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Breast feeding/expressing/premature baby woes. ..

(13 Posts)
toopeoply Sat 04-Jun-16 08:15:00

Morning all, I'm at my wits end. Getting angry and frustrated with the feeding. My baby is 11 weeks old now, but was born at 28 weeks. She now weighs 5lbs. I had been exclusively expressing from day till about 2 weeks ago. She was tube fed and I had a good supply.

But since then the hospital have encouraged me to breast feed directly. But she's off and on all the time, doesn't appear satisfied, falls asleep, and I don't get the let down feeling I do with the pump. She's home now, and last 2 weighins she has lost weight which she cannot afford to do.

So I'm trying to mix feed, bf directly, then express, then top up with ebf in a bottle. I'm expressing less though and my supply seems to be decreasing, my boobs don't feel full anymore. I don't know if I'm adjusting to what she needs or I'm drying up. I hate the expressing. I wanted the convenience of breast feeding with out all the sterilising etc. Plus I've done it for 11 weeks now and I feel ugly and disgusting. This baby is number 4 and I simply don't have the time to bf, pump, sterilise, then top up at every feed. If I give up bf I'll feel like a total fucking failure again. But I want to enjoy her, to be happy not resentful with her. My dp just says keep going, she's only little etc but it's bloody hard. If I only bf she's on every hour or so cause she's hungry. If I top up she laSt's 3/4 hours. I could move to formula bit I feel like s shit mum.

Any advice?

FrizzyNoodles Sat 04-Jun-16 10:22:16

Hoping someone will be along with more appropriate advice than i can give but I just wanted to say you've done amazingly well going 11 weeks like this when breast feeding isn't easy anyway.

You wouldn't be a failure or shit mum however you feed her and you're certainly not ugly or disgusting flowerscakebrew for you. Your dd has a lovely mum who is trying her very best xxx

If your dp is so keen for you to keep trying is he able to take a week or so annual leave to look after you and the other 3?

You need food and drinks bringing, baths run and baby cuddled while you have bits of time to yourself. Just suggesting because he sounds like he might be supportive of it if he's encouraging you.

Congratulations star

toopeoply Sat 04-Jun-16 17:20:40

Thank you for replying, hes not able to take time off unfortunately, but he is supportive with drinks and taking baby in between times etc. It's so frustrating. Feel like my milk is drying up

icklekid Sat 04-Jun-16 17:28:34

Is there a breastfeeding support group at your local hospital/sure start centre or a nct/ la leche group locally? I think they would be best people to talk to about supply and supporting you to get a good latch so baby feeds well and is satisfied. If you mix feed with formula you are not a failure however it sounds like you would prefer to continue to breastfeed if you can.

EyeoftheStorm Sat 04-Jun-16 17:30:07

Did this with DC3 who was premature. We didn't get breastfeeding started until he was 3 months and a month out of NICU. I expressed until then and it was bloody hard work and sent me a bit crazy on top of everything else I was dealing with.

When I look back, I don't know why I was so attached to it.

You're not a failure, you know. You've done it for three months. You're actually amazing getting this far and caring for your other DC as well. I should have cut myself a break. So should you.

treehousethunderstorm Sat 04-Jun-16 17:54:28

I am breastfeeding my premature dd and it was difficult to begin with. I was feeding her, sort of, on the breast then topping up with expressed milk and then pumping for the next feed. It was exhausting but gradually she got better at feeding and cut down on what she would take from the expressed milk until she didn't want it all. It was difficult because she was so sleepy but this improved when she reached her due date. I'm glad I stuck with it as I find it so easy now.

Don't feel like a failure is you can't keep it up, the breast, express, pump cycle was tiring. If it helps you my breasts haven't felt full for quite a while and I haven't felt the let down for a long time now either.

Like I said I'm now glad that I kept up with it but she is my first so no other children to look after. Do what is best for you. If you are considering combination feeding it might be best to speak to a breastfeeding consultant as to advice how best to do this without losing your milk supply.

I hope it works out for you and you are happy whichever way you decide to go. You will be enjoying your little one soon.

SauvignonPlonker Sat 04-Jun-16 19:08:16

Been in your shoes OP. It drove me very close to losing it, I was just stuck in a cycle of expressing, bottle-feeding, sterilising & a non-latching baby, who had been jaundiced & tube fed. My other DC was being neglected as I was expressing/feeding all the time & we hadn't been out the house for a month. DP had taken as much time off as he could while DD was in NICU, so was back at work within a few days of her being home. We had no family support. I was on my own & it was just impossible to keep it all going.

I made the decision to stop after a month. I'd spoken to the infant feeding specialist at the hospital (ordinary community-based BF groups aren't going to have the expertise), midwives, etc & it just wasn't working. No amount of faffing about with babymoons, skin- to-skin, nipple shields etc was helping, so I made the decision for my own sanity.

