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Baby born last sat - lost 17% bodyweight - had to give formula, sad, please read if you know about BF

(28 Posts)
ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 18-Sep-08 15:50:05

So...
beautiul son born last saturday. Have had trouble getting him to latch on and off ever since. Yesterday he went 6 hours without a feed, I hand expressed 1.4ml which got him a bit more perky and we got a mat support worker round, she helped with positioning and he fed. Fed again twice, last time at 1am. DH took him into living room and I slept - they both fell asleep until 6.30!!! I tried feeding then, took an hour to get him to latch, fed for 5 minutes. Clearly something wrong. BF support came again at 10 ish, weighed, and he has lost 17% bodyweight. She advised several things -
cup feed some formula to prevent jaundice/dehydration immediately. Gave 40mls, he slept for 3 hours.
Buy breast pump and start stimulating milk production. Done - produced 10mls about 1.5 hours ago.
Put him to the breast before every feed. Done 3 hours ago- but he wouldn't latch so gave him another 30ml formula - now alsseep.
He has also prodiced a good poo and wee since the formula so showing me he was in dire need. Colour is good tho so health wise he is ok.

I am desperate not to fail at BF. I'm hopeful that stimulating breasts will get enough milk in that he can go back to breast easily (he's not sucking, because there is very little there and it's too hard for him) I'm going to cup feed ubtil that point rather than bottle, whether it's formula or BM.

What do you think? (I hope that made sense) BF support woman coming back later today to check in. I feel well supported but very anxious. Oh and my milk came in a day later than normal and she thought that might have had an impact too. Trying to get him to latch was wearing us all out so much (though DH is fab) that I feel relief at him just feeding and sleeping which is awful - I don't want to be tempted by the 'easy' route. Please reassure me that we are doing everything right and that I will be able to BF again?

cyanarasamba Thu 18-Sep-08 15:56:12

I'm no expert but wanted to let you we we had a pretty shaky start but a good ending.

DS showed very little interest in bf for at least 5 days, and my milk was late coming in. At one point I'm sure he didn't feed for around 12 hours - we were just clueless. We ended up back at the maternity ward for help getting him latched on.

After the first week he never looked back and I bf him for 13 months.

So my (inexpert) advice would be keep your nerve and persevere, he should get the idea soon.

conkertree Thu 18-Sep-08 16:03:33

i'm another thats no expert but had a similar start to you and thought we would never get it right.

in the middle of the night when he was 3 or 4 days old, i ended up standing up to feed him - no idea why - just what i thought of cause i'd tried normal hold, rugby hold etc etc and he just wasnt latching on. stood up and held him normally, and he latched on - not saying it will work for you, but he will get it eventually - great that you have support to help too.

keep going and you'll get there.

gabygirl Thu 18-Sep-08 16:10:18

Congratulations on the birth of your little boy.

Hope you don't mind me asking who the bf support person is? Is it a specialist midwife or a breastfeeding counsellor? Did she advise you to take your baby to bed and get loads and loads of skin to skin contact over the next two days in order to stimulate him to feed and to stimulate your milk supply?

The other question I had in my mind was how your baby was weighed. 17% is a lot to lose in 5 days. Did your little boy look dehydrated? Has he been filling his nappies - weeing and poohing? Is he jaundiced? I'm wondering how accurate her scales were (as she was weighing him on a different set of scales that he would have been weighed on at birth).

Anyway, I'd say - don't panic! Things will get better as your little boy gets bigger and stronger and better at latching on. Get loads of skin to skin contact with your little boy, rest, drink, eat, keep pumping - every three hours minimum, day and night. Cup feeding is probably best at this point, but don't give up trying to get your little boy to feed. I'm sure you'll get there in the end!

Hope this helps. I'm sure TikTok et al will be along at some point soon to give you some reassurance.

