Sunday, July 6, 2008
Teaching my baby to nurse
I did want to post some more instructions on how we are teaching her to nurse properly. Just in case someone else out there is frustrated that there isn't much info out there on getting a baby to go from the bottle to the breast. (LOTS of info out there on the other way around!) If you missed it in my last post, because Ru spent so much time in the NICU, then being bottle fed breastmilk fortified with formula, she didn't learn to suck properly. I have been pumping, so I still produce milk. Now the trick is to try and get her to learn to get it direct from the source.
So before we feed her at every feeding, when we give her a pacifier, or any other time we think to do it, we do mouth training. We start by making sure our fingernail is trimmed nice and short, and of course wash our hands.
First we simply rub our finger from her cheek to her mouth, then around her lips. Then put the finger inside her mouth and massage her gums a bit. Brian and I think this part is just to get her attention on her mouth.
Then we put our finger deeper in her mouth, fingernail facing down. We rub the top of her mouth front to back, then drop down and push down and forward on the back of her tongue. This trains her (theoretically) to use her entire tongue instead of just the front as she's been doing. We don't really know if we are doing it right, and it is difficult to try and match her rhythm as she sucks on our fingers. Not to mention I get the giggles every time she starts going to town sucking on my finger. ;) Probably because in addition to her baby cuteness, it tickles a little bit and the situation is just kinda silly so it makes me giggle.
We do think it's working tho. We also bought some Breast Flow bottles by learning curve (I'll do a review in a post tomorrow) that are supposed to better simulate breast feeding. They are probably intended for the millions that have trouble going from breast to bottle feeding. Our lactation consultant recommended we try them with Ru. The first time Brian tried to feed her with it they were both very frustrated, she just couldn't get the milk out. It was exactly like when we practice breastfeeding. Now, 5 days later, she is drinking from them like a champ. Yesterday after breastfeeding practice she had obviously got some out, as she spit up on Brian. ;) Today she latched on and sucked for a good 5-10 minutes, which was surprising since I'd just fed her. Already we are making progress!