It was terribly upsetting to make the decision I cried for a month & still feel upset about it now, but I felt our whole family life was being dominated by my unsuccessful attempts to feed her. I wonder if I would have managed with more family support, a nanny for DS so I could focus on expressing etc, but that wasn't my reality.

Be kind to yourself OP, you've been through a traumatic experience with NICU & an early baby. Sometimes it just doesn't work. flowers

toopeoply Sat 04-Jun-16 22:39:18

Mothers guilt, I guess I feel like I already failed her by not being able to keep her inside till 40 weeks, so I should make up for it as much as I can. There are groups for bf here, but they arent really for mums with premature babies, or complex issues. My latch is good, but she's so tiny. She gets a better grip with the Nipple shield but then this lessens the sensation, and therefore flow.

She's not due for another week, and still so sleepy. It's so frustrating. Sauvignon , what you said has really resonated with me. I do feel that my choice to persevere with bf is affecting the whole family. But then I have to for little one. The last 3 months have been hell for my other dc too, they've missed me. The whole thing, from waters going to, emergency section under ga, then I got infected, had a collapsed lung and was on oxygen for 2 weeks, has been traumatic for me and my dc. Meanwhile my poor baby was so very poorly we thought we may lose her twice. I don't feel like I should give myself a break. I just want something, for once, to be simple.

SauvignonPlonker Sat 04-Jun-16 23:07:32

I had a 29-weeker too, and can relate to the feelings of inadequacy, failure & guilt about having a premature baby. No wonder rates of PTSD & PND are so high in mothers of premature babies - do you think you might be affected?

Just for context, very few of the NICU Mum's I knew were able to successfully BF, and not for the want of trying. The effects of stress, anxiety & illness in us, and the effects of prematurity in our babies (lung disease, small babies too weak to suck, reflux etc). The odds are very much stacked against you.

If you really want to keep BF, speak to the NICU infant feeding advisor attached to the unit, consider asking your GP for a prescription of domperidone (this can help with supply).

But more than anything, be very kind to yourself. You have been to hell & back in NICU. You do deserve a break. You do deserve to enjoy your baby, and your other DC. You are not a failure. You are doing your very best in really challenging circumstances.

More flowers for you.

YouAreMyRain Sat 04-Jun-16 23:12:56

You have done amazingly well to keep going this far! You have given your baby the very best start.

My DS was born at 30 weeks and it was really tricky with 2 other (full time) DC in the house and 1 part time (DSD) the feeding/pumping/sterilising was so time consuming. In the end my supply dried up and after DS being so poorly for so long and being so tiny, I wanted to make sure I knew how much he was having so bottles and formula won out.

I do feel guilty because I was determined to breast feed and I
felt like I'd let him down. But with 3 other DC to consider and the stress of having a prem baby with health issues I made the right choice in the end.

DS is now a very healthy 2.5 yr old

toopeoply Sun 05-Jun-16 06:25:04

I probably do have ptsd or similar. I haven't had time to even think about it, although I get pretty tearful. Anyway it looks like the decision might have been taken out of my hands. I've already been taking fenugreek and domperidone, but trying to express for her this morning as she screamed when I tried to bf her directly and I've only been able to get 20mm in about an hour. I used to be really full in the mornings.

I don't have a precription for nutriprem but will get it next week hopefully. Partner isn't great with the emotional stuff, or realise how much I want to bf, or how hard it is.

SauvignonPlonker Sun 05-Jun-16 09:34:34

I could tell that from your posts; you sound traumatised (understandably). I think the whole experience catches up with you when you get baby home (it was certainly the case for me & my contemporaries).

My right boob never got going at all; 20mls was the most I ever got, and her demand outstripped my supply as she grew bigger. I used up all my frozen expressed milk. And then was left with no other option than to top up with formula. So the decision was almost made for me, as DD couldn't latch at all.

Recognising that "choice" was the worst of it. Once the decision was made, I Ebayed my breastpump & bought DS a present with the proceeds (he had been so neglected during all of this). It was a relief in some ways, but overall I was incredibly sad.

You have done so well to get this far; the benefits of breastmilk in NICU are enormous. Perhaps it's time to be pragmatic.

Newmanwannabe Sun 05-Jun-16 10:34:11

Can you just try her at the ready for 5-10min the top her up? Would that help time management wise? She's maybe using too many calories with bf attempts, so if you cut it back, just so she's still orientated to the breast but not spending too much time there, and as she gets stronger her sucking will improve and her top ups will decrease..

Also you probably don't need to sterilise your expressing equipment anymore. Just give it a good wash in hot soapy water and let it air dry, hopefully that cuts down your time a bit

You're doing a good job. Well done for everything you've done so far. You're a goodmum

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