HV says to introduce a top up of formula but am hesitant..

(91 Posts)
loveroflife Tue 21-May-13 11:48:46

I have ds three weeks old and he is ebf. It has been very, very hard for me as he feeds all the time for hours and hours, no pattern and he also refuses to sleep so I sit on the sofa all day feeding him and in the chair throughout the night feeding.

He honestly sleeps for about 4 hours in 24 hours but has to fall asleep on me first.

HV arrived today and says when DH gets home get him to start giving him 90ml of formula at 9.30ish which would see ds through to 1/2am and allow me to rest.

My mum says to stick with the breast as the formula will become a bit of temptation to use in the day and my supply will adjust accordingly and slow down. I also have very full breast after about 2 hours so if I do let DH do the feed and ds does sleep for 5 hours I will surely need to express in that period as I will be very sore?

Does anyone have any advice, I have come so far feeding as failed to stick with it with ds1 but am utterly exhausted and can't go on with the cluster feeding literally every hour of the day. To give a clearer idea, ds2 feeds for up to 2 hours then has 30mins break and then wants to go back on again. had him weighed today and he is 1lb under his birth weight and his nappies are wet and dirty. Checked for tongue tie and HV says that is all fine. HELP!!

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 14:20:41

Willdo, if you read this LLL link, you will see that as tiktok says, offering as many sides as baby needs is best, as is dropping dummies (pacifiers):

https://www.llli.org/faq/increase.html

flanbase Tue 21-May-13 20:16:58

not back to birthweight needs to be medically investigated and this is by a medical doctor not a hv.

dozily Tue 21-May-13 20:23:45

Is he definitely 1 pound under his birthweight or did you mean 1 oz?

Either way, the constant feeding sounds really hard work, but just wanted to double check the weight with you.

loveroflife Tue 21-May-13 20:56:59

hi everyone,

thanks for the responses - they are all so helpful.

dozily - yes, I DO mean an oz - the sleep deprivation is a killer! he was 8lb9 at birth now 8lb8.

I've called a couple of lactation consultants and left mesages - I can't get to a breastfeeding support group as I had a c section and can't drive.

re: tongue tie, hv says as I don't really have any pain from feeding (apart from an initial wince when he latches on) and nipples are OK, she doesn't think he has it but will get it checked from another source.

I need to see how I get on over the next couple of days and then I think I will express and see how I get on with that and if things don't change, try one bottle of formula and see if it makes any difference to him sleeping longer than 1hr30mins at best!

I've also been sick the last three nights after feeding about 3am (not food, just fluid) DH thinks it is from exhaustion - has anyone else had this? I don't feel sick in the morning but a huge wave of nausea washes over me after long feeds during the night...

dozily Tue 21-May-13 21:05:43

Glad it was 1oz smile that is much more positive. It's also a good sign that feeding isn't painful. Hopefully once he puts on a bit more weight the feeds might start to space out a bit.

While waiting for the lactation consultants to call back, it might be worth phoning the nct or la leche league helplines.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 21:06:19

The LLL breastfeeding support line will still be open now. Why not give them a call?

They are all qualified bf counsellors and will be very happy to discuss what you could do to try to increase weight gain alongside the advice your hcp are giving.

dozily Tue 21-May-13 21:13:45

Another thought: can anyone take him out in the pram for an hour or two during the day so you catch up on a (little) bit of sleep?

Xiaoxiong Tue 21-May-13 21:21:42

OP I used to get that wave of gnawing nausea in the night when DS was breastfeeding for hours when he was tiny. It sometimes felt like the bottom dropping out of my stomach like you get on a rollercoaster and I did feel like I was about to be sick a couple of times.

I always thought it was hunger and thirst, and always had a stash of something by the bed to settle my stomach. I do wonder in retrospect if it was actually hormone surge from feeding/let-down on an empty stomach that made me feel that way.

DH used to put water and snacks on the bedside table for me when he came to bed at midnight (I would go to bed at 8pm and leave DS with him so I could get some sleep, he would then bring DS to bed when he cried, or at any rate by midnight and I would then BF DS the rest of the night in bed).

