How much energy does bfíng take from the mother?

(27 Posts)
Meerka Tue 02-Sep-14 21:24:43

I have ME and bf'ing with our 17 wo Pipsqueak has never clicked in the way it did with our first son.

The exhaustion is pretty difficult to handle, husband has to get our older son up and to school and cook in the evenings and sometimes often put him to bed. It's rotten because I feel that the bond between the older son and I is weakened, specially since the pregnancy was bad and I couldn't do anything at all with him then.

Doctor and various other people have recommended stopping bf'ing more for my sake than his becuase of the energy drain of bf'ing. I'm not really happy about this, wanted to get to 6 months at least. Currently going for 2 bf's in the 24 hours and the rest formula. Incidentally just started putting a tiny bit of rice mush in his last bottle so that he will sleep longer through the night, again on medical recommendation.

Does anyone know if the energy demands really are as great as all that? Presumably even 2 breast-feeds a day will benefit him?

tiktok Tue 02-Sep-14 22:32:38

Of course two bf a day will be of benefit.

Your son will get antibodies and enjoyment smile

Please check with your Hv about the mush in the bottle.

Bf itself does not require extra energy from the mother - if the mother is healthy and well nourished it should not make her more tired than ff.

But night wakings can be tiring and the consequent lack of sleep are not great for anyone with ME.

It's not a clear cut situation and only you can decide what feels the right choice for you and your family.

If switching to formula means you have bottle washing and feed prep and extra shopping to do, then maybe it's not an energy saver. If switching to formula allows more sleep, maybe it is.

Hope this helps.

squizita Wed 03-Sep-14 09:09:50

Watching this - due any moment - have Hughes Syndrome (which causes fatigue) and a sleep disorder so am aware that I might well have to compromise/mix/be pragmatic with regards to feeding so practical advice (i.e. not just 'breast is best' or 'just ff' which I tend to get from some RL people) will be useful.

I was hoping to establish BF over a few weeks and then see how it goes, if it was too much for me and I was feeling really ill, either express so DH could help at night or DH use formula for one feed a night.

Of course given my sleep history I might be the only mum out there waking up more than the baby! grin

rachyconks Wed 03-Sep-14 09:14:17

No advice sorry, just shock that a medical professional recommended putting baby rice into a bottle!!!!

Artandco Wed 03-Sep-14 09:20:56

What feeds are you currently doing?

Could you try and work the 2 bf into convient times ie maybe first thing in morning you could get up and feed baby at table whilst eldest and you eat breakfast together. So all get time together to chat/ bond

Then maybe feed at lunch time when eldest is at school so quieter an you could feed lying down in bed.

Then other feeds can be formula so dh can help with the night feeds

Can you work some ways that you can be with eldest that are non tiring? Ie could you keep his school clothes next to sofa so you can sit and feed baby, but he can get changed in living room with your presence?

yongnian Wed 03-Sep-14 09:39:28

waves Hi Meerka no specific advice except to empathise...
DD2 is 6mos just and DH has had to virtually do everything for DD1...to the extent that, like you, I've really been a bit concerned about our bond...we've basically been co-parenting a child each.
But take heart....9 weeks further along the line from you guys, it is gradually begining to even out again...every day new things develop that allow some of the roles to be jiggled here and there so that I am able to spend time caring for my big girl again...do whatever it takes to get you all through these earlier days.
Just this morning, we all had breakfast sitting at the table together with DD2 gumming a toast crust...instead of DH and DD1 having breakfast together with me and DD2 crashed out/BFing elsewhere.
I remember thinking at 16/17 weeks that it should be feeling easier by now...but the adjustment has happened so gradually I do really notice a difference 9 weeks on...keep an eye on where you want to be in a couple of weeks and just do the dailies meantime. Meantime have some flowers. It will come x

Meerka Wed 03-Sep-14 12:57:44

Thank you all.

tiktok it was the HV (local equivilent) who recommended the rice mush. SHe also recommended mashed up potato or cauliflower but my husband and I drew the line at that :s I'm not entirely comfy with the rice mush either but he is sleeping an hour longer for it.

squizita i have fairly heavy duty insomnia which doesn't help anything. What I've found is that bf'ing at night really helps becuase I can just bring him into bed and don't have to get up and warm the bottle, make the milk etc. I know that bf'ing in bed is a bit controversial and there is a tiny risk but it's by far the only workable thing. My husband needs his sleep; if he goes down with exhaustion, we're in real trouble as he is the wage-earner and does most of the care with our older son :s

artandco your ideas are good but rather difficult to carry out at the moment. Mostly the times we can do things together - even if it's only eating a meal or practising writing or watching him play Minecraft - are once he's out of school. Yongian it's really encouraging that you found things improved, we are in the situation you were in of co-parenting a child each. Does your little one sleep through the night better now?

