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I'm just not getting it.

(24 Posts)
glowingtwig Fri 29-Nov-19 03:06:37

I need some advice, tips and reassurance at this lonely 3am hour as I'm SO fed up with breastfeeding. It has been the hardest thing I've ever done and I'm so fed up and exhausted I could scream.
Background is dd was born 6lb 7, small but healthy but due to complications with me which involved aggressive treatment, my milk was delayed... loads of breastfeeding support in hospital and at home, but she lost 12% of her weight, went down to 5lb 10 and I was feeding 3 hourly, topping up with expressed BM and a bit of formula, (she's had no more than two bottles formula since birth and I've really persevered with the BF (dd is 6 weeks today).
Three people have checked my latch - Midwife and two health visitors, said it was fine, but I've never felt as comfortable as I thought I should and dd has been leaving my nipple lipstick shaped.
Today she was weighed: 7lb 11oz and 2nd percentile. I was hoping for more and a new HV checked my latch and declared it too shallow, showed me, latched her on for me and I had a nice, comfortable feed. It all made sense- the fussing on me, the only sleeping for 30 minutes etc, she was obviously not getting milk efficiently or filling up her little tummy enough.
Since I've been home I've tried and tried and tried to recreate that deep latch... I CAN'T DO IT! She is just chomping away on my nipple and now I'm more sore than I've been in weeks latching her on and off trying to get it right.
I'm utterly exhausted from only an hour's sleep a night for a week, my back is burning across my shoulders from sitting up trying to contort myself into a position to get this bloody latch right and I'm just crying now because I'm so fed up. Dd hasn't got tongue tie they say. I've watched YouTube videos, studied the LLL info but it's easier said than done when dd has a small little mouth and head butts me or gets her hand in the way... it's so sodding frustrating.
I really really want to breastfeed and not give up. Help!! Why can't I do it? sad

OP’s posts: |
bananabread2000 Fri 29-Nov-19 03:31:07

Bless you, don't feel bad. People seem to assume that because it's a natural thing that your body was designed to do then it will just "happen" but it's a skill that both you and baby have to learn and just like any other skills some find it easy, some never get the hang of it, some crack it after a lot of practice etc.
I drove myself mad trying to get it right, lots of crying (from both of us). I was lucky that my supply and let down was quite high so even inefficient feeding was enough for DS to gain weight but it was so frustrating trying to find a position that works.
Don't beat yourself up, you're doing your best and the main thing is that baby is fed so don't feel bad about formula feeding when you need to.
Could you contact your HV and see if you can get another visit to show you again?

BrownBirdsFly Fri 29-Nov-19 03:37:57

You poor thing. What a tough time you’ve had of it. My experience of HVs and midwifes was that they weren’t always that experienced with breastfeeding, I think if you are able to it would be well worth finding a good breastfeeding consultant who can sit with you support you to get the latch right and perhaps find some better positions that work for you.

Could expressing milk and giving this in a bottle help for now - give your nipples etc time to recover whilst maintaining your supply (this is not an easy route - I personally hate pumping, but this might be an option).

Finally, sometimes you need formula to preserve breastfeeding. My first baby sounds like yours, looking back I don’t think she ever fed well at all as my second baby seems so much more settled and sleeps better than she ever did. Anyway, because she was small and getting a bit weak because she wasn’t having enough milk she was less efficient at feeding and we got in a bit of a cycle. So giving formula made her brighter, stronger and a better feeder - I was able to drop the formula after a few days - I pumped to help maintain my supply and gave her this as well.

Good luck - you’re doing great!

thelostartofkeepingsecrets Fri 29-Nov-19 03:42:07

Hi, I’m also up breastfeeding my three-week old. Things are always much more daunting in the middle of the night and I’ve just woken up to an engorged, lumpy breast. Are there any breastfeeding support groups you can attend today? We’ve been a couple of times and it’s been really helpful. It sounds like you’re doing an absolutely amazing job!

LauraPalmersBodybag Fri 29-Nov-19 03:49:16

Poor you @glowingtwig it’s so tough isn’t it?

