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I WANNA KEEP BFING BUT IT'S NOT WORKING!!! I am sad about this...please help if you can. here's my sad tale...
I have a son named Travis who is 4.5 months old. We started off beautifully with BFing! He latched perfectly since day one and didn't even loose a full pound after birth because he was eating so well.
I did have two bouts of thrush (WHICH TOTALLY SUCKED!) and during those times I really thought of quiting, and I HATED BFing, but I pulled through successfully.
I totally planed to BF for a full year, but things changed. Firstly, even though my son was so good at BFing, I have never enjoyed it. It's always been so mechanical for me...making sure he latched perfectly, and stayed awake and all...I've always seen it as such a huge hassle, and not a real bonding experience.
Anyways, when my son was about a month old, one day he was sooo cranky. all day it got worse and worse. Finally on his last feeding before bedtime, he wouldn't latch and was SCREAMING and frantic and I was freaking out because I had no idea what to do. Wanting to put him out of his misery, DH went to get formula...and that night was the begining of our supplementing I made sure to get the slow-flow nipple and everything so that he wouldn't get to like that better...and everything went fine after that.
Since that night every once and awhile we would give him a bottle of formula or pumped milk very rarely. But then about a month ago, I decided to start really supplementing because he was RAVENOUS and so grouchy...he would get so upset and frustrated during feedings, and it was a huge battle. He had gotten down to sleeping for 12 hours every night and only feeding every 3.5-4 hours through the day. So I decided to up his feedings to every two hours for a week and to pump in the morning and at night to try and get my supply up. well this didn't seem to make a diference to him after the week, so I decided to start to give him a bottle for his last feeding of the day and then pump once I put him to bed.
Anyways, he was still hungry all the time. He would cry after eating for more! so I decided once he turned four months (with DR's approval) to start some rice cereal in the mid morning between feedings. HE LOVES TO EAT! and he is really good at it. He cries when it's time to stop.
As of today...he will BF first thing in the morning, then BF for a partial feeding the next time, then the rest of the feedings are formula (since I can't pump enough to keep up with him)
So here is the real problem...I want to BF as much as possible, but I don't want it to be stressful for us every time, and I don't want him to cry all day from being hungy either. So I try to BF everytime it's feeding time, but the only feeding that he wants to BF is the morning. all the other times he screams and pulls away from me because he knows he can have a bottle that is easier! No matter how much I insist on the breast, he insists NOT!!! and it's a big battle everytime.
I don't really know what to do from here. Even when I feed him a bottle, he still gets a little whiny when he's done eating even though I KNOW he's had more than enough! It's like he doesn't know when he's full! So it's way worse with the boob. I just want what's best for him. And I feel like at this rate he will be fully weaned in no time! I really thought I would be able to BF longer than this...and I feel bad not BFing because I know it's what is best for his body, mind, and soul. So...what now? Am I screwed?
**As a side note**
We'll be trying for #2 in August. and I'm not sure if I will BF when I'm preggers again. So, is it even worth it to try and get back into it now?
Heres my take: when you started supplementing, it had nothing to do with your supply. You hit the 3 month growth spurt Its a tough one - tougher than most - and without the right support you gave in to what a lot of mothers do - that fantastically marketed can of "relief" (or at least thats how it looks when youre tired, frustrated, baby is fussy,e tc).