I'm going to ring the doc and check about that rice mush, I was uneasy and your reactions make me uneasier

tiktok Wed 03-Sep-14 13:48:55

Sounds like you're not in the UK, Meerka. HVs would definitely not recommend rice in the bottle here, and cauliflower/potato is just bizarre...where on earth is this? smile The fact they are talking about an energy drain also makes me wonder how much they understand about bf.... that we get everything right here, of course......far from it.

Having said that, a 17 week old is prob able to withstand a tiny bit of rice in one bottle without actually being at risk of choking or dehydration or over-feeding (which are real risks with a younger baby).

I hope you find a solution to all this that leads to something that suits you all, at least most of the time.

tiktok Wed 03-Sep-14 13:49:33

not that we get everything right....I should have said.

DayLillie Wed 03-Sep-14 14:02:51

When I stopped giving my twins their bedtime feed, at 10 months (they downed a bottle filled to the brim each, and looked for more shock ), I had enough extra energy to go round the sitting room with the vacuum cleaner and tidy the junk away.

However, the effect wore off after a week or so, and I was back to my flaked-out self.

Make sure you are feeding yourself properly first, and getting plenty fluids

You may have a bit more energy, but that will be offset by having to get up in the night to faff with the bottles.

Meerka Wed 03-Sep-14 14:19:54

mmm I suspect that the energy will be offset by having to get up to get the bottle too :s plus I adore tummy-to-tummy snuggles and bf'ing.

I'm in the Netherlands tiktok. Their approach to things pregnancy-wise is ... shall we say, I've learned to ignore what they say until I can check for myself on google. Though the hospital care was fantastic when I was dangerousy ill, but their approach to meds in preg is off the wall stupid. I'm not quite sure if that extends to new-born medical care or not.

When you say a 17wo will ^probably^ not be at risk of choking with a bit of rice mush in his food ... do you mean there is a chance? I may be reading too much into it but if I'm not, then that's not good.

I do try hard to eat healthily and -when- I can go exercise, I do. Have to be careful not to overdo it or it can take some days to recover which makes everything trickier.

squizita Wed 03-Sep-14 14:28:19

Meerka my sleep issues aren't just insomnia and make feeding in bed dangerous. My body doesn't fully paralyze and (for example) I have fallen out of bunk beds, broken my DH's nose by thrashing my arm out with great force etc'. When I wake, I wake with a violent 'start'. Hence I am really hoping I can express and DH can help at night.

Meerka Wed 03-Sep-14 14:31:27

Yikes, I see what you mean sad

though ... could I politely argue with '^just^' insomnia? it's drained enjoyment out of life from exhaustion for 25+ years and has a large part to play in a broken career.

Meerka Wed 03-Sep-14 14:35:45

Having said that, at least I can trust myself not to break my husband's nose.... or worse, if there was a baby in the bed

tiktok Wed 03-Sep-14 14:56:24

The Scandinavians put cereal powder (I think it's oats) in babies' bottles after the newborn period, often as a sleep aid - it makes a sort of slightly thicker milk. Is that the sort of thing you are thinking of? I think the Swedes call it Valling. The babies are older than yours, though (I know a few Swedish mothers).

I don't know if any Scandi babies choke or dehydrate on this - honestly, I expect not. But that's just me using common sense.

I wonder if the Dutch have a similar product?

Nutritionally, it's just prob not a great idea, at any age, though.

Meerka Wed 03-Sep-14 15:42:20

it's pretty well rice powder, near enough, actually. yes I think it's the same sort of thing. It thickens it and is meant to keep the tummy full a bit longer.

We tried hard to follow the WHO guidelines with our older son. We did end up giving him the local version of baby porridge at 5 1/2 months as he was loosing weight and fussing and it was the right thing to do as it turned out, he immediately turned back into a happy baby and started regaining weight. But this does seem too early to me. I've rung the doctor to ask his advice, waiting for a callback tomorrow.

Thanks a lot, tiktok and everyone

squizita Wed 03-Sep-14 16:01:05

Meerka sorry bad phrasing. I meant I have insomnia plus when I do sleep I'm a terror!

yongnian Wed 03-Sep-14 17:10:41

Meerka...the short answer is 'yes'...because I decided from the off to co- sleep with DD2 so BF lying down etc. the long-winded explanation why is...DD1 had a significant sleep disorder so basically didn't sleep much better than a newborn until she was 6!!!!! shock. Eventually we were prescribed melatonin for her and that and a combination of growing out of it (we think) did the trick. So DD1 DH and I were like the living dead for years. This re-triggered deep ingrained insomnia in me (I had the same sleep pattern as a child) which I was just finally getting past when I got pg and had it really badly all the way through. Plus we live in quite a small house, DD1 (currently being assessed for ASD) is v noise sensitive so all ways round, we decided to go the route of least resistance and co sleep with DD2 for all our sanity. (I wish I'd done it from the off with DD1 - it wouldn't have stopped her disorded pattern but we would have all got more rest). Happy to say that so far (looks round wildly for wood to touch) DD2 does not have a disorded sleep pattern and is quite the regular character in this respect which, as you can imagine we are profoundly relieved about. I now understand why people have more than one baby! That said, of course, she has gone through the usual night feeding patterns/disruptions etc...and my insomnia calmed down after the birth so compared to the last few years, it's not so bad. However I have really tried where possible to sleep when she does. Of course, when I have to post on the stately homes thread, my insomnia returns with a vengeance and I often lie there looking at my happily snoozing baby from between 3am to 6am - deep joy! wink
don't know if there's anything there will help, beyond a bit of empathy.

StepDoor Wed 03-Sep-14 20:04:24

You sound like you are doing great.

I stopped breastfeeding when DS turned 1 and it's only now that we've stopped I've realised how much energy it was taking out of me.

It wasn't just the actual feeding, but the associative stuff. The constant night feeds and not being able to leave her with others for a long period of time. Also for me, the constant demand for milk every 30 min really was tiring and emotional straining.

I would say start off combine feeding, and then you'll know yourself which way you want to go. And of course one or two bf feeds a day is good, but may not always be practical. Just do whatever works best for you. Your baby needs a healthy and happy mum most of all.

Meerka Fri 05-Sep-14 08:10:29

Well the doctor sat on the fence regarding rice powder in the bottle. Siad that different cultures have different practises. Which is very true but not madly helpful right now, heh.

I'll carry on with two feeds a day and see how it goes. Do love that closeness with him and water-feeding i the night just isn't working, he refuses it and if he does drink, he wakes up about 45 mins later crying again. If he gets milk, he sleeps for another 2 hours. Guess it's a matter of grinding on and hoping that it'll get better in a few weeks < hangs onto Yongian's hope>. Will carry on with the rice powder, anythign reasonable that helps, but no way are we trying to feed him cauliflower or potato yet.

Thanks again.

yongnian Sat 06-Sep-14 10:36:37

meerka can't recall if youve said this already or if anyone else has mentioned but at 17 weeks could this also be the classic 4-mth sleep regression? The one that previously people thought was readiness to wean (because of the night waking) when its actually sleep regression and so your healthcare profs may be still working on this basis with their advice?
Because DD6mos was very erratic at this 4-5 month point. Do hang in there.

Meerka Sat 06-Sep-14 10:40:08

is it! oooh, no I hadn't heard of that. Not even with the first one. And this lady is notably older, not far from retirement. What you're saying is makes sense of the situation.

hangs on in there

yongnian Sun 07-Sep-14 13:06:40

If you trawl the sleep boards you should find plenty there on 4-month sleep regression (and some threads re it's link to previously being thought to indicate need for weaning as opposed to more recent thinking of being developmentally appropriate)...I also sort of pieced it together when looking into BLW versus traditional approach...does seem to have been the case here and we have just started BLW here.
(can you tell that, I too was, desperately 'hanging in there'?! grin -AFAIK I don't have ME but I do have dyspraxia, and various SPDs as well as the insomnia so am prone to being greatly fatigued if I don't watch it)

bronya Sun 07-Sep-14 13:09:55

When I cut down to 2 bf a day I didn't notice that it affected my energy levels or eating at all - I felt back to normal. The lack of sleep and constant care in the early days was more exhausting than anything!

MissBeans Sun 07-Sep-14 13:26:13

Rice in a bottle? Isn't there a 'stay down'/thick consistency formula on the market?
hmm

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