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Don't think I can cope with breastfeeding anymore... only been doing it two weeks :(

(17 Posts)
pinkgirlythoughts Sun 05-Jun-11 15:45:40

My son was very sleepy when he was born, and although he latched on to the breast without too much difficulty, he wouldn't suck at all, and didn't really show any interest in feeding for the first three days. I spoke to numerous midwives and breast feeding supporters, but nobody could get him to take more than a few sucks before pulling off again. Eventually I had to allow the midwife to give him formula milk in hospital, as she said he was becoming dehydrated, and would need to go to the SCBU otherwise. He drank 40mls of formula milk, had a really good sleep, then latched on and suckled well the next day.
Since we got him home 9 days ago, he's been feeding fairly well, around every 3-4 hours, for between 20 minutes and an hour each time. Usually he just takes one breast, sometimes both.
Problem is, it hurts so bloody much! He still doesn't always latch on well at first, and makes lots of clicking noises, so every feed starts with about five minutes of taking him off and latching him on again, over and over, so my nipples are battered and bruised, and I have to grit my teeth every time he starts to suck. Added to that, he just really doesn't seem to like breast feeding, and fights really hard to turn his head away from me, even though he looks like he's rooting. He'll also try desperately to shove his fingers into his mouth instead of my nipple, and since he has two hands and I only have one free, it can be so frustrating trying to get them out of the way so he can feed!
Yesterday he started throwing up after each big feed, and today he's been really fussy, only feeding for about ten minutes at a time, then waking up half an hour later wanting to be fed again. I've just managed to get him to feed for 35 minutes (the first 'proper' feed he's really had since yesterday), and he was sick again afterwards. He also seems to have lost interest in suckling again, and will open his mouth to latch on, but then not do anything once the nipple is in his mouth. I'm really scared he'll get dehydrated again.
I was so determined to breast feed him, and so gutted when they initially gave him formula milk in the hospital, but at the minute the only way I'm getting through each feed is by fantasising about how soon I can move him to formula milk. At the same time, I cry every time I think about stopping feeding him, because I feel like I'm letting him down, and letting down my partner, who is also really keen for him to be breast fed. I don't know what to do sad
Apologies for the long rambling post, I just feel so stressed out about it all, and need to rant to someone.

RitaMorgan Sun 05-Jun-11 15:51:12

Has he been checked for a tongue tie?

I really think you need to see an expert in real life - have you tried calling La Leche League, NCT breastfeeding line or the National Breastfeeding Helpline? Any of them should be able to talk things through with you and hopefully direct you to a breastfeeding counsellor in your area.

The poor latching and clicking and damaged nipples sounds like a tongue-tie to me, or it could be that some adjustments need to be made to your attachment or positioning.

The fighting and shaking his head could be his natural instincts for finding a nipple - these can seem like fighting you off when you're trying to latch them on in a cradle hold! If you look up Biological Nurturing you'll see a way of positioning the baby on top of you so the baby can instinctively latch themselves on.

RitaMorgan Sun 05-Jun-11 15:52:06

3-4 hours is also a very long time between feeds for a newborn - could he be a bit too hungry by that point to latch on calmly?

PorkChopSter Sun 05-Jun-11 15:59:18

Second getting to see someone watch you feed him.

Until then, can you swaddle him to keep his hands out of the way? It can be a two person job, one to pin his hands down, one to get him in the right position. But a muslin around his chest until he's settled might help (then loosen it off wink)

pinkgirlythoughts Sun 05-Jun-11 16:03:16

I don't know... at first I was having to wake him up every 4 hours to feed him, as he would have quite happily slept for longer, but in the last few days he's started to wake himself up closer to every three hours. He very rarely actually gets to the point of crying before I latch him on, though, so he is usually quite calm.
I want to ring a breastfeeding helpline, but I don't think I can manage to talk to anyone without crying just at the minute. Maybe a bit later on, when I've calmed down.

pinkgirlythoughts Sun 05-Jun-11 16:08:25

I've just googled tongue tie, and the symptoms do sound a lot like Freddie, although when he was first born, the midwife put her finger in his mouth and said she didn't think he had tongue tie- could she maybe have missed it?

Cyclebump Sun 05-Jun-11 16:14:07

I cried on the phone to the La Leche League, the woman on the phone was wonderful as she completely understood how upset I was and why.

I had problems for the first two weeks and gave an ounce or two of formula to curb DS's hunger before trying to latch him on. It was SO much better when he was calmer.

The mw may well have missed a tongue tie, is there a local breastfeeding support group you can go to?

Whatever you do, don't feel silly for crying, I did and it stopped me asking for help at first. You're not alone in struggling either, when I said I was having trouble so many friends said they did too.

RitaMorgan Sun 05-Jun-11 16:14:33

Yes, midwives often miss tongue-ties unfortunately!

Don't worry if you cry on the phone to a helpline, they are very used to it.

