A Day In The Life...

10:54 am

...Of a beautiful twelve week old baby boy and his struggle to breastfeed.

A while ago, one of the parenting forums I read had a post from a new Mum detailing their day. Just a regular day in the life of a baby. An interesting post, but ( and I hesitate to say this, but it's meant in a non judgemental way )it was a pretty darn perfect day. The baby was breastfeeding beautifully,and didn't cry at all.

That, of course hit a nerve with me.So, here is a day in our life, maybe not a totally typical day because it's the weekend, and we were trying a new tactic, but it might be interesting to someone other than just me...maybe? If not just indulge me.( or hit that little "X" )

A bit of background in brief. ( In case you've missed my whinging posts about our failure to breastfeed. )
Ernest was born with a posterior tongue tie, a high bubble palate and a tight maxillary labial frenum, a combination not conducive to a happy breastfeeding experience.
His tongue tie was cut on day 16, and his palate is starting to smooth out after several treatments from a cranial osteopath.
I have been told his tight lip ( maxillary labial frenum ) is not a problem, something I'm not convinced of.
A combination of jaundice,and consistent weight loss led us to supplement his feeding with bottles from day 10,after cup feeding failed.So now we are also struggling with nipple preference.
We have tried using a Supplemental Nursing System at the breast, nipple shields,biological nursing, and various ways of latching Ernest onto my breasts, all with limited success.
This weekend after a week of chasing my tail with the NHS looking for a second opinion, I decided to try finger feeding for 24 hours in the hope of training Ernest's suck and enticing him back to the breast. This was our day:

Night wakings:

1am, Woody feeds Ernest 100mls EBM by bottle while I pump for 10 mins,150mls
5am, Woody feeds Ernest 90mls EBM by bottle while I pump for 10 mins 150mls
6am, Ernest wakes briefly for a cuddle, and I give him 20mls EBM by bottle.


8am, Ernest starts to stir, I offer my breast with nipple shield, Ernest briefly latches,but gets frustrated quickly.I offer my naked breast, Ernest cries and refuses.I give 60mls EBM by bottle.
Woody changes and dresses Ernest while I pump for 10 mins, 120mls.
Ernest kicks about on our bed listening to his music box, while I fold nappies next to him.
Woody has meanwhile made breakfast, I eat breakfast at the PC,while Woody cuddles Ernest.
Ernest shows signs of being ready for a nap, I cuddle him to sleep.

9am, I have a shower while Ernest sleeps. I was planning a pyjama day,but we are expecting guests so I compromise and dress in yoga pants and a comfy t shirt instead.Have time to quickly brush my hair before Ernest wakes.

,I try our first Finger Feed 60mls EBM

Finger Feeding

It's tricky, and I need help from Woody, but it's a success, I think.
I then offer my breast (without the nipple shield). Ernest is happy, all smiles. He licks milk drips and nuzzles but does not latch on. I figure he at least is happy at the breast and not crying.
Time for some chores. I wear Ernest on my back while I wash and sterilise the bottles ,pump flanges and SNS. And while I sort laundry, and peg out the wet washing.

Ernest is now tired. I offer my naked (no nipple shield) breast again,but he pulls away crying.
Woody cuddles Ernest while I pump, 10 mins 140mls
India plays with Ernest, all smiles, but after a few minutes starts to fuss. I try finger feeding again, but Ernest cries. I cuddle him to sleep. (This is something I hate about not being able to nurse Ernest to sleep, it often means he cries to sleep, albeit in my arms.)

12 noon, Ernest sleeps lightly on our bed, while I fold laundry nearby.
India comes stomping and shouting up the stairs and wakes Ernest.
I give Ernest 50mls EBM via finger feeding.
Ernest falls asleep in my arms, and I make a cup of tea, wash and sterilise the SNS all while cuddling him to my chest.
Ernest wakes, and I change his nappy.

1pm, I finger feed Ernest, 20 mls EBM. Ernest poops, so I change his nappy.
I offer him the breast with nipple shield. He refuses, but falls asleep on my chest, so I sit and read. (latest edition of "The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding", which makes me cry.)

2pm Ernest wakes, and I offer first a naked breast and then with a nipple shield, both are refused.
Aware that our guests are due any moment, I panic slightly and Woody gives Ernest a bottle feed 60mls EBM while I pump, 10 mins 120mls.
Then, aware I've not eaten since breakfast I eat a bowl of soup quickly while Woody cuddles Ernest, and our guests arrive.
Ernest is unsettled while our guests are here, (and is probably also picking up on my unease, even though I'm happy to see our guests.)He fusses and dozes on me.
I offer to finger feed several times, but each time he refuses.
I change his nappy, and give in offering him a bottle of EBM which he drinks greedily. 70mls.

5pm, Our guests have left, and I pump for 10 mins, 140 mls, while Woody cuddles Ernest.Ernest is fussy.

6pm Ernest falls asleep, and I put him in his pram in the kitchen. Ernest wakes just as my dinner is put on the table.
I finger feed Ernest, 60mls EBM. Then I eat dinner with one hand (Woody cuts it up for me) while I hold Ernest on my knee. (my dinner is cold by now.)
Woody cuddles Ernest while I tidy up, wash and sterilise bottles, SNS, and pump flanges ready for the night.

I top and tail Ernest (he hates baths) and dress him ready for bed.

7pm Ernest and I cuddle on our bed, I sing to him and he coos and smiles back at me.
I offer naked breast (no nipple shield) and he cries and refuses.
I'm tired, emotional, and wondering how I'm going to get through the night finger feeding, so give in and offer a bottle. He drinks 80mls EBM

8pm I pump for 10 mins, 140mls.
Ernest poops, so I change his nappy. He then falls asleep on my chest.

9pm Ernest wakes, he's fussy. Woody and I take turns to cuddle him. I give a bottle of EBM 60mls, he then sleeps and doesn't wake again until 1am.

That was yesterday. This morning I spent 45 mins trying to get him to take the breast as he stirred from his sleep, to no avail. Once he awoke properly at 8am, I offered the breast and he refused it. He then took a finger feed of 50mls, not too happily, taking a 140ml bottle feed just an hour later.
I haven't tried finger feeding again today.

I'm not sure what my next step is.

Don't be shy, say hello!


  1. Oh sweet Jeanette. I am so proud of you mamma. You are doing everything you possibly can and, I am sure, looking for more possibilities.
    All I can say about this post is that I hope you know how much a mother from the outside can see that you are trying. I hope you know that.
    He is beautiful- and he is loved.
    Stay strong.
    Love and grace- Leslie

  2. gosh, that is SOOOO similar to Ellis' first few months. It is such a punishing schedule. I honestly think that it was a form of mental illness that kept me going through it. But we did...

    And now, as you know, G is on formula and it does break my heart, so I don't generally read anything about breastfeeding...

    Oh and that boy is BEAUTIFUL!! What a gorgeous baby!!!

  3. I never got anywhere with nipple shields, don't think they're all they're made out to be and what a faff to try and get them to stay in one place...

    I only steralised my pumping stuff once a day and it never killed S. Between times I would wash it all through with really hot water and have done with it.

    It took S an hour to have a bottle, so on top of the pumping, washing everything out etc there was another hour every 4 hours to get him to drink the stuff which was really frustrating!

    Hope you find something that suits you all soon, just reading about it made me feel tired!

  4. well done you for persevering so hard - mummy of the year award to you for sure!

    keep going xxxxx

  5. Oh Jeanette, how hard you struggle, it must be soul destroying.

    Have you seen one of these in your research? http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/breastfeeding-devices/51/supplemental-nursing-system-sns

    I have seen one used in the US for similar problems to yours. Put EBM in the bottles and attach Ernest to you whilst this is also attached. I don't know if you can get them on hire from somewhere because I appreciate it is his lack of ability to latch tha is the issue, so may not work, but just thoughts I'd pop this on just in case you'd not seen it before.

