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Help!!! 5 day old refusing breast

(38 Posts)
WallinoMio Sat 17-Nov-12 19:46:35

I've been a mumsnet lurker since finding out I was pregnant in March, but this is my first post...I desperately need some advice!!!

I gave birth to DS on Monday and have been breastfeeding ever since...the first couple of days were horribly painful thanks to no help in the hospital with latching on, etc, but we've been figuring things out and getting much better. My milk came in yesterday and ever since then DS has been refusing to latch on...since last night he has only fed once, at 7am today. When he cries I try putting him on the breast but he flails around and won't stop crying - he completely refuses to latch on. And we both get more and more stressed and upset.

In my desperation (and with massively painful milk filled boobs) I sent my OH to get a manual breast pump, so have expressed some milk (not very much; less than 30ml) which DS then took from a bottle. So now I'm worried that I've ruined my breastfeeding efforts by introducing a bottle so soon. So my questions to all you experts are these:

1) Will introducing a bottle at this point make it impossible for DS to take the breast again?
2) How can I encourage him to latch on/stop his massive hysterical crying fits every time I try to feed him?
3) In our desperation during one of said crying fits we gave him a dummy which we now have ended up using when he's so hysterical literally nothing else will work - is this going to ruin his ability to latch on? Was it far too early? Should I stop using it?
4) Since he was born DS hasn't really been a regular feeder - he sleeps A LOT and doesn't seem very hungry - should I be waking him up to feed him?

Sorry for all the questions but I don't have anyone else to ask (living abroad away from family) and I'm starting to feel really down. I feel like I've sabotaged my intention to EBF and really really want to get DS to feed again. I feel like I'm failing already sad Please help!!!!!

aamia Sat 17-Nov-12 19:55:40

Get him checked for tongue tie. This,is almost exectly what happened to us. I fed expressed milk and formula until it was snipped with a bf once a day. DS is now ebf again.

amazingmumof6 Sat 17-Nov-12 19:59:20

Well done and congratulations!

First of all expressing milk ruined nothing - mums of premature babies do this to precisely get and keep the milk going!
keep expressing, 30 mils is a good amount at this age!

if you are expressing more than what he needs freeze excess, then use batches when he's caught up!

very important - get him checked for tongue-tie, if he has it he may not be able to latch on!

dummies - who knows really, works for some, not for others - maybe good to use them if it calms him, then try to latch him on

sorry, only read parts, (kids keep disturbing me)

picturesinthefirelight Sat 17-Nov-12 19:59:55

Couldn't read and run.

This happened to me and ds. It's virtually exactly the same - around day 5 refusal to latch. Hysteria and eventually just very sleepy.

I expressed and cup fed him using the cap from a bottle as like you I was worried about confusion. The main thing was just to get milk in him in whatever way we could as he was dehydrated And jaundiced

Although not prem ds had some of the characteristics of a prem baby and ultimately we think it came down to him not being able to open his mouth wide enough and lack of sucking reflex

My advice would be not to make any long term goals or targets just take every day at a time. I had to express every 3 hours day and night for a few days to prevent dehydration and hospital admission. After a few days it was every 4 hours and I did use formula in the night as I decided for my own sanity that would keep me going - a but if respite so I didn't give up completely.

We did lots of skin to skin - going in the bath together. Firstly just getting him to be calm at the breast, not trying to latch. Aldo using a syringe to drop expressed milk down my breast into his mouth.

It took 6 weeks then all of a sudden without warning he latched on and I fed him for 16 months. I was used as a case study locally as no. I've the healthcare professionals knew had ever got through it - all had given up

No one can tell you what to do, whether to carry on etc. Judt tske each day as it cones. I would try and ditch the dummy, it won't help

WallinoMio Sat 17-Nov-12 19:59:55

Maybe this is a stupid question but wouldn't a tongue tie mean he wouldn't have been able to feed before either? He was fine until yesterday...he has his first doctor's appointment on Monday morning so will definitely ask then.

aamia Sat 17-Nov-12 20:01:05

And he should be feeding every two to three hours. Expressed milk, formula or breast. You can't just leave him to not eat or you will end up with a very ill baby. So focus on that now and get the tongue tie checked on mon. He is sleeping so much because he is weak from lack of food. Mine was the same. Got formula into him and it was a different baby.

WallinoMio Sat 17-Nov-12 20:02:12

X posted with all the replies (damn you slow internet connection)...thankyou all for the advice!! Am sat here in tears!!

aamia Sat 17-Nov-12 20:02:44

Mine was tt and colostrum went down fine. Milk did not. Awful wind, screaming and crying.

amazingmumof6 Sat 17-Nov-12 20:02:45

if he is sleepy he could be jaundiced - if you think he's skin is yellowish or the white of his eyes are yellowish - take him to A&e straight away

my son was jaundiced at day 5 following ELSC, and was given a bottle as he was too sleepy to feed. if they don't feed jaundice gets worse, act quickly!

picturesinthefirelight Sat 17-Nov-12 20:03:40

Wallinmo - agree get milk in him however you can. We had to wake ds to feed him. He would have starved else.

It's not going to be easy. I was frequently in tears but it can work out.

