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any tips on cup feeding?

(12 Posts)
MrsMar Fri 28-Sep-07 16:54:16

I saw the midwife today and at 15 days old my ds is now below his birth weight. At his first weigh in at 6 days he'd gained 150gr but now he's 200g below his birth weight (gone from 7lb7oz to 6lb12oz) I know that babies often lose weight in their first week, but not sure about the second.... anyway, the midwife has recommended I top up after every feed by cup feeding but I'm finding it very difficult. Expressing isn't too bad, and it'll all help get my milk flowing faster and faster, but my ds isn't that keen on taking milk from a cup. He squirms like crazy, even when I swaddle him tightly, and it took about half an hour to get 30ml in to him. The midwife said I should try and top up with about 50ml after each feed, but that seems impossible at the moment. Is cup feeding something babies eventually get the hang of or is there a top tip anyone has to help me. Many thanks xx

fatslag Fri 28-Sep-07 17:02:47

Have you tried a dropper? Less mess that way although you'll need plenty of patience to get the milk down him drop by drop.

Is he latching on properly? I would tend to look at reasons why he might not be gaining weight as well as ways of topping him up. He needs to be correctly positioned with his mouth WIDE OPEN over the whole nipple. It sounds mean but don't hesitate to unlatch him and relatch him if his latch doesn't seem right, or if he's hurting you.

La Leche League or a lactation consultant might be of more help.

Good luck!

MrsMar Fri 28-Sep-07 18:36:13

Hi fatslag (LOL at the name ) I did think about a dropper, I might call the midwives and ask them if they'd have any major objections. Poor ds does seem to end up wearing most of the milk I'm giving him!

I'm fairly sure he's latching on ok, no one has actually watched me feed yet to confirm it's all ok, but my mw did seem satisfied when I told her it wasn't hurting to feed, I had assumed that if I didn't have a good latch it would hurt like crazy! I've expressed a couple of times now and I've been really surprised at how little is coming out, I think my milk just isn't flowing terribly well yet which I think the expressing will help. The mw seemed to think that ds was using up more energy sucking than he was taking in, which is why he's lost a bit of weight.

FunkyGlassSlipper Fri 28-Sep-07 18:39:24

can you try and offer more breastfeeds to increase your supply? he is very young and breastfeeding can take time to get going.

FunkyGlassSlipper Fri 28-Sep-07 18:40:03

not sure if baby too young but lots of people talk about doidy cups on here too. i think they dont spill as much.

Coolmama Fri 28-Sep-07 18:40:33

My DS also needed topping up in the first few weeks - and I know that people will jump all over me for this, but I put EBM in a bottle and gave it to him for top-ups. He never suffered any nipple confusion and, once I was able to get the breastfeeding thing going when he was 5 weeks old, he happily continued to breast feed and take milk from a bottle
^runs for cover^ grin

mrsmalumbas Fri 28-Sep-07 18:51:39

I'm at a loss to see how cup feeding can be better than just feeding him more - that will stimulate your milk supply better than cup feeding I would have thought. Most babies unless they are preemie or have something wrong like a cleft palate are more efficient feeders than any pump.

Agree that getting someone to watch you feed might help, a weak latch or suck won't necessarily hurt. Does he open his mouth wide when he nurses? He needs to get a nice big mouthful of the areola not just the nipple. Do his ears wiggle? If he is sucking deeply and is getting the milk flow you should see the little muscles in his jaw working, and he should make a little soft gasping/swallowing sound. It is true some babies do find it difficult to co-ordinate everything, what was your birth like? Sometimes people who have had difficult births find cranial osteopathy helpful to realign any muscular imbalances. You can see some useful videos at this site www.drjacknewman.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=42

If you do decide to cup feed, my experience of doing this with DD1 is that you need to just hold the cup to the lips and basically let them lap it up like a little cat - don't attempt to pour it in or go faster than they can lap it or they might struggle to swallow.

