Dec 142012

“Man, I’d have given up ages ago and just gone to the bottle if I were you. You have a slow let down, that’s why he’s screaming. You’ll just have to go home and pump for him.” – Lactation consultant to mother with newborn who was having breastfeeding difficulties.

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  21 Responses to ““…I’d Have Given Up…And Gone To The Bottle If I Were You…””

  1. “At least, that’s what they said during my thirty-five-minute-long certification class. Although I’m not sure because I had to step outside to take a phone call from my brother the veterinarian who hates animals. He needed a ride because he’d dropped off his car for an oil change and the mechanic said oil was too darned expensive and he should just walk everywhere from now on. So, where were we? Oh, yeah, pump. That solves every problem.”

  2. Does someone with a slow let-down find pumping easy? (Serious question here.) I had no problems breastfeeding, but never could get a hand pump to work (back in the day electric was not an option.) I would think someone with a slow let-down would find pumping impossible. Now that syringe thing we were talking about a few days ago might get baby to stop screaming long enough that the let-down will come and things will get better, and mom will learn to read the hungry cues and get baby to the breast faster so the wait won’t seem like such a hardship when baby isn’t scarving. But ya know I might be completely off bas since I never had that problem. On the other hand, something tells me I’ve breastfed longer that this lacation consultant. I hope mom figured it out with the help of somebody who knew what they were talking about.

    • I had a lot of breastfeeding difficulties, and the pump definitely did NOT help. The pump is actually what caused me to dry up with my first. I was able to get out quite a bit (4 oz from one side within hours of giving birth) with the hand pump, but was lucky if i could get out a drop or two with the electric one.

    • I wouldn’t think slow letdown would or would not work with the pump – it’ll depend on other factors. The pump doesn’t care if it takes you a little while to let down, it’ll keep sucking, so as long as you respond to the way the pump acts, you’ll get the milk – it just won’t start until you’ve been pumping for a little bit.

      On the other hand, assuming the pump *will* work, and also that mama should have to deal with pumping to feed a baby that’s *right there* instead of being helped with the actual issue…ugh.

    • My letdown seems to be getting slower and slower as my baby gets older and supply goes down. It went from milk squirting out at the mere sight of my daughter to at least 5 minutes now. I also used to let down for the pump within 20-30 seconds in the newborn period, bunomes it takes me at least 10 minutes. And if I don’t get a half decent letdown, I only pump a few drops. So no, I don’t find pumping easy now and I imagine I would have found it terrible in the beginning if I had a slow letdown then. A well latched baby will cause a much stronger letdown and remove way more milk than any fancy schmancy 30%-commission-for-the-LC pump.

  3. What is with lactation consultants who think this way? I was put on an SNS with formula and not taught much at all about how to fix my son’s latch during my three (expensive) visits to the lactation consultant – the person who was most helpful? A visiting nurse who came to my home a week after birth (which is a wonderful healthcare practice here in Massachusetts) and told me to get rid of the SNS, lie down sideways on my couch with my baby up against me, and watch bad tv. LOL!

    • The one & only lactation specialist we had in town retired a while ago–before I had my daughter for sure. Every nurse who had a shift on the maternity ward gave me different advice during my three-day stay in the hospital, some of it contradictory (and one had no qualms about just grabbing my breast & trying to shove as much of it in the baby’s mouth as she could). While it’s great that they try to support breastfeeding efforts, I wish I’d gotten the bad TV advice from the beginning! It took two days to figure out that their advice wasn’t helping me, and and two weeks of belting out music when my daughter latched on to keep from shrieking (I had very sore nipples). I didn’t even try lying on my side & nursing till she was able to roll over on her own.

      • It was such a life-saver. I only nursed lying down after that (except for emergency feedings in public places), practically until my son was old enough to sit unsupported! I had so stressed myself out about nursing after a visit to the ER for uric acid crystals in his diaper on his first night home, fruitless visits to lactation consultants, and the HUGE hassle of that damn SNS, I wasn’t capable of relaxing enough to let down. The visiting nurse told me that the best nursers she’d ever seen were the teen moms she visited, because they were always multi-tasking and not worrying too much about it. I felt a little guilty ruining a beautiful intimate moment with my newborn by watching “Say Yes To The Dress”, but dammit, it worked!

