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anyone else have a baby that refuses the breast completely?

(41 Posts)
bananailana Fri 05-Apr-13 16:23:10

I had a forceps delivery after 2 hours of pushing, baby needed a bit of stimulation to breathe but nothing dramatic. Not much skin to skin at birth but in recovery I had a lovely maternity care assistant trying to latch him frequently and helping me express colostrum. However he has never latched! Now 13 days old and happy enough on expressed milk in bottles but I don't know how long I can continue that with not knowing if he will ever actually breast feed... doing lots of skin to skin, trying to give him only positive experiences of the breast (selecting best time to offer and not trying too long) but he just doesn't know he is supposed to suck. Have been to so many clinics and baby cafes, no-one can latch him and they just say keep trying (but not too much or he will get negative association!)

Anyone else out there with similar stories? And particularly how long did it take for them to catch on and was it anything you did or just them suddenly getting it?

noblegiraffe Fri 05-Apr-13 20:02:31

Has he been checked for tongue tie?

bananailana Fri 05-Apr-13 21:21:50

Yeah, they say he hasn't, and he can definitely poke his tongue out of his mouth when he is hungry...

HorsesDogsNails Fri 05-Apr-13 21:29:14

My DD breastfed for the grand total of 8 days then refused to latch. I tried (obviously), midwife tried, stubborn daughter refused. After 10 hours without her consuming any milk I made her a bottle of formula and she guzzled it. Next feed I tried to latch her on without success then made her a bottle which didn't touch the sides.....

Luckily (for me) she was my second baby so emotionally I was more resilient and didn't take it personally, but from that feed onwards she was ff all the way......


BikeRunSki Fri 05-Apr-13 21:31:38

DS did this. I had lots and lots of breastfeeding support, and he point blank refused. He lost 25 % of his body weight in his first 10 day and his health was deterioating (he was also a bit early). Paed was concenred and BF consultant had run out of tricks. DS used to purse his lips and push himself away from my chest and turn his face away.

When he was a week old, I started to FF him. I am sorry that that's probably not the outcome you wanted to hear, but really to say that this situation is not unique. I was expressing, but got little more than a few drops, even after 30 min with a hospital pump.

BikeRunSki Fri 05-Apr-13 21:33:02

My experience of FF after breast refusal was similar to Horses's.

chloeb2002 Fri 05-Apr-13 21:57:02

My current situation is similar. Ds was an elective cs but a messy forceps one.. He had new born tachypnoea on return to the ward. Then I had a post partum haemorrhage , then he wouldn't latch on or if he appeared to he would be a three suck wonder. He is now day 23. He was re admitted last week as a failure to thrive bub and ng fed for 3 days. I was also admitted with an unusual wound induration / infection and went back to theatre. So.... I am expressing, using a nipple shield has helped a little bit. Lactation consultant thinks he has a small square tongue that doesn't help. Again no tongue tie. He is dc number 4 the others all bf for over 12 months and no huge issues. I am expressing and bottle feeding with about 100ml of ff top up if needed. I have been told to continue offering the breast when there's a good supply and let down with nipple shield as he can't spit that out as easily. Not great but he gets a bit that way and stimulates supply. I am aiming to get to 6 weeks and review then. I will continue to ebm as long as possible as a plan b confused it is very very hard and I feel for you

bananailana Wed 10-Apr-13 14:13:56

That does sound very similar chloeb. I am getting little runs of sucking now using nipple shields, but actual calories are from expressed milk in bottles. I'm going to give it to 6 weeks if I can hold out. Lactation consultant thinks there is a 50:50 chance of establishing breastfeeding.

BettyandDon Wed 10-Apr-13 15:02:53

No latch here either tried for 10 weeks. Expressed until wk6 but couldn't pump enough after bad mastitis.

I think nipple shields are your best bet.

bananailana Fri 12-Apr-13 11:24:55

Did you try nipple shields Bettyanddon? What was your experience with them?

AnythingNotEverything Fri 12-Apr-13 12:41:01

My ds wouldn't latch so I expressed for 6 weeks then changed to ff. no tongue tie, normal birth except for some meconium. Just wouldn't do it!

