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8 week old DD in hospital and Bf a nightmare

(22 Posts)
32notout Mon 26-Sep-11 11:36:46

8 week old DD has been in hospital for 4 days with some sort of infection. She has been off her feeds the whole time and is now totally refusing to feed. She is EBF and won't take a bottle so they are tube feeding her my expressed milk. Is this the end for BF? Can feel my supply dropping and feeling really sad

Is there anything I can do? Because of all the tubes she cries when I pick her up, so skin to skin no good, she doesn't seem to want me anymore sad

TruthSweet Mon 26-Sep-11 12:08:46

DD3 was tubefed when she had bronchiolitis at 10ish weeks and then again at 12 weeks (had it about 10 times in all but very luckily she only had an NG twice!). She is bfing still and she will be 2 in a few weeks time.

It was hard being stuck in a hospital room, expressing every two hours but it was worth it in the end. Does she suck her fingers/thumb/dummy when the milk is being ut down the tube? DD3 sucked her first two fingers whilst the milk was being fed to her and that seemed to keep the connection between suckling and satiety but I know you can't make them suck their fingers/thumb/dummy if they don't want too.

Can you ask for the Infant Feeding Co-ordinator from Maternity or a specialist bfing MW come and visit you to give you some support?

Have you got your own hospital double pump so you can pump any time you want rather than having to share with other mums?

Is the ward supportive of expressing/bfing? That can make all the difference if the staff are rooting for you to keep expressing and get back to bfing when baby is well enough. I was very lucky (or I had selective hearing) and the staff seemed very supportive. Other mums on the same ward were not so lucky and got terrible 'advice'.

Sometimes it can be so hard when they are so ill that we can't see the end of the illness. I know I felt like we were in limbo and life was going on around us but nothing ever seemed to change in the hospital. Are you allowed off the ward for a break? I found having a 5 min dash to the hospital shop and back or just a turn around the main corridor helped refresh me so I was able to cope being stuck in the room for another day.

I really hope your daughter gets over her infection soon and she gets back to bfing too. It may take a bit of time but hopefully when they stop tube feeding her, her appetite will pick up and she will feel like nursing again. Good luck to you both.

organiccarrotcake Mon 26-Sep-11 12:09:53

Oh you poor thing sad She really does want and need you - she's just feeling uncomfortable at the moment but you being close will really help her even if you can't pick her up.

How often are you expressing? Do you have a hospital grade pump? Every 2-3 hours with a hospital pump should keep things going. If you can't pump next to your baby, keep a photo of her with you and her blanket so you have her smell. Try taking some relaxing breaths before expressing, and get as comfy as possible to help the let-down, and it's worth trying to do some compressions, too. I can't just find the links for this but will look later - I'm just rushing out - or do some Googling smile

It's not the end of breastfeeding if you keep up the pumping, and you giving her your milk is the absolute best thing for her as you know. You're killing that infection from the inside.

pettyprudence Mon 26-Sep-11 12:14:47

I don't have much to offer than phone one of the helplines (LLL, BFN) and keep expressing! I know when I called BFN when i gave FF for 18 hours and thought I had reuined bf-ing they pointed out to me that some babies who are ill themselves or their mothers are ill sometimes have to go weeks without bf-ing and they can and do re-establish bf. Don't know how easy/hard it is but hopefully one of the pro's will be along soon.

Hope you DD gets better soon, and it's not you she doesn't want she's just not feeling herself. When we are ill, we quite often don't want to eat either.

pettyprudence Mon 26-Sep-11 12:15:41

cross post - see the pros have arrived smile

32notout Mon 26-Sep-11 16:20:38

Ah thank you all. It's really nice to have some reassuring words.

Tbh they aren't that supportive of bf and they think I can magic up an unlimited supply of milk to pour down the ng tube - I only have my medela swing so it's not v easy. I am scared of pumping till I'm empty as they want me to keep trying to feed her and I am worried that if there's nothing there she'll like it even less. We are in a private room though so privacy not an issue fortunately.

Right, back to the pump...

deemented Mon 26-Sep-11 16:25:49

Ask the doctors to prescribe you something which will help your milk production. I can't for the life of me remember what it's called, but it is available.

Mishy1234 Mon 26-Sep-11 16:48:24

I'm sorry you're having such a tough time OP.

DS2 was hospitalised for 5 days when he was about 10 days old. I expressed at least every 3 hrs, but more often than that if I could. My supply survived and I'm still feeding him 16 months on.

I know it's really traumatic to see your baby uncomfortable, but really she does need you. Can you get hold of a hospital grade pump?

I kept DS on my lap (on a pillow) as much as I could. It kept him near the breast so he could have a feed if he wanted. He really wasn't interested at all until we were about to be discharged, but if made me feel better. Is this possible for you? Maybe if you could get her settled with the tubes in a comfortable position she might settle better.

Try to call in as much support as you can and make sure you get out and about for a bit each day. I didn't realise how badly I was affected by cabin fever until I burst into tears in front of the consultant! A walk in the fresh air made all the difference.

All in all, keep pumping and offering (as I'm sure you are). As for emptying the breast, I wouldn't worry too much. IME pumps aren't hugely efficient and there is always plenty there for a small bf if needed. Good luck and I hope you're home soon.

TruthSweet Mon 26-Sep-11 17:50:48

To be honest getting a hospital grade double pump may be your best bet to keep supply up. Breast massage (massaging down towards the nipple), the double pumping while looking at/thinking of baby poss. with breast compressions until you have had 2-3 let downs and the flow has stopped, then hand expression was what I found got the most milk out and kept supply ticking over.

