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Thread: BFing Troubles (AGAIN!) - Give Me Some Reassurance That 3 Weeks Is Not Too Late

  1. #19

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    Thanks Jennifer - I'm feeling very sorry for myself as you can tell. I just feel like an idiot because the LC explained attachment to me several times, I asked lots of questions, thought I knew what to do (after she showed me). Then as soon as she'd gone and I'd got DD in my arms on my own, it's like I'd forgotten everything she'd said and we were back to square one.

    She's coming back on Thursday which is great. I guess I'm just feeling really sad that there's no earthly reason why we can't breastfeed - it's not DD's 'fault', there's no physical issues, it's just me who can't get the hang of it. I've been shown so many times how to do this and I just can't get to grips with it.



    I guess it's not helping that the LC's way of attaching is different to the hospital's way so maybe that's confusing me. I'm remembering half of what the hospital showed and half of what she showed and confusing myself.

  2. #20

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    Oh no! Don't be so hard on yourself hon!!! You're not an idiot at all!! My DD had serious attachment issues and it took us a while to get the hang of it. Just keep trying and if you need, phone your LC for support. You'll both get the hang of it soon. My LC taught me a little trick to get my DD to attach and I'll try to explain it. I had to push down on the top of my nipple with one finger so it forced my nipple to point upwards, if that makes sense. Then I'd pop my nipple in DD's mouth. It took a bit of practice but we got there.

    Hang in there, it will get easier. Keep trying

  3. #21

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    Aww no, you have to start somewhere! It takes time to learn this and get the hang of it, it really, really does! (and sometimes you have to unlearn a bit first, too)
    You've had a good feed. So you know you can do it. Concentrate on those times when your DD is more settled - the evenings are often a shocker, even when you've got the hang of it.
    You can do this, you just need to give it some time. Does she do phone consults? Perhaps you coud give her a call in the morning for some reminders. Or try the ABA helpline.

  4. #22

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    OK, now I'm a bit more together ... I think this is what's confusing me. I think the hospital taught me to basically use my fingers to shove the nipple into DD's mouth, making sure it was over the tongue.

    The LC was doing something different and I'm forgetting what order to do stuff in. She was basically saying position DD so that her mouth is in line with the nipple, then press her chin into the edge of the areola (spelling?), wait for a wide mouth and then basically flip her head so that it covers the nipple.

    So less emphasis on holding the nipple and I guess a bring baby to breast approach.

    So I think I'm all fingers and thumbs because I've been used to concentrating on holding my nipple and trying to get it into DD's mouth and now I'm learning something new but old habits (which weren't working) die hard.

  5. #23

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    Your LC's way sounds right to me, shouldn't be holding your nipples at all I think. You might need to hold the breast a bit if you're large breasted particularly, to support it, but chin to breast, just below the areola (I do'nt know spelling either) and nose lined up with nipple is how I learnt it. You want to be moving baby, NOT moving breast. And make sure she's tucked in nice and close to you, chest to chest, with her head free to move.
    Have you tried baby-led attachment at all? DD is so young that might work really well if you just lean back a bit and place her on your bare chest and let her figure it out.

  6. #24

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    that you've got it figured out for tonight. Bfing is a skill, I don't know if you've studied it before, but I certainly hadn't with DD! Each baby is different. You get some that are good at opening their mouths wide the instant they see your bb, some that need a bit of encouragement. Call the LC tomorrow and I'm glad you're seeing her on Thursday.

    It's getting the hang of it for you and your DD as a bfing pair. So unless you've had a previous life bfing her, you're certainly not an idiot.

  7. #25

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    Thanks for your kind words everyone. Each attempt is basically endingwithme in floods of tears because I feelso useless.dd does everything right big wide own mouth. Lc got her on instantly. Whenever I try, attachment isn't good so I takeher off and try again and it's just not working. The lc only works tuesday and thursdays so don't think i can talk to her today. Just wAnt to be able to cuddle my baby in peace without feeling that I should be trying again or expressing.

