I feel like I've failed at BF

(35 Posts)
horseynewmum Tue 09-Oct-12 20:40:14

My DD is now 20 weeks and I have been EBF since birth. DD weight has dropped from 75th centile to 25th after birth and I have fought against putting her on formula even tho HV said its for the best.

I went to a different clinic the other week and saw another HV as I felt DD had lost weight, she lost 3oz in 4 weeks, and is now on 9th centile. Was advised to take DD to drs and the doctor cant find any medical reason why she losing/not putting on weight to the degree she should.

I now have to see dr once a week, HV at clinic once a week asnd have a home visit once a week and now have to give her a top up of formula.

I feel like I've been bullied into it and its making me feel very low and a failure. I feel DD is doing well, she feeds on demand,feeds for 30-45mins at a time, comes of breast when she wants, sleeps all night, has plenty wet nappies, and is a happy alert baby. I feel if she was hungry shouldnt be like this.

I want whats best for her but I'm finding it hard to accept the top up

confuddledDOTcom Sat 13-Oct-12 16:09:43

Your diet won't be affecting her weight as you will feed her before yourself, looking after yourself is the most important thing. There are things you can take to help up your supply - domperidone and fenugreek for example, and oats are good, so porridge or oat based biscuits (there's some good recipes around) - but generally it's not about mum's diet. There's no evidence in what you've said that this is about milk production though.

horseynewmum Sat 13-Oct-12 10:53:44

Hi all

Going well even tho I do feel like a cow but I know it will be worth it. I have to be careful with top up as it appears DD will eat and eat till she sick (just like her dad). Tuesday will be judgement day to what happens next

HV advising me on diet to help with my milk production and to make sure I'm getting all my calouries

I have nothing against formula, its just I wanted to EBF till 6months

Thanks for support I'll let you know how it goes tues

Asmywhimsytakesme Thu 11-Oct-12 14:36:45

How is it going today OP? Hopefully the ebf is going well, dd thriving and you are ok too?

DeliaRose Thu 11-Oct-12 08:58:58

"in reality most people don't make it to 6 months."

Which is a shame

CreamOfTomatoSoup Thu 11-Oct-12 08:01:20

After 20 wks of EBF I wouldn't say introducing formula now is 'failing'.
Formula is not poison. If your baby is not gaining enough weight then something isn't right. Soon your DD will be on solids and will be eating all sorts anyway and none of this will matter, you will just be stressing over people slipping her chocolate biscuits! People BF primarily for the health benefits, if your child is not gaining enough weight in the long term then that is a health problem. BF is not an end in itself.

Give it a few weeks to check this isn't just a blip but don't beat yourself up about it.

Here are some statistics from the Unicef website: 'Overall, only 35 per cent of UK babies are being exclusively breastfed at one week, 21 per cent at six weeks, 7 per cent at four months and 3 per cent at five months.'

Being on mumsnet can sometimes make you feel like BF is the only liquid which should pass your child's lips for the first 2 years, in reality most people don't make it to 6 months.

confuddledDOTcom Wed 10-Oct-12 23:50:57

DeliaRose, have you ever left your milk to stand for awhile? It will separate out and you will see the thinner milk is exactly the same as "foremlk".

Glad to hear thing have gone better today, horseynewmum, is she saying your diet plays a part or just to look after yourself?

Asmywhimsytakesme Wed 10-Oct-12 18:17:53

Great news - so lots of skin to skin, cuddling, offering all the time, swapping like mad and try the compressions.

Hopefully next time you get her weighed she will come up just right smile

horseynewmum Wed 10-Oct-12 18:15:37

Hi all. HV been out today and is fuming I've not been supported in my EBF. She agrees the weight loss isnt great but she can see my DD is healthy and alert baby with no obvious reasons for weight loss. She measured her, finally someone has after I keep asking and was informed she is long for her length. I have been given a week to top-up using the breast and basically been told to just keep offering breast until she doesn't want it and hopefully with that it will encourage my milk to be more efficient. She has also discussed my diet with me and she will come back out to see me next week after been to doctors to see how things are and take it from there.

