Friday, February 10, 2012

Struggling with breast feeding

As you all know, we were in the NICU for a few days due to breast feeding not working out and Jude not getting enough to eat.  Since then, breast feeding has been a semi terrifying thing along with a very stressful thing.  We were told to triple feed him.  I will breast feed to which he is slow about doing and falls asleep thru and we were using a nipple shield because that is how a nurse taught me to do it.  Then, I will pump and offer him what I pump in a bottle and then offer him formula in a bottle.  It is quite a process to get him fed.

So…today I called the lactation consultant.  My ultimate goal is still to breast feed from the actual breast.  I know it would be so easy to just pump and give it to him, but the problem is 1. at this point I don’t make enough milk and 2. If we keep up with the current feeding, he will never stimulate me enough to make enough milk.  So..she gave us this little tube thing that going beside the nipple and feeds him quicker than he will get normally at the breast.  It is to encourage him to strictly “breast feed”.  She then also had me get on a prescription and herbal supplements to help boost my supply.  On top of all that, we are trying to teach him to latch without the nipple shield.

All this ends up being quite a process and I am totally frustrated by the whole thing.  We have only done two feeding like this at this point, but the last one ended with Jude and I both crying and Liz consoling both of us.  I feel very strongly about breast feeding, but I am starting to think this is totally not worth it.  I think maybe I should just pump and then supplement with formula.  I fear he will be dehydrated again.  I fear that after all this and all the supplements and prescription, it will not work.  I fear giving up too early when this could work, but I am exhausted and ready to have a normal feeding routine established.  I wish I could just breast feed our boy and it be something that we both enjoy and I have enough to make him happy and we both do not get frustrated.  It feels like a failure to not be able to do this with more ease.

He is still the most amazing, adorable, and precious thing in the world, but I am feeling exhausted, frustrated and just short on patience at this point and am not sure what to do.  I think at this point, I will give it another week of trying all this and the supplement and if it does not work, then find an easier way to feed him.  In the end, I just want him healthy and happy.


  1. Sending you a hug virtual hug. The first few weeks of breastfeeding were the hardest weeks of my life. It seems like it should be so simple, and it just isn't. Hang in there mama...whether you ultimately end up ebf'ing or using formula, it will be okay. Be gentle with yourself. (())

  2. That sounds very frustrating! None of it can be your own failure though. Your bodies have been through so much and maybe just need some time to find a rhythm that works. Three hundred years ago, you would have gotten two experienced nursemaids to come live with you for 2 months to help with everything. I imagine it is hard even with that help. When you do get it all working smoothly, hopefully you can smile at the memory of both you and Jude crying and Liz comforting you, because that sounds incredibly sweet and cute. I love you guys!

  3. My BFF had the same issue with her daughter. They ended up letting her nurse for five minutes, then bottle feeding the breast milk mixed with formula. She was struggling to nurse and kept exhausting herself to the point where she wasn't getting enough calories. As time went on they let her nurse for a longer period of time because she was getting enough calories to make her stronger. After three weeks and four days, my goddaughter finally completed a full feeding from the breast. Maybe this will work for you and Jude. Hugs

  4. I literally know NOTHING about breastfeeding... but that's not gonna stop me from sending you a big fat huge virtual hug of encouragement!!! Whichever route you go, I'm sure that baby is going to turn out JUST fine. Be gentle on yourself too. =)

  5. I'm so sorry to hear that breastfeeding has become such a struggle. The first few weeks were very painful and frustrating for me, though for different reasons than you guys are dealing with (bleeding nipples, oversupply and overactive letdown, etc). Eventually things leveled out and got much easier to manage. A good lactation consultant is a godsend. I really hope that you three are able to find a system that best suits your needs, no matter what that looks like. We're thinking of you!

  6. Just found your blog through a random link... congrats on your new baby boy! I am a postpartum doula and I work with lots of new mommies struggling with breastfeeding, and I want to give you a big high five for sticking it out! Do the best you can, and I PROMISE, it will get easier. Even if you end up with a combo of breast and bottle, you are doing an amazing thing for yourself and your baby. And just keep reminding yourself IT GETS EASIER! By 6 weeks you guys will be nursing like champs :) Best of luck with everything!

  7. First, I'm so sorry I'm so behind on saying congratulations! Also sorry for all the early drama you guys have had. There's absolutely nothing as terrifying as having a newborn, is there? My first few weeks with Buggie I was terrified of starving her all the time. I used nipple shields for every feeding for three weeks. It was the only way she'd nurse without them. Then I started each feeding not using them to see if she'd latch. Sometimes she did for a minute or two and then I had to put them back, sometimes she did it on one side and not the other. It changed. But I just kept doing it and using them if she got too frustrated, and then suddenly she just didn't need them anymore.

    It will happen. As others have said, be patient and gentle with yourself. I know a woman nursing a one year old and has used nipple shields the whole time. She swears by them.

    Remember to take lots of deep breaths and sleep whenever you can (but that sleep when the baby sleeps stuff is really bullshit). I had friends come over for two weeks and literally watch Buggie sleep to make sure she was till breathing so that I could go to sleep and not have to worry every second.

    Please feel free to email me if you want more breastfeeding support. I had a really hard time in the beginning and now I can't get her off the damn things!

  8. Breastfeeding sucks at first. I used a nipple shield too and did so for like 3 months. It helped but only with our son. My daughter refused to breastfeed. I was so upset. It was the worst and I got tired of thinking of pumping and not enjoying my time. We switched to formula. Do whatever is best for you all. It will all work out in the end. I hope the breastfeeding gets easier but if not, don't beat yourself up over it.