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My husband and I had our daughter Brenna yesterday evening. We plan on breastfeeding but I am having such trouble and I am very frustrated. I know she's only a day old and we are both new to this. But I am having a terrible time getting her to latch on and stay interested for more than 3 sucks at a time. My boobs are huge (40DDD) and I have rather flat nipples. It's tough to get them to stick out enough to be interesting to the baby. We've tried a nipple shield and that doesn't seem to be working. Her mouth is so small that the nipple shield doesn't fit in there very well at all. I can barely get her to get the nipple in there, much less any of the areola. And when she does get on she will suck for 2 or 3 good sucks and then she loses interest, lets the nipple fall out of her mouth, and then gets annoyed that it's not in there anymore. We've supplemented with a bottle once this morning when she was frustrated and I was frustrated and I just wanted her to have something to eat. She's asleep right now but when she gets hungry again I want to try to get her to breastfeed.
What can I do to get her to latch on better? And how can I keep her interested in feeding for more than 2 or 3 sucks at a time?
First and foremost I would try calling a LC. Nothing beats hands on help.
Second - try pumping just before nursing. Avoid supplementing at all costs right now, as any supplementing will only cause nipple confusion & hinder the process, also affecting your supply. Its a rather vicious circle - she has problems latching, you give her a bottle, it worsens the problem, you give her more formula, your supply lessens, so you give her more, more nipple confusion, less supply, its a recipe for disaster & the beginning of the end.
Avoid pacifiers right now. Try letting her suck on your finger, nail bed down. If you do need to supplement, supplement with your own milk or colostrum & use a medicine syringe to squirt milk in the corner as shes sucking on your finger. Also try rubbing some milk on your nipple to get her interested. Undress her down to a diaper, be sure shes got a lot of skin to skin (you can undress from waist up too). JUst avoid bottles etc as much as possible & see a LC asap. Its well worth the time investment & insurance should cover it. LLL would be a wonderful resource & many leaders will make house calls and their services are free Meetings are another good thing - find out when the next one is and get thee to it - even if youre not doing so hot, theyll help you get back on track
CHeck out the sticky titled "3 day nursing sabbatical" and follow that right now while youre waiting on getting to see a LC - hopefully you can see one today. Also - until a week of age, as lon gas shes getting one wet or poopy diaper per day of age, and then after a week only 5 - 6 a day, then you can rest assured shes hydrated, not starving,e tc. Now thats not to say that she wont get pretty worked up over being hungry/frustrated, thats where supplementing just enough (an ounce or less) through a syringe (or even letting her get it through a small medicine cup) would come in handy - itll be enough to calm her down.
It takes practice. Dont beat yourself up. Its a learning curve for you AND baby and everything worth having takes persistence. IT DOES get easier, I promise. The key right now is to not give in at times of frustration. LEt DH take her and take a few deep breaths & try again. The first 3 days can be a real challenge, and things only improve
I went through the same exact thing, minus the flat nipples. Babies are very tired early on, and it's hard to believe that they aren't going to keel over dead if they don't eat the way older babies do. I suggest you stay away from giving formula, because that is going to interfere with your supply coming in. You need her sucking to get things going, every time you give a bottle you miss a chance to set your supply up. It really is very important. Also baby gets used to the easyness of bottle feeding and can start to reject your breast.
I know it is so hard at first when you are tired, emotional and worried about baby. The hospital told us to feed every 2 hours when we got home, but my daughter just wanted to sleep. They didn't really tell me that it would take weeks for both of us to get a hang of things, and not to panic if she wasn't amazing at it right away. Babies have a learning curve too. There is so much out there right now pointing to formula feeding as the way to fill baby up best, they even send you home with a free diaper bag full of coupons and free samples. Hospitals get paid by the formula companies to hand those out. Don't doubt your ability to feed your baby successfully, you have everything your baby needs. You CAN and WILL be successful at breastfeeding, but you have to stick with it. Try to relax and not worry so much about how much or how often, don't watch the clock. I was told after the fact by our Pedi (very BFing supportive) that trying to make baby eat every 2 hours can really stress them out, and that isn't good.
You are going to be hit from many angles to supplement (even your baby's doctor) but again, try to block that out. We can help you through it all, and there is a fantastic website you can always refer to, Kellymom that has a wealth of BFing information. Also LLL has a 24 hour hotline you can call for direct advice.
I had this problem with Anna at first and am STILL dealing with the cracked nipples caused by the sucky latch on (excuse the pun, lol)
Anyway, I read in a book a good way to latch on and I have been using it pretty successfully now. I don't know if it will help you or not, but here goes.
First of all, make sure you hold the baby's head with your right hand if you are trying to get her to latch on the left side, and vice versa. With your other hand hold the areola about an inch fromthe nipple in the same formation as her mouth. (in other words put your fingers and thumb exactly where her lips will touch. Line up baby's NOSE with the nipple (that is where I was going wrong) and tickle right under the nose with your nipple. When she opens her mouth pull her on chin first.
This really helped me. It sounds to me like she just isn't getting a good enough latch and with your breasts being larger it is hard for her to hang on. All the same stuff I had with Anna. Don't forget too in the first 24 hours babies are VERY VERY sleepy and may not nurse much at all. We honestly could NOT get Anna to wake up the first day. She nursed right out of the chute at 11 am and did not nurse again until after 8 pm. I was getting very frustrated with the nurse as I called her in to help me and all she planned to do was take the baby back to the nursery!!!! I told her to try to wake her up (she kept saying... you just have to irritate them) guess what.. she couldn't do it either!!! Finally after the shift change I got a nurse who gave a crap and she took her and did her vitals which finally woke her up and she nursed again.... but like I said, that first day was VERY hard. So just give her a little time and bottle feed if it makes you feel better. I did that in the hospital a few times and she was fine.
I am supposed to be able to meet with a lactation consultant here at the hospital for free. I keep waiting for the nurse to let me know when she will be here. I guess I will just have to ask the nurse when she comes in to check my vitals next. I did have a friend come over this afternoon and she gave me some tips. We also managed to get Brenna interested and she latched on correctly and stayed interested for a good 5 minutes! We did try pumping as well to stimulate me and I got almost an ounce of colostrum out! I was surprised that much was in there!
The nurse I have right now is very pro-breastfeeding, which is nice and helpful. We're hoping that the next feeding goes as well!
We're rooming in as much as possible. She's only been to the nursery for short trips, long enough for them to give her a bath and take her vitals.
I learned something this afternoon. She seems to only like my right breast. I cannot get her to latch on to the left side at all. But put her on the right and she latches right on and does well there. I wonder if there is anything I can do to entice her to like the left too. Did anyone else experience their baby having a boob preference?
Well we met with the lactation consultant this morning. She was great! She gave me these things that you wear over your nipples inside your bra. It's supposed to entice your nipples to stick out more and make it easier for the baby to latch on. Those are helping a bit. And somehow she got a REALLY great latch on the left breast this afternoon! She stayed on there for a good 20 minutes and fell asleep there. I had to detach her and that wasn't easy. She did great!
We're home now and our first session at home wasn't as good. We'll just have to keep at it. And I'm having some issues with the breast pump. At the hospital I was using a Medela Symphony. I brought home the parts I was allowed to keep. From what the nurse told me, the parts would fit onto the Medela Pump and Style just fine. Well I cannot get the tubes to attach at all. I am having my friend who owns the Pump and Style come see me tomorrow so we can figure it out. So we're still at it, but it's not easy yet. And I am still waiting for my milk to come in. That should make things easier too.
I have another appointment with the lactation consultant Thursday so we'll see how it goes.