How to get baby to nurse for more than a few minutes . . . (Long)
Hello all, I could use some insights and advice. I'm sorry this is so long.
Breastfeeding was not easy for us, but we've been doing so now for a little over 3 months (almost 4 months). In the beginning, I had low supply problems and everything hurt, so we supplemented with formula for several feedings. Then we finally got the hang of it and for 2 months LO has mainly been getting breastmilk and most of it was from nursing. At nights, the DH will give LO a bottle of EBM or two so I can take a break. This has been working well for us for a time. LO could take both bottle and then nurse well.
At around 3 months, LO started only feeding for 5 minutes on each breast. I read somewhere that babies can be that efficient and I didn't worry too much about it. Then I noticed that LO began to get really distracted at the breast and would only nurse for 2-3 minutes. She couldn't possibly be getting enough (even though she still acted happy and all smiley). Then, she started not wanting to nurse very much.
I started to give her more bottles of EBM because I needed her to eat. Now, I think she just prefers the bottles, and she's distracted.
Any idea on how to get her back to nursing more? I still offer her the breast and she might nurse for 5 minutes. If she goes for 10 minutes, I'm ecstatic. I try not to feel bad if she turns her head away from the breast, but that's hard. We've done skin to skin; I've tried feeding her from a dropper. I offer the breast when she's drowsy and that works well too, but I'd like to get her nursing more.
I honestly think I'm dealing with a combination of problems here. (1) Maybe she is efficient in getting milk in 3-5 minutes. I say this because after a short nursing session, I have offered her a bottle or dropper feeding and she just turns away or lets the milk dribble right out. And she's not screaming for more food either. (2) When I know that LO is hungry, she still won't nurse past the initial let down. She doesn't seem to want to suck vigorously and wait for the subsequent let downs. (3) LO is distractible, but that's getting a bit better. I've nursed her in a boring room, etc.
Anyway, I'm exhausted, frustrated, and annoyed. Several times a day, I've thought of giving up and switching to formula. I may not have a choice soon because my milk supply is dwindling even more (even with pumping). Guilt and downright stubborness has made me go on. I should also add that for nearly a month and a half, LO has been sleeping between 8-9 hrs a night. Then, when she only started nursing for 5 minutes at a time, she started waking up in the middle of night to eat.
I'd be interested to hear if you went through this phase and how you got through it -- whether you switched to formula or continued to try and breastfeed. General comments of cheer would also help.
Thanks for reading all of this.
Edited to add: I also have a 5 yr old that is getting very little time since I spend all my time trying to nurse/pump/etc.
Oh tygerlilly I am in the same situatio except we r abit older and just started weaning. My head is totally pickled as Lo feeds of me v little. My dh says he's not hungry and will take when he is but I don't know. I think he just takes enough to pass himself and then stops after a few mins. Less and less r we doing both sides in one feed. The dirty nappies daily is the only thing keeping me thinking something is still ok. As u say may he has got super efficient. Distraction is awful and I hardly ever manage to feed him out any more. We r a week short of six months and I just keep thinking formula may easy this battle. It's hard not to worry about ur supply dropping I constantly worry. I have no idea what the answer is but would like to know now others got over such a hiccup.
It is exhausting tygerlilly trying ur best to get ur Lo to take enough and pumping. I hate pumping as I find it time consuming and boring but if needs must I try abit. Tigerlilly u sound really determined and I am I sure u can see this rough patch through. Keep the spirits up and keep ploughing on. I just keep tryin ang Lo on the breast and cross my fingers we r getting enough. R babies don't realise what great mums they have.
I would say to cut out the EBM during the day and just offer her the breast. She really will take what she needs. It's normal for babies to get more efficient as they get older, and it's normal for them to be easily distracted at that age. If you think she's really hungry then try feeding in a quiet, darkened room or draping a muslin over her if she will tolerate it. It could also be that she's thirsty rather than hungry so only wanting the foremilk. As long as she's not losing weight and still producing wet and dirty nappies, she's getting enough.
Tigerlilly - I am just now reading this and am very curious as to what you did. I just came across this post and as I was reading yours, I couldn't believe how exact our situation is!!! However, my daughter is 8 months. She has always been an efficient sucker- my lactation consultant proved it to me when she did a pre/post nursing weight of her.. we weighed her before I nursed her and she nursed for 6 minutes, and we weighed her after, and she gained 4oz - this was when she was only a few months old. I know as they get older they become more and more efficient which I often have to remind myself because I somtimes freak out that she's not eating enough. Lately, within the past couple days, she will only eat 3-4 minutes! She definitely prefers a bottle now that she realizes how much faster it comes out and that she has to work less! Before bed, I nurse her as I normally would, eats a few minutes, then I give her a bottle of breastmilk of just a couple oz; sometimes she takes it all, sometimes she doesn't. I have gone back and forth lately about switching to formula, or possibly just supplementing with a little formula at night to hopefully get her to sleep longer, but as you said, I am very stubborn and feel guilty even though I know I shouldn't. If you get a moment, I'd love to hear what you did.
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