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Please help - newborn rejecting breast

(15 Posts)
suis Wed 21-Feb-07 18:17:07

My LO was born a week ago by emergency CS. From birth he has been rejecting my breast. With a great deal of help from the MWs at the hospital he did latch on sometimes, but it was increasingly distressing for us both and eventually he was screaming from the moment I held him near my breast. Got checked out by the bfing advisor who can find nothing wrong with my technique, my supply or my breasts, he does go looking for the breast, does all the rooting and mouth opening, but when my nipple is introduced he either spits it out like it was poison or just refuses to suck.

As he happily sucked on fingers, I tried using a nipple shield and he can sometimes be persuaded to latch on to that.

However, because of these problems in feeding him he has been losing weight and been dehydrated so the paedeatrician has instructed he's to get bottlefed 100mls each feed. With a lot of effort I am expressing less than half that so he's needing formula top ups. Also I have been advised to cut down on use of the pump (I was doing 1 hour each side) as I now have sore lumps in the breast that producing most of the milk. I have been trying hot compresses and hand massage to help the expressing, but still not producing much.

Any help or advice on the latching problem or increasing the milk flow would be great. I really loved the few times I have managed to feed him directly, and frankly this is breaking my heart. Having to bottlefeed formula feels like I'm letting the LO down.

DizzyDave Wed 21-Feb-07 18:21:28

you need a proper breastfeeding counsellor who will sit with you through a feed. was the advisor at the hospital a bf counsellor or a peer counsellor do you know? someone will be along with the phone numbers i'm sure. otherwise, google la leche league, NCT or ABM.

robbosmum Wed 21-Feb-07 19:05:57

please don't get down,, yes you do some support,
but remember, sometimes being a great mum is making the best descisions for your lo, which may not be what you wanted or what you had ideally planned for..However it may work out you have lo health att he forefront of your mind

best of luck

moondog Wed 21-Feb-07 19:07:55

suis,you poor thing.
Have you tried the lovely people at Assoc for Breastfeeding Mothers??
Phone their helpline-a b/f counsellor will be able to talk to you.

0870 401 7711

spudmasher Wed 21-Feb-07 19:15:58

Oh the memories come flooding back!!!. Both of my dds did EXACTLY the same thing and it BROKE my heart and it still hurts when I think about it now. I wanted to breastfeed them SO much but they would not do it.....

One thing I tried was to get naked and let the milk just pour out everywhere and I just put my DD on my tummy and left her there with milk spurting all over her. I had to just let her CRAWL up to my breast and nose around for a bit to try to get her to latch on...
Sounds mental but felt like it helped.

I am sorry to say that it did not work for us and I ended up bottle feeding. As I said before I was heartbroken and still am. At first ti felt like I was poisoning my baby. But I saw her start to grow and thrive and it felt better. And to see my Dh feeding her was special.

My heart goes out to you

determination Wed 21-Feb-07 20:37:52

Here are the numbers for some specialist help:

The Breastfeeding Network (BFN) - Supporter Line 0870 900 8787 - The service operates from 9.30am to 9.30pm every day of the year.

La Leche League Great Britain - 0845 120 2918

National Childbirth Trust - 0870 444 8708 - 9am to 6pm, seven days a week.

Association of Breastfeeding Mothers' - 0870 401 7711 - Open every day from 9.30am to 10.30pm

I makes it feel so real again, i too had the same type of problem. My dd did not latch until day 3 and that was with a nipple shield. By 3 months we experienced Nipple Confusion as i was advised to express ALL MY MILK and bottle feed due to Very Low weight gain. DO NOT feel guilty you are doing a FANTASTIC job.

Best thing to do with a baby this age is bath with him, have AS MUCH skin to skin contact as possible even just laying on your bed napping throughout the day, is ideal. Keep trying the nipple shield if he won't latch without.. as it is better to use that rather than not - as long as it is the last resort. Please check this link on Nipple Shields.

The best thing to do to keep the milk supply up is either nurse him or use the pump AT LEAST 8 times in 24hours. You could also eat OATS as they naturally boost breast milk production. Check this link out for info on Lactogenic Foods and Herbs

I have also added a recipe i used for Oat Cookies;

No Bake choc cookies

2 cups sugar 1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk 1 stick butter

Boil the above ingredients for 2 minutes, remove from heat and mix the below ingredients in. Spoon onto wax paper and allow to cool.

1/2 cup peanut butter (if wished or replace with raisins)
3 cups of oats initially, add extra oats until mixture is very stiff
1 TSP vanilla


Hang in there, you are doing a Wonderful job. It will get easier as time goes by.

fishie Wed 21-Feb-07 20:43:36

suis do try another counsellor. i had cs too and ds didn't latch on for five days it was terrible and positiion was lousy too. i had several visits from bf counsellor and all was ok in the end. there is a way to solve this, you just need proper expert advice and you may need to ring a few numbers to find someonel local to you. congratulations on your son too

macneil Wed 21-Feb-07 21:02:36

Have been through everything spudmasher went through. I now express 6 times a day for at least half an hour a time and give her a bit less than half the feeds from that. Family think I'm mental, mum is horrified when she sees me wired up to the machine like a cow. I think I would not do this again.

terramum Wed 21-Feb-07 22:06:53

Suis please please call one of the bf helplines - it is may be possible to get through this but it may take some hard work & you need some expert help - bfcs will be the best equipped to help you as they have the most training in bfing.

