Post # 16
I feel for you, triple feeding is SO hard and time consuming. I agree, let your baby nurse as much as possible. I pumped while my baby was in the NICU and then did the combo once we got home. Switching to full time breastfeeding was incredibly daunting and I had a few lactation consultations that left me in tears because even they expressed doubt that my preemie would be able to make the switch. For me the thing that made a WORLD of difference was renting a baby scale from our children’s hospital. It was about $50 for a month and being able to do weighted feeds every day helped me to understand how much he was really taking in per feed. He definitely nursed allll the time in those early days, so I think feeding on demand really helps! We were onto fulltime nursing within a week of getting the scale, and are still nursing almost a year later!
If pumping or another solution ends up being right thats great too–fed is 100% best!– but the scale really helped me!
Post # 17
You are an amazing mom for doing this for so long! I was told to do this at the hospital and did not last even one full day. It is just not sustainable. Against the lactation consultants advice, I decided to forgo the bottles and just breastfeed on demand. It was hard when the baby seemed inconsolable as she clusterfeed for several days straight, but two months later we have this breastfeeding thing figured out and I haven’t even touched the pump. I like the suggestion of a weight so you can be more comfortable she is getting enough, although the wet diapers will also clue you in.
Post # 18
I understand going cold turkey on the bottles worked for you and I am glad that it did, but I stand by my advice that she should check whether her daughter has a physical reason why she cannot transfer enough milk before trying it.
I can only speak from my own experience, but I followed all of the advice you have set out in your post (which is the same advice lactation consultants will give) and it landed us as a hospital inpatient with dangerous weight loss. My daughter was producing wet nappies (and wasn’t dehydrated on admission), was cluster feeding etc but she STILL lost a dangerous amount of weight in the only 2 days between our discharge from hospital at day 3 (only in for 3 days as I had a c-section, she was in great shape from birth) and our readmission at day 5. The lactation consultant eventually told me that her tie was stopping her from feeding normally at all, but that my milk supply and response to her was so good (I’d get a let down just by looking at her) that she was getting just enough from my let down simply falling into her mouth to stop her being dehydrated, but not enough to maintain weight.
No amount of cuddling up and feeding on demand is going to help you if the baby has a physical feeding problem rather than the mother needing to increase supply. It’s a great idea if both mum and baby don’t have any physical barriers, I’m just suggesting she checks for those physical barriers before diving in.
Post # 19
Oh, mama. I wish I had some advice on this specific matter, and unfortunately I don’t have any more suggestions than have already come up. I mostly wanted to say that I see what you’re doing and I completely get why you must be so exhausted. You’re a real champ and I see you fighting so hard to make this work <3
If you need to switch feeding strategies to keep from burning yourself out, give yourself permission to do so. I so get wanting to make nursing work, and I also get finding what you’re doing ultimately too taxing. I hope you’re able to either make nursing work or else find a solution that you can be happy with <3
Post # 20
I’m a poster who recommended just dropping bottles and nursing on demand and then someone else was expressing concern – I was just speaking about my own experience. Seeing the concern made me realize cold turkey dropping bottles may be too much. Check with your pediatrician about signs it’s working or isn’t working. I was speaking more to the fact it’s normal for a new baby to want to latch seemingly all the time, not necessarily with real knowledge about how much you may need to supplement.
Post # 21
We did tripple feeding with my first for 2 months. It was so tiring. I felt like I was always feeding, pumping and bottle feeding. It would take 1.5 hours and then you’d need to turn around and do it all again.
Turns out my little guy was tongue and lip tied and by the time we figured it out and corrected it he had formed terrible habits that we were never able to break.
I ended up exclusively pumping until he was 15 months old. I found it to not be too bad and if you are as tired as I was then I’d give it a go. Our second is currently 2 months old and I don’t find breastfeeding “magical” as my mom KEEPS saying. Fed is best.
I also want to say that if yours is not getting enough by breastfeedig then don’t do that exclusively. One of the lactation consulants told me mine was getting enough (struggled for an hour and he got an ounce) so we tried that for a little while. My poor guy was starving. Our pediatrician told us to suplament with formula at his 2 month checkup as he was so skinny. I look back at those pictures and it breaks my heart. I tried doing what I was told was best and my poor guy was NOT getting enough food. My milk supply was also low around that time due to his poor eating. I was able to fix that with reglan and eventually had enough milk to stop formula. Trust your gut and if he’s not getting enough food nursing then bottle feeding is not the end of the world. Even if you use formula there is nothing wrong with that.
Post # 22
This is from my personal experience as I’m still breastfeeding my LO. What worked for us was breastfeeding on demand. When I came home from the hospital I remember feeling like my baby wasn’t getting enough because he was constantly feeding. Which was sending signals to my body to produce more, so supply and demand. Breastfeeding is a journey so don’t get discouraged. It’s the hardest thing I had to do because my little guy is a boob hog and I’m always at his beck and call. That’s why I understand it’s not for everyone. I say do what works for your family. If you want to push through and breastfeed then continue doing what was recommended for you, I promise you will get there. It’s a long and sometimes exhausting road but so worth it, just keep in mind that whatever you decide is in your child’s best interest.
