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Last Straw ....?

(28 Posts)
CarrotCake13 Thu 06-Feb-14 15:49:43

Hi all ,

Im new here and really desperate to get some advice or support because im really lost . So my lil 'un was born with tongue tie over xmas , it took 3 and half weeks for it be cut it took the HV calling the department and threatening them to get it done then as i was on a waiting list so prob would have been longer, despite being picked up the day she was born it was very late to be sorted in my eyes. Anyway it made bf a complete nightmare , very painful cracked nipples , cluster feeding for hours, and days on end - constant screaming for food and then I developed mastitis which I have now recovered from. Although I still have some damage to one my breasts but pain compared to before is much more manageable. Tounge tie did improve feeding after four days however...

Sadly I have been forced to add in formula feeds due to her not putting on weight on for two weeks ( during and just after TT was cut) as advised by health visitor and midwife , she also lost weight as well during the TT period, so we were admitted into hospital due to her not putting on weight sad the formula was started with one a night to now 4 per day as advised by bf adviser, I am now on a feeding plan to desperately put on weight on 3 hourly ( this was the only way to get out of hospital without further intervention feeding wise). I am on Domperidone (one week now) , eating more myself , ordered some Fenugreek tablets as advised by bf lady, pumping twice a day but with little coming out less than an 1oz due to how long feeds take up 1 hr + , or two or three hours of cluster feeding its hard to pump straight after. I have also tried babymoons which didnt help to much.

I have found this experience horrendous shes 6 weeks old and I feel like im trapped in a vicious circle with no end in sight. i am keen to bf in my heart I am devastated the TT wasn't dealt with sooner and as a result to be combined feeding its hard work feeding and then mixing up bottles and , sterilizing its never ending. Quite clearly bf alone is not working for her ( in terms of weight and happiness etc). I do feel "fuller" since the prescription but again it doesn't seem to be enough for her or help her put on weight alone without formula. I am also out of ideas of what I can do, I feel I have tried everything??? I am very restricted in terms of having to meet weight targets ( she has to be putting on significant weight to keep us out of hospital) which makes trying anything very hard.

Sorry for the very long message its been a long 6 weeks.....
many thanks in advance on any suggestions

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 06-Feb-14 15:53:14

I would seek alternative help. Have you spoken to a lactation consultant? Or give la Leche League a call. There are solutions here- you may want to go down the route of a supplementary nursing system for a while until your own supply returns.

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 06-Feb-14 16:05:23

I am very pro breastfeeding. Let me say that to start with. I speak from three bf babies, a total of 55 months feeding on demand (so far).

It sounds like you have genuinely tried everything available to you. The first six weeks after birth are a very vulnerable, fragile time for a new mother. You've already tried for about five and a half weeks longer than most people could/would in your position.

Even taking the supplementary feeds into account you have given probably two hundred feeds/pumps. How many people try something two hundred times that hurts, distresses and even injures them? Please don't underestimate your achievement.

I'm surprised by the advice you have been given, so I guess either you may have had insufficient/misguided support, or perhaps the situation was more serious than you've implied. Again, you've done absolutely the best you could in very trying circumstances. I've no doubt you've frequently been told you should give up bf altogether, right? Yet you persevered and baby has had all those extra feeds.

In your position I would abandon the pump. It isn't working for you - it doesn't for everyone. Concentrate on feeding at the breast when you can, and giving ff when you choose, and build a relationship with your baby that suits you both. Every breastfeed you give is worth it for baby's nutrition and immunity. What isn't worth it is if doing so compromises your mental or physical health. Find the right balance for you both.

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 06-Feb-14 16:18:11

Horatia with due respect I think the OP may benefit from decent breastfeeding support.
Use of an SNS for instance, I too would suggest stop pumping - it doesn't sound like it is workling- or has anyone suggested getting rid of bottles and using other methods to give formula- this may make the baby keener to breastfeed.
THere are lots of other avenues to explore- but she needs expert help.

