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Wits end - any hope?

(12 Posts)
Bee14 Sun 15-Jun-14 15:24:17

I have a wonderful new baby daughter of 11 days, but feeding has become a tear filled nightmare for both of us.

Long story short, LO born by c-section, unexpected due to breech and loss of fluid, but to term. First few days loads of skin to skin and lots of cluster feeding. Nipples very sore but otherwise ok. Then it all started to go wonky. Milk didn't come in well and until day 5. LO (who was 9 pounds) had list 11% of birth weight, so advised to top up. Expression produced nothing, so used 40ml of formula at every other feed via a syringe or finger tube (which takes two of us).

This upset me hugely (was also not sleeping as hugely anxious and LO refusing to sleep on anything but us, although this has got slightly better).

Week progressed with increasing fussiness at latching, and cracked bleeding nipples (I know my fault but sometimes I couldn't bear to take her off if she had taken half an hour to get a half decent latch).

Saw a lactation consultant on Friday who diagnosed and cut a posterior tongue tie, had three goo dish feeds that day and LO gas since refused to latch at all. She'll take breast but sucks for no mire than three gulps, before getting upset. We've tried nipple shields and her suck is stronger, but she can't seem to get any milk out and soon gets upset.

I am expressing (with a hand pump) but can only get about 15ml every other feed (trying to express every other feed so there is something there when we try and latch) or 80mls a day(taking funugreek) otherwise it's formula.

Have another appointment with lactation consultant tomorrow, but have been a bundle of tears all weekend. Feel like I am failing at every hurdle, and each day brings something else going wrong, when I thought I had already hit bottom. I will be completely honest in that I never expected it to be this hard, but feel like I am trapped in this sea of anxiety from one feed to another and feel horribly guilty for not being able to feed and, if I am really honest, for not really enjoying any part of these first few weeks, beyond having a wonderful daughter (which I know is a huge and brilliant thing, which others would be grateful for, but I can't get passed this feeding thing).

Is there any hope? Has anyone managed to increase there milk or regain latch at this stage? Is there anything else I can do ?

Sorry for rant just coming up to feeding time.....

tiktok Sun 15-Jun-14 16:44:07

Bee, so sorry to hear how difficult these days have been.

Losing 11 per cent off birthweight is not a major thing, and it may be that the hcps in hospital have over reacted and increased your stress and anxiety levels. I am speculating only here. But a nine pound healthy term baby can usually cope with a little delay in milk coming in and that amount of loss, if the underlying reason for the weight loss is addressed.

Sore nipples as you know may indicate a need for a change in attachment and they may also reflect tongue tie which you have addressed.

Hand expression may be easier for you than using a pump, and get more milk out. Please don't limit time of, or frequency of, expressions because you want milk to be there. This is the opposite of how milk production works. The more often milk is taken from the breast, the more you make more milk. So expressing every other feed is prob not enough at this stage if you are aiming to get and make more milk.

There is hope!! Your lc is coming tomorrow. Share all your questions with her and put the points I have made to her and see what you and she can discuss.

It's hard to solve all your difficulties on a talk board post so that's prob most can be done at this stage. But you do need lots of t l c yourself and good real life help to start enjoying bf.

Tomorrow things may look and feel better and I really hope so, too.

crikeybadger Sun 15-Jun-14 19:45:30

Ah you sound so sad Beesad, you've had a tricky time in the 11 days that your baby has been around.

I can't really add much more as tiktok is a bfing expert, but please don't lose hope. You have a plan! You have good help coming! You are feeding your baby and protecting your supply ( aim for 8 expressions in 24 hours).

Other things to try include having a bath with your baby, this can often restart their instinct to feed. Also look at biological nurturing ( just google it) and do this skin to skin. You may also like to look in to cranial osteopathy as some people find this useful after a tongue tie snip.

Hang in there, things can get better so quickly with breastfeeding, you are doing all of the right things.thanks

tiktok Sun 15-Jun-14 20:40:36

Yep - co-bathing is often really effective, and it's a lovely thing to do smile

stargirl1701 Sun 15-Jun-14 20:49:27

When you are expressing try looking at a photo of your LO and smelling an item of her clothes. A breast massage before expressing is a good idea too.

I rewarded myself for expressing by laying out 12 chocolate raisins at 8am and I got to eat one every time I expressed.


Bug2014 Mon 16-Jun-14 01:51:12

Many congratulations on your lovely baby and well done for sticking at the breastfeeding. I had a v similar situation with my first baby: 11% weight loss, concern from hospital medics over this and possible dehydration (turned out he wasn't remotely dehydrated), milk took its time to come in, advised to top up with formula. I now think, having breastfed to just shy of his 2nd birthday and now being on my 2nd successful breastfeeding relationship with ds2, that the overreaction of inexperienced hospital staff greatly increased my anxiety levels at a time when I was doing fine at learning how to bf and only needed some calm reassurance. I am certain that this anxiety and, if I'm honest, sheer terror that my baby was starving, made what were just normal teething troubles into an anxiety-ridden hellish first weeks during which my tenseness must have affected my milk supply and just made little one frustrated, as he fed hourly some nights!

