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Breast feeding off to a shaky start - success stories wanted

(32 Posts)
WLmum Tue 25-Dec-12 15:31:06

dd3 is one week old and bless her heart she's not doing so great at bfing. Has a slight Tongue tie which is due to be snipped on 3rd jan but she also seems to tire really quickly so drinks the initial let down then falls asleep. Main problem for me was that whislt she slept ok in thd day, by night she was on the boob constantly and would cry and root as soon as she was put down. I went to the hospital bf advisor yesterday who suggested an action plan of waking her to feed every 3 hours, expressing after every feed and giving her the expressers from last feed as a top up, thus increasing my supply and her intake. I'm so very keen to bf I'll give it a try with gusto but am finding thd expressing slow - only getting 1-2 oz off which I fear is not enough of a top up. Also, I do not see topping up as a long term solution - if we can't make bfing work she'll have to go bottle which will break my heart.

Anyone able to offer any success stories? I am very emotional about it and would appreciate some light!

pickledparsnip Tue 25-Dec-12 15:44:47

My son and I had a really shaky start to breastfeeding. He was born 3 weeks early after a traumatic birth. He wouldn't latch & was jaundiced when born, but managed to feed a bit and I expressed some. Had crap after care, when he was finally weighed 6 days after birth he had lost about 18% body weight and was very badly jaundiced.

He spent a week in neonatal unit, whilst I pumped like mad. He still wouldn't latch until one amazing midwife got him to. I will be eternally grateful to that woman. I'd had a week full of women trying to help me, but couldn't, and just told me some babies won't latch.

Well I proved them wrong! 3 years later and we are still going (a feed before bed, bit in the morn).

pickledparsnip Tue 25-Dec-12 15:47:40

I really hope things improve once your daughter's tongue tie has been snipped. Breastfeeding is bloody hard work, and a learning curve for both mother and child. I was amazed at how much my newborn fed. He was the King of cluster feeding!

Have you got a good breastfeeding support group near you?

Chottie Tue 25-Dec-12 16:00:44

Just to give you a thumbs up, relax and go with it.

My GM successfully bf 7 children and she swore by a bottle of Guinness everyday for iron and milk production, but I guess that is not recommended nowadays. grin

SpottyTeacakes Tue 25-Dec-12 16:16:19

Just wanted to add 1-2oz is really good especially at only a week smile give it a few days and your supply will increase

KaraStarbuckThrace Tue 25-Dec-12 16:29:32

You sound like you are doing a good job, and once the tongue tie is snipped, things should get easier.
Has anyone offered you use of a nursing supplementer? It is a long tube that sits by your nipple, baby can get ebm through it while nursing here sorry my explanation is pretty crap.

ishchel Tue 25-Dec-12 17:28:25

Can you wear her in a sling during the day and stop and offer her feeds as often as possible during the day? Every 1.5 to 2 hrs as a starting point and see how it goes. Also google dr jack Newman and breast compression. When your baby starts to fall asleep on the breast start breast compressions to get more milk into her. The flow ought to perk her up again. When she stops drinking with compressions offer the other side. The new milk flow can get her drinking again. Jack newman's website also has video links which show when a baby is suckling and getting milk and when they aren't. Good luck.

ishchel Tue 25-Dec-12 17:30:23

Ps 3 hrs between feeds is a long time for a new born. Feeding more often during the day and caring skin to skin in a sling reduces the frequency of night time feeds and restlessness.

Flatasawitchestit Tue 25-Dec-12 17:35:55

The amounts you're expressing are fine, don't forget a baby's tummy is still tiny at this stage so doesn't take much to fill.

