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Expressing & exhausted - will baby ever learn to latch?

(11 Posts)
JustPretending Thu 27-Feb-14 18:44:25

After a dramatic birth (EMCS) and a spell in hospital with jaundice, my baby was being fed by ebm topped up with formula. We're now feeding exclusively by expressing & using a SNS during the day (finger feeding) & bottle at night. Poor wee mite has no latch to speak of & I am losing confidence to even try offering the boob - the baby's frustration upsets me deeply.

Baby is 4 weeks now - is there still hope we might manage to breastfeed or should I accept the situation for what it is? Lactation specialist suggests cranial osteopathy to adjust neck issues caused by breech position in the womb... Would love to hear others' views.

Am feeling deflated & tired & would love the full experience of bf but not sure how much longer I can keep expressing for ...

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 27-Feb-14 18:54:23

DS1 was a similar age when he suddenly switched from expressed to source.

After a couple of weeks I needed to use nipple shields (for a further three months) but after that we finally got it.

He bf until age 26m.

Hope that helps. Obviously the professionals you are dealing with know your situation. I know two other women who never got baby to latch on, but expressed for thirteen months each (shock ), one who is five months into expressing, and several others for whom expressing was just too much.

Lozzapops Thu 27-Feb-14 19:18:12

Congratulations on your new baby!

My daughter wasn't able to latch on properly, I expressed from the beginning and syringe fed her to start with, before switching to bottles of expressed milk. I am now 4 months in to exclusively expressing, and am finding it easier every single day. It is super hard work to start with, putting on so much time on top of caring for and cuddling your lovely new baby. I found it exhausting. But I am spurred on every day to continue, and would like to reach at least 6 months.

I have heard of people who have been able to achieve successful breastfeeding after weeks or even months of expressing. Personally, I tried latching on every day for the first two or three weeks, with no success. I found it quite traumatic actually. I kind of accepted that it was either carry on expressing or give formula, and I chose expressing. At about week 8, I decided to try her on the boob again, just out of curiosity. To my surprise, she went on for about 5 minutes, had a good suck and then got a bit restless. I tried again later that day and it went much the same, then next time I tried, she wasn't having any of it! By that stage I had become so used to expressing and bottle feeding, I had a good think and came to the conclusion that actually expressing, as hard and exhausting as it is, is def the right choice for us. I like knowing how much she has had, having an idea of a "schedule" to the feeds, allowing other people to feed her, not having the difficulty some friends of mine had in that the boob was the only comfort for their babies.

Anyway, that is just my personal experience. Weigh up the options, if you'd like any support with expressing, message me if you like! Good luck.

ALittleFaith Thu 27-Feb-14 20:25:35

Have you tried nipple shields? My DD had issues latching and that was key for us. I kept offering without and if she couldn't latch would pop them on. Eventually she cracked it without it. Still feeding at 10 months smile

JustPretending Thu 27-Feb-14 22:35:03

Thanks for supportive messages - I have not tried nipple shields & would be up for trying them. After the spell in hospital, we do at least feel the benefit of knowing how much the baby is feeding, but I miss the closeness of full breastfeeding & wish it wasn't all so emotive ...

Ericadm Fri 28-Feb-14 06:07:28

I suggest nipple shields too. My baby was a bit early, jaundiced and did not latch for two weeks. I was not keen on using nipple shields as they can affect milk supply but there was no other option for us, I tried everything else including osteopath. Baby is latching much easily with the shields, we have been using them for three weeks now and he is gaining weight steadily. I would give them a go if I were you, we use medela contact. All the best

ALittleFaith Fri 28-Feb-14 07:45:09

I second the medula shields. That's what the hospital tried with us (we were in 5 days establishing feeding). I tried some Boots ones but they were too floppy.

Ericadm Fri 28-Feb-14 09:09:18

If you go for the shields it may be good idea to still express with the pump after feeds until you are sure he is taking enough, so that you don't loose your supply. I know it us hard and tiring but it is just temporary, it does get better!

geekaMaxima Fri 28-Feb-14 13:59:30

Can you get to a La Leche League meeting near you? The leader(s) may be able to help you more than the lc you saw, or they may be able to recommend someone who specialises in latch issues.

I have heard of babies who learn to latch later than 4 weeks (just on blogs, etc.) but I'm afraid I don't know how common it is.

geekaMaxima Fri 28-Feb-14 14:34:38

justP, have you seen this Kellymom page on how to coax a reluctant baby to latch and feed?

It suggests taking it very slowly and working on skin to skin, then comfort nuzzling / sucking, then finally bf. It might be worth a try.

JustPretending Fri 28-Feb-14 21:14:28

We've tried cranial osteopathy & will see how it goes. Tried latching after the appointment: cue tears & frustration for us both & some nipple chomping from the baby. Lactation consultant suggested nipple shields which we may try next.

It's an emotional rollercoaster : baby is exclusively breastfed by expressing but lack of latch feels like a deep-seated failure as a mother hmm despite my rational self knowing that's rubbish.

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