Formula feeding- how to do it?

(19 Posts)
Imnotbeverley Sat 19-Apr-14 07:04:22

DS is nearly 5 mo, and I am well and truly fed up of bf. Unlike the majority of people I have never found that it "became easy"- I find it awkward, it makes going out feel stressful and I am constantly worried about whether DS is getting enough from me. His sleep is terrible. I know that formula isn't a magic fix but at least DP could do some feeds and give me a break.

But my question is- how do I actually do it? With bf I offer the boob after every sleep (or more if he seems out if I think he's hungry), do I do the same with bottles? This can mean feeding every 2 hours at some times? Or do I feed him very 4 hours?

Anyone with a 4-5 month old ff who can advise?

Parsnipcake Sat 19-Apr-14 07:13:33

He will probably have a different pattern with formula as it is digested differently and he won't use it for comfort in the same way. You will probably also be giving him water in a cup as a drink, which you may not have done while breast feeding. The carton of formula will often have a guide to quantity and timing depending on weight, so take that as a starting point

However, if he has been putting on weight then he will have been getting enough milk. Formula might not be a magic solution to your anxiety and his sleep. You sound exhausted and a bit down - though it could just be a moment, but if you aren't enjoying him, maybe speak to the Hvor Gp?

Imnotbeverley Sat 19-Apr-14 07:27:52

Thank you

I am definitely exhausted! I don't think there is an issue with my mood necessarily, or nothing that a bit of sleep wouldn't fix at least.

SpanielFace Sat 19-Apr-14 07:29:50

I switched to formula at 5.5 months, after a miserable time breastfeeding - DS had a tongue tie and fed every 2 hours for 45-60 mins at a time, and despite us having the tongue tie separated he continued to have very poor weight gain. I was immeasurably happier after switching, and his weight gain improved massively, and he has just thrived - he's now 20 months. I felt horribly guilty stopping, but on logical reflection and more sleep, I have no idea why. You've done brilliantly to get so far - if you want to stop it's your choice, and noone else's.

What I did was replace two feeds a day with formula (initially the late evening feed, so DH could do it and give me a break some nights), and a mid morning feed. I fed on demand, just as I had when BF. By that age, I didn't necessarily offer milk immediately when he woke, as he wasn't always hungry - I waited for him to show feeding cues (hand chewing, grizzling etc). At 5 months, he would easily take 8oz of formula at a feed. My plan had been to slowly replace more feeds, to avoid engorgement, but after around 2 weeks he started refusing the breast, and that was that. I was very sore, and had to express for comfort, but the pain went after about a week and my milk was gone after about 4 weeks.

His sleep did extend after starting formula, but I think that was because the tongue tie stopped him from ever really getting enough milk when breastfeeding. He used to fall asleep on the breast after feeding for almost an hour, then wake up an hour later, hungry again. With formula, I think he was able to satisfy his hunger - it certainly made a big difference to his weight gain, he had been borderline failure-to-thrive beforehand. For a baby who is getting enough milk from the breast, I can't see it making as much difference.

Good luck, and I hope whatever you decide you feel better for it - those first few months are so tough.

SpanielFace Sat 19-Apr-14 07:33:12

Oh, meant to say that his feeds went from 2 hourly to 4 hourly quite quickly, but I always fed on demand - I never forced him onto a fixed routine. He developed more of a routine himself after we started solids at 6 months.

Imnotbeverley Sat 19-Apr-14 15:47:31

spaniel thankyou. My son also had tongue tie, it was snipped at 5 days but feeding has always been hard. I used nipple shields for the first 12 weeks and finally got off them, but still find breastfeeding just not what I thought it would be.

We have tried him with a bottle today but he flatly refused.

SpanielFace Sun 20-Apr-14 08:23:32

Oh no - frustrating! My friend had a bottle refuser, she had planned on stopping at 6 months and ended up BF to over a year. Would he take it better from your DP/DH? Or trying a different type of teat? Might be worth asking on the feeding page for specific advice, it was never something I experienced.

Tongue tie is awful. DS's wasn't cut until 5 weeks, despite being noticed by the MW at birth - it was really obvious! The hospital paediatrician checked him & said that if I wasn't finding feeding painful, it didn't need treatment - of course, I believed them. hmm I'm pregnant with DC2 at the moment - if this one is tongue tied I plan to kick up a fuss in the hospital until it's either been cut, or have a referral arranged. I'm not going through that again - DS dropped from 50th centile to below the 0.4th by 4 months. I could see every rib. Everuone just kept telling me it would improve if we had it cut, saw the lactation consultant, expressed between feeds to boost supply, worked on his latch, etc etc. It didn't. sad

Hope you find a way to persuade DS to take the bottle.

Imnotbeverley Sun 20-Apr-14 11:41:52

spaniel I know, really frustrating! No luck with DP... We even got my mum round to try and I left the house for a couple of hours, he had a very small amount but definitely not enough- made up for it overnight.