Keep going you sound like you're doing a grand job

smileyhappymummy Tue 25-Dec-12 17:38:37

I think you sound like you're doing a fantastic job, breastfeeding is very hard work at the beginning for a lot of people and I dont think that's always very well publicised antenatally.
Here's my success story after a shaky start. Dd1 born by emcs, lots of complications first fed 8 hours post delivery. For a month or so only slept when napping at breast. I was exhausted and still unwell. Expressed after every feed often only getting about 10 mls. Failed to regain birthweight by 1 month, had some formula top ups.
By 6 weekd she was exclusively breastfed again and had no formula after thwt- fed her till she stopped at around 17 months -despite returning to full time shift work.
Now, I know it doesn't always work out like that and do feel that for some people ff ends up being the best option. But wanted to say tht it can turn out brilliantly despite wobbly start.
Good luck and congratulations

WLmum Tue 25-Dec-12 18:01:01

Thanks so much for your replies - especially on Xmas day! I feel like I've had my boobs out in front of the whole family for most of the day!

pickled sorry to hear that things were tough to start with but your story gives me hope that I may be able to ebf in the future.

I do breast compressions, I came across jack Newman when struggling (and failing) to bf dd1, but did find them useful when successfully bfing dd2.

I have just expressed again after a feed and barely managed 1 oz - is it normal to get less as the day goes on?

Thanks again, hope you're all having lovely days.

WLmum Tue 25-Dec-12 18:04:33

Thanks smiley, that's great encouragement. I think I will have to use formula to top her up tonigt as won't have enough expressed but trying not to get too hung up on it. Feeling quite teary.

ItsIgginningToLookALotLikeXmas Tue 25-Dec-12 18:05:18

I can express nothing in the evenings, mornings much better. Not unusual at all.

SpottyTeacakes Tue 25-Dec-12 18:06:00

When ds was in SCBU the nurse said it was normal to get less later in the day especially if you're tired/stressed. When I switched from exclusively expressing to breast and tube (so still expressing) I only got about 20ml! You really are doing great smile

ItsIgginningToLookALotLikeXmas Tue 25-Dec-12 18:11:34

Hi there, posted before reading your OP blush when ds2 was tiny 1 or 2 oz was as much as I could get - I too had an action plan as he hadn't regained birth weight at 2 weeks. I was told to give formula top-ups but I just used expressed milk (though if weight didn't pick up I wouldve used formula, nothing against it but I did not want it for my baby). Anyway following the plan, I expressed after feeds (not night feeds though) and woke him if he slept for over 4ish hours or didn't ask to feed. By 3 weeks he was at birthweight and he's just kept going. I think I kept the top-ups going for a month, it isn't meant to last forever if that's what you think! In my case lo was a bit jaundiced and sleepy, once that was gone he started feeding efficiently. And your has the tongue tie of course, so should feed more easily in the future. Ds2 is 7 months now and still bf like a trooper. Am really glad I kept going, as it did get SO much easier. Best of luck.

goodbyeyellowbrickroad Tue 25-Dec-12 18:24:54

I also had a shaky start to breastfeeding my DS due to a missed tongue tie. He was 8 weeks by the time he had it snipped and the difference it made was remarkable. Whilst we were waiting for the procedure I had support at my local breastfeeding cafe from a breastfeeding counsellor which was fantastic - if you have one near you to pop to I highly recommend.

During those first 8 weeks I EBF but I won't lie it was tough. DS was feeding every hour and a half if not sooner but only for a few minutes at a time. Like your DD3 he would tire very quickly when feeding so I would often tickle his little feet to stir him and encourage him to take a bit more milk. Have you considered co-sleeping at night to make nightfeeds a bit easier on you?

And congratulations on DD3!

ElphabaTheGreen Tue 25-Dec-12 19:06:58

It took 8-10 weeks for me to not find BFing agonising, and almost that long before I stopped having to peel bloody breast pads of my boobs from the nipple trauma (yes, baby was also TT). DS also lost 11% of his birth weight so I had to express and do cup-feed top-ups. I only ever got one to two oz per pumping session, but it more than did the trick. Through sheer bloody mindedness on my part, he's only ever had 3oz of formula in his life (given when I was too shattered and in pain to express another drop when he was a few days old) and we made it to six months EBF last month. I was so bloody chuffed, I actually sent thank-you letters to all of the ward and community midwives, health visitors and breast feeding specialist who helped me through the whole ordeal because it was SO worth all that effort.

