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Feeling like a total failure with BF

(33 Posts)
LittleTalks Sat 09-Apr-16 16:23:43

DS was born 8 days ago by EMCS and has basically never latched on. I expressed colostrum and then at 48 hours when he still wouldn't latch felt totally bullied by midwives into giving him bottles of formula top ups to supplement what I can express. He becomes totally hysterical when I try and latch him on, screams, is inconsolable. Will then calm down but as soon as he goes anywhere near my nipple its like I'm trying to murder him. He is very sleepy between feeds and I often have to wake him to make sure it isn't longer than 4 hours between feeds.

To make matters worse my supply is crap, I never really felt my milk come in and I've not been able to decrease the "top ups" at all.

We've been seen by various midwives and a lactation consultant and no one seems to be able to help much. They did diagnose a posterior tongue tie which has been cut and so far made no difference. He had lost 9% of his birthweight by day 5 and I'm not optimistic about his next weigh in.

I desperately want to breast feed and feel like an utter failure as a mother for not being able to. I can't stand seeing the level of distress. I really would appreciate any advice. TIA.

SpeakNoWords Sat 09-Apr-16 17:09:17

I'm sorry the lactation consultant was not very helpful, as I would have suggested seeing one in your position. Midwives/HV are not experts in breastfeeding and I got no useful info out of anyone I saw. You could try the breastfeeding helplines - La Leche League do one and there are others too.

I had trouble with feeding in the early days, and felt my supply would never catch up. I expressed as much as I could around feeding, used Medela Calma teats on bottles to try and minimize any confusion - my DS would also get upset when trying to latch, I felt it was because he didn't like the slower flow compared to a free flow teat where milk flows with zero effort on his behalf. I fed 2 hourly, and 3 hourly over night, lots of skin to skin. I would give him a little bit of expressed milk (or formula if I hadn't managed to express much) before a breastfeed so he wasn't wild with hunger before latching on.

I don't know if any of that will be helpful to you, but I thought it might be of interest at least. We did eventually manage to drop all the formula/expressed milk top ups and get to just direct feeding.

mopants Sat 09-Apr-16 17:22:44

I know it's not ideal or recommended or whatever but can you try nipple shields? If he is used to having a bottle it will feel more like that for him and will stimulate you a bit more than expressing. I have used nipple shields with 4 of mine because of my crap anatomy and they're really not that evil. If they help baby feed from you and then you are able to stop bottles then that is a good thing

pickledgirkin Sat 09-Apr-16 18:12:03

Have you been checked for thrush? And it took my baby quote a few weeks to learn how to feed properly after tongue tie snip. I use the medela teat when I bottle feed which has a slow flow, my LO has to work harder to get the milk so return to boob isn't such a shock...? Xxx

pickledgirkin Sat 09-Apr-16 18:13:02

Sort its a medela calms and we've used it since she was a newborn xxx

LongHairDontCare Sat 09-Apr-16 18:16:24

I've no advice, I just wanted to say you are amazing for still going and trying, and for all you have done already. I lasted 3 days with DC1 and less then 10 hours with dc2. I felt like a failure too but you are so not failing flowers

LittleTalks Sat 09-Apr-16 19:06:04

I've sent DH out to get some nipple shields. In all fairness I am very flat of nipple and small of boob (AA size) which I don't think helps.

I tried the medela teats that came with the pump which I think we're the calma ones and we was having none of it. Maybe I should try again now he's been snipped.

I'm pretty sure he's no thrush, I think the lactation consultant checked.

Thanks for the tips everyone.

Mishaps Sat 09-Apr-16 19:13:04

Whatever happens here you are not a failure. Sometimes BF goes smoothly and sometimes, however hard you try, it doesn't. You are doing your best and that is all you can do. And if he finishes up formula fed then you will have tried your darndest and that is all you can do. My oldest finished up being formula fed and I wept buckets and beat myself up good and proper - but she was fine in the end and no worse off than my other BF children.

I do hope that it works for you and you are able to get the BF going; but please do not feel a failure if it does not work for you and your baby.

You are a wonderful Mum to be trying so hard to make it happen whatever the outcome.

pickledgirkin Sat 09-Apr-16 20:10:37

Agree with the above. A happy mum is the best mum! Don't beat yourself up over it xxx

Seconding the nipple sheilds advice. I struggled terribly trying to feed my first baby and also had flat nipples, when my milk finally came in they got so engorged my nipples all but disappeared! I didn't find it much easier feeding babies 2 and 3 in the beginning..breastfeeding is a skill that needs to be learnt by mum and baby, it might be natural but that doesn't mean it's easy.

If you really want to do this there is every chance you can. But you need to be strong and believe in yourself. There are women out there who cannot breastfeed, there are some babies who cannot latch or feed effectively, but you might not be those people. What will get you through is a steely determination, great support and belief in yourself that whatever you do feeding wise, if you do it with love it will be the right thing.

It took me 13 weeks to really feel I'd made it into the world of breastfeeding. I tell people this because I hope they will think long and hard and decide whether they want to stick it out that long and because a lot of people seem to think you either should just 'get it' the minute your baby is born, or it will take a matter of's not that simple for a lot of women.

I've been breastfeeding for a very long time now. I barely remember those early days when I thought I wasn't good enough, worried I didn't have enough milk, that my baby preferred the bottle, that I couldn't get him to latch etc etc. If you get through these early weeks it'll be so worth the perseverance. Honestly. If you try your absolute hardest and it still doesn't work at least you'll know you gave it your all, and as long as your baby is fed he or she will be just fine

LittleTalks Sat 09-Apr-16 21:13:42

Slightly unbelievably he has now been attached to my boob via a shield for half an hour!

doleritedinosaur Sat 09-Apr-16 21:22:54

Well done!

