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Newborn breastfeeding issues and advice please...

(10 Posts)
WeeAl Sat 24-Sep-11 13:33:51

My little boy is 2.5 weeks old and is still really struggling to feed. He isn't yet back to birth weight (6lb10oz; 3005g, last weight was 2870g on thursday). Was initially a bit jaundiced but this is now better.

I have had a variety of advice from m/w & h/v but still really feel like we're struggling and feel a bit of a failure to be quite honest.

We are currently feeding every 3hourly although sometimes feeds take a long time and he get the feeling that he isn't effectively feeding (particularly from one side). I'm also expressing 30ml breast milk after each feed and topping up using a syringe which I am beginning to despise! It is really difficult to keep him awake at times to feed, however when he's awake enough, he is getting a bit better at latching, alhthough his wake times are not generally every 3 hours! Have been to breast feeding clinic and they suggested laid back breastfeeding/biological nurturing but we just can't seem to get this right either as he just bobs around on my chest for ages and never quite manages to get it in his mouth to start feeding. We've stopped trying now as feeds were taking so long that we were getting behind with 3hrly feed and I was unable to get any sleep whatsoever. Soooooo frustrating!

He's doing lots of wet nappies and poos about 2/d so h/v isn't concerned but things are beginning to get on top of me and wondering if we'll ever get the hang of it. I get a huge pang of guilt everytime I think about moving to formula feeding him and have managed to not give him a bottle just yet. Have had to give the odd formula syringe top up as struggled to get 30ml EBM on occassion from me (probably due to tiredness/stress). Have also given the odd dummy overnight as thought he was quite sucky to get content and was desperate for some sleep. Obviuosly, may have misread this and that he is actually still hungry. He's started to spit dummy out now anyway!

Fingers crossed it will get easier but just wondered what people's experiences are with this and whether they EVER got into a proper routine without having to do all this expressing. It means that leaving the house for any longer than an hour or 2 between feeds/expressings is impossible.

MigGril Sat 24-Sep-11 13:53:17

First of all well done for getting this far sounds like you've been having a though time of it.

For a baby this young who's sturgaling to gain weight, I'd say 3 hourly feed's aren't really enough. Every 2 hours during the day and 3 hours overnight. Young babies need to feed 10-12 hours during a 24 hour period and every 3 hours only makes 8 feed's a day. Expressing while helping to up your supply isn't as efficent as acutaly feeding your baby, and if can just feed more offten this is the best way of upping your supply and getting more milk into them.

I think it sounds like you need some profesional help with your latch as well. I call to one of the BF helplines or if there is a local drop in clinic in your area would be good they offten run at the local childrens centres.

Helplines

National Breastfeeding Helpline
0300 100 0212

The Breastfeeding Network Supporterline
0300 100 0210

NCT Breastfeeding Helpline
0300 330 0771

La Leche League Helpline
0845 120 2918

Association of Breastfeeding Mothers
08444 122 949

WeeAl Sat 24-Sep-11 14:26:28

I just can't see how that's possible tho. A feed can take up to 45 minutes then top up and expressing usually means that each feed lasts up to an hour and a half and once I've changed him that doesn't leave a lot of time for me to eat, drink or go to the loo let alone sleep. Is this what I am supposed to expect?

I had a long sleep deprived labour and ended up with surgery afterwards to was exhausted to start with and now 2.5 weeks down the line I wonder if sleep is now just something of the past!

I think it's all just starting to get me down!

RitaMorgan Sat 24-Sep-11 14:37:54

I found 2 weeks to be my lowest point, but it does get better! Just take each day at a time.

I had a very jaundiced, sleepy baby too, and was waking him to feed every 2 hours at the beginning. I didn't express and syringe feed though.

My tips would be - keep him with you at all times, co-sleep, carry him, so you can respond to any rooting or hunger signals and get him on the breast. Much easier to feed if they are in the mood for it!

Strip both of you off and stay in bed as much as possible - also try having baths together.

I'd avoid dummies for now - if he's not getting lots of milk anyway and has trouble latching then you want him to be suckling as much as possible.

Sounds mean, but I would wipe ds's face and feet with a damp cloth to wake him up and keep him awake during feeds.

Switch nurse - every time he seems to slow down or fall asleep swap breasts to keep him interested. It'll get more milk into him and is good for building your supply.

I found all the waking, feeding for an hour, then having to start again tough at first too, but once ds was back to his birthweight and woke up a bit it got so much easier. He was soon waking for feeds every couple of hours in the day (still didn't let him go more than 3 hours) and I got the hang of feeding lying down at night so I could doze through feeds.