Onetwothreeoops Tue 25-Dec-12 19:17:58

I've had two with tongue tie that successfully went on to feed until 11 months and then 16 months. I also couldn't express more than an ounce at a time and neither of them would take a bottle anyway. My strategy was to just go with the flow and feed on demand even though it meant every 1 - 1 1/2 hours initially. I did resort to chewing fenugreek seeds to increase supply but I have no idea if it helped.

If it helps, think of your strategy as a very short term measure only, because you will be back on track before you know it. I bet by the 5th January this will all be just a memory.

VisualiseAHorse Tue 25-Dec-12 21:00:12

We had a horrible start to BF. Sleepy baby, un-diagnosed lip tie, etc etc, then I suffered PND and psychotic episodes. It's been an eventful year!!

Finally got it right about week 10. Had a bath, he latched by himself (first time he'd ever done it!) and fed for about 20 minutes!
Slowly managed to build up to EBF over a month, then after a couple of months EBF, introduced a bottle of EBM once a day. Then started with formula and then weaning. Just stopped BF at 8 months (this week)!! I'm sad that we've stopped, although I do keep trying (he's just not interested at the moment), but I'm so proud of myself for continuing.

naturalbaby Tue 25-Dec-12 21:11:45

ds1 was very sleepy and jaundiced for the first 2 weeks of his life. He would just about latch on but fall asleep within minutes. It took at least 2 weeks to get going but I just stuck at it. He ebf for 7months.
I did use a dummy fairly early (maybe not this early) or gave him my finger to suck to get him warmed up before a feed and that seemed to help. It was a fine line between being hungry enough and not so hungry that he was too desperate to latch on properly.

snowtunesgirl Tue 25-Dec-12 22:26:42

1-2oz is loads of milk for a one week old so don't worry. Hopefully things will get better once the snip is performed.

We had a bad start to BF over here after a 22 hours labour, EMCS, DD was born with a leg that bent back the wrong way at the knee, I went into urinary retention. Also DD was pretty much refusing to latch for the first 24 hours and was very sleepy.

Fast forward and she's now 13 months and we're still going. smile

Willdoitinaminute Tue 25-Dec-12 22:39:24

Had section and DS born at 36 weeks he initially latched on but was rushed into special care. He was tube fed for 3 days while I expressed like mad then reintroduced to bf. he latched on straight away and special care mw had little celebration apparently makes them very happy!
He continued to bf until 2 yrs old and is now tall healthy 8 yr old.
To make sure she gets richer hind milk don't swap breast each feed, feed from same breast for 3-4 hours then swap. She's only little so only has little tummy.
Bottles only have one hole nipples have loads it's amazing how much you can express in a matter of minutes. Also there is no law saying you can't wake her up to continue feeding.

snowtunesgirl Tue 25-Dec-12 22:46:39

Willdo, I'm glad it worked out for you but your advice is not recommended at all as switch nursing is the fastest way to up your supply and fore / hindmilk is not really that important unless you have a massive oversupply problem.

Staying on the same breast for 3-4 hours can reduce your supply especially if you're just starting out.

MincepiePatty Tue 25-Dec-12 23:00:03

You have had great advice above and I cannot add more than say you a doing brilliantly. Beast feeding is hard work physically and mentally and you are doing great, you have a healthy pragmatic attitude that will take you to the 3rd and when the tongue tie is dealt with there will be a rapid change.
Congratulations too!

WLmum Tue 25-Dec-12 23:15:43

Thank you so much everyone, this is exactly what I needed to hear. visualise that sounds horrendous - poor you, so glad that you seem to be back on top.

I am switch feeding which seems to be helping - fx. Am feeding on demand, unless she's having a long day sleep when I'm waking her after 3 hours.

onetwo I'm going to Mark 5th jan in my diary and see where we are - I hope you're right!

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