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Please please help me get through this issue with breastfeeding!

(29 Posts)
mangofizz Mon 21-Apr-14 15:29:12

My baby will be 3 weeks old on weds, was born at home, 9lb 5oz, traumatic fast delivery (first baby, 4hour labour) - shoulder dystocia, near hemorrhage for me, rescue breaths for him, ending in a 4th degree tear for me and an admission to hospital.

Before he was born I said I wanted to breast feed but wouldnt be gutted if I couldnt for whatever reason. It turns out that actually its becoming the be all and end all for me, its not going well and im desperate for it to work. So far, this is whats happened:

Meconium passed at delivery, loads of it, good clear out. Next poo not until he was 4 days old, brown in colour, no meconium. He was also weighed at 4 days old and had lost 9.6% of birthweight. At this point my milk was only just coming in, which according to the midwife is common after a difficult delivery.

Was weighed again 2 days later and had a small gain, taking him up to a 9.4% loss. Still no more poos. Since then, has only pooed 4 times total since birth (longest gap between movements being 9 days) and weight gain is steady but slow (sometimes 50g in a couple of days, sometimes 10g, has never lost or stayed static). We were readmitted to hospital on day 9 and got checked, drs said nothing wrong, no blockages or anything. Baby was diagnosed with tongue tie which we had snipped last tues. Since then he has gained 120g, which again, although steady, isnt a massive amount. He is still 200g from being back at birth weight.

Am getting plenty of wet nappies, no poos (big one on sat and fully expecting not to see another for the rest of the week) I think the issue now is bad latching habits, I dont think he opens his mouth wide enough and when he does get on properly he still manages to 'slide back' so to speak so I dont think he's getting as much as he could. In himself he is a very contented baby, wakes for feeds, sleeps in 3 hour blocks, is alert when awake, doesnt look at all unhealthy.

Im not actually sure where im going with this, I could cry every time he gets weighed and it isnt a big gain, im trying so hard to succeed at this but just keep getting told latch looks good. I dont think it can be good if he isnt gaining faster! Its such hard work for such small gains, I feel like im starving him with my inability to feed him properly and my bloody mindedness about not wanting to give formula. Im pumping to increase supply (also soul destroying as getting hardly anything off and he wont take a bottle anyway, although I understand about it not being an indicator of supply)

What can I do to make this right? I so so want to succeed and feed my baby myself but I cant help feeling im doing him a disservice trying to carry on

Bert2e Mon 21-Apr-14 15:35:44

What bf support have you received so far and who from?
How many wet nappies in 24 hrs?
How many feeds in 24 hrs?

Bert2e Mon 21-Apr-14 15:35:59

Oh and who snipped the TT?

domesticslattern Mon 21-Apr-14 15:39:34

Congratulations on your baby. And gosh, what a time you have both had of it. I hope your tears are mending in particular.

Can I ask if you are getting any real life help? The ideal, if you are not sure about the latch is to get someone to look at it, a friendly health visitor or someone at a bf support group if you can make it out of the house. Has anyone mentioned one of those near you? There might be something in the mountain of leaflets you get on discharge from hospital! Have you been handed over from health visitor to midwife care?

Incacola Mon 21-Apr-14 15:44:37

Please please try not to panic or worry too much. If he is gaining weight, is generally settled and content, sleeping well and you are getting good wet nappies then it sounds like you're on the right track. My dd lost over the 10% in her first week and took a month to get back to her birth weight. We did end up needing to give a top up formula feed each night. At the time I thought this was awful. Cried and cried because it felt wrong and I felt guilty that I couldn't provide enough for her. I pumped so much that I made myself sore and got really worked up about it at the time. In the long term it was a positive thing.

Have you been in contact with La Leche league, NCT, or any other breast feeding advisors for reassurance? They could have a look at latch and discuss things in more detail with you. There are some people on here who are far wiser than me on breastfeeding and I'm sure they'll be along soon to offer some words of wisdom.

Congratulations on your new baby!

Laquila Mon 21-Apr-14 15:47:02

Do you have a La Leche League meeting near you? If not, you could try phoning their 24hr helpline, or getting to a bf cafe if poss? I totally know what you mean about bf having unexpectedly turned into the be-all and end-all!

Gen35 Mon 21-Apr-14 15:48:17

It's still early days and you're still feeling a bit low from that rough birth. Try and make sure you are getting enough rest, and then rigorously pursue professional help - a lactation consultant to check the sliding back issue for sure. Nothing you've said sounds that worrying about the baby, he is gaining, no concrete reason to feel so under confident about his feeding. I remember it well, was so paranoid I had a special set of baby scales and weighed dd after every feed...

