Tori came to see me for a consult about six weeks ago. She was a chill, new young twenty year old mum. My mouth dropped when I looked into the baby capsule she brought in from the car. Her baby boy was so teeny tiny! He was absolutely adorable with his teeny little face and miniature mouth. He was born one month early. It’s interesting to note here though that my middle boy was also born one month early but he was over six pounds and latched on no problems. Although he tired quickly while breastfeeding, I did not have to pump or express to keep up my supply as I just kept putting him back onto the breast frequently. For Tori it was a very different experience though…
I asked Tori to get into the “laid back” breastfeeding position to see if Zaxon would latch on himself. He did this beautifully! Yet after about one minute or so, he was so exhausted he fell asleep happily with her nipple still in his mouth. He slept for the rest of the consult like this. I could see just how challenging it had been for Tori. Her labour and birth was very difficult. He ended up with an attempted forceps delivery, ending with a vacuum. Due to the birth trauma the doctor told her that Zaxon had, “facial palsy due to the failed vacuum and forceps but this will get better over time.” Although it was helpful for both Tori and I to know this information, it still did not put a plan in place for her to breastfeed. Because of the facial palsy and temporary nerve damage, his small size and very sleepy state, we both knew that breastfeeding exclusively was not an option at that moment. Yet I assured Tori that with some patience, perseverance and TIME…it would get better and she would get to the point of being able to latch him on.
So what did I tell Tori to do in order to keep her supply up, feed her baby and also encourage him to breastfeed?
1. Devote the next few months to just simply hanging out skin to skin with your baby.
4.Every day hang out with him in a semi-reclined position skin to skin to encourage him to take the breast. The more he can play with your nipples, try to attach and just be with them, the quicker he will be likely to breastfeed. Have a look at my breastfeeding positions post for a picture of this position and others to try.
5. Do not try to breastfeed him if he is upset, only offer him the breast if he is happy.
5. When weaning him off of the formula, you can either slowly wean off the formula as you build your supply or if you notice that you are starting to pump enough milk straight away then you can use breastmilk instead of the formula. Have a look at my article on how to know he is getting enough milk.
*I have a “Pump Chart” that includes tips on how to increase your supply while pumping and a place where you can keep track of how much you are pumping and what time of day you pump the most milk. Please contact me if you would like to order an emailed PDF copy of this. I also have a chart to help you wean your baby off of formula onto breastmilk only. This is also available as a PDF via email.
There are three important things to do when going through a similar situation as Tori…
1. Feed your baby!
2. Keep up your supply!
3. Continue to encourage your baby to breastfeed every day!
Here are some pics which show just how awesome self attachment can be! Here Tori has gotten into the, “laid back” breastfeeding position. These were taken the second time I saw her but Zaxon did the same thing six weeks before when I first saw him. She is in a semi-reclined position, skin to skin with her baby. He bobbed his head around a bit, hung out with the boob and eventually latched on all by himself. Forget the boob squash, head push breastfeeding scenario! Just get skin to skin and let your baby do the work. Even a teeny tiny little Zaxon is a breastfeeding champ in this position. 😆
I saw Tori about five weeks later and I was so excited when I saw her latch him on! She put him in the baby carrier, pulled up her shirt, latched him on like it was nothing and barely even had to look at what she was doing! Wow! Talk about a difference since the last time I saw her. So what were the things that she saw as the most important to getting him breastfeeding and eliminating all of the bottles and occasional formula supplements?
1. She pumped every 2-3 hours with one pump in the middle of the night.
2. She offered Zaxon the breast frequently and spent much of her days skin to skin hanging out with him.
3. PERSISTENCE! She said this word numerous times during our visit and it just shows how important this is! Are you trying to encourage your baby to breastfeed? Are you currently supplementing? Are you getting discouraged? Tori went from almost 100% bottle feeding her expressed milk with occasional formula top-ups for almost two months to now exclusively breastfeeding her baby without the use of formula or bottles. No more pumping! No more supplements! For many women this can be also be the outcome. 🙂
Many women find that support and encouragement from an IBCLC or volunteer breastfeeding counsellor can be very helpful when trying to get your baby to take the breast or wean them off of formula. Please head over to my Breastfeeding Consultations Worldwide page if you would like some help with this.
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