So - how do you go back? Well, it will take some effort, I wont lie. I'm so sorry you had such a tough time. Its tough when youre spending all your time checking latch, keeping him awake, etc. Heres my advice for future reference: forget all that. Latch is important, but usually once they get it right, and get the hang of it, it doesnt take careful observance. Let them do what they do. If its not a good latch YOULL KNOW IT - youll FEEL it! After the first week or two, once theyve gotten back to their birth weight, no need to keep them awake for feedings. Nurse until theyre knocked out and let that be that. They eat when theyre hungry, they dont eat when theyre not. Theyre not nearly as complicated as we try to make them out to be No need to time feedings, wake them up (unless there are issues with gaining, and even then it needs to be TRUE issues with gaining, not just issues with gaining b/c theyre being compared to a FF growth chart), dehydrated (getting fewer than 5 - 6 wet diapers a day), etc. Otherwise - letTHEM tell you when theyre hungry. Rooting, finger sucking, lip smacking, etc- all those things say "Im hungry". Crying is a LATE sign of hunger. Never put off a feeding b/c its only been 30 mins, and never wake them up just b/c its been 2 hours. If you let them lead the way, youll have so much less stress & it will be much more enjoyable. Peds & nurses & Obs give us these absurd rules that have no factual grounds, arent backed up by research, and lead to frustrated moms, low supply, and eventually supplementing. Its no wonder our BFing statistics are so much lower than most other countries
Alright- now, hear me out. Its 3 days. thats it. 3 small days. The first day will be the longest 24 hours of your life itw ill seem lol. But it gets better. You can add an extra day on, but only in the WORST of circumstances will you need to add on 2 days. I think you can do this in 3 days, 4 max
TODAY - go buy some fenugreek. Get it from the health food store, drug store, walmart, wherever. If you are a tea drinker, some mothers milk tea might be a good idea as well. IF you really want to cover all your bases, buy some blessed thistle as well. The fenugreek is horrible in tea IMO, so stick iwth the capsules
Start the 3 day sabbatical tomorrow at the latest. Now, it will take a little bit of some effort. It will be a toll on your sanity the first day b/c youre both so accustomed to being able to turn to formula. But take it one day at a time. Dont beat yourself up if you give him some formula. But let it be an OUNCE, just enough to satisfy him and NEVER offer formula first.
STAY on the couch. DONT DO ANYTHING> NO Dishes, NO dinner, NO making lunch. Order out, or keep the food there by the couch. Maybe make a sandwich while hes sleeping, but Id encourage holding him while he sleeps. Keep him skin to skin as MUCH as possible, with him ONLY in a diaper (turn up the heat if you need to). You need to stay topless. If he wants to fiddle, let him. Offer him the breast regularly. Take a bath together, let him lay on your chest, and reform that skin to skin bond. I would also venture to say that any hesitations you had about nursing from it being so NOT enjoyable he has possibly picked up on. So try to let it be relaxing & bonding time as much as anythign else. Forget about worries of spoiling, long term sleep routines, etc. Those are all things that work themselves out with MUCH less effort than BFing!
When he does nurse, let him nurse as MUCH as he wants or as little as he wants.
And - on top of all this - PUMP. Pump every 2 hours at a minimum, never go more than 3 hours even at night! It will only take about 3 days of this & you will likely be DONE with bottles.
Now - how to know when to give a bottle? When all other options have been exhausted. He will be fussy, at least for the first day. When he realizes hes getting milk from you, he will get it - and if he gets hungry enough, he will probably go ahead and nurse (unless hes exhausted).
One thing you can try is syringe feeding - use pumped milk as much as possible, and whenever hes hungry & refusing the breast, let him suck on your finger, nail bed down. Every time he sucks, squeeze a little milk or formula if you dont have breastmilk, into the corner of his mouth to show him sucking = milk.
Personally, Id encourage that over bottles. Id encourage just trashing and throwing away every bottle in the house for now so you ahve no other option.
NOW - if after 24 hours, he has fewer than 5 - 6 diapers (total of wet & poopy), then you will need to supplement with formula or breastmilk. But thats the only real indication of HAVING to supplement. THAT Is proof that he isnt getting enough.
And for now - dont offer cereal. Not until your supply is established. He may be "ravenous" but he needs to be getting his calories from breastmilk, not cereal. Its really only empty caloires with little to no nutritional value. Think of it like eating flour.
Follow the sabbatical to a T, and you WILL increase your supply. YOu wont even need fenugreek but for only the first week or 2. You can take it longer if you choose of course.
Its certainly doable, and as long as your diligent, it should only take 3 or 4 days. The less diligent you are, and the more bottles you give during that time, expect it to take a little longer. Its up to you if you want to rip the bandaid off slowly or quickly
My only concern is that we are in the middle of packing for a move this weekend. And next week I am living at my inlaws so we can get work done on our new place! such bad timing for a three day sabatical...
Do you think I could get away with waiting till we move into our new place to do this? Maybe take fenugreek and pump until then?
Also, he sleeps 12 hours a night right now...and he seems to really flow well on a schedule. He put himself on a three hour schedule (give or take 15 mins) so...is that bad? if I do the three day sabatical, will I throw things upsidown with sleeping and such?
Also, when you feed on demand TOTALLY, how do you ever manage to get things done or go anywhere? like going to church, or going to the movies or out to dinner, or to a friends house for the evening...how do you make it work?
And lastly, my midwife told me to not let him feed less than every two hours because otherwise he will start to snack instead of getting full feeds...is this true?
If you feel like you really truly cant start right away - you are definitely right that you should start pumping & doing fenugreek - just do it faithfully. THe last thing you want is to start getting yoru supply up, then forget to pump, have plugged ducts, mastitis, and throw your whole body for a loop.
Just pump - pump regularly & faithfully, and youll do fine When you have time, take a few hours & rest.
As for nursing totally on demand - its a lot less crazy making than it sounds. Its so much less stressful.
Babies do settle into their own schedules, so its not like you never know when theyre going to nurse. You adjust - you learn to nurse in public, you just get better at it. Kind of like how at first it feels like you dnt have enough hands for everything, you eventually get the swing & manage - same goes for BFing on demand
Unfortunately, I cant say your MW is spot on though - LC's and most MWs disagree pretty strongly - nursing more frequently is rarely snacking and even when they do become snackers, its usually for good reasons. Toddlers are snackers by natuer - we dont withold graham crackers for fear of lifelong bad habits - we recognize they need the frequent nutrition for the large amounts of energy they expend and accomodate. Why would we do anything different to growing babies who are developing at the fastest rate of their entire life?!
Humans are unique in that we are born alot less developed, including our brain, than many other species (even among other mammals). During growth spurts, they need extra calories. During times of rapid development (learning to crawl, walk, babble & coo, etc) they need more. Something as simple as them coming in contact with a germ may signal them to nurse more to get the increased antibodies. Teething etc. So - just b/c we cant SEE why they suddenly start nursing more often, doesnt mean its not for good reason. Usually its hindsight that you figure it out. They nurse nonstop for 3 days & then have a runny nose- well there ya go - they were trying ot fight something off. Nursing nonstop & then break a tooth through - there ya go. Nursing nonstop & suddenly learning to roll over - sometimes it takes a few weeks of hindsight to see they were related.
As they begin asserting independence theyll also snack - its their way of knowing that youre there. By providing them comfort now theyre more likely to be independent sooner - and less clingy. THeyre not constantly seeking our reassurance that youre there & going to be there if they walk off b/c theyve already sought that out, received it & its happened enough times that theyre confident yoiull be there.
Which brings me to another point - how do you accomodate all that, with bfing,a nd have a life?! lol. Baby carriers! Find a sling, a moby wrap, a baby hawke,e tc - they are life savers. Just that closeness will even help you as youre building your supply & esp during a move it may be a great way to keep baby happy & get things done with two free hands. I couldnt live without mine considering DH & I each already had a kid before we had this one! lol.
Go ahead and get the move behind you, start pumping & start the fenugreek. Offer the breast as often as possible, and when you do supplement, supplement with whatever milk you have before offering formula. Start setting aside at least as much time as possible for skin to skin contact, undressed from the waist up & baby in a diaper. Take baths together each night. Itll give you some unwind time, etc.
When you do get done with the move & can set aside 3 days for the nursing sabbatical (sooner rather than later preferrably, every day counts), throw schedules out the window. YOull probaby notice he will have a pattern of his own, and thats ok The tough part is getting your supply u p& him latching - if he does get off kilter with sleeping that stuff is so much easier to correct than upping your supply. its ok to sacrifice a little of the sleep pattern for your milk supply - they will all work themselves out in the end...but put your focus on your milk supply right now.
Id also really encourage geting in touch with the LLL now - find the meeting closest to your new location, and go to the next meeting hteyre holding. YOull find other moms in similar situations, and its great for sharing tips on how to get by & get things accomplished & be aproductive human being with a BF on demand baby lol