  8. #26

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    I'm so sorry to read that you are feeling like this Fiona. Breastfeeding AND expressing AND Ff top-ups must be incredibly time consuming. You and DD are both still learning what is going to work best for you as a team - it's not your 'fault'!!! I'm pleased the LC is lovely and is coming back. Just hope that she can help you get the attachment thing right, because when it works well, then it works really well.

  9. #27

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    Maybe time for a little break and some deap breaths.
    You're not useless, you're just learning a new skill and that always takes some time and effort.

    Why not try calling the LC anyway - at worst you'll get an answering machine. Or the ABA. At any rate, tomorrow is a new day and you can start over with the LC. Tell her it doesn't work when she's not there so she can help you with that - It's a common problem for new mums experiencing difficulties with feeding and extremely frustrating!

  10. #28

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    I think I'm close to throwing in the towel and have hesitated to post this (because I know you lovely ladies will try to offer solutions and I'm not sure it's solutions that I'm after right now) but am doing so because of the thread that was started (and closed) recently about why women choose not to breastfeed.

    I saw the LC again yesterday. Again, she made attachment look easy so from that perspective there is nothing major preventing me from BFing DD other than that I have very large nipples, am a fairly unco person and I find it difficult to attach her. This could be resolved with more practice. Hoop Number 1 to go through. In the meantime, my supply has dwindled. This too could be resolved by feeding DD more (see Hoop Number 1) or by expressing more (Hoop Number 2). Expressing makes my nipples sore which in turn makes me fearful of attaching DD when it comes time for a feed. Bit of a vicious circle. Alternatively I guess I could take Motilium for my supply and I could look into different pumps that have bigger flanges to prevent my nipples getting sore.

    So if attaching is not successful, I am still stuck doing three feeds in one. Try to BF, bottle feed, then express. By the time I've finished the bottle feed I DON'T WANT TO EXPRESS. I just want to cuddle DD. In addition, because my supply is not great, DD does not really settle after a feed. Yesterday between 3-11pm, she barely slept. I hate seeing her so unsettled.

    Do I want to breastfeed? Yes, of course. Can I breastfeed? In theory, yes with more practice and with more work on my supply. Do I want to keep jumping through hoops to do it? No, I don't want to do that. I would like some quality of life where either feeding, thinking about feeding or thinking about solutions to feeding problems are not on my mind 24 hours a day. And I would like to be able to spend more time cuddling my daughter. I'm very lucky that DP is actually home at the moment but I have barely interacted with my toddler for a week now in trying to sort this out.

    So for the person who posed the question about why women choose not to breastfeed, I hope that provides you with an insight into why some of us choose not to. I could lie and say that I'm not able to breastfeed but in my case, if I do decide not to, then I guess it's a choice.

  11. #29

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    I can completely understand not wanting to express or do all three things at once.
    You're right, you have choices and they are yours to make - you know what is best for your family
    You know we're here whether you want advice, support or just an ear.

  12. #30

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    Fi - be kind to yourself. There are always compromises and often things are not as we had planned. Make sure you do what is right for you. xxxxx

  13. #31

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    Just a suggestion - the expressing is giving you stress big time. How about trying to attach (set yourself a time limit - I will try for 5 minutes and if she doesn't attach I will move on) and then bottle feeding. Yes your supply will decrease - but if you and DD do actually get the hang of attaching then she can build it up again herself, as long as you keep trying to attach her. And if you follow each feed with a bottle then she's still going to grow and so on. You must not suddenly stop expressing or BF-ing completely. This is not just my inner-BF-enthusiast-pushy-cow coming out, but also that you do NOT need blocked ducts and mastitis to add to the mixture. If you do decide not to give BM at all then back off slowly - drop one express or BF every couple of days, maximum.
    all the best
    hugs
    Kate

  14. #32

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    Kmn that's what we have been doing, I have been trying to attach her for the last week, every single feed. It works very occasionally so dd is not building up my supply. Hence I have to follow with a bottle then have to express to try to maintain supply. My nipples were getting sore so I cut back on expressing. I've gone from getting 150ml a week ago to 30 ml now so if attaching continues to not work then my best option seems to be motilium. I would be happy to do that if I was getting the hang of attachment but I'm simply not.