This time around it could not be more different and has been an absolute breeze and a pleasure, and I am certain this is in large part due to me knowing what to expect and being so much more relaxed, and not allowing anyone who, frankly, didn't know their arse from their elbow to tell me that I couldn't feed my baby! All I can say, therefore (and you sound so much like me 3 years ago- I can fully sympathise with the horrible time you're having), is JUST STICK AT IT and gradually, gradually it will get easier all the time until one day it will be second nature, you will have a happy, healthy baby in front of you, and you will feel so proud to have given them such an unrivalled gift- and you will have come out the other side of this time having discovered strength you never knew you had. Please keep trying, OP- just feed as often as baby will have it- although it shouldn't hurt and take the consultant's advice on how to prevent that. The very best of luck to you and your lovely girl x

Bug2014 Mon 16-Jun-14 02:07:02

Ps re the fussiness at feeds: are you winding her religiously after every feed? I have found fussiness and crankiness is almost invariably down to trapped wind, which can be prevented by achieving a good burp after every feed (sit them up leaning forward for few secs or hold with head on your shoulder). Also can be vented by lying them on back and gently bringing knees up to tummy and holding for a few secs- repeat as necessary and you should hear dramatic results and have a much more comfortable baby!

scarletoconnor Mon 16-Jun-14 02:47:24

Congratulations on your baby and well done for breastfeeding so far under difficult circumstances.

I desperately wanted to bf ds. I had problems pretty much the same as you. I felt so devastated and torn about breastfeeding.

Personally for me I stopped though that doesn't mean there is no hope for you smile , I just wasn't making enough milk, my ds dropped from 9lbs 7oz to 8lbs 1oz and was about to be admitted when I decided with so much guilt and upset to put him on 2 hourly bottle feeds. I sat and cried when I gave him his first few bottles as I felt so bad. I must say though he literally changed overnight from sleepy,fussy and upset to happy and settled. Though before it sounds like a stealth advertisement for a formula company I don't think it was the formula I think it was actually having something in his belly.

My ds had tongue tie and reflux, I got a wound infection due to retained placenta (which stopped me producing breast milk as I wasn't producing the hormone needed to bf due to retained placenta) which led to a secondary pph.
I got a little milk after the retained placenta was out but to be honest by that point I didn't have the energy in between feeds to express. My HB was still at a level requiring an iron transfusion when he was 3 months old in all honesty I don't think he'd have gotten much nutrition from me I was a wreck and constantly ill for months.

With dd I again planned on bf...but had a slightly more dramatic birth I needed resuscitation. I tried to bf no milk so I started bottle feeding straight away (after trying for 3 days to bf and having zero milk supply like literally not even a drop I never got any but was told this was due to resus drugs)

I think luckily for me in between ds and dd I came to the conclusion that I was trying my absolute best for my babies which is what You are doing. I had planned on bf both times but life with babies as I'm sure you know by now doesn't always go to plan, this does not make us bad mothers. All good mothers want to give our children the best of everything and feel inadequate when things don't work out exactly as we want them to.

But Just because things don't go how you imagine its nothing to feel bad about. Breastfeeding is hard no one (especially those lying breast feeding support workers grin in ante natal classes ) tells you just how difficult it is. You only really get honesty about just how hard it is on places like this. No one seems to want to tell you in RL they got mastitis 4 times or cracked nipples and it was torture. I think anyone who tries deserves a medal anyone who tried and succeeds deserves a degree!

If you manage to continue breastfeeding that's brilliant.
If it doesn't work out for you, just be proud that you managed to breastfeed you baby for so long in really difficult circumstances.

As much as I will get flamed for this we all know breast is best but a baby will come to no harm if you use formula.

As for ways to increase your chances of success I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure you can be provided drugs to increase your supply and have you asked your GP for paeds referral for tongue tie?
Also just check you don't have any signs of retained placental fragments its quite rare in c section though tbh. Someone has already mention a photo of your dd while expressing. You could also try holding one of her babygrows that she's worn as it will smell like her too.
Increasing skin to skin time may help as may a sling if you have one and make sure you are getting enough nutrition. Its easy with a new baby to forget to eat and drink enough.

Good luck, but remember either way you've done your absolute best

Poosnu Mon 16-Jun-14 02:57:24

Has the tongue tie been fully resolved? They can be quite complex.

My DD had an anterior TT cut early on, but an upper lip tie and posterior TT were missed and not resolved until later. You can google images for upper lip tie.

goatwillow Mon 16-Jun-14 10:09:52

Something I found really useful this time was breast shells-little plastic cups you wear inside your bra. I used them to help my nipples heal but they also have the effect of increasing your supply as the milk can constantly leak from the breasts. They also keep your nipples a good shape (rather than being flattened by a bra) which helps with the latch. Not the most attractive items but worth a try. Good luck.

Imeg Mon 16-Jun-14 16:24:52

I struggled with expressing to start with too but actually what worked for me when expressing was to do something else to take my mind off worrying about the baby (also had early weight and latch issues). In fact I distinctly remember my first reasonable volume of expressed milk (around 30ml) was while watching Top Gear! I think I was getting so tense about feeding that a bit of distraction helped me to relax and helped milk flow.
If you choose to persevere then good luck but please don't feel guilty if it doesn't work out - the baby won't mind as long as she is fed.

crikeybadger Mon 16-Jun-14 19:51:37

How are things now Bee? Did the LC give you any more help?

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