Breastfeeding Difficulties

Discussion in 'The First Year' started by Debbiemichelle, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. Debbiemichelle

    Debbiemichelle Well-Known Member

    Our two beautiful babies were born last week - 11/14/12 via C-section after my wife's water broke unexpectedly a week before our scheduled c-section date. Maren Charles (boy) weighed 5 lbs. 13oz. and Lucy Laurel weighed 6lbs. even. We had a rough time trying to figure out breastfeeding with no support from the hospital at all for the first 2 days with the result that we could hardly get Maren to latch without 20-30 minutes of persistent work, and we couldn't get Lucy to latch at all for more than maybe one suckle or two. Both twins lost significant weight and we were advised to start formula supplementation. After finally meeting with a lactation consultant, we acquired nipple shields and what a huge difference they've made for us! We can now easily get both babies to latch within a minute or so of presenting the breasts to them resulting in our ability to actually sleep for an hour or so between feedings. We are supplementing with 1oz of formula after every other breast feeding, and as of our first pediatricians visit yesterday, each child had gained back 4 oz. of the 9 that they'd lost. Did/does anyone else have problems with breastfeeding at first, and how did things progress for you? We really didn't think we'd be the type of people to need breastfeeding aids and were totally committed to exclusive breastfeeding, but it's amazing how quickly your strongly held opinions will dissolve when your smaller to begin with babies are dropping weight and you can't figure out any other way to help them! We have been home from the hospital now for a few days, and are starting to get into a routine, but we are hesitant to try to wean them from the shields just yet since as it is we're still feeding for about an hour , sleeping for about an hour and then starting the cycle over again. Any advice that you might have for us as brand new parents with breastfeeding issues would be appreciated - if not advice I'd love to hear your stories so that we don't feel quite so alone in all this! Thanks.
    ~Jesse (& Debbie & Lucy & Maren)
  2. Yoyomilli

    Yoyomilli Active Member

    I had similar issues initially breast feeding the twins. I had previously breast fed my older daughter and it was still difficult. I had a c-section at 35 weeks and milk didn't come in for at least 5 days. My son had NO latch and was exclusively bottle fed for the first 3-4 days. Once home from the hospital, I attempted to breast feed both babies for 20 minutes, then gave them formula (or eventually expressed milk) then pumped for 20 minutes. Then repeated 2-3 hours later. It was exhausting! By the two week check up I had stopped all formula and was only occasionally supplementing with EBM. By three weeks they were exclusively breast fed and still are today at their 6 month birthday!!!
  3. twinkler

    twinkler Well-Known Member

    Hi Jessie and Debbie - and welcome to the world Lucy and Maren! (what great names!)

    Glad you've come to post here - there are plenty of Moms who give excellent breastfeeding advice here.

    I've never used breast shields but I did have problems with latching with one twin which unfortunately didn't get resolved in the way I would have liked to because I was going to see my other twin in hospital so I ended up switching to formula with her and breastfed the other for 6 months - in hindsight if I had had more breastfeeding support I might have persevered with the latching issue. It's fantastic to hear that you've already accessed a lactation consultant - I am sure they will be very helpful for you.

    It is certainly a busy time at first while you find your feet with your new charges, just go with the flow, remember you can't break them lol! and enjoy this baby moon stage - it goes too quickly.
  4. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I didn't have to use nipple shields but had latching problems for the first 5 days. If the nipple shields are working I'd aim for one feed a day when you are up to it to see how they do without them. When that goes well, add in 2 more feeds without them, saving middle of the night feeds until everything's working well.
  5. jdorourk

    jdorourk Well-Known Member

    Congrats on your twins and congrats on your success so far breastfeeding. My twins are 7 mos old and are exclusively breastfed. I used nipple shields too after they had poor latches and my nipples were raw and bleeding. I read online that nipple shields can cause supply problems but I never experienced this. I didn't wean my babies until they were closer to 2-3 mos, so honestly I wouldn't worry about weaning at this point, unless it seems the shields are causing some problems.

