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any suggestions to get baby to stay awake at the breast?

Forum: Breastfeeding


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April 2nd, 2010, 05:12 PM
LisaBrown's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 4,873
I've been struggling with milk production and, which I was told could be a side effect of the insulin I was on for GD, and with a very lazy baby when it comes to eating. I've started feeding AND pumping 8x a day and now I'm letting her sleep a bit more (she's 11 days) and feed her more every 3-4 hrs, and still pump after most feedings. I was told I needed to get a bit more sleep to help with production. I take herbal supplements too, fenugreek and blessed thistle. I'm producing a bit more but still not very much, maybe an oz each breast if I'm lucky, and one breast seems to produce much less than the other.

Melodie was born 6,7 and then lost all the way to 5,5 in 4 days, so I had to supplement for a few days, then brought her back to breastmilk only...but then she lost a bit again, so we're still struggling. I'm using a breast shield for nursing because I have flat nipples, and I would seringe the formula in, but she got used to that very quickly and now she's too lazy on the breast, or gets very frustrated. I can't get her to latch on the bare breast yet, and when she's on with the shield, she just falls right asleep. I've tried everything: skin to skin, changing and burping in between to wake her, blowing on her face, and damp facecloth on her, tickling...you name it! We also have to give her my pumped breastmilk in a bottle to finish feedings to make sure she is getting enough. It's such a hard place to be in, but I really want to make it work. This is my first, so it's a learning experience to say the least.

Any suggestions? Any help would be much appreciated!
Thank you Jaydinsmum for my amazing siggy!

Last edited by LisaBrown; April 2nd, 2010 at 05:17 PM.
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April 3rd, 2010, 12:52 PM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 26,401
Welcome and congrats on your new baby!

A few things I need to point out:
1. How much you pump isn't an indication of how much your breasts are producing. Your pump isn't as efficient as your baby, so you're not going to get as much out with the pump as your baby is getting when she's at the breast.
2. Nipple shields are known to make it harder for your baby to transfer milk from the breast, which can cause low weight gain and a low supply.
kellymom.com :: Nipple shields
3. It's normal for babies to fall asleep while nursing, my children always passed out just minutes into a feeding, but kept sucking. As long as she keeps sucking, even slowly, just let her stay on the breast and continue nursing.

At 11 days old, I don't think she should still be so excessively sleepy that she isn't waking up to eat or when she's hungry.
Here's a few links on sleepy babies: kellymom.com :: Links - Common Concerns
You may also want to try breast compression, both to help with weight gain and to keep her interested in nursing:
Breast Compression

Since you are struggling so much with breastfeeding and especially weight gain, it may be a good idea to wean off of the shield. Getting a newborn to latch can take a lot of patience and persistence at first, and a lot of new moms get fustrated by it. It may be a few really rough days to make it happen, but I'm sure you can do it! The link I posted above about nipple shields has information about weaning off of them also.
Are you seeing a lactation consultant right now? I would suggest doing that or getting in contact with your local LLL leader: LLLI | Find Local LLL
You will need some constant one-on-one help to get through some of the problems. One suggestion is ot have your baby weighed before and after each feeding to see how much she is getting. Also, are you looking at just weight gain to see if she's getting enough or do you watch her diapers?
kellymom.com :: Is baby getting enough milk?

Hang in there mama! Start working on each problem one at a time and I think in a few weeks, you will both be in a better place with breastfeeding!

Andrea, mom to 3 beautiful girls - Abigail (8) Annabelle (6) and Alexis (3)

Expecting baby #4 in April - It's a BOY!

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April 4th, 2010, 01:11 AM
LisaBrown's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 4,873
Thanks for the great links! To answer a few questions...yes, we're being followed closely by the lactation consultants at the breastfeeding clinic in our hospital, that's where we get her weifhed every few days. She gets lots of dirty diaqpers, so I hope that means she's getting enough. I've noticed she is staying awake a bit more at the breast and I've decided to ''let her be'' and not stress out as much, and she stays on for 45-1hr sessions only breaking her latch a few times, but she's not actively sucking for the whole time...but she seems to be less frustrated and eventually puts in more work at suckling, I think she just gets lazy waiting for my letdowns. For the shield, thank you for the info and that will be my next thing to attack, as soon as I know she's started to gain.
Thank you Jaydinsmum for my amazing siggy!

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April 4th, 2010, 08:26 AM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NB, Canada
Posts: 5,592
Just wanted to say hi and congrats and good luck, from a felllow NBer!

Also if you do some massage to get a letdown happening before you put her on, that might help her stay interested!

Thanks to Mom2*Lauryn*Jacob* for this beautiful sig!

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April 5th, 2010, 08:42 AM
Celry's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: WI
Posts: 12,946
My kids were a little early and weren't great at nursing for a while. They fell asleep at most feedings before they were done. We got all sorts of advice on how to help wake them and I didn't like most of it (like flicking their feet). I found that gently rubbing their ears over the opening would usually do the trick.

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Dec 26 '08, BFP after 21 months thanks to acupuncture
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April 5th, 2010, 01:22 PM
MRM MRM is offline
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I found that massaging the back of my LO's neck helped to keep her awake while eating. I hope you find something that works for you.

Thank you Vicki for my siggy!
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April 5th, 2010, 02:59 PM
L-SBB's Avatar Bébé Cowgirl
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 9,810
I also had a lazy sucker for the first few weeks (and then she figured everything out and became a great BFer!)...in addition to rubbing her toes, I found touching her gently under the chin often would wake her up and her automatic response was to suck, so try that if nothing else is working.

Ditto to the PP who pointed out that they can just be resting but still nursing....at first Savannah was truly falling asleep (not sucking at all) when BFing but as she got a little older she just took a long time to nurse. One of the LC's at the hospital had told us not to let her sleep while nursing (i.e. unlatch, wake her, relatch) but in retrospect I'm not sure that was very good advice...I think that she was often just nursing really slowly and the frequent unlatch/relatch frustrated her....when I eventually just let her nurse, even if it meant she slept for a bit, she became much happier with BFing.

Good luck and congrats on your baby girl (she's adorable)!

Savannah Stylin!

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