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to give up breastfeeding after 4 days?

(104 Posts)
HeldTogetherByGafferTape Sat 01-Oct-16 18:42:37

I had my first baby on Wednesday morning. A little girl. 8’10 was her birth weight and she’s lost a pound since then. She’s amazing.

The birth was a little more traumatic than I’d hoped. 2 day induction, emergency C-section where the epidural didn’t fully work, followed by further complications to my own health which kept me completely bed bound and involved various fairly invasive procedures for a few days.

The midwife came to the house this morning and said that everything looks good, apart from the weight loss which we need to keep an eye on, but as the day has worn on I’m starting to worry that something is really wrong.

I’m trying to breastfeed. It didn’t get off on the best foot due to my own health complications (couldn’t sit up to feed) but she seemed comforted when sucking, and the hospital raised no concerns when they watched me. However after a day of trying and failing to feed her today at home I’m at my wits end. She’s only had one nappy today (wee + poo), she’s been crying a lot and her wee voice has gone all croaky - does this mean she’d dehydrated?

I thought the problem was that my milk just hadn’t come in yet, but have just confirmed that it has by expressing a little. So I think the problem is my technique and her latch.

Baby sucks fine - she loves it in fact, she wants to suck all day and all night. I think her latch is wrong and as a result my nipples are so painful that I want to smack my head off the wall as she gets on. I know this is wrong for a start. She sucks a lot, but doesn’t swallow. She ‘feeds’(sucks) for a only a few minutes before she dozes off which isn’t right either. After a very quick 5 min snooze she wakes again and immediately starts sucking her hands/crying for food again, so something isn’t working.

She’s been up all night for the past 2 nights (and I mean literally all night without at break). I probably tried to get her in her cot 40 times. She’d suck, doze off, and wake again as soon as I tried to move her). I thought this was just newborn stuff, but I’m starting to really worry she’s really dehydrated or Im making her really sick dilly dallying around trying to get her to eat.

When I look at her latch, and compare it to breastfeeding videos on the internet, the only difference I can see is the her bottom jaw is not open wide enough, and instead is clamped around the bottom of the nipple, but no amount of coaxing, reshifting, taking her off and putting her on again, repositions (football, cross cradle, laid back) or pushing her back in towards me will convince her to open wider.

Complicating the issue is that I can’t stop crying. Literally can’t stop. I think it’s hormones with my milk coming in, but it’s clouding my judgement and I’m winding myself into a frenzy not knowing what to do. I’m also sleep deprived - she wont settle anywhere but on my chest, she is either there or on my nipple we tried earlier to have a little enforced break so I could have a nap but her voice got so harsh and croaky with crying that even my ultra-positive husband had to bring her through to me to calm her on my chapped nipple. On top of this I’m also bleeding a lot, my C wound is painful, and side effects from the other complications are giving me vertigo, so Im not feeling great. I also have this growing idea that Im going to accidentally kill the baby either by not waking up if she’s in trouble, standing up and forgetting she’s on my knee or now through this. I am aware that this is unlikely and that it’s really out of character for me to think like this (suggesting hormones might be going wild and potentially a dose of baby blues are at play too).

The question is though, what should I do?

Should I give her some formula in the next hour? Just to make sure she has something in her tum? I don’t even know how to make it, but I could learn quick. Would this mean game over for breastfeeding? Why are you not meant to mix the two so early on when trying to establish breastfeeding.

Should I try to express and bottle feed. Not sure how well this would go with the painful nips but happy to give anything a try. Again might this interfere with breastfeeding

Should I try a few more breastfeeding things to see if I can improve her latch? My nipples really are on another planet of pain (and I say this after a week of quite a lot of extreme pain) but I’m up for trying.

My husband is calling the hospital now? Have I making her ill by delaying?

