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stopped bf but now regret - am I too late to reestablish?

(5 Posts)
omama Mon 15-Dec-14 21:10:09

Before you have a child no-one tells you how hard bf is or how emotional it can make you feel - both the immense bond & connection you feel while feeding your lo & the horrendous guilt you can feel for stopping, even if you know in your head it is the right thing to do. I have been here once before, and I swore that this time around I would give it a try & wouldn't feel guilty if we didn't get on with it.

Yet here I am again & I feel terrible sad.

DD (now 3 weeks 5 days) was evicted 3 weeks early by emcs due to pre-eclampsia. From the word go she was completely uninterested, and even with the breastfeeding support staff helping, we couldn't get her to bf. She would just get too distressed & scream at the breast. I started pumping & she was syringe & cup fed ebm for several days (just to get food into her) but still wouldn't feed from me so I reluctantly agreed the only option was bottles & decided I would . Bought a pump & started expressing at home.

Unfortunately 2 days later we ended up in nicu having phototherapy for jaundice & being tube fed to try & increase her weight (FTT). Whilst there, the staff helped me try & re-establish bf & after lots of tears from us both we finally found she was happy to feed laying down. A couple of days later she accepted feeding with me sitting up, (but only on one side) & we were discharged.

The first few days of feeding at home were ok but then DD caught a really nasty cough & cold, which after another hospital visit turned out to be bronchiolitis. She was very mucousy & couldn't feed well at all & I became sore & engorged. Despite pumping to relieve the engorgement, it got so painful to feed her I couldn't bear it, & due to the lack of feeding I was so worried we'd end up back in nicu if her weight fell any more, I made the tough decision to re-introduce the bottle. Initially I pumped & gave ebm, but found keeping to a 3hourly pumping schedule almost impossible with another child to look after too. So we started giving formula. That was a week ago & she is now having at most 1 bf per day (yesterday & today hasn't had any).

When I read this back my head says I shouldn't feel bad as we've not had the easiest of starts, but I feel so very sad & I can't seem to shake it. She was so gentle when she fed & it felt so different to last time with DS. She got so much comfort out of snuggling up laying down to feed & I miss it terribly sad. I really, really wanted to be able to do this for her, & I feel like I've let her down. Plus I'm scared that she will also turn out to be cmpi like DS. It was such a battle to get anyone to listen & help last time - he was 8 months old before we were finally given prescription formula - I ended up with pnd & really don't want to end up like that again.

I keep wondering if I have now left it too late to get the bf back on track & whether it would go better now she is over the worst of her cough. Or am I being an irrational, emotional, crazy idiot? I'm not dried up yet, boobs still leaking but I know my supply is massively reduced from what it was. Is it possible to re-establish after stopping for a week? How do I do it - do I just put her to the breast or do I need to get pumping every couple of hours again?

Justgotosleepnow Mon 15-Dec-14 21:20:09

Well you have had a tricky time and it sounds like you have done your best, so you should be feeling proud of yourself.

It is possible to relactate. But it sounds like you still are lactating anyway.

I think your best bet would be to see a Lactation Consultant. They are the experts for situations like yours.

If you want to keep bf then the most efficient way of upping your supply is to feed baby on demand, and pump inbetween feeds too, before you get to see the LC.

stargirl1701 Mon 15-Dec-14 21:20:17

Not too late, OP. I stopped at 3 weeks and relactated at 11 weeks. You need RL help though. I recommend the LLL. Do you have a local meeting? Have phoned any bf helplines.

Start with skin-to-skin as much as possible. Bath together every evening. Wrap her in a sling wearing just a nappy and you with a low cut top. I co-slept with DD1, again in just a nappy/me no top, but she was full term. I think there may be risks when co-sleeping with a preemie.

I pumped 12 times a day. Start with breast massage. I used Weleda Nursing Oil. Look at baby or photo of baby while pumping. Smell an item of worn baby clothes. Try music or Maggie Howell's BF hypnotherapy.

You don't need to sterilise your pump after every use. Pop all the parts in a freezer bag and store in the fridge.

Once I got a latch, I used nipple shields and an SNS to bf while ff which cut down on the time. I used the Medela one.

I'll find you some links.

stargirl1701 Mon 15-Dec-14 21:29:30

ArgentinianMalbec Mon 15-Dec-14 21:30:08

OP I don't have any advice, echo others' posts above re contacting LLL etc for support.

Just wanted to say that I had a hard time bf too, your hormones will also still be all over the place and making you emotional. Please don't feel guilty. You're feeding your baby and that's the most important thing.
If you really want to continue bf then you really should and you probably can try with the right support but if you are having a hard time please don't feel bad about it. Your DD won't remember any of this.

I had a hard start, trouble with latch etc and hated it for the first 5 weeks or so, managed to continue with mixed feeding (ff at night to get some sleep!) for 4.5 months when my DD decided she preferred a bottle as it was easier.

Be kind to yourself. brew For you. Unmumsnetty hugs too. I remember how hard it is.

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