The Breastfeeding Thread

I thanks for your reply. Iv occasionally offered him a bit of baby juice with lunch. But he will not accept formula milks. Ideally id like to wean him onto bottles of formula but he hates the stuff.
Iv been offering breast before and after meals.

He seems content during the day but before bed and when he wakes up i can tell he wants alot more milk than i have to offer, and a full bottle would do him great. But he wont take it. Its getting quite frustrating now as upto this point everything has been going so well but hes just so resilient at this change.

Iv also noticed i dont get that letdown feeling as much as i used to. It used to be every 2 hours or so but lately iv hardly felt it at all.

Any tips on how to get him to like or drink formula?

Thanks

My son (7 months) is exactly the same. I’ve been trying for over a month to get him to have formula or even expressed breastmilk from a bottle, but he doesn’t even get that he has to suck it. It’s very frustrating but I’m just going to keep trying and hopefully one day he’ll get it.

You could try mixing expressed breastmilk with formula at first so the taste isn’t so unfamiliar to him. Also, it could be worth trying out a few different brands of milk or bottles, in case there’s a different type that suits him better.

Yes thats a good idea. This morning i mixed formula into hus yog and breastmilk so he gets used to it. But as iv already spent a fortune on bottles im reluctant to buy more.

It took ages for him to take a dummy. I ended up putting bonjela on it amd he sucked it because of the taste and now he likes dummys and plays with them. Maybe try that with bottle teats. Theyll learn to suck the flavour and realise milk comes out.
X

Great idea! Let’s hope it works for the bottle as well as it did for the dummy. I might actually steal that idea to try on my own stubborn little boy!

Good luck — sorry there aren’t really any hard-and-fast answers to this one. [name_f]Every[/name_f] baby is so different and some just don’t want to take a bottle or even much milk, especially once they’re weaning. It can be so confusing and worrying for you though!

L has been sick this past week and vomiting several times a day. The only thing she wants/manages to hold down a litte bit is breast milk. We had started to reduce the daily feedings a bit, but now it’s almost like it was when she was a newborn. She wants to nurse constantly and my breasts feel swollen for the first time in ages, lol!

Very thankful that I can comfort and nourish her like this though :slight_smile:

Amazingly i actually got leo to take a teated bottle of breastmilk!
I gave it a go when he was really hungry for milk and getting upset and after he realised the milk would come out he gave up and drank it all.

Abit of relief at last.
Next it will be introducing formula.
X

That’s great! Well, I tried putting something sweet on the teat for my son (jam) and… nope. Gaahhh!

Good luck with introducing formula. [name_m]Leo[/name_m] is a gorgeous name, btw.

Been a while since I’ve hung out on nameberry, mostly specifically bc our breastfeeding difficulties are so time-consuming. I love the idea of this thread!
I would love some support. Cuz it’s still hard.

I’m turning 26 next week and I am EBFing my 5 month old son. It. Has. Been. A. [name_f]Journey[/name_f]

I think I prepared for breastfeeding far more than most first-time moms do. I was committed to exclusive breastfeeding from the start and knew from nannying that it doesn’t always just naturally fall in place for everyone. I attended my local La Leche League meetings religiously for the 7 months leading up to my son’s birth. I read [name_m]Jack[/name_m] [name_m]Newman[/name_m]'s guide to breastfeeding cover to cover, watched every video on YouTube I could find from [name_f]Nancy[/name_f] Mohrbacher. I even scheduled an appt with an IBCLC for 3 weeks past my duedate. If things were going well by then, great. But if they weren’t, I would have the help I needed at hand. And I chose the very most breastfeeding supportive pediatrician we could find. Someone who wasn’t going to tell us “Oh, it’s fine, just switch to formula” at the first signs of trouble. I was pretty darn well prepared, knew that there would likely be some challenges, but that with knowledge and the right support, nothing would be insurmountable. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the sheer of number of back to back compounding challenges we have faced as a nursing dyad, but I don’t think I would still be breastfeeding (at least not exclusively) without that foundation.

I had a serene homebirth. Everything went well/to plan and I was made to feel powerful. H did the breast crawl, but couldn’t latch. My midwife diagnosed a postetior tongue and lip tie at her first look at him. I was resistant to any early interventions, so my midwife did not clip them right away. My post-partum doulas were cranio-sacral practitioners, so we opted to wait until day 2 when they would come to the house and help us try to release any tension from the birth through bodywork that might have been holding H back from latching despite the tongue tie. He could not latch at all. We were both completely naked for weeks, skin to skin every second of the day. The cranio-sacral therapy didn’t help him latch day 2. Thankfully I wasn’t that stressed about it (no more than a new mom postpartum can help stressing about anything, at least). I knew that a healthy, full-time newborn can survive just fine for 3 days without ANY milk at all, and I was at least hand expressing drops of my colostrum onto a spoon and giving it to him every few hours, while trying to get him to latch on demand (with no luck, but we kept working at it).

[name_u]Day[/name_u] 3 my milk came in. I started pumping to alleviate the engorgement. It was now labor day holiday weekend in the US, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to see anyone but my midwife for several days. Midwife came back to the house for 24 hour, 3, and 5 day visits. I was exclusively pumping by that time, 12 times a day. H was consistently sleeping one 5 hour stretch at night and I longed to just sleep with him through my pumping alarms, but I knew it was best to work toward a full supply by pumping very frequently since H was not at the breast to regulate what he needed. We were finger feeding with a syringe since I was hesitant to introduce a bottle before breastfeeding was established. His feedings were long and energy-intensive.

[name_u]Day[/name_u] 5 we also saw the pediatrician for the first time. He was back to gaining small amounts of weight by then to get back up to birth weight (which he did by day 13). She confirmed the lip and tongue tie diagnosis and referred us to an ENT for clipping as well as to an Occupational Therapist (OT) for the latch. We bumped up out appt with our initial IBCLC, too. So she would come on [name_u]Day[/name_u] 7. We had his tongue clipped by the ENT (he did not touch the lip tie, which he said was present but “wouldn’t interfere with breastfeeding”). We were very hopeful that we would see some improvement in those next couple of days. But we didn’t.

[name_u]Day[/name_u] 7 the IBCLC (1) came for a home visit. He was gaining well on my pumped milk. My post-partum doulas and midwife had already helped us a ton with positioning and technique at that point, so the IBCLC didn’t really have much else to say, unfortunately. We were not able to get him to latch that day. She suggested OT and continuing with CST, as well. We mostly talked about pumping technique and how to ensure that I was stimulating a full milk supply, since it appeared by the amounts I was pumping that I was pretty low for 7-10 days postpartum.

My midwife then clipped the lip tie for us, and we did CST one more time and he was able to latch! It was a miraculous feeling. But then he didn’t do it again. I kept up the pumping and attempts at latching during every feed for the next couple weeks. We did more CST and finally did OT. Eventually we got him to breast maybe once a day from about 3 weeks on.

But I had a lot of pain with his latch once we got him there. [name_m]Even[/name_m] with all the positioning help and the tongue and lip releases, he was still causing severe pain that didn’t dissipate as we got comfortable with the nursing routine. I knew that pain meant a problem and should not have continued beyond the first week or so. My nipples were starting to crack (that’s why I only had him at the breast once a day, so that I could heal between nursing sessions so that it never got bad and I never bled). We kept working with the IBCLC (1) and my LLL leader on deepening the latch but finally we had him latching pretty darn well and there was still so much pain.

This was 7 weeks in, my budget was waning and scheduled time with my post-partum doulas was drawing to a close. I knew I would be struggling to find time to pump without extra hands at the house to help me take care of H. And I was so close to giving up.

So I called another highly recommended IBCLC (2) with 23 years’ experience. We drove the hour to her private practice and she told me immediately that I had severe vasospasm and mammary constriction syndrome. I had known already that I had nipple blanching, which is vasospasm, but my other advocates had said that was indicative of poor latch and if we fixed the latch it should go away. Rather, MY vasospasm was indicative of auto-immunity and was the cause of the pain. She told me to confer with my PCP and start a supplement regimen and we made a bunch of other little changes with my pumping and whatnot, but mostly it was just a relief to know what was going on. Things looked up from there. By 11 weeks he was at the breast full-time minus one bottle a night with papa, and I was down to pumping 3 times a day. No. More. Pain.

