I feel like my heart is being ripped out...

Breastfeeding does not always work out, this is a place to discuss your situation and feelings
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I feel like my heart is being ripped out...

Post by mummazade » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:38 pm

I feel like my heart is being ripped out of my chest. I want to breast feed DS so bad, but it seems like nothing is helping and we may need to go to formula very soon.

DS never attached to the breast after he was born. My pregnancy was beautiful, the birth experience was amazing - natural an drug free. We had two hours of skin to skin contact, but he could not latch on to my nipple. They offered me a nipple shield to help him attach easier and he did, but it never felt like he had a good seal and would slip on and off easily. I started going to the breastfeeding drop-in clinic at my local ECHC to get help with weaning him off the nipple shields. I also hired my own lactation consultant and called the ABA helpline numerous times.

7 weeks later (and low weight gains) it was discovered that he had a posterior tongue tie. I had been insisting something was wrong all along, but none of the midwives or nurses would listen.

At 8 weeks we were admitted to parent support centre for a residential stay. I was extremely exhausted and showing post natal depression symptoms. They introduced me to a 3-4 hourly sleep/feed/play routine which seemed to work really well and I started to feel more hopeful. He started feeding without the nipple shields. Towards the end of the stay DS became quite unsettled again. They said he had silent reflux, so told me to start giving him thickener before feeds. I wasn't comfortable with the thickener and didn't feel it was making a difference anyway so stopped when I got home.

Things were ok for a week or two, although DS would only feed for 5-10 minutes sometimes. He seemed really upset by feeding, and became really frustrated at the breast. Most feeds ended in tears for both of us.

At 11 weeks the GP suggested trying Losec to see if it would help with the fussy feeds, thinking it still could be reflux. There has been no improvement.

We're now almost in week 12. DS has not gained any weight for the past week and only 120 grams the week before. He was born on the 50th percentile and is now down on the 3rd percentile (and yes, this is on the WHO Weight for Age chart, not the chart in the blue book). He was born 3.41kg and is now only 4.92kg. I am sick with worry. He has been very unsettled during the past week and now I know why. He is starving. I am absolutely devastated.

My GP is concerned and has referred us to a pediatrician urgently for an appointment - luckily they can fit us in tomorrow.

He has also had a blood test and they have taken a stool sample to see if he has any allergies. But deep in my heart I know it is his attachment that is the problem. I think he never had a chance to learn how to attach properly because his tongue tie was diagnosed so late and now there is no turning back. It has gone too far. He NEEDS to gain weight, it has gone too low. I am so angry. I have tried so so so so hard. One lactation consultant has suggested trying to feed more often, every hour if he wants it. But he want take it. He purses his lips and kicks and pulls away and cries and I give up.

What do I do? Can I exclusively give expressed breast milk? I've only just managed to find a teat that he likes. He would even take a bottle well before today, but this afternoon I got him to take 150mls. If I continue to express and give it to him from a bottle so he gains some weight, is there any chance he will go back to the breast? Can I add some formula to breast milk so that he gains some weight faster?

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Post by Esther » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:49 pm

Huge hugs. I'm just off to bed, so short response but yes, you can exclusively express for your little one - there's a thread here somewhere...ah, here it is


good luck xo
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Post by KarenMac » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:57 pm

Big hugs...breastfeeding and motherhood is such an emotional journey. Ultimately, you need to give your baby nourishment and if formula is the best way to do that, then doing that makes you a good mum because you are giving your child what they need. Breastfeeding is only one small part of being a mum and giving your baby what he needs is what great mums do...never forget that.

As for exclusive expressing, I know several mums who have done this quite successfully...one for 9 months and a couple of others for almost 2 years so it's perfectly do-able. I've never done it myself so I don't know the answer to whether you can mix formula with the EBM but hopefully somebody can help you with that.

Please go gently on yourself...you have done such an amazing job to persevere in the face of such adversity. Your baby needs a calm, non-stressed mummy and if switching to formula achieves this, then it's the right thing to do. You have given him such a good start and it sounds like you will continue to do what's best for him and you. I respect you so much for your devotion to your baby. Big hugs again !@!@ !@~@~!group hug
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Post by nicole and eamonn » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:04 pm

I'm not a breastfeeding expert by any means, but Liam had top-up formula (after breastfeeds) from day 10 to 6 months. I found expressing REALLY HARD (ie gave up), took a few herbs and medications to increase supply) and just kept topping up. Of course, over time he tended to prefer the bottle because it is easier, but I was told any breastmilk is better than none, and we still made it to 6 months.

Just thought I would put that out as an option for you if exclusive expressing is too hard/not possible?

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Post by nicole and eamonn » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:07 pm

KarenMac wrote: As for exclusive expressing, I know several mums who have done this quite successfully...one for 9 months and a couple of others for almost 2 years so it's perfectly do-able. I've never done it myself so I don't know the answer to whether you can mix formula with the EBM but hopefully somebody can help you with that.
I was told it's not recommended to miox formula with EBM, but only because you have to throw away any formula that doesn't get used within 1 hour of starting the feed. And of course, if you are combining feeds, you don't want to throw away the EBM because it is so precious.

