Breastfeeding Help - I don't know what else to try

Hi Ladies
I'm really sorry i haven't been on and introduced myself, my days have turned into, well they have disappeared faster than I ever imagined!
Oliver Jake arrived on Sunday at 4.25am weighing 8lb 4oz at 39 weeks exactly. I got to 10cm dilated on G&A but he turned his head to a funny position then pooed and half my cervix dropped back to 6 so had to have a caesarean. Slightly disheartening but the main thing is my little man is safe and well.

He spent the first 36 hours in SCBU due to a little trouble breathing so because of this they had to feed him through a bottle. I managed to express as much colostrum as I could and they fed him this but they had to top him up with a few ml's of aptamil as his blood sugars were dropping.

Whilst in hospital I did manage to breastfeed but was told I had to top up to keep his levels up which I did. the problem is since being home breastfeeding as gone from bad to worse. He just wont latch on and I have tried absolutely everything. He makes attempts too, opens his mouth and when I put him too it he jus thrashes around, if he does close his mouth he then tucks his bottom lip under so has half my nipple in his mouth. He then starts beating up my boob with his hands and he is so strong! I have tried swaddling but that just causes more distress, i'm comfortable, I have tried various different positions for both me and him, have tried when he is tired, when he is awake, before and after nappy change, tried winding him etc etc.
Me and DH have sat there with every book, every internet page and every demo video there is and we are doing everything right as far as we can see, Oliver just doesn't seem to want to feed. I have tried to leave him until he cries for milk but he never does, I left it 5 hours in the night to see if that would help but nothing and i'm worried he isn't getting enough.
I phoned the national helpline and the woman run through everthing with me (as did the midwifes in hospital) but he just won't accept it.
My milk came in on day 3 and I had masses and masses but because of the lack of feeding my left boob is pretty much drying up. I decided after many tears last night to express every 2 hours to keep him filled up and to try and increase my supply and I did this throughout the night. I managaed to get about 40-50mls combined from both breasts every 2-3 hours and he is pretty much taking the whole lot through the bottle

Is there anything else I can do? I didn't realise how much I wanted to breastfeed but now I can't im so so sad as I really want too. My Health Visitor is coming today but she's a useless lump. I told her on Wed I was having trouble and she pretty much ignored me.

I just can't bear to see my poor little son in distress anymore and would rather give him a bottle now than have any more tears, from me too!

Thanks for your help
Emma and Oliver (5 days old!)


  • when you're holding Oliver try to make sure you're not holding his head still but just letting it rest on your arm as they tend to thrash to move their head when its held still.

    you might just have to persevere - it is much much easier to get the milk out of a bottle than the breast, so he might just be being a bit lazy.

    I'm not sure what else to suggest at the moment as I've got a screaming baby just woken up... (are you feeding ebm or formula in the bottles?)

    if i think of anything else I'll be back!

    Oh just thought - has he got a tongue tie!?!

  • Hi Mummystephe
    I don't think he has tongue tie, would they have told me?
    I have been holding the back of his head and kinda gently pushing it to me when he opens his mouth so that could explain the thrashing, thanks
    It's EBM in the bottles at the moment. I deliberately havent' brougth any formula as it would be so tempting to use it but at the moment if I can't BF then it's EBM.
    Thanks for your reply.
  • Apparently they have a reflex that makes them throw their heads back if the back of it is touched, i hold my dd head but my fingers and thumb are behind her ears and palm not touching then once she's on rest her on my arm.

    Have you tried laying down?
    Do you squeeze some milk out and rub it on your nipple before feed?

    When my dd is being lazy she messes about alot, its a very emotional thing BFing thats hard to describe to anyone, dont beat yourself up hun, your trying so hard. Try to keep calm, lots of water and vitamins will help with supply and some suckling from bubs will help.

    Hows his weight doing? Do you have a BF support group local to you?

