Getting my preterm to breastfeed

My baby was born at 29weeks via emergency csec and has been tube and bottle fed to date. By 6weeks i could get him to latch but he was to weak to suck. He's been bottle fed ebm since his tube was removed. Because he was so small i was advised to use a nipple shield, which he took to easy. He has now reached his due date and is 11 weeks old, but will no longer latch onto my breast without the nipple shield. My milk has run low and i have to top him up with half as much formula. I've tried all the ways to increase my milk supply except the medicine route as that would interfere with his medicines apparently. How to i get him to feed full time? on bottle he does 90ml every 2 to 3 hours, if i try to breastfeed him, i cant get him off as he is constantly hungry.

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  • Wow Congrats 29 weeks bless sounds like he is doing great. ..Did u want to bf full time? Have u tried expressing regularly? It might take a few days but sometimes if it dries up it is very hard to get it back. .That's the only thing I can think of I'm afraid. .. I'm sure the other mums will have some great advice. . stress can affect ur milk so try be as relaxed about it as u possibly can all the best to u and ur little man x

  • thanks. yes i've been expressing every 2-3 hours since his birth, really tired of it and would rather bf full time. the formula is really hard on his tummy, although he is tolerating the new one a bit better - at least not screaming in pain from tummy ramps anymore!

  • I would contact the breastfeeding helpline and ask your midwife or hv to recommend a breastfeeding councillor. Drink lots of water. I have a friend that went through similar but managed eventually. You could try hiring a different type of breast pump, they vary hugely in their effectiveness. Goodluck. And well done so far, sounds like you've tried very hard so don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work out, I did after bf didn't succeed with my first, second time round it's going ok.

  • You've done brilliantly so far, well done. My lo was tongue tied and did quite a bit of damage to me before it was identified and cut, so my supply went down as I hated expressing and couldn't bear the pain of putting her to breast (although I did try to express). To reassure you it can be done, I managed to get my supply back up and bf my lo until she was 10 months old (we kept one bottle of formula a day, out of choice). It was a lot of hard work, constantly putting her to the breast, a very gradual process, so don't beat yourself up about how long it takes and it does feel like you're feeding constantly, but that's a short term sacrifice for the long term benefits. Definitely find some support groups to feed at, breastfeeding cafés, la leche league have support groups in some areas and find some other new mums that bf and just sit round each other's houses bfing and chatting to pass the time. Relaxing is definitely key, which is why I suggest feeding around other people as then you won't notice the time passing. Good luck.

  • Congrats on getting so far - I understand a lot of what your going through. Although my twins were born much later at 34+4, my little boy only started trying breastfeeding after 4 weeks, having been tube fed always. He has been struggling to latch as well & althouh he tries he rarely latches without a nipple shield & requires extra food by bottle now as his weight has been low.

    Have you been given bottle teats that are supposed to help mimic more of nipples - our hospital gave us some & might help 'retrain' your young one.

    I know you mention about the conflict of medicines to help with milk production - i assume that you are meaning domperidone? Have you asked for a second opinion? It has helped me & my little boy was on some medication, but obviously it depends what your little one needs.

    It might also be worth reducing your expressing if possible. I have had times where I was feeding one twin, then the other, expressing after & because they hadn't fed well they would ask for food soon after leaving me shattered & stressed. If your feeding as often as 2 hours I can imagine you must be tired, frustrated, fed up & (if like me) wondering sometimes what you are doing wrong. Just don't beat yourself up & expressing less often can help increase the amount you get as there's less pressure between feeds.

    I don't know if any of the above is helpful, but don't feel your alone - you have done amazingly to get this far! If I can help in anyway by sharing experience, just let me know.

  • Congrats!!uve really done very well!!dont be pressurised into breast feeding only because bottle feeding is just as good.when my LO was born I breast fed but she was a hungry baby so I asked for a bottle.x

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