I think this is more common than we think. No one talks about struggling to breastfeed IRL, only on MN!

tiktok Fri 12-Apr-13 12:41:55

sad banana

It sounds as if you have good help and support despite that difficult start.

The issues that occur to me and that you could think about are:

*forceps can leave the baby with a headache/neckache/shoulder ache that affects him when he tries to get on the breast
* someone 'trying to latch him on frequently' can compound a problem and really cause an aversion...babies arch their backs to resist, and/or they simply 'tune out' and fall asleep rather than latch on and feed
* the continued attempts at clinics and cafes can ramp up the stress and tension - however well-meaning
* it is fine to express and feed in bottles during this crisis - keep him close to the breast, skin to skin, when you do this, and try to replicate a 'breastfeeding experience' for him

Continue doing the skin to skin thing just as cuddles and closeness so he can show you any signs he is ready to latch.

This dvd if you can get hold of it or if there is one in the baby cafes etc in your area is definitely worth watching with someone who understands about non-latching babies. The babies in this dvd start by being held lengthwise up on mum's chest and they lead their own way to the breast (it's v. like biological nurturing, but not quite the same). Many babies in the dvd have never really latched or fed well and some are weeks old.

Twattybollocks Fri 12-Apr-13 20:00:15

At this point I would try a nipple shield, some babies once used to the bottle need something a bit more concrete than a nipple to help them latch. You don't have to use the nipple shields forever, some people use them for a couple of weeks until feeding at the breast is established, then wean off them. It can also help to start the feed with the shield then take him off part way through and try without.

Zara1984 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:21:31

Hi OP, I had the exact same thing with DS (now 5 months). He latched maybe 6 times total as a newborn? I ended up full time expressing but shifted to FF after 2 weeks as I was completely exhausted and heading towards PND.

The things that everyone above have said are great, esp what tiktok said. My DS had forceful suctioning and CPR after delivery, and lots of people trying to get him onto boob. In the end he just panicked and screamed every time I offered boob (but happily drained bottles) and it left me in tears. Nipple shields were not really a help either. My engineer DH also reckons my nipples were too huge and stretched/flat for DS's tiny mouth to be able to do anything with.

If I could wind back the clock, I would tell myself to NOT try and latch at every feed if baby is very distressed and won't latch. My "plan" set up for me by the community mws was to try to latch for 10-15 mins them give an expressed bottle. I now realise that i was just making DS very stressed out and scared of my boob. But I just kept feeling like there was a battle against time IYSWIM. Somehow in my scouring of the web I missed the suggestion on Kellymom to just stop attempting to latch for a week, and feed expressed milk in bottles. Then gently gently coax baby back to breast if possible - at a time when you are less stressed and baby not freaked out by boob. That all depends I guess if you feel you are up to carry on expressing full time.

I think you are going really really well. Please try to be kind to yourself, this is not your fault and it isn't your lovely baby's fault either. What I learnt from my experience is that sometimes it just doesn't work OR maybe it can work but could take longer than you have the emotional and physical capacity to deal with. Or it might suddenly just start to work.... Frustrating, right?! Flat out non-latching is quite a serious bfing problem and not really covered in your standard books/advice. Not a single HCP or LC could work out why DS wouldn't latch. The 6 times he did do it were perfect, drank lots, no pain. He simply couldn't replicate it the following feed. It was bizarre.

Please keep posting, you are not alone. This is quite a common problem I've now learnt! Please feel free to PM me too anytime, I do understand how hard this is xx you are doing brilliantly!!!

Zara1984 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:29:04

That DVD tiktok mentions is good and quite helpful... My LC brought it round. Unfortunately DS hated biological nursing type positions the most of all and screamed blue murder while bashing his head against my boob and still refusing to latch.... But I'm glad we gave it a go nonetheless.