    Sending much strength to you. xx

  6. Golly Jeanette it's hard to know what to say. You are all doing a fantastic job but especially YOU as having read your account it is a true LABOUR OF LOVE.

    Please do not feel bad about the choices you are having to make, Ernest is thriving and that is what counts. I know you long to nurse him but take comfort that he is getting your milk.

    You and Woody must be exhausted.

    Love and Hugs
    San xx

  7. you know my thoughts on the BF.....just wanna say I love the photo of you and Ernest in the garden. It's made me all nostalgic, that was how I did my chores for ages. Ernest is a wise boy to have picked you for a mama, Jeanette! xxx

  8. I've said it before and I'll say it again.. you should be so proud of how well you have done... but I know it won't feel like that.

  9. oh Jeanette. What a dedicated mummy you are! I know it must be very hard going for you all at the moment but just look at that beautiful baby boy and his big chubby cheeks! and all he is getting is mummys milk! :)
    your dedication and perseverance is paying off, even if its not in the way you would like. despite the fact that Ernest is not latching and suckling at the breast, your milk is sustaining him and he is thriving on it!
    Your doing a fab job, keep at it. Dont think too far ahead, just take one day at a time.
    Hopefully in a few months you will look back on your journey in the early weeks and months and feel so glad that you kept going and cracked it! I see it everyday and it is so satisfying! keep going mama your doing great! xxx

  10. You are doing so amazingly well to keep up what you're doing. Whatever happens with the BF you've tried extremely hard to make it happen so try not to beat yourself up.

    I love him on your back doing the washing.

    Maddie x

  11. I often say this, but be gentle with yourself. You are doing a grand job making milk for your baby - and he is thriving. Be proud of that. I wish I could pump that much in that time!!

  12. Wow, Ernest is getting so big!!
    It sounds like he's made his decision on how he likes to be fed, I don't think you need to worry so much, take it easy on yourself! xx

  13. you




  14. You are amazing. Many would have stopped weeks ago.
    Also wanted to say the amount you are managing to pump is incredible. That's a lot of milk you must have in the freezer.
    I continue to hope each day that Ernest takes to the breast, but mostly I just hope that he's happy and healthy and by the look of his picture, he most certainly is. He's cute as a button.
    Go easy on yourself. You are doing such a good job.

  15. Have you contacted the La Leche League yet? If not, maybe that'd be worth looking into. You are doing such an amazing job!

  16. I love the picture in the garden of you and Ernest. Hope the BF gets easier, you are amazing!

  17. It brings tears to my eyes reading this post, having pumped every ounce of ebm that Noah ever drank. I hoped he would learn to latch on and nurse once his palate was repaired at six months old but he did the same arching and screaming that you describe Ernest doing. It broke my heart that we couldn't breast feed - especially in the first few months.
    But now, now he's three and a half, we couldn't be closer and the pain has pretty much disappeared - and I am proud, looking back, of the hard work I put in, as I hope you will soon feel about yours.
    Look at the way he is staring up at you in the first photo - that boy adores you!
    And I can't believe how big he is looking, all snuggled up on your back.
    You are doing an amazing, wonderful job. xx

  18. You are doing everything you can, what an amazing mama you are. I'm sorry about the breastfeeding struggles, I teared up reading this post. Hoping it gets better for both of you.

  19. OH goodness, it's so so hard sometimes! I struggled with nursing the twins and was so frustrated with my inability to pump enough to even feed ONE of them breast milk full time knowing that I'd done so much better in the past with other babies. I think you are doing great, and so strong to keep persevering!

  20. Jeanette, I just wanted to send you a huge virtual hug and to tell you that my DD who's been using shields since 1 week and then mostly pumping from 11 weeks suddenly latched on this week and is now on the breast half of the day after only a few days. I'm now working on withdrawing the ebm. I also only sterilised the pump once a day, just poured boiling water through it after each use.
    I was 100% positive that she'd never feed from me and my milk was starting to dry up. I just wanted to Tell you as someone on a forum telling me their baby suddenly fed at four months really kept me going.


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