Giving up on breastfeeding

So, the baby's born, what comes next? Discuss your postpartum and parenting concerns here.
jmom08
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Re : Giving up on breastfeeding

Postby jmom08 » Sat May 09, 2009 11:44 pm

I am glad you saw the LC, too! Also, if you need more help, don't feel bad about getting a 2nd opinion from another LC -- I saw two. One was not very good, but the other was amazing, and one of the nurses at our pediatrician's office was helpful on the growth questions (and reassuring that if I did decide to go with just formula, my son really would be okay!).
Both of my LCs said what Patty said on the immunity. On latch, my son couldn't latch at all in the beginning! The silicone nipple shield helped a little (sometimes), and he eventually did get better at it, but we never got really good at BF without the pump and never got supply to max (so that is pretty much the limit of my ability to give advice...!). I hope it gets easier for you, and good luck! I love what Anne said about a happy mom being the most important -- take care of yourself! =)

missdee
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Re : Giving up on breastfeeding

Postby missdee » Fri May 08, 2009 05:27 am

I expressed 100 ml this morning, but I find he is too hungry to try the breast, he screams his little head off! But over all I can see the XS prem clothes are getting smaller, I'll just keep it up as long as I can...miracles do happen!

trish
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Re : Giving up on breastfeeding

Postby trish » Thu May 07, 2009 05:33 pm

Glad to hear that you saw the LC & that she was able to help. :) Like Patty said, don't worry about trying to keep his nose clear (I'm assuming you mean not "suffocated" by your boob right? LOL!) I am a D & at *least* DD while BF and I am amazed that all 3 of my girls were able to breathe and eat at the same time. Whe they were tiny their whole head/face seemed dwarfed by my boob but somehow it worked. Babies are amazing. Did she show you the "football" hold? That may work for you. You can probably google it to get a better description but his feet are under your arm pit beside your body & his head is, well obviously, at your boob.

Supplementing with a bottle does affect supply because your body makes exactly what he needs so it will think he needs less when he has bottles. But as his latch improves he will help you make more. Even a little BF helps his immunity so keep it up what you're doing mama! :)

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patty
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Re : Giving up on breastfeeding

Postby patty » Thu May 07, 2009 12:06 am

Any little bit help as far as the immunity :). I am glad you saw the LC. It will get better, my last was born at 31 weeks so I know it is hard when they are that small but as he gets older and stronger his latch and suck will improve some. I would not worry about keeping his nose clear, I am big breasted too and that used to worry me but they instintively know what they are doing and that is part of the reason babies have kind of flat noses. You can add more feedings if you want as he gets stronger and better at nursing. Nursing is supply and demand so the more feedings the better your supply. I also second that wanting to nurse 24/7 is really common for a preemie and for a newborn in general for the first months. Some days they will want to nurse every half hour and that is fine. It does not mean they are not getting enough or starving it is their way of increasing your supply especially if they are going through a growth spurt. I think it is fine to go a longer stretch and catch up on your sleep at night right now. Being rested is good for your supply too. I did the same thing when I was pumping and it did not hurt my supply. I would just be sure to nurse really good and maybe even pump after first thing in the morning. You are doing great and it will get better I promise. Have you tried nipple sheilds at all? I am not a fan of them but they work wonders for some moms.

missdee
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Re : Giving up on breastfeeding

Postby missdee » Thu May 07, 2009 03:42 am

Thanks you guys, you made me cry! Went to see a lactation consultant- thanks Trish_ and apparently he does not latch properly, which means he gets frustrated and not enough. The stimulation is also less effective then. He was a 32 weeker and only weighs 2.7 kgs now, really small and my breasts are a size G! She gave me some tips but I find that I struggle to handle him and keep the breast in his mouth and keep his nose clear. At this stage I'm trying to feed during the day, he sometimes latches and drinks and sometimes screams, and then I give him a bottle to top up. Apparently even 5 ml makes a difference...as you guys said I'm just going to try my best. I'm feeding bottle during the night to try to get some sleep. Will this affect my production badly. I think he's getting 25% 75% at this stage. Will he still get the immunity he needs?

jmom08
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Re : Giving up on breastfeeding

Postby jmom08 » Thu May 07, 2009 01:19 am

I had a similar experience, and I can identify with what you are feeling right now! I had BF problems from the start, and was never able to supply more than about 50% of my son's total intake. I ended up pumping many times a day for 13 months and supplementing with gentlease formula. One of my husband's coworkers had a similar situation, and decided to stop pumping after 6 weeks. Both of us now have big strong boys (hers is bigger and stronger, but I think he has taller genes). =) It's not an easy choice -- I was told I gave my son antibodies by pumping, and it's true he didn't get sick those first 13 months -- but it was exhausting. I had to work pretty hard to keep my supply from dropping more, and I missed out on sleep (and probably sanity). I don't know which would have benefited my son more, the pumping or having a better rested momma. Everyone here has really good advice. I would talk to your pediatrician, and go with your instincts. You have already been through a lot, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. Whatever you decide, your son is lucky to have you as a mom!

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catherine
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Re : Giving up on breastfeeding

Postby catherine » Tue May 05, 2009 10:17 pm

This doesn't need to be an either/or situation. Feel free to craft a solution that fits you both.

