Post Reply FAQ Members Login

Breastfeeding question

Are you part of the NICU club? Do you have a child who is still struggling with the effects of being born too soon from preeclampsia? Share your concerns and stories here among parents who have been there.

Breastfeeding question

Postby raetay » Sun Sep 26, 2004 05:27 pm

by raetay (56 Posts), Sun Sep 26, 2004 05:27 pm

So, my second preemie was born about two and a half weeks ago at 34 weeks. She just came home yesterday - yippee! - and I'm struggling a bit with breastfeeding. She latches on well, takes a few sucks, and then spits it out. She's getting frustrated - unaware that the milk comes from the breast. She showed some intolerance to formula in the NICU and so it is critical that she get this breastfeeding thing. I did work with a Lactation Consultant in the hospital and she just told me to keep trying, that Amelia just needed practice. But we've been working on it for about four days now and she doesn't seem to be progressing. Does anyone have any experience/ideas on this? My last preemie, a 28-weeker, never did breastfeed. He had a weak suck and couldn't latch on. I pumped for four months until my milk dried up and I couldn't get it back.
Thanks for any thoughts you have!


PS - Has anyone found it incredibly traumatic to have a second preemie, even if it's an older one?

Mom to Isabelle, Isaac and Ethan (28 weeks, PIH) and now Amelia (34 weeks, PIH)
Registered User
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:27 am

Re : Breastfeeding question

Postby mada » Sun Sep 26, 2004 05:57 pm

by mada (4081 Posts), Sun Sep 26, 2004 05:57 pm

Hi rachel, I am sorry you are having a difficult time..It's not unusual for preemies to have these difficulties. The link above is a whole topic dedicated to nursing...maybe you can find some goog suggestions there..Goodluck and I am so glad Amelia is home!! We would love to see some pics of her!!

Mada Harpster-moderator for pregnant again

Sam 6-29-00 36weeks P.E.
Ben 11-03-01 No P.E.
Registered User
Posts: 4081
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 01:09 pm

Re : Breastfeeding question

Postby angelkat » Sun Sep 26, 2004 07:23 pm

by angelkat (3423 Posts), Sun Sep 26, 2004 07:23 pm

Hi Rachel,

The only thing I can think of is a nipple shield. My Best friend is a LC for the NICU Katlyne was in and I can't tell you how many times she would suggest Nipple sheilds and it really seemed to help out.

This time around, I found myself more impatient with the staff of the special care nursery and would have rathered Casey went to the NICU instead of staying in special care.

Hope the BFing gets easier for you! Sending you HUGE HUGS....

Moderator Grief and Loss
Mommy to
Drew(14)PE 37 wks
Ky (12)PE 34 wks
~i~ Katlyne(12/9/02-04/02/03)25 wks
Casey - 34wks Born 7/29/04
Katlyne's Tribute Site
Registered User
Posts: 3423
Joined: Thu May 08, 2003 10:26 am

Re : Breastfeeding question

Postby deerhart » Sun Sep 26, 2004 09:03 pm

by deerhart (3282 Posts), Sun Sep 26, 2004 09:03 pm

Hmm many times with babies (espeically those that were born kind of tiny) the flow can be too fast for them. So it may be that your drowning her in a sense. Both my boys did the same sort of thing for a while because the flow would be so fast they couldn't swallow fast enough to stay up with it (I produced milk for quadruplets I swear and was always engorged and tight and my flow was extremely fast) As their mouths, heads, and stomachs got bigger (and their ability to swallow faster) they stopped doing that. I don't know how many times they would latch on for a few seconds and then spit it out only to be sprayed full force in the face.

Some things to try may be to pump the breast a little bit before the baby starts.. this will allow you to let down some and reduce the flow a bit. You can also go back to pumping exclusively and let her bottle feed as well if nothing else works.


Moderator - Parents of Preemies
Missouri State Coordinator
Mommy to Alex (4)and Mason (1 1/2)
Law Student - 1 year done, 2 to go
Registered User
Posts: 3282
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2003 08:54 am

Re : Breastfeeding question

Postby season » Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:56 pm

by season (1417 Posts), Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:56 pm

It could be so many things.

Does the milk spray when she releases? If so, the let down may be surprising her. in which case you should be able to latch her back on after the inital spray slows down. Have a cloth handy to press against your breast to stop the spray. (My FT baby had some intial problems with choking when letdown occured. Now at 3 months she nurses away with no problems)
Or, if it's too slow for her you can try hand expressing or pumping a little to induce letdown, then she will not have to work as hard (at least until she get a ltitle bigger.) A nipple shield also may help her get a better latch, thus allowing her to get the flow going.

Thirdly it could be a stuffy nose. My ds was a 34 weeker. His nose was so tiny that it was always a little stuffy for the first few months. So he'd try to nurse, then pull off because he could not breathe. Persistence, saline and lots of different nursing positions got us through that rough patch.

I can say with persistence it should improve as she grows. Their mouths are so tiny when they are preemies. If you need more help I would contact a lactation consultant.