    I had a lot of delivery complications and my twins were on formula from the beginning as I needed to recover and my milk hadn't come in yet. I am very lucky that when my milk did come in I had enough for both babies, as I know this is not the case for many twin moms. I was pumping after each nursing session to help get my supply up then stopped after a couple weeks when I had my supply. I initially was giving formula/breastfeeding/pumped milk combos but in the first month weaned the formula and pumping off and was breastfeeding exclusively.

    What saved me in the early days when nursing took 20-30 min was tandem feeding. During the day I only tandem fed or else it felt like I was feeding all the time. Also in the very beginning I did some pumping at night and fed bottles so others could feed while I slept. Breastfeeding can be any combination of feeding/pumping - whatever works for you.

    If you can stick with breastfeeding you will be greatly rewarded by months 3-4. My twins now take about 5 min to nurse and it is SO much more convenient than having to make formula or pump and give bottles.
  6. Amycplus

    Amycplus Well-Known Member

    Congratulations! Glad you reached out. I had troubles at first for sure. One if my babies lost weight, got jaundice, wouldn't latch properly etc. The things that helped were: cranio sacral therapy to help with the latch, a good lactation consultant and postpartum doula if you can. If you are supplementing with formula, consider a SNS that gives the formula through a tube in the breast. I still look back on that tube with frustration because it was so hard to use, but also gratitude because it kept my babes nursing. With these supports and a lot of persistence, my babes haven't had any formula since those first two weeks and we are still breastfeeding at 10 months. Those early supports are crucial and this forum is a huge help. Good luck!
  7. 3under2!

    3under2! Well-Known Member

    Congrats on your babies!!! Thank G-d I was (am) able to successfully BF my twins, here are my tips:

    1. Don't stress so much about them losing a few ounces, especially for a birth where IV/fluids is used because the babies retain water from the fluids (just like we do) and pee it out after birth and 'lose weight' from it, in addition to the 2-3 oz that is normal for them to lose after birth. They will gain it back before you know it.

    2. Find a lactation consultant who you like and you feel is competent, it is totally worth the money spent!

    3. Have them checked for tongue ties by the lactation consultant, not the pediatrician, that often affects latch, all three of my kiddos had it, my twins had theirs snipped at 2 mos old and nursing became MUCH easier and more comfortable.

    4. Someone here posted this fantastic video on youtube about how to tandem nurse infants while alone:

    5. Tandem nursing will help keep your supply up, also double pumping when your milk comes in, in addition to nursing, will help keep it going even better. I would suggest pumping a bit to relieve the engorgement to make it easier for the babies to latch, nurse them, then pump afterwards. Then you will also have a stash to offer instead of formula.

    Forgot to write--congrats again and good luck!!
    1 person likes this.
  8. Debbiemichelle

    Debbiemichelle Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much to everyone for your great comments, thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and encouragement! I read all of the posts out loud to Debbie (while she's breast feeding ) and we are feeling a lot better with things. Both babies are nursing like champs on the shields, and Debbie's supply is enough now to use pumped milk as a supplement with formula only rarely. We have a great friend who is a maternity nurse, and she has been helping us with lactation issues, but perhaps we'll look into a specific lactation consultant too. It has been really helpful to hear how each of you were each able to flexibly respond to your situations and able to persevere. As new parents is is great to know that we are not alone in having difficulty with breastfeeding, and with your encouragement we'll just keep taking it a day at a time and doing what is best for our babies and our situation. Thanks so much for your support!

    ~Jesse (& Debbie & Lucy & Maren)
  9. j-squared

    j-squared Well-Known Member

    Glad to hear things are going better! :)

    I was going to recommend tandem nursing as that can help the babies help each other stay latched and sucking. My DD had trouble latching the first 10 days or so and always did better if I latched her brother on, let him get the let down (fortunately, he was born a nursing champ) and then popper her on so she didn't have to suck hard at first to get milk (which encouraged her to keep nursing and stay latched).

    I did something similar to the video posted above and having a double twin nursing pillow really helped.
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