One thing that nobody ever properly shares with you in the pre-baby phase is that breast feeding is incredibly time consuming. It's even worse when your baby is small. The explanation is so obvious and so simple... they have a very small stomach! Combine that with the enormous ease with which a baby processes breast milk down to pure nutrients and thus empties that stomach and ta-dah!!! Once an hour on the hour for what seems like weeks!!!! You aren't inadequate at all, but you have been trying to keep pace with a little person who has the metabolism of a shrew (eats body weight daily to stay alive). Bottle-fed babies manage the longer stretches between feedings because it takes them a little longer to digest the more complex components of formula, so they feel fuller. So, while that crying means hunger it doesn't mean that they are starved... just hungry again (next observed during the teenage years "get away from that fridge; you've only just finished dinner".. "but I'm hungry NOW!" ).

I had three all of whom were in the 5lb range at birth. They in noooooo waaaaay resembled the babies that belonged to some of my friends... the kind who apparently sleep through the night about 3 weeks after you get them home! A kindly pediatrician and developmental physiologist warned me that a baby needs to be about 13-15 lbs to have a stomach big enough to fill for a night.... and I now agree! It took me about 8 months to grow each of them to 15 lbs and only then did a complete night's sleep come to my grasp.

Over time and lots of hard won experience I came to realise that mom-baby couple are a unique pairing with traits and quirks that apply only to them. I can't tell you how many times I was told not to use a pacifier for fear of "nipple confusion". I can tell you though that at week 3 DH was met at the door by a screaming unwashed harpy who refused to let him in the house if he didn't get back in the car and purchase a selection of pacis IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!! Finally, I was able to slip out of the boy's mouth and slide in the paci and unleash myself from my so adorable little millstone!!! Think of all the babies who are fed expressed breastmilk by day in daycare situations and who happily come home to boob in the evening (I'd three of that kind, the youngest starting at barely 8 weeks)!

So, if you think that you'd enjoy nursing more if it were less pressurized... then consider doing 50%-50% or 25%-75% or whatever combination works for you. Nurse for cuddles and comfort and see if that lowers the stress. A baby nursing will maintain supply a thousand times better than a pump will, so supplementing with a little formula might be all you need. Or maybe you'll find that fully transitioning to formula works best for you and your son. Just feel free to experiment a little....

mother bear
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Re : Giving up on breastfeeding

Postby mother bear » Tue May 05, 2009 09:08 pm

I wish I could tell you to not feel guilty, and you could just not feel guilty. <sigh> but emotions are never that simple, are they? You'll do what's best for your baby, and for some babies, what's best is a mom who switches to formula and doesn't beat herself up over it and sends the baby to grandmas' house and finally gets a blessed 10 hours straight of sleep. Whatever you choose, you'll do it in love.

smileegirl
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Re : Giving up on breastfeeding

Postby smileegirl » Mon May 04, 2009 10:58 am

Hi there! I'm in a similar situation - my 36-weeker was unable to breastfeed, so I've been pumping. She's now almost 5 weeks old and my supply isn't great so I've been supplementing with formula. I spoke to a Doctor of Breastfeeding Medicine who was recommending drugs to stimulate milk production. However, I don't feel comfortable taking drugs for this purpose (and passing it to my baby through breastmilk) when she can have formula.

I'm so tired of pumping and I'm weaning so she's exclusively on formula. But, I also feel so incredibly guilty. However, we gave them the breastmilk for the past 5 weeks and that has benefited them. If our supply isn't great, then it is out of our control. We are fortunate that formula is as good as it is these days. They are getting the nutrients and vitamins that they need from the formula. So, we shouldn't stress and should instead put that energy into taking care of our child. Hope that helps...(this is what I'm trying to tell myself and what the Doctors are telling me).

trish
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Re : Giving up on breastfeeding

Postby trish » Mon May 04, 2009 09:14 am

Feeding him formula does not make you a bad mother! But, if you do *want* to BF, he probably is getting enough from you. Does he seem dehydrated or lethargic or is he basically content. What you are able to pump is not a good indicator of what baby is getting.

My sister tried to BF and within 2 days of being home her baby was back in the hospital dehydrated. After that, she tried everything: even renting a hospital scale & weighing him before & after feeds to chart how much he had taken in. It was rarely over 1/2 an ounce even after several weeks of trying. She had to supplement with formula because it was clear she just wasn't making nearly enough milk.

Is there a lactation consulant at the hospital where you delivered that you could call? Has baby had a Ped appt. recently? How is his weight doing? If he's gaining then he really *is* getting enough from you. 3 weeks in NICU certainly could have gotten things off to a rocky start. How early was baby (sorry I don't recall)? If you only been BF for a couple weeks it's still early & it takes some time - often up to 6 weeks or more for moms and babies to get good at it. Even in term babies! BF is sometimes difficult to master & isn't always the "lovely" experience everyone makes it out to be - especially in the first several weeks.

You AND baby need to be happy. Feeding him formula may be the answer for that but you don't sound happy with that choice. So if you want to continue, it probably isn't too late to get some help & make it work - for both of you. Best of luck!!!



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