Thank you for all your support I now feel more postivie and I'm doing the right thing for her x

Asmywhimsytakesme Wed 10-Oct-12 15:30:31

I just wanted to say op that if your daughter stops losing and weight and the hcps agree you are ok to be going back to ebf , the research apparently shows that after 2 weeks of ebf a baby your dd's age who had had formula, the intestine has the protective coating of an ebf baby again.

DeliaRose Wed 10-Oct-12 07:19:53

Oh, and you haven't failed at breastfeeding as you say in the title, you've done 20 weeks of exclusive breast feeding! Not a failure! grin

DeliaRose Wed 10-Oct-12 07:16:55

That's interesting re: hindmilk. I always saw a huge difference in my milk at the start of a feed to the end. Start was watery, almost translucent, end was like cream.

I would always swap once Ds came off/fell asleep, just to make sure he'd had enough, often the increase in flow would keep him interested for a lot longer!

The co sleeping/feeding through the night is a good suggestion. It's the best way to increase supply. I would say spend the next week in bed with your baby watching crap tv and just feed smile

Asmywhimsytakesme Wed 10-Oct-12 00:06:39

DarkMatter this is what I was talking about, written by the woman who wrote the Breastfeeding Answer Book - the textbook for lactation consultants:

www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/2010/6/27/worries-about-foremilk-and-hindmilk.html

PaulFootisfunny Wed 10-Oct-12 00:00:27

Have you seen a breastfeeding counsellor? Are there breastfeeding clinics/cafes in your area? Not only will a good lactation consultant be well qualified to identify any potential problems with BF they will also be really supportive of your desire to continue EBF (or at least that was my experience with the lady who helped me with both my babies)

confuddledDOTcom Tue 09-Oct-12 22:29:49

A 3oz weight loss can be wee/ poo/ length of time since last feed/ scales or anything. I've seen it happen on the scales in front of me, baby fed after a feed and gained the weight, weed then lost the same again. That was the baby I had to call the hospital about. Looking at her you wouldn't have had a concern because there was no concern. The HV got too involved in the numbers and that's what we had to deal with, the baby is more important than the numbers, a starving baby will not thrive! An expert will get that, a HV is not an expert, they're looking at the numbers primarily.

Milk is milk, as you go through a feed the fat becomes more concentrated. You can't totally drain the breast but feeding until it's not free flowing will help encourage the breast to make more milk.

SamSmalaidh Tue 09-Oct-12 22:29:33

This is a good explanation on hindmilk www.analyticalarmadillo.co.uk/2010/07/foremilkhindmilk-and-lot-of-confusion.html

The baby can't drain the breast as milk is always being produced, so it's fine to just swap whenever the baby comes off/falls asleep/looks finished. As the aim is to increase the amount of milk consumed where there is a weight issue, milk from 2 breasts is better than limiting to 1.

DarkMatter Tue 09-Oct-12 22:25:54

Just read your latest post. I so recognize the HV panic!! You CAN ignore the drop in centiles - there are hundreds of millions of people (not to mention animals!) around the world raising babies without reference to centile charts!

From personal experience I would say the hind milk / feed from one breast theory did not really work. (Incidentally Asmywhimsy a HV was giving me the hindmilk line just 3 weeks ago, and I was a bit skeptical, where is the latest research you referred to as I'd really like to read this?).

Definitely offer both breasts at every feed. I'm offering milk at every squeak. This will increase your supply too. And I always found the babies are much better at getting milk out of me than a pump (but others may find different).

horseynewmum Tue 09-Oct-12 22:23:20

Thank you all I feel so much better

I was told by MW after discharge not swap breasts.

As from tomorrow I'm going to stop formula top up only been doing it 2 days, and as some of you suggested I'm going to keep offering each breast after the other has been drained till she wants no more, excuse to watch a film and just put feet up.

DeliaRose this is what I'm afraid off that starting formula means end of breast feeding. OH wants me to formula feed so I can go back to work. H has since she was 8 weeks.

The week she lost weight I had mastitis and then she had a bad cold and didnt feed as much and slept more.

Thanks all again I'm going to try topping up on breast milk and if her weight is still an issue then I will know I've done all I can myself and will have to try fomula.

forgottenpassword Tue 09-Oct-12 22:22:57

I have been through similar with two of my 3 DS. The first time he gained v little btwn 4 and 10 months and dropped from 25 centile to 2nd. He turned out to be anaemic and needed iron supplements. Similar thing began to happen at same age with DS 3 but this time went to paediatrician more quickly. My advice would be to get it checked out just in case.