  4. Because there are absolutely ZERO ways to help speed up a slow let-down, right? Sheesh, I’m not a lactation consultant but I know how to use the internet and I found lots of tips on helping to speed up my slow let-down.

    I also did not get much help from the lactation consultant I went to see with my first baby. She said his latch looked fine and gave me a nipple shield (WHY, if his latch was fine???). With my fourth baby when I had difficulties I went to an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I don’t know if it was just her, or the more extensive training IBCLCs get, but she was absolutely stupendous. I ended up nursing to 10 months, whereas I’d only been able to make it to 5 months with my other babies. I always recommend IBCLCs now!

    • Unfortunately, not all IBCLC’s are creat4d equal. I saw one at 3 days postpartum, she told me that my baby had a good latch, but also gave me a nipple shield because my baby was “a lazy eater.”

      For the next 6 weeks, my baby had trouble gaining weight. I saw multiple IBCLC’s from that independent practice, and none of them ever hinted that the shield might be the problem.

      Only after my midwife made an offhand comment about hating nipple shields did I finally do some research on my own, and found out that nipple shields can cause insufficient milk transfer. I stopped using the shield cold turkey, and 21 months later, we’re still breastfeeding.

      Now I show my pregnant friends the online resources that helped me, because I just don’t trust the IBCLC practice.

  5. This was the beginning of the end of breastfeeding for me. I went in because my son was refusing to even TRY to latch. Even when I’d get some milk in his mouth, he’d just turn away and scream harder. Every time. I was convinced he hated me because what else could it be? I had enough milk, he just refused to drink it. We’d previously used a nipple shield for a number of reasons but had weaned off that and he’d always had a poor latch but he wasn’t even latching any more, poorly or not. It was like one day he decided he didn’t want it from me and that was it.

    I didn’t want to pump for every feed, I wanted to be able to just lift my top and go so I saw someone. This someone. I think I pumped for two days before formula started to be introduced. The second lactation consultant I saw about the issue went away and came back to my house with formula samples. (Note: In Australia, formula samples aren’t routinely given out at hospitals so it was even more unusual that she had some.) I lasted a week of exclusively pumping and supplementing before we gave up. Being home for every single meal and sitting at a pump for half an hour was hell.

    I’ve considered re-lactating because I miss breastfeeding but two months later and he still just screams if I try to put him near my nipple so if the problem isn’t fixed, I’d just be back to square one and there’s no way I could handle that again. It came right when I thought I was getting better at everything too. We’d completely weaned him back from the initial formula feedings he’d had in hospital and for the first two months, I was making enough milk, I was so proud of finally getting it right and then BAM.

    • Everyone let you down, didn’t they? :-(

      I’m so sorry. **hugs**

    • My son did this EXACT thing. The LC’s told me it was because his lower jaw was extremely recessed and in order to latch he had to hold his head in a very uncomfortable angle. I ended up pumping for just over seven months and supplementing with formula.

      I cried a lot when I realized I couldn’t nurse him. If you want to relactate, GO FOR IT! :) There are plenty of aids out there, and even if you can’t nurse, you can pump. It’s not too late! But if you really are okay with formula too, that’s okay too. Don’t let ANYONE make you feel badly for your choices. You are his Momma, and you know what’s best.

    • Does your son have a physical problem, like a tongue tie? My youngest had a tongue tie and lip tie and he had trouble nursing until it was revised.

    • I have a friend who had a similar problem – it turned out that her son had a milk protein allergy! She was heartbroken.

    • My daughter wouldn’t latch too. The screaming at the breast, the thought that my baby must hate me… what you wrote sounds so familiar.

      In her case there wasn’t anything physically wrong; after five weeks she suddenly started nursing. Those five weeks were hell. The hardest thing was not knowing whether to keep putting her to the breast or to make my peace with pumping. Hope makes you vulnerable.

      Whether you try to relactate or not, I wish you well.

    • I had to use a nipple shield until 4.5 months with my oldest. Turns out I have *severely* overactive letdown and oversupply With my youngest, I pumped until drained each morning…and he did fine…though he hadn’t been until I started that.

      (Note: this is NOT the standard way to handle those two problems. The standard way is to encourage your body to back off the oversupply. But in my case that didn’t work.)

  6. Have you rung the Australian breastfeeding association helpline? They’ll be able to point you in the right direction of what to do if you want to relactate. The number is 1800 686 2 68. Its staffed 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

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