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Suggestions?

Any of the assorted lurkers out there have any suggestions for an infant who *will not* suckle?  She'll latch, and then immediately falls asleep.  I mean limp as a rag doll, wondering if she's still alive asleep.  Cannot be woken up asleep.  Apparently I'm the world's most effective sleep aid.  We had to go to formula because the weight loss became unacceptable to both the hospital and the pediatrician - by yesterday she was down to 6lbs, 7oz.

I can't even tell you what color her eyes are - I've only seen them two or three times for a couple of seconds since last Friday.

The various professionals have all been contradicting each other - the only thing they agree on is that I'm doing it wrong.  Mind you, I'm doing whatever the last one told me to do...  The first nurse said we were doing everything right, and it would just go slowly for a few days.  The second told me that I wasn't working at it because my daughter was "starving to death."  The third said that as long as she suckled a little that would be fine until my milk comes in.  The fourth said that she wasn't getting enough.  The lactation consultant was so touchy feeley that I don't even want to be in the same room with her.  All she wants to talk about is how important it all is, and how everything will be fine as long as I just keep at it, and lots of talk about the anatomy of it.  No actual practical help.  The various pediatricians say that her weight loss was unacceptable.  Everyone except the consultant says to use formula for now and that it'll "all go better once your milk comes in," but everything you read says that if you don't nurse your milk won't come in.

I'm just about to throw in the towel.  This can't possibly be worth it.

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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
hugh_mannity
Sep. 24th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
Remember the following:

1. None of the experts are expert in the singular relationship between the two of you.

2. Everyone's an expert and they all have different opinions.

3. The only thing the experts agree on is that they know more than you do.

4. Long term it doesn't matter: breast, bottle, some complex combination of the two... it all works out in the end.

5. Stay away from soy formula, unless you like really toxic diapers.

6. Keep trying as long as you feel like it. She may get the concept, she may not.

7. You don't have to be a perfect parent. You can't be -- it's not humanly possible. You just have to be a good enough parent. So whatever the outcome is, don't beat yourself up over it.

8. Feel free to ignore all the experts and do what your instincts tell you.

9. Nursing difficulties are extremely common -- even to experienced moms.

Good Luck!
kebbykate
Sep. 24th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
It Can Be Better--Honest!
It is totally worth it and it's really, really normal, especially at this stage. I just about lost my marbles with M at five days.

E-mail my sister ASAP. She'll get you hooked up and even probably come out to help. Get a lacation consultant to visit once--it's worth every penny and the one my sister and I both used was a good, real nurse, practical and down to earth. Teh ones in the hospital seem to be weirdly useless--all theory no practice. There is nothing wrong with formula to keep your baby from starving--but you can get through this hump--honest!

Once you get it going it's great and it's cheap and you'll do fine and you won't regret doing it. If it's something you want to do and had hoped to do, you will regret not being able to do it and wonder about it.

Babies who come a little earlier can often be a little stupid about the nursing and because the bottle nipple is a little easier they can be a little lazy about exerting themselves. Especially since that whole getting born thing takes a lot of energy and they're frankly just about as exhausted as you are.

Doctors support both feeding options, but very few of them have any real training in supporting breastfeeding.

I can have my sister e-mail you, she's got all kinds of connections. All it really takes is some patience, practical analysis of what's going on, and some steady mentoring.

Furthermore, although I haven't been active in SCA in a long while, I can tell you that your sterile breastmilk is a way more attractive option than making up formula or keeping it chilled when you're at any kind of event.

Edited at 2008-09-24 04:51 am (UTC)
merimask
Sep. 24th, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
I wish I could help. Char was overly-energetic & I never had trouble getting her to eat, so I'm not sure what to say that'd be relevant. If you have to use formula to supplement (or even switch to it entirely) I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Sure, there are great benefits involved with breast feeding, but not if it's going to be impossibly difficult to do. Even with a baby who has a strong suckling reflex, it can be a tricky thing in this modern world. Pumping at work...that's hard to do under the very best circumstances. With your lifestyle, bottle feeding is probably the best choice anyway.

*hug* Don't worry. It's not about being perfect...it's just about doing the best you can (& I know you always do that).
golden_meliades
Sep. 24th, 2008 08:12 am (UTC)
Did you punch the one who said you weren't working at it and that Charlotte Anne was starving to death? I hope you did. Or that SOMEone did. (It's actually preferable to have someone else do it so that you don't have to deal with the consequences.) I hope they walked out into the hall after that and got thumped in the face with a board and a ladder and a pie, slapstick style, and landed face down in wet concrete.

I don't know which gender that person is, but whichever...they're a bitch. >[

I have no idea about feeding babies. Did you try feeding her right after she wakes up? She's gotta be hungry (unless something is wrong with her hunger impulse) so after waking up it might be easier...she'd be more hungry than tired.

But if she's more interested in sleeping than eating even when she's losing weight from NOT eating, I'd say something is up with the baby, not YOU. Maybe the brain triggers that tell you you need food just haven't woken up, yet.