Waiting to pump/pumping minimally so you have some left is unfortunately a great way to reduce supply. You would be surprised how much milk a baby can get out of even a breast that has just been pumped for 30 mins then hand expressed to get the 'dregs' so you really don't need to leave some in the breast for baby to drink. The emptier the breast the faster and fattier the milk is made.

The children's ward should, nay MUST provide you with an adequate pump for the duration of your baby's inability to bf directly. It is part of their duty of care to your baby to protect their method of feeding.

If the nurse in charge of you baby's care doesn't think that is important go to the Matron/Ward Manager, if they won't supply you with a pump (you will be surprised the excuses I have heard for non-provision of a suitable pump). If the Matron/WM won't help phone PALS (Patient Liason Service - the go between for patients and Drs/hospital Management) try phoning from the Nurses station/Ward reception phone wink.

If the hospital is trying to go Baby Friendly within the MAternity Dept. that may help as well as there should be a co-ordinator who is trying to get the staff compliant with BFI. Whilst BFI doesn't apply for any other wards than Ante-Natal, Delivery Suite & Post-Natal they may be able to help persuade WM/Matron to help you.

If you need anything please PM me. I have fought many times to get a pump that works as a mum with an ill BF baby AND as a BFing mum who's an in-patient so I have a few tricks up my sleeve wink Though unfortunately on of those tricks was my local bfing group paying for me to hire an NCT pump to use whilst an IN-PATIENT as the Maternity Unit were frightened I was going to steal their pump (umm - not with me trailing IV lines left right and centre and reliant on Morphine).

PrincessScrumpy Mon 26-Sep-11 17:59:33

if you're at the hospital scbu or maternity should have a pump you can borrow. Also make sure you drink lots.

I found I got more milk when in a different room to my dtds as being with them made me feel so guilty if it wasn't coming quickly enough - this goes against the advice to be with baby or look at pictures.

Good luck xx

TruthSweet Mon 26-Sep-11 18:49:29

Yes I found if I looked at the milk coming out it slowed/stopped. If I covered the pump horns up with a muslin or shoved them up my top I got lots more.

TheRealMBJ Mon 26-Sep-11 22:07:56

I just want to reiterate what truthsweet has said. It can be a battle ( although it really shouldn't be) but the do have to help provide a suitable pump. Get all the support you can and be pushy if you have to.

Good luck

PenguinArmy Mon 26-Sep-11 23:53:40

What amounts are they trying to get you to give her i.e. is a realistic amount and not some crazy FF based calculation.

Good luck with the double decent pump

piprabbit Mon 26-Sep-11 23:57:39

So sorry your DD is poorly, I hope she recovers quickly.

Don't forget to look after yourself. Remember that you need to be drinking loads of water (and eating plenty too). Hospitals can be such hot places that you may be more dehydrated than usual, and the worry might mean you are not listening to your own body's needs at the moment.

Good luck.

lisad123 Tue 27-Sep-11 00:13:01

dont panic yet. I was in hospital when dd2 was 3 weeks old and I wasnt in any fit state to care for her and due to the drugs they had to give me she wasnt allowed EBM. I pumped thoughout my time there, sometimes only twice a day blush. However when I got home we started up feeding again and she bf till about 22months!
She was in hospital for a week with pnemonia when she was about 14 months and she took a few days to get back to feeding as she was so tired and hooked up to tubes ect. Keep at it, get a hospital pump. Could you maybe put some on a spoon for her to sip from??

starfishmummy Tue 27-Sep-11 00:32:06

It is really important that your dd associates the tune with being fed so she should have something to on while she is having.the tube feed. Some babies/children can develop a.phobia and stop feeding altogether due to tube feeding. This i know from Experience.

starfishmummy Tue 27-Sep-11 00:39:29

Oh dear it's late. Tube not tune and something to suck on while she is having the feed. blush

organiccarrotcake Tue 27-Sep-11 12:12:43

On the topic of pumps, if you absolutely get nowhere with the hospital you could try your local NCT branch as many have hospital-grade pumps to hire. It's not right that you should have to pay for it - but - it's better than working with a pump that isn't doing the job.

TruthSweet Tue 27-Sep-11 12:22:16

I remember suggesting to PALS that the hospital had a couple of pumps in stock for any ward in the hospital to use rather than relying on Maternity to feel generous. Never heard anything back thoughhmm. Even the Child Assessment Unit that had their own pumps had all (3 or 4) broken ones (the ancient Lactina type) so as far as they were concerned they had done their bit - not their fault they were all broken and at least 20 years old

I may have to chase that up at some point.

32notout Tue 27-Sep-11 14:01:43

Gosh, just logged back in and there is some brilliant advice, thank you all. It's quite hard to type on phone, sorry for not thanking you individually.

Things have moved on a bit in that DD is a lot better today smile They say she might be able to go home tomorrow if we get feeding sorted and have suggested I bf her between tube feeds. However about half an hour ago she took matters into her own hands by catching her ng tube with her hand and sneezing it out shock

I have asked them not to put it back in again so now they want me to bottle feed her (apparently she needs 90mls every 3 hours). I am hmm at the bottle feeding tbh, but it's making me paranoid that bf isn't enough for her. It's bizarre really because when I had her here in July it was the opposite message!

TheRealMBJ Tue 27-Sep-11 14:09:42


Thiat is just not correct. There is no need for her to be bottle fed as long as she is interested in breastfeeding and taking regular feeds. You could ask them to observe her without bottles and make a judgement based on her out put and interest in feeding. If she isn't interested enough in breastfeeds putting the NGT back in may be necessary though.

TheRealMBJ Tue 27-Sep-11 14:11:54

Or if they insist on measuring what goes in, as them for a feeding cup, and explain that you do not want to create any nipple confusion.

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