WallinoMio Sat 17-Nov-12 20:03:50

Another stupid question...what is the best way to wake a sleeping baby without creating massive hysteria??

picturesinthefirelight Sat 17-Nov-12 20:06:09

Tickle his feet and trickle milk in his mouth with a syringe then try a cup. The hysteria may be because he finds bring at the breast frustrating. He'll just get sleepier and sleepier.

aamia Sat 17-Nov-12 20:07:23

Don't worry just spring into action and get that milk down him. So long as you are pumping your supply will stay. Pump every two hours and feed about 45 ml every two hours of bm or formula. Says on the formula packet how much and I just fed as much as baby would take. Good luck! Babies are so stressful!

amazingmumof6 Sat 17-Nov-12 20:09:43

tongue tie is a crazy bitch, it looks like they are feeding and they might be able to a bit, but in fact they have to work very hard for a little milk and get exhausted and weight gain suffers (plus your nipples, sanity....)

imagine running a mile with your ankles tied together and then get a nod - or running it like the wind and be greeted by a huge cheering crowd

that's the difference

fluffacloud Sat 17-Nov-12 20:09:52

Congrats on the birth of your DS!

I'll attempt to help but I'm sure that one of the BF Gurus will be along soon.

Your post sounds as if he's only had 30ml since 7am? Are you still getting wet nappies etc? I would begin to worry about dehydration tbh.

If your breast are very full it may be difficult for him to latch and he's getting frustrated. Could you try to express a little first to make it a little easier?

The dummy could be fulfilling (sp) the natural sucking action and could mean that he doesn't 'need' your breast for that. I would take it away until BF is established - hard, I know!

You need to wake him every 3 hours for feeds, especially if he's not taking much.

Dummies and bottles won't ruin your chances, but I don't think they will help much either.

You sound like you're having a rough time and that you don't have any BF support - do you have any health/BF proffesionals that you can call?

So sorry that it's been a tough start - it will get easier, I promise smile

Wormshuffler Sat 17-Nov-12 20:11:40

Congratulations! Loads of skin to skin, are you still having daily midwives? I would advise pumping every 2 hours and giving by whatever means necessary, Preferably cup/ syringe to avoid nipple confusion, until your next appointment. Has he been weighed yet?

amazingmumof6 Sat 17-Nov-12 20:11:58

to avoid hysteria swaddle him - basically gently restrict his arms by wrapping him, so he'll feel safe, like back in womb

fluffacloud Sat 17-Nov-12 20:12:10

When I started typing you didn't have any replies - bloody stupid phone typing!

I see the cavalry have arrived with much better advice grin

Good luck OP!

byhec Sat 17-Nov-12 20:13:27

I had a similar problem with my DS (who turned out to have a tongue tie). I would recommend trying to find a breastfeeding drop in where someone can help you out, or calling the Bfn breastfeeding helpline for advice or can a midwife help?
I was advised to express and then feed him with a medicine syringe (to reduce the risk of him preferring bottle over breast) and spend a couple of days in bed doing loads of skin to skin which helped to relax him (I eventually had to get the TT snipped)
Might be best to avoid a dummy at this stage, the crying is more than likely due to hunger than anything else , I used my finger with some expressed milk on the end of it to calm him down before feeding (might be a good way to wake him up too?)
Good luck, hope he's able to feed soon.

amazingmumof6 Sat 17-Nov-12 20:15:09

also back to tongue-tie - it could effect bottle feeding as well - my DD could maintain proper latch on breast or bottle!

lots of good advice above, but do get him checked

WallinoMio Sat 17-Nov-12 20:17:51

Thanks to everyone!!! Am off to pump now, will let you know how it goes!! Have had one wet nappy so far today and two lots of poo overnight...will go and try and get more milk into him asap! No midwife visits here in Italy, and not really a lot of breastfeeding support, just the pediatrician (who will hopefully be able to help!!)

fluffacloud Sat 17-Nov-12 20:27:40

I don't mean to worry you but one wet nappy is not nearly enough in I'm assuming 12 hours?

Not sure how you'll feel about this but given the same situation I would be expressing and feeding every 2 hours, through the night too. Dehydration can be rather nasty in new borns.

I would call the doctor too, asap if you think he's already dehydrated - even slightly.

bumbez Sat 17-Nov-12 20:29:46

Could it be that as your milk has now come in your breasts are engorged? This makes the nipple flatter and therefore harder to latch.
Easily remedied by applying hot compresses ( flannels) as hot as you can bare, and hand expressing till your breasts are soft.

I too am concerned that your baby hasn't fed since 0700 this morning, have you a number that you can contact for a midwife visit?


FishfingersAreOK Sat 17-Nov-12 20:31:33

I had to strip my DD down to get her not to fall asleep before feeding. She was so warm and snug she would drop off after a teeny feed. Though was a warmer time of year. So take care with the too much swaddling. She needed swaddling too if a bit frantic to stop the flailing arms so I made sure she was wearing pretty light clothing and then swaddled in a large muslin - so not too hot and sleep inducing.

Good luck - and remember feed your baby. Doesn't matter how really.

Wormshuffler Sat 17-Nov-12 20:32:46

Poo nappies is a better indicator than wet nappies. Dehydrated babies can still produce wet nappies.
Bless you, back to bed after you've fed him next ebm, loads and loads of skin to skin. Allow him to bob about and he may find the boob himself. Good luck op x

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