Post # 23
I just wanted to say you are amazing for doing what you need to do for your baby, but please be kind to yourself. If you’re finding that you’re really struggling with what you need to do to breastfeed, do something else that is better for your mental health. Having a newborn is tough enough without having to struggle to feed.
My son had a tongue tie that the hospital refused to correct because they said it wasn’t bad. He then struggled to feed from the breast for a month and a half. He would get so frustrated when eating. We got a LC out, she noted he would get plenty from a feed, but I had a really fast letdown, and he not only had a tongue tie but a lip tie that was impeding him. We resolved that, but he never took to breastfeeding, even though I had the LC out for I think a total of 5-6 times – and she was wonderful, so it wasn’t for a lack of her helping. We struggled for 4.5 months because I wanted so badly to breastfeed, and my mental health tanked.
Not soon after I went back to work I started EPing. It has been freaking HARD, but so much better than struggling to BF. I know my son is eating, I know how much I produce, and we have a wonderful bond. Washing bottles and parts sucks, and being able to stop pumping overnight was a lifesaver. Being hooked up to a pump x number of times a day sucks. But it’s still better than the struggle of BFing was for us.
I don’t want to say you should do one thing or another, but at the end of the day, if something is causing you mental struggle, there is no shame to switching to another method, whatever that may be. Fed is best. You are amazing no matter what.
Post # 24
I did something similar in the beginning because my son wouldn’t latch. I’d pump after every feed, then when it was time to feed we used a nipple shield and syringe fed him the pumped milk and then formula to top off. It was so traumatic and took both me and my husband to do every time (hold him in feeding position and slowly use syringe while he sucked), so neither of us got any sleep at all. After one week he wasn’t getting the hang of latching so I exclusively pumped. But that too only lasted a week! It was just too much time for me. I was exhausted, recovering from a C Section, and my husband went back to work after a week so I couldn’t handle it on my own. The baby would scream if I wasn’t holding him so there was no way to pump every 2 hours, take care of him and try to get any rest myself.
I decided when he was 2 weeks old that I was quitting and switching to formula full time. I fretted over my decision for days and cried and cried.. I felt SO guilty. My body failed me in pregnancy in multiple ways, and here it was failing me again. But at the end of the day my mental health won. I was a better mother and happier on formula. Trying to breastfeed and then exclusively pump was so exhausting, and stressing me out beyond belief. Feeding time was stressful and traumatic and my son knew that. Once he was on formula we were all so much better! It was less traumatic and we would just feed him a bottle and not deal with all that time and equipment. My husband could feed him, my mother in law could feed him so we could both sleep. It was wonderful once I let go.
Fed is best. A healthy and happy mom is best. There is NOTHING breastmilk can provide for your baby that is better for them than a healthy and happy mother.
And, the suggestions from moms to stop the bottle feeding are dangerous. Babies starve and die this way. Listen to your doctor and keep supplementing especially if she seems hungry after!!
Post # 25
ugh, I’m sorry. Triple feeding is the worst. I dropped nursing and just exclusively pumped at about 2 weeks old. It was a relief. My son has low muscle tone and just couldn’t get the hang of nursing though.
I second the poster who said to make sure your husband is involved as much as possible. Mine would wash all the bottles and pump parts, feed LO in the middle of the night so I could just pump and go back to sleep, etc.
Also, buy 1-2 more sets of pump parts so you don’t have to wash them while exhausted in the middle of the night!! There are some good knock offs on Amazon.
there’s also a fabulous EP group on Facebook called “Exclusively Pumping Moms” or something like that, if you go that route.