Hope that helps!

dh Kwame
ds Ezekiel 1/2/02 (34wks due to pre-e)
dd Naomi 6/25/04 (38 1/2 wks PIH)
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1417
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2003 05:39 pm

Re : Breastfeeding question

Postby maxs mom » Mon Sep 27, 2004 03:36 pm

by maxs mom (594 Posts), Mon Sep 27, 2004 03:36 pm

I just wanted to add two cents. If Amelia had an intolerance to formula, she may be allergic to something that was in it, most likely cow's milk. max was allergic to cow and soy protein, and it took me FOREVER to figure this out. when I finally took all dairy products out of my diet, i saw a big improvement in his eating habits. When I was breastfeeding him (via bottle) and I was eating milk products, he would always push away the bottle, it was like he immediatly knew something was wrong with it. After i took dairy out of my diet, 24 hours later, he actually drank his bottle w/o pushing it away. You may want to give it a try and see if it makes a difference. It will only take a couple of days to figure it out. If not, you know it is a latching problem, and you will just have to try all of the tricks listed here and hopefully something will work. Good Luck!

Kara (34)
DH, John (36)
Max, 1/20/03, 25 wks, 1lb. 3ozs. (IUGR), severe PE

#2 is on the way, EDD at 36.5 weeks is 3/24/04
maxs mom
Registered User
Posts: 594
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 08:12 pm

Re : Breastfeeding question

Postby meg » Tue Sep 28, 2004 04:47 am

by meg (1384 Posts), Tue Sep 28, 2004 04:47 am

My 35 weeker couldnt latch on right. I pumped for a month for him and he did finally learn how! Right as he reached his due date, he got it and went on to nurse for 8 months.
Is you milk letting down when she is still sucking? If it is, it may be too fast for her. If she gives up before it lets down, shemay not know there is milk there. You could pump for a minute or two to get let down going and then latch her on. Goodluck! Also, use your resources, the hospital LC is there for you and so is your local LLL. Good luck!

Will 2-6-00 (PE at 35 weeks)5lb 1 ounce
Elizabeth 7-3-01 (NO PE or PIH)8 lb 12 ounces
#3 EDD 10-25-04 Katherine Grace. So far PIH/PE free.
Proud Aunt to Ethan born 26/27 weeks (March 8th) weighing 1 lb 8 ounces! Our little fighter!
Now 6 months and over 9 pounds!
Registered User
Posts: 1384
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2004 03:43 pm

Re : Breastfeeding question

Postby tafkap » Wed Sep 29, 2004 01:37 pm

by tafkap (591 Posts), Wed Sep 29, 2004 01:37 pm

Hi there!

I think everyone has given great advice but I wanted to add my .02....
First- I think you are doing a GREAT job. I pumped for 6 weeks until my daughter reached her due date, and then it seemed like she had been nursing her entire life. It was a miserable 6 weeks but worth it!!
The nipple shield can and will decrease your milk supply GREATLY. Be very cautious in using it! I pumped several times a day and would place the baby on my chest a few times a day and try to get her to latch. It was frustrating, but I wanted her to keep remembering where the milk was coming from, etc.

The BIGGEST help I found was in a La Leche League meeting. It's an awesome support, even for preemie parents.

Good luck!!

dd Katherine Grace born
34weeks,6days,39minutes PIH/ Pre-E
Europe with a baby! Check out our pics!
Registered User
Posts: 591
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2003 10:43 pm

Re : Breastfeeding question

Postby youtan » Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:32 am

by youtan (1592 Posts), Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:32 am


Yes, my second was just as traumatic as the 1st even tho' he came at 32 wks instead of 27 wks. Breastfeeding was so frustrating. My 27 weeker, of course, did not take to breast. We had to practically force feed him a bottle, holding his little jaw up, because he was so weak. I also pumped for 4 months and finally gave it up because of exhaustion. When my 32 weeker came, I was so excited that maybe I'd get to nurse my baby and bond! Well, as with many expectations, this one too was not realized. The doctors were great, but they just had to give him a bottle and measure the liquids in and out. They were much more helpful in letting me try to nurse. But, it still didn't work out. I was too dry and seeing that big pump again just made me freak out, I thought, another 4 months - I can't.... I cried almost everytime I tried to pump and I wouldn't be, uh, fruitful. And then the pain from weaning.... Formula is just gross, in comparison to breastmilk. But, after 3 weeks, my 2nd baby was on formula. I have to ignore all the public announcements that push so hard for people to nurse their babies. It makes me angry, because I couldn't and so much wanted to.

But, formula has raised millions of healthy babies. It's one small price to pay for a healthy preemie! And kangaroo care, even with larger babies, really helps to feed the maternal urge to bond with your child. It's so nice to just sit together quiet for a couple of minutes, several times a day.

Nathanial 5 yrs HELLP 27 wks 1 lb 10 oz
Jonathan 2 yrs PIH 32 wks 4 lb 8 oz
Registered User
Posts: 1592
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 09:23 am

Re : Breastfeeding question

Postby aimeejane » Fri Oct 01, 2004 09:01 pm

by aimeejane (589 Posts), Fri Oct 01, 2004 09:01 pm

The best advice I can offer is to go back to the lactation consultant! Usually, you can go back as many times as you need to for no charge. Call and make an appointment for as soon as possible, and then keep going back until you both have it down. I never did figure it out with Nicky, and I wish I had gone back and kept trying. With Kalen, I did go back, got some pointers, and we breastfed together for seven months.

Sure, it might not work, but with the right help, it might!! Good luck!

Georgia State Coordinator
Moderator - Pregnant Again

Ds Nicky - 3/24/00 (28 wks - eclampsia)
Ds Kalen - 7/10/03 (36 weeks - preeclampsia)
Registered User
Posts: 589
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2003 08:45 am


Return to Parents of Preemies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests