Not working for us - made it to 1 year!

Breastfeeding does not always work out, this is a place to discuss your situation and feelings

Not working for us - made it to 1 year!

Postby Claire » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:16 pm

I hate to be posting in this section, but this is where we are at at the moment. :(

DD is 6.5 weeks old and we have had problems breastfeeding since she was born. First she was admitted to the special care nursery at birth for 2 days - I didnt get to see her for 20 hours. Then we had poor attachment, followed by a terrible case of nipple thrush. DD was always sleepy so I had to wake her for feeds, which meant she was not terribly efficient at feeding.

She started to lose weight. I have been seeing a lactation consultant so she advised to top her up with EBM after every feed. Even doing this she failed to gain weight so essentially she was not getting much from the breast. So the LC advised to express for her and feed her via bottle for a week to get her to start gaining some weight, which in turn would help her to gain some strength. I have been using the Haberman feeder to do this and she still has some difficulty feeding with this. She has managed to gain some weight, so at 6 weeks she was finally weighing 100g over her birth weight.

The LC and the MCHN (a pro bf one, yay!) both advised that I have her looked over by a doctor to see if there were any underlying medical issues affecting her sleepiness and poor feeding. So yesterday I took her to see the paed that my son saw. She is also a lactation consultant and I have a lot of trust in her. She told me to bring DD in - at a time that was outside her consulting hours and she spent two hours thoroughly checking her out and running tests. Preliminary tests rule out various infections and her bloods look good. She did pick up a hole in her heart, but its not bad enough to affect her feeding and should resolve itself within the next 3-4 months (need to go back for follow up test).

So she thinks that DD has a fairly short and square shaped tongue (best way I can describe it) which is making sucking difficult for her and then tires her out and causing her failure to thrive. She has advised seeing a speech pathologist who specialises in infant feeding to assist us with some exercises which may help her to strengthen her suck and eventually be able to breastfeed. So we are just waiting on that now, which hopefully will be in the next week or two.

On one level I am happy that we have a reason to explain her fatigue and sucking problems (explains the attachment issues too), but on another level it leaves me wondering if she will ever be able to fully breastfeed. Right now I am feeling a bit devastated and cheated out of another chance of a good breastfeeding relationship. My DS was 14 weeks prem so establishing breastfeeding took a long time and was difficult and I had low supply that did not improve despite trying everything.

This time I did so much preparation before DD was born to have all the tools I needed to make bf successful - i thought that low supply was going to be my biggest battle. But, despite having to go on the prescription meds to get my supply going, my supply is actually quite good. Until today I have been able to express enough to keep her off formula. Today I will fall slightly short because the paed wants me to increase her milk slightly. But amazingly, my supply heard the words from the paed and I have been expressing 10mls extra per session today - not quite enough, but its definitely trying to keep up.

I really want to breastfeed and after wanting to throw the towel in the last few days, today I feel I can keep going a bit longer and hold out hope. I'm expressing 2 hourly when at home, but I am finding it a bit restrictive for going out. I have decided that I can go 4 hourly for expressing if I need to go out - I dont get less milk, sometimes more, so the odd day here will be fine for my supply. But its frustrating and depressing watching the clock and finding that 2 hours rolls around so quickly.

I am still putting DD on the breast for some time each day so that she doesn't forget and because she likes it and gets comfort from it and so that my milk supply keeps getting a boost. I am trying to focus on things as a week by week prospect and hope that we can keep going till she gets back on the breast. I didn't expect to have a term baby and have so much trouble breastfeeding. I mean I know people have difficulties feeding a term baby, but I've had a prem and lots of difficulties and I did a lot of preparation this time and I've had a lot of help, so I thought we could resolve anything with all that! I still hope that we can - I am working round the clock doing everything I can to make it work. :(

Thanks for reading if you got this far! If anyone has any suggestions that might help, I am happy to take them.
Last edited by Claire on Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My two DC blessings:
DS born early @ 26 wks bf 3 years 1 day
DD bf 3 years 2 months.
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Postby Capricious » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:19 pm

I'm sorry that I don't have any suggestions but I just wanted to say that you are really an inspiration- so many obstacles and you have persevered through so much already. I really hope that things can turn around for you xx
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Postby Countrymum » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:28 pm

I just wanted to say amazing job :)

DD1 had attachment problems, not nearly as serious as those - she always got lots of milk just tore my nipples to shreds. It took 4 months to "fix" and after that she was fine but it's such a different situation I don't know if it compares.

