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Breastfeeding preemie?!

(14 Posts)
Loveallmyboys Thu 20-Nov-14 03:17:15

Right, my 10 week prem baby is finally home after 5 weeks in scbu! Hooray! Fir 5 weeks I sat with him all day, and at pretty much every feed, put him to the breast to try and practice for when he was strong enough to suck properly. He's 36 weeks gestation today. Over the past 24hrs he has FINALLY latched on twice and actually fed off me, rather than bottles of my BM! Another HOORAY! But this is pretty inconsistent and it's been over 24hrs since he last did it and I'm getting so frustrated and disheartened now.
Does anyone have any sure-fire ways to get him ebf??? The 'experts', quite frankly, are clueless! If anyone can help, it's you lot!
Thanks for reading smile

Errrr2012 Thu 20-Nov-14 03:25:14

Sorry no advice really but when my son was discharged from scbu they'd made sure he was feeding well bottle and breast. He was 9'wks early and in for 5 weeks too so similar developmental stage to yours. Can you speak to the scbu nurses or hospital bf specialist for advice? Ours were happy to be contacted in the early weeks after discharge.

zoemaguire Thu 20-Nov-14 04:19:56

Tricky. I bf my 26 weeker ds (home at c.36 weeks) but he had an ng tube in until he was term, so we topped up using that. He wasn't strong enough at 35/6 weeks to suck much, to be honest. I think it might be a case of just persevering until your ds gets a bit bigger and stronger, and eventually he'll get there! I actually used nipple shields for a couple of feeds to help my ds to get the hang of latching. I was reluctant (had quite enough on my plate without sterilising those along with expressing and everything else!) but actually it was a useful transitional measure. But Ds was still properly tiny at that point (1.7kg at discharge!) so your son may not have quite the same nipple/mouth size mismatch!
It is doable though - ds was exclusively bf until weaning, so worth persevering. He turned a corner at roundabout term time.

Loveallmyboys Thu 20-Nov-14 08:30:35

Really. Thanks so much. That gives me a glimmer of hope! As I say , he's done it twice! Just wish I knew what I did differently those times! The scbu nurse is coming out today so I'll ask her again. Wish me luck!

TheGirlAtTheRockShow Thu 20-Nov-14 08:46:15

My DD was born at 35 weeks, and in NICU for 2 weeks. As we wanted to BF the nurses never gave a bottle - she was tube or cup fed by them.
Unfortunately only way I could get her to latch was with nipple shields, and still using them nearly 5 months later! She was tiny - 1.8kg at birth, so her mouth just wasn't big enough.
All this to say - keep trying, I'm sure he'll get it eventually! But you could try nipple shields to help, just bear in mind it then gives you something else to wean off. If he will latch on, then I'm sure he'll get it in time.

mypoosmellsofroses Thu 20-Nov-14 09:00:33

I got there in the end with 2 preemies, a long time ago now but what helped was cup feeding ebm rather than bottle and, this sounds really bizarre, but having their feet uncovered, seemed to help keep them a bit more awake and alert for feeding. They are so tiny and feeding uses up so much energy for them.
Def try and get some extra help though, if your midwife/health visitor isn't able to be much help, have a ring round, it was LLL that helped me in the end, some practical advice and lots of encouragement!

zoemaguire Thu 20-Nov-14 10:13:28

If he's done it before he can do it againsmile

One thing to beware is scbu nurses with no clue about breastfeeding asking 'so was that a full feed'? Now I wish I'd answered 'yes, my transparent breasts tell me that he just took 50ml. Oh, wait.' Unfortunately, when he was in hospital, if I answered 'yes I think so', then they wouldn't give him another tube feed for another four hours!!! He wasn't gaining nearly enough weight, but (and this is another story) the small local hospital he'd been sent to at that stage weren't on the ball enough to realise it.

Now I realise that weighing before/after feeds to see how much was taken is no longer recommended, but when we got home, I tried it just to see what the numbers came up with, and the scales consistently suggested that what I'd thought was a 'full' breastfeed at 36 weeks for my DS consisted of no more than 10 or 15 ml. So (with the blessing of the ace nutritionist we saw after discharge) we started stuffing an awful lot more down his ng tube than before!! (in her words, 'if he throws it up you've given him too much, otherwise keep going!') In the 10 days after he came home, he put on nearly a kilo!

So when he does start latching more (and I"m sure he will!), don't cut down on the supplementary feeding too soon! Good luck for seeing the nurse today. It's a long haul but with the benefit of hindsight it was really worth persevering, and when he got going, it happened pretty fast. I'd ditched the pump completely by about 4 weeks corrected, if I recall (it's been four years and another baby since then!)

Loveallmyboys Thu 20-Nov-14 17:17:58

Thanks. Very encouraging.
Nurse said to just give him 30-40mls per top up so he gets hungry and starts asking for feeds-something he rarely does due to having about 70-90mls every 4hrs

zoemaguire Sat 22-Nov-14 10:49:38

How heavy is he? Ds at that point wasn't strong enough to ask for feeds - in hospital he was just quietly starvingsad - but I know every baby is different. Good luck!

Loveallmyboys Sat 22-Nov-14 21:04:37

He's 5lb12 now. But... He's in hospital at the mo with bronchialitis and rhinovirus. Poor little guy is on oxygen. Such a kick in the teeth that, even being as prem as he was, he never needed oxygen! I've given the breastfeeding a rest for the time being til he gets better and stronger. Just needs to rest as much as poss at the mo

zoemaguire Sat 22-Nov-14 23:05:47

Oh no! Really sorry to hear that, poor little chap. I really hope he is back out again and on the mend soon. But if he never needed oxygen (amazing for a 30 weeker!) that hopefully suggests his lungs are in good shape to resist the bugs, even if they need a bit of help for a while. Look after yourself, must be a real shock being back in again.

Loveallmyboys Sun 23-Nov-14 14:20:34

It's awful. I can't stop crying. They've said he is likely to get worse too. Im screaming inside

zoemaguire Sun 23-Nov-14 16:47:26

I bet you are - how awful. One day this will be long ago, remember that. We went through similar in that the consultant had literally just uttered the words 'I'm happy for him to go home' when a registrar tapped him on the shoulder to say he needed another blood transfusion, then ds reacted badly to the transfusion and we were in for another ten days! But it seems a long time ago now. Your ds is a tough cookie and I'm sure he'll keep surprising you. Hang on in there!

TheGirlAtTheRockShow Sun 23-Nov-14 19:07:40

Oh no! Bless him. Hope he is better soon. flowers he's a little fighter.

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