Breastfeeding -- anyone unable to nurse first baby yet able to nurse later babies?

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Posted 2/4/2013 by finally~a~mama in NSBR Board


PeaNut 438,682
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Posted: 2/4/2013 1:59:32 PM
I'm expecting my second child. I tried to nurse my first DD, but it was an epic fail. Gave up quickly because after a week baby wouldn't even try to latch, just pushed away from me & screamed each time. I tried pumping but didn't hardly produce anything. I quit the day I pumped a total of just under 1 1/2 ounces (pumping every 2 hrs).

Should mention -- I did see the lactation consultant at the pediatrician offices every other day the first week we brought her home & in the hospital they gave me a lactation consult as my nurse one day & the nurse that taught the BF classes another day. I kept hearing things like "this isn't the way newborns usually act" from the nurses. So, not sure how much of the problem was baby & how much was me. I do have PCOS.

I'd really like to be able to BF the new baby. Is there any hope of that happening? Any BTDT advice? Thank you

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PeaNut 75,215
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Posted: 2/4/2013 2:01:09 PM
I had a heck of a time with my first, and finally gave up. My second was easy peasy, no problems at all. I nursed for about a year with him, until he didn't want to anymore.

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PeaNut 60,761
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Posted: 2/4/2013 2:07:19 PM
I wasn't able to make it work with my first but did for my second and third. I had so much more support with my second child, my next door neighbor was a lactation consultant and she made herself available to me anytime. I also wasn't dealing with PPD like I did the first. And I was more comfortable as a mother. Everything wasn't new and I was able to relax.

If you want to try again, go for it, but also know that if it doesn't work, you have evidence in your first child that that is ok too.


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PeaNut 40,737
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Posted: 2/4/2013 2:08:45 PM
Yes, me. First ds was colicky and he just could never seem to get enough milk. I lasted two weeks and partly due to pure exhaustion, I switched to formula. He is now a healthy almost 25 year old. Ds#2 was born almost four years later, and to honest, I wasn't even going to try to breast feed. After her was born, my nurse asked me if I wanted to try with him and I said no at first, but then agreed and he took to it so easily. I did ask them to give him a bottle for one feeding at night and that was not a problem either. Dd, born three years later also breastfed with no problem. I truly believe that whatever works for you is right for you and your baby. Good luck!

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PeaNut 36,843
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Posted: 2/4/2013 2:11:20 PM
I failed with the first, did well with my second and was surprised that my third child didn't want to nurse. That was another fail (though knowing what I know now, I wish I had tried harder). My fourth (and last child nursed easily.

No advise other than to relax and enjoy the baby. Don't beat yourself up and realize children can be different.


Allons-y Alonso

PeaNut 174,150
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Posted: 2/4/2013 2:11:31 PM
My sister was unable to BF my niece, but is hoping to with this baby. She didn't produce enough with the first....but it was due to a retained placenta. She was so sad and got horrible comments from people. Made me want to punch them. FFS it wasn't her fault. Good luck!

blue tulip

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Posted: 2/4/2013 2:16:39 PM
me! my first son had latching issues, it was extremely painful to breastfeed him. i would cry every time, he would cry because it wasn't working, adn i started to get depressed and resentful towards him. i gave up after 2 weeks and pumped exclusively for about 7 mos. almost 3 years later our second son was born, and we had no issues whatsoever, he took to it like a fish to water and it was great. i still pumped when feeding him so we could have extra milk stored away.

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PeaNut 67,643
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Posted: 2/4/2013 3:13:20 PM
Gave up after two weeks with my first. He was a very intense feeder, and our nursing relationship just didn't click.

Second baby was nursing well within hours of birth, and continued to be very easy to nurse. Nursed him for 3 months.

Third baby was very similar to the first. Only made it 2 weeks with him, too.

Fourth baby was born at 32 wks, and I didn't even get to nurse her until she was a week old. Even then, they said she probably wouldn't nurse well due to her prematurity. But she took right to it, and nursed for 6 months (every 2 hours, around the clock, but still... it worked.)



PeaNut 438,682
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Posted: 2/4/2013 3:15:39 PM
Thank you ladies. You are giving me some hope! Everyone I know IRL either BF all their children or if it didn't work with the first one just formula feed all the others too.

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PeaNut 41,779
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Posted: 2/4/2013 3:18:43 PM
Both of my kids were easy nursers, but my mom couldn't get nursing to work out with me, and went on to do extended breastfeeding with my younger siblings.

Best wishes!

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PeaNut 13,004
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Posted: 2/4/2013 3:25:05 PM
YES, big time! My first born DS just would not nurse. Personally believe it was the sugar water they gave him in NICU because he got really frustrated when he tried to suck. I made plenty of milk and expressed it for a while.