Those few weeks were a golden age… I thought everything was going great. H seemed to be thriving. And sleep was steadily improving, too, which made everything infinitely more sane.

All this time I had been attending my LLL meetings, but my new IBCLC (2) also hosts a weekly breastfeeding cafe where a high quality scale is available. So even though it’s an hour away, once he slept through the night for the first time, I wanted to go there to check his weight to make sure he was eating enough during the day. My supply had gone down considerably, but I thought that was just as I cut down on pumping and increased nursing and we were past the 12 week mark when supply stops being regulated by our motherly hormones and starts to be regulated mostly by baby’s demand. Since H wasn’t demanding more milk, I thought everything was going fine. He was happy. I was happy.

But when I went to the bf cafe and weighed him, my heart sank. He had gained 20oz in the 6.5 weeks since his 2 month appt. I was looking for a number on the scale that was about 1-3lbs higher than what I was seeing, and I started to get really worried. My IBCLC (2) checked his charts and he had gained 60oz in the previous 70 days since our initial appt together, so she said not to worry, trust his diaper output, his smiley nature, his milestones, his chubby wrists and cheeks and double chin.

Two weeks later, at the start of the year, we had our 4 month ped appt, and he had gained 2oz in those 2 weeks. He had dropped centiles from the 33rd (where he had been +/- 2 points since his lowest ever weight at 3 days old) to the 9th. Here is where I was super grateful again that I had chosen practitioners who were true breastfeeding advocates, because instead of urging supplementation like I had been dreading, she simply said, " Look at your baby. Does he look and act healthy to YOU? To me, he looks healthy and vigorous. He is exclusively breastfed… We often see a drop like this around this time if you have never supplemented with anything but your own milk. We will just see what his weight does in the next 2 months and then see if we need to worry. You are educated about the signs that he is truly not doing well, so call if you need. His gain has not been ideal, but it’s not too problematic at this point. You are doing a great job."

Nevertheless, I have had a lot of anxiety in these interim weeks. I made another appt with my IBCLC (2) so that we could work on getting him to gain more appropriately for his age. Her first question was about my thyroid. My midwife had run basic panels at 6 weeks pp, and the levels looked normal for me, but I made an appt with my PCP to check again. In the meantime, I was still letting him sleep at night (he was sleeping 9-13 hours straight), IBCLC said “a hungry baby will NOT do that.” But during the day I started to feed him every hour instead of every 2-3 hours like he demanded. But my supply still seemed to be steadily decreasing (by feel, subjectively, I should say). Our pre-and-post weight checks were showing that he could get a good feed if he was at the breast for a while, but he was often flailing and frustrated with my letdown before that could happen. So we did a breastfeeding vacation in bed skin to skin for 4 days. That seemed to help my supply and letdown temporarily, but after just a couple days of regular life again, supply had decreased sharply. H’s diaper output also dropped for the first time, so I was spooked. I tried exclusively pumping for 2 days to see what I could get, and that seemed fine. I got 27oz one day and 31oz the next. Full milk supply.

At this point he was no longer gaining any weight. He has spent the past month at the exact same weight (13lb 6oz). He is now below the first percentile for weight with the WHO charts. I started getting REALLY anxious about it despite starting a serious meditation regimen per my IBCLC’s advice. I called up my birth doula, who is a psychologist by day, and she said she could come do some EMDR therapy with me. She suspected PTSD, and when we went into it, found out why. When I was a nanny, I worked for a lot of different families, but at one point I worked with a mom who had a 15 month old and newborn twin girls. I had encouraged her to tandem breastfeed all 3 of her girls, but one of her twins, by 5 months, was diagnosed failure to thrive. She was wasting away and needed supplementation via NG tube for 3 months until she could get her strength back up to nurse effectively. Watching H get skinnier and skinnier over the last month of no gain has been really triggering for me and I have awful dreams about his eyes receding into his skull and him looking like Voldemort at Kings [name_m]Cross[/name_m] Station.

We consulted with a pediatric dentist about revising his tongue tie revision with a laser, because my IBCLC (2) and midwife had said his tongue was still borderline and he still has trouble getting what he needs from the breast. One of my IBCLCs (2) and midwife said revise it, pediatrician and other IBCLC (1) said don’t revise the revision because it helps in very few cases. DH and I decided against it because at 5 months it would be more traumatic for him.