    Congratulations on your little man. xxxx
  • Hon, thank you for your reply. I'm not taking antibiotics but i'm on paracetamol and diclofenic for my caesarean, just anti inflammatories. He has taken my milk through a bottle so it doesnt' seem like he doesnt' like my milk it's just he wont 'take it from teh breast. I did wonder if it's just laziness due to having bottles. I'll try massaging as you say and all the other bits. I must admit I am forcing my nipple in his mouth which i'll stop.
    It hasn't come across patronising at all, i'm just so grateful for any help anybody can give as I feel quite left alone with it all.
    I have been told there is one locally on a friday between 12.30-2.30 but i'm currently sitting waiting for said healthvisitor to turn up. She's worse than a delivery driver with her time slots!
    You hit the nail on the haed though, you feel like you have failed as a mum and a wmoan but my main concern is seeing him fulfilled after a meal.
    I'll keep tring and will let you know how I get on.
    Thanks again
  • First night home the same sort of things happened to me and Michael. He was bottle fed in hospital from my milk. He was jaundiced, blood sugars were low and i had to give him a set amount and make sure he was taking it.

    When I went home I wanted to breastfeed again but he did not wanted it. Eventually in the morning I had enough. An hour before he was due a feed I stripped him naked with only his nappy on, I stripped myself naked and just had him laying on my chest. Did not expect much of it, but after half an hour he was looking for a nipple and I put him in the right position and he took it straight away. (after struggling for a long time before, trashing around and not wanting to suck when he had it in his mouth etc)

    I don't know if you already tried that, seeing how much you have already tried. But if you haven't it might be worth a try.
  • Breighlin, I havent' tried that so I will do next.
    Just had HV round and she knocked as I was trying to feed. She tried to help but was prety useless. She just told me exactly what I have told her before. That he tries to suck his tongue. She managed to get him to latch on but it took 2 of us and he only sucked for 15 mins before he fell asleep dead to the world. She said that was ok but then said feeds should last 30 mins. She told me to undress him and try again but then left so an hour later and he still hasn't had anymore.
    The fact he has gone to sleep and won't wake, is that a good sign that he has had a good feed???

  • I was always told babies should feed for at least 10 mins if hes asleep he is obviously content and not hungry so dont worry.

    Things I found helped when Dylan thrashed around was to squeeze the breast so some milk or colostrum dropped into his mouth helps to soothe them slightly so they are less fractious!

    Your doing really well Emma dont worry about what the HV says just go with what your baby needs

    Em and Dylan 23 days x x
  • Don't worry about 15 min feeding Emma. Michael never fed more than 25 min and those where rare. He often fed for between 10 and 15 minutes and was happy for 2 hours till his next feed. Be very positive that he did latch on and was drinking from you, that is a very good sign.
  • Normally the health visiters should be able to put you in touch with a specailist lactation consultant most areas do have them on the NHS. Def try and attend a group if not a sure start, then its worth contacting la leache. la leache have a helpline to contact special group leaders in the area. You can look them up on google.
    Def try the massaging. Do you think that you might have fast let down and milk is coming out to fast for the little fella ?
    Don't feel like a failure you are doing the best you can and breastfeeding is soooo difficult before i had LO I could not imagine it being this difficult.
  • Dylans mummy - you just made me burst into tears! Thank you, I honestly never ever thought BF was this hard, I absolutely take my hat off to any woman who has even tried, let alone the ones who succeed!
    I feel like I kinda know what he wants but then I get all worked up as it's not "textbook".
    She weighed him and in 5 days he has lost 8oz, she said that was great as it's only 5% and considering he was in SCBU for 36 housr means he would have lost a little more so i'm happy.

