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!!

ghosteditor Sun 26-May-13 15:17:25

Hi OP.

Huge sympathy here from a parent of 16 mo DD, still breastfed. Some great advice above, and hope the lactation consultant can help.

Just adding my thoughts re tongue tie. DD has a grade IV lip tie which didn't cause me any pain or apparent BF problems. It was never diagnosed but after help from MNers, I spotted it and it has been confirmed by a specialist. I think perhaps my physiology helped her to feed successfully. However, she fed so frequently, often fell asleep feeding, and would only manage to feed from one breast before sleeping until she was about 7 months. She struggles to eat much food and has a lot of milk even now. I wish it had been picked up earlier. So, don't trust non-expert MWs on this and look for both tongue and lip tie - with the symptoms you describe it's entirely possible.

Only last week we had a thread on here where despite not managing to bf with two children, lip tie had never been spotted by both MW and GP. The skills for diagnosis are sadly being lost.

loveroflife Sun 26-May-13 14:58:55

hi frustrated,

yes, I always give him a good rub but he doesn't really burp, always just falls straight asleep after his feed as long as he is on/lying next to me!

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sun 26-May-13 14:50:44

Hi lover I co-sleep and feed lying down, I'm lazy and can't be arsed to get fully up at night, well that and feeding at night sendse to sleep I've found that ds (11days) will whinge if he finds the offered breast empty, so I usually wake up enough then to offer him the other one. Sometimes I move so he's on the other side of me, or sometimes lean over him a bit.

If you are engorged in the morning, I would presume that you have a good supply, if you are wanting to keep the supply up when DH is feeding, then expressing would be good for you.

Do you burp DS?

loveroflife Sun 26-May-13 14:45:43

Thanks plummy, I will try the new positioning out tonight . Also, the constant in and out of bed does nothing to help the healing of c sec scar so am keen to stay lying down for as long as possible!

loveroflife Sun 26-May-13 14:41:14

thank you for the reassurance, it's really comforting to read - I am going to try to stop worrying about everything....he's just had 40mins on each breast and is now asleep on my chest snoring away which is lovely.

plummyjam Sun 26-May-13 14:37:50

Oh and I move baby to other side of bed and lie on other side to alternate boobs during the night. It is possible to lean forward a bit to stay lying on same side but give other boob but I find it gives me a stiff back and not as easy to fall asleep that way.

Still easier than hauling my arse out of bed!

plummyjam Sun 26-May-13 14:34:26

I'm a fan of feeding lying down. I lie on my side with arm stretched out, baby goes on breast. Having arm outstretched stops me rolling forward (have never slept on my front but I think it's a good precaution). I sleep with light blanket not duvet which only goes to my waist and tuck it between my knees so it doesn't ride up. Baby sleeps in a grobag. We sleep in spare bedroom, husband is in other room so we both get some sleep.

I think older babies are able to latch themselves on. With my 14 week old DD I know she needs a feed when she starts rustling around, I just latch her on then nod off myself. Even though she wakes quite frequently and I sleep very lightly I feel more refreshed than if I have to get up during the night.

I know the recent study has shown that co-sleeping is not as safe as having the baby in a cot, but I'd be interested to see some research on how it compares in terms of quality of life for mums - whether there is a difference in daytime tiredness, rates of PND, effect on relationships etc.

Personally I think without feeding lying down and co-sleeping, I would have gone nuts by now!

flanbase Sun 26-May-13 14:32:00

I had no idea just how time intensive bf would be when I had my first. I went with it and it worked out. My experience was different to others who had babies that slept a lot and those formula feeding. I tried to explain how it was a 24hr job with no letup. I made things easy by adapting to suit my child as she liked to be carried and I used a sling instead of a pushchair most of the time. Just went with it. There's pressure to be like other formula fed routines and I had terrible bf advice which I ignored. I hope your little one doesn't have tongue tie. For the slow weight gain it has to be medically investigated. If all ok then it could just be a case of letting him bf as he wants for as long and then seeing on his weight gain.

loveroflife Sun 26-May-13 14:13:46

Well, yes, I do have lots of questions as it is a new experience and one that is harder than I anticipated..

I think because there can be so much conflicting ideas and theories from different sources it makes a little more tricky - what works for one baby might not work for another...I just want to ensure ds is as happy and contented as possible.

I hopefully will feel more confident at the end of next week when I have him weighed again and checked for tongue tie.

tiktok Sun 26-May-13 13:56:08

loveoflife, have you thought about calling a bf helpline?

