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Help! How can I encourage prem DD to BF more?

(20 Posts)
JoyceBarnaby Sat 11-Jun-11 15:59:36

I have posted this question on another thread about my prem (35+4) DD being in SCBU, but I am hoping posting it separately might get more advice.

After 4 nights in SCBU, being tube-fed and under a jaundice light, DD is doing well and now just BFing straight from me. The tube fed top-up (my EBM) were only stopped today when she came off the jaundice light. She will have another blood test for jaundice this evening. If this is ok and she does well overnight, we can go home tomorrow.

Trouble is, she's now sleeping peacefully and I need her to feed!! I've changed her nappy, tickled her feet and changed her clothes - this did encourage a small feed from one breast but not the other. What else can I do? I don't care what it takes - I want my little girl to be well-fed and at home!! Please, please, please - any advice appreciated x

JoyceBarnaby Sat 11-Jun-11 16:31:42

Bump - please, anyone?! Feeling a bit desperate!!

Madlizzy Sat 11-Jun-11 16:33:50

Go and speak to one of the neonatal nurses. They should be really good at guiding you. You may find that over the next few hours when the tube feed wears off, she'll start to get the idea of hunger. It is going to be little and often with her for quite a while, and the very best of luck. x

Primafacie Sat 11-Jun-11 16:35:53

Take some of her clothes off so she is less comfy, tickle under chin, talk to her loudly, turn some lights on, rub milk on her lip? Good luck, I have been there!

LaCiccolina Sat 11-Jun-11 16:37:04

Gosh I bet you do. It sounds like everything is in place as you can make it for a possible return home as you say shes doing well and bfing straight from you. Thats great! I used to tickle DD cheek and flex my arm muscles which sort of jiggled her head slightly.

Unfortunately if DD was more interested in sleeping nothing used to wake her up. Still the same now! Sometimes nothing wakes her and other times a gnats fart will wake her up with screams. What Im trying to say is don't let her nap stress you. Let her sleep a little, sleep will also help her get well. She may only be out for a few mins and try to catch a little rest yourself whilst shes in the land of nod so that when she does wake you have the strength to feed stress free. The more stressed you are the harder it will become and she needs the calm.

Hope you get good news! Good luck!!!

nancydrewfoundaclue Sat 11-Jun-11 16:43:49

My DD was a very reluctant feeder and as a result her weight dropped to 5lb in her first week. We were back an forth to hospital and the thing that struck me most was the MW's were reall quite rough when trying to wake her - lots of prodding and poking grin DD is my 4th baby so I wasn't inexperienced but they were far more effective at waking her than I was with my gentle tickling.

Other tips were strip her completely, wet flannel and switch feed. It took about two weeks for her to "wake up" and feed properly and a lot of persistance was required.

Good luck.

JoyceBarnaby Sat 11-Jun-11 16:56:58

Thank you all. I will go and speak to the nurses and also try all of your suggestions when I next try to wake her.

I remember trying to wake DS for feeding - although he wasn't in SCBU, just a reluctant feeder - and that was worrying enough, without jaundice to think about!!

It's daft really - here I am, longing for a feeding marathon and not worried at all about routine/ habits etc and yet I know in 6 months time the notion of waking a sleeping baby will be totally laughable!!

Thanks again all - it's hard being in SCBU on my own x

caesar04 Sat 11-Jun-11 21:38:37

Firstly can I just say...


BF a premmie is notoriously difficult and you and your DD are doing amazingly to be latching and feeding at all.

I was in a very similar position with DS (now nearly 3yo) but he was a nightmare, didn't latch till Day 7 and then only with nipple shield till about 6 weeks old. He was also jaundiced and had phototherapy, all stressful stuff when you're still in shock from early delivery.

He was a very sleepy feeder and sorry to say but it took ages to feed him at least 45 mins to an hour each time. He would do about 5/10 mins then fall asleep!

I used to do all of the following:
Put him down and he would usually wake after a few mins
Strip him down to a vest
Nappy change/feet tickle/change clothes (all of which you've done but it does work)
Tickle (quite vigorously) his ear/cheek while feeding to keep him awake
Blow on his face

and the shocker.... drip cold water on him!!! shock sad

I think I cried the first time I did that!!! But that really works, Maybe wait a few weeks for that one.

And it does take patience and perseverance but is totally worth it, good luck x x

(and the next one might be very different, my DD was 3 days late, weighed 9lb 2 and feed like a dream from the very start...still does at 6 months!!!)

RitaMorgan Sat 11-Jun-11 22:26:24

I had a jaundiced sleepy baby and suffered with this too! It's difficult to strike the balance between waking them enough to feed, and not distressing them - as if you make feeding a distressing experience they can refuse the breast completely.

I tickled, stroked his jaw and wiped him with a wet flannel. I think you have to accept each feed taking a really long time of wake slightly-suck for a few seconds-fall asleep-wake slightly-suck etc etc

JoyceBarnaby Sun 12-Jun-11 09:56:01

Thank you for all the encouragement - although we still have much to do, I am very proud of how far we have already come. This time last week, my waters had just broken and I was sitting on a labour ward with very little idea of what was happening!!

DD fed ok overnight - def the short 5/10 minute bursts with lots of me trying to wake her but I think we did ok. I think we might have a small prob with the right boob - a combination of a shallow latch and an engorged boob. I think she's having difficulty feeding very well from it because it's so full, so I might try and express a bit later, just to relieve the pressure - that sounds reasonable, right?

I thought my milk 'came in' at the end of day 2 because amount I was expressing went from 6/7ml to 20/30ml in a heartbeat. But yesterday they filled up and are very engorged - do you think this is just more milk coming in or a direct result of not expressing for top-ups? I had hoped the expressing wouldn't make as much difference as this as I would like to think and is now having the equivalent of the top-ups direct from the source, IYSWIM.

Anyway, any thoughts on this most gratefully received! I am now waiting for the Dr to do his rounds and hopefully, hopefully, discharge us.

JoyceBarnaby Sun 12-Jun-11 10:51:01

Just bumping in case anyone has any thoughts on engorgement at this stage - sorry the previous post is so long.

JoyceBarnaby Sun 12-Jun-11 11:49:52

Just been told we can take her home today!!! Yay!!!

Madlizzy Sun 12-Jun-11 13:19:04

Fantastic news. grin Not sure on the engorgement front, unfortunately, might be worth posting in breastfeeding/FF board. x

japhrimel Sun 12-Jun-11 15:43:23

Expressing in the early days can lead to temporary over-supply and engorgement (one of the reasons it's not recommended if it's not needed).

Hand express a little off before feeding if you're engorged so it's easier for LO to latch on. It's worth keeping the EBM so you can start building up a stash in case you hit another hurdle.

kellieb7 Sun 12-Jun-11 20:10:00

Hi, congratulations it sounds like you are doing great. My DD was EXACTLY the same including being early and having jaundice (very severe) and initially tube fed. I found that after about 3 days of DD not being under the lights she was much easier to wake for feeds - infact after about a week I was praying for her to sleep but thats another thread completely. I also suffered engorgement and I think it was down to the fact that I was feeding DD directly and also still expressing for top up's as they need extra fluids being under the lights so hopefully it shouldn't take long until your boobs get the idea that they don't need to produce so much. Good luck and once again CONGRATULATIONS!!

BarbaraBar Sun 12-Jun-11 20:13:47

Ds2 was born 6 weeks early and had jaundice and no suck reflex etc. It took a while to get him to breastfeed (it was weeks before we got it working really well). Perservere. Lots of small feeds are ok for now. He was sleepy all the time too and it was only when he came home and we could relax that it all came together.

You are doing so well. Keep at it.

JoyceBarnaby Mon 13-Jun-11 14:48:52

Thanks again, ladies! I did hand express a little, just to relieve the pressure and help her latch on. It's not quite so bad today (which then makes me start to worry about supply - ha! Never happy!) and it's good to know it's normal - especially after expressing so much in hospital. As some of you have said, expressing for their needs in special care is a slightly unusual situation but I'm proud I managed it!!

She seems to be feeding quite well now - sometimes one boob, sometimes two. I'm not letting her go more than 3 hours without a feed but she often wants sooner, which is good. TBH, I think it's really helped that we are now home and more relaxed in comfy surroundings - even if there is a mad 3yo trying to play with her!!!

Thanks for all your support - as usual, the MN ladies have been marvellous x

kellieb7 Mon 13-Jun-11 15:41:26

That is great news, so pleased your home and LO is doing well. It can be such a scary time so hopefully now you can just relax and enjoy your precious baby x

japhrimel Mon 13-Jun-11 17:08:36

Fab news! Best of luck. smile

caesar04 Mon 13-Jun-11 19:41:01

Great news, well done and congratulations smile

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