Feeding Fail

It’s been a stressful couple of days for us. We took Lucy to her newborn checkup yesterday and discovered her weight was down to 6 lbs., 2 oz., down 4 oz. from her discharge weight and 12 oz. from her birth weight. Blood work showed that she was dehydrated, so the doctor told us to supplement with formula. I felt awful, like I couldn’t provide enough for her and that I had caused her to lose so much weight. We were told to give her an ounce of formula an hour, but she really only drank 1/4 oz.-1/2 oz. an hour. I think the nursing plus trying to get the formula down here was too much.

Joe enjoyed getting to feed her.

lucy 11

In fact, they even enjoyed a bottle together!

lucy 13

Today, we went back to have her blood work and weight checked. She was back up to 6 lbs., 6 oz., her discharge weight, and her blood work was perfectly normal. The doctor told us today that her numbers yesterday were “scary”. I’m glad he didn’t tell us how bad they were yesterday because I would have been a basket case all night.

He also told me that I may not be able to nurse. Today is four days postpartum, and he says milk typically comes in within 72 hours. I know that’s not a hard and fast rule, but he seemed surprised that I have no symptoms of it coming in yet and says that some women just aren’t able to nurse. I’ve been pumping since last night to try to keep my supply coming since the supplementing has caused Lucy to not want to nurse as much, but I’m still not getting much. The doctor told me to keep trying until Monday and that if I don’t have anything by then I likely won’t be getting any. I don’t really know what to think about all this. On one hand, I was kind of enjoying nursing and, as weird as it sounds, I was looking forward to pumping. However, nursing has been REALLY painful for me.

I guess I’ll keep trying and we’ll see next week.

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Hi! I’m a wife to a wonderful husband, mom to a beautiful and active (to put it lightly) kiddo, and fur-mom to 3 crazy cats. I’m a former journalist. I quit my full time job two years ago. Now, I am a freelance writer and a virtual assistant for several bloggers!

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  1. Ben says:

    Cady, We had a very similar situation with our first. She didn’t want to nurse, Nancy’s milk didn’t come in very strong, etc. I won’t torture you with the details, just point out that she is now a fine and healthy fourteen-year-old. So don’t beat yourself up.

  2. Sugar & Ice says:

    Less than one percent of women don’t lactate, so don’t get too terribly worried that you’re in that category…most of those women have other issues that cause them not to lactate at all(like botched implant surgeries). My milk didn’t come in for over five days after LG was born, and when it did come in, it just sort of slowly built up. I didn’t “feel” it come in either…it was just kind of there. Hang in there; you can still do what you’re doing nursing and formula feeding….which is what we did with LG for over a week and with the twins for five days. Even if it comes in slowly, you could still pump what you do produce and feed her that in a bottle for as long as you choose.

  3. Mindy says:

    Hi — have been lurking awhile but never commented. Hang in there — I was in the exact same situation you are — it is so stressful! My milk finally came in, though not super strongly, after pumping like crazy and continuing to attempt to nurse (took about 5-6 days) and I never had that “feeling” that it was coming, etc. While I was never able to really get my kiddo to latch and nurse, I have been pumping and feeding and it has worked out just fine.

  4. Molly says:

    Hi – I also have been reading but not commenting. I had the exact same thing happen with my first child. I felt awful. Keep it up…you can do it! My milk slowly came in and I pumped every 2 hours during the day. It was a lot of work but worth it. I also supplemented with formula the first week. It worked best for us to only bottle feed as my baby just didn’t get the hang of nursing. I quit pumping when he was 9 months old. He is just about 1 year and my breast milk supply in the freezer is just about gone. You can do it, Cady! It can be frustrating but hang in there.

  5. Liz says:

    First of all, I don’t like the title of this post, because you are not “failing” in any way!

    This story sounds exactly like what happened with Ava. They were extremely worried she was dehydrated, but she ended up being just fine & I went on to nurse her for 10.5 months after giving her formula the first week. It ended up being a good thing cause she never had problems taking a bottle when needed. Whatever way it ends up working out will be right. Don’t worry about it.

    I am glad to hear that you were enjoying breastfeeding, and it is very painful the first few weeks, so don’t give up yet if your milk does come in.

  6. Lisanne says:

    It’s great to hear that you’re enjoying nursing! I remember you saying before that you wanted to pump and give bottles, not nurse. Everyone up above gave good advice. You totally are NOT failing!

  7. Caroline says:

    Hi Cady – Sorry I can’t offer any advice. I have heard that the first few weeks are really difficult and it does get easier. Hang in there! x

  8. Laura says:

    I kind of don’t like that doctor. I’m not a nursing nazi at ALL, but I don’t like hearing these kind of things come out of a dr’s mouth. It just seems like they are discouraging you from the get-go. Andrew lost a full POUND after birth. 14% of his body weight. My dr didn’t even bat an eye; just said breastfed babies typically lose more weight, and he’d get back up by his next appt. My milk didn’t come in until probably day 4, and we didn’t actually start nursing until day 5. I still tell people that my son didn’t get more than a drop or two to eat the first WEEK of his life. And we continued a successful nursing relationship after that. Just don’t let other people discourage you, Cady. You’re doing GREAT and making great choices, no matter what you do. Please email me if you ever need to chat. I had a really hard time adjusting to a lot of things during newborncy and I am totally willing to talk about that or nursing or NOT nursing anytime!! *hugs* 🙂

  9. Lisa says:

    I don’tlike the doctor much either. Did you get the lactation nurses number before you left the hospital? DOn’t give up, it can take up to a week to come in! I am excited for you and can’t wait to hear all about her birth!!!

  10. Hannah says:

    You are not failing! Don’t stress too much sweetie! Nursing is natural, but it doesn’t come naturally always. I hope it’s ok if I leave a little advice. Milk can take a while to come in. Sometimes as much as a week. Many babies respond easier to nursing when they aren’t given an artificial nipple. Babies really aren’t able to switch easily back and forth until at least 4 weeks old. Most doctors don’t tell mothers this. It can make it harder for them to nurse if they have had a bottle because it’s easier for a baby to use an artificial nipple than suck from a breast and it’s hard for them to easily switch at Lucy’s age. Ineffective sucking can affect your supply. Many mothers have success with a dropper or syringe when supplementing (w/o a needle of course!) or even feeding with a teaspoon. As a nursing mom and a La Leche League Leader, I can tell you that many babies loose that much weight and go on to be successful nursers who re-gain weight soon after. Both of mine did and even w/o supplementing, once my milk came in, they gained quickly. Hang in there, Cady! I remember thinking with Olivia that it would never work out and it did. You are doing a great job! Your milk WILL come in and the more she can suckle, the faster it will happen. If you can, wait to use a bottle or paci for several weeks until nursing is working ok. It actually makes breastfeeding harder. Your little Lucy is lucky to have such a caring mommy. 🙂 If you ever want to e-mail me, I’d be happy to talk to you! I go to new moms houses all the time to help with breastfeeding and I love it! Your little Lucy is beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

  11. I don’t have a great deal I can add to all the excellent advice you have. Please don’t feel awful about anything, or feel stressed. It will all work out, you’ll see.

  12. Shannon O. says:

    with Lore my milk never really came in… I did everything I could it just didn’t work… with Annabelle I now make too much… crazy but I never felt it come in… Annabelle has no issue from the start going back and forth between nipple and bottle… but I have to use a nipple shild because my nipples are too big for her mouth lol… think of it as a corset lol… so if you haven’t tried that try it… it is awesome lol… it also helps to cut down on some of the pain… and we had to do formula some with Annabelle at the start because she lost so much… hang in there…

  13. Cristy says:

    I told you in an email when you were pregnant that nursing is stressful and painful. All the classes pre-birth make it sound so easy & natural & that’s just plain bull! I wish those classes would give women a more realistic view of it. BUT, it will get better & it’s worth all the effort. Keep trying. And if it doesn’t work, formula is not the end of the world. Also, don’t be hesitant to call your ongyn if you suspect you might have the baby blues. Just a low dosage of an anti depressant may help wonders & make being a new mom more enjoyable. I know it helped me but it took me too long to figure out I needed something.

  14. Lisa says:

    The problem with breast feeding is the lack of see-thru skin so you can see how much you’re feeding your baby. For me, it took ages to do, so I went to the bottle and everything turned out perfectly fine. 🙂 Congrats again on your sweet baby.

  15. Barbara says:

    I hope it all turns out well for you. With my first daughter I tried nursing. When I took her for her 4 week check-up, she had lost almost a pound. They had me feed her while I was there. She only got an ounce, between both sides. I had no idea, because I leaked plenty all the time. But,that was the end of my nursing. So, don’t feel bad however it turns out. You’re trying and that is all you can do.

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