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Can you hold my hand through a difficult day of bf please?

(45 Posts)
smk84 Fri 19-Oct-12 10:14:49

Yesterday ds was refusing to feed properly from me. He is 19wo and we have had slow weight gain issues. He has had one bottle a day since fri, but yesterday I had to give him 3 as he just wouldn't feed from me for more than a few sucks. I fed him yest eve and 3tmes in the night and it went ok, but hings are headed the same was again.
Yesterday we saw a paed who said to give him formula and perhaps let him comfort feed from me, but I am not ready to give up bf and want to try to at least mixed feed. Thank you.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 19-Oct-12 12:05:18

Oh smk really feel for you. Did the Paed offer any other advice other than switching to ff? Have you got a local BFC who could help?

MigGril Fri 19-Oct-12 12:12:16

you're really been having a difficult time and I know you don't have good local support. how about ringing one of the helplines?

I do think that trying a supplemental nursing system would be a good option to try.

smk84 Fri 19-Oct-12 14:05:09

Thank you both, I am going to try the sns later today as want dh to help me. I am trying to pump but its really hard to fit in because I am offering to feed ds as much as poss and he will only sleep on me in th day. F the sns works am pretty determined to cut out bottles, but logistically don't know how I will manage to do it all and look after both ds s .

smk84 Fri 19-Oct-12 14:07:53

I rang lll last night, lovely, helpful lady but feel so alone cos no one in rl can really help, and everything has become so unpredictable.

idlevice Fri 19-Oct-12 14:17:05

Aww, you sound so downhearted about the situation, but whatever feeds you do manage to give your DS he will be benefitting not only any amount of milk he gets but also the wonderful comfort & bonding you both get from the experience of just stopping everything else for a few moments to focus on each other. It can be easy to forget this, esp when there are bf stresses too but try to take a little time to just relax and observe him each time you try.

Have you tried the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers helpline or the NCT to see if there is some local personal support available, a group or a counsellor that could come to you? Or even your GP or hospital may be able to recommend someone. Keep trying for as long as you feel able but if it gets too much then take comfort from the fact you tried for as long as you did and investigate the alternatives - don't think you will have failed, just moving on to the next phase in caring for your DS to the best of your abilities.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 19-Oct-12 15:01:08

Am still thinking of you smk.

swanthingafteranother Fri 19-Oct-12 15:14:47

I was you at 10 weeks, and it really broke my heart to feel ds1 was hungry and searching for more milk, which I obviously wasn't providing. I introduced two bottles of formula a day and really tried to relax, and that was the key, feeling less tired and less defeated. Also all attempts at expressing really made me so miserable and defeated that it really backfired. One of the things that helped was to get out and about with the baby, stopped listening to advice, and listening to him instead. I relaxed much more feeding him whenever, wherever, with no schedule or agenda. Every feed was a chance for us to relax together instead of some ordeal wondering if he was still going to be hungry. It made such a difference to my morale just accepting that formula was going to help me breastfeed not stop me breastfeeding. Also the baby was just so much happier that it made breastfeeding seem easier. My supply increased dramatically (I had also found the latch was wrong, and I had been feeding on a schedule, disastrously) when I concentrated on the baby rather than breastfeeding ifysim, and the use of formula tailed off. I was still breastfeeding happily when he was 10 months, and he was by this point a very very bonny podgy baby, having been really skinny at 10 weeks (I can't bear to look at pictures now of how thin he was)

I think my own feelings of anxiety and stress made the supply issues so much worse (also my letdown), and my worries about my baby only participated in a vicious downward spiral. It was about "us" not about breastfeeding, that was really a means to an end, to make him happy. Also check check the latch, it may be just slightly wrong, but it makes such a difference.

Thinking of you.

swanthingafteranother Fri 19-Oct-12 15:18:13

btw I found loads of night feeds were extremely beneficial at increasing supply, and also very convenient of course compared to bottles. (Some mums I know ended up doing the breastfeeding at night and the formula in the day, although that may sound odd). It certainly kickstarted my supply, I think we were more sleepy and relaxed then anyway so it was easier not to worry.