50ml sounds like quite a lot if you are giving this after a feed - have you tried just keeping him at the breast longer or switching him back to the first side to see if you can get a second let down? And are you keeping yourself well fed and hydrated? Are you comfortable where you nurse - a bit of peace and quiet and lots of cushions can work wonders.

Another option which would help stimulate milk supply is to use a supplementary nursing system or SNS - this is like a soft tube that you tape to your nipple and baby drinks expressed milk through it - la leche league or a lactation consultant would be able to advise on that option.

Good luck!! Hang in there, hopefully he will get the hang of things soon but it does sound as if some more expert help on the nursing would be a good idea.

MrsMar Fri 28-Sep-07 19:04:57

thanks for replies everyone. the midwife I saw suggested a rigid three hour routine (I was doing 4 hours before) as well as the topping up. Maybe that's not enough. I think I my left boob is ok, I do hear the gulping and swallowing on that side, but precious little on the right hand side. the mw did suggest that the expressing may help speed up the let down on my right side (i'm expressing on both sides) and it should help with flow and volumes.

Birth wise, he was born be elective cs as he was breech, not sure if that makes a difference, ie not being through a birth canal.

In my first week I was doing really long feeds, around an hour and a half, and in that week he gained weight. After that, everyone told me not to do feeds that long as I'd get problems with my nipples, so I was reducing them down to 30 mins on the first boob and then 15 mins on the second. These timings are approximate, cos I do wait for him to drop off, but when I was doing my mammoth feeds in the first week, he was never really dropping off. If he did drop off, ten minutes later he'd relatch and carry on. I'm starting to wonder if I should go back to that method, and accept he's just a slow eater. When I was doing those long feeds I had no problems with my nipples, so surely there can't be any harm?

mrsmalumbas Fri 28-Sep-07 21:34:31

Hi MrsMar

I'm not an expert, there are others on this board who are, but I'd have thought that it would be better to let him nurse as long as he likes (assuming you're happy with that arrangement) than to try scheduling or limiting his feeds in any way. Babies have such tiny tummies and breast milk is so quickly digested, a 3 hour break between feeds sounds a long time to me especially for a little one. If you follow his cues and let him nurse when and if he wants to he will let you know and you will probabaly find that he falls into a routine of sorts anyway - in my experience most babies seem to want to nurse less at certain times during the day and more often at others - usually the evening, but there is no hard and fast rule. Go with your gut instinct, what feels right to you.

Best of luck to you whatever you decide

MrsM

MrsMar Fri 28-Sep-07 21:44:24

thanks for that mrsmalumbas... I think you're right. I'm going to carry on with my mammoth feeds cos I think that's what he wanted all along. Sometimes I do find it difficult to tell the difference between feeding and comfort sucking, but if it's not damaging my nipples, how wrong can that be if he's on there sucking away? I think he gets a bit out anyway, even if he's not sucking very hard. I just did 30 mins on the right, then 10 mins on the right, a quick nappy change, then another 10 mins on the right and he's still hungry (and filled another nappy!) I'm just going to keep going til I don't have an ounce of fluid left in me!!

MegBusset Fri 28-Sep-07 21:46:11

Hi MrsMar, I'm not an expert either, but a little surprised at mw suggesting 3 hours between feeds esp. if you have any concerns about your supply. My DS is 7mo and has only just started going up to 4 hours between BFs. Also around 2/3 weeks he went through a massive feeding frenzy where he would feed for an hour, come off and want to feed again ten minutes later.

I would be surprised if you could not get 30ml extra into him straight from the boob quicker, and easier for both of you, than via a cup.

I don't know about weight although it took DS 3 weeks to start getting back above his birth weight.

Anyway hopefully Tiktok or Mears or one of the other BF experts will come along and give you more info, or you could try LLL or NCT BF consultant?

MegBusset Fri 28-Sep-07 21:47:54

X-posted: sounds like a good idea to me, just make sure DH/DP puts TV remote and supply of chocolate within easy reach

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