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Breastfeeding Moms Breastfeeding Moms

It's Been 3 Weeks and I Am Losing Hope

Posted by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:01 PM
  • 6 Replies

My DD2 decided to grace us with her presence at 36 weeks.  I was able to try to nurse within the first hour after she was born but she never latched for more than a suck or 2.  Within a few days, her weight was down from 5lbs8oz to 4lbs14oz.  Because of her small size and because she was quite literally starving, our pediatrician has me start pumping and finger feeding her beast milk through a tube.  Her weight has steadily rissen with this, but she has still yet to breastfeed and it is taking its tole on me.  I feel like such a failure.  My DD1 was bonr at 37 weeks and did not successfully latch for a full session until 6 weeks but she was taking at least 2-3 feeds a day at the breast by now (we went to 2 years! breastfeeding).  I really thought that the struggles I had with my first would leave me prepard for anything this time around as far as breastfeeding is concerned.  DD2 had her tongue clipped last week due to a tie but it has had no impact on our ability to breastfeed.  All everyone keeps telling me is that she is small and it might take a while for her sucking reflex to get coordinated.  I am already really struggling emotionally and every time I pump or finger feed, I feel like I am a terrible mom for not being able to get this relationship going.  Now 3 weeks out, we have seen no progress and she aggressively refuses the breast within seconds of laying her down to try.  I dont know what to do.  I feel so helpless.  I refuse to give formula or bottles but I'm not sure how much I have left to give to this.     

by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:01 PM
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gdiamante
by Group Mod - Gina on Mar. 22, 2013 at 11:47 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting babylove6512:

My DD2 decided to grace us with her presence at 36 weeks.  I was able to try to nurse within the first hour after she was born but she never latched for more than a suck or 2.  Within a few days, her weight was down from 5lbs8oz to 4lbs14oz. 

Loss is normal for a newborn, even a preemie. But it is something to be watched here.

Because of her small size and because she was quite literally starving, our pediatrician has me start pumping and finger feeding her beast milk through a tube.  Her weight has steadily rissen with this, but she has still yet to breastfeed and it is taking its tole on me.  I feel like such a failure. 

Failure would have been you refusing to feed her in any way shape or form and she starved to death. Breastmilk through a tube is SUCCESS! ONE DROP = SUCCESS, even if there was NEVER a second drop.

My DD1 was bonr at 37 weeks and did not successfully latch for a full session until 6 weeks but she was taking at least 2-3 feeds a day at the breast by now (we went to 2 years! breastfeeding). 

That's great!

I really thought that the struggles I had with my first would leave me prepard for anything this time around as far as breastfeeding is concerned. 

You'd think... but there's a reason you're supposed to forget everything about a previous child... nothing will apply again.

DD2 had her tongue clipped last week due to a tie but it has had no impact on our ability to breastfeed.  All everyone keeps telling me is that she is small and it might take a while for her sucking reflex to get coordinated. 

Yep. Don't expect more of her than she can do. She's barely crawling; doing more than she is at the moment would be like running laps around a track.

You're not running a race. One day, one HOUR at a time.

I am already really struggling emotionally and every time I pump or finger feed, I feel like I am a terrible mom for not being able to get this relationship going. 

NOT AT ALL. We've known preemie moms who weren't even this far at this point.

Now 3 weeks out, we have seen no progress and she aggressively refuses the breast within seconds of laying her down to try.  I dont know what to do.  I feel so helpless.  I refuse to give formula or bottles but I'm not sure how much I have left to give to this.     

OK. Abandon the idea of failure or being a terrible mom. Because you're not. You're doing FABULOUS. Most preemie moms would already have tossed it in.

A truly terrible mom would let the baby starve to death. Or would have shaken the baby to death out of frustration over screaming. You don't qualify for the mysteriously coveted "Bad Mom" badge.

ONE DROP = SUCCESS. 

And speaking of one drop, alqways make sure there's at least one drop on the nipple when you try to put her to breast.

Mine fought the breast for two solid weeks! And he was full term. Preemies get more time.

You're doing much better than you realize you are.

maggiemom2000
by Ruby Member on Mar. 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM

It is time to start giving bottles. I worked with a mom a couple of years ago in your exact same situation, she had been pumping and finger feeding for 3 weeks. The baby began to transition to the breast and after a couple fo weeks was EBF after she switched to the bottle.

Finger feeding is not supposed to be used for a full feeding, or for long term. The prupose is to "prime" baby for breastfeeding, get baby finger feeding, get some milk into baby, then put baby to the breast. 

I completely understand the desire to 100% avoid artificial nipples, and I know all of the reasons why they should be avoided, but you are beyond that point. If avoiding artificial nipples was going to work, it would have worked by now. Finger feeding is very labor intensive, and you have enough stress right now!

It is time to start "teaching" her proper latch and suck with a bottle, while you work on transitioning her to the breast.

A really good slow flow bottle for breastfed babies is the Dr Browns, with the narrow neck. A regular newborn bottle/nipple works well too. You don't need to buy an expensive nipple (most of those are actually worse). Work to get baby latched onto bottle with her lips flanged like she would for breastfeeding.

Are you doing lots of skin to skin w/o trying to latch?

Here's some more info for you:

 from http://thebreastfeedingmother.blogspot.com/p/how-do-i-relactate.html


Put him to the breast when he is not hungry, encourage "comfort nursing".

Give him most of his feeding by bottle, then try to switch him to the breast. Click here to learn more about the “finish at the breast” method

If he is used to the bottle, and completely refusing the breast, he may be willing to take the breast with a nipple shield.