PInkyminkyohnooo Thu 18-Sep-08 16:10:54

hope you mange to get him ti latch on, but if you can, give him some ebm. I expressed every two hours at first, so I had enough, that way you will be able to relax a bit whilst you sort out latching him on. I'm no expert, and there are lots great experts here, so just wanted to say I struggled with my first at first and we got there in the end.smile

BTW people's milk doesn't always come in on the same day. It can vary a few days.

gabygirl Thu 18-Sep-08 16:11:01

Sorry - meant 'next few days' not 'next two days'!

likessleep Thu 18-Sep-08 16:22:22

My DS was jaundiced and lost 13% of his body weight in first week.
Keep at it, sounds like you are doing all the right things and you'll get good advice here too.
Keep eating/resting (as much as you can with a newborn!) and just spend time with the two/three of you.
Lots of skin to skin contact and keep offering the breast.
Also, jaundice is best helped by breast milk! Might be worth going for a little walk with him (or DH taking DS out) as also helped by sunlight too.
Good luck, you are doing fab x

yomellamoHelly Thu 18-Sep-08 16:22:56

I think the key thing with bfing is not to give up. Remember that ultimately you want to bf and persevere with offering your boob. Lots of people find the first few weeks quite tough. My ds2 went from 8 13 to 7 4, but got there in the end. For me the key thing was feeding him every three hours whether he was interested or not. I quite often stripped him off to wake him up a bit, changed his nappy and took my top off too (in increments). Also changing his position loads so he didn't get too comfy anywhere. And feeding him if ever he wanted it on top of that regime. I think the danger when they aren't interested is that your supply'll dry up and then you get into an ever increasing top-up cycle.
Ultimately, though, how you fed them is not going to matter in 18 years time, so don't beat yourself up too much if it doesn't work out.

yomellamoHelly Thu 18-Sep-08 16:23:17

Congrats btw

likessleep Thu 18-Sep-08 16:24:50

Forgot to say, I am weaning DS off breast 11 months off a very shaky start. I just kept trying to feed and expressed at the beginning. It may be worth setting an alarm in night, as I believe stimulation then is important (if your LO isn't waking up spontaneously). Am sure TikTok will be along shortly ...

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 18-Sep-08 16:42:15

Thanks all!
No, he isn't jaundiced, he's a nice pink colour so health wise he's ok. He wasn't weeing or pooing much but did a massive green poo and wee after the first formula feed.
All good tips on the feeding. I'm just hoping that if I stimulate milk production enough he's find latching on easier?

She's a maternity support worker attached to my community midwife team, by the way.

cyanarasamba Thu 18-Sep-08 18:25:32

I would encourage you to try one of the helplines available e.g. NCT/La Leche.

My maternity support worker was rubbish not the best and didn't seem worried when she visited us one morning and DS hadn't fed all night. She then tried to latch him on, failed, and told us to keep trying. I think she either didn't believe us or didn't know what to do.

I sudder to think what might have happened if we hadn't phoned the hospital later that day when he still wasn't feeding.

wotulookinat Thu 18-Sep-08 18:29:07

My son lost a similar amount of weight in the first 4 days when I was bf'ing him. The only person I knew to get advice from was the MV, who said to switch to formula - so I did and I wish there had been someone else to turn to for advice (I didn't know about MN then!) so thatI could have persevered with breast feeding. Good luck x

bellabelly Thu 18-Sep-08 18:36:46

Does your community midwife know he's lost so much? I REALLY don't want to alarm you but when our twins lost a similar percentage of birthweight (due to latching on problems and my milk coming in "late") we were told to go to hospital immediately. One was a bit dehydrated and a bit jaundiced and was fine after a couple of days in hospital, one had to immediately be put on a drip and then tube fed for a few days. Both were fine in the end but I thank god we got to hospital when we did.

I would urge you to phone your hospital or community midwife just so you can get him checked out and hopefully put your mind at rest that he really is ok. I was encouraged to keep trying to breastfeed and express milk - they won't insist that it has to all be formula or anything like that.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 18-Sep-08 18:39:03

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StarlightMcKenzie Thu 18-Sep-08 18:40:35

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unfitmother Thu 18-Sep-08 18:46:11

My DS was re-admitted to hospital at 6 days old having lost 20% of his birthweight. He was tube-fed formula overnight then cup-fed EBM until we finally got the hang of BFing at 12 days old! Once you both 'get it' you'll never look back.
Get all the expert help and support you can.
Good Luck!

