Getting baby back to breast

posted 2 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
Member
1135 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1995

Take baby to bed with you for 24 hours or more.  Cut out the bottle and just nurse, nurse, nurse.  I had to do this with my preemie who had spent 19 days in the hospital. Sucking from a bottle is easier for them, so after they’ve had a bottle, they want it because they don’t have to work as hard.  

 

Post # 3
Member
3860 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Have you tried a nipple guard/nipple shield? I wonder if your baby would nurse better with that since it’s closer to a bottle nipple. Might make the transition easier?

Post # 4
Member
9823 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Keep working with an IBCLC.  I would just keep offering.  Don’t get discouraged yet, 3 week old babies are still really small.  Do you use or need a nipple shield? What PP suggested is a nursing vacation and that could be something worth trying.  You can keep in mind a lot of babies who struggle as tiny newborns get the hang of it as they (and their mouths) get bigger.  It can get a lot easier around 2-3months or so when baby is bigger with a bigger mouth and stronger suction and more awake (past the sort of sleepy newborn age).  You just keep offering and if they refuse or don’t empty you then pump afterwards to keep your supply up.

Post # 5
Member
2394 posts
Buzzing bee

I second the nipple shield. 

Post # 7
Member
641 posts
Busy bee

mrsl3un9 :  Try feeding at regular intervals to make sure she isn’t too frustrated to nurse due to being so hungry.  If your letdown is too forceful, pump or hand express a little milk first so she’s not overwhelmed.

I set an alarm during the night with my son and had a lot of success doing “dream feeds” when he wasn’t really awake enough to realize it wasn’t the bottle. 

Post # 8
Member
8467 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

mrsl3un9 :  first things first momma – YOU ARE DOING AN AWESOME JOB.  Remember that much. Secondly I got my daughter back to breast so I hope this story is encouraging even if it is long:

My little girl was 2.5 weeks early so we needed a nipple shield to help her latch because her mouth was tiny. I nursed nonstop and….she lost way too much weight. We had to formula supplement and I was heartbroken. Turns out the combination of my pregnancy anemia and post partum hemorhhage were causing low supply. I worked with a lactation consultant and she was able to get the latch perfect without the shield when she was about 10 days old so one obstacle down. The next problem was my supply – she wanted me to nurse, formula supplement, and then pump. For each feed. My exhausted stressed out self cried in her office. Giving a bottle after nursing felt SO defeating and I was also not even enjoying nursing her (I had envisioned this goddess mother Insta-bonding feeling that wasnt happening). So she had me pump and bottle feed but still said to try breast if I felt up to it (which I only did about once a day or so). It took 2 pumps to get 1 bottle so we gave her the breast milk during the day and formula overnight (we used room temp water so mixing formula was easier than heating Bridesmaid or Best Man bottle). I used a hospital grade pump,power pumping, and every supplement possible and slowly we were using less formula. We also did paced bottle feeding so she wouldn’t get used to the faster flow of the bottle and refuse the breast. However she was also starting to be alert more during the day and I grew to resent the pump since it was taking time away from playing with her. Then one night I slept through 2 scheduled pumps AND we lost power. I said screw it and put her to breast thinking I would give her a formula bottle after and…for the first time…she was satisfied with just the breast! We continued with breast from there on out! For a couple weeks she still needed a bottle at night when my supply dipped (first formula and eventually milk I had pumped in the early morning) but now at almost 12 weeks she has been fully on breast without bottle top ups for at least 3 weeks. I am SO glad I stuck with it and couldn’t have done it without support from my LC and husband. I know it sucks and it is hard but it CAN be done! Once you are past the awful first few weeks I promise it is was easier to just whip out a tit rather than deal with bottles. 

Post # 10
Member
8467 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

mrsl3un9 :  if she seems to prefer the faster flow of the nipple definitely try paced bottle feeding – it makes her work for the milk in the bottle similar to what she would get from the breast. You can find a bunch of videos on YouTube but basically you sit the baby up and hold the bottle parallel to the floor (or slightly up) rather than lay her back and pour it down. 

Post # 11
Member
8467 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

mrsl3un9 :  and do not feel guilty (I know easier said than done) because you are still giving her breast milk which is amazing stuff! And even if you gave her formula – alao amazing stuff! Anything you do to,keep,your child happy and healthy is perfect. 

Post # 12
Member
9632 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I would try the “nurse in” as pp said, or just keep offering. It gets easier as they get bigger and a bit more coordinated lol. And yes, definitely pace feed with the bottle.

You’re doing great!

Post # 13
Member
9282 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

i triple fed (breast, bottle, pump) for 6 months due to a lot of issues.  i had a breast reduction so my supply was low to start with, DS was 3 weeks early and had tongue and lip ties discovered at 7w and frenectomy at 8 weeks.

have you tried nipple shields?  also after frectectomy, we did a few sessions of craniosacral therapy which helped with a reset.  i suggest looking into both of those. 

also find a good LC.  we went through 3 before we found a good match.

 

i also stayed on a premie nipple for a long time because i didn’t want the bottle to be that much easier than the breast.

Post # 14
Member
505 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

You are doing so awesome and yes, there are many of us who have been in your shoes and got through it- it WILL get better!! I had a similar story to you- tongue tie so we were pumping exclusively from 5 days until about 3 weeks old. It sucked so much. Then I started nursing again and pumping afterwards because he still had trouble getting a good latch. I used a shield from 3 weeks to 9 weeks. The sheild helpede continue breastfeeding BUT I did t realize until his 2 month appointment that it was lowering my supply and reducing the amount of milk transferred. He had not gained as much as he should have at that point and was nursing constantly. 

I weaned off the shield at 9 weeks and we haven’t looked back. I was so afraid to because of the pain and infection I suffered due to the tongue tie but it was fine and now at 4 months we are breastfeeding chanps. I am so proud we were able to continue breastfeeding and I know you will be too.   You should already be so proud of yourseld now for all you have been through!

To get back to breast yes please please see an IBCLC – if you are in the us it is covered by insurance (for the time being unless ACA is repealed). Lots of skin to skin and exactly what you are doing, maybe give the baby a little bottle for a minute then switch to breast. If you use the nipple shield then start with the shield and Midway through the feed take it off and relatch. My baby was more receptive when I did that because he wasn’t super hungry. 

Also I found feeding at night when my son was super drowsy and on auto pilot was easier for moving back to breast. He was so out of it in the middle of the night that he just lat he’s and sucked at whatever i put in his mouth 🙂

It gets so much easier as they get bigger and their mouths are larger. Keep up the awesome work, you are doing great and will be back to breast soon!

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