Any chance to get my girl back to the breasts?

A baby's refusal to feed is a distressing time. Sometimes the refusal is outright; other times just an extreme fussiness. Usually it is temporary and the baby returns to the breast. Share your experiences and support one another through this tough time here.
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Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:11 am

Any chance to get my girl back to the breasts?

Post by tses » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:45 am

Hi all,

I need some help!! Let me tell u a bit of backrground info. I have been exclusively pumping for my girl since she was 3 weeks ago and is now almost 4 months.

We had a very rocky start. My daughter latched on incorrectly from day 1, and being a first time mum, I had no idea and thought my nipples were just sensitive. I had grazed nipped by day 2, and the midwives at the hospital recommended me to stop BF as I may get inflection. They lent me the pump and told me to pump once every 3 hours for 20 mins until my nipples were healed. That took almost a week to heal, and my milk didn't come until day 5-6. In the meanwhile bub was fed formula, first with a syringe, then cup, then to bottles. I didn't want to keep the bottles but midwives were saying there was no way to feed with a cup as bub was taking 30 ml of formula. I went on to see a Lactation Consultant, and she gave me a nipple shield coz at that point my girl simply would't latch as she was too used to the bottle. LC told me to BF for 20 mins each side, then pump 10 mins afterward and top up with ebm + formula. Bub latch was never good (should I even call it a latch, it was more forcing the nipple into bub mouth, it was awful), and having the nipple shield there was extremely difficult. We tried many time to have the shield off, she would just scream and scream and refused to suckle. I remember I was crying after every feed as I felt I failed as a mother and my daughter simply didn't like me. I didn't want to be near my daughter, didn't want to look at her or hold her. I was a mess, i was crying every time someone mentioned Breastfeeding, poor counsellor on the ABA helpline. :oops:

We went to the early childhood centre to have my girl weight, she only gained 110 g in since she was discharged from the hospital. This showed that she didn't get much milk from BF and the nurse recommended me to offer bottle ebm until she has enough weight and is strong enough to try BF again. Since we ditched BF, bub was gaining weight nicely, everyone was happy, I cried less and bub was a lot happier as she was no longer hungry.

2 months later, I finally got over the crying and started enjoying my time with my girl. I was still exclusively pumping, 8 - 9 times a day, round the clock. I was missing my sleep, and more importantly missing time to spend with my girl as I was always pumping. I tried to get back to breastfeeding. At first I offered my breasts for comfort sucking, she initally wouldn't take it at all without the shield, but after 2-3 weeks, she finally accepted it. I often use my breasts to settle her and that has worked most of the time and I gained more confident. Then we moved on to use my breasts for top up, again worked nicely.

2 weeks ago I decided to replace 1 feed a day with BF, with the recommendation from the nurse, I first offered the bottle, then breasts. It wasn't as easy as comfort sucking as she was hunrgy and not happy with me taking her bottle away. However I persisted, offering less and less ebm, and she was spending longer time on the breasts. Ok I admit I was being a bit rough too.... She would often fall asleep on me, not sure if she was simply too tired or full, but I took that as a sign of success.

Then on Sunday, I did the same thing, however bub simply refused the breasts, I tried both sides, she wouldn't even latch on them. I know it is not a supply issue, as my let down is quite fast and I do enough milk from the pumping. She just opened her mouth and cried. I put my nipple in her mouth, but she refused to suckle. I ended up giving her the bottle. I tried again the next feed, same thing... At first i thought it may be the perfume that I used so I took a shower, and offered my breasts when she was full,but she wouldn't even comfort suck. Next day, I tried again after a full feed, she would cry when she saw my breasts. Then it got even worse. I thought I would do some breasts cuddle and skin to skin, she would scream when I hold her in cradle hold position. However once I have my top on, she is happy again, and interesting turn inward and start licking and sucking my top :shock:

I am not sure if I was going too fast on her and now she simply doesn't want anything to do with my breasts :cry: Anyone has a similar experience? Any success on getting bub back on breasts after 4 months? Or it is too late for me now as bub is too used to the bottles? I don't want to give up yet, as I saw it worked last week, I would never forget that smile on her face after one of the Bf sessions.

thanks for your help!

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Post by Penguin » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:31 pm

Hi tses, wow, what a story. Congratulations to you on your persistance and dedication - you are doing an amazing job.

In short, yes, it may be possible to get bub back to the breast. Can I recommend that you call a breastfeeding counsellor? I know that you might be a bit adviced-out; if you don't want to do phone counselling you could copy and paste this post into the ecounselling form here You said that you did call the helpline - was that with the initial problems or to try and work out a back to breast plan? There is a booklet on breast refusal too, if that might help?

Congratulations again.
DD1 May 2011
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