CarrotCake13 Thu 06-Feb-14 16:31:30

Hi ,

thank you so much for responding to quickly, the bf support im guessing is the lactation support equivalent ( same person?) She has looked at my latch and is happy with this now as we worked on improving it since TT cut we had to retrain her and me to feed better which is much better. I haven't spoken to La Leche ( ive not heard of them tbh) What is SNS? As she does not seemingly to be suffering from nipple confusion that I can tell I have therefore only be provided bottle options at this moment. As it stands weight gain is the priority over and above how this is given as they are stating that further weeks of no weigh gain can have developmental impacts on lil one. She is over birth weight was 3040g now 3300g but this is deemed as very poor gain over the 6 week period.

CarrotCake13 Thu 06-Feb-14 16:37:34

and further note to OP yes.... the hospital Dr's when they read how long i was feeding the cluster lengths pretty much looked up and said why don't you just go on formula you will go mental .... my response i have not preserved for this long to be told just go to formula..... could have done that weeks ago and avoided this mess sigh maybe in hind sight I should have until the TT was sorted so i wouldn't have got so damaged sad hindsight wonderful thing maybe.

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 06-Feb-14 16:41:14

atthestroke I don't disagree. If OP has tried everything available to her (and let's face it, SNSs are not exactly well known! not surprising her "just use formula" doctors haven't suggested it angry ) then she shouldn't feel bad about hindsight.

Supporting breastfeeding isn't just about getting as much bm into a baby as possible - it's supporting women to bf comfortably and happily.

annielewis Thu 06-Feb-14 16:41:25

Just wanted to say well done for persevering - I had similar issues with both my babies and you have to be pretty bloody minded to put yourself through the hideousness and guilt of baby not gaining wtc - I had same problems - ended up using nipple shields as was only way I could manage to feed. I would make sure you are drinking plenty (more than you think is needed) and eating well - and als trying not to stress (easier said than done I know). Also I know it sounds mad but try to think very loving thoughts about your baby when you are feeding her (or pumping) to get the hormones flowing, it really can help!!

Heres the number for La Lache - helpline number across top of home page.

Good luck - and cut yourself some slack - you are doing an amazing thing!


HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 06-Feb-14 16:42:17

That made no sense blush

I agree. SNS or other less well-known solutions may be a good next step for the OP. But if they aren't, that's ok too.

annielewis Thu 06-Feb-14 16:44:23

Horatia what are SNS??? Do you mean nipple shields? OP asked what they were....

tiktok Thu 06-Feb-14 16:44:51

CarrotCake, what a struggle sad

I can understand the concern. This is a slow weight gain, despite the extra formula.

I think it will help to speak to someone new, who can assess everything - this might be a breastfeeding counsellor (NCT, Breastfeeding Network, La Leche League, Association of Breastfeeding Mothers - any one from them, you can google the details or see the MN bf pages). This person needs to talk with your HV, too, perhaps, to get a complete picture, and to observe you feed.

It's not clear from your post how long she has been having the 4 formula feeds, but it sounds like 2 weeks? This sounds justified because of the weight loss, which is always a serious issue for a young baby. It may well be that once her weight is ok, you can start to cut down on the formula, and again it sounds sensible to have you bf a lot plus expressing in order to preserve your milk supply in the meantime.

Effective, frequent feeding together with switch nursing (using each breast at least once per feeding session, swapping from side to side) and breast compression (google it) is likely to help more than domperidone or fenugreek (both of which are useful, too).

But it does sound like you need fresh eyes on the whole situation.

annielewis Thu 06-Feb-14 16:45:04

OP - also where abouts are you geographically - it can make a big difference to the advice/support available.

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 06-Feb-14 16:45:57

Supplementary nursing systems. Ways of giving formula and stimulating breastmilk supply at the same time.

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 06-Feb-14 16:46:00

La Leche League is a breastfeeding support charity.

They run groups and offer to one help.

I'm not suggesting that your baby may have nipple confusion, simply that feeding formula by another route may help your baby become more efficient and enthusiastic at the breast.

Don't be despondant at the amount you can or cannot express- that bears no relation to your milk production- some mums with a good supply can't express a drop.
have you been shown how to massage breasts before expressing?
A baby is the most efficient at getting milk out of a breast.
A supplementary nursing system is a way of allowing your baby to spend all her feeding time at the breast whilst also being nourished by formula and can be a great way of getting baby to build up your supply while she gets the nourishment she needs.