At the very least you have given your child breastmilk and will probably be able to continue to do so even if it isn't exclusive - that is still wonderful :) If you do have to introduce formula at some stage I recommend using the slowest possible teat so many people have had trouble with their LOs getting used to faster feeds from a bottle. The one I used with DD1 when I was expressing was "0 to 3 months" so it was a lot slower than some of them are. Took forever to feed her but worth it!

Best wishes,

Countrymum
2 bubbly beautiful girls - DD1 (5 in Nov), DD2 (will be 3 at the end of July).
DD1 breastfeed for 14 months, DD2 breastfeed for 34.5 months.
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Postby Squip » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:48 pm

Hugs Claire. You sound like you are doing all the right things. Good to hear you are being supported by the HPs. I hope things work out.
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Postby Nedsmum » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:18 am

Wow, well done for getting this far!

There are heaps of tips and tricks for expressing - do you have a seriously good pump ? Are you double pumping ? What about pumping off one breast when the baby is on the other ? -that would need a 'rig' of some sort, or an extra pair of hands :lol: but it's possible and it might really help with reducing the time you have to spend sitting in one place...

Emptying your breasts frequently will help them to make more - leaving it too long so the start to feel 'full' is not as helpful...other than that, there are plenty of women with heaps of expressing experience, to help you along your way...and it's definitely normal to have days when you want to 'pack in the pump'...or even 'pack in the breasts'
:wink:
Breastmilk - the ultimate 'brain food'!!!
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Postby breastfeedingisnormal » Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:39 am

Hi Clare
The short square tongue you describe is a CLASSIC indicator for a sub-mucosal (under the skin) tongue tie. The symptoms you describe (poor milk transfer, fatigue) also suggest tongue tie. There is an LC/GP in Melbourne who will divide these (or if it is too complicated can refer to someone who will). In such a severe case, she'll still speech pathology. It sounds like one of those TT that could impair her speech, force her teeth out of alignment and cause problems with eating solids later. I'll PM you.
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Postby Dolly » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:11 pm

Sorry you are posting in this section.
I have plenty of encouragement/tips on expressing, some may only be useful if you are expressing full time but others can work for part time.

- have goals, both short term and long term.
- I found having a very simple spread sheet recording my output to be helpful for many reasons. I just recorded amount and what time expressed for each day. This way it was easy to see my daily output.
- hands free expressing (using 2 hair ties)
- double pumping
- the EEing thread (we accept part timers too :wink:)
- I accept that I will be on medication as long as I express
- at 3 months I dropped 1 feed per month, now I do 3 per day.

my supply kept increasing until 4 months. Any thing else feel free to ask. :D
DD1 L 03/04 BF
DD2 A 10/06 BF
DD3 O 10/09 EBM has CP

'It is survival and desire to be happy that drive mothers of disabled/ill children, not bravery or some strange need for martyrdom.'
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Postby fiml » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:21 pm

I'm sorry that I don't have any advice but I really hope things improve for you soon. Sounds like you are doing a marvelous job xox.
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Postby Feebes » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:25 pm

Oh no, I am sorry that you have had to postin this section.

Sounds like you are doing EVERYTHING that you can for your DD.

Once again nothing defies you!

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Postby citymamma » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:40 pm

Both my kids had tongue tie and had it snipped by a Melbourne GP/IBCLC - it may be the one breastfeedingisnormal refers to. Will PM you.
DD (Nov 06) BF 14 months
DS (Dec 08 ) BF 20 months
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Postby Claire » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:21 pm

Thanks for your support everyone! I'm determined to hang in there.

