Breastfeeding Advice - Two Week Old Baby(28 Posts)
I have a 13 day old DD who I am struggling to breastfeed and it’s really starting to get me down. She was born 5 days early by forceps delivery and weighed 6lb 15oz and since birth I have struggled to breastfeed as she hasn’t been able to latch on properly. I had lots of help in the hospital (we stayed in for 3 nights) but no one managed to get her to latch on (they all had varying theories from my nipples were too flat through to her mouth is too small…).
I had a lot of milk and was able to express and feed this to her by bottle which she took well. Nipple shields were then suggested to me by one of the midwives which I tried and she eventually latched on to. Since then I’ve been using them to feed but I’m starting to doubt their efficiency. Since I’ve stopped feeding her expressed breast milk and just solely breastfed her, her weight gain has slowed down (she’s still 1.5oz off her birth weight) and her dirty nappies have slowed to about one a day. She is still doing plenty of wet nappies (at least 8 per day) though.
She has fed ok in the day (although feeds range from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours) but at night (from around 9pm to 2am) she has fed constantly which at first I put down to cluster feeding. Today has been particularly hard though, she has just not stopped feeding all day – the longest break I’ve had has been about 2 hours. It got to the point where I gave her some expressed milk via a bottle to try and fill her up and she downed 120ml! So now I’m at the point where I think I’m starving her and either the nipple shields aren’t working properly (although I can hear her swallowing and see the milk around her mouth and in the teat once she’s finished) or my milk supply isn’t enough for her?
My breasts feel completely empty (I tried expressing after her last feed but couldn’t get much out) and now I’m worrying about the night ahead and whether she’s going to have enough milk. My mind has turned to formula as I don’t want her going hungry. Does any of this sound vaguely normal and does anyone have any suggestions? Every midwife/health visitor I see has a different opinion on it and I’ve got to the point where I don’t know what to think…
Sorry for the rambling post but any advice/support is appreciated. I am desperate to breastfeed her and would ideally like to ditch the nipple shields but she still won’t latch on without them despite help from breastfeeding counsellors xx
Have you had her checked (a physical check of tongue muscles) for tongue tie?
The long feeds and cluster feeding is normal though, just hang in there. You may find as she gets older her latch might improve. The key is to have loads of skin to skin and jeep her on the breast esp at night to increase your supply.
It's not easy, but hang in there.
You could try contacting la leche league, I honk they have a helpline.
The first few weeks are HARD, you're still getting to know her, whilst she's still gaining weight I wouldn't worry too much as long as the health visitor/midwife is not concerned. It's hard to work your supply out but little and often is really common at that age, remember her tummy is minuscule.
I have a 10 day old and am struggling too, we've just done a stint in hospital as he had jaundice and the doctors told me to use formula as he's got tongue tie and can't latch sufficiently to get any milk out, have you had this checked out with yours? To be honest I've been topping up with formula after breastfeeding as I had the same issue with my first son and we very nearly ended up in hospital as he lost 10% of his birth weight, so I was determined for this not to happen again. If you've got lots of milk I'd stick to expressing that and feeding it after time on your boob (this is what I'm doing, but I can't seem to express enough milk so I'm doing breast> expressed milk > formula. It's a faff, but until he gets his tongue tie snipped it's the best I can do. If you feel like you need to top up with formula then do it, you'll notice a difference straight away.
My DS couldn't latch either and I express fed to get us out of hospital when we were readmitted for weightloss then used nipple shields and finally last week at 15 weeks he latched without them. It was a total ballache but now it is easy, convenient and he is doing fab. You can do it if you want to but it it bloody hard work when you have these issues and formula is just fine. I have flat nipples and DS had a tiny mouth and was jaundiced so very similar.
The long feeds/cluster feeding sounds normal. Sympathies- it is absolutely exhausting!
When using your shields turn them inside out like a tiny sombrero then put them on, they should be closer to the skin and work more efficiently that way. See if you can get a breastfeeding expert (not a midwife or health visitor!) to help you. I had a peer supporter visit me at home twice and it was so so helpful. Also try YouTube for useful videos and UK breastfeeding support on Facebook.
Good luck- if you really want to breastfeed you probably can, with the right support (very few people physically can't), but if formula is the right choice for you go ahead and use it, it's there for a reason!
She's been checked by a number of people for tongue tie and they all say she is fine.
She's just had 120ml of expressed milk and now she's feeding again! I just worry that she's going hungry. I have some infant starter milk that I can top her up with but have read that once you start doing that it messes with your supply! I read/get told so much conflicting information that I don't know what is best for her.
We got given so much conflicting info too, best advice-do what you think is right and screw everyone else
Thank you for your replies. I do think I need to just keep going and go with her instincts - she knows what she's doing more than me!
The biggest thing I'm finding is that with her constant feeding I'm struggling to leave the house with her so feel a bit isolated and that's when the tears start! Damn hormones!
"She's been checked by a number of people for tongue tie and they all say she is fine."
Which people exactly?
This might sound hard to believe but midwives and health visitors are not properly trained in tongue tie. Often they don't even consider it as a possibility or if they do, they dismiss it without doing a proper assessment.
I strongly suggest that you see a lactation consultant and request a proper tongue tie assessment. You can find one here.
My DS fed constantly, by the way. He had tongue tie. None of the midwives or health visitors picked it up. It was diagnosed by a volunteer at a charity run breastfeeding drop-in I went to (and not at the NHS breastfeeding clinic I'd been to the week before!!)
Oh and talking of tears... when the wonderful woman diagnosed tongue tie and told me what an amazing job I'd been doing (feeding him constantly as you've been doing) I broke down in tears. I think it was partly relief and partly sadness that I'd been struggling without realised there was a problem we could fix.
Useful info here
(Sorry for all the posts!)
Honestly, if you think your baby is hungry then use the formula. It's absolutely fine, AND you'll get a bit of a break from the constant feeding. Don't worry about the supply issue if you're expressing too as this shouldn't make a huge difference, as long as you're emptying the breast and it's filling up again you'll get a decent supply.
Thank you for that link, I will definitely get in touch with a lactation consultant.
Various midwives, support workers and, most recently, my health visitor have checked her. But I've read about similar experiences to yours so I will definitely get her checked out properly.
Op well done on getting this far. Ds1 didn't remain his birth weight until 3.5 weeks. The constant feeding is good, it will establish your supply. She's have plenty of wet nappies too so that's great, she's getting lots of milk.
With ds1 I didn't get full breasts at all, and couldn't express anything really, I think because he fed so often
What helped was to go out. It's a faff, but the distraction, car journey etc helps give you a break. I'd feed, get ready, feed, drive to town, feed in car, have a walk about, sit in a cafe, feed, etcetera breaks the day up. Or, go to a bf group. Then you can drive there, and feed the whole time you're there, but chat to others at the same time. What helped me when ds was slow to gain weight, was breast compressions and switch feeding g. Worth a try. Good luck!
There is a growth spurt between 2-3 weeks which could explain the cluster feeding. It's really hard and I remember it being utterly exhausting. Do you have anyone who can look after you - bring you food, water, etc while you feed in front of the tv? Also, there are some good articles on kellymom that I found reassuring when I thought my DD wasn't getting enough. kellymom.com/parenting/parenting-faq/fussy-evening
If you're worried about nappy output it's always worth checking in with your HV for reassurance.
She sounds fine to me. The poos do slow down once the initial meconium is out of the system and the 8 wet nappies are all a good sign. Constant feeding in the early days is normal (but by all means get her checked by a lactation consultant). You just have to ride it out - watch your favourite series on Netflix or similar . Make sure OH is looking after you by bringing you plenty of food and drink. I used to even bath with my baby if you find it difficult to put her down. (They love floating around near the running water). If you can manage it pop baby in a sling when not feeding and go for a walk or just sleep when baby is sleeping. The key is to slow down and relax as much as possible. Good luck.
It sounds like you're doing great and all is normal. Is she satisfied after feeds? Just keep feeding if you can. A bottle of formula can give you a break if you really need it, but it can be tempting to give more once you start. Or you'll feel guilty.
The frantic feeding is completely normal. It's a growth spurt. This is a great timeline to read - cluster feeding and fussy feeding are not signs that the baby isn't getting enough. www.thealphaparent.com/2011/12/timeline-of-breastfed-baby.html
Weight wise - it took nearly 3 weeks to get back to birth weight for my son. Nappy out put sounds good too. I personally wouldn't give formula in your situation unless advised to by a medical professional. It impacts on supply and may further complicate your situation. Please think of getting accessed by a lactation consultant to help you get off the shields. I hope some of that helps. Best of luck.
Thanks everyone for your reassuring replies!
She's been feeding great since I last posted, even with the nipple shields. And she's had a lot more dirty nappies too which is reassuring. I'm just going to keep going and accept the bad days as well as the good days. I'll definitely speak to a lactation consultant next week and get some specialised advice to hopefully make life easier.
Your support and encouragement means a lot and makes me feel I'm doing something right
It's really normal to spend the first few weeks of a newborns life with bub attached breastfeeding all day and night. It's a good reason to sit on the couch and catch up on all those tv shows you wanted to catch up on, sleep when bub sleeps, and just keep feeding. Some little ones just need practice and time, and breastfeeding is about comfort as well as food. You are doing great!
We had a great weekend of feeding and she was weighed by HV yesterday and has put on nearly 7oz in four days! So she's well above her birth weight now.
Have had a night of cluster feeding until 2am and she's not stopped feeding all morning either. I'm absolutely exhausted and all I want is a shower and a couple of hours sleep without a baby on my chest!!!
Well done for the weight gain, that's great news! Please do still see a lactation consultant this week. DS was putting on weight fine but still had tongue tie.
Wonderful progress! It is hard in those early days. It does get easier though. Hang in there. Cosleeping was a lifesaver for me in the early days. I know it is not for everyone, but it was my only opportunity to sleep. Good job!
I'm seeing a lactation consultant on Thursday so will see if she can help us at all.
I'd like to cosleep but my OH is rather paranoid about the idea and thinks I'll suffocate her! She was asleep on me at 5am this morning and he woke me up panicking that my boob was smothering her! We only have a small double bed and I'm not entirely sure how to cosleep safely. We have one of those 'next to me' cots but we've not been using it with the side down. Maybe that's the way forward to getting some sleep!
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