Please help - it has all gone very wrong and i am panicking

(14 Posts)
HelpMePleaseImConfused Tue 10-Sep-13 04:27:23

I am currently bf my 7.5 mo. He was ebf until 6 months when i introduced solids. We have gradually built up to him having 2-3 meals a day by 7mo. He was still bf the same three hourly frequency through the day and i always offered bm before meals.

However, i am returning to work tomorrow and knowing i would not be able to express enough milk each day for the next, i decided i would need to leave formula through the day to sustain him until i got home. The plan had been to bf him early morning, leave an expressed bottle (from what i could express in work) for his next morning feed, and then bf as soon as i got home, bedtime and during the night. To make sure he would take formula, i started replacing one feed a day with it last wednesday, which he took to fine. He seemed more than satisfied with a 5oz bottle so i had planned to ask the cm to try two 4oz bottles during the day, to ensure he wanted bf when he was with me. I had hoped i might completely bf on my days off with him if my suppmy adjusted.

However, all seemed feasible until this weekend. I was due to go away to a wedding leaving early saturday morning and returning mid sunday afternoon. I had not pumped enough milk for the whole time and since he had taken well to formula, i left him enough milk for two morning feeds, and bedtime and he had formula in between. I last bf him at approx 6am saturday morning and fed him on my return at 3.30pm on sunday. My breasts were very engorged but i only managed to pump once at 4am sunday just enough to be comfortable to sleep. I then bf him slightly more often for the rest of sunday.

Monday morning my breasts seemed normal, however he was fussing on and off them and screaming whilst trying to feed mid morning. I knew my supply was probably low so i decided not to give any more solids that day (he had already had breakfast) and just bf and offer frequently. By evening my breasts were empty like id never seen them before. They are completely soft like two flaps of skin and there doesnt even seem like theres any breast tissue let alone milk. Then along comes my period (first one).

I decided to cosleep tonight to let him at least suckle as much as possible. He fed on and off until 10pm when he fell asleep so i put him in his cot, but then he has been in bed with me since he woke at 12am. He has been on and off since then but my breasts still look and feel completely empty. To top it off, i have just noticed his nose was completely plugged with snot so it looks like he has his first cold too. He doesnt seem bothered by the cold or isnt screaming with hunger, which i was taking as a good sign, but now i just think it may be because he 's not hungry because of his cold.

I am now back in work in just over 24 hours and only have today to try and rebuild my supply. He will need to sleep at some point too (as will i ideally) so we cant feed constantly. It seems the odds are stacking against me, and i would be devastated to stop bf in this way. I wanted to continue to at least a year. Please tell me bf is not doomed

Marzipanface Tue 10-Sep-13 04:35:36

I think if you get our period it stalls your supply. It happened to me when ds was six weeks. I am still successfully breadtfeeding now though. Pretty sure your supply doesn't just halt btw. Someone who knows more will hopefully respond in a bit. Keep feeding as often as you can.

HelpMePleaseImConfused Tue 10-Sep-13 04:42:02

Thanks for your reply marzipan- have heard this about periods returning which is why i mentioned it...slight update on that...dont even know if it could have been classed as a period now as seems to have stopped and turned out to be very tiny amount of bleeding.

I know its probably all interlinked, the solids, the formula feed, the weekend away, my period, his cold. I have worked so hard at bf though i am devastated and feel distraught that he has got ill and all right when i am going back to work which i feel horrendous enough about already. Feel like i have let him down

Refoca Tue 10-Sep-13 05:03:45

Get plenty to eat and drink, take some deep breaths, relax and sleep. Sounds like a very busy weekend and a lot on your mind, paired with natural change in your body as it gets used to not being ready to feed 24/7. You may find your lo takes a little time to settle into the new demand then supply, but it should be more confortable for you when working etc.

I went back to work when my ds was 1, and within 3 months I had stopped expressing at work...but he still fed at night and weekends until he was over 2 1/2 years old. Towards the end, he only fed once or twice a week and my breasts felt very 'empty', but even more 'empty' after a feed so he was obviously still getting something and he was there longer than that so I think it was being made as he fed.

The fact your period has dried up again is a good sign your body has realised it was a false alarm on quitting, and I'm willing to bet the next time you wake up after a full night's sleep you'll feel a bit fuller following your nurse in.