MigGril Sun 25-Sep-11 07:01:32

I think this is why you really need some help with the latch, expressing is a reall pain and is probably not helping how you are feeling. If the latch was sorted all you would need to do was feed, feed, and feed some more. Please ring one of the helplines. They are avaible at the weekend so don't worry about ring them today just do it.

It is important to sort this out early, you may find if the latch is sorted that he doesn't take as long to feed either. but you need more help then we can really give on hear.

MigGril Sun 25-Sep-11 07:02:46

That's of course not saying that 45minutes isn't a normal lenght of time for a new baby to feed, it's quit within the realmes of normal.

PANCHEY Sun 25-Sep-11 07:23:08

You sound as though you are having a hard time at the moment. I too found this to be the toughest point in establishing bf. What I am going to say contradicts all advice given through official channels, but what I did was give a formula feed at night, if possible get your partner to do this. I got advice from a bf clinic and went onto bf for9.5 months. The formula was given each day for about one week via a bottle. 6 months later my child hated bottles would not take them ever and showed no indication shebhad ever taken one. One or two bottles may help not hinder. Don't beat yourself up and dowhatever it takes to get through this really tough period. It gets better xxxx

bumbums Sun 25-Sep-11 07:49:51

Just get to 9 weeks and all of a sudden things will be so much easier. It is a huge shock to have so little sleep and to suddenly be so (rightly) obsessed with your babies needs. You are doing an amazing job. Don't worry about the weight yet and be happy that nappies are wet and poos are frequent. Remember that your baby is an individual and that may help you to focus in on what he really wants/needs rather than looking for patterns or behaviours that are described by others about different babies.
I'd stop the pumping and just feed more (if that's possible!) If not just try to relax about whipping a boob out when ever where ever. Have you got those breast feeding vests that mothercare sell? I found them invaluable when feeding in public. No exposing a flabby belly! Also plenty of muslins. And biscuits and other comforting snacks a plenty for you.
Can your mum be with you for a few weeks?

PrimaBallerina Sun 25-Sep-11 09:50:27

Well done on getting this far, I recognise myself at that stage in how you say you feel. It was awful at first but got better for me at 5 weeks.

Most people have a 'better' side and your baby seems to be doing quite well so please try not to worry about this too much. Is there anyway you could give up the expressing? There's no way I'd have managed that as well and it will give you the chance to nurse more frequently and get the latch sorted. Remember that your baby is still learning how to feed from you but you will both get there.

Definitely try to get some support from a BF counsellor or one of the helplines to see you through the early days.

Pinkseren Sun 25-Sep-11 11:37:41

It may not feel it, but don't underestimate how well you are doing. Whilst my story is not the same as yours, I can empathise with what yo uare saying and I did feel the same at the same point as you. I got to 'breaking point' at the 3 week point and came very close to giving up and had already been using quite a bit of formula. I can however tell you that I'm glad that I perservered because it does get easier.

I did see a breast feeding counsellor, and whilst I see that you have been to a breast feeding clinic, I would try to get a counsellor who can stick with you through this (I spoke to people on the phone and its not quite the same as someone who can physically check your latch and go through all of the possible solutions for you with you). Without going into it (this is about you not me!), my problem stemmed from pain during and after feeding which was excruciating and was not because of incorrect latch. She suggested to me the biological nurturing, and I found the same as you in that we weren't quite geetting it, but it was a bit better than the traditional positions. I found that feeding my daughter whilst lying on my side in the bed by allowing her to latch unaided has been our solution as well as making the time for lots of skin to skin. I the following page after going through all this but found it intereting/ helpful thetruthaboutbreastfeeding.com/2009/04/09/could-a-laid-back-approach-to-breastfeeding-help-your-baby-latch-on/

What a difference! My feeds were the same as yours every three hours, although some of the time she went for longer between as is was impossible to wake her and would take about an hour. I started the lying on side thing at mid week 4 and the feeds got progressively shorter. Now she takes 15-20 minutes to feed from both sides. As I now no longer dread feeding and feeling like a failure, it doesn't even seem as long as 20mins and she seems to be done in the blink of an eye. We also use a dummy and did from week two. We also had to use bottles from this point for feeding (on the advice of midwives to give me a break because by this point I had severly damaged nipples), and in our case this has not interefered with her breastfeeding. She likes to have the dummy after a feed for comfort.

I hope that this helps in some way. You are doing splendidly and I really hope that things do work for you

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