What I got from your post is that you’re not getting enough support. It is a skill, and it needs teaching. It’s not your fault if you’re struggling.

First things first, I’d just do your best to get through the night. When you wake up tomorrow can you call your health visitor and tell them you need to see an Infant Feeding Specialist. Let this be the person who diagnoses a Tongue Tie, or not. Anecdotally, midwives don’t seem v hot on spotting them. Both of my severely TT babies were dismissed by MVs, and many of my friends children so I consider it worthy of a specialist. Same with a properly good latch too.

Are you able to get to a support group tomorrow? You’ll find some help and some company there.

Lastly, if you have the means, you could google private Lactation consultants in your area and see if someone can come out to you. Crap that you may have to pay, but worth their weight in good.

I’m sure you’re doing a great job but it’s so hard to do it alone, you need support. Good for you if you want to keep going. It does get easier. I had 2 bouts of mastitis and frequent blocked ducts with baby number 1, but then suddenly we cracked it and it was a pleasure. I hope you can get there too.

Reach out, push for referrals and good luck flowers

Expressedways Fri 29-Nov-19 03:51:28

If you can’t latch her and there’s concern about her weight then give her a bottle of formula. Her being fed is the only thing that really matters.

Then tomorrow contact your HV for additional support, see if you have some local breast feeding groups you can go to, maybe try pumping and bottle feeding expressed milk (in combination with formula if necessary).

It didn’t work out for us- DD has issues with the shape of her mouth that were only noticed by a dentist once she was 2. I’m glad I didn’t waste too much energy on something that would never have worked. Formula is brilliant stuff and fed is best.

Preggosaurus9 Fri 29-Nov-19 04:02:27

Ring the HV service and ask for the same HV to visit you again to help with the latch? If you can't recreate it it's not your fault, the HV should have explained it better and helped you get it done by yourself rather than just do it for you.

You're right to make the connection with LO's mouth being tiny, not much consolation now but things will improve as they grow and are able to get a deeper latch by themselves. So the pain does have an end in sight if you can perservere.

drivinmecrazy Fri 29-Nov-19 04:16:24

Oh my goodness you could have been me almost 19 years ago. One of my most vivid memories of the early weeks with DD1 is of me answering the door to the postman all hunched over , barely dressed with a baby on my boob. I had just got a really good latch and wasn't going to risk taking her off to answer the door so just did what I had to do to get to him. Looking back I don't recall why the delivery was so critical but I'm sure it must have been.
I often wonder about that postman and whether he might remember the sight of the woman with blood shot eyes, all hunched over like an old lady with a baby drinking for all she was worth.
Sorry no great wise words of wisdom because I only managed to eek it out to 8 weeks.
One bright note is to say that five years later her sister was a BF pro when she came along. So in hindsight I blame DD1 for just not getting it!

mynameisMrG Fri 29-Nov-19 04:29:15

I had this with my eldest. He was 6.4 and I just wasn’t producing enough milk and he couldn’t latch properly. Have you tried nipple shields? They worked for me but I also topped up with formula as he wasn’t gaining weight.

DameSylvieKrin Fri 29-Nov-19 04:35:42

I had a premature 5lb baby and similar problems, although he lost more weight than your dd.
Firstly, give formula now and then if you need to. There was a week were he lost a lot of weight and I had to give a lot of formula but it didn’t affect my supply and we never needed it after that.
The next time you feed after the formula, so you can be a little more relaxed about the baby being hungry, try taking the baby off again and again until the latch is good.
Have you tried nipple shields? They give you a break from the pain and help the baby learn to latch properly.
For me it suddenly got better at 8 weeks, although it was never 100% right. At 11 months the paediatrician finally agreed that he had a lip tie. Poor baby ripped it open himself a few days later falling while trying to stand but it’s been too late for him to change his latch and it’s a bit toothy sometimes.
However, he’s 14 months, we’re still going and it was really worth persevering.

