We had problems for the first ten days. DS wouldn't latch. We did lots of skin to skin, tried to chill out about BFing for a couple of days (as he'd become so stressed by it). The midwife who came to visit on day 10 got us latched on with a nipple shield. I was so grateful. I bumped into her the other day and made a point of telling her that without her support we wouldn't still be BF'ing. It turns out my son had a posterior tongue tie. Once that was snipped at 8 weeks feeding became much easier.
The first few days are hard enough without people interfering with the natural course of BFing.
Oh and I was told to give him enough milk by syringe to calm him down and then offer the breast (but before his tummy was full)
Will a nipple shield help with flat nipples? I was just watching some BF'ing videos and I noticed how all these women have nipples that stick out and I'm wondering if that may be part of my problem. I am pumping milk and getting just barely enough to feed LO for the most part. I am having to supplement a little formula. I know I'm not getting it all out because I don't get much real relief when I do try to pump, especially on the left side. It feels a bit more heavy than the right and I get more out of the right side at each pumping session. I don't think there is a supply issue. I'm certain it's a problem of me being able to get it out. My SIL tried to help explain to me the other night about massaging and encouraging let down but I still don't think I did it right. I'm almost ready to give up on BF'ing and just express. Also still trying to get a hold of a lactation consultant at the hospital. They haven't called me back yet.
Call your local La Leche League. I had one of the leaders call me back within 2 hours, and they helped SO MUCH.
Nipple shields can help with flat nipples. Mine are pretty darn flat, and it takes forever for my LO to latch on. Sticking some ice on there for a few seconds can help a bit. Don't want it too long, though, or your LO will object to her food being cold.
But yeah, check out www.llli.org and find your closest LLL leader. They'd LOVE to give you some ideas on what you can do, and I've had them come over and show me before. (When I had my son.) It's also great to get to a meeting with other breastfeeding mommies and share what has and hasn't worked for you.
Have you asked your doctor to see if your baby has a tongue tie? That can make things super painful and hard to latch for a baby.
ETA: Also, if you're eligible for WIC, they have lactation consultants for free at the clinics. Doesn't hurt to see if you're eligible, it saves money on needing to pay a LC! Also, if there's a local breastfeeding store, they might have an LC on staff. The one here does free consults if you purchase something from them.
Went to see the lactation consultant yesterday and DS did great. Not so when we got him home. I felt like he would only perform for them. Well today my mom stayed with me all day and gave me the suggestion to pump a little just before he's ready to feed and see if that helps. Voila! It worked well. We had two very successful feeds and one less successful, but he still ate. The last feed before bed he wouldn't switch sides after being burped. I still have no idea why. Anyway, hoping everything continues to go well. I am still having to do some supplemental pumping, but I am much happier now. Thanks to all you ladies who have given me some great advice!
Stick with it! If your LO has latched once, he can latch again. So pleased you managed some successful feeds hoping that they continue for you guys!
Just to add- Generally I'd say don't reach straight for nipple shields-they're very much a sticking plaster. They have a place, but I'm glad you sought a professional opinion first. Often there's a reason a baby won't latch, and just teaching your LO how to latch onto a plastic nipple is going to cause more problems than it fixes in the long run.
My LO didn't latch at all for 8 days, so I wore shells between feeds to encourage my nipples to stay out, and spent as long as possible with LO naked on my chest. You can come back from a rough start. I'm glad you got some good support
My LO is three weeks old and was born at 36 weeks. She only managed to latch on after two weeks and this would not have been possible without Medela nipple shields. Previously she was too sleepy and unmotivated or would get very frustrated and fussing. We fed her expressed milk by syringe for the first few days, tried cup feeding and then soft teated bottles as she would not feed at all otherwise and needed to get stronger. I kept presenting her with my breast first before offering a bottle and lots of skin to skin since birth. She used nipple shields for less than a week and now attaches without so perseverence paid off. I understand how frustrating and upsetting it is when your baby will not feed and I felt utterly drained with worry but do not give up. Dont worry that if you syringe (or even bottle feed) expressed milk for a while that baby will not be able to breast feed when they are stronger and ready to do it. Lots of cuddles in the meantime worked for us. Some babies are just slow to get started. I found the local hospital breastfeeding support clinic invaluable. Sounds to me that you just need to hang in there!
Oh, forgot to say that my LO also had a tongue tie which was easily corrected at 10 days old and I am convinced that she would not have been able to latch properly otherwise. Hospital paediatrician did not think it was significant but midwife referred me and so glad she did so get a second opinion.
So glad to hear that you're making progress. The early days can be really hard but it definitely sounds as though you're heading in the right direction.
Some brilliant suggestions from previous posters.
From what I've read, the shape of the nipple certainly plays a role in how easily the baby can latch on at the start. As a previous poster suggests, perhaps it is a good idea to rule out tongue tie just in case. If it's just a case of working with the shape of the nipple, there are a few recommended things you could try to get the nipple to protrude more: 1) manual nipple shaping, 2) nipple shields, 3) pumping to shape the nipple. Sounds like pumping is working for you for now. Maybe LLL or a LC could show you how to shape the nipple with your fingers so that you don't have to pump before each feed?
Some of the previously posted suggestions should help to keep your son calm and relaxed while he is getting the hang of things, such as skin to skin, feeding in a quiet, warm room and feeding when he isn't too hungry so he doesn't become frustrated.
Also make sure you're looking after yourself. Eat well, drink lots and try to get as much sleep as you can, as these things can affect your milk production.
In terms of expressing, massage can stimulate let-down so you can pump more. Try to be as relaxed as you can. I found that looking at a photo of my baby whilst pumping and pumping in a quiet room helped me.
Things are still going pretty well today. We have had three successful feeds so far. Today he would start on one side and seemed to have finished, but when I tried to unlatch him he would start sucking again. Also, the whole every 2-3 hours thing just doesn't work for my son. I tried twice to wake him every three hours as suggested, but he was really too tired to feed. He did eat, but not very much. I am leaning to every 4 hours unless he wakes on his own earlier. He is already gaining back the weight he lost right after birth so I'm not worried.
I did watch a video online about shaping the nipple but it didn't seem to work for me. I am going to try to find some more help on that though because I think it will really help. Maybe even the more successful feeds he gets, the more it will help me. He manages to get the nipple to protrude pretty well at feedings.
Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions and encouragement. I was honestly ready to start strictly expressing for the little guy, but with my mom's help and you ladies encouragement we've been doing much better.
Don't worry too much about schedules. As long as he's gaining then you can let him dictate when he feeds. If he starts to feed more often, don't get discouraged, he's going to hit quite a few growth spurts in the coming few months. Sometimes it might seem like you don't have enough milk to satisfy him but just keep feeding him as he requests and your body will oblige.
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