Breastfeeding struggles.. please help!: My girl was born... - NCT

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Breastfeeding struggles.. please help!

Juniperandcat profile image

My girl was born slightly early as I was induced at 36 weeks due to pre eclampsia. I’d always planned on breastfeeding but she struggled to latch when she was born as she was only a small baby!

I ended up pumping and bottle feeding starting in the hospital but always offering the breast first. Eventually after a couple of weeks she started to latch, but it’s always been a shallow latch and was finding I’d have to top up with expressed milk as she wasn’t getting a full feed from me.

Two weeks ago she was diagnosed with tongue tie, which was cut 3 days ago but her latch is still the same. I can be feeding her for 30mins-1 hour and she’s never fully satisfied from me and still rooting and getting upset and frustrated, she even cried on the boob we were trying so much and it’s heartbreaking.

She’s 7.5 weeks old now and I just want to be able to feed her without worrying when I need to next pump and if there’s enough expressed milk in the fridge for her. I don’t want to give up, I want her to have my own milk but I feel like a milk factory, if I’m not feeding her I’m expressing and it’s really starting to take its toll. Any advice would be much appreciated x

10 Replies

Hi, if you are on fb join the group Breastfeeding Guidance and Support UK. They can give you proper advice! Are you in touch with your local infant feeding team?(your health visitor should be able to point you in the right direction). I cant imagine how hard this is for you, and to still be going for almost two months is absolutely amazing! It may take a while for baby to learn how to feed with their new tongue, three days isn't very long if they have gone 7 weeks with a shallow latch. Have you tried the flipple? My boy (3.5 months) had a recessed jaw and high palate, this massively helped us get a deep latch until he grew a bit more. Try and go back to basics with the latch (nose to nipple, body in line etc) and unlatch baby if it is painful so she can start to learn how to become more deeply attached. Definitely reach out for some professional support if you haven't already, you have done so so well to come this far! X

Thankyou for your reply, we’ve been trying what seems like everything and it’s heartbreaking. I’ve been in touch with both the feeding team and my HV, My HV referred me to the lactation specialist a couple of weeks ago but said it may be a couple of months - however I got an unexpected call yesterday and I have an appointment today 😊 I’m determined to work on it. It is a journey not an experience after all x

Thats amazing I hope it went well for you. We still struggle with latch at times but just keep going and focus on one feed at a time. What a lucky baby to have a mummy as dedicated as you x

Please do keep in mind there will be grow the spurts and getting frustrated at the boob can be normal behaviour. Spend lots of time doing skin to skin, don’t worry about the lengthy feeds and just offer boob whenever she wants it, settle yourself down with some snacks and a good box set. Focus on output, plenty of wet and dirty nappies are your best indicator right now. Definitely reach out for health visitors or local feeding team for more support and join the group suggested above- it’s brilliant.

Take care xx

My wee one is the same and I always said I wouldnt put pressure on the breast feeding, if it worked great, if it didn’t then loads of benefits of bottle too. I have moved to bottle now and it’s best thing Ive ever done for both of us (and my partner).

Both the midwife and health visitor were happy to help with any way I chose to feed so that’s where I suggest you ask first but they also both independently said that my life would likely be constant feeding or expressing if I chose to continue that way or even combo feeding of bottle and breast which I was considering so I just moved to fully bottle feeding. I was sad for a few days (and got some comments from elderly relatives) but in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t the big deal I thought it was ☺️ Hope the feeding gets easier no matter which way you choose to feed 🤗 xx

La Leche League can support you, please look at the link below:

laleche.org.uk/find-lll-sup...

I can totally understand you, it's hard, both physically and mentally. Also, it definitely takes a while for the latch to get better after a tongue tie division. Maybe try the "koala hold"? It definitely helped my little boy to feed much much better! He is now 3.5 months and very rarely needs top-ups now.

Hi, when my son was born he was in intensive care for a couple of weeks then diagnosed with tongue tie which was treated at 6w. He was always crying and never satisfied when I tried to breastfeed him during those initial 2 weeks. I thought I would try again after his tongue tie but after being up all that night I resigned to feeding him my expressed milk thinking it was too late to retrain him to feed on the boob and get him off the bottle. So I ended up expressing exclusively for 10.5 months!

In retrospect I would have done a lot of things differently…(1) I would have either persevered with trying to breastfeed as I don’t think I (personally) tried hard enough after the first two weeks, thinking I would pick this up after his tongue tie op or (2) I would have decided to bottle feed formula (and believe me I don’t say this lightly as I am a massive advocate of breastfeeding). But all the hours I spent pumping put me under pressure to get him down for regular naps and I think I missed out on properly bonding with my baby, plus it also put pressure on my relationship and created unnecessary tension in the house with my husband who kept telling me to stop pumping.

When I was pumping and breastfeeding I think my mistake was pumping too close to when he needed to feed, could this possibly explain why your daughter is not fully satisfied as you say in your post? Could there also be some nipple confusion and the bottle has affected her latching and feeding technique? Somewhere along the line I heard that Medela do a “supplemental nursing system” medela.co.uk/breastfeeding-... which I wished I’d tried. It is a tube which allows baby to feed with expressed milk at the breast, so you both get the bonding experience (so important as I’ve come to realise with breastfeeding my second baby) and she gets to associate being at the breast with milk and helps to allay the frustration and tears. It doesn’t solve your immediate problem of pumping BUT it does get you potentially closer to breastfeeding and away from the bottle.

In short, having done all three forms of feeding, breast, pumping and formula, breastfeeding is my favourite by a long shot for bonding and convenience (especially in the night) I would encourage you to look into the Medela option above and contact your health visitor who can put you in touch with their breastfeeding specialist. I myself got loads of advice from various midwives and hospital specialists but in the end was exhausted by 6w to be up all night breastfeeding and still have to pump, I wish I’d just dropped the pumping there and then to give breastfeeding a proper chance to take the pressure off myself (which was possible as I’d built up a bit of a stash).

When you said in your post you don’t want to worry about when to pump, I TOTALLY GET YOU HERE, have you thought about pumping on the other side when you’re breastfeeding her? Either with a single electrical pump (I also had to hand pump for a couple of weeks which was far too much effort!) or a Haakaa silicone pump haakaaofficial.co.uk/breast... which collects milk let down on the other side, so is a passive form of pumping and much cheaper. I tried the Haakaa when breastfeeding my daughter (only a couple of times), I collected a bit but I was so traumatised by pumping so much for my son that I couldn’t face doing the whole wash and sterilise thing for only around 50mls per feed.

Whatever you end up doing, I know you desperately want to BF but there is some truth to the whole mantra of “fed is best” and I believe the most important thing is to make time and save energy for cuddles and bonding. This is what I regret more than anything else. Good luck and I hope it all works out for you x

Juniperandcat profile image
Juniperandcat in reply to RhiP

Wow, thankyou so much for taking the time to reply! 10.5 months is such a long time to express, I take my hat off to you as that must have been super tough.

I didn’t know about the supplemental nursing system, that looks like a great way to help her. I was lucky enough to get a call from the lactation consultant yesterday with an appointment today, so I’ll see what she says and possibly mention it too!

There’s a few points in here that I’d not thought of, super grateful for your reply. Thanks mama x

RhiP profile image
RhiP in reply to Juniperandcat

Excellent! Hope she helps you crack it! Pleasure to help a fellow mama 👍😘

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