Newborn feeding issues

(19 Posts)
MrsS0322 Tue 12-Oct-21 16:06:23

Hi everyone,

I had my beautiful son three weeks ago at 36 weeks exactly by c-section - my placenta had failed and was cutting off his blood supply to his brain, so he had to come out. The whole experience was actually lovely and not at all traumatic.

There is one photo of the delivery where LO is latched onto my breast. Since delivery he has not latched at all.
In hospital I fed him colostrum out of a syringe, and due to his size, the midwives told me he required a top up of formula which was initially fed to him in a cup and then when the amount increased this was done via premature bottles.

LO is now on four formulaformula feeds per night and during the day drinks my expressed milk. I try to latch him every feed but he was only latch when I'm wearing a nipple shield. I want to give up both the formula and nipple shields but this is absolutely exhausting on top of pumping whenever he is not attached to me. As much as it really pains me, I'm so tempted just to move to 100% formula.

Have any of the mums here been in the same boat and successfully transitioned to exclusively breastfeeding?

Thank you

OP’s posts: |
PanicBuyingSprouts Tue 12-Oct-21 17:13:46

Firstly congratulations on your new LO. I’m so glad it was a good birth.

I would call one of the BFing Support Helplines and talk through your feelings surrounding transitioning to fully BFing or fully Ffing.

I’d you chose EBF or Combined Feeding they shoukd be able to tell you where to get support. If you choose FFing they should be able to help you with any feelings you have about the transition.

MrsS0322 Tue 12-Oct-21 17:41:12

Thank you @PanicBuyingSprouts!

I have called a couple of the helplines - everyone is really lovely saying how good it is he's only on four formula feeds per night, the rest all being expressed BM, but no one can give me a real indicator of how I can actually get him to latch so we che move forward.

I don't want to continue feeding him with the nipple shield if it's going to keep confusing him and making it harder in the long run.

OP’s posts: |
tigerbreadandtea Tue 12-Oct-21 17:44:05

I switched to formula Ay three months. This was during the pandemic and I couldn't get any face to face breastfeeding support.

PanicBuyingSprouts Tue 12-Oct-21 17:50:05

Has anyone checked him properly for tongue tie. It could be one of the things affecting his latch. If you think it might be this, it might be worth talking to a Tongue Tie Practioner.

This video might help with the latching thanks

PanicBuyingSprouts Tue 12-Oct-21 17:51:46

This was during the pandemic and I couldn't get any face to face breastfeeding support.. I’m truly sorry about that. I think services to Women and children have been hit particularly hard unfortunately.

Greytminds Tue 12-Oct-21 17:59:45

I have been in a very similar position with my second child who is 16 days old and born in similar circumstances. The support (or lack of) has been shocking to be honest but we are slowly getting there. I breastfed my daughter for 2.5 years and thought I was a pro, but a stressful birth, a lack of support, and being unwell for a few days really gave us a rough start. Ds lost 12.5% of his birth weight but is now gaining well. I felt very pressured to give formula but have phased it out now I can pump enough.

First of all I think you need face to face support. Are there any feeding groups running in your area?
They are so helpful, I just spent an hour at one having really good 1:1 advice on hold and latch. I’d call around -ask the midwives, HV, infant feeding team at the hospital - until you find one. They will also be able to support on the transition from nipple shields too.

Secondly, how’s your breast milk supply? Are you pumping at least once at night (2am-ish) and after every feed? It’s rubbish but doing this for a week or so should produce you enough breast milk to drop formula. What pump do you have? A double hospital grade is best really, I rented one which I intend to send back after 6 weeks. I can now pump 200ml in about 15 minutes, so always have enough to offer 80ml a minimum of 8x day.

How’s his weight comparable to birth? If he’s gained well, then you have more flexibility to work on breastfeeding and consider fewer top ups.

Are you doing lots of skin to skin still as that will really helped with baby’s natural instinct to feed.

I am now at the stage where we’ve ditched formula, increased supply through pumping, got latch and hold advice to optimize feeding and now working to slowly phase out top ups, and the transition to primarily breastfeeding. I think it’s going to work….

Good luck. It’s really tough but it’s definitely possible.


Pbbananabagel Tue 12-Oct-21 18:04:25

Hi! Yes my firstborn very similar story to yours in terms of feeding and latching- I persevered with the nipple shields and spent A LOT of time in bed with LO in a nappy doing skin to skin whilst feeding. Eventually I could slip the shield off after the feed had started. We got to the stage where he was fully BF with one bottle at night, even though I was so stressed and worried about it going backwards I carried on pumping for ages and ended up with excess milk in my freezer. You are doing an exceptional job, however you choose to proceed. Go you Mama.

MrsS0322 Tue 12-Oct-21 18:06:31

@tigerbreadandtea - I'm so sorry you didn't get the support you needed. I'm sure your LO is thriving! 💕

@PanicBuyingSprouts - thank you for the video! Yes, I asked the doctor at the hospital to check him for a tongue tie and they said he didn't have one - is it worth getting a second opinion do you think?

OP’s posts: |
PanicBuyingSprouts Tue 12-Oct-21 18:13:49

Yes, I asked the doctor at the hospital to check him for a tongue tie and they said he didn't have one - is it worth getting a second opinion do you think?. Oh gosh yes! Doctors receive very little training on feeding babies. Most will have had one lecture in their 5 years of training and none on tongue tie.

MrsS0322 Tue 12-Oct-21 18:19:59

Thank you @Pbbananabagel! The lactation consultant I spoke to said that we should eventually get to a point where we can slip it off mid-feed 🤞🏼

@Greytminds thank you for your post. I will answer your questions in order -

They are amazing - we attend a weekly F2F support group at the local church and I've been once and found it really helpful.