The tongue tie thing is ridiculous. I'm a nurse (not children though), and I thought "his tongue looks odd", but just thought someone would have mentioned it if it was unusual. We had so many people try to help latch him on, but they all said it was my nipples that were the problem. Of course now I look back and think why the fuck didn't I say anything, but I think you just don't realise how vulnerable you are, and reliant on what the pros say. DS was born 2 and a half weeks before Xmas, and when someone did notice his complete tongue tie there were no clinic spaces left until after new year. But the midwife was coincidentally able to perform the snip privately that evening for £120. Talk about taking advantage! I often thing about the ethics of that now, I certainly wouldn't ever consider offering my professional services for a cash fee to a vulnerable patient with no other options.

SpanielFace Sun 20-Apr-14 21:38:22

£120, that's shocking! There is a doctor at the ENT clinic that does them here (Lincoln) - there was about a 1 week wait to be seen, but it took 4 weeks for me to see the lactation consultant, and then she referred me, so he was 5 weeks before it was snipped. I agree 100% - you are so vulnerable when you are in that sleep deprived / shell shocked stage. What about trying a sippy cup - would he take it that way?

Imnotbeverley Mon 21-Apr-14 11:22:42

I was thinking about a sippy cup, but we have had a few moments of success with a bottle since yesterday. In fact, DP was able to feed him and settle him when he woke for the first time last night. Felt like a huge relief that maybe not every wake up has to be dealt with by me!

He seems more amenable to taking a bottle when he is sleepy, daytime he still isn't keen!

Imnotbeverley Mon 21-Apr-14 11:24:59

PS it really is insane that it took 4 weeks for you to even see a lactation consultant. That amount of time when you are struggling to feed a new baby is forever.

SpanielFace Mon 21-Apr-14 14:22:23

That's brilliant - even just one feed a night would make such a difference when you're feeding every 2-3 hours. Fingers crossed that he decides he likes it!

Fairy1303 Mon 21-Apr-14 14:27:24

Have you tried the tommy tippee bottles? They are supposed to be more like a normal nipple...

I found with DS that he would feed every 3 hours (from start of feed) with ff, then at 6 months dropped down to 4 hours. Most of my friends babies were every 4 though so it is baby dependent!

P.s - do you know the best way to make formula? I only say that as nobody told me apart from MN and it was a revelation! For a 7oz bottle - 3oz boiling water, add formula, shake, then add 4 oz of cooled boiled water from the fridge.

Best of luck. Well done for bfing for this amount of time.

Imnotbeverley Mon 21-Apr-14 18:25:02

Hi Fairy,

Yeah, we tried the tommee tippee ones first actually! We have since been recommended the MAM teats so will give them a go too.

Thanks for the tip- so far we've used the pre mixed stuff but that is pretty expensive so will defo move onto powder once we (hopefully) get this bottle issue resolved! What do you do when out and about? Use pre prepared?

spaniel fingers crossed! Although I went to a BBQ today and he wasn't having any of it, will try more this evening!

Fairy1303 Mon 21-Apr-14 18:44:21

I normally use prepreparee when out but I have friends who take a thermos and some cooled water and do the same method. Good luck!

PuppyMouse Tue 22-Apr-14 17:50:01

Couldn't read and not post as this is exactly what we've just gone through (minus the tongue tie).

I fed dd for 5 months and then decided it was time to stop. She had always hated bottles and I was starting to panic. We finally had some success with Nuk. I used the latex rather than silicone teats as they're softer and she'd take a bit but still wasn't keen.

To move her to formula we started by replacing a feed with a bottle - just one, for a week. She wouldn't take much but every day we tried. Then week 2 I offered the bottle first at every feed (by this time she pretty much fed every 3hrs). If she took enough (thus is very subjective) then no booby top up. If she took hardly any, she had some from me.

Just gradually week by week she started to stop freaking out about the bottle. The bedtime and night feeds were last to go. To be honest it was sad when she started refusing booby at bedtime.

The last time I fed her was nearly two weeks ago. She still only takes between 3 and 5oz per feed but is thriving and sleeping better than ever (dream feed at 10.30 then nothing again until 6.30.)

I am still producing milk but no longer engorged and have had to hardly pump at all as we did it so gradually which is a relief!

We used the ready to drink to begin with and now we're spoilt with a Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine.... It's amazing and so quick if you're preparing a night feed. I take the cartons out with me but use the machine with powder in the house.

Hope this helps.... Sorry it's so long blush

Imnotbeverley Wed 23-Apr-14 10:59:26

That's really helpful puppy, I had been going by the volumes suggested on the boxes of formula, so when DS (often) will only take 3/4/5 oz I have been thinking he hasn't had enough. I've then been offering boob ALOT out of worry that he's hungry, the feeds are becoming less substantial and more like snacks. It's sort of spiralling!

I'm going to try out your way, and accept it is probably going to be a longer process than I initially hoped it would be!

clairehp Wed 23-Apr-14 14:21:32

I'm having the same problem, I'm ready to give stop bf and my 14 week old isn't gaining much weight, but she's refusing the bottle. Even refuses it off her dad, my hv has advised me to give her 2oz formula top ups from a cup which takes 15 minutes and it's hit or miss if she throws it back up. Been trying daily for 4 weeks now but it's like she knows i'll end up feeding her anyway.

PuppyMouse Wed 23-Apr-14 15:18:49

We were considering cold turkey but I just couldn't face it. I find it hugely stressful comparing the amounts she eats to the advised amounts.... But each baby is different and I think they tell us if they're hungry and wouldn't sleep or settle....

Good luck!!

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