Meanwhile, I got my lab results back and was diagnosed with postpartum hyperthyroidism. Anxiety and problems with letdown are major symptoms. So things made sense again. Why I can pump as much as he needs, but if I rely on him to take it from the tap, he doesn’t. Between his borderline tongue mobility and my compromised letdown, he just doesn’t take enough milk. If he doesn’t take enough and I don’t pump enough, then my supply dwindles further. So I’m on another supplement regimen and strict diet for my thyroid. We will see if I need further intervention when we run labs for a third time in a couple weeks.

I have been mourning the need to give him so much milk not at the breast. I thought once we got him to the breast initially, after all that work, the rest would be history. We tried an SNS, which proved too cumbersome for me to sanely manage since he pulls at the tubes and the bandages. Spoon feeding him in his highchair seems better than the bottle to me in terms of not interfering further with his latch, but it’s not practical all the time and I miss out on all that skin to skin. After hearing about a woman who finger fed her baby for 27 months after a cancer diagnosis left her unable to breastfeed through chemo, I was inspired in the past week to start doing that. I can hold him exactly as I would breastfeed him (and closer than the bottle allows) skin to skin, and the suckling on the finger triggers more oxytocin release than bottle feeding ever will. We feed him with a feeding tube attached to the finger and he sucks happily for a full feed. And he has actually stops when he is full and even comfort nurses for the first time in his life (I think it took him so long to get to the breast that he only ever uses it for a quick meal and then is done). Anyway, things are somewhat looking up for us. I am still hoping we can get him back to the breast full time in the coming months. But for now, I’m not mourning our lost breastfeeding relationship after working so hard to get him to the breast in the first place. I’m back to pumping every 3 hours at night, even though H rarely wakes in his 11-13 hr nighttime sleep. And I do feel badly when I have to just leave him to his own devices throughout the day to pump after every feed. But I’m so proud of what we have accomplished and my goal has always been 2+ years of nursing so I have to just keep in perspective that each day isn’t so long in the scheme of things.

Thanks for reading if you got this far…it was too long to fit in one post…

@raptreverie, yes. We tested H’s stool a month in when I was suspecting dairy sensitivity. My husband is of Chinese descent so it wasn’t altogether surprising but he came back lactose intolerant with the inability to digest milk proteins. So I cut out dairy then. I have also since cut out wheat and soy to test elimination for his eczema, which seems to be helping. It sucks. I am so limited in what I can eat now. And if it does come down to supplementation once we see the pediatrician again at the end of this month, I feel we have so few options. No milk donor has this crazy diet restriction and there are no infant formulas that have NEITHER milk nor soy. Such a conundrum… hoping as we introduce solids we will introduce enough extra calories that it won’t be necessary to supplement milk intake. But we will see.

Oh, [name_f]Lilian[/name_f] – what an incredible story! I’m so sorry that you’ve had to deal with all this, but I’m also seriously impressed at your commitment and resolve to continue. Seriously. You absolute star.

Please keep us posted here with how you and H are getting on. Hopefully the finger-feeding will be a way of getting that closeness while also getting as much nutrition into your little one as possible for now, and I’m hoping that you’ll be able to transition back to the breast in the near future. Let’s hope his weight gain picks up, although it’s great to hear that he seems happy and lively regardless of what his weight is doing. They do all gain at different rates and stages after all, but it does sound like H just needs that bit of extra support for now.

Keep it up, mama – you’re doing a fantastic job!

Thanks for your kind words, [name_f]Katinka[/name_f].

It has been another trying week. H dropped weight for the first time this past week (an ounce), so we are having to do some immediate course correction. Lots more appointments (IBCLC, pediatrician, allergist, an endocrinologist for my thyroid). Trying to figure out what is going on. I have been supplementing him with my own frozen milk from months 1-2, starting with 3-5oz a day and we will see where that gets us. I only have about 7 more days’ worth, so I’ll be reaching out to friends and hm4hb message boards to try to get a hold of more. Part of me really wishes I had 10 more days’ worth, simply for the sheer morale boost of having made it to 6 months on my milk alone, but it doesn’t look like that will be possible and I just have to accept that my milk doesn’t appear to be quite enough at this moment.