The best ones were Ritz biscuit sandwiches with peanut butter and nutella. I did get crumbs all over sometimes but it was a small price to pay wink I hear granola bars or power bars can be good too and probably less messy.

loveroflife Tue 21-May-13 21:26:10

Thanks dozily - I have some help from mum who takes toddler out as it is tough on him stuck inside with me sat on the couch feeding all day. I am planning a walk with DH and ds2 this bank holiday to see how we all get on - funny how you can become such a hermit so quickly...I also stupidly pulled my c section scar from bending with toddler last week and now have a small hole in it which is infected so feeling pretty bad overall...

Wouldbe - I will give LLL a call in a bit, just waiting for DH to walk in so he can take ds off me, he has fed since 5.30pm, I have not moved from the sofa (mum put ds1 to bed) apart from attempt to put him down in cot twice - he went mad!

Oh well, this too shall pass! I keep reading the first 6 weeks are the hardest, so only 3 more to go!

loveroflife Tue 21-May-13 21:31:31

xiaoxiong - yes, that's the feeling plus severe stomach cramps.

I did have some dry toast last night about 4am after vomiting and took some nurofen and downed 500ml of water which helped hugely - I wake up (well jolt upright with ds on my chest) STARVING in the morning so will pop some cereal bars on my bedside table tonight.

thanks for the advice everyone

morningsarepants Tue 21-May-13 21:32:01

Sounds difficult, I hope it gets better soon.
I found it really hard too especially for the first one. Pushed through with ebf for 6 weeks with both then added a bottle at late evening feed only and it didn't affect my supply one bit. But I guess it was well established by then. It was a relief to do it though as I could go to bed early and let DH do the late feed.
I was glued to the sofa for weeks. But I did watch a lot of crap telly as a result - the whole back catalogue of Tenko last time grin

Willdoitinaminute Tue 21-May-13 21:36:51

tiktok - there is also a disclaimer at the top of this blog. As the disclaimer says at the top of every MN page ours are opinions based on personal experience not on scientific data.
I successfully bf my DS. He started life in SCBU being tubefed and I expressed until he was 4 days old when he eventually latched and never looked back. I too observed the differences in the milk while I expressed.
I had a massive amount of midwife led support during his first 10 days since I had one to one care in a transition unit. Sleepy babies don't feed well they often look like they are feeding but actually they are just comfort suckling. This can be difficult to spot if you are inexperienced. The midwife spotted this and I was encouraged to stimulate him to wake him up. In fact even now aged 8 you can still hear him making suckling noise when he is in deep sleep.
I bf until he was 2. My sister bf both of hers well into their first year. She was great for advice and support. We may not have done everything by the book but hey most breast feeding mothers have to rely on instinct since they don't live in the the nice clean organised scientifically proven world we do.
Why is it so many women on this sight are so obsessed by tongue tigh?

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 21:41:48

Willdoit, unfortunately while your advice may have worked for you it is not evidence based and is potentially a bit dangerous to repeat to mothers. Your advice is contrary to the position taken on this by:

- the NHS (advise switch nursing unless there are specific contraindications)
- LLL
- one of the leading bf textbooks used by hcp, Breasffeeding Answers Made Simple

You may have had oversupply or breasts with a better than average storage capacity. If your advice was followed by a mother with average supply or lower than average storage capacity it could actually harm her baby's weight gain.

Xiaoxiong Tue 21-May-13 21:42:43

Are you feeding lying down at all? Just that you mentioned sitting upright in a chair for hours. That would have killed me.

We took the side of the crib off and lashed it to our bed with bungees to make a DIY sidecar. Then we just lay down together, DS in the crook of my arm, and drowsed our way through most of the night with DS latched on 90% of the time. He generally would only sleep on us, but he would sleep in his sidecar with my arm loosely crooked around him and then I could stealthily withdraw.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 21-May-13 21:53:09

My advice (based my experience of feeding a prem baby) would have been similar to Willdoit's...

OP, you've done brilliantly getting this far, do persist with trying to speak to specialist BF support (local NCT might have someone who could visit you?). It really annoys me how many HV dish out the (IMO) lazy advice to "just give them a top up" without supporting new mothers to BF when they clearly want to.

Do take good care of yourself (make sure your DH is helping on this front!). Always have a pint of water to hand when you are feeding, make sure you are eating enough calories - little and often (like a newborn!) worked best for me.

flanbase Tue 21-May-13 21:57:17

The sucking which is described here as 'comfort' sucking is to maintain and increase milk supply. The suckling stimulates the breast to produce hormones that reduce ovulation, increase milk and provide stress relief for the mother. A dummy used instead of the breast will mean the mother misses out on the suckling. The baby has the advantage of an ensured milk supply and also facial muscle development from the sucking.

flanbase Tue 21-May-13 22:00:08

I don't see the disclaimer. There has to be one though -where is it?