kmammamalto Fri 29-Nov-19 04:36:03

Also up feeding a 6 week old so solidarity sister!
She was not tiny but was born very quickly and was very hungry and very cross. We gave formula as she was too worked up and wouldn't latch. All the professionals were dead against it but it worked. If I was you I would buy some of the little new born kits where you get bottle and teat and ready to go formula and get your partner to give it.( ours are cow and gate) Even if it's just one bottle a day, you get into bed and get some rest while partner does it and settles baby. You absolutely cannot do the best for your baby when you're exhausted so be kind to yourself.
Then do what others have said and get yourself another visit, be honest, cry, do whatever so that they don't leave until you feel comfortable.
Good luck, and huge congratulations and well done for being so strong

Romanticrights Fri 29-Nov-19 04:49:22

Oh bless you, the 6 week mark is hard! I nearly gave up at every feed. I agree with Previous posters, try and see a feeding specialist to check for tongue tie. My little girl had a posterior tongue tie which had to be cut twice in the end. Her latch was shallow, nipple lipstick shaped and just sore for so long! We're a year in now and still going, but her latch is still crap! I've just learnt to adapt. But it's the hardest thing I've ever had to do!
One thing to note though, if you give a bottle, make sure you're paced feeding to minimise risk of nipple/bottle confusion. Good luck and you're doing amazing thanks

ruralcat Fri 29-Nov-19 04:54:30

I'm up as well feeding a 4 week old. My DD lost a bit more than they like at the beginning so this naturally triggered a referral to the hospital for tongue tie, although was assured her latch looked fine. Now at the hospital when they did the assessment they found her function was actually okay but appearance she scored very low. I will probably opt to have it cut, could of had it done there at the time but wanted to think on it as actually she's been gaining weight. But anyway the point is things can look fine in the community but when you see the 'expert' in tongue tie they see it straight away. So it's probably worth pushing for a referral, as it's a viscous cycle, poor latch, less stimulation, less milk. Also I did hear smaller babies just take their time to get breastfeeding established as their mouths are so small. Finally I had a sore nipple the first week, blood in the milk, so I expressed to let it recover, you could always express in between feeds too to try and boost your supply. In all honesty though everything points to tongue tie, difficulty getting correct latch, misshaped nipple. If it is tongue tie it'll be an immediate result when it's cut.

mum29919 Fri 29-Nov-19 05:13:03

I was exactly the same as you are right now, I feel your pain! I found it easier to ignore most of what they told me, got myself comfortable (and topless), had baby in a nappy only and laid him on my chest. He worked his way to my nipple and latched on much better on his own than trying to do the silly across body hold they kept telling me to do. I was less stressed so he was less stressed. It might help to give her a bit of expressed milk first so she's not so hungry and won't get worked up and don't rush her. I found it easiest in bed half sat up and in the bath. Not suggesting you get in the bath every time you feed her but it helped to figure out the latch and the positions were easy to replicate sat on the sofa too. Maybe give a couple of bottles to give your nipples a rest and take the pressure off and when you're ready and have a lot of spare time, get comfy and let her get there on her own. You're doing amazing to have fed so long if you're still struggling so much!

glowingtwig Fri 29-Nov-19 08:35:30

Thank you so much for your replies. I kept going and re-latching until about 4 then lightly swaddled her and she slept until 6:30 which is the longest she's gone without a top up of expressed milk in ages.
I've done more reading into tongue and lip ties since reading your responses; no expert (obviously!!) but I don't think she has a tongue tie as she can stick it right out.. BUT it looks like lip tie to me. She has a lot of the 'symptoms' according to google, lipstick nipple, not a deep enough latch, a clicking noise, no curled top lip, starts off deeper then makes it shallow herself. I had a look in her teeny mouth too and it does look like there is a little too much of that but of skin, particularly her top lip.
I've found a feeding group near me today, so I'm off to that and see what they say and have a few numbers for lactation Consultants too.
I'm starting to think it's actually not me doing it wrong after all...

OP’s posts: |
glowingtwig Fri 29-Nov-19 12:51:01

@drivinmecrazy I literally just ignored the postman knocking on the door but I am hunched over right now, back in bits because I finally think I've got a decent latch confused
Feeding consultant at 3pm!

