Sunday, November 24, 2013

You Got It - Let's Talk About Breastfeeding

Well, you knew I couldn't just write without telling you about breast feeding problems...

My milk is in!

With Carolyn, it took like an entire week and that's not exaggerating.

Anyway, I was quite dilligent in my pumping at the hospital because they promised I would get good results if I was.

And BAM!  Engorged boobies!  Congratulations me!

There's just one problem:

Tate refuses to latch.

Not like he has a bad latch, like he refuses to latch at all.

He's hungry, I have food to offer, I get him up there with his mouth in the exact right position, it's over the top of my nipple (yes, I just wrote about my nipple), and all he does is scream and scream and scream.  He won't close his mouth, won't even try.  Well, that's a lie.  He's tried twice.  And both times, he did just fine - like he even has a good latch and everything.  Other than that, it's like a wrestling match, that ends with me almost in tears every time because it shouldn't be this hard to get milk into the kid!

The lactation consultant at the hospital (who complimented my afore mentioned nipples and may or may not have called them "perfect".  Why yes, I've always thought I had nice nipples) thinks it's because his palate is so high and I'm not hitting the right places to stimulate his sucking reflex.

So, I tried all of her suggestions and not one of them worked (a nipple shield, a couple of different nursing holds, putting a little milk on my nipple).  And still he's screaming.

I researched on the Internet to see what I could find and basically, the only thing people say is that babies with high palates have to "grow into" their mouths, which should take anywhere from 8-10 weeks.

Well, fan-freakin'-tastic. 

So what do I do until then?  So far, the only thing I've come up with is to pump and build up a little stash and just feed from a bottle.  I don't mind the pumping as it's less painful than actual breast feeding, but trying to feed him a bottle at 3am and also pump in the middle of the night is already getting old (and I've only done it once).

So...suggestions?  Tips?  Tricks?  Please, for the love, I'm begging....

*For the record, I am not beating myself up over this.  After all of the problems and beating up I did over not being able to breast feed Carolyn, I'm high fiving myself all over the place this time.  I just also want to make things as easy as possible, and for me, it seems like if I could just plop this kid on my breast and go, that'd be ideal.  If not, oh, well.


3lpcouture said...

testing, testing, 123 ...

lauraacall said...

My dad, the pediatrician, cautions moms against bottles because it is so much easier for the baby to drink from a bottle. He actually scared me so much that after I had my twins and they wouldn't latch and I had been trying for like 4 hours to get them to was really a mess...I was crying hysterically but refused to pull out the bottles because I didn't want them to get nipple confusion. Well, I called him crying, and he suggested that I start them on the bottle and after they got a little comfortable on that (like 1-2 minutes) to switch over to the breast. It actually worked pretty well, and both babies were fully on the breast within a week. I don't know if that helps, but that's what worked for me. Good luck!

3lpcouture said...

for. the. love! I am so challenged - wrote you a little novella and it didn't post. Whatever - here we go again ...
WHAT I WAS SAYING is that (as I see it) there are two purposes to breast-feeding your child. Purpose one is called BONDING. Bonding is nearly impossible to accomplish whilst both you and your baby are crying, screaming or furiously fighting with each other. The OTHER purpose to breast-feeding your baby is to provide nourishment along with antibodies and all sorts of wonderful things like that. Purpose two is just as easily accomplished by pumping and bottle feeding. That being said, pumping may not be very romantic or much fun, but it beats the heck out of the nightmare that is trying to force (breast) feed a tiny little infant every two or three hours. The anxiety that that would cause both you AND him is not worth it. Some babies never really get breastfeeding (despite what you might think or may have been told, babies HAVE starved to death - probably not in modern-times, but certainly in history) because they were unable to figure it out. Breast-feeding is not for every baby or every mother. This is NOT a life or death situation. You have a choice and it should be YOUR choice - not LaLeche or your mother's or your next-door neighbor's. Whatever you do, just weigh your options (and there are several), decide what it is that YOU can deal with and go with that. The most important thing is that your baby gets the love and the nourishment he needs. But there are lots of ways to accomplish that, so don't stress. Whatever you decide, I love you and think you're awesome and I totally believe in your powers and abilities as a mother! You've got this! <3

Emily said...

How long has it been since your milk came in? We had latch issues when mine came in. I was so happy to have milk finally and then so devastated because she wanted NONE OF THAT. It was like everything about my boob overwhelmed her or something...she wouldn't even put her mouth on it. I sobbed a lot that day because it was so hurtful/aggravating/confusing/etc, and I was home by myself. I spent the whole morning trying to get her to eat. Eventually she cried herself to sleep, and I knew (hoped) in my freshly vacated gut that she would eat whenever she was hungry. Whenever she was sleeping, I busted out the pump for relief (because OH MY GOODNESS I never knew my boobs could hurt like that). When she woke up I sat down with her virtually topless with a bottle of my milk. She didn't want the bottle (still isn't a fan), but I squirted the milk all over her mouth and then tried to slip my nipple into her mouth. She still fought it, but not as hard (she had the taste on her lips), and a few minutes later she was latched on again. It took weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeks to get the latch pretty, but I was more concerned about her being fed than her latch being perfect.

I don't know how I would have handled it if she had fought me longer than those 6 hours or so, especially since she didn't want the bottle or the boob.

Anyway, that's how it went down for us. I really hope things smooth out soon! Good luck!

Emily said...

Correction, in regards to my statement, "knew she would eat when she was hungry".

Clearly she was already hungry... I should rephrase it to say that I knew she would eat eventually. Or something like that.

Holli said...

Hey Erin, I'm no breastfeeding expert - by any means - but after nursing all three of my babes, this is my opinion.

Breastfeeding is hard! I thought it was just hard with Gabi because she was my first. But, it was hard with Holland and it was hard with Anna. Each one had different "issues." Gabi was premature so she had trouble latching. Her mouth was just too small and she didn't have the instinct for it at first. Holland could latch but was such an aggressive nurser that I had what was called a "forceful letdown" which caused him to gag, choke and vomit within a minute of latching on. Lots and lots of spitting up and screaming with that little guy... And, because of all the postpartum meds I was on with Anna, she was so sleepy that she simply couldn't wake up to latch. I had to pump and then we'd force feed her a bottle while she slept. My point in all this is, the whole idea that a baby is born, immediately latches and everyone is happy and full and content is a myth. If you want to breastfeed, go for it! The key is to not get discouraged. For each of my babies, it was hard and sucked (no pun intended) for the first couple of weeks and then, suddenly, something just clicked and they figured it out. Actually, I remember waking Kyle up in the middle of the night to excitedly alert him that Anna had latched on for the first time weeks after she was born.

My advice is to give it a good ten minutes of effort to get him to latch and then, when you reach your frustration brink, go ahead and pump. Don't beat yourself up. Don't feel bad. Just keep trying. He'll get it and you'll love it!

I am so happy for you!! :)

Jonathan and Sarah said...

Let me start with saying I HATE BREASTFEEDING!! I did it for both my kids, but only because I am too cheap and stubborn to use formula. Abby started refusing to latch at a few days old, and it lasted for a few days. I (as all worn out new moms do) freaked out! I asked the lactations peeps what to do and they just kinda laughed and said that you cant force a baby to eat. Long story short, I have no advice except keep trying. I gave Abby a few bottles, but it seemed for her that after a few days she got the hang of it and would latch better. Good luck!

BexxT said...

Hey Erin, Okay, Breastfeeding. Here are all of the things we tried to do while teaching Finne to nurse. We also did these for the first 5 weeks he was home too. He did not nurse well until the second week of march which was 5 full weeks after birth.

First, our lactation consultant in the hospital was basically a wizard. She would try ANYTHING to encourage a latch. This is her most successful trick:

I cannot recommend this enough. First, pump. Second put in syringe. Third "latch" baby, with tiny tube stuck in theit mouth. Third drain syringe into baby's mouth slowly. They will attempt to suckle but won't get frustrated because there is milk coming. The best part of this is it can eventually be used just to get the latch started- like here baby! MILK! and then they will start to do work and you can stop squirting milk through the tube. We did this for 6 days in the hospital before we graduated to the boob shield.

My breasts are a bit overwhelming. Like twice the size of a babies head overwhelming and while my nipples have been described as perfect for nursing, they are bigger than newborns like (this changes at like 6-10 weeks). I also have an aggressive letdown, produce more milk that I could ever need to feed a human baby.. you get the idea. The shield slows down everything for a weak suckling baby- it just fills up the shield and comes out slowly. I used the shield nearly every session for 3-4 weeks.

Until Finne started latching on his own, I would pre-feed him from a syringe to lessen his frustration. I would put like an ounce of milk in a syringe and give that to him before I actually attempted to nurse him with the syringe/tube, with the shield, and then when we graduated from the shield- I would syringe feed him before I regularly nursed him.

It took a lot of patience. Kings just nursed right from the beginning. He had no problems except he was an effing piranha. I couldn't keep up with the amount that kid ate and he would nurse FOREVER. Finne is a sleeper, he had problems with my aggressive let down (so I would pump to lessen engorgement before feeding him- like pump, put in syringe, feed, nurse).

Im not gonna lie, it was a bitch. I couldn't let him get too hungry because then he would get frustrated. I would wake him to eat every 2 hours for the first 3 weeks. Then I woke him no matter what every 3 hours. when he was five weeks old I gave him permission to nurse when he wanted and I stopped waking him up.

Feel free to call me if you want to chat, 512-297-5918. Especially if something on this doesn't make sense. Also, these bottles are great for breastfeeding babies ( With the slow flow nipples. We keep these on hand for when we need to use them. Also, I am not anti- pacifier. It allowed Finne to practice and get a strong sucking reflex. I forced him to use a paci when he was tiny- and you could see his use get stronger every single day and how it coincided with his nursing ability. I would limit his access to the paci and increase his use of boobs as a paci-

In a lot of cases, I would pull him close with a paci in his mouth- like stick him right up to your nipple. Then I would pop the paci out, stick the boob in and nurse for as long as he could, then I would pop the paci back in, gt him comfy suckling, pop the paci back out and put the boob back in. WE did that for about a week.