Littlef00t Mon 21-Apr-14 15:52:50

I strongly recommend finding RL bf support. I went to a breastfeeding brasserie run by our children's centre who were fab.

Apart from that, can't comment on the poos but it is common for bigger babies to take a while to get back up to birth weight. You've done well considering the tt.

Sounds like your doing all the right things.

NiMhurchu Mon 21-Apr-14 16:04:11

Do try to get somebody/everybody to look at the latch, even a seemingly perfect latch could be improved with positioning. Are you sitting somewhere comfortable to feed? Drink plenty of water during feeds, I always have a bottle of water to hand, and some snacks. Are you taking bf vitamins? I notice a difference if I forget for a few days!

If you don't think your baby is latched on right you should take them off and try again. My DS never opened his mouth wide enough at that edge. I've been told many different ways to help, touching his nose with the nipple never worked here. I had a midwife who waited for a yawn and slammed him on me confused one that did work was rolling the breast into his mouth. Putting the nipple on/near his nose and rolling down without leaving his face. Also try holding your breast so that it is more oval than round to help him latch on. Seeing someone in person is very helpful, they might tell you to hold baby higher up or more to the side. The position you hold them is important in the early days. At 9m my DS just sorts himself out grin

It does get easier once you get into the swing of things!

NiMhurchu Mon 21-Apr-14 16:05:10

Age! Not edge. shock

tiktok Mon 21-Apr-14 16:10:27

mango, what a difficult start sad

As everyone says, you need good real life help from someone who knows their stuff.

200 g from birth weight at 3 weeks is highly unusual, even with a larger-than-average baby, and while it could be normal for an individual baby, it still suggests he needs to feed more often....3 hour blocks for sleeping suggests infrequent feeding.

He needs to feed very frequently from at least both breasts each time.

But I think detailed support and guidance should come from someone who can assess you and your baby.

mangofizz Mon 21-Apr-14 16:35:55

Thanks for the responses, they mean a lot. I just didnt ever consider this would be my problem!

The tongue tie was snipped by the lactation consultant at the hospital, she gave me some really helpful tips on the latch but the baby fell asleep about 30 seconds into the feed after the snip and refused to wake to feed so there wasnt much she could show me while he was asleep!

Getting probably 6-8 nice heavy wet nappies each day so they are ok, its just the poos that are the issue. He is very windy and often it appears that he has trapped wind, but he usually cries it out after a little while and a nappy change (that he hates so much he kicks the wind out)

I feel like im getting a lot of attention but not much support if that makes sense, the midwives I know are wanting me to change to formula, it seems that breast feeding is only really supported as long as its going well, they dont have much to offer in the way of help apart from 'that latch looks ok, try compression and switch feeding'. The lactation consultant is fantastic, I have to ring her tomorrow if he isnt back at birth weight (which he wont be) and I hope I will be able to go in and see her for help.

At home I have masses of support, my DH is fantastic, he will support me whatever happens and I know he doesnt think its my fault, this is all pressure im applying to myself. His aunty is a senior health visitor and a breast feeding support so she has been round a lot weighing him for me in between visits and giving me advice, nothing seems to be really working though. I hate wrestling with his hands to get him on sometimes, I dont know how to stop the sliding back, I feel really inadequate and cack handed holding my own baby. I think my confidence has been really knocked with it all and im finding it hard to get it back, that might even be worse than the latching. The last night or two I have felt a bit nervous to even pick him up like im not doing that properly either!

We have a local breast feeding cafe on a weds, im going to try and go this week, I think what I need is lots of practise in front of people who know what they are doing so I can get even the little things corrected, I never dreamed there would be so many subtle nuances that could make or break it!

domesticslattern Mon 21-Apr-14 17:43:20

waves pom poms encouragingly
You're knackered, full of hormones, recovering from a 4th degree tear and learning to do something brand new with a baby who is also learning himself! Give yourself some credit and a great pat on the back.
And it's super that you have a fantastic lactation consultant who is on the ball about the weight thing.
Just hang on in there till you talk with her tomorrow, feeding as much as you can, and lolling around too.
<proffers chocolate hobnob>

Bert2e Mon 21-Apr-14 18:45:44

Keep going - you're doing brilliantly so far. Absolutely what everyone else said though you need some good face to face support with the latch which will really improve things. It's also worth checking that the TT has been fully divided - sometimes more comes forward and needs snipping again.

mangofizz Mon 21-Apr-14 21:00:36

Thank you so much, it's surprising how much it means for people to understand!

Feeling a little more positive tonight, DHs Aunty came round and managed to get baby to take 1.5oz of expressed milk (something we have been totally unsuccessful at so far) he immediately pooed afterwards and seems really calm now (although he's pretty relaxed anyway, but so are we - well I am usually!)