Second child - DD - knew exactly what she was doing and was a great nurser.

Hang in there. Just because you had problems with the first, dont' expect problems with the second. They can be two very different little babies!


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PeaNut 34,268
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Posted: 2/4/2013 3:30:27 PM
I'm glad that you are getting some positive posts saying that it's possible

It wasn't for me so I want to say that it really isn't the end of the world if you can't ... a healthy baby is really what matters ...

Good luck to you!



PeaNut 438,682
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Posted: 2/4/2013 3:47:52 PM

Hang in there. Just because you had problems with the first, dont' expect problems with the second. They can be two very different little babies!

That's what I keep trying to tell myself. My first was an intense & colicky baby so I keep trying to tell myself that if this one is a "milder" baby it could work.

It wasn't for me so I want to say that it really isn't the end of the world if you can't ... a healthy baby is really what matters ...

In my head I know that. I carried so much guilt with me for my DD's entire first year because I couldn't nurse her. I'm still sensitive about it and she's 3 1/2 now. I felt like I failed her.

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PeaNut 272,954
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Posted: 2/4/2013 4:39:02 PM
My mom succeeded with her second, after not being able to nurse her first.

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PeaNut 281,551
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Posted: 2/4/2013 4:50:34 PM
I did not have success with either baby but I just wanted to weigh in and let you know it's not the end of the world if it doesn't work out and you're NOT a failure if you have to give your baby a bottle! Both my kids have always been very healthy, no problems. Don't give in to guilty feelings. It's so easy to feel bad when you and baby just can't make it work, and everyone around you assures you that all babies and moms can do it--well, that's just not true. I tried and tried for days with 2nd child and in the end I gave him a bottle and pumped. I was able to do that for 6 weeks but I had to go back to nursing school so that's as far as it went.

And no I wasn't starving DS while I tried for days. But having to give him supplemental bottles didn't help either, I'm sure. He would only take a Playtex nurser nipple and if I had been shaped like that we probably would have hit it off beautifully!

oooh, what you said!

PeaNut 27,933
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Posted: 2/4/2013 5:05:38 PM
Don't feel guilty for not being able to breastfeed! You are not a failure. I know there's so much pushing these days for breastfeeding, and that's great on one hand. On the other hand, it makes women who physically can't breastfeed feel badly. I hate that.

I couldn't bf my first. I lost my milk a week in and it never came back. With my second, he stopped gaining weight and was always hungry. Once I started the bottle he went from grumpy to happy. It was such a relief! With my third, she wasn't gaining right at her two week check up so I gave up.

Babies four and five did beautifully with breastfeeding. My last one was well over a year before she weaned.

can I tell you though, none of my children had problems with ear infections. They are all very healthy and rarely even get colds much less have worse problems. My oldest two are very bright individuals. I don't believe in any way that they were harmed by being bottle fed.


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PeaNut 61,691
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Posted: 2/4/2013 5:21:49 PM
I had some issues with my first, and we gave up after about 10 days in part because of nursing difficulties but mostly because she was lactose intolerant and wasn't doing well with my breast milk. Baby #2 had no problems. Baby #3 latched on and didn't let go for about 5 months.

Capt. Sparrow's Pirate Wench

PeaNut 217,886
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Posted: 2/4/2013 5:37:20 PM
My sister did. Her first was a nightmare and something that was really hard for her to give up. She tried everything.

Her other two children nursed for over a year each without issue.


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Posted: 2/4/2013 5:48:15 PM
Ended up pumping for my ds because he had an issue that put him in NICU (despite being a healthy full term baby), he had such issues with latching (and I got HORRIBLE advice from medical professionals on both nursing and pumping). However, my daughter was such a boobie addict I nursed her for 3.5 years. And, between oversupply from her nursing so much and the fact she did not like the bottle, I pumped enough to make two sizeable mom-to-mom milk donations.

~ Vicki


PeaNut 197,496
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Posted: 2/4/2013 5:53:14 PM
I had that problem. DD wouldn't latch on, and I gave up after a week of trying and trying. DS did much better, although at first I thought we were headed the same way. I ended up seeing a lactation consultant about a week or week and a half after he was born, and whatever she did solved our problem. He wasn't a great nurser, but he has a heart defect that I'm sure affected his feeding.


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PeaNut 51,325
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Posted: 2/4/2013 6:26:56 PM
DD1 wouldn't latch, I pumped for awhile and finally at 6 weeks gave up. I was much calmer when DD2 came and she latched like a champ and nursed til she was just under 2.

