Update: baby still losing weight, had to supplement

(34 Posts)
IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sun 18-Aug-13 15:27:35

Hello,

I posted a few days ago about the troubles I was having breastfeeding and my baby was weighed today (day 10) and has lost a bit more weight. I have done nothing but feed, feed, feed since he was first weighed at home and had hoped the on-demand feeding had been working but it hasn't.

The Midwife has asked me to feed him every 3 hours then top up with 30ml of formula or expressed milk. I cried and cried while she was here. She helped me latch my baby onto the breast without a shield then sent my partner out to buy cartons of formula sadsad. I said I didn't want him to have formula but she said he needed it now, it didn't need to be forever, just until he starts to gain.

She said to feed every 3 hours for half an hour on one breast then top him up with formula or EBM, then switch to the other breast at the next feed. This contradicts the advice I got on here and what I was told by the NCT counsellor who came to my house to feed him on demand.

Am I supposed to feed him 3 hourly and in between as well? Will I be able to go back to fully breastfeeding? It feels like the beginning of the end and I am so teary at the thought of it.

cathan Sun 18-Aug-13 16:02:02

Sorry to hear that you're being given such bad advice by a midwife. As a mum of 2 (both EBF) I can completely sympathise with the way some professionals worry about weight gain statistics. My daughter "fell off the curve" within days of birth and never got back to it so I was given a lot of grief by health visitors and was pressured to supplement with bottles. However, I never did this. Instead I kept feeding to her demand. As long as her nappies were regularly wet and dirty and she was well, I didn't let the weight obsession stop me breastfeeding which is what may happen if you keep supplementing with bottles. Breastfeeding works on supply and demand - if you supplement with bottles, you will tend to make less milk yourself. See if you can speak with/see a breastfeeding councillor or another mother who is breastfeeding with an older baby to get some real help. If your baby is latching on well and feeding to demand, he will gain weight at his own rate - and be much healthier with all the benefits of being breastfed. Hope this helps!

SunnyIntervals Sun 18-Aug-13 16:09:20

I think you need to ask to see a midwife again tomorrow, as this advice to restrict feeding to only every 3 hours seems odd. How much did your baby weigh when born and how much does he weigh now??

SunnyIntervals Sun 18-Aug-13 16:13:53

If this was me I would start expressing so you only feed ebm top ups, as she gave you that option.

Can you borrow a hospital grade pump? If the mw team can arrange that for you it will make your life so much easier! Start by hand expressing following the Mamet technique and then do electric pumping - proven this increases yield. Listening to relaxing classical music and looking at photo of baby while pumping all help.try to avoid using bottle to give the top ups - try syringe and look into a supplementary nursing system. These will all help.

ExBrightonBell Sun 18-Aug-13 16:17:45

You have my sympathies, Trenchcoat, having been in a similar position myself not so long ago. My ds did not lose weight but was not putting much on in the early days. To get his weight up I fed him 2 hourly (from beginning of the previous feed) for as long as I could manage without sleep deprivation getting too bad. I also expressed as much as I could (although it's really hard to fit in around frequent feeds). We did give formula top ups for a while, but when his weight gain plateaued and then began to rise, we phased them out. I managed to get back to exclusively bf so formula is definitely not the beginning of the end. Some people manage to mix feed as well, without bf dropping off.

SunnyIntervals Sun 18-Aug-13 16:19:50

Many many mums give some ebm top ups and then return to full bf in time when the weight is sorted.

You are doing brilliantly - just keep up the good work!!

IKnewHouseworkWasDangerous Sun 18-Aug-13 16:28:34

I know hv are medical professionals and are a great support to some. However, as with any other walk of life, the quality is variable. A single opinion, which is going against the flow of other advice, may not be the be all and end all.

I say this as someone who formula fed and doesnt see ff as the root of all evil.

