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hi, i'm sarah and new to this board. my daughter zoe is 4 weeks old today and she has been fed breastmilk exclusively by either my breast or a bottle. from the beginning this has been a struggle and i have to say that hitting the 4 weeks milestone and having the past 2 days be some of the most difficult has had me in tears since last night.
my issues began with her not latching well before leaving the hospital so i was told to pump colostrum and feed her with syringes. which was taking hours and hours and hours, and the doctors thought she wasn't getting enough, so we finally broke down and started giving it to her in bottles. in the mean time, all the pumping i did engorged my breasts so badly that i just leaked and leaked and leaked for days. and it was soo painful. i went from a small b to a d. in the meantime, i finally got her to latch on one side, but the other side is slightly inverted and she would suck once or twice and cry until i gave her either a bottle or the other breast. so i was feeding exclusively from one side, and pumping from the other. but the past few days i have been trying to get her to latch on the other side, because i know if i have to keep pumping i will jump out of my skin.
also, about a week after she was born she started developing gas issues which have only increased since then. at this point i don't know if you would consider what she has colic, but the past few days she has been screaming until she is purple and not breathing. needless to say it is impossible to feed her when she is this way. she screams because of the gas when i try to give her my breast. and then when i take the breast away she screams because she is hungry.
i guess to sum up - it is really really important to me to breastfeed her, at least until 3 months. but with this gas the only way i cen get it in her is to pump and bottle, or spend litterally 4 hours trying to force my breast in her mouth. i have been in nothing but my underwear for 3 weeks. and the thought of 2 more months of pumping is terrifying. i don't feel like i am developing any kind of special bond this way. i am a mess. and i feel like i am failing her somehow.
has anyone else been in a similar place? does it get better? anyone with any hope would be a blessing.
Second - what youre going through IS totally normal.
Heres my suggestion. YOu have a LOT going on. Many thigns are at play here. I suspect some nipple confusion, probably some normal baby gassiness from her belly just getting used to digesting at all, possibly something in your diet, topped off with probably a growth spurt. Then youve got your boobs, etc.
1 - has the engorgement gone down?
2 - how is her weight gain?
3 - how many wet & poopy diapers total is she having a day?
First thing I want you to do is call at least one LC. Call the LLL as well - find out when the first meeting is and ask the leader for some help. She can also probably recommend a LC and that will kill two birds with one stone
Pump as need to relieve engorgement first and foremost, but be cautious - its supply & demand - pump just enough for relief, and then try to nurse. Itll help her latch. If you do need to supplement - supplement with your milk, and pump to make up for that missed feeding so we dont end up with supply issues Try only supplementing an ounce at a time, to calm baby down, and then try offering the breast.
A nipple shield might also help at this point. I would encourage you to use that while working with a LC though to ensure its being used properly & only as necessary & to give you the opportunity to correct any latch issues and/or nipple confusion that might be going on.
You can syringe feed too when you supplement with that ounce - as you probably know just use the syringe while baby sucks on your finger, nail down.
Now - check out the 3 day nursing sabbatical. I know you mentioned that youve been in your underwear for a while lol - well, plan for 3 more days. PLAN ON IT. Just mark everyhting off. I know your probably going stir crazy. Rent some movies,catch up on celebrity gossip on TV and reality tv reruns, whatever. Just stay on that couch & get as much skin to skin as possible. Keep the pump & anything else you need nearby including water (lots of it) and snacks Follow the 3 day nursing sabbatical (its in a sticky on the main page of this forum) while youre getting in with a LC
As for your diet, I'll let you decide - moms usually know when its something in their diet. Do you drink a lot of milk? Dairy? Cheese? You can try cutting this out of your diet, but I'll warn its a tough adjustment. It may be more than you need right now, but then again - the crying is something that will drive you insane lol. Do understand - fussiness & colickyness isnt that uncommon at this age. Its temporary but a LOT of babies go through it. FUnny part is - theyre angels for everyone else lol. The skin to skin in the 3 day nursing sabbatical will help some.
Regardless of whether you decide to cut dairy out (which is the most common culprit of gassiness & fussiness btw and takes 2 weeks for the milk protein it to be completely gone from your milk)... get some Probiotics. Its shown to have a marked improvement with Colicky breastfed babies 2 - 3 a day for you each day
Its hard, I know. These first 6 weeks are the toughest, but I promise it does get better. One day at a time Youll never regret it and one day yuoll wake up & things will be just smooth sailing & youll look back on this fondly as a great accomplishment
Also - keep in the back of your mind that there are some pretty common growth spurts - 3 wks, 6 wks, 3 months, & 6 months. When you know theyre coming it makes it easier to deal with - they generally only last 3 - 5 days - a lot at the time, but not that much in the grand scheme of it all.
Youve made it this far, just keep goign day by day. Get a hold of a LC & the LLL todya though
You definitely have a lot going on. I second getting in contact with a local lactation consultant who can give you some hands-on help. Latch issues are usually best corrected when you keep in direct contact with a LC. It can be a rough road at first, especially when there are obstacles, but it will always get better. I can't think of any advice to add, but please keep coming back with any questions you have. I hope things are looking up for you in the next few days!
