Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: my happy place
Re: Please help my baby wont breast feed and midwife says to give up :(
Oh, I'm so sorry your are having a hard time. Breastfeeding should be enjoyable. It can be heartbreaking when things go so wrong. I'll pass along all the knowledge I have learned in 10 yrs as an OB/Nursery/L&D RN and LC (not IBCLC). Rally your supporters and be committed to giving it another shot.
First, it seems like you are not getting good help or advice. You can breastfeed with inverted nipples. Do they come out with the shield? when you pump? or when stimulated? Then you can likely breastfeed.
First things first. He needs to eat. Major weight loss is concerning, esp. if he was not full term. Ditch the bottles. They are especially confusing for a baby with latching issues. Feed with a dropper, teaspoon, plastic medicine cup, or cup feeder. Doesn't have to be fancy.
Boost your supply. There are many things that can help. I use Mothers Milk tea, but check with a local IBCLC for safety and other things that may help. Lots of mom's here swear oatmeal helps. I haven't tried it myself, but it's definitely safe. Be sure you are keeping up on your fluids.
Up the pumping. 4 times a day is definitely not enough for a full milk supply. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. You should be copying baby's feeds, every 2-3 hours, and try for once at night. Your hormones are highest at night, so this is great for your supply. Are you pumping with a hospital grade double electric pump? If you are going to put all this work into pumping, rent the best pump you can find. Do the flanges, or horn shaped parts of the breast pump fit you properly? Nipples are like snowflakes, no two are the same. Properly fitted flanges will make a world of difference in how much milk you get out. Pump at least 10-15 min, 20 is a lot, more than that is overkill. A shield diminishes the contact to the breast, so even if baby nurses with it, pump for a few minutes after to make up for it.
Use warm a warm compress for a few minutes before you pump. You can also put the warm water to your breasts in the shower. Or take a big basin of warm water and bend over and soak the girls for a few minutes. This will help with the let down, get the milk flowing, and help with the engorgement, or the plugged ducts you might have. Also, bend over and do a little massage to the breasts, and stimulate the nipples by hand yourself. Your hubby may be glad to help with this (hey, there has to be some fun in this) Kittens knead when they eat, so do human babies. It's all part of the let down process.
Latching...is he possibly tongue tied? Can he stick his tongue out? Does that little bit of tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth come all the way to the tip of the tongue? A tongue tie can be snipped by a qualified MD and WILL help with latching. How does he suck? Does he put his tongue up to the roof of his mouth and push out the nipple? You can do suck training. Wash your hands, clip your finger nails and let him suck on your upside down pinky finger. If he is not sucking properly, he can figure it out on you finger. You will know for sure when he gets a regular, rhythmic suck going. This will cut down on some of the frustration at the breast.
More latching...Try when he's not starved. Try when he's half full, or sleepy. He won't fight it so much. Do the suck training, and then offer the breast. If he won't go, offer with the shield. Work up to taking the shield off part way through the feeding. The nipple should be pulled out at that point and you may be able to pop him right back on the breast.
Pain...you're probably going to have some for a couple weeks with inverted nipples. They have a lot more stretching to do when a baby nurses than an everted nipple. It will go away (and your nipples will no longer be inverted!) You should not have bruising, blistered, cracked or bleeding nipples. If baby is latching well, he's covering the areola and the nipple ends up in the back of his mouth. Your midwife should have at least shown you that.
Supplementing...it needs to be done until he's nursing well, or you can get your supply up enough to fully feed breast milk. Nurse first, or give breast milk first, then just enough formula to keep him happy. You can nurse and have someone else supplement while you pump, if you would like. I suggest supplementing at the breast. With my twins, I would latch them on and used a curved tip plastic dropper to supplement them while they ate. As soon as the baby stopped sucking, I would squeeze a couple drops of formula or breast milk into the corner of their mouth. They would suck a bit more and I would repeat. It's far less time consuming to supplement at the breast, AND it provides additional stimulation to the breast, so good for your supply. You could always use a supplemental nurser for the same purpose.
That's all I can think of at the moment. Search for some form of breastfeeding support in your area. Is there a clinic nearby? Or a support group? The medela website has a ton of good information as well as the LLL site. I hope some of this information is helpful. My heart goes out to you. Best of luck.