Wednesday, October 9, 2013

On early breastfeeding attempts

2 posts in one day! I've been writing, just not publishing. My brain does not function properly these days, it feels like it's just constantly cloudy up in there. I started the following post over the weekend, came back to it on Monday and finished it today. I really do need some advice if you have any on the topic.

Ethan was bottle fed formula from the time he was born. We were not given the chance to latch and bond with breastfeeding at the time of birth relative to his prematurity. While in the NICU, we attempted to breastfeed but due to his lethargy and inability to fully wake up, we had no success. Also, although the NICU nurses pushed breastfeeding initially, they subtly hinted that he could be there longer if he did do full feedings per the doctor's orders at each feed. I gave up and pumped. My milk came in on the Monday after he was born (he was born on Friday). Then they fortified my milk for 24 hours. Also, several times over the first few days he was gavage fed breast milk through a NG (naso-gastric) tube. Since then he has been fed expressed breastmilk via a bottle.

The pediatrician gave me the go ahead this past Monday to exclusively breastfeed for the next 2 weeks, if he continues to gain weight, no more bottles!!!!

It does seem like we might have a few problems. He has no ability to latch on, and I may have flat nipples, so I bought myself a nipple shield and he did great all day. I'm a little concerned that I can't keep track of how much he gets at each feeding because I can't see it like I could the bottles, but I think we will do fine. And if he prefers the plastic of the nipple shield over a natural latch, so be it, I'm not going to get worked up over that. Maybe we will be able to ditch it in the future, maybe not.

Scratch that last paragraph, I breastfed for 24 hours from about midday Monday to midday Tuesday and pumped after each feeding. After 24 hours, I became so engorged and sick, I had to pump and bottle feed. It felt like my head was going to pop off. My boobs were huge and painful and I had a horrible headache, fever of 100.5, was lethargic (beyond my new state of being tired all the time). With pumping and Tylenol, my fever broke in the middle of the night, so I've still been bottle feeding. I called the local lactation consultant for help with switching from bottle to breast. I'm hopeful that I can get an appointment in the next day or so because I think our window of opportunity for learning to breastfeed is quickly closing.

My main issue seems to be that milk supply currently exceeds little E's demand and the flow overwhelms him. I can double pump a total of 6 oz every 3 hours, whereas E is just eating about 2 oz or slightly more.

Really any advice would be much appreciated!


  1. Nipple shields were our saving grace- I used them the whole 7m I nursed the boys. I never had a problem with too much milk, but I did recently read that pumping a small amount before nursing can help with this problem by avoiding that initial big letdown of milk. I know it stinks to both nurse AND pump, but it may be worth it if you can eventually transition to just nursing. I'm sure the LC will have lots of ideas for you! Good luck to you! In the meantime, do what you have to do for yourself and your little man!

  2. My milk was overwhelming for Gavin too. I'm not sure if it was because the pumping instead of nursing made me produce more when he was in the NICU? I think seeing a lactation consultant is the best thing to do, I hope you can get some help. You are doing great!

  3. First off, why are you pumping after feedings? That is just encouraging your body to keep over-producing milk. I'd discontinue that immediately to try to get your body to slow down on production.

    My friends that had an oversupply and/or just a fast letdown would nurse lying down with baby on top of their chests while their supply adjusted. That helps gravity to keep the milk from drowning the kiddo. Maybe worth a shot?

    Also, have you checked out The website is a WEALTH of information about breastfeeding.

    I'm concerned you got a fever from engorgement - are you sure you didn't get a touch of mastitis?

    I think a LC consult is a great idea!

  4. Lactation consultant!! Get there now however you can. These ladies are the best and will help you with all your questions and help you latch. Also, they'll give you a detailed plan for using the shield, pumping etc. Ours weighed the baby before and after nursing so we could tell exactly how much he was drinking. So much peace of mind. I would have given up the first week if not for them. You can do this, you just need some help.

    And it does sound like mastitis to me. Warm compresses on those breasts and advil. Also you need to rest a TON when you have this. I hope this helps but seriously get to a consultant today.


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