I just wanted to second lots of skin to skin, offer breasts as much as possible & wake up as much as possible before feeds as well.

Are you able to get out to a breast feeding group local to you? They can be really helpful & have helped several of my friends.

I read that breast feeding takes over 8 weeks to build up supply & getting used to. I'm still going at 13 months when I aimed for 6 weeks then 6 months & now when he's ready.

Hope it continues to go well for you & really don't blame yourself. It is hard going but once you're used to it becomes so much easier.

Also babies will put the weight back on quickly, mine lost 8% then was back up less than a week later. & jumped centiles.

BaronessBomburst Sat 09-Apr-16 21:25:56

Congratulations on your new baby. That's lovely news!
Your next post will be asking us how to get him to wean. grin
BF can be bloody difficult. I had various problems with DS too, although eventually fed him until he self weaned at 4.
And formula is there if you want or need to use it. It's not rat poison, you know. flowers

mopants Sat 09-Apr-16 21:27:39

Well done! They can be a bit of a fiddle but they do the job!! Keep on keeping on, you're doing brilliantly!

IntelligentPutty Sat 09-Apr-16 21:31:11

Great news. Well done. You are amazing and Brest feeding is so much easier in the long term if you can do it...

mopants Sun 10-Apr-16 11:50:25

How did you get on overnight and this morning?? Is he still latching on well with the shields?

LittleTalks Sun 10-Apr-16 13:01:21

Hey mopants thanks for checking back. He's doing SO much better with the shields. I don't want to jinx it but it's made a tremendous difference. My supply seems to be better as well. I'm playing it by ear with formula today then from tmrw I'm planning to work on actively reducing it.

I'm so touched by the nice things everyone said up thread as well. I'm sure not feeling like an evil mother probably helps with it all!

mopants Sun 10-Apr-16 13:20:14

I'm so glad you're doing better. Part of the problem is always us beating ourselves up. Like I said, I've used nipple shields with 4 of mine (I struggled without with my first) and it looks like with my youngest I will be using them long term as she is now 3 months and we are still using them. But that is ok, it works for us and means I don't have to faff with bottles and formula. Good luck tomorrow smile

Icklepickle101 Sun 10-Apr-16 13:23:12

Well done flowers

The first 2 weeks for me were horrendous and I'm sure I was borderline PND because of the pressure I was putting myself u set but it does get easier!!

Spend as much time as you can stripped off to the waist with baby in nappy having skin to skin, worked wonders for my supply. I also expressed about 2 hours after feeding so my boobs were being 'used' every 2 hours not 4.

Keep it up you are doing brilliantly

mopants Thu 14-Apr-16 17:42:24

OP how are you getting on now??

LittleTalks Fri 15-Apr-16 08:35:12

Hey mopants thanks for checking back. I think we're doing a lot better. Still using the shields, but now feeding lots and lots. DS is getting weighed today which I suppose will be the test. I'm still doing small top ups (25ml) after 2 or 3 feeds. I'd like to get rid of them, but I worry he still isn't getting enough sometimes as he'll be latched on for over an hour but as soon, but within seconds of coming off he's rooting and screaming again. I had been expressing to improve supply (and to use for top ups) but he's just spending so much of the day on the boob there isn't any time! Any advice on those things would be welcome!

FoggyMorn Fri 15-Apr-16 08:57:20

Whatever happens, you are not a failure! Expressed colostrum and BM is a good start for your baby, even if it's only for a few days. If you end up formula feeding, formula milk these days is very, very much better than it was a couple of decades ago, your baby will do just fine on it smile

A wee story about my DS4, tongue tie (not diagnosed at the time), and jaundice, he lost a huge amount of weight. He was latching but weakly and was tiring out and Falling asleep (due to the jaundice). MW was coming to our house daily to weigh him. Although very pro BF and not pushing formula initially, it did get to the point where hospital admission was talked about and we decided to supplement with formula. I expressed and continued to bf too. By age 2 months, we gradually reduced the formula feeds and stopped them completely, and he was then bf until about 15months.

Using formula now doesn't mean you have to give up on BF all together ... Unless you want to of course, which is a valid decision to make smile

mopants Fri 15-Apr-16 09:09:57

One of the drawbacks with shields is the feeds taking that bit longer. Just keep on as you are, you're doing so well. Have you tried latching him without the shield? Halfway through a feed is the best time, get him feeding then remove him and take the shield away and see if he will latch without it. My 3 month old can latch without but kicks up a holy stink so we are carrying on with the shields. If he will latch without then keep doing it halfway through for a couple of days and then try without the shield at the beginning of a feed. He is still young enough you might be rid of them. Try googling the flipple technique or exaggerated latch, they might help smile

LittleTalks Fri 15-Apr-16 09:16:43

Thanks both. It's good to hear from people who have been through similar. I've had a couple of brief successes at taking the shields off part way through, but he seems to catch on to my trick after a few sucks and unlatches. As with everything else so far I'm sure perseverance will be the key. I'll let you know how the weigh in goes.

scandichick Fri 15-Apr-16 11:38:35

I fed on shields for a year, so it's perfectly feasible. If you're weaning him off them, check out Kellymom as there's lots of good advice for how to do it. It's fantastic that you're doing so we'll!

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