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How to get a newborn interested in feeding - please help!

(18 Posts)
mardarse Fri 14-Oct-11 01:18:01

DS is 36 hours old and has barely fed at all. We've had 4 or 5 little feeds with help of midwives and i have begun hand expressing every2 hours. He's just not interested, all other babies on ward are going for it. Is this normal? I'm getting worried that he'll be ill. On top of that i am massively sleep deprived and sore with bruised boobs from the hand expressing -not attractive! I should say that wewas born at 39wks by ELCS so is quite mucousy.

threefeethighandrising Fri 14-Oct-11 01:26:15

I expect someone more knowledgeable will be along in a minute, but are you doing skin to skin?

threefeethighandrising Fri 14-Oct-11 01:27:10

And congratulations by the way! smile

mardarse Fri 14-Oct-11 01:30:58

Yes, for long periods of time. We did all yesterday afternoon - from birth and again this afternoon. I'm not getting much out to hand express and mw has just suggested a little formula. I don't know what to do.

threefeethighandrising Fri 14-Oct-11 01:43:45

I really feel for you. What a horribel position to be in. Personally I would't want to give formula unless I had to. Perhaps you are at that position though?
Hold on I'll look up some stuff for you ...

threefeethighandrising Fri 14-Oct-11 01:46:25

Do you know about the La Leche League helpline by the way? They can give advice about BF ont he phone, and if you're really having trouble they can send someone to you (for free).

Their website is

The helpline number is 0845 120 2918

threefeethighandrising Fri 14-Oct-11 01:49:02

Has your baby been checked for tongue tie?

A pretty common cause of problems with BF, and easily dealt with.

mardarse Fri 14-Oct-11 01:54:57

Thanks for your responses. The feeding co ordinator checked for tongue tie today. I will call LLL in the am for advice. I really don't want to bottle feed but if i have to then i will. Am so anxious that he's okay.

threefeethighandrising Fri 14-Oct-11 01:55:32 is a great source of evidence-based info about BF.

Here's some relevant stuff:

Help -- My Baby Won't Nurse!

Establishing and maintaining milk supply when baby is not nursing

threefeethighandrising Fri 14-Oct-11 01:57:43

If formula had to be given I would ask for it to not be given in a bottle at this stage so as to avoid nipple confusion. The action of sucking from a bottle is very different from suckling at the breast. Don't forget formula doesn't actually have to be given in a bottle.

threefeethighandrising Fri 14-Oct-11 01:58:22

Has your baby dropped in weight?

threefeethighandrising Fri 14-Oct-11 01:59:08

Sorry I've got to go, my little one is awake!

Have a look at kellymom, some good stuff there. And mumsnet of course. Good luck smile

mardarse Fri 14-Oct-11 02:34:01

I have agreed for 5ml aptimil from a cup and tbh feel a bit relieved that he is getting something. He must be so hungry. He hasn't been weighed and i get conflicting advise from the mws. So i wil be calling LLL in the morning and seeing if anyone can help. I need some one on one time with an expert. I will report back. Am going to try to sleep now - as much as you can sleep on a busy postnatal ward! Thank you for the advice and links

Mogama Fri 14-Oct-11 03:26:17

Hi there. I'm not very knowledgeable, but I thought I would post as this sounds very similar to my experience with my son (first baby) five weeks ago. He was born by CS on a Monday afternoon and didn't feed for the first 51 hours. We were given a lot of (often conflicting advice) by the mws but looking back, perhaps the most helpful was that we shouldn't worry too much as he was likely to start feeding by the third night. This kept me slightly hopeful through the hand exprssing (which is not fun - and even less so when you accidentally squirt a full syringe across a room...) and sure enough on the Wednesday evening he latched on and, with the occasional bump, has been going for it ever since. He did lose about 10% in weight, which was worrying as he was only 6.1 to begin with, but he regained that after a week and has been packing it on ever since.

I know that's not really advice but hopefully it will give you some reassurance that it's still very early days. One thing that we did on the recommendation of one of the older mws was to leave our son to sleep in his crib for a few hours and not wake him to try to feed for a bit as it was getting increasingly frustrating for both of us. I've no idea if this is what did the trick in the end or if he was just ready to get going (and I know it is contrary to the skin to skin advice), but it was after this long sleep that he got going.

Very good luck to you and I hope your son gets the hang of what he's meant to do soon. (And congratulations and well done to you - both on his birth and on keeping going with the bf now.)

citymonkey Fri 14-Oct-11 04:13:29

This sounds v similar to what happened with my son (now 6 weeks). He was born on a Thurs at 1pm (VB which went v well, he was 38 weeks) and did not show any interest in feeding all afternoon - he didn't root and was barely awake. He slept seven hours straight that night (beginnin to think probably for the first and last time!) and I had to wake him the next morning. He still didn't feed. I expressed colostrum which was given to him in a syringe (have you tried this?). He remained v sleepy and difficult to rouse. He was also mucousy. I was getting worried and midwife was concerned he might have an infection so he was put on IV anti biotics which were administered 12 hrs for 2 days during which time blood cultures were grown. A couple hours after the first dose was given, we tried him with a bottle of formula after continued attempts at the boob - I was worried he didn't seem able to suck (tho he had been checked for tongue tie). He gobbled it after a bit of persuading, but then vomited it back up along with a load of mucous. A couple hours after that I tried him at the boob again (it was about 3am and I remember it so clearly) after getting his mouth going with a bottle - I switched him to the boob with a nipple shield and eventually got a few proper sucks. I whipped the shield off and off he went. He fed for 75 mins straight on one side after that!

Not sure if it was the bottle teat, the nipple shield or just coincidence that got us going but that is our little story. So I would say keep trying, and don't worry too much about the formula. I had no idea how anti formula some BF are in this situation, but I was just glad he ate something. I also didn't know about the cup option! But I think it might have been the bottle teat (which you can shove in more easily and with more certainty than a nipple) which got us going - I might be wrong.

The blood cultures never did pick up any signs of infection.

tiktok Fri 14-Oct-11 08:43:56

mardarse, hope you are feeling more relaxed now.

Babies are not very hungry in the first 2-3 days, which is why colostrum is available in such tiny quantities - if you get even a teaspoon of colostrum out at this stage by hand expression you are doing very well indeed.

Your breasts should not be bruised from hand expressing - please ask the midwives to show you how to do it without bruising sad

If it was thought necessary to give formula, then think of it as a crisis response. It does not mean you cannot breastfeed.

Continued skin to skin and gentle hand expression of colostrum, which is then given to your baby, should resolve this fairly soon.

We're thinking of you smile

icravecheese Fri 14-Oct-11 09:00:23

Hi mardarse - I have posted a thread with very similar concerns to yours (although we're now at day 7 & I still have a mega sleepy baby!!). I too had ELCS (at 38+5) & my DD was very mucousy. She had tongue tie, which was cut on day 2. Can't offer much advice I'm afraid, other than keep trying, I totally understand how stressful it is - people think I'm mad complaining about a sleepy baby, but you have to work / concentrate so hard to wake baby up / keep them awake during feeds etc, I have found it totally exhausting.
Good luck, i'm sure we'll both be back on here in 3 weeks saying 'help! my baby wants to feed 24/7'!! x

mardarse Fri 14-Oct-11 14:07:30

Thank you all for your advice and input. I do feel calmer now. DS fed for an hour and a half this morning before passing out for a major snooze to recover from the effort. We are struggling with latching on but he managed to suss it out on his own in the end. It's given me more confidence and we've just changed a very wet nappy so hopefully we are getting there. I didn't realise it was as common for wee ones to do this. Thank you all again.

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