I went through similar problems - DS born normally but didnt latch very well, stuck his toungue up, sucked his cheeks in etc...after a lot of bad advice, introduction of bottled & very rough handling by some midwives by the time we escaped from the hospital 5 days later he screamed whenever he was put to the breast. I expressed & fed him by bottle for over a month before I was able to get him back on the breast with the help of a fabulous local LLL leader, nipple shields, lots of support from my DH & a LOT of determination on my part. It took 4 months to get him to take the boob without the shields...but we got there & he is still feeding at 2 years & 7 months.

berolina Wed 21-Feb-07 22:13:46

suis, I had refusal problems with ds for his first 3.5 weeks. He never refused at every feed, but there were some days he would only go on at one or two feeds. I was never much 'good' at expressing (in the sense that I had a hospital grade electric pump at home but still couldn't get all that much out) and for a lot of that time he was getting about 50/50 ebm and formula. I was devastated.

The key is perseverance, or at least it was in our case. I just kept trying to get him latched on at every feed. It was heartbreaking to sit there and hold him crying, but gradually he stopped refusing and he had his last ever bottle, of either ebm or formula, at 4 weeks. I wetn on to bf him exclusively until 6.5 months and he is now 21 months and still bf. It can be done.

Skin to skin is important - have as much of this as posible. You do need to express loads to keep supply up, even (and especially) if you're not getting a lot out, including at night - I read all the Harry Potter books while on that damn expressing machine

I second everyone else's advice to contact a bfc.

Good luck

tiktok Wed 21-Feb-07 23:38:06

suis - you need help from someone who knows about breastfeeding and about supporting women to do it. I suspect your baby and you have been somewhat manhandled by the MWs who gave you 'a great deal of help'....someone has done some head-shoving and breast grabbing, I would bet money on it.

When this happens, babies can switch off from breastfeeding, and your job now is to lure him back!

You need help about the expressing, and you also need a second opinon on the amount of formula he is getting - 100 mls per feed is a lot for a baby of this age, but there may be a reason for it.

To maintain your bf, you need to express at least 8 times in 24 hours.

Good luck and let us know how things are going

Busybean Wed 21-Feb-07 23:57:25

I would recommend
1)trying to reduce the amount of formula.
2)re-birthing-google it.

Spend some time in relaxing bath(check temp before putting baby in) with baby on chest near breasts
Spend as much time as poss in bed with baby, naked from chest up and baby with just nappy having lots of skin to skin contact

You need to imagen the breast as a triangular sandwich-hold it sideways and see how much you can bite off and how difficult it is- imagen the breast, the baby cannot latch/latch correctly when breast is in a similar position. now hold sandwich as you would normally and take a bite-its much easier and you can get a much bigger bite. Now apply this to when feeding and with some thought it should enable you to hold your breast in the right place, in order to form the right shape for easy latching.

Get on the phone to LLL or NCT breastfeeding councellers and I would also be inclined to see/talk to anougher midwife about this and perhaps anougher dr and voice your concerns over too much formula and milk supply dropping.

determination Thu 22-Feb-07 08:49:55

I forgot to mention that it would be best to also ditch the bottles. i would feed him using a large feeding syringe (free from chemist) or the Medela Softcup Advanced Feeder . This means that his sucking needs are not satisfied and when really tired or actually sleeping you could try to get him to latch on using a nipple shield.

pregnabrain Thu 22-Feb-07 13:45:27

Just wanted to post a message of support. My dd didn't have the specific problem you've got but your story resonated with me in many ways. I also had a really difficult labour and then had bad breastfeeding problems from the start (my dd was too sleepy to feed enough, lost weight, low blood sugar etc etc).

I felt SO bad about both the birth and the breastfeeding. I was advised by the fantastic bf counsellors at the hospital to top up with formula and, like you, I felt like I was letting my girl down. And that I was damaging her in some way (I had it so drummed into my head that formula is evil!).

Anyway, my message is - please, please don't feel bad about what's happening. You're obviously a really caring mum who wants the very best for her child. If you end up mixed feeding for a while, then that's brilliant. I did for a few months and then managed to cut out the formula altogether when she started on solids. I ended up breastfeeding for 14 months...

And even if it turns out to be impossible to bf, then that's brilliant too! We are lucky we live in an age where there is a really great alternative.

Don't do what I did and let this ruin the early weeks with your baby. I know it's hard, but try to relax about it. In the long run, it's the fact that you're a caring mum that counts most of all.

End of essay!

suis Tue 27-Feb-07 16:21:47

Just wanted to say a big Thank You to everyone for their comments and suggestions. It has all been very helpful to me. I have been putting several of the suggestions into action already and will be contacting the helplines suggested too.

Things do seem to be improving for us. LO is now feeding mostly from me, but still using the nipple shield. I did manage to get him on directly yesterday so I am hopeful that it just might be possible to get him feeding properly before the nipple shields cause my supply to dry up.

Thanks again for everyone's help.

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