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PeaNut 223,678
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Posted: 2/4/2013 6:28:07 PM
My first was 2 weeks of constant tears/frustrations even with the help of a LC.. Second kid I lasted 4 days... Third kid I went in with the attitude "if it works.. Great!" Nursed her 30 months. My fourth is 22 months old and nursing as I type this

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PeaNut 1,847
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Posted: 2/4/2013 6:50:06 PM
I was a fail with the first.

I was determined with the second and I made sure to talk to the lactation specialist at the hospital and she really helped to make my second attempt successful. He nursed for 18 months.

One really good suggestion she had was to ask the nurses to allow me to try and nurse him very soon after my scheduled C-section and before they take him to the nursery.

I am so glad I tried again - it was a wonderful experience.

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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 142,870
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Posted: 2/4/2013 6:50:38 PM
My experience with my first DS was similar to yours. I had a c-section and baby was sleepy and not very interested in eating for the first few days. He was born on a Monday. On Wednesday he cried all day and was not happy when I tried to nurse. The nurse I had that day was the least experienced with breastdeeding, it seemed. She kept saying that maybe he just wanted to be held and could smell my milk, so she suggested having others hold him instead. That night another nurse came in and asked if she could help, since she had heard my baby crying all day. I told her what was going on. She deducted that I was very engorged and needed to pump. I started pumping and fed him from a silicone cup after attempting to nurse. I don't know if he was given a bottle in the nursery the night before or what happened. I continued to pump after nursing attempts for about a month. At that time undecided to just pump. I continued to do so until he was about 9 months old.

With my other babies I was very adamant about nursing right away, even though I didn't feel like it after surgery. Told DH and the nurses to remind me and let everyone know how important nursing was and absolutely no bottles. They were all lazy nurses and I had to pump and supplement with that for a day or two (using a SNS). My milk comes in gradually. This last baby, it wasn't really in for almost a week. I never did have a problem with supply after that, though. I nursed my second baby until he turned three and the third until he was almost three. Still nursing the fourth, who is almost 16 months.

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PeaNut 438,682
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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:11:06 PM
Thank you ladies again. I did have a c-section w/ DD, but I think they had us back together within 40 or 45 minutes & we immediately tried to nurse.

baby was sleepy and not very interested in eating for the first few days.

That's exactly what happened to us -- only add in when we did get her awake to eat she would try for about 30 seconds & then just scream & push away from me. By the time DD was 48 hrs old she had lost 1 lb & quit peeing so they had me supplementing w/ formula through a tube while at the breast.

My milk didn't start coming in until day 5 & by that time she was even less willing to try & latch on.

We did what the experts told us. It just didn't work.

But at least now I know that it "might" work this time around.


PeaNut 465,236
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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:21:05 PM
Yes! I was a nursing flunkee with my first TWO babies!! Numbers three and four, though were super easy to nurse- Just do it EARLY and OFTEN and try not to supplement at all for as long as you can hold out. Good luck!

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 142,870
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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:22:47 PM
Along with making sure that everyone around you knows about your desire to nurse, I would also suffers reading as much as possible about breast feeding and what is "normal" in terms of frequency and amount of feeding as well as true signs of not having an adequate milk supply. Of the people I know IRL who did not nurse long, most of them will site not having enough milk as the reason why, even though that was most likely not the case. I think some people just are ready to stop and feel like they need a reason besides just being done. But other people have gotten bad information. I had a friend who was calling me or posting on facebook everyday saying she must not have enough milk because baby was eating too often. Or she had to feed on both sides and that wasn't "normal". Or that she "only" pumped 2-3 oz after a feeding. I think some of it was that he just didn't want to breastfeed anymore but part was not having knowledge about what to expect. When several people responded saying that it sounded like she had a great supply, she didn't respond back. Anyway, that is a pet peeve of mine. If people don't want to nurse, just say it wasn't for you and leave it at that. Giving misinformation just makes it harder for people to get the info they need.

It sounds like the OP is dedicated to doing what she can to make breastfeeding a better experience this time i just bring that up since the OP stated that she was worried about supply. Knowing what to do in that situation could be really helpful.

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PeaNut 438,682
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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:37:59 PM
I worry about supply because I know with PCOS that can be a problem. However since my first little one wouldn't/couldn't really even try to nurse, I wonder how much of my issue was because my body didn't get the proper signals/stimulation to produce milk. If that makes sense?

OTOH, I didn't get the larger chest that typically goes with pregnancy nor did I ever get that engorged feeling. I leaked exactly one time 4 days after I quit pumping. So maybe it is me?

Who knows.