If you are ok with topping up then go with it. But if you are not seek other advice to be sure it is the best option.

dontyouknow Sun 18-Aug-13 17:19:59

My DD lost a lot of weight, was very jaundiced and had problems feeding. I had a horrible time when she was admitted to hospital at 4 days old - nurses telling me to supplement with formula, midwives telling me the exact opposite and the doctor saying it was my choice but DD would be on a drip if she wouldn't take some more fluids.

I decided to supplement and was pleased I did. I would feed her then give 30 or 60 mls formula. I gave a top up after each feed. I did try to get her into a routine (albeit rather a flexible one) early on so it was probably about every 3 hours. The top ups went on for a few weeks, maybe a month or two then I cut back as she was putting on lots of weight. I carried on giving a top up after her late evening feed - but that was really because she was sleeping through the night and I didn't want to jeopardise this!

It meant that DD was used to formula which helped as I went back to work when she was 4 months old and didn't want to express. Obviously its up to you but if I was in that situation again I would give top ups. I would have been able to go back to EBF if I had wanted to as it didn't seem to affect my supply. You are not a terrible mother if your baby has some formula!

ImFineThankYou Sun 18-Aug-13 17:30:08

If you want to continue ebf I'd say 3 hours is too long a gap to help baby gain weight. I'd be trying to get as much skin to skin as possible for a couple of days and feeding as much as possible. Dd had no more than 2 hours between feeds at that age, more like 1.5 hours and in the evening she would cluster feed so she'd be pretty much on the boob for 2-3 hours feeding on and off.
It's pretty intensive but helps keep weight up and gets your milk really coming in.

I had pretty much the same experience as Dontyouknow...I was v upset at the time but did give the formula top ups, only for a week though and then went back to EBF. Worked for me and DS1 as he did the regain weight and is now a disgustingly healthy 7 yr old grin

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sun 18-Aug-13 17:51:41

Hello, thanks for advice. Baby weighed 7.6 and a half lb at birth, is now around 6.9lb (I think).

After the formula feed he settled, I have since tried a feed at 16.00 with a top up of EBM and he is unsettled, still feeding at the breast now. I am at my wits end. My partner obviously wants to continue with formula. I don't know how long I can go feeding on demand, not sleeping, unsure what my milk supply is like and why it's not satisfying him.

ImFineThankYou Sun 18-Aug-13 17:56:52

Babies are naturally very unsettled at this age. Please don't think it's something you are or arn't doing.

curlew Sun 18-Aug-13 17:59:56

If you want to carry on bf then you need to feed much more often than every 3 hours at this stage. Is it possible for you to just go to bed with the baby for a day, just feeding whenever she roots? It's the best way to up your supply and get lots of milk into her. Take lots of drinks and snacks with you, your phone, the remote, books and magazines and just feed and doze. You'll be rested, your supply will increase if it needs to and the baby will probably put on weight. The answer to losing with at this age is to feed more, not less. Restricting into 30 minutes every 3 hours is the worst advice you could be given.

CityDweller Sun 18-Aug-13 18:02:50

I think at 10 days old it's normal for them to be on the breast a lot. There is a growth spurt at this age anyway, so LO is fussy and demanding frequent feeds to up your supply. I fed on demand and at that age DD was feeding at least every 90 mins during day, sometimes every 45! And with cluster feeding during late morning and in the evening.

ExBrightonBell Sun 18-Aug-13 18:05:34

Can you get your partner to take the baby when he's not feeding so that you can get as much sleep in between as you can?

I know it's not helpful advice, but you do kind of get used to the lack of sleep after a while. Don't try and do anything else around the house, get your DP doing all of that if you can. Concentrate on one feed at a time and try not to think beyond that. It does get better as time goes on. Getting fussy in the evening is not unusual as is wanting to cluster feed.