Any advice would be so much appreciated. It sounds so self indulgent but I feel like such a failure as a mum already. I just want to do what's right by the wee sausage, and I don't know what that is.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 01-Oct-16 18:48:23

You sound like I was. Bloody nightmare flowers

I expressed and used nipple shields. It wasn't perfect but I BF until 14 months.

My nipples were like minced meat! Fancy Medula machine helped.

But there's nothing wrong with formula if you decide that! flowers

WhateverWillBe Sat 01-Oct-16 18:49:31

A pound is nothing, she must be having something from you or she'd have lost a lot more than that in four days.

Ds2 lost 13% of his body weight - from 8lbs 9 down to about 7lbs 7 - in 7 days. The midwife left us be until day 6 then on day 7 we had to go back into hospital and he had to go on formula.

I really wouldn't worry yet but obviously just keep an eye on signs of dehydration.

Astarael Sat 01-Oct-16 18:50:14

Couldn't read and run I remember those days and really feel for you!

Your description of the latch sounds very similar to DD. She took ages to learn to feed - she never got to a proper wide opened latch but my nipples got tougher and we managed to feed for over a year.

Lansinoh! If you don't have some - get some! You don't have to wash it off for feeding as it doesn't affect baby and it SAVED my nipples!

If you want to breastfeed her then don't panic yet - you may be able to sort this out like I did. BUT if you give her some formula then that is absolutely fine! A) it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have to give up breastfeeding totally and B) even if you do move over to formula feeding then that is fine too!

Your hormones will be dipping at day 4 and I remember feeling so so overwhelmed by everything. My favourite mantra of parenting is 'this too shall pass'. The sore nipples and constant feeding will not last forever. Whichever option you go for, you and baby will manage! flowers

Bearfrills Sat 01-Oct-16 18:51:00

You sound absolutely exhausted flowers

What painkillers are you on with the section? When I had DD they gave me codeine and they said it wouldn't affect DD but we were both very sleepy, DD especially so. She would feed as you described, a few sucks then zonked. I stopped the codeine and the sleepiness improved loads. With DC3 I had dicolfenic and no sleepiness at all.

There's no harm in giving a bottle for formula if you need a break. DC3 shredded one of my nipples and I was knackered so DH gave him a bottle of formula once a day for a few days, I used that time to nap. Getting more rest made all the difference and it gave my nipppe chance to heal a bit too, we stopped the formula after around 3-4 days.

Also get some Lansinoh (you can get it on prescription in some areas, your MW might also have some sample sized tubes), it's great for sore nips.

AllTheShoes Sat 01-Oct-16 18:51:28

I'm not expert (bf'd my two and had a difficult start) but I'd just like to offer some support while the experts find this thread. In your position, I think I'd phone the hospital, and also try and express and cup or syringe feed, to get some milk in. I'd also call a breastfeeding helpline.

Tomorrow, find your nearest IBCLC and see if they can do an emergency appointment - some are NHS but for an urgent appointment I think you'd probably need to pay. Link is here:

pestov Sat 01-Oct-16 18:52:07

Get yourself to as many breastfeeding sessions as you can. Your hospital should do some as do NCT and LLL. Also look slightly further afield if you can Be seen sooner. Ask them to check your latch and look for tongue tie. Slather on the lanolin in the meantime, and try to express between feeds to get your supply up and to give the nips a rest. If they go scabby (sorry!) then shields are useful short term.

The next week will be the worst, but once you crack it life is so much easier. Stay strong x

AllTheShoes Sat 01-Oct-16 18:53:29

Also, kellymom is brilliant resource, properly evidence-based. This is their newborn page:

ConvincingLiar Sat 01-Oct-16 18:53:50

It's tricky on a Saturday, but I'd do whatever you can to get through the weekend and seek out help on Monday (earlier if possible). If you give up breastfeeding it's not the end of the world, but it doesn't sound like a) that's what you want or b) you've exhausted it just yet.

Have you got some lanisoh for your nipples?

It really doesn't sound like you've made her ill, please don't panic.

