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Help for a first time bfer

(29 Posts)
WriterofDreams Sun 02-Jan-11 10:01:24

Hi all,

My little boy was born on the 30th and latched on within an hour, fed really well throughout the day in hospital and during his first night and day at home. He was definitely getting something as he weed plenty. Then the second night it all went wrong. He stopped latching on at all or if he did latch on it was for a few seconds before he pulled away and began to get frustrated and upset. I persevered for as long as I could be he was hysterical so I had to express some milk and feed him with a bottle (although I think now this probably wasn't the right thing to do - perhaps a dropper would have been better?). Finally last night I had to give him formula because I was just not expressing enough and he absolutely will not latch on. I have since tried to latch him on a few times using expressed milk to calm him if he gets frustrated but it hasn't worked and I've had to give him a few formula feeds.

Is that the end of breastfeeding for us? I pumped and dumped this morning in the hope of keeping my supply going but I'm not sure that's going to work. Any advice?

MoonUnitAlpha Sun 02-Jan-11 10:05:22


Has your milk come in yet?

It's not the end of breastfeeding, but I think you probably need some real life help asap! Have you tried calling a breastfeeding helpline like the NCT one?

In the meantime I'd try just taking the baby to bed and spending lots of cosy skin-to-skin time together - don't have visitors or anything else going on. You could also try "biological nurturing" where you let the baby latch on himself - you can google for demonstrations.

PeanutButter99 Sun 02-Jan-11 10:08:42

Congratulations on your LO

I second Moon's advice about lots of skin to skin and spending a day or two in bed just trying to feed.
Try not to worry and phone a bf helpline.

Good luck!

HumphreyCobbler Sun 02-Jan-11 10:09:58


I also think you should get some help in real life today.

Breastfeeding Line - 0300 330 0771

8am–10pm, seven days a week. This is the NCT.

Good luck.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 02-Jan-11 10:10:32

Can you phone your midwife? Ask if they can refer you to the lactation consultant.

WriterofDreams Sun 02-Jan-11 10:11:31

Thank you so much. Luckily MW is due to come today to weigh him so I'll ask her if she has any advice. Any tips in the meantime would be really appreciated.

MoonUnitAlpha Sun 02-Jan-11 10:18:06

Sometimes a baby can get stressed out by people trying to get him to latch - ds and I suffered a bit at the hands of midwives doing their grabbing/shoving latching technique hmm

Biological nurturing can be good as you're just letting the baby follow his natural instincts to latch on himself - mammals are born with this instinct. It can take some of the stress out of the situation.

MoonUnitAlpha Sun 02-Jan-11 10:19:17

And if you are giving formula, I'd try to use a syringe and remember their tummies are tiny and they need really little amounts - you don't want to overfill him so he doesn't want to feed at the breast.

ReshapeWhileDamp Sun 02-Jan-11 10:21:38

There's a good verbal description of biological nurturing here, but if you search for it on youtube, you will find lots of footage. I do this whenever DS2 is aggitated or unwilling to latch on in another position.

Meanwhile, keep ringing those numbers!

luckykitty Sun 02-Jan-11 12:36:14

Hi and congratulations!!
I had exactly the same problem, our little girl was born on 22nd by emergency section but we managed to breastfeed straight away then it all went wrong! I was in hosp 5 days and the staff said they have never seen a little one get in such a flap when trying to feed hmm
She would only feed lying down which everyone had to help with as I couldnt move and then when she had finished she would wail if I put her down
We were doing ok in hindsight at the hospital, but when we got home we had one good day and then she spent the entire night screaming until she was purple and nothing we could do would help, she wouldnt latch on, wouldnt even stay still enough to try which was really distressing for all of us, just screamed for 8 hours
We ended up giving her some formula, which I really wasnt keen on but she hadnt had anything for too long and then I started to express, which worked fine when the midwife was here but then nothing!

Little Cherry is 11 days old now and I have continued to try and breastfeed, which we now do but she still wants more afterwards so now we are all a lot calmer (I was soooooo stressed) I can express lots after she has fed and then give her that by bottle.
She is having formula at night sometimes depending on how it goes at the time.

Everyone was telling me to calm down as being tense doesnt help when feeding and I thought I would punch the next person that told me this as its so much harder than it sounds but it really does work, if you have to give your little one some formula then at least you DC isnt hungry, Im so glad DD is settled and happy and its made the rest of it much easier and had meant that I can continue to give her breast milk.

KEEP TRYING!! I was literally tearing my hair out in tears but its all come good in the end (fingers crossed) so dont give up
Its all new to both of you after all.

My health visitor out me in touch with a local lady for BF support, it made me feel much better just telling someone who knew what was on about so make sure you speak to people about it too.

Sorry for such a long post - good luck and best wishes x x

TruthSweet Sun 02-Jan-11 14:30:04

Not much to add to the great advice being given by the other posters.

