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Is it possible that I just can't breastfeed?

(13 Posts)
Londonmrss Thu 01-Nov-12 12:43:19

My baby was born late on Friday night. It was a long difficult labour, but the birth itself was trouble free. I had skin to skin immediately and offered her my breast. I continued to offer it to her constantly over the weekend. She just doesn't show any interest and won't even attempt to latch. We then spent 3 days in hospital as she developed jaundice and because of this we had to give formula (ti help flush the liver enzyme out of her system).
My milk has now come in and I have loads of it. I am expressing and now giving her only breastmilk- 60-80ml every 3-4 hours. But she still won't latch. I've got a bf support worker coming round today, but just wondering if anyone has any advice?

exBrightonBell Thu 01-Nov-12 13:13:37

Firstly, congratulations smile Secondly, I'm not sure I have any useful advice but I wanted to express my sympathies for you. I also had a difficult start to bf and had to supplement with formula. This was due to my ds being in SCBU for a week with a feeding tube and so on. He absolutely didn't know what to do with a boob when it was offered, and it took several days of trying and trying to get him on. It then took a few more weeks at home to get the latch correct. But we got there in the end! It sounds simplistic but really the best bit of advice I got was to keep trying. I also found it helped to express a little before attempting to feed so that my boobs weren't so rock hard when ds was trying to latch. I also found that a "latch assist" helped as well in the early days - it's a little device that helps to extend your nipple and produce some milk to encourage your LO to latch on. Good luck and HTH a little bit.

Wolfiefan Thu 01-Nov-12 13:15:57

Does she have a tongue tie?
Are your breasts engorged so she can't latch easily?

AlexanderS Thu 01-Nov-12 13:21:27

I wouldn't worry just yet, it is still early days. Hopefully the support worker will be able to advise you, and you can always phone a breastfeeding helpline if you have worries 'out of hours', the National Childbirth Trust has one and I think the Breastfeeding Network does too. The NCT can also arrange for a breastfeeding counsellor to come out to your house (you don't have to be a member).

whenwill Thu 01-Nov-12 13:38:17

try really frequently to latch. put expressed milk on your nipples/areola first. check for tongue tie and get everyone you meet to check for it too. Paed in hospital missed dd's posterior tie when she absolutely just wouldn't latch/suck initially. Try rugby ball feeding postition.

tiktok Thu 01-Nov-12 13:49:43

Some good suggestions here. I'm assuming she goes to the breast but doesn't do much and may then fall asleep?

I'd add:

* stop fighting and struggling with her. She has been 'handled' a lot (my guess reluctant to feed babies are often handled by several people trying to help) and babies sometimes 'shut down' as a protection
* hold her in BN (google biological nurturing) positions and enable her to, rather than making, her feed
* continue with the expressing and giving her the ebm

This is early days. Plenty of time for things to get better smile

sieglinde Thu 01-Nov-12 14:07:07

All brilliant advice. Try La Leche league. Some HVs don't know much about bf.

Football position is great, and you could also try lying down. My ds preferred it after being given a formula feed in the hospital angry.

Londonmrss Thu 01-Nov-12 18:00:31

Thank you for the advice. It is particularly good to know that late starters can eventually latch on! I spent some of this afternoon while she was awake just with her against my skin. She sort of licked my nipple and opened her mouth but then wouldn't latch on. Still, if I keep doing that, I guess eventually she might...
I think she gets frustrated at the breast- like she knows she's meant to do something but she's not sure what. I also haven't really held a baby before my own so I do find it hard to get her into a position and she gets a bit irritable at being moved around so inelegantly.
For some reason I had imagined that the second she was born and placed on me, she would find the nipple and we'd lie together, feeding in a halo of golden light- but she was just confused.
Brighton, I have that latch assist thing, so will definitely keep trying on your advice.
Thank you again.

crikeybadger Thu 01-Nov-12 18:09:41

As long as you protect your milk supply London, then there's no reason why you won't be able to get your baby to feed from the breast. Some babies take months to get it. You'll need to be expressing 8-10 times in 24 hours though to keep your milk production going.

If you're finding the positioning hard, try the biological nurturing as tiktok suggested as you don't need to worry about particular holds or where your arms are going, just lay back, get comfy and relax.

You could also try co-bathing to recreate the birth experience. May sound a bit weird, but could be worth a go.

Zara1984 Thu 01-Nov-12 18:32:48

Londonmrs don't have much helpful advice to add just wanted go let you know I'm in the same boat with my boy born on Sunday. He is not really latching at all. Had a lactation consultant out this afternoon, was v helpful. I might be going to see a cranial osteopath next week because his delivery was traumatic too (meconium aspiration).

I just wanted to send you virtual hugs, PMme if you want, would maybe make us both feel less alone/stressed about it


Lollyheart Thu 01-Nov-12 18:42:09

Congratulations .
It took my ds 5 weeks to latch on but with a little bit of perseverance and help of a bfc we got there in the end and he fed until around 2 years old smile
Can't really add much to the good advice you've already had.

exBrightonBell Thu 01-Nov-12 19:03:00

Just had another thought London. I was wondering what kind of teat/bottle you're using to give your expressed milk? I used the Medela calma teats (there are other similar ones) which seemed to help my LO to get the hang of sucking, and helped to calm him down when he was trying to breast feed. These sort of teats are designed so that the baby has to suck to get any milk, but it is a bit easier than being at the breast.

It's also worth remembering that as they get older and stronger they can find it easier to suckle. My LO used to literally get tired out from trying to suck when he was 1 week old or so.

gemmeg Thu 01-Nov-12 19:07:06

Congratulations smile. I think you'll have no problems getting your LO to latch. You've made the first step by contacting a support worker and she'll be full of invaluble advice. I contacted La Leche Liga when I had BF issues and a year later I still attend a group for breastfeeding mums. Don't forget, it's new for you and your LO and as natural as it is, it can be quite hard work at the beginning! My LLL group leader always tells us that there are really very few reasons why a woman is unable to BF and most BF issues can be solved by spending a day in bed, just you and LO, and being waited on hand and foot smile. Just keep on trying to latch your LO on and have loads of skin to skin contact. You'll get there in the end smile.

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