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 18-Sep-08 19:20:23

Thanks for your concern, yes the community midwives do know, they had to agree the plan. He isn't jaundiced thank god. She works for the CMs. He has taken 135 mls of milk today in 3 feeds and has slept lots.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 18-Sep-08 19:35:06

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elkiedee Thu 18-Sep-08 19:50:36

No advice to offer but good luck, at least you've got some support in rl and here to start trying to get him feeding better now. My ds ended up back in hospital with dehydration, and it made it difficult to get into the rhythm of things - I didn't succeed, but think the fact that you're getting support staying at home is a good sign.

Will loook out to see how it's going.

AnybodyHomeMcFly Thu 18-Sep-08 20:12:04

Hi
Congratulations on your baby's birth! I just wanted to let you know that we didn't get off to a perfect start at all with b'fing but it worked out reallly well in the end so don't lose hope.

I was exhausted after birth and his very first meal was formula. We then had a few days of very poor latch. And then we did start to get going but I was topping up about once every two days as I was in so much boob pain (looking back he probably had undiagnosed tongue tie). The pain did last for weeks I'm afraid but I think I was unusual in that.

We did start exclusive bfing eventually but then he lost weight - or rather failed to gain one week - when he was about 10 weeks old and I came under a lot of pressure to top up. But with the help of Mumsnet and bfing counsellors I stuck to my guns and it all started going well.

Anyhow he is now 20mo and we have only just weaned the morning and night feeds. So it is not only is it possible to recover bfing after a mixed start, it's possible to get it so that you can do it as long as you like.

Get all the help you can and hang in there.
Good luck x

Clydesdaleclopper Thu 18-Sep-08 20:32:13

I went through something very similar and am now still BFing a 12mo. Have you tried wearing him in a sling most of the time next to your skin? It seems to help them to keep weight on. Also you could try co-sleeping - I found that DS was much more inclined to seek out a feed than if he was in the moses basket. Good luck.

LavenderTea Thu 18-Sep-08 21:02:08

Hi , I had a very similar start with my now 4mth old. In all it took me about 6 weeks to get to the point where I could bf exclusively. I wish I had expressed more and not given her as much formula top-ups now though. In hindsight I think the formula top ups don't help your milk production. It's hard to express often when you are so busy, but I suggest doing it as often as you can.

As for latching on . I had the same problem too. BF advisor suggested nipple shields. They did work in that dd managed to bf and latch better, but I hated them and did manage to wean her off them and latching onto breast properly at about 4 weeks.

A fab tip I heard today is to have a couple of days just lounging around in bed and taking warm 38 degree C baths with baby around feed times. Fill the bath to just below breast level and relax with baby in arms and in feeding position, keeping baby's body submerged in water. Apparantly it takes them back to the womb and they start the sucking reflex again and they will automatically start feeding.

Worth a try ?? Love to know if it works.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 18-Sep-08 21:04:42

Thanks all. I spoke to the NCT yest but will call again if I feel i need to - midwife visiting tomo as well. we are co-sleeping as he wouldn't go down - but he has each time today as he was full i think. i have tried the breast lots todat and no latch but i'm expressing every drop i can. not a lot tho...only 5-8 mls at a time.

Melfish Thu 18-Sep-08 21:19:05

Kat- My DD wouldn't go on the boob at all for the first 3 weeks- lots of screaming and thrashing about. Now she's 9 months I'm trying to get her on the bottle again! Just keep offering the boob whenever a feed is due, in time he'll latch on. If he's still refusing, try some EBM or formula, but express a bit if you have time. It feels like you're walking down a long tunnel but when you get to the end with the baby happily BF'ing it's fantastic. Congratulations and enjoy your time with your son!

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