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Old 09-21-2012, 07:35 PM   #1
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Encouragement Needed

My son, now 2 months old, was in the Nicu for a week after birth for antibiotic treatment and because his heartrate would decelerate and his breathing was rapid. For the first two days in the Nicu he had a feeding tube and was getting formula and I would give whatever colostrum I could pump. Later in the week they took out the feeding tube and I was able to bf and still had to supplement with formula and also gave him pumped milk. By the end of the week we were breastfeeding on demand without formula supplements. After the first couple days at home we took him for his first visit to the pediatrician and he hadn't gained as much weight as he should have. After a couple more weigh ins and trying to supplement his feedings with pumped breastmilk he still wasn't gaining. We started supplementing with formula after feedings and we've been gradually reducing the amount we supplement with, I also give him whatever I can pump. My problem is that he doesn't suckle vigorously and doesn't really demand to be fed I still have to wake him up to eat all the time. I tried feeding him every two hours and now we're on a three hour schedule because he seems to feed a little better with a longer nap. My supply has been low and I've been pumping after feedings and taking fenugreek. I thought things were getting better these last couple weeks but when I took him to get weighed today he hadn't gained anything in two weeks, he grew an inch but was the exact same weight. I'm just feeling like I must be failing at breastfeeding and am just about ready to throw in the towel and switch to formula. I love our closenes and know how good breastmilk is for him I really want it to work, but I'm just having a hard time because I had no idea he wasn't gaining. I thought he had enough wet/poopy diapers, he's alert and happy when awake, he seemed content after feedings and has been sleeping through the night for the last week and a half. I'm working with a lactation consultant but any advice/encouragement from moms who've had to supplement and made it through would be great.


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Old 09-21-2012, 08:21 PM   #2
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Re: Encouragement Needed


I know how exhausting that nursing, supplementing, pumping cycle is!! Don't beat yourself up if you need to supplement! I know a mama who supplemented for 8 months before it clicked for them. They also had a nicu stay and other complications and sometimes it takes a while for you to get in sync with each other. Your body makes the perfect food for your little one, and you can feel proud that you are giving him what you can, even if it is just a little!! As long as you are taking care of yourself, and your nursing relationship is enjoyable for both of you, you are doing the right thing! Don't tell yourself you are inadequate! You are doing a great job!!
Kimberly, wife to Martin , Catholic, Waldorf, RIE inspired mama to Benjamin David(2-14-11) and Mariah Celeste(3/28/13) Trying everyday to love this world in the right way.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:21 PM   #3
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Re: Encouragement Needed

First of all, I understand how hard you are working to make this work, pat yourself on the back for getting to two months!

Growing in length is great! That's progress. My current nursling isn't very big, and she doesn't gain weight when she grows in length, and she doesn't loose weight either, just stays the same.

Both of my kids are small (5 - 10%), but I didn't know this is who they are when my first was born. I ended up supplementing with an SNS and formula until he quit nursing at 10 months. I started supplementing at 4 weeks due to failure to thrive.

I say you know what you need and that's encouragement. Tell those around you that you NEED support, and that this is really hard emotionally and you need help from those around you. Do what you can to lower your stress, eat well and drink lots of water.

If you are worried about low supply, nurse more frequently when he's awake. Count diapers. Trust your mommy instinct.

You are doing a fantastic job. Breastfeeding is the hardest thing I've ever done. Ever.
Callie, part-time biologist, full-time mama to Beaner (Jul/10) and Tippee (Jun/12)
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:41 PM   #4
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Re: Encouragement Needed

I supplemented from six weeks to five months. It took me a long time to feel proud of myself for sticking to it. My laction consultant actually told me she'd never seen someone keep at it like me (I asked what the odds were that I'd get to exclusively breastfeed and she didn't know, she said most give up.)

Even if you never drop the supplement you are doing a great job. I had a supply problem so going on Domperidone, eating a lot, taking herbs, and slowly reducing the amount supplemented is what worked for me. You'll find what works for you.

My daughter also didn't gain one week and grew an inch. The next week she gained fine. I hope you stop feeling discouraged. You're doing amazing.
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:58 PM   #5
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Re: Encouragement Needed

Just like others said- you're doing great! I have never had to supplement but I think you're doing the right thing. Keep at it mama!
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:10 PM   #6
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Re: Encouragement Needed

Don't let low weight gain get to you! Some babies are just small. Some grow UP before they grow OUT. There is no shame in supplementing, you are still working your behind off to give your baby the very best. You're supermom!
Emma H&T Mama to Faolan 6/7/12 & Malachy 1/29/14
Mary born into heaven at 14 weeks
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:18 PM   #7
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You sound like you are doig better than I was with my second. If he seems happy and he's having enough wet/dirty diapers then he's probably fine. My little hardly gained anything for like 5 months and all his docs wanted me to supplement. But he was fine. Trust yourself more than doctors who only see your baby once in awhile.

That said-there's no shame in supplementing or even going to formula all together. Again trust your instincts and do whats best for your family. Some women did breastfeeding easy an some don't. But no one should make you feel ashamed over how you feed your baby. Unless-you know-you're not.
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