Shall I pump and feed, pump and dispense, or just breastfeed?

(13 Posts)
TwitchyTail Sat 02-Mar-13 00:35:02

Hoping to get some advice! I have a 6-day-old who was born at 36 weeks. He had to be given formula by bottle in hospital for the first three days due to low blood sugars, but I was encouraged to express and to give this to him too. Tried the breast but he would just latch and then not suck. We were sent home with advice to continue trying the breast, pump to stimulate supply in the meantime, and top up with formula.

Since coming home, he's got the hang of breastfeeding, though won't "demand" as such (I need to wake him and pop him on the breast regularly, and he'll usually oblige). For the last 48 hours, I haven't topped up with formula at all, though have given him (pitifully small amounts of) expressed milk by bottle. He is doing wet and dirty nappies, and is settled between feeds. He lost 7% of birthweight at 5 days and is not due for another weight until next week, so can't really establish what effect breastfeeding is having on his weight yet, but am wary about this as he was early and light as it is.

So, my question is: can I just breastfeed him now? Or should I keep pumping - and if so, should I give this to him (and risk confusing him with the bottle, which he greedily sucks) or just use it as a means to stimulate my supply and chuck it? If I do pump, how long should I do it for, and when in relation to feeds?

Thanks to anyone who reads this in advance! smile

TheToadLessTravelled Sat 02-Mar-13 00:50:51

Don't chuck it! Breast milk can be frozen for up to 6 months (special bags from chemist) then you have it ready to defrost when you start weaning and need something to add to mash etc. Also good if you leave the baby with someone else for a feed as you already have milk aside.

I am sure someone else will be along soon with answers to your more difficult questions.

Sounds like you are doing really well after a tough start - well done smile

At this early stage I'd keep going if it makes you feel better, and give him it via a syringe.

That said, my IFC told us to stop faffing with a syringe and give my expressed milk in a bottle when dd was 11do. Neither of my dec had issues with nipple confusion. Both also have a dummy. Dd 9 wo today and ebf.

habhann Sat 02-Mar-13 05:24:25

My ds was born at 35 weeks. Started off in hosp with breastfeeding but needed formula top up. Continued this for first few days at home then dropped formula top up. Was advised to pump but couldn't get the hang of it..then milk came in and ended up with oversupply...ds fed on demand literally every hour. We co slept to make night feeds easier. Now ds is 19 weeks but really 15 weeks corrected age. He is ebf. Although he is a slow weight gain , he is bright healthy and alert and hitting milestones. I only recently started to express and freeze milk as I had oversupply I didn't want to compound it more by expressing..hope this helps.

PoppyWearer Sat 02-Mar-13 05:32:19

My DC1 also had top-ups from a syringe/cup at first due to low blood sugars. We dropped it after about a week and I bf from there.

She was on the small side anyway but her weight did just fine with bf alone.

PoppyWearer Sat 02-Mar-13 05:33:32

Oh and FWIW I used a bottle once a day with DC2 from a few days old and no nipple confusion, he managed fine with both.

TwitchyTail Sat 02-Mar-13 09:49:35

Thanks very much everyone! PoppyWearer and Habhan, it sounds like you both had very similar situations to me - glad to hear breastfeeding worked out. BuntyCollocks - very useful to hear nipple confusion may be unnecessary worry - I did get worked up about him being so used to the bottle that he would never learn to take the breast, but he has done, so can probably relax about this.

ToadLessTravelled, great idea with storing the milk - don't know why I didn't think of that. In my sleep-deprived state, my first thought when you suggested adding it to mash was to assume you meant in my regular cooking and spent a good 30 seconds wondering why breast milk would make better mashed potatoes than normal milk grin

I'm happy to report we seem to have turned a corner overnight with breastfeeding - he is now latching and sucking like a pro and actually demanding it, rather than needing to be woken all the time. Yippee! Fingers crossed he's actually getting enough and that his weight will start to increase soon.

louschmoo Sat 02-Mar-13 09:57:32

Definitely freeze the milk! Lifesaver if you want to go out once baby is a bit older. We gave DS 1 bottle a day of expressed milk from early on (started with expressing because he had jaundice + paed wanted to measure his milk intake). It was great for me psychologically as I felt a lot freer knowing that I could go and get my hair cut or just get an earlyy night and DS would be okay and have milk.

Jenijena Sat 02-Mar-13 21:35:51

Sounds similar to us here... Ds had syringe, boob, cup and bottle in his first five days, although not that much boob. I mix fed, including bottle and cup, for a few days after that and gradually upped the boob til at about four-six weeks he was getting one formula feed every three days or so (mostly when my nipples were in agony, long story) and by 10 weeks he was completely off formula. I had another one not interested in feeding, with low blood sugars.

Definitely worth establishing breast feeding if you can, it's so much easier in the long run, but I'm very glad that, even when we got to EBF, I kept expressing a little so he never lost the ability to use a bottle (we tried to do a little at least once a week). I'm back at work now, (he's nine months) and he has two bottles of EBM a day, and three feeds from me, on a working day, so still getting a mx of styles.

Good luck, I remember it was an awful time trying to know what was best, but you do get through it and work out what works best for you.

Label clearly, then freeze! Your HV should be able to give you a little leaflet/fridge magnet with the guidance for storing ebm.

RedKites Sat 02-Mar-13 21:46:50

And in case your HV can't, or until you see her, the BFN have a useful leaflet here.

I had a 35 weaker who I topped up using a cup until he got back up to his birth weight.

A 32 weeker who never took to the breast so I expressed and 4week old ds who was born at 38 weeks and who bf and takes a bottle and dummy with no nipple confusion.

I think I'd be tempted to keep topping up even if it is with a cup/syringe until the next weigh in when you will hopefully find he's back up to birth weight or more, but that's just me

oscarwilde Mon 04-Mar-13 11:45:41

Twitchy tail, I would recommend expressing when your DS has finished feeding. He is still so little that he may be getting tired easily and not eating enough. You can then top him up with the bottle at the next feed once he has fed from you.

I had a slightly prem. 37 weeker who was feeding really well (or so I thought) but her weight still dropped too much. I expressed and topped her up after almost every feed and it really worked for us. It improved my supply and when she was pooped from feeding, she would still take a few extra ounces of BM in a bottle. I was really concerned about the whole nipple confusion thing but after a few rocky weeks, she was feeding so strongly that there was nothing left to express and clearly indicates a preference for BFing rather than being bottle fed now.
It is a total faff though so if your HV is happy with his weight, then I wouldn't bother. It's useful to check though if you are concerned. It's also handy to have a few extra ounces in case your DS is cluster feeding in the evening (my supply definitely drops off as I get more tired).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now