TittyBojangles Sun 05-Jun-11 16:14:53

TT can be missed yes, get some good face to face help... is there an infant feeding team you can be referred to or a bf group? And definately give the helpline a call, they are very very used to ppl crying and this will not be a problem at all. You are not alone in feeling like this at the moment, you just need a little help to get things improving soon. I second using a muslin as a straight jacket swaddling to feed. You CAN get this sorted, honestly.

mercibucket Sun 05-Jun-11 16:15:15

tongue tie is really easy to miss so it's worth getting checked again

the thrashing round etc is very normal baby behaviour, esp when you've got them in a cradle hold and you are sitting upright. it looks like they're fighting you off! but it's just natural instinct for them to push and thrash round. As ritamorgan says, you can use different positions that work with those instincts - an easy way to try is to keep the same cradle hold but lean right back so you are semi-reclined (in bed with your knees up and back leaning supported against cushions is quite comfy). If you google 'breast crawling' you'll see how those kicks and pushes can move a baby right up from the birth position up to the breast to start suckling - it's quite amazing to watch!

Emzar Sun 05-Jun-11 16:33:21

With the flailing hands problem, I've found a couple of ways of dealing with that. If you have your baby in a cross-cradle hold, use your hand on the side that he's feeding to gently hold down his lower arm. Then keeping his arm trapped, with the same hand, put your palm on your ribcage with the index finger under your breast. This both supports the breast tissue, which I find helps with the pain, and keeps his hand from wandering.

With his other arm, the uppermost one, if he's wearing a long-sleeved babygrow, you can take the arm out of the sleeve and button it into the babygrow while feeding.

Hope that makes sense, it's difficult to describe!

lilham Sun 05-Jun-11 16:56:41

I second trying the semi-reclined position. When my DD was a newborn, that's the only position I fed in, semi-reclined, propped up by pillows, in my bed. And my 10wo DD still sometimes get her hands in the way to the nipple, and sucks on her sleeves or fist instead. I just laugh it off, and move the obstacle out of the way. I don't think she knows it's her hands she's sucking on, instead of the milk tap!

Don't feel shy ringing the hotlines. They are trained to help mums struggling to bf. BF might be natural, but it's a learned skill, for both you and your baby. Think about it, we took our time to learn to eat, talk, walk, but it's all natural! People in the past will have help from their mums, aunts, cousins and the whole village even.

Cosmosis Sun 05-Jun-11 18:30:59

please ring, they will be well used to women crying down the phone, honestly! occupational hazzard really. I would definitely try and see someone irl becuase a few things yo9u have mentioned do sound like it could well be a TT, and even if it's not they can help you with the latch.

Re the flailing arms, I always used to tuck one arm under my arm near the boob he was feeding off, so at least then you only have one to hold down!

orchidee Sun 05-Jun-11 18:55:07

I have a 4wo baby and felt the same. If I can make a couple of suggestions...

Persevere with the breast if it's important to you. I used Lansinoh nipple cream and it helped with cracks, You can get a wound healing cream on prescription to help heal your nipples. I also had a few people give face to face with latching and read lots on the internet. I think that as well as knowing what to do, my baby and I needed practice too. Also a bigger mouth (as your baby grows) may make life easier. I use a muslin to hold the lower arm down (in cross cradle hold). He no longer flails around so much.

Otherwise, could you consider using the bottle for expressed milk? Ultimately, formula may be the right option but I sense you want to give breastmilk. Medela make a bottle ('Calma') which is supposed to replicate BF sucking so it may be suitable for now. I don't have any experience of it, just a thought.

Ask your MW / HV for local support. Mine don't seem to advertise it, but there's one to one help 'on prescription' if you tell them you are struggling.

Good luck. I had to take it one feed at a time - one day at a time felt too optimistic, but we are at 4 weeks now and it is so much easier.

CoraBear Sun 05-Jun-11 19:04:38

Hi, I just wanted to let you know that my son was exactly the same. He would be hungry but wouldn't latch and then got upset and frustrated and would scream the house down. He would fill himself with air and then barf up most of the feed. He seemed to get very hot being so close to me when I breastfed and this also seemed to upset him.

I felt like you, like I wanted to give up but didn't want to let my son and my partner down, it's alot of pressure and I spent alot of time crying over it. By week 3 I was a basket case. I bought a breast pump and my breast feeding experience changed. My son was able to have the goodness of my breast milk, I could monitor how much he was getting and I could still feed him myself as well when I felt like it.

I know that this may not sound like the way you imagined breast feeding,it's certainly not the expectation I had of it, but I find it works great. The helplines are brilliant resources and it might be easier to have a discussion about your breast feeding issues with someone you don't know. And sometimes it's good to have a cry and let it all out.

Good luck.

Piccalilli2 Sun 05-Jun-11 19:07:29

I had close to hysterics on the phone to La Leche League when dd2 was 4 weeks old and they were brilliant so don't worry about that. They probably get more weeping women than calm ones if you think about it.

I have no real suggestions as my breastfeeding issues were very different but just wanted to say - stick with it if it's important to you, most problems can be overcome with time and EXPERT HELP - my major breakthrough was after a breastfeeding clinic at my local hospital. I eventually breastfed dd2 for 14 months despite at one point in the first few weeks sobbing over the thought of having to do another feed.

KristinaM Sun 05-Jun-11 19:15:27

Don't worry about crying or feel like you are an emotional wreck. It's totallly normal , you are tired, have sore nipples and feel frustrated at yourself and your baby. I had to fight the urge to shout at my Ds when he woulndt latch on but was obviously hungry!! And your hormones will still be haywire

But you are really determined and your baby is healthy and you have a supportive partner. You WILL get this sorted . Phone the helplines and get some expert advice please

Is there a lactation specialist type person at the hospital where you gave birth? You could call tonight and get their name and number and call them in the morning

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