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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:47 pm 
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Hi folks, my wife delivered our new boy just about 1 week ago. She has pretty bad rheumatoid arthritis which has destroyed her left hip, requiring long-term pain medication. She had been taking 4mg Subutex three times per day for pain, until her 6 month when she could no longer stand the taste of it, had to switch to Suboxone film strips which are much better.

Anyway, our boy arrived and he is healthy. However, in the past couple days he seems to be showing some signs of withdrawal, apparently not enough to be considered severe, but the troubling one is that he has "difficulty feeding" ... I have searched around a ton, and found lots of documents and websites saying that newborns may experience difficulty feeding.

Ok that's great -- so what do I do about it? He cries to be fed, roots and then when you try to put him on the nipple, he has trouble latching, cries a lot more, just can't seem to figure it out - then at some point gets an 'AHA!' moment and starts sucking. We are relieved and then within 2-3 sucks, he either unlatches and goes back to stage 1, or he stays latched and falls asleep.

I'll say we are having difficulty feeding - we've talked to several lactation consultants, and despite raising our concerns about withdrawal and whatnot, baby tends to perform admirably for them when they are around, and then we go back to the difficulties when they are gone.

Does anyone have any suggestions at all?? I'm getting really concerned.

thanks -

Rob K.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:14 am 
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I have had 3 babies (not while taking sub however) and I say to keep trying. Even if you have to wake him for feedings. Sometimes there are issues when breast feeding. Inverted nipples, small nipples, sluggish baby. You seem to be doing the right thing by going to several breast feeding specialist. Have you talked with his pediatrician? I would absolutely do this if you are that concearned. For peace of mind.
Usually you will have a 1 week or a 2 week checkup and although it is normal for baby to loose a tiny bit of weight they should weigh your baby. If he has lost too much weight they will offer some suggestions. Sometimes parents may have to choose to bottle feed if things do not improve. If your baby is having multiple symptoms of NAS then I would certainly contact a doc immediately. I certainly hope this is not the case. I think probly, you will see that in a day or two, your baby will get the hang of it & everything will be ok. Congrats on your baby boy. I am sure others more experienced on the forum will reply to your post as well. Please keep us posted


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:00 am 
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Hello & congrats on your new baby.

I'm pretty sure that feeding problems are common for a lot of babies, regardless of possible NAS.

My daughter was born long before I ever used opiates, and the first couple of weeks she had a bit of a hard time getting the hang of nursing. One jerk nurse even told me my baby didn't "like" breastfeeding...I told her to get out of my room and not come back.

Anyway, if your baby is sleepy during feedings, one thing we found helpful was to undress our daughter. Lots of skin-to-skin contact with mama while nursing can really help the sleepy babies...and it's just good for baby and mom too.

If your baby is distracted when trying to feed, then going somewhere private can help. Dim lights, quiet room if available or use a nursing cover or a blanket.

If he's having trouble latching, check to see that his lower lip isn't tucked in, that was a problem that quite a few of my friends had with their babies.

Also, if your wife is stressed about the feeding issues she might have problems with her milk letting down. If so, the baby might suck and then give up when not much happens. If that's an issue she could try to get her milk to let down with a breast pump, and then get the baby to latch once her milk has let down. Pumping will also keep her milk supply up while you're dealing with this, and the pumped milk can be fed to the baby via bottle if needed. Though you might want to hold off on that if you can because you want him to get the hang of nursing first if at all possible.

You want to be sure that your baby is getting enough milk so he doesn't get dehydrated - is he wetting his diapers? If he is, then that's a good sign. Tiny babies don't need to nurse for that long to get full, their stomachs are so little. But they do need to nurse often, both to get enough nutrition and to get mom's milk supply up to speed. So nurse as often as he wants to!

The La Leche League might have resources for you as well. Keep trying - it should get easier!

_________________
You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

-Jack Kornfield


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:19 am 
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First, this could have absolutely nothing to do with withdrawl, it is completely normal that some babies have a hard time breast feeding. Diary gave you some great advice, get a breast pump. I would have never got my son breast feeding without one. Your wife likely has little milk right now. It takes a few days to a week for it to come in and since he is not feeding well she is not getting enough stimulation to make more milk. The breast pump will cause her to make more milk, but you have to use it often. Women's bodies make milk based on demand so the more stimulation, the more milk.

Also your son is likely very hungry which causes him to get upset, making it harder for him to latch on. I was not on any opiates during any of my pregnancies and had trouble breast feeding each time.

Babies can really feel the stress from their mom's, so when she is on her own your wife is likely feeling stressed while trying to feed. Your baby feels this and gets stressed, making it difficult for him to feed. When she has the consultant your wife likely feels calmer about the process, which may be why your son does better.

I have 4 children and the 1st week I would supplement them with some formula and i would use the pump often until my milk supply really came in. Then I seemed to have a much easier time getting them to latch on. I am not suggesting you do this if your not comfortable with giving your son a little formula, if you are comfortable with it this may calm him down since he is likely hungry.

Don't give up, he will get it. I really wish that it was standard practice to inform new moms that breast feeding is often difficult in the beginning. It would save a lot of us from feeling so guilty and like we are failing.


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