Willdoitinaminute Tue 21-May-13 22:03:31

Whatever Wouldbe I'm not in the mood for an argument. As I said I winged it when I started bf. Had no antinatal lessons and no LLL classes. I asked advise from individuals who had successfully bf not those who had read a book.
Loveroflife I too was wondering if you had tried lying down on the bed to make feeding more comfortable. CS is bad enough but with infection added it must be getting very uncomfortable. I wouldn't advise doing it when no one is around because it is difficult getting into position after CS. If you get comfortable on your side then get DH or you mum to position baby and stay with you until you are comfortable.
Also have you had some antibiotics for the infection. Make sure you are having it dressed and treated.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 22:20:25

Willdoit, definitely don't want to argue with you - you obviously want very much to help other women to bf or you wouldn't be spending your time posting on here.This board is a great resource of bf support because people like you post.

All of us need to try to make sure our advice is evidence-based, though, because that is going to help mothers and babies most. I was ticked off (no pun intended) by tiktok when I was a new bf mum for saying something completely wrong in response to a query on here blush and I have never forgotten it - was a good lesson - so thanks tiktok smile

tiktok Tue 21-May-13 22:48:29

Willdoit, don't denigrate things 'found in a book'. If the book(s) is/are based on good evidence, and the evidence comes from decent research and understanding, it can be a lot more helpful and applicable to more situations than someone's personal experience.

It's great to share personal experience, and of course there is no one 'recipe' for happy bf; some women have perfectly happy bf experiences doing the opposite from what other women do.

But what you have done - more than once - is to be pretty clear with suggestions that almost certainly would make this mother's situation worse, not better. I am not sure what you expect others to say in response to this - nothing? And let this mother and others in similar situations try something that is not based on good knowledge or evidence, but one person's own experience?

I tried to be polite about it, then remembered the same conversation and realised you were still convinced what was right for you would be right for other people, and got a bit tetchy.

Sorry about that.

Wahla Tue 21-May-13 22:53:13

If you go onto YouTube and search Breast compression, there are some good video's about breast compression (obviously) which can help to get more milk out of the breast during a feed. There are also related vids that show good/bad latch and the difference between babies drinking well at the breast and those that aren't.

I found them to be really helpful as a "this is what is supposed to look like" tool because, despite having been to workshops and read loads of books/websites, I needed a practical demonstration to put the theory into context ITKWIM.

Also, my love, as a seasoned c-sectioner (4), you need to spend a 2 or 3 days in bed, with lots to eat and drink. I know you probably feel like you should be up and about by now but trust me, a few days of total bed rest now could save you from a long, slow recovery and a difficult breast feeding journey.

Your body is doing an epic amount of work and you need to give it the best chance you can. I know, I know, your saying "but I'm not doing anything but sitting on my behind and feeding baby", but your in conflict about what you should be doing and that tension does not allow you to properly rest. Give in. Fully meeting your own needs for rest and recuperation will put you in the best place to l

flanbase Tue 21-May-13 22:55:56

It's not a professional forum here and people can suggest whatever they want in accordance with the talk guidelines

Wahla Tue 21-May-13 22:58:01

Stupid iPhone

To fully meet the needs of your DC's in the future. Ask your mum and DH to take over for a few days and hole up in bed with your lap top and loads of good food. I promise you, you will feel so much better able to cope if you give yourself that time to heal.

tiktok Tue 21-May-13 23:05:59

I agree, flanbase - people can suggest what they want, as long as they're not abusive etc etc etc....but if what they are suggesting is plain wrong, or is likely to have drawbacks, then other people can point that out, surely.

If someone suggests something based solely on their own experience, then it's a good idea to say this, and not to give the impression that it is generally applicable - don't you agree?

flanbase Tue 21-May-13 23:15:15

I pointed out the good points to 'comfort' suckling and didn't have a go at the person who wrote use a dummy. It's different peoples opinions and not qualified advice here. Anyone reading something here has to make up their own mind and seek the advice of their real life doctors. If you add a source of the advice then this gives extra information but from what we say it's a personal opinion. You say to a poster that what she says is completely wrong and you don't back up what your reasons. It's your opinion and that's all

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