You need to discuss all this, I think, with someone who knows about how bf works and who you can bounce ideas off.

I think you have got yourself into a complicated pickle, to be honest - you are juggling expressing, with formula, with direct breastfeeding and every time you feed you are asking yourself 'did I do that right/for long enough?' or 'is he going to settle?' or 'how much sleep will I get?' and 'will I wake uncomfortable?'....and it's all exhausting, and he's still not even four weeks old.

What do you think?

loveroflife Sun 26-May-13 13:14:24

Hi tiktok,

Thank you for your response and please don't worry at all about criticism - I know you're not at all and this is exactly why I post and am VERY GRATEFUL for the replies and help from those kind posters who are informed and passionate about bf.

He had a breastfeed at 10pm and was sleepy on the breast so we waited an hour and DH gave him the 3oz of formula at 11pm. He wolfed the first 2oz down and took about half an hour to finish the remaining 1oz. He won't settle in his cot anyway, so knew that probably wouldn't happen so he came in with me (I was in bed watching DH feed him)after DH attempted to rock him to sleep and had the two sucks (but didn't seem to take any milk) and fell fast asleep. We then waited a while and gently put him in his cot.

At 5am he woke, was sleepy and groggy, he didn't cry just stirred so I put him next to me and fed him lying down. He didn't take too much actually (about 20mins on left breast) as he normally feeds for an hour just on one and fell asleep. 8.30 he awoke and had a big feed off both lasting until 10. I then fed him at 11am and am just going to wake him now (we went out and he fell asleep in the carseat) to feed again as my breasts get very sore and full after 2 hours. Does this sound OK and most importantly is he getting enough?

He is, without a doubt, less 'alert' today - could this be from the formula? I have to be honest and did feel guilty about giving him the formula but I (selfishly) feel wonderful today after that sleep.

Normally he feeds for an hour every 2 hours in the night so I am just dead in the morning. I'm not planning on giving him any formula again tonight as that will be a long time with no night feeds but I am considering expressing regularly so DH can give him a bottle of EBM at 11pm (I would have to pump then to relieve some pressure.)

When you feed lying down I have read that the babies latch on themselves whilst mum is sleeping. How does this work as I always need to position him and think he would not be able to latch on alone.

Also, I presume many wake up and swap baby to the other side surely one breast would be drained in the morning and the other very full and engorged - is my presumption correct? I think co sleeping is the way forward as he is very happy next to me (as I am) and it is proving too much of a distressing battle to attempt to settle him in his cot.

tiktok Sun 26-May-13 12:46:35

Hope the weigh in is reassuring, OP smile

Your baby went a long time without a breastfeed (apart from the two sucks which helped him settle, hurrah smile ) - he had a bf at 5 am and that was 6 hours or more after the last bf (not clear when the bf before that was - if the formula at 11 pm was as well as a bf, then that's 7 hours, guessing that he had a bf before the formula).

A seven-hour gap between breastfeeds with a baby aged 3 weeks is just too long, sorry - as a one-off occasional emergency measure, it's not going to have a long-term effect, so no need for concern in that situation. But as a routine, it is simply not going to help build up and maintain a good milk supply.

It even seems that the formula was no great help in settling your baby - he still needed to have those two suck to get him settled. Were you asleep when he had the formula? Or were you awake, waiting to see what effect the formula had? What was the benefit of the formula at that time? It probably did keep him asleep for longer last night, but that's not a benefit to the breastfeeding sad Please don't think this is criticising - it's not. You certainly felt you needed that break. But you need to have the information that it does not help with your goal to bf sad

loveroflife Sun 26-May-13 10:31:17

he is due to be weighed on tues so will see how he has done then..he feels and looks a lot bigger which is wonderful.

last night dh gave him 3oz of formula at 11 and he slept till 5. He was pretty awake after the bottle and we tried to settle him in his cot but he wasn't having any of it so i popped him in bed next to me he had two sucks on the boob and fell into a deep sleep.

my boobs were very sore at 5am though and a real relief for him to drain them. he hasn't done a poo yet and does seem pretty groggy which might because of the formula? i just wondered how my supply will be affected? sorry for all the questions...

chocolatemartini Sun 26-May-13 09:33:44

Wow this turned into a bunfight. Please think people before putting real experts like tiktok in a position where they are having to defend themselves. Mumsnet is lucky to have such people giving up their time to help.

