hour in two and I was finding it really uncomfortable but we were coping. At this point my milk hadn't come in but did start on day 4. On day four if had a midwife visit who decided to weigh him as he had urates and a sunken fontanelle. He had lost 13.5% of his birthweight. She was happy that he was ok and came up with a feeding plan for us but said that she needed to run it by one of the paediatricians. She said she wanted to see him and do blood tests. The end result was that he was found to have a high sodium and he was dehydrated. We were told that he needed to be admitted and that the two options were to put him to the breast and then top him up with formula 2 hourly or put the formula down an NG tube and not be able to breast feed at all. I was at this point feeling really low and like a failure. I chose option one.
Over the next 24 hours I gave him regular formula but struggled to latch him as he was so full he just didn't seem interested. I hand expressed as much as I could bug didn't get much. He gained 275g in 24 hours and was discharged the next day .
Since getting home he has been putting on weight though is not back at his birthweight yet. The feeding plan at the moment is to feed him from both breasts for as long as he wants it. Then top him up with a combination of expressed milk and formula.
I have found that I struggle to get him to fed from the breast for more than 10 minutes. When he does he appears to be sucking and swallowing but then falls asleep. He will then wake up and the the formula really well. I am pumping to try and increase my supply but only really get a max of 50mls from both sides combined, though this is after feeding him.
I now have a week until his next weigh in so a bit more time to play with (they had been weighing every other day). I am desperate to try and reduce the formula and increase the amount I breast feed with the hope of breastfeeding alone eventually but I don't know where to start.
Does anyone have any suggestions? I am willing to try anything
I just don't know where to go
Sorry op- sounds like you've had a tough start to bf. The great news is your baby has put on some weight and the hcp are obviously feeling more confident if they're increasing the gap between weighing
Have you had your baby checked for Tongue Tie? It can really affect milk transfer. If I were you I'd speak to LLL or one of the other helplines. Is there a Lactating Specialist at your hospital you can talk to? -just to check your latch. Has anyone observed a full feed?
You can reduce f gradually, maybe an oz at a time. I would also offer both boobs then top up then boob again.
The amount you can pump doesn't really reflect your supply. I know women who bf chubby little babies but can't express an oz. Sometimes hand expressing can be easier I think. Your doing well. It's really hard. Give the helplines a call.
Wanted to offer support its hard at first. Baby sleeping on me so can't type but kelp at it and get real life help from local feeding counsellor. Try and take the midwives advice with a bit of scepticism if baby is gaining weight that's good and some babies take longer than others to get on even keel. It's still early dAys.
I could have written your post, OP, for both my children. I don't think I can help much from my personal perspective as for my 1st child the only way through we found was to keep him on lots of formula, and my 2nd child is only 3 weeks old and we are currently doing the topping up (the hospital said to give 240ml top up a day as well as bf on demand and left it for me to space out as I thought best). BUT: if you search my name you'll find my previous posts where others including tiktok gave some really great advice, which you may find helpful.
The one thing I can do is offer some virtual hand-holding and to reassure you that you are trying so hard and doing well. I never got back anywhere near to exclusive breastfeeding with my eldest but at the end of the day my baby was fed, happy and healthy. I know how hard it is at this point when the feeding is so all-consuming. Do you feel that you have good real-life support, at home and with the health care professionals, who understand your wishes and are prepared to work with you?
I second the advice to get tongue tie checked by someone who really knows about it by the way - we're trying to get a referral to the clinic as the infant feeding midwife at the hospital thinks my 3 week old has one.
Do not despair - I had weeks of this with DC1. I was advised 10 min on breast then top up with formula. I keep trying and eventually at 6 weeks she 'got' bf. I ended uk feeding her til 8mths.
My advice is to try and relax as it will help increase milk flow. Do lots of skin to skin curled up in bed. Eat lots and drink plenty of water. Try and get those around you to understand that you need to focus on feeding so chores can wait etc. My DD would just lie there, latch on then sleep. She was just lazy at feeding. I expressed between feeds to increase production. Don't race to get rid of bottles too quick as it's a blessing later down the line to have a baby that can do both !!! Do not feel bad. The most important thing is to feed your baby and it doesn't really matter how at the end of the day
I had a very similar experience. Can't offer specific advice but just wanted to say go easy on yourself! Most women post-c-section would (statistically) have given up BF now. It sounds like you are doing a very good job. Being told your baby has lost too much weight is so upsetting. I felt terrible and worried about the formula. After a couple of weeks (and two long sessions with a breastfeeding counsellor) things settled he's enormous.
Watching with interest op...I'm breastfeeding for hours on end (6 day old) and topping up 2oz afterwards (10oz in 24hrs) and my baby is still making hunger cues in between. ..so disheartening esp since I have a 2yo who is getting upset that I don't have time for her atm
Gosh, this all sounds very stressful. Personally I think you need to seek out some expert help. It seems that you have just been told to top up without any other help. Can you seek out an infant feeding specialist at your hospital? Most hospitals should have someone like this who really knows about breastfeeding.
They should be able to observe a whole feed, check your latch, check for tongue tie and give you help to increase your milk supply and reduce the formula. You can feed as much as you like, but if those feeds aren't efficient then the milk intake won't be good.
Other things I would suggest are:
Lots of skin to skin
Breast compressions ( dr jack newman has a good video clip)
Frequent feeds from both breasts and lots of night time feeds too.
You do need to eat enough and drink to thirst so that you can recover from birth, but don't feel you need to do anything special for your milk supply. You can't affect the quality or quantity of it by eating chocolate, mores the pity!
One more thing...how is your iron level now? That can affect milk supply.
Hi OP, both my newborns were very sleepy but because of jaundice. I had to do everything I could to keep them awake. So I'd change nappy first, take off their clothes (summer babies), kind of tickle them on the feet/ribs to wake them up. They both would fall asleep on the boob (really handy when they get older BTW) so it was constant tickles, face stroking, noise, even a cold flannel and an open fridge door once (it was 30degrees). It was a sloooow process and very tiring. Someone told me it can take up to 6 weeks for you and baby to become bf pros. It seems like an eternity but every day gets a little easier.
Oh and I used nipple shield with dc1 she found it easier, but they may affect supply, so I was warned so we didn't do that for too long.
Thank you so much for all of your advice. I have been feeling very low about everything today but it is good to hear that other people have back from similar situations. They don't think that he has a tongue tie so that is a positive. He is breast feeding a lot more today and I am managing to get him to latch a bit more reliably. There is a breast feeding drop in clinic round the corner tomorrow so I am going to go and see if they can help.
No extra advice but I know what you're going through so just wanted to add my support. Be kind to yourself, it will get easier
That's good to hear that things are getting a bit better and that you are seeking help at the clinic. You will get there, just take each day as it comes.
Well done... The drop in sounds a brilliant idea. I know loads of people who plucked up the courage to use our local baby bf cafe and never looked back
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