However, if it isn't working for you, don't give yourself a hard time if you decide to stop bf and go to formula. Do what works for you.

tiktok Sun 18-Aug-13 18:54:36

Trenchcoat it is worrying your baby is still losing weight. Did the midwife say if she had an explanation for this? If your baby is in urgent need of more calories then formula may be needed in the short term but this should be alongside frequent bf and three hourly is not usually close to sufficient for most babies of this age. However the midwife has seen you and your baby and is in a good position to work out what to do. But she needs to explain why she is giving the advice.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sun 18-Aug-13 19:05:29

I have disregarded the 3 hourly feeds already as it just doesn't feel right considering how often he was feeding according to cues. tiktok I am worried, and maybe he does need the calories, he has seemed more settled both after the formula top-up and the EBM top-up than he normally does after a feed.

The going to bed is a great suggestion. I have tried this, just concentrated on skin-to-skin and feeding but keep getting interrupted by visitors be they friends and family or midwives.

If I give formula tonight do I just carry on feeding on demand and hope my supply isn't affected?

curlew Sun 18-Aug-13 19:29:02

Could you start the being in bed and feeding tonight?

ImFineThankYou Sun 18-Aug-13 19:31:40

You need to put your foot down and say no more visitors for now. Seriously. This is really important. You need to get dh on side too.

tiktok Sun 18-Aug-13 19:52:50

Trench you don't need to worry that following the advice to top up tonight will spell disaster for milk supply. Do what keeps you and your baby happy tonight and reassess in the morning when you have had a chance to speak again to midwife. It may be your use of shields has made it hard to get bf going for example.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sun 18-Aug-13 20:06:10

I have fed more without the shields today as the Midwife said it would make it harder for my baby to get milk. There is evidence of milk whether using a shield or not it is just hard to know whether it is enough.

I am just feeding on demand but will top him up as I can't stand the idea of him being hungry, maybe will go 3 hourly with the top ups but let him feed when he wants.

curlew Sun 18-Aug-13 20:10:17

I honestly think that you should put the 3 hourly thing completely out of your mind, really. It's incredibly unusual for a baby this tiny to go that long between feeds.

slems Sun 18-Aug-13 20:23:33

I had this issue with DD2, I was so upset but it really did all work out and we ultimately. I had EBF DD1 with no problems at all, so I was not expecting any issues. But, despite apparently feeding well (quite often, lot of time on boob) she lost weight and HV was worried. After about 12 days, what i did was this:
In the day, each feed (on demand) I would breastfeed both sides, then give her to DH, he then topped her up with formula/expressed milk. While he did this, I pumped (surprisingly I got a lot, I don't think DD2 was good at getting at the milk).
At night, the first feed (11pm or similar) baby just got a bottle from DH (which he did on his way to bed), so I could get some sleep. The other two night feeds she just got boob (in bed with me, where she sometimes stayed), as I knew she had already had a full bottle.
After about two weeks of this, my supply was really good (because of all the pumping), we went back to EBF, but DH continued with the 11pm feed (I would pump at around 9pm then go to bed).
And remember, formula is not poison. The WHO recommendations to breastfeed for 6 months cover the whole world, and are largely due to issues of dirty water, cost of formula etc. Breastmilk is the best, but not everyone can do it, and formula is perfectly okay too. You are still a great mum doing the best for her kid.

PurplePidjin Sun 18-Aug-13 20:29:43

3 hours? Bwahahahahah my 9mo was feeding for about an hour then a 1.5 hour gap at that age!

Sofa. Pyjamas. Boxset. Lots of water, juice and fruit. Dh/p making you tea and bringing you food. NO VISITORS unless it's someone like your mum who'll make tea and bring you food.

They grow up. They grow out of it. It gets better, i promise brew one day we'll be threatening teenagers with a wet sponge to get them out of bed for school

SunnyIntervals Sun 18-Aug-13 20:37:11

I would express for any missed bfs (ie feeds where baby is taking ff ) and keep that expressed milk to use as an ebm top up. That will protect your supply.

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