Pregnant - Nursing - Latching Issues

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Goddess Jessica
06-26-2011, 11:51 PM
I know this isn't a nursing forum BUT

Oh ladies. I am so frustrated. I am pumping. Feeding formula. AND trying to get her to latch and she won't. I have a lactation consultant and I've been to a support group but man, I feel rejected. I am spending all this time with the world revolving around the "will she latch on this time or not" that I feel like I can't even enjoy her at ALL.

My whole world is pump, feed, practice latching, and repeat. It's so rough. I NEVER thought I would have a problem with this. :(

06-27-2011, 11:08 AM
Okay, so here's my advice, ........yes breastfeeding is best, but there a million babies you had nothing but formula and are healthy educated adults now.
If it is stressing you out so much that you can't enjoy your baby, don't do it.
You will be much happier if you can enjoy her.
I wanted to EBF for at least 6 months, but because I had to go back to work at 6 weeks, I had to switch to pumping,....i was so stressed out after coming home after work and pumping, and pumping before work, and again in the evening and then before bed, I had no time to relax and enjoy my little girl I ended up switching to formula after only 8-10 weeks.
I was so upset about it, and cried daily for weeks.
Looking back now, my daughter who is now 7 months old, is very healthy and meeting all of her developmental landmarks, ......yes I am sure we may have bonded a bit more if we had breastfed for longer, but it just didn't work out for us.
I have no regrets.

Best of luck, and do what works for you.

06-27-2011, 11:54 AM
Speaking only from my experience.

Are you sure you need to be using the formula at all? She might be making enough diapers that it isnt necessary. When you give her formula are you still keeping her at your bare chest and using a syringe?

The first 5 weeks of Landons life he literally spent glued onto my breast. We had a lot of issues and it felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel for us. However he is 14 weeks now and he goes a few hours in between feedings.

you have to relax. Babies pick up on their mommas emotions very easily. Just relax and enjoy the time you have with her. I know it sounds easy but its very difficult at times. If you have any other questions about it please post.

Making the decision to trudge through the first few hard weeks was one of the best things I have done for my son.

Are you keeping her at your breast literally every second you get?

Hang in there mama! You can get through this.

06-27-2011, 01:02 PM
So, I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding, but I also believe that you need to do what is best for you and your infant.

This is strictly from my experience.

My DD (my first baby) is 8 months old and has been exclusively breastfed. When I had her, I expected BF to be very easy. Unfortunately my anatomy and DD's mouth didn't match up well. We saw the lactation consultant in the hospital, who helped but then we had to go home. I spent the next 2 weeks + in and out of the pediatrician's office because DD wasn't gaining weight fast enough because we were having a hard time BF. I had lots of pressure from my MIL to formula feed and give up BF, but i knew that I'd make it if given time.
My savior was 1) a little patience and 2) a nipple shield. It made it so DD could latch on fairly easily and nurse. Around 5 months old, she ripped it off my nipple and dropped it on the floor one day and we have been nursing bare breast since then.
I know that its a little difficult to add something else to do to the mix when breastfeeding, but it made a huge difference for us. Also, putting DD to the breast whenever she was fussy helped too. That helped increase my supply and teach her how to nurse.
Other things that helped-pumping after a feed and then finger feeding that to her at the breast at the beginning of her next feed (to get her to start sucking). I did this in the hospital and would get maybe an ounce of milk, but it was enough to teach her that "if i latch/suck I will get food".
Try to limit formula as that is going to decrease your supply, even if you are pumping. Babies are much more efficient at getting milk out than a pump is...
Good luck and in the end, remember, you know what is best for your child, do what you need to!

Goddess Jessica
06-28-2011, 03:29 AM
Thanks for all the support.

We're working through it and I have set a deadline of 6 weeks. If I don't see some progress, we'll go to formula at that point. It's just very difficult and lonely.

06-28-2011, 03:32 AM
I'm sorry if someone's already recommended this but I had to just pop this in here... Have you thought of getting a nipple shield? My lactation consultant gave me one instantly when my son had to be admitted to the NICU for terrible jaundice due to his lack of proper latching over Christmas weekend (born the 22nd). He took to the nipple with the shield and nursed like a pro. I was able to get him off the shield eventually but even if I couldn't have it was the best thing that ever happened to me, him and my boobs. :)

06-28-2011, 03:36 AM
my kids both had issues at first. The first wouldn't latch, the second nursed so long with a bad latch I was blistered and bleeding. They have to learn to nurse just as much as you do. I persevered and ended up nursing both for well over a year. I think you are doing the right thing promising yourself to do it for 6 weeks. Likely by then you will be a well oiled machine.

