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Help please! Opinions on Our feeding method sought

(8 Posts)
Sleepybunny Wed 12-Dec-12 18:06:02


I've been reading loads of posts here for a while and the advice given has been great, so I'm really hoping that I can get some opinions on our situation.

My DD is 4 weeks old, and she was born 4 weeks early weighing 5lb 4oz. I really want to ebf and had lots of help from the midwifes in getting this established, but as LO was premature they were checking her blood sugars before each feed and finding they were too low, so I was trying to express colostrum, syringe fed her that then she would get a formula top up. I really wasn't happy about the ff and it really dented my confidence, but I was so scared that she would end up in the neonatal unit I just wanted her to get fed so we could tick their boxes and get on with things.

My milk came in on day 3 and since then I have been encouraging her to feed from me, but when her latching was bad and she was fussing at the breast I give in and give her a bottle of expressed milk. I'm lucky that I can express and I can produce 100-180ml each time.

The problem is this has made feeding a bit of military procedure! So I try feeding her at the breast for about an hour (sometime she just latches on sometimes she's on and off and doesn't feed well I think) then I give her expressed milk (this also takes quite a while for her to drink!) once she is settled I then express for 20min each side before, trying to rest myself! She feeds about every 2-3 hours this way, but crys a lot with feeds, particularly in the evening.

Her weight gain has been very good, at 4 weeks she now weighs 7lb 2oz! So the HV has advised that we start dropping the expressing and topping up and try to get her to feed from he breast only.

This has turned out to be very tiring with epic feed sessions where she seems unsettled and fussy. Not latching well sometimes (shallow latch and sore nipples) she doesn't seem as satisfied from the breast and to be perfectly honest I really don't understand how people can say they enjoy breast feeding! I really hate it!
I don't thing she has tongue tie as she can extend her tongue really well and can latch properly when she feels like it.

Does anyone have any suggestions on helping us with the transition from bottle to breast? Or have some opinions on what we are doing? I also wonder if sticking to the bottle would be easier, as she tends to be more satisfied and sleeps for longer during the night.

We went the whole of last night just breast feeding, and we are both tired and frustrated. I don't think it's helping me bond in anyway with her and I feel guilty and anxious most of the time.

Thanks for reading

blushingmare Wed 12-Dec-12 19:18:24

Hi. I'm sure someone more useful will be along with advice for you soon. I don't really know anything about feeding prem babies or transitioning from bottle to breast, but just wanted to say that what you describe of your first experience of ebf, sounds very normal and not necessarily due to all of the problems you've had. It is absolutely exhausting fully breastfeeding to start with and the baby just keeps demanding more and more and never seems satisfied - it makes you doubt yourself when you've had a straightforward start, let alone all that you've been through. But it does get so much better if you can bear to stick with it - it really does. I was weirdly stubborn about doing ebf and just wouldn't let it "beat me" - my competitive streak coming through, but it worked and I'm so glad I stuck with it because I love bf now.

If I had my time again I would cosleeping and feed lying down as you get so much more sleep that way.

Make the most of any help you can get - just forget about anything else except feeding your baby for now. And take each day as it comes - aim to bf til the end of the day and then see how the next day goes etc.

Good luck!

pod3030 Wed 12-Dec-12 19:29:00

hi, it sounds like you're doing all the right things, you will still be establishing your supply, your daughter is cluster feeding and communicating with your breasts, letting them know what the amount and frequency is she needs. she is essentially putting in her orders for future reference. it is tiring, my dd was 4lbs and early, and fed every hour, but this is all par for the course. be kind to yourself, you are doing an important job and everything else can bugger off. don't try to wallpaper the bedroom as i did-it still has bare patches and bubbles! also, if she's small her little mouth may not be able to take in all of your nipple. my dd suckled for a while at the end of the nipple until she got big enough. but i was lucky in that it has never been sore. hope that helps- and keep up the good work. someone pass that woman more chocolate !

VisualiseAHorse Wed 12-Dec-12 19:37:23

Sounds very similar to what I was doing - although I didn't have a prem baby. Felt like I was doing nothing except sitting on the couch with my boobs out, either feeding or expressing. It WILL get better. Just keep going. If you feel like you really really must have a break, give your OH (or mum etc) a bottle of expressed milk. As soon as you're done feeding, get into bed. That should give you a couple of hours until she wants to feed, OH can give her the EBM, and then you should have another couple of hours of sleep. Sleep is very very very important.

Exactly what pod said - everything else can bugger off. Just concentrate on your baby.

Have you tried feeding her while lying down? I used to get a boxset, drink and chocolate, lie on the couch, baby on the 'outside', and let him feed like that for as long as he wanted (or until I needed to pee). He would 'pop' on and off for about 1 hour, then fall asleep. I'd pop him in his cot (with OH's help) and then get into bed myself.

BiscuitCrumbsInBed Wed 12-Dec-12 20:29:37

Lots of good advice above, I just thought i'd add that it might be worth seeing a breastfeeding counsellor who can watch you feeding and give some tips on latching, positions etc. There may be a drop in group near you and/or someone who could come to your house. Try googling/ ringing up NCT, Breastfeeding Network and La Leche League. Sounds like you're doing a good job though - rest, eat and drink as much as you can too! Good luck!

Sleepybunny Thu 13-Dec-12 02:53:52

Hrmmm tried replying earlier, but seems not to have posted!

Thanks for all your responses, I feel a lot more positive.

Just tried out the lying down and feeding, and it's amazing can't believe I didn't try it already! Great tip girls!

Found a breast feeding cafe, and going along today thanks again xxx

VisualiseAHorse Fri 14-Dec-12 09:12:21

Lying down feeding is ace. Once you're comfortable with it, try taking her into bed with you. Pop her in a sleeping bag, and get into pajamas with a thin blanket, then you should be able to sleep while she feeds.

catwoman101 Fri 14-Dec-12 09:55:09

I think the most important thing is to do what you want and feel comfortable with, whether thar is trying to ebf, go back to feed/express/bottle, just express or go to ff. You are the boss and the only one entitles to make decisions about feeding. Hv shouldnt judge you whatever you do.

You say bf all night is making you both tired and grumpy. What is best for you, establishing breast or feeling a bit more human? Remember, no right decision, just right decision for you. Good luck.

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