I'd also say it's pretty hard to breastfeed WRONG...as long as the breast is in the mouth and the baby is not being suffocated by it in the process. I'd say that after that, anything further that is needed is due to a baby who wants things done a specific way rather than lack of talent on your part.
golden_meliades
Sep. 24th, 2008 08:15 am (UTC)
This has a lot of specific step-by-step stuff: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/baby/back-to-breast.html
golden_meliades
Sep. 24th, 2008 08:22 am (UTC)
This one specifically mentions babies who fall asleep after latching, though I'm at sea...I have no idea if it's helpful or not. http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/breast/newmanincreasesupply.htm
golden_meliades
Sep. 24th, 2008 08:31 am (UTC)
There does seem to exist something called "Lazy Baby Syndrome" (Not that a baby can ever actually be lazy literally.) But I couldn't find very many links on it. These babies seem to sleep almost all the time and don't want to wake up from naps at all, for anything, and sleep when people try to feed them.

They talk about it in a forum here (the last person is an ignoramus, it's well known that a baby who won't feed isn't just being stubborn or 'will feed when he gets hungry enough') but I'm not sure if there is anything there that would trigger an idea to help or not: http://www.medhelp.org/forums/maternal/messages/43917.html

I'm done. But you know, formula is just fine if the baby won't drink otherwise. I mean, it's a godsend, in that case.
lady_kathryn_r
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:12 am (UTC)
My dear contact your local La Leche League Leader, they will be able to walk you through it. And if need be come out and help you with positioning.
Here are the numbers to the Cheshire leaders:
Sondra 203-271-1686
Sherry 203-949-9454

Good luck
galingale
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:47 am (UTC)
Hang in there...
A couple of thoughts, and if you don't mind I can also ask the lactation consultant who we worked with for V. Plus one of Rob's friends from UConn was a La Leche leader -- his advisor's wife Sue. She talked me through a lot.

First thought was if she's using a binky yet. If she is, stop until you get feeding issues resolved.

The other thought is if you're worrying that your milk won't come in, you *could* do a couple of pumping sessions. (And if you want to try it w/o opening the package on yours, you *could* use mine, with brewers in the house we all know how to sterilize a hoses.) That way there'd be some built-in encouragement for Charlotte... when V was so collicky that she only wanted to cry, I could get her nursing if I got the milk going first. Dawn (the l.c. from midstate) suggested I actually squirt some in her mouth and that did help. (Unfortunately, Rob could not resist telling me about the kitten who used to come visiting when he was milking the family cow... the image didn't make me happy but I figured if a cat could learn to stand on its hind legs for a squirt of milk, my baby could. And she did.)

I'd love to talk in general, do you guys have any schedule yet? Call if you want...I'm telecommuting today, with one break for a dr's appointment, so you know where to find me. I can't come *visit* you all yet because V's nose just started running again dammitall!
pippagrey
Sep. 24th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
I can't help, Katie nursed like a pro from the first try, and Annie was too enthusiastic - if we hadn't started her with a pacifier at one week she would have been a strictly bottle fed baby, because I was bleeding and in severe pain everytime she suckled. (Way TMI, I know, I know!)

My mother and her siblings were all bottle fed, and they seem to have come out just fine, as did millions of others so don't beat yourself up over it if Charlotte ends up a formula baby. And if she won't suckle but you can successfully pump, you can still give her breast milk that way. Which will help get your milk in for when/if she figures out that she can stay awake attached to you.

I'm assuming that she stays awake for the bottle?

I'll do a bit of research and see if I can come up with anything helpful.

pippagrey
Sep. 24th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
Update:

I'm finding very little on this, though since we don't do pediatrics here there I only have really basic texts in the library. I'll see if I can catch someone from L&D today for suggestions.

I did find on the web, (and of course didn't properly book mark so I can't find it again) someone with what sounded like a similar problem who said that after they gave their son several bottle feedings he started waking up enough and they were able to put him back on the breast. She though he might have been so hungry he was basically too weak to suckle since there were lab findings of low blood sugar (among other things) and once they got some food in him and got his energy levels up, he was then had the energy to feed.

Don't know if this is any help at all...
ladypeyton
Sep. 24th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
Can't help. My breastfeeding experience was so bad that even the La Leche consultant finally told me to go to the bottle.
galingale
Sep. 24th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
V's l.c. suggested la leche (www.llli.org) first, and if that doesn't work and you want to try something else there's also Dr. Chritina Smillie in Stratford , Ct, who is a pedi and LC who practices only Breastfeeding Medicine. If that's not overkill though.

It's good to know one thing though, since she did take a bottle, you do know that she can eat & swallow -- now hopefully she can learn how to get it "direct from the tap". And if she doesn't, well ...tough titties. (Someone had to say it, right?) You're her Mommy either way and that's the important part. (But I'll second the comment about it being more convenient from a SCA standpoint.)

Love to you all~!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )