Should I give up BF?(23 Posts)
I've posted on here quite a bit the last few days and the advice I've got has been great. Sorry for long post!
My baby is just under 4 weeks old. My orginal plan was to bf for 2-3 weeks and then express (I never realised how hard expressing was at this point!). So at the hospital, I was so out of it on drugs I couldn't feed him. The midwives then told me to express like I would know what I was doing straight away. I had read up about it but had no idea. After about 5 minutes they took baby of me and asked if I wanted him fed, I was completely out of it/asleep and said yes to cup feed of formula. He then was fed forumla through the night. I managed to express 1ml of colostrum.
Around 30 hours after his birth someone came to help me with breast feeding. I felt like I was being a pain though as she seemed as if she couldn't wait to leave my room. I then went home with no info about where to get help. when we went home I didn't express til the next day. I think I caught my supply just in time.
After 2 weeks of expressing I was exhausted. I didn't realise how hard it was to express even after buying 4 different pumps costing £100's. He was still on around 80% forumla. I made the decision then to try and get him back on to the breast. I spent days trying to find help, I even got turned away from an NHS ran service as I was with one2one midwives! After trying and trying baby eventually latched on and now can take a feed. I now have the support Around me that I needed 4 weeks ago.
My problem is now that he is never satisfied. He always wants more. So he has bottles of forumla too, one in the night and one in the day. I did try to only have him on only breast milk but I think he needs weening of formula. Because I'm only giving him these two bottles he is still not satisfied every other feed of the day. He could be nursing for 45 minutes and still cry.
This means that all day my baby screams. He hardly sleeps in the day. I have mastitis now on both boobs, cracked nipples and my baby has been biting me. The whole journey has made me miserable. I'm so angry at the lack of support I got and because of this I havnt fully enjoyed the first few weeks as it's been such a battle. It's very rare that my baby is awake and not crying for more food. I know that if I just went back to forumla that he would be happy and I would be rested and happy myself. He wouldn't cry all of the day. But I would feel like such a failure for not being able to do something so natural.
I have no idea what to do.
Poor you, sounds awful.
If you can't hack it any more - and who could blame you - then use formula. It's fine. It's not poison!
If you really want to breastfeed, however, don't give up yet. I found the first few weeks tough, but it does get better. It really does. Are there breastfeeding support groups in your area? Where I live there are different groups running every day. I think you'll need loads of help and support to continue breastfeeding, so do make sure you're aware of exactly what is available, and don't be afraid to ask for help.
I think it boils down to how much you want to breastfeed. I have a friend who couldn't, and she felt terrible about it. She put so much pressure on herself, and it sounds like you are the same.
If you do give up, you are NOT a failure!
And congratulations on your new baby!
If you were with one to one am assuming you are in the north west? Do you mind saying whereabouts? Im in a fb group for breastfeeding support in cheshire that might be able to help?
I do want to breast feed I really do but i just feel like I'm missing out on his first few weeks because I'm so upset all the time about breast feeding. Half of me just thinks it's not worth it to be this upset.
And I'm in the Wirral
Also, I went to a breast feeding group the other week but it was the first time he latched on so i didn't really get to meet anyone as I was in the corner feeding him with the support lady. I also get someone put to visit me for support. Every time they come though he feeds perfectly (typical!) and then 5 mins after they leave he crus again for more. I wish if had this support day one!
I struggled too.
So much advice from so many directions was bewildering and bf support helplines were hopeless for me.
What worked for me was limiting the time on the breast ESH feed to 30 mins or so (I seemed to literally feed for 2 hours at a time in the early days and got very very sore as a result) then top up with formula. I did this at every feed, my nipples recovered and gradually I noticed that my dd wasn't as interested in the formula. At about 4 months I didn't bother making it any more.
If I do it all again I wouldn't be so determined about BF, and I would mix feed again, it worked for us and wasn't forever.
If you end up FF it's really not the end of the world. There are positives to whichever feeding method you use.
If I were you and I was pretty sure that breastfeeding would stop the crying and settle him, I would switch to breast feed. Of course you want to breastfeed, but you have to put him first.
Sorry I meant switch to formula feed
Thanks beachfarmandzoo. What does ESH stand for? How much top up feed did you give? Did this change to more/less as baby got older?
mango if you could tell me the facebook group that would be fab
It's called cherubs of Cheshire (Cheshire really useful breastfeeding support)
There's an incredible lactation consultant at the countess but am assuming you are with arrowe?
ESH was my phone's interpretation of each feed!
I think I made the formula up for the standard amount for her age as per the packet. I then let her have as much as she wanted. Gradually as the weeks went by she reduced the amount of formula she needed - I kept making the full amount for each feed, so ended up throwing a lot away (wasteful but better to have too much than not enough!).
This also meant I got over my fear that she wasn't getting enough because I could see she was taking as much as the formula box said. By the time she was satisfied with just breast milk I had gained confidence as a mum that she was fine and content with my milk.
I spent so many hours stressing myself out and crying over how hard I found it.
Oh - also if you're sore, cabbage leaves in your bra are magic (this plus mixed feeding are probably responsible for me continuing to BF) - they help with healing.
Sounds crap. All the issues are down to lack of support.
You are probably near through the worst of it though if you can bear much more. And going from 80% formula to two bottles is an achievement in a short space of time.
Although your baby is 4 weeks old if he had only been bf directly for 2 weeks I think you should consider him like a 2 week old in terms of bfing, so still learning how to do it right.
How would you feel about spending a day in bed/in the sofa (watching tv boxsets or something) and just feeding? Try to learn to do it lying down if you can.
Are you still pumping? Have you tried lasinoh on nipples? That and another expensive cream I can't remember the name of are better than chalet nope creams.
mango yes I was with arrowe, I've joined that group thankyou
beachfarmandzoo he seems to finish off a whole bottle after the feeds but my health visitor said maybe I have a poor latch and even though he's feeding for a while he's just not getting a lot.
littleducks I did do a day in bed the other day with him and it probably did help. I'm starting to feel real poorly with the antibiotics I'm on so I might try a day in bed tomorrow
Think I've decided to just go with the flow and feed him as much as I can for as long as I can. I'm going to still give him forumla as he's just happier in himself with it. The health visitor said that it's important he has enough sleep and is happy so he can develop in other ways so perceiving with bf exclusively may not be the best option.
I still feel really let down by the hospital and angry that he's not fed how I wanted but I suppose I will get over it one day.
Emma do you want the number for the chester infant feeding coordinators? if they cant see you they'll know who can. Ive had absolutely loads of problems and they have really helped me
mango what do they do? Arrowe park have the same sort of thing but I only recently found out about them but don't really know what they do :/
I be inclined to say that you have soldiered on despite the odds and gotten your baby back on the breast from the bottle. That's pretty amazing most people don't manage to do that so if you can find it in yourself could you give yourself another two weeks to try and sort it out and get it working?
I wonder if the baby is desperately feeding because it is working on your supply, having been off the breast for two weeks. If so it will calm down, would definitely recommend the couple of days in bed which really helped me at the start. Have you found multi-mam compresses ... they are amazing! But it does sound like the latch isn't 100%, please try and find better help - your HV sound vague and a bit useless.
I had issues with latch etc too, and a baby that seemed to feed for ages (easily 90mins-2hrs at a time) and still be hungry. After a while I worked out that sometimes although he seemed hungry he actually needed sleep more than food, especially in the evenings, and putting him in the sling or taking him out in the pram sometimes sent him to sleep, and then he seemed to recharge his batteries and have more energy to feed better.
Also, breast compressions helped me to work out when he was actually swallowing and when he was just nibbling, so every time he stopped swallowing for any length of time I tried repositioning/relatching/waking him up a bit, and this made the feeds more efficient and shorter (though down to 45 mins ish). Once I'd worked out what swallowing looked like I found I didn't need to do the compressions any more. I found out about it and used the guidance on the kellymom website.
Can't promise any of this will work for you but this is what worked for me!
Totally agree with the others that if you think formula feeding will make you and your baby both happier and more contented then don't hesitate to do that. If you want to carry on breastfeeding though then I found it took 6 weeks for us to really get the hang of it, so don't feel bad that you're not quite there yet.
Hi, thanks for all your advice. Just an update really
I'm still breast feeding him but am offering forumla top ups. He has around 2 ounces after most, but not all feeds. He also has 1 or 2 full bottles a day (if I have expressed breast milk he has that). It's not how I wanted him fed but at least he's getting at least half breast milk which is better then none.
Were both happier.. He's napping more often now because he's obviously full and satisfied which means I can nap/get things done. He's been awake and not crying too which is lovely. Hes a lot more content.
I feel like his latch is getting worse as he's not openingn his mouth as wide, perhaps because the use of bottles (medela calm) but for now I'm going to continue as I can for as long as I can.
Thanks again everyone
God to hear that you and baby are happier op. I had a very difficult start to bf too and DS has been mix fed. There have been times when he's had very little formula and times when he's had lots but he still gets quite a bit of breastmilk at nearly 6 months old- something I would never have believed at 3 weeks. I've known friends who have persevered at all costs with bf, refused top ups, hated it and given up altogether earlier as a result. I sounds like you've done absolutely the right thing for you and your baby!
That is great. Well done - you are obviously made of stern stuff. Not sure of the benefit of offering full bottles once or twice a day - I think this might make things harder for you supply wise and you might be better sticking to topping up after feeds.
Don't worry about not enjoying them - you wouldn't be enjoying it anyway. Newborns are hard word no matter how you feed
This probably isn't helpful, but just thought I'd share my experience with you so you stop feeling so guilty!
My prem boy could only feed with nipple shields to start, then we finally got it with the help of a very pushy midwife on a home visit. He was like a little demon when he went to latch, so eager he'd start chewing me and I'd have to FF for a couple of days to let my breasts recover (along with expressing).
By the time I realised he had reflux, we were combination feeding, with mainly BF at night and FF during the day. I felt so guilty for not giving him 100% breast! (especially as I had LOADS of milk) but combination feeding just worked well for us! especially as sometimes when we were out and about a bottle was just easier.
With his reflux, I've just stopped BF as it's too thin to stay down. We're still figuring out exactly what will work the best for us, but I no longer feel bad for not BF. My piglet's 12 weeks old now, I gave him a great start and am now trying to do what's best for him.
Please don't best yourself up, we have to do whatever we can to do the best for our babies. However you end up feeding him the main point is that he's getting fed.
Best of luck x
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