I feel like I'm waffling, wrong time of the day for me to by typing, lol! Hope someone with more recent experience comes by soon. :-)

Good luck with the return to work, and getting feeding back on the track you want.

HelpMePleaseImConfused Tue 10-Sep-13 08:39:20

Thanks Refoca for your experiences, it does really help. I have been drinking water through the night and i had started taking fenugreek yesterday anyway. He dropped off about 4.30 (from near on constant feeding since midnight) and woke up again at 8 so we both got a bot of sleep in the end. I will try and pump whilst he sleeps today. My period is definately here as well, it must have been tricking me, although its not massively heavy at the moment. My breasts do feel the teeniest bit fuller this morning. He seems very happy in himself this morning and isnt screaming or anything after coming off from feeding so i guess he must be getting something?

I am just so worried because i thought i had some kind of feeding plan sorted for going back to work and the day before i do, this happens. I dont feel like i have enough time to build day feeds back up, and after three full days in work, fear i will be completely dry by the weekend. Even if im not and i spend my days off working on it, im worried it will become a vicious cycle because ill be so tired and exhausted from sleepless nights of trying to build my supply back up whilst getting used to working.

HelpMePleaseImConfused Tue 10-Sep-13 21:47:17

Please does anyone have any advice? My breasts feel completely empty still and i am returning to work tomorrow. Hardly anything is coming out. I am devastated. This is the worst possible thing to happen the day before i return to work. I wanted to carry on bf at least until he was one and i feel so cheated that this is how it might end for us.

slightlysoupstained Tue 10-Sep-13 21:54:14

Won't your supply be fairly well established by now?

Mine sometimes feel entirely empty, but if your DS is feeding happily it doesn't mean that there's nothing there if you can't get much from expressing. Sorry if I'm just stating obvious, wanted to bump for you.

BonaDea Tue 10-Sep-13 21:57:35

I seriously doubt the wedding away would have stopped your supply just like that. I also think your period coming back was just coincidence. I think you're doing all the right things- on demand feeding, co-sleeping etc so just keep going and good luck!

RedKites Tue 10-Sep-13 22:19:27

You've had some good advice, and I don't really have anything to add, but would you benefit from talking to someone at one of the telephone helplines? The phone numbers are in bold at the end of this page. I think the NCT one is open until midnight, I'm not sure about the others.

tiktok Tue 10-Sep-13 22:32:26

HelpMe, I am pretty sure you and your milk supply will be just fine.

Milk supply after all this time is robust.

Flat, soft breasts are normal with well-established bf.

Slight dip in supply is normal with period - all reverts back very quickly.

mykingdomforasleep Wed 11-Sep-13 00:07:49

If his nose was plugged he was probably coming off because he couldn't feed and breathe at same time. Try a baby saline spray up his nose 2 mins before every feed (can get a snot pumper outer to use with it but the saline squirt is the main thing).

I very much doubt your supply will have had a big dent so do keep trying. I've heard the taste changes when you have your period - it's a known time for babies to be fussy.

Good luck!

mykingdomforasleep Wed 11-Sep-13 00:10:30

PS I have the softest flattest boobs in existence and can hardly express at all this time round but also a chubby little baby!

HelpMePleaseImConfused Wed 11-Sep-13 00:12:20

Thanks everyone, just what i needed to hear. Yes i did think my supply would be well established by now but i thought it was still supply and demand led, and that even a couple of days without demand could give it a knock? It seems to have really plummeted. I realise soft breasts can still produce milk, but i have actually squeezed following a feed and nothing has come out at all which worries me. Also they are more empty looking and feeling than i have every known, i pretty much have no breasts at the moment so cant see where the milk would be!

All of your words are very encouraging though, it looks like i will just need to trust my body. It has just been terrible timing with me returning to work especially as i am so upset about leaving my ds, so apologies if panic set in and i sounded dramatic, i am just really looking forward to bf around work as a way to reconnect with my baby.

HelpMePleaseImConfused Wed 11-Sep-13 00:17:31

Sorry Mykingdom, x-post. That is a very good point about his nose, i hadnt even thought of it, but actually i only realised when i brought him downstairs, so my oh could get some sleep, that it was blocked, and once i cleared it he fed and fell asleep. So you are probably right!

Very relieved to hear im not alone, and also more confirmation that the period may be to blame. Fingers crossed

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