dozily Sun 26-May-13 07:16:00

Just read your latest update. That sounds really hard :-(

Any idea how the weight gain is going now? Just trying to figure out if this clingyness etc is feeding related or not.

loveroflife Sat 25-May-13 20:59:26

thanks flanbase, there's a lot of truth in your post

flanbase Sat 25-May-13 20:46:59

My eldest couldn't be put in the cot without shouting at full strength so I carried her around with me and did the same with my others. It is more intensive and the only break would be when said child was asleep in my arms. I co-slept and managed to do most things (apart from ironing) with one hand. It was a hard time and also very nice as well. I see the reward in that my children are well behaved and calm. I think this is from having carried them with me so they didn't have stress. I'm not saying that this applies to you as it's just what has happened with me.

loveroflife Sat 25-May-13 19:27:06

sorry for the delay in responding - I can't seem to put DS down without him crying...

I don't know if he has silent reflux or if there is a problem but I can't put him down not even in the chair for 10mins to shower..it's very draining and I am trying to hard to stick with everything.

I spoke to a number of lactation consultants and am going to a drop in clinic next week to see if he has tongue tie so at least we will know one way or the other.

Does anyone have any advice on nights - I am literally sleeping for an hour or so at night while DH rocks him to sleep. He screams when in the cot and is better next to me in bed but I'm very much on guard about rolling over him and don't really sleep this way either.

Sorry to sound so negative, I had hopes of warm, snuggly breastfeeding but it is pretty tough and the constant feeding is taking its toll...

minipie Wed 22-May-13 21:34:00

completely agree, i wouldn't risk block feeding. i just meant it's not that the OP doesn't have milk.

Willdoitinaminute Wed 22-May-13 21:05:40

Loveroflife I hope you managed to get thought to someone today who could help you. Having read the posts tonight I do apologise if my suggestions were misplaced. It does get better and you will eventually get some sleep. Wishing you well.

if your breasts are getting engorged in 2 hours that suggests you have plenty of supply, so it's not a supply issue

Not necessarily. If baby has tongue tie, baby may not always be draining the boob properly. TT can look like over supply hence shouldn't risk block feeding unless sure.

minipie Wed 22-May-13 20:02:25

to the OP

if your breasts are getting engorged in 2 hours that suggests you have plenty of supply, so it's not a supply issue

engorgement, plus DS feeding for hours and still losing weight (or at least not gaining) suggests the milk is not getting through to him properly

that suggests a latch problem and or tongue tie

also, if you had problems with ds1, it's possible he had TT too - it often runs in families - so again that is a possible pointer towards TT

it is NOT TRUE that no pain = no tongue tie. especially with posterior tongue tie it can take weeks before the pain starts (was the case with me)
so I wouldn't trust your HV to spot a TT as she doesn't seem to know that much about it.

you need a good BFing counsellor/lactation consultant to look at latch and TT. how are you getting on with finding one?

in the meantime, formula will help your DS not be hungry and give you a bit of a break, but you'll need to express to keep your supply up which is hard work (and you need a decent pump)

good luck!

tiktok Wed 22-May-13 11:55:49

I linked to a blog which explained my point in a way which is not opinion. I am getting a tad irritated with this opinion thing . I can link to research papers and text books if you prefer flanbase but often a clear explanation is a better bet. My point is that if you present opinion as something generally applicable to all, you will mislead and in some cases cause damage . Someone follows this opinion and experience and they are worse off than before . A shrug of the shoulders and the 'explanation' that 'it was just my opinion' is not helpful.

Put it this way . Opinion and experience is fine as long as it is highlighted as this and not presented as advice or fact. If I see something here that is factually incorrect and which may harm someone, then why would I not put something to counter it? Something that is not my opinion or experience but which comes from an understanding of how bf works.

If you think the right thing to do is to say nothing then my opinion is that you are wrong: )

flanbase Wed 22-May-13 11:34:44

I used to carry my kids when they were small and bf from the left breast a lot I used the left arm mainly as right handed. I didn't always sit down to bf as looking after other children and doing housework. When I was co-sleeping I would bf from both sides. The breasts will do the job if you feed from just the one mainly or both equally - just my opinion. For the op -I still say get medical help as her baby is not back to birthweight

flanbase Wed 22-May-13 11:16:20

soupa - just saying that here we don't know for sure people are nct counsellors or whatever. Just saying and no offence and not suggesting anything wrong with anyone. I mean this in the best way and good intentions.

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