Latchkey Princess
06-28-2011, 03:13 PM
From your post it seems you are feeding your kiddo before you are trying to get her latched on. If so (and forgive me if I'm wrong) you need to reverse that! If she's just been fed, she won't latch on no matter what you try. Baby's latch when they're hungry. I also second the opinion of the person who questioned using formula at all, she may not need it! A lot of momma's think they aren't making enough when in reality they are!

Other suggestions are to try a nipple shield or perhaps even a supplemental feeding system (a tube you run down next to your nipple so baby can latch on even tho they are getting formula or pumped milk from the tube. Both can help with latch. Cut out bottles, it's infinitely easier to get milk from a bottle for a baby, so they can get very frustrated at the breast since the milk doesn't come out as fast. This can lead to them popping on and off the breast in frustration and you getting frustrated and ultimately giving another bottle.

Take a day where you don't do anything but lay in bed, relax and breastfeed your baby. Have your significant other bring you water and food, etc. Don't get out of bed if you don't have to, no bottles, no pumping and keep trying to latch baby on all day long! This can help both you and baby get to know each other and how breastfeeding works for you two.

I'm breastfeeding two toddlers and a newborn and I still have moments where I am so frustrated I just want to give up, especially during infant growth spurts where they're almost literally attached to my breast 24/7. A big part of it is to relax and trust yourself that you can do this. And in the end, if you can't, then take pride in the fact that you tried and you are ultimately doing whats best for you and your baby.

06-28-2011, 05:23 PM
I had latch issues with both of my kids (I have flat/inverted nipples and my second baby is tongue tied which made it worse) and using a nipple shield saved my sanity. Each of my kids used it for around 4-5 months and then one day just didn't need it anymore. It's one more step when you're breastfeeding, but it's worth it if it works.

I'd also try going without the formula if you can (for sure stop pumping for now if you feel like you can.) Supplementing causes our supply to dwindle, making it harder to produce. Also, if you are feeding her a bottle before nursing, definitely try reversing that.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, it really sucks and makes everything harder. If you have to, give yourself permission to go to formula. The #1 most important thing is that she's getting the proper nutrition. Sure, breast is best but formula is pretty dang awesome too. After that, it's that you two are happy in your bond together. Believe me, you can bond without breastfeeding. :) If it's causing resentment and stress and unhappiness all around... give yourself permission to go to formula and know that you'll find other ways to bond even if you can't breastfeed.

07-02-2011, 10:13 AM
Sorry you are going through this. Unfortunately I was never able to have him latch (it wasn't a "latch" issue, it was a birth injury) and pumping was all I could do. Breastfeeding is so normal, so natural, yet one of the hardest things in teh world. Nobody ever realizes how hard it can be until they struggle. Good luck on your 6 week deadline and let me know if you need a shoulder... I have been there.

07-10-2011, 09:40 PM
Jessica- I have been thinking about you a lot. I hope all is going well for you and baby and you are nursing away!!!

Goddess Jessica
07-14-2011, 02:38 AM
Abbysue -- That is so freaking sweet.

Here's the update!

What I didn't post is that my daughter had a posterior tongue tie that she had snipped (on day 3 of life) and we had a lactation consultant from the beginning. We knew there would be issues (even after the snipping) because as someone else posted, her anatomy and mine did not mesh well together. We tried everything. We were really running the gamut of nursing techniques. I was at my wit's end.

And then my mother showed up.

At that point my routine was to bottle feed her (formula and breast milk) to satisfaction, use a nipple shield and feed her until she slept (LC said this would foster a boob=satisfaction sensation in the baby) and then once she was asleep, pump. This was exhausting and sometimes she would refuse my breast for a long time, go to sleep, I would pump and then she'd wake up hungry. Worst, when she saw the bottle, she'd perk up and go for it but totally ignore the breast. I tried not to take it personally but more than a few tears were shed.

My mother put a kibosh on all of this. She said simply, "You're working too hard."

