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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Having BF issues!

    This coupled with a VERY aggressive eater and all the hormones have me in tears 24/7 almost!

    It's so ironic that I've told my NICU Moms millions of times to not put pressure on themselves and to not feel guilty if they have supply issues, but that's EXACTLY what I'm doing to myself!

    Parker is 7 days old today. From day 1 he has latched in well and sucked aggressively. In the hospital he wanted to eat every 1-2 hours. Fine.

    We get home and he decides he wants to BF EVERY hour - nonstop preferably. He was SO hungry and his bilirubin levels were high (home phototherapy) and he was losing SO much weight - over the 10% they expect. So my ped (who is very pro-BF) told me I needed to supplement with formula. Ok - I know this from the NICU. Yeah, he needed the additional fluids to get rif of the bilirubin and I hadn't started producing much milk yet. Top that off with cracked, bleeing nipples from the constant breastfeeding and I did slack off a little on the BF to let me nipples heal. I did pump about every 4-5 hours while he got bottles.

    We went to our first peds appointment a couple of days ago - DOL 5 and he's gaining back weight, bilirubin is down, but my milk supply still isn't good. My ped wants me to breastfeed every 2-3 hours (on Parker's schedule) for 10-15 min per side with a nipple shield then offer a bottle and finish pumping my breasts. I started that yesterday.

    Parker's supplemental bottle is usually around 2 oz. I put whatever I pump into the bottles, so he is getting SOME breastmilk with every feed. After he feeds and I pump, I'm usually getting an additional 15 ml per side. I jsut feel like I'm never going to be able to supply all the milk he needs. I'm trying to drink a lot more fluids and start some mother's milk tea as well.

    I jsut feel like a failure with the entire breastfeeding issue. He latches on great and REALLY loves to suck. And my nipples are slowly healing. We also found out in the hospital that I am TRULY allergic to lanolin after my breast broke out in hives from the stuff the lactation consultant had me try (she didn't feel "comfortable" having me use the nipple butter with open cracks on my nipples). Yeah, well you almost gave me an anaphylactic reaction!

    Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

  2. #2
    MaiseyDog is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    No suggestions, but I just wanted to send you hugs. It's so hard in the beginning and your horomones are out of whack which just makes it that much harder. You are doing a such great thing for your son! Anyway, I just wanted to wish you luck and I know the knowledgable ladies on here will be around with lots of advice and encouragement.
    Margaret

    DD1- 2/14/05
    DD2- 9/24/07

  3. #3
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    Wow, I feel like you just wrote the first week of my DS2's life. I also found out the hard way that I'm allergic to lanolin, my LC friend figured it out after my nipples kept getting worse instead of better. I guess it contains a wool derivative and I'm allergic to wool. My son also was very jaundiced and he had to do the bili-bed at home for about a week after he was released from the hospital (so until he was about 2 weeks) and lost well over 10% of his body weight.

    A couple of questions, though. I'm going to do my best here (I have a very good friend that is an LC) and try and problem-solve, based on what she did for me. Why does your doc have you using a nipple-shield if he latches well? Is it for your comfort? Lots of LC's have concerns with nipple shields because it can actually slow down or diminish the amount of milk that the baby is getting. They are primarily used for poor latch, so if he latches well, and you're not hurting, I would ditch it. Also, breast milk is lower in fat at the beginning of the feeding (so it comes out faster and satisfies baby's initial thirst and hunger) and much higher in fat at the end, so if the main concern is getting him to gain weight, I would pump for a few minutes, and then put him to the breast until he finishes on both sides, and if you are drained and he is still hungry, then supplement. I also know of moms that when trying to get their babies to gain weight would skim the fat off the top of the pumped breastmilk and directly feed that to their babies. You can still use the rest of the milk, I would just freeze for a little while down the road after he gets past the weight issues.

    Keep in mind as well that breastfeeding is based on supply and demand, so if you wait to nurse instead of feeding him when he is hungry, your supply will not increase and may even go down. Your doc's recommendation of waiting 2-3 hours may be a bit long. Most newborns need to nurse every 2 hours, if not more often. The jaundice can make him very sleepy, so definitely wake him to nurse at least every 3 hours. If you are able to tolerate it, I would put him to the breast whenever he wants. He may also experience a growth spurt around 2 or 3 weeks old and want to nurse constantly (cluster-feed). If you allow him to, he will build up your supply and you'll be able to provide all that he needs. Your body also knows the difference between your baby and a pump, so you will increase your supply and maintain it better with him than the pump.

    Rest assured, everything will turn out fine. After the first few rough weeks, my son did very well, and by his 2 month checkup he was in the 90th percentile for weight with no formula supplementation after 2 weeks! Hang in there!
    busy mama whose belongs to. . .
    little guy 11/04
    big guy 9/06
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    I convert aplix diapers to snaps! PM for more info!

  4. #4
    egoldber's Avatar
    egoldber is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    We went to our first peds appointment a couple of days ago - DOL 5 and he's gaining back weight, bilirubin is down, but my milk supply still isn't good. My ped wants me to breastfeed every 2-3 hours (on Parker's schedule) for 10-15 min per side with a nipple shield then offer a bottle and finish pumping my breasts. I started that yesterday.
    I would be a little concerned about this advice. I agree with the PP that if he is latching well, I would drop the shield (unless you are using it because of the sore nipples). I used one with Amy but its a total PITA and I wouldn't do it unless you really need to. And as long as you use one, you need to pump after every feeding. I've BTDT and it is soooooo awful!

    Also, since he is gaining weight and the bili is on the way down, why does the ped still have you doing the supplemental feeds? The more you supplement, the less he breastfeeds directly and the harder it will be to bring in your full supply. The pump is a poor imitation of your baby and the more you can breastfeed directly, the better off your supply will be.

    And nursing every hour is normal newborn behavior. That's how they bring in your milk and establish your supply. A breastfed baby needs to nurse in order to bring in your milk. Its pretty unusual, IME, for a newborn to go 2-3 hours between feeds. I know thats the typical NICU schedule, but that's not what a typical exclusively breastfed newborn does.

    Hang in there. It really, really does get easier, but the first few weeks can be soooo hard.
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

  5. #5
    JTsMom is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    You are absolutely NOT a failure, so try to get that out of your head. I went through a lot of craziness trying to get bf established when Jason was born, so I feel your pain. I know it feels like it's been forever, and that you'll never get past this stage, but you will, so try to ease up on yourself a little. Our situation was a little different, but there are a lot of similarities.

    We didn't have the weight loss challenge (probably b/c I was supplementing way too much), but I did get into the supplementing cycle- I won't bore you with the details, but it started with us being seperated, and was REALLY hard to get out of. It takes a LOT of faith and guts, b/c you start panicking about starving the baby.

    I'm not sure how much, if any, of this will be useful, but here's what I did: First, I called an LC. I don't think she really understood the seriousness of the situation, but the one piece of good advice I walked away with was "Make sure he loves bf'ing. Make it as pleasant and happy as possible. Try not to be stressed while you are feeding him." Sounds a little loopy, but I think just getting myself into that frame of mine helped.

    Then, I ditched all pacis b/c DS was getting serious nipple confusion. Every. single. time. I started by offering the breast. This usually resulted in him screaming hysterically, while I tried to cram my boob into his mouth. More screaming, more cramming.

    When I didn't make much progress that way, I tried shields. I would use them for a little while, then try to do it without them. If it worked, great. If not, I'd put them back on.

    I'd let him nurse for as long as he wanted, hoping he'd get as much hindmilk as humanly possible. When he finished one side, I'd switch. If he finished that side, I'd switch back to the first, and so on, until he refused to nurse any longer. Then I'd give him a bottle.

    Eventually, I just had to ditch the bottles, so I started by saying I'd only give him X number a day, cutting out 1 or 2 at a time. That way, I had time to make more milk as the demand increased. Finally, I just went cold turkey on the supplementing, and it worked.

    Just keep reminding yourself to count diapers and check weight, and I SWEAR you won't starve him. If you're too exhausted to remember how many diapers you change, throw every dirty one into one bag, and count at the end of the day.



    Having said all of that- why do you think your supply isn't where it needs to be? Are you basing it just on the fact that he's taking a bottle after he eats? Most babies will continue to suck, even if they are full.

    I guess I'm a little confused b/c you said that you're still able to pump after he eats. If the pump is still able to get something, I'd think Parker could, for sure.

    One other random thought- this cycle you're in with the pumping, and the nursing, and the bottles, and the bottle washing, and the pump part washing- it sucks. LOL It really really sucks. It's like it never ends, and all of that work stresses you out more, and makes bf seem even harder than it is at first. If you can get past this crappy part, and I know it's easier said than done, it will get sooooooooo much better. The faster you can ditch the supplements, the better off you'll be.


    Keep telling yourself you can do it, and that you are doing a great job, b/c you are. Read some of the stuff over at kellymom.com if you need a boost, and know that you can always come here, or pm/email any of us if you need to talk.

    Go mama go!!!
    Lori
    Mom to Jason 05/05
    and Zachary 05/10

  6. #6
    shaee is offline Copper level (50+ posts)
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    Default i feel your pain!

    I gave birth a week ago and it seems that you have just written my story.

    I just feel annoyed at the doctors that they want me to bf and not supplement and then the weight gain is not adequate. It feels that they are pushing me in all directions and i just feel so frustrated and discouraged.

    The advice most helpful to me is u do what is right for you and the baby. If the baby is healthy and happy and gaining weight.. just dont care what others say!
    Due 06/06/08


  7. #7
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    I'm using the nipple shield because otherwise I could not tolerate having him latch on because of the cracking/bleeding. I'm still supplementing because he wakes up 20 minutes after breastfeeding screaming for more. The kid would eat 24/7 if allowed!

    No nipple confusion here - he doesnt care if the shield is on or if its a bottle. I'm going to have to use the shield until my nipples heal.

    I was pumping afterwards to make sure I get the hindmilk - and adding that to his bottles. Maybe I should decrease the amount of milk offered after and if he wakes up after an hour or so then bf again? I have no idea how I will get any sleep though! I just want to make sure that I get a good supply going. I would love to not have to supplement at all!

    I just BF him - didnt time it but abiut 20 min per side and he only too 1 oz of his bottle...

  8. #8
    egoldber's Avatar
    egoldber is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Maybe I should decrease the amount of milk offered after and if he wakes up after an hour or so then bf again? I have no idea how I will get any sleep though! I just want to make sure that I get a good supply going. I would love to not have to supplement at all!

    I just BF him - didnt time it but abiut 20 min per side and he only too 1 oz of his bottle...
    This is really very typical newborn behavior. Really. Remember the 2 hours between feeding is start time to start time. So if he nurses for 40-50 minutes (normal!) then sleeps for an hour, then yes, when he wakes its time for the next feeding.

    The feedings WILL stretch out. Eventually. But right now I would let him nurse as much and as often as he wants. Every baby is different and has a different nursing rhythm. And then when you figure it out they go through a growth spurt and change.
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

  9. #9
    egoldber's Avatar
    egoldber is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Also, kellymom.com is a FABULOUS resource.

    This link may help you get started:

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing.html
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

  10. #10
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    thanks everyone...time to try to catch a nap now!

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