It has been a bit confounding. As I previously mentioned, I seem to be able to get enough milk on the days when I exclusively pump. Well, IBCLC lent me a sensitive baby scale this weekend so I could do weighted feeds for 48 hours (happy birthday to me!). I just finished up the 48-hour trial and between the feeds at the breast and the pumping/finger feeding, BEFORE supplementation, he is getting over 30oz a day, which should be [name_m]PLENTY[/name_m] for him to gain well. Been reading all the research literature I can get my hands on… mostly bovine, lol, since that’s where the money for the studies is. Cows with thyroid issues seem to make lower fat milk. First time mom dairy cows with hypothyroidism (I seem to have hyper at this point, so not sure how great the connection) have euthyroid calves with poor weight gain. Trying to research all the potential reasons for malabsorption of nutrients. Something is going on. Got to get to the bottom of it.

I would like to wait until he is showing ALL the signs of readiness to start solids before introducing. But he has yet to start utilizing the pincer grasp. I am also concerned that if the problem is malabsorption, that starting solids when his gut hasn’t quite matured will mean we simply have more problems on our hands. [name_m]Ah[/name_m]… the endless worrying we do as mothers.

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] everyone.

My name is [name_f]Jenni[/name_f] and I am currently breastfeeding my 2 month old, [name_f]Kiana[/name_f]. In the beginning we had some latch issues and I had to wear a nipple shield, but we have been doing good without it for about a month now. She sleeps in bed with me at night so that she can eat and then go right back to sleep.

@[name_f]Lilian[/name_f], I just read your whole story. I really wish I could give you some of my milk, since I have an oversupply. But it sounds like he can not have dairy. With my older girl, I was told not to have dairy, and I lost a lot of weight. I hated being on the dairy free diet. Its also a lot more expensive getting special milks and ice cream and cheese.

I have been following this thread but haven’t had a moment to contribute.

I am very pro breastfeeding. All of my children I exclusively breastfed for 6 months, then began introducing food and continued breastfeeding them well past 2 years during which time I was pregnant.

I feel like @medfordkung that I entered my first birth having done a great deal of research and more knowledge than most first time moms. Yet, it was still an absolute disaster, baby wasn’t gaining weight, no one could figure out why. I fought! I saw so many specialist, cried a lot, worked so hard. It was so frustrating to be at a hospital run program and the nurses saying I was doing everything right but still no weight gain. We finally ended up with a fabulous partnership of a pediatrician and lactation consultant who were life changing! While pregnant with our 2nd I returned to them trying to prevent another disaster and she said each breastfeeding experience of a mom with her children can be totally different, not just a different chapter in a book but a whole new book. 2nd baby was a dreamlike nursing experience, never had a pumped bottle. 3rd baby a disaster again at first. Lots of crying (by me haha). Put on blessed thistle, fenegreek, domperidone. This patern continued on. So for those struggling with a first baby it may not be like that again. I killed myself to exclusively breastfeed my babies. It took a lot of effort and being strong in myself not giving in. At one point I was asked to model for an expecting mom, I was a little self conscious at first but thought how helpful it would have been with my first baby. Was speaking to a midwife who said at discharge from thr hospital 90% of moms are breastfeeding, by the 6 week followup that number has dropped to 60%, we were talking about how the support and resources just aren’t readily available. I’ve rambled a lot here, apologies. Goodluck to all!

Hello @cleaver and welcome! Well done to you on nursing all of your children for so long, despite all the obstacles. Incredible!

We have similar stats here: almost all mothers leave the hospital intending to breastfeed, but the support network just is not there for them and by 6 weeks, almost half have stopped even if they had wanted to carry on. It’s one of the things that motivated me to train as a BF peer supporter, because often it’s just a little bit of guidance or reassurance that’s needed to keep a mum who wants to breastfeed on track. Especially if it’s your first, it can seem so overwhelming and worrying at times, even if actually everything is going just fine.

@medfordkung [name_m]Chin[/name_m] up mama, you are doing a fabulous job! You have made it to six months on your milk alone – a few days this way or that is really nothing. I really hope you can get to the bottom of all this soon. H is a very lucky boy to have such a committed mum.

Now that [name_f]Sophie[/name_f] is eating more food she is doing better about nursing more regularly and less during the day. She still is very much a comfort nurser at night always wanting to use mama as her pacifier. She seems to be doing better though. As of now I won’t be thinking about trying to cut down on nursing until a year or a year and a month or two.

[name_f]Glad[/name_f] [name_f]Sophie[/name_f]’s doing well, @jtucker. We’d started to cut down too but [name_u]Kit[/name_u]’s been hit by a rotten chest infection and is totally off his food, so back to full-time nursing it is. I’m hoping he’ll bounce back quickly now that the antibiotics are starting to kick in. Poor little chap!

Wow! Lots has been happening on this thread! It’s so nice to have a place like this for a little support (or venting).

@mead321 - So glad your little one took a bottle and that things are going better for you!

@lilian - Wow, it sounds like you’ve been through quite the journey. I’m sorry to hear that your LO isn’t gaining weight and truly hope things turn around. You are absolutely mighty for making it through as long as you have, given the hurdles you’ve been given. It is so fortunate that you have had the time and resources to advocate for yourself as you describe and to get the support that you needed. My best thoughts are being sent your way.

@katinka - I hope [name_u]Kit[/name_u]'s feeling better!

I’ve been dealing with a dip in my supply lately, which has me quite frustrated. I’m fairly certain it has to do with the return of my period though. It came back three months ago despite EBF and, for the first time in my life, it has been regular at 30 days (well, my sample size is only N=3). Now if only it had waited a while, as we don’t plan on on trying for another for at minimum 10 months from now. I is pretty fussy when eating at my breast during the day and just downs his bottles at daycare. Everyday this week, they’ve sent him home having finished the “just in case” bottle, and I am having trouble keeping up with him. I’m eagerly waiting for my hormones to readjust!

Meanwhile, I is still waking up a few times every night asking for a meal. He nurses so calmly at night (usually), but I really could use more sleep. My cognitive resources are really suffering. A pediatrician told me to try and stave him off for longer periods during the day so that he gets used to going longer between meals at night, but it’s just so hard to do that. He’s always been a grazer (asked to be fed every 45 minutes until he was about 3 months old, ugh!). We have been giving him some solids, but it’s mostly just for fun right now. He LOVES to eat, but I don’t know how much he really gets in his mouth :slight_smile: Sleep will come, right?

Finally, I stumbled across this interesting article that I thought I’d share about the cost of breastfeeding. It’s mostly US-centric, but talks about other countries too. It also doesn’t even really address other costs associated with breastfeeding, such as bras, pump parts, and lactation consultants.

https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/02/breast-milk-isnt-free.html

@raptreverie That article is a real eye-opener. For me, as a [name_u]Brit[/name_u], my mind is blown that A QUARTER of American mothers are back at work less than 2 weeks after birth! What?!

I hope your hormones settle down and you’re able to get back on track soon. I sounds very much like K when it comes to solid food - enthusiastic, but not really getting all that much in! They’ll learn :slight_smile:

@[name_f]Lilian[/name_f] [name_m]How[/name_m] are you and H doing now? Has he managed to gain a little bit of weight?

I haven’t really been following up with this thread, but small update here. I’ve decided to wean my daughter sooner instead of later. She’s just gotten kind of demanding about it, and I feel like it’s just going to get harder to stop the older she gets. Plus I’m hoping it’ll help with my weight loss goals before ttc #2 later this year. lt makes me a little sad, both because she is big enough to be done, and because it’s making HER so sad that I am not letting her nurse. But it’s got to be done! She’s 18 months this week, and I always get kind of nostalgic/sad about how fast time is going on big milestones. I keep thinking that, unless I cave, I’ve probably already nursed her for the last time, and I didn’t even make a mental note of it :(. It’s been 48 hours ish, and things are going relatively smoothly, so that’s good news.

Ahh @raptreverie I can totally relate! I remember so well the whirlwind of emotions when I stopped nursing J :frowning: A year and a half on and she’s more than over it though, haha.

Take care of yourself and keep an eye out for blockages. And a huge well done for making it to 18m!