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glass angel
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Establishing breastfeeding

Sep 10th, 2012, 06:32 AM   #1
 
Hi all

I'm new here, my name's Carrie, and I'm mum to Seb, who is 2 weeks and 3 days old, and currently in SCBU.

I've been doing really well coping with what turned out to be a really difficult pregnancy and birth - all the usual sickness, leg cramps etc, then I was diagnosed with DVT and pulmenary embolism at 30 weeks, in hospital for over a week... then two weeks later, I was admitted again with pre-eclampsia. I developed HELLP (my liver was destroying the clotting cells in my blood) and became very unwell, so Seb was born by emergency c-section at 34 + 2. After initially needinf resusitation and 24 hours on C-pap, Seb has been fine, and is in SCBU primarily to be fed up to a good weight.

Yesterday I feel like I fell apart a bit, and I'm struggling. I'm trying to establish breatfeeding with Seb, I've been expressing since day 4, and trying to get him to feed for nearly a week. Saturday he started sucking properly, albeit iusing a nipple shield, and seemed to get two good meals. Yesterday, he clearly wasn't getting enough, and by 6pm he had got so upset and angry he wouldn't even try to feed any more and we had to give him a top up by tube. He was screaming in anger and hunger and there was nothing I could do to soothe him.

I feel worn out. No one else seems to be trying breast feeding, and I'm wondering if I should admit defeat and give him bottles. I'm also worried that I'm not producing enough milk, and he'll be hungry all the time when we get home. I was told to express at least 8 times a day, and every time I speak to the breast feeding support nurse, she tells me to express more. The flow seems really slow but never stops, so I express for the full 30 minutes advised by Medela, which means it takes an hour each time. All I am doing is eating, sleeping and expressing, and I'm only fitting in 6 times a day. I keep sleeping through the alarm I set at night. My right breast is also really sore and it hurts to feed Seb from that side.

Has anyone else tried to establish breastfeeding with a preemie?

Thanks for reading

Carrie x
 
 
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pinkyprincess
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Sep 10th, 2012, 07:31 AM   #2
 
I have no experience with this (I THINK sarah13's little boy was early and she tube fed him with EBM?) you are doing a great job. Establishing bfing is hard enough at the beginning and even without pumping all the time you would normally be stuck on the sofa feeding all the time for the first 6 weeks!! I would carry on as you are as BM is so good from prem babies and really helps them get a good start! If your worried about baby being hungry maybe ask about topping him up (but only ever after a bf!) as once babies a bit better and you can sit at home and really get some skin to skin and establish you can build your supply up further and wean off the formula. The golden rule is always offer the breast first and make sure it's finished before offering top ups. Ask your midwives for advice on that first as you might not need to! I'm sure you are producing enough most mums do but if you are worried try taking fenugreek to help with your milk production.

You should be so proud with yourself for carrying on so long with expressing.


 
 

 
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Emily0505
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Sep 10th, 2012, 07:38 AM   #3
 
Hi hun.

Sorry you've had such a tough time of it. I hope your lil one is ok.

My lil one was not premature but spent 5 days in the neonatal unit for a suspected infection. During this time we were trying to establish bf. We really struggled. I couldnt get him to latch on for any length of time and he didnt feed properly for 24 hours. He ended up being cup fed. My milk was slow to come in and like you i was expressing for half an hour every two hours, it was exhausting.

I still put him to the breast to feed but do have to top him up with formula afterwards as i still do not have enough milk. I am going to the doctors this morning to discuss a drug called domperidone to help increase lactation. We have tried to establish naturally and a feeding assesment has been carried out to check for problems and it was all fine, so the meds are a last resort. If they dont work then so be it, at least i can say i gave it a good go.

I am convinced it was the stress of having a poorly baby wnich stopped my milk coming in properly. I do think that there is alot of pressure to bf which also doesnt help. I would encourage mums to try it but if you cant do it then dont beat yourself up over it a ff baby will still grow up happy and healthy. Just do what you need to, to have a happy mum and happy baby and do not feel guilty over any decision you make.

XX
 
 

 
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knopk@
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Sep 10th, 2012, 08:43 AM   #4
 
Sorry to hear you were poorly and your lil one had to be early, you.have lots of determination and well done for.getting this far (some.people dont bother at all even.with no.problems) as breastmilk is.the best thing for prem babies.

I.havent been in a situation.myself but a friend of mine was in a similar situation and she was topping up with formula and then when they got home, she weaned off formula. Medela have SNS system i believe which are tubes that run to youe nipple to supplement with formula but this way baby still sucks on your breast which is.important for milk supply as their saliva sends signals to our brain.
Dont beat yourself up if top ups are the way to go but you are doing thw right thing by expressing often
As ladies said, you can truly fenugreek or Domperidone(can you speak to a lactation consultant as Domperidone needs to.be prescribed?)
Once again well done, hope you recover soon as your body might be struggling with recovery and stress as well.
All the best, and remember that you have done a wonderful thing helping your baby's immune system.and health overall

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Pickledonions
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Sep 10th, 2012, 08:57 AM   #5
 
Oh gosh hun getting a pulmonary embolism is scary I had the same. Massive hugs to u

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toscacat
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Sep 10th, 2012, 17:02 PM   #6
 
The breast feeding will come it just takes practice and because he was early it will take more practice and one day seb may be going great and the next it feels like its the first time again. In terms of your expressing ask the unit for an extra kit to double pump (ie both breasts at once )to half the time x
 
 
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glass angel
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Sep 11th, 2012, 23:36 PM   #7
 
Thanks everyone, when I have more time I'll come back and reply properly.