Nedsmum - I have a great breastpump, I have the Ameda Purely Yours from Mother's Direct. It served me well when I expressed for DS for 2 years. I keep worrying the motor will go on it, but its still seems to be going well. I cant double pump as I need to do breast compressions to get some of the milk out and I dont have enough hands, but I do put DD on one side and express the other, which was a great trick I learnt when bf DS.

BIN - I picked up my copy of Essence during the night while I was expressing and read the letter in there about sub-mucosal tongue tie and I thought that is exactly what the doctor described. I feel reassured that you recognised that as I thought I was just looking for an answer that might not be there. The dr didnt call it that though - I'm not sure why. She is a LC so I would think she is familiar with it, maybe she's waiting on an opinion from the speechie before she confirms it? I will ask her about it when she rings during the week. Thanks for the pm - I will definitely follow it up and see how we go.

Dolly - can you please explain the hands free expressing with 2 hair ties?? I have big boobs and I can only imagine hair ties just snapping! :lol: I havent been successful with hands free pumping before, though I now keep batteries in my pump and I walk around the house with it and plonk it here and there. I answered the door while pumping the other day - luckily it was someone I knew and not the online supermarket delivery guy. :lol: I have started doing the spreadsheet thing to keep track of my supply - I did that when DS was in the nursery along with another mum and we found it more motivating as you could actually see the small increases day by day, even though it felt like nothing. When I get a chance, I'll head over to the EExp thread. Bascially I am full time expressing at them moment - DD only gets a go after I have expressed so that I can get as much as possible and then boost my supply. She just doesn;t get enough to have a full feed.

Well its time to express again - sadly it has become an expensive pastime - I can do a lot of online shopping with only one hand free. :oops: Its hunt time again and there are lots of discounts! :roll: :oops:
My two DC blessings:
DS born early @ 26 wks bf 3 years 1 day
DD bf 3 years 2 months.
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Postby mummysairsair » Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:39 am

Claire, it sounds like you are doing a great job of dealing with the feeding challenges you are having! I can relate to so much of what you describe, and am convinced that DD had some sort of tongue tie that only I could sense even though it was never diagnosed or treated.

Have your medical team discussed a SNS? We used one for a while and it really helped as it meant that she was getting full feeds at the breast while stimulating supply. It's fiddly, and worth having help from a LC to get started, but if you decide you want to give it a go I would be happy to dig up the parts and send you mine. :)

It can be such an emotional time having to deal with BF not turning out the way you wanted it to. But seriously, try to hang in there as much as you can. I found it really helped to keep a positive attitude - as in, we are not failing to BF.. just working on some challenges, we WILL get there eventually! And we did :-D

My DD was almost 3mths old before she was fully BF, and I'm so glad I persevered through all those horrid weeks/months of EE and trying every method and gadget and resource I could find!

Hang in there sweetie and just take it on week/day/feed at a time. If things are really challenging and not where you want them to be right now then that's ok.. because it can only get better from here, right?! :wink:
Patience.. It's what parents have when there are witnesses ;)
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Postby Dolly » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:03 pm

Hands free pumping -

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/hand ... mping.html

I use black ones which came in a pack of 10 from the supermarket, they are thicker than the ones in the picture. The ones in the picture look to thin for my largish boobs :wink:

Then you can do 2 handed shopping. :D
DD1 L 03/04 BF
DD2 A 10/06 BF
DD3 O 10/09 EBM has CP

'It is survival and desire to be happy that drive mothers of disabled/ill children, not bravery or some strange need for martyrdom.'
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Postby Nordicbabe » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:07 pm

just wanted to add my support,
and having my fingers crossed that it all works out for the best.
hugs!
Ds1 2001
Ds2 2007
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Postby JC » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:46 pm

Claire, *hugs*, I was dismayed to see your post in this section. I really hope you have a breakthrough soon if your baby is found to have a tongue tie. Perhaps it'll be smooth sailing very soon. If not, we're here for you. You know it will work out in the long term, so it's a matter of getting through this first bit. It'll come good.
DS born July 2006; continued until 5
DD born November 2009; until 4
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