Andrea, mom to 3 beautiful girls - Abigail (8) Annabelle (6) and Alexis (3)
first of all, thank you so much for taking the time to reply. i wish i had come to this board sooner, as i think a lot of your advice would have helped me out so much the past few weeks. i guess in my effort to make my post not so long, i left out some info though. i had been using a nipple sheild, and then found an LC who helped me get her to latch on to the flatter nipple. so she knows how to get a good latch, its just a matter of keeping her there now. like she really likes my other breast so much more. is that weird?
also, my engorgement has gone down, but i am still having some oversupply problems. when i letdown it is so much it squirts her in the eye, lol. and she has a lot of wet diapers and usually one poopy one a day, but there is a lot of screaming before that one comes...
so now my problem is also trying to keep her on the breast when she is screaming from the gas. it just seems like once i get past one issue a bigger one rears its ugly head. so i guess my 4 week nursing sabbatical will have to become my 4 week 3 day nursing sabbatical
thanks for the advice on my diet. i am going to take a look at what i have been eating and see if there is something i can change. i also recently read that using both breasts at a feeding doesn't give enough hindmilk, and can lead to gas issues. from your experience, does this ring true?
Gotcha! Good job for seeing a LC & I'm so glad you got some help in that regard.
The oversupply at this stage is quite normal - still pump to relive engorgement & maybe even a little pumping or hand expressing at the beginning of a feeding would help too - just to get past that initial heavy spray! lol.
Youre right on about the hindmilk/foremilk issue too - how are babies diapers looking? Usually when its really gotten to the point of being a problem, youll notice a change in diapers. Yellow seedy poops turn to watery or green or frothy poops. Sometimes mucousy as well. That plus gassiness can all be signs of the oversupply, heavy let down and a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance.
Nurse from one side per feeding - you can pump a little on the other side since youve got the oversupply thing going on. Believe it or not, I think you are doing better than you think Its hard when youre in the middle of it to see the big picture though.
Youre doing good - youve already started on the right path, so I think really you just need a little support Your mommy instincts are taking care of the basics Youre doing wonderfully! And yes, in the first 6 weeks, its like trading one problem for another, but eventually you run out of bumps in the road to have to clear lol.
Keep up the good work. Relax as best as you can. Take assurance that this does pass, and get easier & youre doign the right thing for your baby. You know more than you realize - youve been doing all the right things
And for the heavy letdown - now that you know you have that - when you notice a letdown or her choking (which btw, can also cause her to swallow air and be gassy), just unlatch her, let her suck your finger to satisfy her need to suck, until the letdown/spray eases up then relatch The letdown will ease up with time and she will learn to keep up as well. I had a very overactive let down and problems with foremilk/hindmilk & a gassy baby - it just took some time but it went away on its own without me doing a thing (except bringing her up for air when it got too heavy lol).
I don't have any better advice than whats been given but I wanted to encourage you that it will get better. I had many of your issues with my son, for about a month I cried at almost every feeding because it was so hard to get him to latch on and eat. He was very fussy too, it was so very stressful. I got a lot of support from women on these message boards and just kept going. I set the goal of 3 months, although I really wanted to bf for a year. Well my son will be 3 months old on Thursday, and I have no plans of stopping. It really does get better. We still have some little obstacles but it's nothing like those first 2 months. I also suggest you try out the brestfriend pillow instead of the boppy, assuming thats what you have. It really helped us with latch issues. Good luck and hang in there.
mama to 5 yr old DS1 , 3 year old DS2 , and nursling DD .
LaLa gave great advice. I just want you to know that we had colic for 8 weeks. And I have had quite a few BF problems but I do not regret my decision. This is a great place to get help and support.
give us updates!
a great book to check out for the fussiness is The Happiest Baby on the Block. There is also a video you can get in lieu of the book. I borrowed my copy of the book from the library. It really is fantastic and you can start putting it to use really quickly, you don't even have to read the whole book to get something from it right off the bat. I highly recommend it!
just wanted to thank you ladies again for your support and advice and give a little update.
i've made it another 2 days and things have been a little smoother. i just hope it lasts. she is still having the gas/screaming problems but i figured out that if i let her sleep on my belly most of the day, it is not as bad. i just don't get a whole lot done. she has been calm enough to nurse in 10 minute spurts, and then has to be calmed down, and then another 10 minute spurt. she seems to like the hairdryer. also, keeping her in a little baby backpack things helps too. we were actually able to go out for 3 hours today! (to saks and burgers in madison square park, yum) i did have to pump her a bottle then, because i still have no idea how to breastfeed her without getting milk all over the both of us, but that is the only bottle she has had.
i have also noticed since nursing solely from one breast per feeding that her poops are a little thicker and we keep having diaper blow-outs, if you will. i am hoping that this too shall pass...
I'm not sure what type of baby carrier you have, but slings really help too Among our circle of friends the Moby Wrap and Baby Hawke carriers seem to be the best we've found at keeping bby content. THey also work well for using as a light cover for nursing in the early months when youre still working out the kinks
And dont worry about making a mess with the milk lol -we still do it sometimes only now my little one LOVES It lol. Shell say "Milk nose mama" and she will nurse until the let down, then pull of and let it spray on her nose She just giggles and giggles lol.
Congrats & keep us posted!
(oh and the blowouts - yeah thats temporary too. Honestly, we switched to fuzzi bunz cloth diapers & never had a blowout after that!)