Post # 26
I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time. With my first my supply was devastated by a retained placenta and my milk was trapped (it wouldn’t fully let down) and consequently dried up. I attempted relactating after the piece of placenta was removed which involved triple feedings. I definitely know the exhaustion. I did it for six months trying to make things work. I never built up a proper supply so I just dropped the breastfeeding component and went all formula. But after all that, pumping seemed like a breeze with my next two babies. I used my pump a lot and it was quick and easy. I would bottle feed first to calm my baby, then pump while they chilled on a blanket. I never pumped for more than five to ten minutes. That just makes for sore nipples and it’s unnecessary. Can you try skipping the breastfeeding attempts most of the time, while still trying a few times a day to see if efficiency at the breast may improve with growth? My babies breastfed better when their mouths were bigger. I’m concerned about the advice here to discontinue the bottles. The risk of your baby getting dehydrated/undernourished is too dangerous. Ask your pediatrician about renting a scale. I actually saw one for purchase at Target recently and wished that had been available when I had my babies. Do weighted feeds to know exactly what your baby is getting. Don’t discontinue the bottles. You might have a poor let down reflex. My let down suffered if I was sleep deprived or hungry. I took a nap in the evening when my husband got home and that really helped. I also learned how to hand express with my first so with my next two I hand massaged the milk out to help compensate for a lackluster let down reflex. I did that to some degree each feeding to ensure that they emptied the breast. See if you can learn some hand expression techniques so you can basically empty the breast into your baby’s mouth. It saved me with my second two babies. But please don’t keep doing triple feedings round the clock. You need a break mentally and physically. If I could have settled for exclusively pumping with my first I would have done it gratefully. Breast milk is precious by breast or by bottle! And adding that my second child loved breastfeeding and cried when my milk dried up suddenly (pregnant with his sister) my daughter breastfed for two years but never did so for comfort. It was just food to her. My most snuggly baby was my formula fed one–my firstborn. So, please don’t feel like bonding will be affected either way. At the end of the day, a boob is a natural bottle. Do what’s best for your sanity. A calm mommy is what your baby wants.
Post # 27
Hi bee! To me it’s super concerning that your baby only transferred 1/3 of an ounce during the weighted feed nursing but then was able to guzzle a bottle. Was there any insight as to why? Have you looked into a tongue/lip tie??? That’s what it sounds like to me. If your babe can’t physically transfer the milk they are going to burn tons of calories trying to nurse and still be hungry. I would take baby to a pediatric dentist who specializes into tongue ties if that’s what you suspect. There’s a great tongue tie support group on Facebook thst can help you find a good provider.
I would be cautious about just stopping bottles as others have recommend because if it’s truly a transfer issue you would be starving baby.
My current babe is 12 months old and we just weaned from exclusive pumping. She had latch issues as well but wasn’t able to resume nursing even after her tongue tie revision. It was a long and hard 12 months but it did get easier as we went! There are some good suooort groups for exclusive pumping as well, and one called “back to breast” which both have really good info!
Post # 28
Thank you everyone for your comments. I really appreciate them. I wish I could respond to everyone individually.
A few people mentioned that baby may have a tongue or lip tie. A few different medical professionals have looked into that including the nurses and LCs at the hospital, NP at 2-day post-hospital appointment, our pediatrician at the two week appointment, and the lactation consultant. All agree that she doesn’t have either, but I realize that it could be missed. We scheduled a weigh in for next week to make sure that she is gaining weight so I will be sure to ask whoever we meet with then to take a look as well.
The nurse practitioner and the lactation consultant both said that we should be able to start dropping bottles or at least give her fewer ounces in the bottle but that just hasn’t been possible. This leads me to believe that for whatever reason she’s using me as a human pacifier and not getting much milk. I don’t think it’s a supply issue as when I pump I get quite a bit of milk for 3 weeks – about 4 oz per pump. The LC couldn’t find a reason for why she only took a third of an ounce from me during our weighed feed.
I haven’t felt supported by our pediatrician. At her two week appointment the doctor said that we needed to continue with the triple feeding until our next appointment. Doing that for another six weeks is a big deal and she just kind of dismissed it and said that’s what we need to do. When I asked about seeing a lactation consultant she said ‘it’s up to you.’ I would think she would’ve encouraged anything that would help us find success. This doctor will not be our long-term pediatrician. Our practice fits you in for the first appointment with whoever and then you have a chance to research and interview who you will chose to be baby’s regular doctor.
The hardest part about this for me is thinking we have had a successful feed and then seeing those hunger cues. I seem to be perpetually optimistic that this will be the time it all clicks! So it’s cert upsetting when it’s not. Last night she nursed for a good 25 minutes and then needed a 3 oz bottle. We then get ready for bed and start rocking her and she hunger cues again and is crying and takes another 3 oz. That’s nursing plus 6 oz in about 75 minutes. I have finally accepted that for whatever reason, I can’t provide her with what she needs at the breast.
After last night, and upon some recommendations here, I have decided that when we have time and we are calm, I will triple feed. But for at least 2 or 3 of the feedings per day I am going to just pump and bottle feed. I’m hopeful as she grows we will figure this out and still nursing her gives us the chance to see if things start clicking, as well as bonding time, but dropping an already unproductive nursing session a few times a day will give me a little bit of time back and save my sanity a bit.
Post # 29
After reading this last update, I’m wondering how often you are nursing? A newborn should be nursing about 8 – 12 times a day or more. They do use you for a pacifier at this age. You are familiar to them. You are their comfort. Their stomachs are about the size of their fist, so they do need to eat quite often. Breastmilk is digested fairly quickly, so at that age an hour turn around to eat again can be quite normal.
Post # 30
We were doing every 3 hours, from start of feed, so 6, 9, noon, 3, etc. for 2.5 weeks per the NP and pediatrician. For the last 4 days I’ve been nursing on demand, per the lactation consultant’s advice.