Pump a little before putting him to the breast to get the milk flowing so that he gets an "immediate reward".

Here is more information on getting an older baby to breastfeed.
maggiemom2000
by Ruby Member on Mar. 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM

More for you

http://www.bestforbabes.org/science-you-can-use-can-skin-to-skin-and-laid-back-breastfeeding-help-older-non-latching-babies

Science You Can Use: Can skin-to-skin and laid-back breastfeeding help older, non-latching babies?

Newborn baby girlWe all know about the importance of skin-to-skin contact in the early hours and days of breastfeeding.

But a new study from Sweden takes a look at a different question:  can skin-to-skin contact and a laid back position resolve severe latching-on problems in older babies?”

In this randomized, controlled study, researchers recruited mothers who reported that their infants were having severe latch-on difficulty.  The average age of the infants at the time of the study intervention was 3 weeks, and most were being fed by bottle.

A latch-on problem was defined as any of the following infant behaviors, as reported by the mothers:

  1. did not latch-on at all (roughly 60% of the total participating babies)
  2. would start to latch-on on but discontinue
  3. latched-on superficially without or with a nipple shield
  4. latched-on only on one breast

Nearly all mothers reported being instructed about how to breastfeed with “hands on assistance:” the sometimes forceful traditional method of breastfeeding instruction in hospitals (one hand on baby’s neck, one hand on breast, connect!).  Mothers were asked about their babies’ reactions to this technique, and some reported “strong reactions” such as panicked, frenetic crying or “screaming hysterically.”

230 women volunteered for this study.  One interesting note is that in 127 of those cases, the study’s screening process seems to have resolved the latch-on problem!  That left 103 mother/infant pairs for the intervention.

And here’s what the intervention looked like:

In the intervention group, mothers lay in a reclined position in a hospital bed, and the baby was placed prone between her breasts.  Her upper body and the baby were unclothed and in skin-to-skin contact.  Mothers were encouraged to allow the infant to crawl while holding a protective arm lightly over the baby.  They were encouraged to continue this practice at home as often as they liked.  The mothers recorded how often they did this, and the median number of skin-to-skin sessions in this group was a little over one per day (8.5 in 7 days).

In the other group, the mothers and babies were fully dressed, and the mothers were usually seated in an arm chair.  They were asked to start breastfeeding as they usually did.  They were then instructed to continue this practice at home.

The pairs were then assessed for the mothers’ emotional and pain response, whether the babies latch-on problems resolved, and how long it took for the latch-on problems to resolve.

Here’s what they found:

  • Mothers in the intervention group scored higher on the measure of emotions about breastfeeding than mothers in the control group, though this difference faded by four months.
  • Mothers in the intervention group scored lower on the measure of pain (reported less pain) than mothers in the control group.
  • The percentage of babies starting to latch-on and suckle did not differ significantly between the intervention and control groups.
  • The time it took for babies’ latch-on difficulty to resolve was significantly shorter in the intervention group (2 weeks) as it was in the control group (4.7 weeks).  The percentage of babies regularly latching within 3 weeks was 74% in the intervention group compared to 39% in the control group.
  • Among babies in the intervention group who began latching well within 3 weeks, 94% had had a “strong [negative] reaction” to “hands on latching,” as described above.  This compared to 33% in the control group who began latching in the same time frame.
  • In total, 81% of the infants’ latching problems eventually resolved, at a median infant age of over 7 weeks (a range of 2 weeks to 5 months!).

There are a number of interesting conclusions to highlight here.  One is that skin-to-skin can speed babies’ return to the breast.  And time is of the essence, it seems to me, since many women can’t or won’t keep trying for a month to get their babies to latch regularly (median infant age at resolution was over 7 weeks*).

Another is that “hands on assistance” is causing latch-on difficulties for some babies.  This skin-to-skin intervention was of particular benefit to those babies, but you have to wonder how many of these problems could have been prevented by the use of a different method from the start.

There are a few ways in which this study combines different variables so that these conclusions seem a little muddy to me.  The emphasis of the paper is on skin-to-skin contact, but the intervention also involved two other factors:  a laid-back position, and self attachment (babies allowed to crawl to the breast and latch on independently).  So while we can say that this combination of things helps, it’s not clear how much is attributable to skin-to-skin and how much to a reclined position or self attachment.  Practically speaking it probably doesn’t matter, but it would be interesting to know if you get the same results with just a reclined position, for example.

And finally, it’s hard not to miss that over half of the women who initially volunteered for the study were excluded because the help they got through the study screening process resolved the problem!  So for many women, this kind of longer-term skin-to-skin intervention is not even necessary.  Just some good basic help goes a long way.

aehanrahan
by Group Mod - Amy on Mar. 23, 2013 at 1:12 AM
Maggiemom2000 gave you some awesome information and I trust her advice. If she says you should try a bottle, I would try a bottle.
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MommyO2-6631
by Leslie on Mar. 23, 2013 at 7:45 AM
I pumped and bottle fed my son after the first day because he REFUSED to latch at all! He would scream as soon as i cradled him. But after i gave him a bottle for a week he would latch with a nipple shield. Then at eight weeks he just latched to my bare nipple and has been nursing from bare breast ever since. It was a very hard road but we're now at 9 months! You are doing wonderfully momma!
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babylove6512
by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 1:04 PM
1 mom liked this
Thank you ladies so much for the much needed inspiration. I now have the courage to give bottles a try as a stepping stone and the motivation to keep working on it.
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