I think on that basis what I'm going to do is ring the lactation consultant tomorrow and ask to see her or someone on her recommendation to review and work on the latch and technique and ask what she thinks about me replacing one feed every other day with formula so I can pump enough to give him a bottle of ebm on the alternate days so I can get him gaining, pooing and give me time to work on technique not as under pressure as I am now. If I'm pumping enough I might be able to knock formula on the head in under a week.

What do you think?

Smartiepants79 Mon 21-Apr-14 21:19:34

Haven't read all the replies so sorry if this is repeating but I would not worry over much about the pooing.
My Dd2 was exclusively breast fed and she only pooed once every 3/4 days for the first few weeks/months. I was told (and read) that its quite common and normal.
If he is settled and growing I think you are doing brilliantly.

crikeybadger Mon 21-Apr-14 21:32:12

Glad you're feeling a little more positive tonight mangosmile
You mentioned that you feel cack might find biological nurturing useful-just google it plus Dr Suzanne Colson. In short it's laid back breastfeeding-feeding semi reclined which stimulates the baby's innate feeding instincts and you don't need to worry about a 'correct hold'. Just get comfortable, skin to skin ideally and enjoy! smile

NiMhurchu Tue 22-Apr-14 00:35:04

Would like to say I felt completely awkward feeding on my right side. I still do a bit. If I'm holding baby and not feeding it's always on my left so having to hold him on the right felt unnatural!

Any formula you give would be reducing your supply, you said yourself you know amount expressed has no relevance to what you have in there, but if the milk isn't removed it will reduce. You can fix it later but I'm not sure it's really necessary to be messing around with your supply when it's trying to become established.

When he falls asleep on the boob do you remove him or let him keep sucking? Those sleepy sucks still gets him milk and increases the demand. You can try to rouse him a bit when he does this, tickle/rub behind his ear or blow on his face. Or you can open up his clothes to make him a bit less comfortable smile

I have to disagree with pp who said to feed from both sides. Have you looked into how your milk is made and what it consists of? I read loads of crap websites when I was pregnant. Your milk has two stages- foremilk and hindmilk. Foremilk is clear-ish (less creamy looking) and sugary. This is what quenches babys thirst. Hindmilk is creamy and fatty and what will help baby put on weight. If you change sides too early baby will be filling up on foremilk from both sides and getting very little hindmilk. As baby is so young I'm sure you feel a big difference between full and empty. Even when you feel empty there is still some milk there, milk is continuously being made.

I don't think poos are a problem (unless some of your health professionals are concerned). Bf babies don't have a normal poo range, it's as unique as your milk!

tiktok Tue 22-Apr-14 06:58:32

Nimurchu sorry but you have misunderstood about fore and hindmilk and feeding both sides. Also in the early days infrequent poos need checking out.

tiktok Tue 22-Apr-14 07:01:10

PS. At three weeks poos are sometimes spacing out , though.

NiMhurchu Tue 22-Apr-14 09:51:48

I don't think I've misunderstood, perhaps failed to explain myself. I'm only speaking from experience regarding using both sides for one, it never worked for me unless baby asked for it. And it made him ill.

I remember at the start everybody telling me to do different things and not knowing who to believe, you do your own research and find something that works for you and baby.

The problem with saying op must feed from both sides is that she may end up not allowing baby to finish on the first side by trying to ensure he gets the second side. I sometimes offered the second side when it looked like DS was finished with the first.

Op, whatever system you use (both side per feed or alternate) your milk will regulate to a norm eventually.

On another note, when you express does your milk separate? Maybe it doesn't get a chance if it's used straight away grin

BertieBotts Tue 22-Apr-14 10:01:12

The problem is that there is still a lot of outdated information about foremilk and hindmilk out there, we have newer information but it's taking longer to filter through. You followed your baby's cues and that was right for you.

This is the best article I've seen about foremilk and hindmilk.

Also this.

Both up to date and well researched.

tiktok Tue 22-Apr-14 10:27:55

Nimurchu you have misunderstood, sorry. Read the links Bertie has posted and you will see the suggestion that the OP should not feed both sides (at least) is inappropriate.

It's fine to share your own experience. But not to extrapolate from it and assume that what worked for you can be generalised.

tiktok Tue 22-Apr-14 10:30:03

Feeding from both sides is important for someone who has a baby who is not gaining weight as they should. For most women it's not really an issue. The op is in the former situation.

Gen35 Tue 22-Apr-14 13:36:48

Glad to hear you are feeling better op! Hope you get that appt soon, I'm sure at 6 months you'll have a happy snuggly bf baby and this struggle will be a distant memory. Good idea to have someone else do the bottle, dd would accept that only if it was clear there was no chance of any boob action! I only remember the good bits now, scary as dc2 is on the horizon!

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