Ms. GreenGenes

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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:40:09 PM
First baby was a preemie who was so small that my boob was bigger than her head. So I pumped for as long as she took breastmilk.

The second kid came out, latched the second they put him on my chest, and nursed for an hour. He ended up latching improperly which caused issues for a couple weeks, but we got him figured out and he nursed till he was almost a year old. Babies #3 & 4 were also nursed without any problems.

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PeaNut 20,838
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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:46:29 PM
I breastfed my 1st and 2nd with no problems, but then with my 3rd, I had all kinds of issues. It was disheartening, and I thought how could I fail at it, after having done it before? I felt guilty for a long time. I just had my 4th baby, and, three weeks in, we are doing okay!

I agree with a previous poster that you do what you can. It's hard, I know, people put all kinds of pressure on you, judge you, and it messes with your head. But, you and your baby will figure out what works for you. Best of luck!

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 142,870
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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:48:15 PM
Mine all lost about 10% of their body weight before we left the hospital, which I believe was te time when they want you to start supplementing. I insisted on pumping instead of using formula. I was only able to pump a little bit of milk at that time but It is normal for babies to only get colostrum the first few days and what I pumped was normal.

Can you talk to your pediatrician ahead of time and discuss what is expected and what the plan is for various issues. You could also talk to your dr about things you could do if you do have a supply issue. That way you will be prepared and hopefully won't need any of those plans.

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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 142,870
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Posted: 2/4/2013 7:54:31 PM
You may indeed have had a low supply. I think that is why it's important to know what to watch for because some signs that you think lead to under supply don't always mean that is what the problem is. Some people take awhile to be able to respond to a pump. The problem could have been that the baby didn't nurse enough to stimulate your milk to come in. Just as nursing right away is important, so is nursing often. I know that is easier said than done when you have a sleepy baby. If you have a pump take it to the hospital with you to help stimulate your milk to come in. I did that after all of my babies.

I do understand that some people do have a true problem with low supply.

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The Play Date Queen

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Posted: 2/4/2013 8:19:34 PM
My oldest had trouble latching and I was never able to produce a great supply with her. The second one latched right on and I never had a problem! She was seriously the easiest child when it came to nursing. So yes, it can be done, even if you had trouble the first time around. Good luck!

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Cold Pea on a Cracked Plate

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Posted: 2/4/2013 8:50:35 PM
I have never been officially dx PCOS but have pretty much every characteristic of the syndrome. I struggled GREATLY to bf my first.

What ultimately helped, besides countless lac consults, support groups, pumping, fenugreek, etcetera, was a RX for metformin. Increased my supply (still took a week), and I was able to exclusively BF by the time DS was 6 wks. (Supplemented until then)

Good luck!!

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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 26,836
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Posted: 2/4/2013 9:12:25 PM
There are so many reasons why you might have trouble with one child and not another. I would absolutely still try with baby #2.


PeaNut 438,682
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Posted: 2/4/2013 9:17:06 PM
You all are giving me some good ideas. I'm going to mention this to my OB at my next appt & ask about Metformin too. I was on it while TTC & part way through this pregnancy.

I hadn't thought about checking with the pediatrician's office beforehand, but I'll do that too. Last time I rented a pump from the hospital, but they arranged that for me in the hospital after DD was born. I'll call & find out if there is a list or something that I should be on to rent one again.

Thank you, I am feeling a little better with a "to do" list & some success stories.

Cold Pea on a Cracked Plate

PeaNut 156,343
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Posted: 2/4/2013 9:21:58 PM
Idk how true this is, but our doula told us that obamacare includes breast pumps in insurance coverage now. The pump we bought never did awesome, so we're planning on getting one thru the hospital this way and seeing if I respond better to it. Just FYI!

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PeaNut 438,682
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Posted: 2/4/2013 11:42:10 PM
Thanks for the tip! I'll check into that as well.


PeaNut 70,995
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Posted: 2/5/2013 10:50:03 AM
Yep. I couldn't breastfeed my first two. It was horrible so I finally gave up. My third one breastfed for a short time. My son breastfed for almost the first year of his life.

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PeaNut 279,995
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Posted: 2/5/2013 10:54:32 AM
Another PCOS'er here. No I never successfully nursed either of mine. Same issues (low milk production, screaming baby). Although my second was much more receptive to it, I just didn't produce enough. I took domperidone which was a HUGE help (all the other crap, fenugreek, oatmeal, blah, blah, blah, didn't do a thing). I would nurse, bottle feed then pump. I did it for 5 months and gave up because I was so tired. I would like to say that yes, it will work for you but honestly, PCOS is not in your favor. I hope you have more luck than I did.

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