Can you believe that after 2 months, Nova Blue decided to finally latch on the boob? What a crazy little girl! I thought babies only latched early-on and the longer you waited to put baby on the boob the harder, or even impossible, it would be to have a baby breastfeed.
You may have read my post on my Jaundice scare, during the days Nova had to be at the hospital and could only be bottle fed because she couldn't be removed from her light bed. After 3 days in the hospital being bottle-fed, she did not want to latch on again. In fact, she would cry and gag each time I put my nipple in her mouth - totally hurting my feelings but I never took it personal ;)
I did the only thing available to me, I pumped and tried my best to keep milk production up while also supplementing with formula. My desire to breastfeed was still there, I feared I would miss out of that bond breastfeeding creates between mom and child. As my milk supply dwindled I at least wanted her to stimulate my breast so that I could produce more milk so I occasionally tried to have her latch with no luck.
My lactation consultant suggested I try a nipple shield but even that didn't work... until Nova turned two months old.
At 2 months old, babies have mastered sucking and know when mom is there to feed them. Because I kept insisting for the stimulation, once again I tried using the nipple guard (because my nipples are too small) to fees her and to my surprise Nova took it! I think she had plenty of practice sucking her bottle and pacifier that by the time I tried breastfeeding again with the nipple guard, it was easy due to her matured sucking skills.
I may not be the only one to have experience this little miracle, it may be more common than what I think. Each mom has their own method but this is what worked for me:
1 Make sure you are using a slow flow nipple bottle, a nipple bottle that will force them to suck for food as they would do on the boob. I have to give credit to the type of bottle I was using, a slow flow Munchkin bottle that helps transition babies from the breast to the bottle. In my case it worked the reverse, transition my baby on to the breast.
2 Use a nipple shield that fits your nipple. Nipple shields come in different nipple sizes so make sure you buy one that fits, I used the Medela Nipple Shield 24mm. If after feeding you see milk trapped in the nipple shield, it means you're doing it right because there's milk that baby has sucked out.
3 Try latching her when the baby is not extremely hungry. If you get to the screaming-off-my-head-because-I'm-hungry point, don't even bother, babies have ZERO patience when it comes to their food and will resist. Besides, if both you and the baby are tense, none of you will enjoy the moment or achieve your feeding goals. Just try when both of you are a little more relaxed.
4 Keep pumping. Don't stop, the more you extract the milk the more you'll produce. You'll be sending a signal to the milk gods that you run out fast so it should be replenished! Between baby and pumping, you'll be producing more milk anytime.
5 Keep supplementing with formula. Don't go too crazy trying to exclusively breastfeed right away. It may take time for enough milk to produced and you must make sure baby is getting all his nutrients for a normal development and growth.
6 Keep trying at different stages. My lactation consultant gave me this advice but I thought she meant to try only for a couple of weeks and then I would get the 'ok' to quit. But thank God for these motherly instincts He programmed in moms so we never give up in ourselves or our kids.
Now I love seeing her eyes look up at me when she's feeding and occasionally giggling when I talk to her. Some moms choose not to breastfeed and others simply can't despite all their efforts, but one thing is true for majority of moms, we will do anything to keep our children safe, healthy and happy - even having raw, hurting and bleeding nipples like I do, but I would give my life for Nova Blue.