We stopped formula; we stopped pumping. It helps that my mom's an RN and I trust her medical advice as well as mommy advice. We went strictly for nipple shield and boob. And it worked. Although I love my lactation consultant, I think she made me worry a little too much. Ellie is gaining weight, that's all that matters.

Now I'm breastfeeding all of her feedings. Her latch is still terrible which is why we're still using the nipple shield. It's funny -- I still have to remind myself that I'm breastfeeding because I think it's not "real" breastfeeding with the shield... so dumb!

We're revisiting the surgeon this month (her tie is reforming) and I hope after that I can move to no shield soon simply so I can feed in public. Feeding with the shield is so cumbersome.

I am very much enjoying my daughter now -- and have moved on to compulsively worrying about OTHER things. :)

07-14-2011, 11:24 AM

I'm so glad to read your last post!! It sounds like things are going great, I'm really happy for you both. :)

Moms are wonderful, aren't they? My mom was the one who recommended the shield to me (and SAVED my nursing career), since, lo and behold, she had to use one too.

Don't worry too much. ;) Your mom's advice ("You're working too hard.") definitely translates into most areas of mothering. Just enjoy that baby, have fun, discipline when necessary and you'll have a great go of it! :)

07-21-2011, 02:30 PM
Wonderful!! YAY for your mom!! And using a nipple shield is definitely real breastfeeding!! haha I used a shield for both of my kids because of latch issues but we were able to ditch it, around 8 weeks for my son and only a week with my daughter. So happy it worked out for you - you might be able to tell but I am a supporter of breastfeeding, I really enjoyed the experience and am a little sad that my DD just weaned so I am living vicariously through your post now. :D

07-23-2011, 01:28 AM
YAY for mommies! I wouldn't have been able to stick it out if I didn't have mine around thats for sure. I am SOOO glad that things are working out. My son is 4 months old and still nursing away. It is so wonderful and I am so glad you get to experience it. I wish someone would have told me that you are supposed to feel a little lost in the beginning then I don't think I would have worried so much! lol

08-14-2011, 01:39 AM
So glad to see everything is working out! I had to use a nipple shield for six stupid months. One day DS took it off, tossed it aside, and started nursing like a champ. Nipple shields suck, but they allowed me to nurse and it sounds like they're doing the same for you. You should feel so proud- nursing with a tongue-tie isn't easy.

08-15-2011, 02:20 AM
Same story here. Anatomy problems.

1st baby: sweet, but bad lactation consultant. Breast fed for 11 months, but formula supplemented. Almost lost my mind doing all of these extra crazy things. Never got any sleep.

2nd baby: Good lactation consultant. No formula or finger feeding ever. Just a half-nipple shield used as 'training wheels'. Latched properly that same day after 'training' with the shield.

08-15-2011, 01:21 PM
I wanted to send my thoughts and care electronically. I nursed both boys (now 12 and 10). I had a special circumstance as I had had breast reduction surgery years earlier (by a doc who tried to preserve my ability to potentially nurse). I was a miserable wreck with very poor network, support, information. The hospital sent a male nurse who I showed my expressed milk to (I don't know why) and he said that can't be milk (what else is it if it comes from a breast?). I ended up never properly nursing my first son and pumped all my milk for him for his first year (yes, it sounds and was hard but super glad I did it).

For my second son, I was blessed with an amazing midwife, pediatrician, and awesome lactation consultant across the street at the birth center I'd given birth at. I gave myself over to my Nepali husband who fed me Nepali herbs for milk production (think Asian style fenugreek). I had more time, more support, and experience from the first one. I still suffered for the first two months but I persevered and eventually did nurse him full time for a long time.

I never try to convince women to nurse. I know that in Nepal a woman is surrounded by tons of experienced women, has Nepali herbs, a cultural practice that supports nursing, and all that. Western culture seems a bit stacked against women with few resources, experience, and information.

As some above have suggested, you can't beat yourself up about it. I was a truly miserable mess. No one could have stopped that mess as it was all my own internal wishes, beliefs, and stuff colliding with my physical capabilities. Eventually my milk ducts enlarged enough so that they could produce enough for my sons. It took two pregnancies and lots of pumping to enlarge those ducts.

In the end, rely on your support group for the emtional help to keep you on track on so many levels. Really informed lacation consultants (not like my first one who only wanted money and to sell junk) can tell you when you still have realistic options for nursing and when it's time to find other solutions.