My milk supply is OK (I think?!), but I am working on improving it.
From a 20 minute pump on one breast I am getting 50mls. I don't pump at night but I am starting tonight. I know it sounds awful but I am just so exhausted.

I have an Elvie pump for the evening (as it's so quiet, and two FrauPow pumps to use simultaneously during the day.

He was 8% above his birth weight two weeks ago and is getting weighed tomorrow. I think he's put on a substantial amount as he's definitely heavier!
I am doing as much skin to skin as I can - 2/3 hours a day is possible?

OP’s posts: |
Greytminds Tue 12-Oct-21 18:37:36

Sounds like good progress - his weight gain is great so at least you don’t need to worry about that.

Pumping at night should be a game changer for supply. I was only getting 20ml after an hour of pumping to start with and at night can get 200ml in 10 mins now. Until you can boost it to getting enough for 1-2 feeds each session, it’s going to be hard to drop the formula. Double pumping increases the output from each individual breast too so is best if you can face it.

Can someone else feed at night to help you focus on pumping? I hear you on the exhaustion. I have the pump set up by the bed and just stick it on after breastfeeding and pump for 15 mins. DH does the bottle top up and winding/resettling so that I can get a bit of rest.

MrsS0322 Tue 12-Oct-21 18:47:55

@Greytminds yes, my partner can do a couple of the feeds but I'm just mindful that he really needs to be 'with it' at work so I don't want him being too tired.

I have the pump set up next to my bed for tonight so I can pump after formula feeding him. I may also try BF'ing tonight with the shed but he is always hungry afterwards so the thought of that makes me nervous - I know he will always fall straight to sleep after a formula bottle in the evening.

OP’s posts: |
Miliao Tue 12-Oct-21 19:04:04

Hi, I had a similar thing and the council breastfeeding support services were amazing. My baby slept through from 8wks and so I really struggled to wake myself up to pump at night - seemed to be my only bonus when I had days of breastfeeding, then bottle feeding, pumping, washing bottles etc. Unfortunately after a few months I realised it wasn’t going to work and switched to formula full time. I was very upset as like you I wanted to ebf, but it was exhausting and I feel it affected my bond at the beginning, I should have been enjoying my newborn not pumping every available minute. I had very low supply and the breastfeeding support services said it was unlikely I could ebf despite all my efforts. I ended up going to France for a week and forgot my pump. Think it was the best thing I ever did. The sense of relief was overwhelming. I enjoyed spending time with my daughter without being knackered (she was not a day napper). She is currently strong and healthy and the smiliest thing I have ever seen - even strangers comment on it. By all means carry on with what you’re doing and I wish you luck, but if you decide it’s too much then it’s ok to stop. I felt like I would be judged and I wasn’t (probably because I have nice friends!), and also nobody cares! Your baby is just happy to be fed and loved. Like someone said to me, nobody knows who was breastfed and who wasn’t as an adult - it doesn’t come up in a job interview! Just do whatever you need for you and your baby to be happy. Sending lots of hugs.

Crazytoddler83 Tue 12-Oct-21 19:26:31

Hi. I used nipple shields with ds1. He just wouldn’t latch despite loads of support. I did a mixture of formula, expressed breast milk and breast feeding with nipple shields to start with due to poor weight gain. Over about 2 months I gradually got to just one bottle at night (on purpose so someone else could do it sometimes!) but still used nipple shields despite constantly trying to stop them. Then at about 3.5 months he just started latching! No more nipple shields ever after that. Carried in bf until 14 months. So it definitely is possible. But equally do what ever is best for you. Being constantly exhausted isn’t best for anyone!

tigerbreadandtea Wed 13-Oct-21 15:33:35

@MrsS0322 mine had a tongue tie that I got assessed privately at seven weeks but that was seven weeks of bottle feeding expressed milk and she just wouldn't latch.

Sleeplessem Wed 13-Oct-21 21:48:59

Yes, similar story and managed to get to ebf in the end, breastfed until 20 months.

Is baby on the small side? That makes it a bit harder, but not impossible!
Second the advice on getting a tongue tie assessment.
Does the hospital you delivered at have an infant feeding team? They often have an IBLBC (basically someone really qualified in breastfeeding) and they’ll be free. I’d really utilise them. Often your regular midwife and health visitors have quite poor breastfeeding training, especially when it comes to feeding difficulties.

Petrov Sun 17-Oct-21 03:09:10

I had similar problems with my ds. After the first few weeks we got to the stage where he was only having bottles of expressed milk during his evening witching hour. It took another two months though to get him off his ‘witching hour’ bottles.

Ask your friends and relatives if they can help out, maybe see if your OH can take a couple of weeks off work. If you can spend more time pumping then you should find that baby starts nursing ok once your supply comes back.

I wouldn’t rush into weaning off nipple shields. With my ds I made the same mistake, trying to get him off the nipple shields before he’d even got the hang of nursing with them.

At 6.5 months he is still reliant on nipple shields and he still only nurses in the side-lying position, but otherwise no problems.

KatieKat88 Sun 17-Oct-21 03:21:15

OP, great that you're going to a face to face group. I'd contact your midwife/HV about getting you to see your local infant feeding team too - mine ran sessions every Monday afternoon at the hospital and honestly saved us in terms of breastfeeding! Mine was a similar story to yours at the start - I moved to almost fully breastfeeding but chose to keep one formula feed so DH could do one of the night feeds. Then dropped that around 7/8 months when DD started feeding less and just breastfed until 21 months smile get as much in person support as possible and they'll help you move off the shields with better positioning advice. The flipple technique really helped me with positioning too.

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