Supplementing with formula?

(9 Posts)
AliceRose90 Sun 22-Sep-13 20:37:52

Just wanted a little bit of advice on whether I am doing the right thing... I have a 14 week old lb and I have breastfed exclusively from day one. He took to it like a dream, weighed 7lbs 14oz when born and by 3 weeks old he weighed 10lbs 7oz! Had him weighed at 9 weeks old and he was 13lbs 7oz. Then all of a sudden, my supply seemed to just drop. He was constantly hungry and very unhappy. I tried everything to get my supply up - drinking water before every feed, pumping extra milk, changing my diet... nothing seemed to work. When I took him to get him weighed again at 12.5 weeks, his weight gain had gone wayyy down. He had only put on 5.5oz in almost a month, going from the 75th centile almost down to the 25th.

I was very upset by this and went to the health visitor for advice. She checked he was latching on properly (he was) and advised me to try again for a week and come back to get him re-weighed. A week later, he had put on less than 1oz. The health visitor asked if I wanted to switch to formula feeding, which I didn't particularly want to do. I did go out and buy some though, just in case.

This was 3 days ago, and it has been horrible. My lb will latch on to feed, it takes about 30 seconds of him sucking before any milk actually comes out, and then it only lasts for a couple of minutes before I seem to dry up. He is constantly crying because he is hungry and he was such a happy baby before. Today I caved in and gave him some formula as I was stressed out, he was stressed out and I couldn't bear to see him so upset. He didn't seem too keen at first, but this afternoon he drank 6oz from a bottle. After that he seemed so much happier - the crying stopped, and we played with his toys for 2 hours with him smiling and chatting away.

I don't want to give up breastfeeding, but I am now debating supplementing with formula, maybe one or two bottles a day. I just don't know what to do for the best? I wanted to exclusively breastfeed until 6 months and I feel like a failure for giving him formula. But on the other hand I don't want my lb to suffer like he is. I was just looking for some advice or encouragement... has anyone been through the same thing?

crikeybadger Sun 22-Sep-13 20:57:00

It's a bit sad that the only support your HV could offer was to suggest formula....did she not try and find the cause of the slow weight gain?

Anyway, drinking more water and changing your diet won't affect your milk supply - quality or quantity.

So, is there any thing that you can think of that has changed? Has your baby been feeding less? Perhaps sleeping longer, perhaps using a dummy more? Does he appear to have thrush?

Sometimes milk supply drops when your period is due...could this be the case?

You can get your milk supply back again by frequent feeding -feed on one side, then the other, and back again as often as you can.

AliceRose90 Sun 22-Sep-13 21:11:17

She wasn't very helpful to be honest... pretty much just told me to rest more, keep at it and come back in 2 weeks.

I don't have a regular period at the moment as I'm on the contraceptive pill Cerazette which I started taking when he was 6 weeks old, but I was told by my doctor this was OK to take while breastfeeding?

He doesn't have a dummy, but he sucks his thumb quite a lot after feeds, I don't know if he just does this to comfort himself or if it's a sign that he is still hungry. He sleeps very well at night, he usually only wakes once or twice for feeds, and he seems to feed better in the night as it's given me longer for the milk to build up. In the day he's wanting to be fed every hour because he's not getting a lot.

I don't have anything against formula feeding but I would really like to carry on with the breastfeeding if I can!

ExBrightonBell Sun 22-Sep-13 21:26:27

You need some rl expert advice on upping supply. I would second the advice to keep feeding as often as you can manage, switching sides as often as needed. Time on the breast is the best way to stimulate supply.

Whilst doing this, you could try reading the Kellymom website which has lots of good advice on many bf topics. There is a page about apparent low supply issues which might be useful.

Also try contacting the National Breastfeeding helpline on 0300 100 0212, as well as La Leche League helpline on 0845 120 2918.

You could also ask your HV about any breastfeeding drop in clinics - and be very clear that you want support with breastfeeding and not advice to give formula.

crikeybadger Sun 22-Sep-13 22:09:06

Cerazette should be ok I think for breastfeeding.
You don't need time for milk to build up, in fact if your breasts 'fill up' with too much milk there is a thing called FIL (feedback inhibitor of lactation) which actually sends a signal to reduce milk production.

I'd agree that seeking some real life help would be a good idea. You could ask to see the infant feeding advisor, they should be a bfing expert.

One other thing to ponder is the accuracy of the weighing are happy that your lb was weighed properly and the results plotted carefully?

LadyDowagerHatt Mon 23-Sep-13 04:53:32

Not sure about the weight gain but have you tried expressing? My DD has had slow weight gain due to a posterior tongue tie so at night when I have loads of milk I feed her from one side and express from the other. She is still satisfied after a feed and it means I have a bottle for later in the day/evening when my milk supply isn't as plentiful.

AliceRose90 Mon 23-Sep-13 07:22:37

Thank you, I will try all your suggestions. Hopefully we will get it cracked soon!

Ok, for some mothers, even a progesterone-only pill can have an effect on supply. Look here. Is another form of birth control an option?

It is very very rare for a woman's supply to suddenly tail off like this, without an external influence like the pill.

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