smk84 Fri 19-Oct-12 15:58:01

Idlevice thank you, I don't think there is any advice locally tat I haven't had already, I called nct and the told me about local groups I had already been to and had exhausted ways to improve things. I have seen 2 lactation consultants, neither have Ben able to help me with the latch, but I called lll last week and a lovely lactation consultant has offered to see video of us latching and send a photo to a tt expert.
Jjj thank you for posting again. I feel very supported by this thread. It feels like people around me don't get why I want to continue, family are fab and supportive, but think I am taking things too far, which I question myself, but I can't seem to get over the oompelling feeling I have that I want ds to have bm.
Swan thank you so much for telling me that. I can't imagine how I wold get out with feedin being so difficult, pumping etc, but I am hoping we will get back into a routine and that I can manage to maintain a supply like you did. I don't think. Could maintain supply if I didn't pump ATM. Did your friends give formula in the day and only bf at night? Just wondering if you can maintain a supply that way?

swanthingafteranother Fri 19-Oct-12 16:26:41

It is more that the prolactin is highest at night, so it can help stimulate your supply, so the baby was doing the right thing waking you up three times last night. Fwiw, and it was 12 years ago, so I feel slightly like I've hijacked your thread, (but you sounded so lost and unhappy) I thought of the bottles as top ups after I had already fed him, rather than replacement feeds. I gave him two of these top ups a day. He was 10 weeks, so I was giving him 3 oz top ups twice a day, presumably an older baby would need more. I never gave him formula at night. I fed him every two hours in the day I suppose when I was getting back on track, and I never expressed. He started going longer between feeds once he was more satisfied. But I still fed him on demand.

smk84 Fri 19-Oct-12 16:39:14

Thanks again swan, my ds will down 6oz after a feed from me, I try to give less but he gets so upset if I do. You haven't hijacked at all! I really appreciate your post.

Spindelina Fri 19-Oct-12 17:33:26

We've been mixed feeding for about two months, following dd's failure to gain any weight on bm only for 4 weeks.

Near the beginning, we had a few days where dd just screamed. Wouldn't latch. Wouldn't be comforted. Took a bottle. Really wasn't happy about that! So I pumped instead, and tried again later. It is very sad to have your baby reject you, but take this plastic thing.

For us, it's settled down. She has 70ml bottles after breast at 7am, 10, 3 ish, and 100ml bottles at 7pm and 11. She breast feeds for comfort and food between those times. She's going up the centiles. Sterilising is a right faff, but we've got a system going.

Hang in there; it can work.

Off topic: I've seen you ask about early weaning elsewhere. My take on that is that if I'm going to give dd anything other than bm before 6 months, I would rather it was something designed to be suitable for newborns.

Spindelina Fri 19-Oct-12 17:38:09

Also: she often screams when we take the empty bottle out of her mouth. But she calms down once she's distracted. I think it's the shock of us yanking it out - she doesn't get that with boob!

Startailoforangeandgold Fri 19-Oct-12 17:42:25

Hand holding very tight.

DD1 MF and then from 5 months FF exclusively. She wasn't going to BF properly, however much I wanted her tosad

Then along comes DD1 who knew exactly how to BF, but still managed to fall of the graph at around the same age as your DC.

Se ended being weaned at 5 months straight on to loads of yoghurt.

She wouldn't take a bottle off anyone.

Feeding Babies shouldn't be so unbelievably stressful, hugs.

swanthingafteranother Fri 19-Oct-12 17:49:00

Oh yes thinking back it was 4 oz top ups by the time he was 19 weeks, but that was only twice a day. I always gave the top ups at exactly the same time. The baby had a long nap after the 11am feed, he used to go down at about 12am and sleep for 2 hours. Before the top ups he never slept so contently, I remember feeling so bad about it, and realising he was unsettled previously because he had been hungry.
Someone (a Health Visitor?) once said to me, the baby wants to suck, so will go on sucking the bottle for a little bit longer even when they are satisfied, which might explain why if you give a tiny bit less, and then latch him on again, you might find it evens out. Still, I can remember being much too scared to give him less than 4 oz. I only had confidence to reduce it and ultimately cut out the top up, when he went onto solids (he then took that extra formula in baby cereal) In those days babies were onto solids at 20 weeks, so I suppose in all likelhood I would have gone on giving him top ups of formula till the 6 month mark nowadays.

smk84 Fri 19-Oct-12 19:18:27

Thanks everyone for our support it heartens me to have this bread to check while I am trying to feed, or mainly cyually when he has fallen asleep at he boob. Th rest of the time is quite tough, but we have managed 2 top ups instead of 3 today. We have just used the sns and I think it worked really well. I had1.5 oz of ebm in it as he chanked it, and I think took 2 let downs in that time, then 1 more when the top up had finished. It was interesting as he seemed to fall straight to sleep once the top up had finished.
Do any of you have experience of a supplemental nursing system?