A pouch of formula feeds a fine soft capillary which temporarily is taped to the side of your breast, the ending at the tip of your nipple. As the baby sucks she receives some formula and some breasttmilk, but essentially stimulates your natural supply. As your supply increases then the diameter of the fine tubing is reduced ensuring that breastmilk is the biggest portion of the feed.

It is sometimes used for women like you who are having trouble expressing.

NickyEds Thu 06-Feb-14 16:46:02

You say that clearly BF alone isn't working for your DD so surely you've answered your own question. You've been absolutely heroic to go on this long and given your baby the best start. I had something similar- TT spotted at birth but not snipped till 15 days, nightmare BF sessions - and am now mix feeding. It wasn't what I planned or wanted but when your baby is losing weight what else could you have done?? I absolutely hated giving DS a bottle but now I really regret that his feeding made his first few weeks so miserable for us both and shot my confidence so much.
I'd stop pumping as BF,ff AND expressing is all consuming. Carry on BF if you can, mix feed or FF if you want. It sounds like you're doing an amazing job and you deserve a break so that you can really enjoy your new LO. Good Luck!

tiktok Thu 06-Feb-14 16:46:02

SNS = supplementary nursing system. Tube attached to nipple during feed, which supplies breastmilk or formula from a bottle at the same time as the baby is feeding at the breast.

CarrotCake13 Thu 06-Feb-14 16:55:39

Sorry I have been little unclear its been a long few weeks formula has been gradually increased as weigh concerns grew ,
One bottle per day : week 2 and 3 , 3 bottles week 4 -5. I have been on 4 feeds since Tuesday.
I am using breast swapping - have had to as she was cluster feeding for 4-6 hours at a time. Although this has been tougher since shes been on 4 bottles. I was advised to pump to help bring in supply regardless of amount produced its still good for you?

CarrotCake13 Thu 06-Feb-14 17:01:37

Thank you Nicky for sharing its comforting ( however sad as well) that someone else has been / going through this. You are spot on confidence shot to pieces ( hence why im here ) , bf ,ff and pumping means I cannot go out see friends , even have people over is really hard , i cant sleep during the day as i am washing bottles etc. This is in top of a twice weekly weigh ins and various dr's appts etc its left me shattered and lost of what is best anymore.

CarrotCake13 Thu 06-Feb-14 17:03:40

thank you strokeoftwelve il try the fresh perspective la leche it might be useful for fresh ideas on what to do and where to take this.

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 06-Feb-14 17:11:05

Please do carrot- the counsellors are lovely, all experienced breastfeeding mothers who have been highly trained to provide practical and emotional support.
Thie phone helpline is open 24/7- although as they are volunteers they prefer daytime and evening calls.
Good luck.

CarrotCake13 Thu 06-Feb-14 17:12:42

Ii will ask my health visitor about SNS it sounds quite good for what has been described. Thank you for all the advice got more here in an hour than I had for weeks !

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 06-Feb-14 17:19:13

carrot- just a word - unless you have an exceptional HV she is unlikely to know much if anything about SNS. You need someone with specialist training to support you with the use.
Your best bet is to find a trained Lactation Consultant ( there are a few within the NHS) or a breastfeeding counsellor in La Leche League or the NCT.
Many people call themselves "breastfeeding advisors"- this can mean anything from a nurse who has trained for a week, to breastfeeding counsellors ( La Leche League and NCT- up to two years training) to a lactation consultant who has internationally recognised qualifications after very specialised training.
Don't be afraid to ask what the qualifications are of anyone attempting to give you advice.
Most HVs won't have the knowledge or training to support you with your difficulties I'm afraid.

CarrotCake13 Thu 06-Feb-14 17:19:15

There is no group near me but a contact name and number of someone who is local so Il try them tomorrow daytime. Thank you.

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 06-Feb-14 17:21:45

La Leche League telephone helpline - the main number at the top of the page is sent through to the available on call counsellor- so not geographically dependant - don't worry if the number is not local to you - they will still give you help.

CarrotCake13 Thu 06-Feb-14 17:29:11

the lady i have had is called a breast feeding co-coordinator and seems to be someone who works with women with feeding and trains nurses in maternity wards but ive no clue what her qualified position is...

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