DarkMatter Tue 09-Oct-12 22:18:28

DC2 dropped 50 percentile points before he started to follow a curve. DC3 has just done exactly the same (now 21 weeks). It was so stressful the first time, resisting the formula. I became very low, probably actually depressed in retrospect. The second time around, I have trusted my instincts and not worried at all, though I saw a repeat of the panic in the HVs - they really don't like a baby to cross more than two lines.

Although my babies were born huge, I think it was a freak of my metabolism while pregnant. DH and I are not particularly tall, and are both pretty slim. I think the babies have just had to settle down to their genetically-determined percentile, and that takes 4-5 months. If your DD is sleeping all night, she obviously isn't starving. Are you or your DP fairly petite? If you don't mind sabotaging the sleeping through (!) I find that co-sleeping encourages them to feed in the night and sends milk supply through the roof. The problem with top ups is that they will decrease your milk supply.

The other thing to bear in mind is there is absolutely nothing wrong with formula top ups. But I do completely get why you feel like you've failed as I did feel like that too - in retrospect it was illogical and definitely exacerbated by my general low mood at the time.

Asmywhimsytakesme Tue 09-Oct-12 22:17:10

DeliaRose I am so sorry to hear about happened when you introduced formula top ups. sad

Just wanted to say though that the latest thinking is that you don't need to drain the breast and that there is no separate hind milk. If bf mums feed on demand then the milk in the breast is a mixture and all milk is good milk.

aamia Tue 09-Oct-12 22:15:12

Has your DD been checked for tongue tie?

Asmywhimsytakesme Tue 09-Oct-12 22:09:24

Bf mums should usually swap breasts if they are trying to increase milk intake. Who told you not to do that?

You can definitely give her your expressed milk saved from earlier as a top up - you should tell hcp you are doing that.

Re early weaning. I would speak to a bf counsellor before considering doing that. They don't get many nutrients from solids anyway in the early days and the usual advice is to wait to 6 months as this offers better protection for the gut.

DeliaRose Tue 09-Oct-12 22:09:23

She needs to empty each breast before you switch, else she'll be missing out on the fatty hind milk.

If she has only lost weight once- and lots of things can impact this (just had a poo, just been feed etc)- then I would say thee is definitely no need for formula top ups.

I was pressured into formula top ups by my HV with Ds1. It ended breastfeeding for me and I was gutted.

Take no notice of the centiles

sleeplessinderbyshire Tue 09-Oct-12 22:09:10

I think if she's only having one breast a feed I'd start by always offering the second side. If she won't take any more milk then try expressing and offering EBM top up. If she refuses that, you know she's full and you may have to start thinking of another cleverer solution

horseynewmum Tue 09-Oct-12 22:02:50

Thanks for replies

I forgot to add that in last 2 weeks she has put on 2oz its just that one time she has lost weight. Not making excuses just didnt want you think she was losing weight all the time.

Boardiegirl didnt think of it like that but putting like that does make it sound not so bad

girliefriend HV never mentioned about weaning early I'll ask her tomorrow

GodisaDJ yes this is my first. DD is long for her age but she not been measured since she was 6 weeks and I've red in her red book that any weight concerns, lenght measurement should be taken so again I'll ask for her to be measured. Her dad is tall and slim. You wouldnt believe what he eats and he never puts on weight. I wouldnt say I'm slim anymore but I was skinny till a few years ago, I could eat anything and not put weight on

confuddledDOTcom the HV I saw the other week (not my usual one) said on looking at her she looks healthy thriving girl but she cant ignore the drop of centiles which is fair enough

DD feeds between everyone 1 half hours to every two half hours for the length time I mentioned. She will not sleep during the day unless I take to bed for some skin to skin contact and this is why she sleeps all night.

Now I'm confused of something. I've been told that I should let DD feed off one breast per feed and not switch breasts during feeds, but I've read that I should switich breasts during feeds whats right?

Also could I top up with breast milk by once DD has finished on one breast I put her on the other one or give her a bottle of expressed milk?

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