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 19-Oct-12 19:44:23

Haven't got any experience of a sns but glad it seemed to go well. Hopefully someone with experience will be along soon.

smk84 Fri 19-Oct-12 21:29:16

Thanks jilted, 2 nd attempt was spectacular disaster, ended up giving 7 oz bottle and he's still screaming for more sad( no way back now. He's not taken a proper feed since 430 am. Devastated ! Can't even put it into words. I thought giving a bottle would help bf. I feel totally dejected, rejected, frustrated, like he doesn't need me anymore. I know this is all emotional overload, but I am alternating between floods of tears and fits of rage.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 19-Oct-12 21:38:00

Feel way too inadequate to advise you sorry smk, but whatever happens now he still needs you, he's still your little boy and needs mummy cuddles and will need your love, guidance and attention for years to come.

You also know that you haven't given up easily and have done everything you could especially given all the issues and poor local support.

Do you think ringing one of the helplines and talking through how you are feeling before you go to bed would help?

MigGril Fri 19-Oct-12 21:41:43

sorry looks like my post disappeared.

I haven't use an sns but have a friend who did. her little girl was tongue tie and had to have it cut twice, so she used the sns to to up so she didn't have to use bottles. you can use it at the breast our as finger feeder.

one problem you may be having is if the tongue tie is still an issue is he is aways going to find sucking on a bottle easier then the breast. you can use formula in the sns as well as breast milk. how would you feel about giving all topos this way?

have you had the tonne tie reassessed I can't remember.

I think you've done such a fab job so far in all the lovely breastmilk your baby has and is still having.

MrsSpencerReid Fri 19-Oct-12 22:00:23

Hi smk I can't really give you advice but I just wanted to tell you my story in the hope it might help. It sounds like you are having a tough time an I think I know a bit how you are feeling. My DS never fed from me, we tried for 2 weeks in hosp and he screamed at my nipple (they aren't that bad!!) eventually I gave a bottle to get home and then got support to try and get him on the breast, we tried for 2 months and he never did, I couldn't keep pumping and on to formula he went, my biggest regret now is that I spent so long killing my self trying to bf and getting upset that he didn't want me and that I wasn't good enough. Once he was on formula and I wasn't tied to the pump I could go out more and I started to enjoy being a mum, he is 6 months now and you can't tell the difference between him and his ebf friends smile I'm not trying to push you to formula or anything I just think that bf is great but if it comes and the cost of your health emotionally or physically its not worth it. You have done so well to get this far, I think you're amazing grin have you got any rl friends to have a moan to? Are you in the north east?!

MrsSpencerReid Fri 19-Oct-12 22:04:28

Also, he will always need you and love you even if he won't admit it grin

aamia Fri 19-Oct-12 22:06:11

Someone above said it was about baby preferring a plastic thing to you. It's not. It's about a baby needing to eat, getting frustrated when it's like trying to drink rice pudding through a straw, and preferring to use a spoon. You can pump, and feed the breast milk through the bottle, or feed formula through a bottle. Either way, it's clear your baby cannot feed adequately from the breast. That's not anything you're doing - it's something he can't do.

When I was pumping and feeding by bottle before our tt was cut, it gave me such peace. My child was still getting some of my milk, but he wasn't hungry any more, wasn't screaming after feeds, was gaining weight, and feeds were these lovely pleasant experiences where we cuddled up together and gazed into each others' eyes. If you want him to have bm, can you reconcile yourself to him getting as much bm as you can pump, invest in a decent pump and use that to up your supply as much as you can? Then add the rest with formula. Feed times will be lovely calm bonding experiences, baby will be healthy and happy, and so will you. In this situation, with this baby, bf isn't working. There are other options!

The breastfeeding support network was about a thousand more times more helpful than NCT input area.

I mixed fed after nicu.then at 5 weeks she refused bottles. Mu supply was dire, she was hungry, I took fenugreek, ate oats, drank loads of water, did skin to skin. Eventually she was ok, and her weight evened out. She wasn't meant to be a big girl. I always gave her both boobs before topping up.

Self weaned at 27months. Looking back I would have enjoyed her more in those early days had I given up. Do what is right for you and for your child, no one else knows how you feel, but know you did your damnedest and you did good

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