Boundaries Sat 01-Oct-16 18:54:05

Lansinoh nipple balm is your friend. Really helps with the soreness. Sounds like the latch is a bit off - mine was on one side and it took only a tiny adjustment and it was fine. If you can express without discomfort you could do that, give baby some expressed milk? Keep trying (rugby ball hold really helped me) then find a breast feeding support person asap?
I think 10% weight loss over first week is expected, isn't it?
Also, formula is fine. So if you go down that road, don't give a single fuck, you're feeding your baby.

cherrypiemay16 Sat 01-Oct-16 18:54:14

Ah, bless you. So tough in those early days. If you want to keep BF-you can get through it, I guarantee it.
I also had a rough delivery and ending up trying to feed whilst lying flat on bed rest. It's so difficult anyway without all the stuff you have going on too, and those crazy hormones!
Does sound like the latch to me. You need to see someone asap, I found the NCT breastfeeding counsellors great, clinics in every day in my area. I know they say BF shouldn't be painful but I think it often is to start with until your nipple toughens up. Once you get the latch sorted it'll help. If you're worried about dehydration you could always express and syringe/cup feed if she'll take it? The rest of it sounds pretty 'newborn' to me, they often do hate being put down, she just wants to be close to you! A co-sleeper cot worked great for us. So hard in the beginning (actually still hard at 5 months but at least you figure some of it out!) but you're doing a great job, stick with it! smile

BumblebeeBum Sat 01-Oct-16 18:54:36

Oh darling. You sound so sad and it really reminds me of how I felt with both my two.

You're not a crap mother, you sounds an amazing mother. Every day in the beginning is so different. You may feel totally different tomorrow.

I'd recommend that if you want to continue Breastfeeding - you call La Leche League - they answer the phone any time of day or night. See here for more details. I rang them in tears one day, totally overwhelmed, hormonal and just burst into tears when the kind lady answered.

Sorry I can't help more, but your story resonated so much with mine, I just had to post. Please take care of yourself. You're doing a great job. Take it day by day. Hugs

QuackDuckQuack Sat 01-Oct-16 18:54:53

What would you like to do? If you have a strong feeling in a particular direction, then I'd follow that feeling. You might have come onto MN in the hope that someone would tell you what to do and secretly wish that we'd point you in a particular direction.

cherrypiemay16 Sat 01-Oct-16 18:55:11

Ooh yes I meant to say NIPPLE CREAM ALL THE WAY!!

YokoUhOh Sat 01-Oct-16 18:56:55

Keep going OP sounds like you're doing it right! - the breastfeeding bible.

DS1 never settled in his cot, just wanted to be on me. Get a sidecar crib and co-sleep (safely).

pestov Sat 01-Oct-16 18:57:10

And don't feel a failure for mixed feeding. I had to from day 2 as we were hospitalised, went with a cup to avoid nipple confusion. Once tongue tie was sorted at 5 weeks we switched straight to EBF and are still going at 8 months

MiniAlphaBravo Sat 01-Oct-16 18:57:39

That sounds very stressful. You could try giving her some of the ready made formula in the small bottles. I did this before my milk came in and then continued to feed for 18 months even tho health visitors will tell you not to. Otherwise she doedinitely will need to open her mouth wider. Or your nipples will kill! Try taking her off if she is 'nipple sucking' and then you basically have to shove more of your boob in her mouth!! It's really weird at first but she will get it.

It sounds like you could breastfeed successfully so maybe keep going if you want to? I think in the circumstances with the sickness etc you would be perfectly justified in formula feeding if it makes things easier though! Good luck and so keep asking Mumsnet for tips if you decide to bf. The kellymom website is really helpful as well.