  15. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by fionas View Post
    So for the person who posed the question about why women choose not to breastfeed, I hope that provides you with an insight into why some of us choose not to. I could lie and say that I'm not able to breastfeed but in my case, if I do decide not to, then I guess it's a choice.
    I was a big contributer in the thread you're talking about. I'm still BF DD once a day but FF her the rest of the time and I was, hmmm, batting for the FF mums out there. I TOTALLY understand what you're going through and what you're saying as that is exactly the same issues DD and I had. It was pure hell and I don't blame you at all for wanting to or actually throwing the towel in. It was hard enough with just one child on the scene let alone a toddler to think about too. It is mentally and physically draining and there is nothing worse, IMO, than watching your newborn struggle to settle on their own cause their mummy has to express. It was torture!!

    So, well said hon. You have put it beautifully - just how difficult the BF journey can be for some mums and why many chose to quit. BF is a magical thing when it works but you can also lose a lot of precious time with your little baby trying to establish that relationship. I'm grateful we got there in the end but I'm not sure I'd do the same next time. Actually, I very much doubt I would.

    In saying all that, I will give you one last push in the direction of BF - if you want really want it to work, you can make it happen. I think DD and I finally got things sorted around 12 weeks and although it was a fantastic feeling of achievement, the journey was far from pleasant. My nipples went through hell with the pump too but I should have bought bigger shields a lot earlier. I was using a hired Medela double pump (the hospital grade one). But we did get there and it has been amazing since. I gave up pumping once we got things sorted though and if DD needed top ups, I used formula. We were both much happier that way!

    Big hugs to you. I totally respect your decision, which ever direction you take. I'll be happy to give as much as support as you need and answer any questions you have too.

    PS: I took Motillium until DD was about 5 months old. It did help a lot with my supply, especially as I gave the pump away around 15 weeks. I took the biggest dose I could then gradually weaned off around 5 months. My supply seemed to cope fine after that.
    Last edited by Taurean; August 20th, 2010 at 04:05 PM.

  16. #34

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    Fi, it sounds like you're having a really rough day and you need to give yourself a break, mentally especially. You're doing a great job under difficult circumstances. Don't beat yourself up, there's no need to put so much pressure on yourself. Really, there's no way I'm going to pretend to understand how challenging it is and second guess your choices. And anyone who does is being mighty arrogant and patronising. It's not worth worrying about what 'they' would think.

    Your DD is thriving and you are doing that for her, taking care of her, feeding her and being there with her when she needs you. Your DD1 is probably loving her Daddy-time (I think that'll be one of the bonuses when we have #2, DP and DD getting all of the extra time to bond).

    I hope you feel a bit more settled soon.

  17. #35

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    Just remember - a decent LC has attached a few thousand babies to a few thousand boobies - she is expected to be better at it than you!
    Can you hang in there expressing and bottle feeding and formula feeding (not even trying attaching very often) for a few more weeks - that gives bubs mouth a chance to grow and herself a chance to grow a bit stronger, both of which can make things easier....
    Or another option is to work out what you can put up with at the moment - expressing morning, lunch and before bed for example and FF the rest of the time. And see how you go.
    In case you don't know - the easier way for production line expressing is to hot soapy wash (and sterilise if you want to) the pump bits each morning and then just store them in a zip lock bag in the fridge, milky drops and all, for the day and use as needed. You don't have to wash and sterilise each time.
    Last edited by Kmn; August 21st, 2010 at 08:27 PM.

  18. #36

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    Fiona,

    It sounds like we have similar paths atm. My DS is almost 3 wks and we've been battling sucking issues (tongue tie snipped) and poor attachment, if at all. I struggled to persevere with attachment believing it was for the best but then my DS wasn't putting on weight, and with jaundice I was constantly told how important the fluids were to help flush that out. I was under enormous stress, mainly from myself, to breastfeed until my Mum said to me I should be enjoying my DS, and to be honest I wasn't because I was dreading him waking up wanting a feed. I gave myself 'permission' to change to bottle feeding but expressing and topping up the required levels with formula. Currently it's working and I'm now enjoying my DS.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is you are not alone and there are people who will understand. I cannot imagine trying to do all this with a toddler. You have to do what is right for you and your family. I wish you peace with your decision -whatever that may be for you.

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