I'm thinking now of all the weird ways in desperation I tried to get DS to latch.... Boob dropping down from above! Upside down! Bottle/finger suck and switch! Yank my nipple so hard it smarted so it would actually point out a little bit... I was demented!! And so determined to find the one magical latch! Sorry I know it's not funny... But it makes me shake my head at how desperate I was! confused

Zara1984 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:31:13

Nipple shields - my nipple didn't really fit into any of them (tried a number of brands), and DS still hated it (I think because it was on my boob, and he could smell milk/but couldn't get it/was getting scared of boob at that point).

Zara1984 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:32:28

But they do work well for many women!! My friend Londonmrss had same probs as me but was able to get baby to latch using them, she still uses them now and is EBF.

mumtolilh Fri 12-Apr-13 21:35:09

If you want to continue with breast milk try pumping & a very natrual teat
That's what I did & when my lb was a newborn
(Or a couple of different brand shields)
I just kept trying & got there in the end
As he gets older he will get's so exhausting & hard work for them to feed he will get there in the end x

BettyandDon Fri 12-Apr-13 21:41:33

I did try nipple shields but she still would not latch. It was horrible as she was rooting like mad for weeks but just didn't get the latch.

Unfortunately I do feel that the more they get used to the bottle teat it becomes more difficult to get a latch as its so different and harder for a baby.

Another thought...It may be that you have flat nipples ? The shields would help with that. Otherwise you have to really squash your boob or express a bit to make the nipple pull out more.

I've since managed to BF another DC so I know that the issues I had were down to baby and not me. I thought in hindsight maybe my nipples were flattish (also big boobs) though.

thegoodthebadandtheyoni Fri 12-Apr-13 21:44:36

I had similar problems - DS just wasn't interested in sucking at all when he was born (despite very nice and pretty quick birth at home) and was syringe fed for the first few days. He was on bottles of expressed milk from day 4 and despite lots of great support from the midwives just wasn't interested in the boob. My experience was quite different to Zara though and DS didn't seem frustrated on being offered boob at each feed (first without nipple shield and then with) and did finally latch at 3 weeks. He's now 7 months and still a great feeder!

It's not easy and you have to do what's best for you and your LO (congrats by the way!). If you're bottle feeding, make the most of other people being able to do it for you and get some sleep; keep your fluids up so you've got good supply and are not getting dehydrated; and try and - and this, I know, is much easier said than done - be as calm and relaxed as possible when trying to get your DC latched smile. Good luck.

BettyandDon Fri 12-Apr-13 21:45:34

Just thought I would add something that is related to what tiktok said about aversion...

My first definitely had this early on. Only 1 midwife paid attention to it but she felt that the baby was so mucousy that she could not breathe through her nose. So clearly trying to make her BF was the same as suffocating! Any chance your baby doesn't have clear airways? You could buy saline solution to help clear if so.

Zara1984 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:51:22

I know that Medela do nipple formers? I'm not sure if these would help (I'm wary of just throwing more info at you when you're stressed!) - tiktok or others, are these any good? They prepare the nipple to be more pointy out between feeds apparently?

I fail on the flat nipples test according to Medela website confusedno surprises there!

Zara1984 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:53:36

Y to the mucous. DS was very mucusy despite suctioning and brought up lots of slime, blood and meconium in the early days. Saline helped clear his nose. Tis easy to administer with a little syringe. The mucus only started to dry up at about 3.5 weeks as I recall.

thegoodthebadandtheyoni Fri 12-Apr-13 21:59:49

Yes, if flat/inverted nipps are compounding the problem (like trying to latch onto a beachball in my case!) the medela formers were helpful. They're basically a hard shell that you wear in between feeds to help draw the nipple out. Don't lean over when you're wearing them though - you leak, they catch the leakage, you lean over - splash! smile The lanisoh latch assist is also great just as you're about to feed.

GozerTheGozerian Fri 12-Apr-13 22:03:33

sounds so familiar. DS never ever latched once - we had maybe 3 feeds using shields but otherwise he would literally cry and scream and arch away. I expressed for 9 weeks then it just got too much - like you nobody ever could tell me what the problem was, although I got pretty lousy support to be honest. He's fine - I felt awful at the time but for whatever reason, we just didn't bf successfully. Don't know how common it is but nobody else I knew had this issue.

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