OP’s posts: |
ruralcat Fri 29-Nov-19 13:57:24

Oh bless you, I stalked DPD the other day hoping he wasn't going to come as I was feeding. I don't think breastfeeding is ever mum doing it wrong, it's usually just baby learning how to get it right. As I mentioned I'v not had my little ones tongue cut yet as she is gaining weight and I do seem to have enough milk etc. but my HV did say she would come back at 6 weeks to weigh as that is when things can get bad or worse. Glad you've got someone coming out to you.

LauraPalmersBodybag Fri 29-Nov-19 23:36:40

Well done @glowingtwig! How was the consultant? I hope you got some help smile

myduckiscooked Fri 29-Nov-19 23:41:07

Sounds like tongue tie to me. Loads of lactation consultants miss it but the lipstick nipple is definitely a sign.

glowingtwig Sat 30-Nov-19 11:39:04

Thanks everyone. @LauraPalmersBodybag she was absolutely amazing. No tongue tie but a high palate apparently which is why it's hard to achieve that deep latch.
But she showed me a new position and it was brilliant - the baby just bobbed her head and straight on with a really good latch. And I had a lovely feed, comfortable and DD came off with a happy, milky little mouth and then slept and slept and slept. DH and I actually ate dinner together.
Then I did the late night feed without the lady and tried to recreate it-watched the video she'd done of me, looked at the photos etc but she was so fussy, it just felt awkward and the feed was so crap. I had a meltdown and DH sent me to bed, gave her the expressed milk from earlier in the day and some formula top up sad which I now feel really sad about.
I just need to keep persevering I guess.

OP’s posts: |
Mrsmummy90 Sun 01-Dec-19 00:40:08

Sending you a massive hug! It's a learning curve for you both and you will get there.

Be kind to yourself and don't feel guilty if you need to top up with formula. You're doing such a great job. Keep going to breast feeding groups and get as much support as you can.

Hang in there mama xxx

glowingtwig Tue 17-Dec-19 18:38:40

Thank you so much for the reassurance and advice. It started to get better. Last Monday the HV weighed her and she'd gone up to 8lb 4oz so I was really happy!
However, I went to self weigh today and a week later she's only 8lb 6 sadI don't understand why because I've not changed anything and what's more, she had even been taking an extra amount of night time EBM top up.
She has had a bit of a cold and has also started sleeping 5/6 hours at a time so maybe that's it. The BF consultant at the weigh-in said that breastfed babies sometimes do this but I can't get out of my head that I'm failing my poor baby and not trying hard enough for her to feed her properly.
I'm feeling so low and rubbish.
Has anyone else had this where their babies didn't gain much one week? I'm starting to find it unbearable changing her as her arms and legs seem so skinny. I asked the BF consultant if I should use formula and said definitely not.
I just want her to get fat and chubby. I can't stop feeling terrible about the whole thing.

OP’s posts: |
JonnyPocketRocket Tue 17-Dec-19 19:15:52

@glowingtwig Don't lose heart! You've done great in getting her weight up smile My baby (4weeks) had a cold-type virus a few weeks ago and was putting on about 10g a day for a week or two. I don't know what that is in lbs and oz but it's pretty minimal! The paediatrician said it's because his body was prioritising fighting the infection over gaining weight. Sure enough, once he was over his cold his weight gain picked up again too.
Is she still making plenty of wet and dirty nappies?

glowingtwig Tue 17-Dec-19 20:34:51

@JonnyPocketRocket thank you so much for replying... I really have lost heart. I need to pull myself together.
She has lots of heavy, wet nappies, biiiiig dirty ones every other day, or so which the HV says is normal at 8 weeks.
I didn't mention the cold to the HV or the BF lady's but perhaps that is making a difference. I hope your little one is better now.
She's said not to worry and has given me some advice regarding feeding her more often and trying to fit in another pumping session. I just didn't have any idea how hard breast feeding would be- now it's easier and the latch is better but it's all on me to make sure she's thriving and to feel like it's my fault she isn't just makes me want to cry.
DH is super supportive and says it's all going to be ok, but I'm just tearful.

OP’s posts: |

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