I just wanted to say please don't pump and dump, just because your little boy has had formula doesn't mean he can't have your milk as well. I know it can be a total minefield but you can mix bm and formula in the same bottle (providing the formula has been reconstituted correctly and then cooled before adding) or you can give your bm and then the formula. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

Good luck and I hope you get some real life help soon.

chillichill Sun 02-Jan-11 15:10:22

hi, great advice given, just wanted to add, try some expressed milk in a syringe, maybe 5ml, and then try latching. this way you'll know Lo isn't starving but hungry enough to try.

chillichill Sun 02-Jan-11 15:14:29

oh also, when you feed with the syringe, put your pinky in the mouth (nail side down to avoid scratching roof of mouth) and syringe a bit of milk with each suck. also, you can try the medela calma bottle, its like breastfeeding and helped my dd develop a stronger latch.

WriterofDreams Sun 02-Jan-11 19:16:30

Thank you so much guys, just having a friendly response is such as help

The midwife came this evening and she was an absolute star. She got him to latch on really well and since then I've got him to latch on a couple of times more by myself grin

I'm going to do a similar thing to you luckykitty- express and bf and perhaps formula too if needs be. My boy seems to be the hungriest baby in the world! In the last two hours he's had about 1:40 of bf and 60 mls of formula! My boobs are dry now so I've calmed him to sleep. No doubt he'll be awake in an hour looking for more. Hopefully I'll have more milk then. I'm going to mix the bf and formula until my supply is a bit better and hopefully build it up to satisfy him. If I can't then I don't mind mixing the two indefinitely - at least that way he'll be getting some bm.

Hurray for fantastic mners and lovely midwives!!

MoonUnitAlpha Sun 02-Jan-11 19:25:16

Don't worry about your boobs being dry - there will always be milk there, it's made constantly.

It's really important to avoid formula in the early days though where possible to build up your supply - every bit of formula you give means your breasts make less milk. Your baby is only a few days old, if he's latching on now then are you sure the formula is necessary?

Just try to feed him constantly for the next few days - your supply won't build up unless he's feeding lots.

WriterofDreams Sun 02-Jan-11 19:29:50

Problem is after all the feeding I latch him on, he sucks and sucks but it's clear there's nothing coming out and he freaks out Midwife said that that might happen for the time being and to just try to leave a little while between feeds to build up and up slowly. That's probably due to the fact that I haven't been feeding for the last couple of days. I should be ready to go again soon so hopefully it'll go well. He really is ridiculously hungry!

MoonUnitAlpha Sun 02-Jan-11 19:33:19

Leaving time between feeds doesn't sound like good advice to me. Feeding as often as possible will stimulate your supply! You don't need to rest your breasts or let them fill up or anything like that.

It's really normal for newborn babies to want to be at the breast constantly. Can you have a babymoon for a few days and just take him to bed and let him have as much access to the breast as possible? It will take a few days for your supply to catch up.

WriterofDreams Sun 02-Jan-11 19:37:44

But what do I do about his frustration?

MoonUnitAlpha Sun 02-Jan-11 19:41:10

I think it's still a good idea to try to see a breastfeeding counsellor in real life.

Will he stay on the breast at all?

WriterofDreams Sun 02-Jan-11 19:43:46

yeah but after a very long feed he latches but clearly gets nothing

MoonUnitAlpha Sun 02-Jan-11 19:45:16

Also feeding the formula from a syringe or cup might be a good idea so it takes the edge off his hunger but it doesn't satisfy his sucking needs with a bottle - so he'll still be keen to suck at the breast.

MoonUnitAlpha Sun 02-Jan-11 19:47:45

So he stays on the breast for a long feed, but then comes off and is still hungry? Do you offer the other side too? You can switch back again to the first side after the second and back again as many times as possible too.

WriterofDreams Sun 02-Jan-11 19:50:40

I've done the switching thing with no luck. His hunger really is amazing he'll feed for over an hour and then take nearly a full bottle of formula!

MoonUnitAlpha Sun 02-Jan-11 19:55:53

Taking a full bottle of formula doesn't necessarily mean he's starving hungry - babies like to suck and they can't control the flow of milk so can end up taking more than they need. After an hour on the first breast, he won't go back on the second at all?

NCT breastfeeding helpline is 0300 330 0771. They'll be able to talk you through how to reduce the amount of formula - if he's taking full bottles of formula at every feed he won't be taking breastmilk.

onwardsandupwardsnow Sun 02-Jan-11 19:57:48

It is not the end of breastfeeding!

Try loads of skin to skin and (if someone to help you in and out) a warm bath together. This helps latching on enormously in most cases.

Jack Newman videos are fab to see what the latch should look like rubbish at links but if you google him his site comes up!

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