Deliaskis Sat 01-Oct-16 18:58:09

There will be many who disapprove of me saying this, but I was in a similar situation, and wish I'd given formula earlier. Resisting it for so long and crap BF support meant DD was basically hungry and dehydrated for a week. I've beat myself up about that, and I've beat myself up about failing at BF, but 5 years on, none of it really matters. When DD was tiny, it felt like there could be this huge long-term impact of every single decision, but its rarely the case, so my advice, as a failed BFer, is that you should try and deal with the here and now. Right now, your baby needs nutrition and fluids. Giving some formula now doesn't have to mean the end of BF, you can still see if any local support can help you get it sorted, but right now, on a Saturday evening, your baby needs feeding, and if the only way to do that right now is with formula, then that's the right thing to do.

Cinnamon2013 Sat 01-Oct-16 18:58:17

God it sounds so so hard. Could you get a breastfeeding volunteer/lactation consultant to sit with you and check?

Best of luck - whatever you do and decide will be right. You are a good mum already and will make the decisions you and your little one need. The first week is so intense, it does all get so much easier I promise.

dollywobbles Sat 01-Oct-16 18:58:48

This does sound kind of normal for the first few days/weeks.
Bf can really hurt. I remember doing that count down thing from the second DS latched on till it stopped hurting. It seemed to get longer.
Honestly, I would say it really depends on how much you want to bf as to whether you carry on.
Ultimately, your baby will be fed: by breast or bottle. I don't think it matters unless you think it does.
If you're going to beat yourself up about stopping now (which would be massively unfair of you!), you probably could carry on. If your main priority is feeding your baby: do whatever is best for you and just enjoy your lovely new baby.

outputgap Sat 01-Oct-16 18:59:48

At 5 days I phoned one of the breastfeeding helplines and couldn't actually speak for crying.

Your milk is probably just on the verge of coming in big style, likely tomorrow, which will transform things.

The non stop feeding is normal.

At this point with dd1 I cup fed her formula, because I was worried she was getting no milk, but mainly kept to the breast.

Formula is fine but you want to avoid nipple confusion, hence cup or syringe is your friend.

It is honestly about to get better!

Magstermay Sat 01-Oct-16 19:00:15

Well done for keeping going through everything flowers, I had a lot of problems with DS1 feeding so understand a bit of how you are feeling. I agree a lactation consultant will be by far the best person to talk to in this situation, I would definitely get onto that. Adding a bottle of formula a day at this stage won't affect your supply and you don't have to continue if you don't want to. As pp have said it will let you heal and rest, and this phase won't last forever, you will get to sleep again!

DesignedForLife Sat 01-Oct-16 19:00:17

There's no shame in mixed feeding if it helps you, or formula feeding if you decide that's right for you both.

If you want to carry on I'd suggest calling Midwifes and asking to see breastfeeding coordinator/specialist ASAP, get yourself to support groups, post on the feeding boards here, read articles on kellymom.

What painkillers are you on? I was on tramadol after crash section, and it made both me and dc2 very sleepy. It was hard work to establish feeding as he'd fall asleep after a few mins and wake again after 5 for another feed. We've worked through it now though.

Also a few days after birth is prime baby blues time, very normal to feel very emotional then, but do talk to your Midwifes about it.

5amisnotmorning Sat 01-Oct-16 19:00:38

My daughter was like this. I fed her constantly. We had to cosleep as I literally couldn't get her anywhere else. Could you afford a lactation consultant? You could get someone out asap to look at her latch and check for tongue tie. Failing that, do what you can to get through the weekend and get to your nearest breastfeeding support group. Have you got a stretchy carrier? It may save your sanity if she is one of those non put down babies (of which I have had 2). It might also mean that your dh can take her out for a walk for a bit while you sleep. Hugs. This bit is do so so hard.

Boundaries Sat 01-Oct-16 19:01:40

FWIW - mine had some formula in the first couple of days whilst I was in hospital, I was exhausted after a hideous pregnancy and a shockingly fast birth. The lovely nurses fed my DC with a syringe so I could get some sleep and stop hallucinating that I was still pregnant

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