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Post by breastfeedingisnormal » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:42 am

Hi there
I am sorry you've had such a rotten time. Here's what jumps out at me in your story. Feeding a baby with PTT 3-4hourly is just not often enough for him to get enough to eat. Research tells us that babies need to breastfeed on average 10 times in 24 hours between the ages of 0 and six months. Babies with ptt usually need to feed even more often than that. But, as you've found, they can find it very tiring and not very rewarding.
Feeding only 6 or 7 times in 24 hours may have affected your supply so expressing between feeds might help to remind your breasts how much milk they need to make. In the meantime, you could try having some quiet home (maybe in bed) with breasts available but without pressure. This might encourage bub to feed more often.
Expressing and topping up is a great idea. It is a lot of work but then so is everything about mothering, I guess. Formula will not help him put on more weight unless he's not getting enough breastmilk.
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Post by mummazade » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:43 pm

Thanks for your messages everyone....

We saw the Paediatrician yesterday and he didn't recommend stopping breastfeeding (which he says he does do in some cases). Because DS weight is so low, he recommended exclusively expressing for 3-4 days and then slowly reintroduce the breast with comp feeds, and then once DS attachment and sucking has improved I can drop the comp feeds. He felt that once DS had gained some weight, his attachment and sucking would improve.

I am finding it really hard keeping up with the expressing. I can usually express 150mls in a sitting, but I find I only really have time to do this three times a day. I know that this is not enough to keep my current supply if DS is not breastfeeding at all.

I am wondering if even if I can only manage to express three times a day (understanding that my supply with drop considerably), can I increase my supply at a later date - even a few weeks later?

This may sound like a silly question, but is there a magic weight at which infants seem to improve their sucking and attachment? Someone did mention to me once that they believed things seemed to improve after the 5kg mark.

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Post by Loli&Lulu » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:25 pm

Have you got a good pump? A double one so you can do it faster? If not can you hire one from your local ABA or chemist.

My DD is much older and refusing feeds but I think it makes all the difference.

I can't answer your other questions but big hugs to you. Well done on all of your efforts.
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Post by JC » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:35 pm

Sorry to hear you've been having such a rough time. I had a big struggle breastfeeding my DS at the start. By the way he's five years old now and almost weaned. :)

I had to comp feed DS ABM during the first 12 months and after that, our feeding improved dramatically.

Over the long term, my DS has had more breastfeeding than many other children even though our beginning was difficult. Some breastmilk is better than none, so maybe see if you can keep going even a bit?
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Post by Gwen's Mum » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:19 pm

Oh, that sounds like a tough start to your breastfeeding relationship - but it also sounds like you're doing an amazing job! :D

My DD will be 6 months old in a few days, and due to my chronic low supply we have comp fed from the beginning (with donor milk... but that's a whole other story!). It broke my heart to have to do things that way, and I think I cried every day for the first few weeks... BUT we figured out some systems, it got easier, DD consistently put on weight and length and head circ, met her developmental milestones... and all of a sudden we've survived 6 whole months! So it was all worth it. :-D

And not sure about the 5kg mark, but certainly life got a whole lot easier at around 16-18 weeks for us (so probably about 5kg from memory?) - DD seemed to develop a stronger and more efficient suck; and also just didn't seem to be feeding so frequently (i.e. not constantly!) like before. She's still a slow-and-steady weight gainer (averages a big ol' 100g per week), but hey - we're getting there! (If she had managed to put on 1.5kg from birth weight in 3 months like your LO, we would have been ecstatic!! :lol:)

Best of luck with continuing your breastfeeding relationship - and :smt041 for getting this far.
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Post by Mummy Latte » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:05 am

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I had a similar experience with a 3-4 hourly feeding routine introduced by the hospital for DD, that resulted in her not putting on weight properly till about 4 months. She was in NNU/Special Care for the first few weeks and the hospital staff gave her a dummy to help space out the feeds - I didn't realise that that was contributing the problem.

Expressing 150ml in one feed is OK - that was more than I managed! Bear in mind that babies' breastmilk intake is the same at 1 months as it is at 6 months. Has anyone looked into correcting the tongue tie to see if that would help?

My experience with DD was at about 12 weeks she started demand feeding - bigtime. I went along with it, expecting it to be the growth spurt everyone talks about, but she continued to demand feed and gained weight as she should. Perhaps you could try demand feeding - it might take a couple of days to get in the rhythm (hungry/finished cues, length of feed, frequency). Breastfeedingisnormal had a good suggestion about quiet time at home.

Unfortunately some babies start to prefer the bottle over the breast, so it's always worth breastfeeding first. Also, don't worry about him feeding to sleep - in the early days I found feed/play/feed/sleep/feed routine worked better because DD was usually too energetic after play to go to sleep straight away - booby time worked a treat and got some extra nutrition in.

How have you gone since Monday? Fingers crossed for you - it's stressful but your baby will be OK in the end.

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