Things seemed to go okay yesterday, he fed a lot but seemed quite happy, but today was just awful again. I don't think it helped that we had a nurse we hadn't met before, and she was quite, controling isn't the right word, but she was telling me what to do rather than letting me get on with it and offering advice when I asked / seemed to struggle, like most of the nurses do now we're in the end bay (preparing for home bay). She decided Seb wasn't getting enough milk from me, and while I was told we could room in tonight at ward round, this afternoon they decided it will be tomorrow as origionally planned, and that's only if things go better with feeding tomorrow.

I had a bit (actually a lot) of a cry when trying to feed Seb, and I couldn't explain that it wasn't because plans had been changed, as everyone assumed, but because I feel so bad about Seb being hungry all the time, and worried about not being able to feed him properly. One of the other nurses noticed I was really upset, and sent me to express some milk with a cup of tea and some biscuits, and I just hope I got across how grateful I was.

Anyway, I've written a really awkward sounding note to give to our nurse tomorrow, explaining that I'm not upset about any delays, I'm feeling stressed about breastfeeding in general. I hope I have the courage to give it to her in the morning.

I'm also struggling to give myself Tinzaparin injections, and in being tentative with them, have given myself a couple of really nasty bruises. I may only have to do them for 4 more weeks before I can move on to tablets though.

Thanks again for reading.

Carrie x
 
 
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glass angel
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Sep 13th, 2012, 17:12 PM   #8
 
Ah well, after a horrible night of Seb not feeding and both of us crying, we're giving up on the breastfeeding. I'm upset but also relieved, and Seb is more settled.

Thanks for the encouragement and reassurance.

Carrie x
 
 
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Emily0505
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Sep 13th, 2012, 19:13 PM   #9
 
You gave it a good go hun, so well done.

Dont feel upset, he will do just fine on formula and what he has had from you so far will have done the world of good.

XX
 
 

 
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Rowesb
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Sep 13th, 2012, 19:39 PM   #10
 
Well done you for getting this far. A PE is scary. But HELLP is really scary (having looked after a few mum's with this). It sounds as though your emotions and feeling are entirely normal in a situation that isn't. I am proud of you with just hearing your story, i am more sad the staff didn't seem responsive to your emotions and fears after being through so much x

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glass angel
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Sep 15th, 2012, 19:49 PM   #11
 
Thanks again everyone. We're home today, formula feeding and feeling much calmer (relatively speaking!)

It must be difficult being a SCBU nurse, absolutely all of the nurses were great with the babies, but not all were great with the parents - but I must have been a difficult mum to deal with as I'm not good at explaining when or why I'm anxious and tend to just cry. I've left a message for the birth reflections team, so hopefully going through it with them will help.

Carrie
 
 
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Emily0505
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Sep 16th, 2012, 20:16 PM   #12
 
Glad your home hun.

I found the same with the nurses in neonatal- they know baby care not mummy care, so it was a bit tough, especially when you are crying so hard you cant speak properly!!!

XX
 
 

 
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glass angel
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Sep 17th, 2012, 12:00 PM   #13
 
Hi Emily

Reading through the thread again while Seb is having a post-bottle snuggle! How is your little one doing now? It must be awful waiting for test results when your little one might be ill. We were really lucky that Seb has not been a worry health wise after the first 24 hours, he seems to be a healthy but skinny and 'not quite ready' baby. The baby in the next cot for most of Seb's stay had an infection and I'll admit I got really tearful every time we overheard his parents waiting for test results / being given test results. That's the other thing about hospitals in general - there's very little privacy (especially on antenatal!)

Anyway, today I'm quite excited as I plan to 'wear' Seb (I'm finding I'm leaving him in his cot too much because we often weren't allowed to just pick him up in SCBU, everything was scheduled) and our sling has just arrived in the post. My mum is coming over tomorrow to help us try it out!

Carrie xx
 
 
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Emily0505
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Sep 17th, 2012, 12:41 PM   #14
 
He is fine now thanks.

We've been home for 3 weeks and just been discharged from midwife care to the health visitor as he has finally put on enough weight.
When i was trying to establish bf and feeding him exclusively from the breast he dropped weight and we were nearly readmitted to hospital. I dont make much milk so i cant exclusively bf. I combi feed so put him to the breast and top up with formula after.

The whole experience of being in NNU was awful because we just didnt know what was wrong and how serious it might have been. I still dont know exactly what was wrong other than an infection but thankfully he's all better now. Being bundled in the back of an ambulance and rushed off to hospital is not how you picture your first day as a family!

Its lovely to get home with them isnt it and start life properly with your new little family. Hope he's doing well? My lil one is just having his bottle then we areoff to tesco for a food shop. I havent got a sling but i have got a baby carrier thingy- they are great as you can snuggle with baby but have hands free still- mutitasking!!

I'm so glad you are all home and have got his feeding sorted. Its a very difficult time to get bf established as it is without the added stress of a poorly/ tiny baby to contend with. Sometimes despite best efforts not everyone can bf, as we both well know!!!

Enjoy him hun, being a mummy is simply the best!!

XX
 
 

 
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