    Thank you all for replying and giving me the
    confidence to keep trying.
    Much love
  • Breighlin thank you - I was shocked as he has had EBM through a bottle throughout the night so i'm pleased he managed it.
    Nina - I will look through the information they have given me and try and find the group. DH is off for 3 weeks too so feel like I dont' have to rush to get into a routine and I can just go with it whilst having his support. I think my milk does flow quite fast. I don't have anything to compare it too but he seems to drink really fast and then ends up with quite a bit of wind, I'm very concious to make sure he is winded as otherwise we have lots of arm and leg movement and funny faces from him.
    Well he is still asleep, 2 hours after we finished feeding so i'm going to give him half hour and start to wake him to hopefully get him to feed at 3 hours.
    I was always under the impression babies would wake for feeding but my little man is just amazing and sleeps for england!
  • If you think your milk is coming out to fast (mine used to be that when he latch on and off it went to the other side of the bed and kept coming out image or even when he was crying it just went) you can express a little bit to get the pressure of and to make it stream a little bit slower. I used to express about an oz and than let Michael drink. Only when he was a couple of weeks old he seemed to be getting the hang of it drinking from the start.
  • Yeah breighlin, the minute I remove my bra it just starts pouring. The HV said to tease him with my nipple to his nose but if it touches him he gets drowned! I didnt' realise you could have fast/slow milk either.
    God, I thought I was prepared but this is a whole new ball game.
    I guess it's as new to us as it is to them.xx
  • hi lovely name choice image my 10 week old is also called oliver! i had the same problem, what i did was express like you are as much as possible, but i used nipple shields, and they did the trick, my problem was that oliver wasnt open wide enough and just thrashed about but the nipple sheild really worked, i used them for every feed and i still expressed to keep the milk flow up, the gradually midway through the feed if sneak the sheild off and eventually he latched on properly, it did take about a week with the shields to get him latched on properly and now he is great! hope that helps

    ashy x
  • take the innitial milk out with a pump and than let lo drink the rest. Might be that your milk is coming to fast. Just smear a little bit of milk on your nipple. It will all fall in place quite soon.

    The first few weeks I thought it was so hard and difficult and was thinking about giving up loads. Annoyed that sometimes he would not feed, other times he would feed constantly. (every hour) But when I got to three months I was feeding one morning and was thinking, this is easy now, when did it start to be easy? And it just all fell in place, I wasn't stressed about feeding every 2 hours and it didn't feel like I was feeding him constantly. You need to find your ritme and what works for you.

    Whatever happens (breast, ebm or formula) you need to be happy and relaxed. A relaxed and happy mummy is the best a baby can wish for. So don't feel quilty if you have to give him ebm! Every time he needs a feed, just offer him the breast first, when he takes it is good, when he doesn't just calmly make up a bottle with expressed milk. Try not to get to worried or anxious. Michael had been fed for a week with a bottle and it took some effort and time, but eventually he went back on breast exclusivly till he was 4 months. So it is possible even if they are used to a bottle.
  • Don't have any advice as Luke was ok from the start just wanted to say congratulations, from memory I think you are a fellow Essex Lady.
  • I didnt mean to make you cry hun but it is hard I ony bf for 5 days and stopped after midwife advised me too, its true though you are doing a great job it will get easier. The nakedness is a good idea, they love skin to skin so that should calm him a lot before a feed plus if you do have too much milk your breasts become over engorged and they can latch so do consider expressing a bit as it can then be still used and he should find feeding easier.

    Keep going hun, he wont be textbook none of them are but pretty soon you will know what noise means what and only YOU will know. I know Dylan better than my hubby does, meaning I get more sleep at night :lol: as I know what noise needs seeing to and what is him just chattering away!

    Em x x
  • Ladies you are all fabulous! I have had a fantastic day. We have had 4 breastfeeds since lunchtime, all went brilliantly!!!! I have now realised he is thrashing because his tongue gets in his way so it's just his way of telling me it's not in right!
    I have stripped him down to his nappy and placed two pillows over me so he is the same height as my breast so that all I do is guide my nipple to him. I don't even touch his back/shoulders or head so no reflex action whatsoever. It seems to help his wind to as he is in a straight position so lots of farting!
    Thanks for being there for me today, just knowing I wasn't alone was a massive help and gave me that boost I needed to keep going.
    Ashy - I hadn't thought about the nipple sheilds but I do have some so i'll make sure I use them for the next feed to see if I can assist it.
    Thanks Rebecca, yes a fellow essex lady here!!!

    Fingers crossed the night will go as smoothly as the day!
    Thanks again
    Love a much happier Em! xx
  • Hi emma I'm so glad you are managing well. I seen this post and just had to reply as we were talking about bf in our due forum.

    I just wanted to say that my mum told me the first few nights she had me she just sat and watched me sleep waiting for me to wake up for a night feed...and I never did! So I think you just have a very lucky little baby there haha. Good luck sweety ad I hope it just gets better with time xxxx
  • Brill! So pleased for you Em

    x x x x x
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