Combination feeding trying to maintain supply

(12 Posts)
vradz83 Sat 27-Jun-15 15:12:21

DS is 4.5 months old, have combi-fed since quite early on. Mainly due to well meaning but most likely very misguided relatives & hcp's who kept labelling completely normal bf behaviours (cluster feeding, frequent feeds etc.) as signs my milk supply wasn't up to it.

Anyway. It has mostly worked well so far, apart from my ever-present worries about supply. There are some feeds on some days when DS feeds for 2-3 minutes, then comes off, visibly upset that he can't get any more milk.

I have tried upping the number of daytime feeds, which is difficult because ds naps almost like clockwork & to feed him every e.g. 2-2.5 hours would mean waking him up, which makes him crazy grumpy from overtiredness. So I feed him when he wakes up from a sleep, then try to top him up 1.5 hours later before he goes back to sleep. Half the time he point blank refuses because he's too tired to eat.

I express after every feed, plus twice in evening after he's gone to bed. I get maybe 2-3 oz total, & I have no life because I have to be in to express.

I can't just stop giving him bottles cold turkey when my milk supply isn't up to it. But I'm finding it difficult to boost my milk supply because he won't stay on a breast that isn't giving him milk, and so it isn't simulated to produce any more.

I need to wean completely to bottles when he's six months old as going back to work full time at 6.5 months so I only need to maintain enough supply for another 6 weeks.

Please can anyone suggest practical ways I can maintain enough supply for the feeds I currently bf for? I don't want to start waking him during night to feed when he hasn't done so for 8 weeks, so that's not really am option either.

I've ordered some nursing tea if that might help?

vradz83 Sat 27-Jun-15 15:43:56

sorry, that's ended up being really long.

In short - is it time to call a halt to bf'ing, even thoughis sooner than i wanted, or is there something I haven't tried yet?

AlpacaMyBags Sat 27-Jun-15 16:09:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

callamia Sat 27-Jun-15 16:25:00

One more possibility is that at 4m some babies go a bit crazy about feeding. Mine fed for a few minutes at a time, before wriggling off and seeming furious. He was distracted often, and fed quickly.

Usually the best way to increase supply is to feed and feed. I know this is hard, but you could also try expressing? The more you stimulate supply - the better it's going to be.

You could also then carry on when you return to work. I went back to work after five months, but I just fed when I was at home, and expressed at work (only about once a day).

vradz83 Sat 27-Jun-15 19:12:00

the nursing tea I've ordered I think has fenugreek in it, so hopefully that might boost things. I use an electric Avent pump, but will contact local nct to see if they've got anything 'stronger'.

I know feeding more is the answer - it's just I find it so hard to know what is best when he's refusing to latch back on when he can't get milk out, or out quick enough. At that point, when he's getting upset, should I still be trying to get him to feed & risking him thinking that breast = bad experience? Or try to distract him from hunger for half an hour & try again? Or just give a couple of ounces in a bottle so he's less frantic?

snowydrops Sun 28-Jun-15 18:56:10

Hello, I've just stopped combo feeding and moved to ff. Basicwlly DD decided she preferred bottles of (expressed) milk at 8 wks as I have a slow let down and then would only take the bottle. I couldn't keep my supply up, I've tried everything. She wouldn't latch on (screamed) and I had to pump and pump often only getting 1oz at the end.

The advice I was given was to pump and 'switch' feed which means putting the pump on the fast sucking motion for two mins then the long sucks for 5 and then fast sucks again for two mins to stimulate further let downs. This worked for a few weeks for me. I also took fenugreek 3 tablets x 3 times daily (total 9 tablets) that helped for a few weeks too but in the end supply just dwindled but it might help you for the next few weeks. What I would say is well done, it is so so so hard to struggle on with baby who doesn't want to feed. It broke my heart but actually mow I've realised DD is much happier and I can actually enjoy her (and my other DC) without constantly pumping and forcing her to my beast. Good luck, you've already done well smile

vradz83 Tue 30-Jun-15 17:33:33

Thanks Snowydrops - have tried the switch pumping (is just difficult to find the time during the day when DS is awake!) & started taking fenugreek today.

It's difficult to know what to do though when they don't want to stay latched. This afternoon I've fed him 2:30, 4:15, 5:15 & this last one he just kept crying because there was n't anything there. Am trying to distract with the baby gym for a bit before trying again - but if he still won't stay on, I'll have to give a bottle.

Am trying to gradually reduce the number of oz in bedtime bottle in order to feed more then & try to boost supply further, but that's proving difficult so far. Hopefully the fenugreek will help with that. That would take me up to 5-7 bf's per day (some full, some 'snacks') plus 3 expressing sessions. Does that sounds like enough to try and maintain things?

Lillamyy1 Tue 30-Jun-15 19:50:27

You could try making some lactation cookies? Sounds like a gimmick am I don't think they work for everyone but I made a big batch and gave some to a friend who swears they're working for her! I have to say I didn't notice much of a difference myself except a leaky boob on a couple of occasions after eating a fair few but theyre worth a try.
There are loads of recipes on the Internet for them. The ingredients that help increase or at least maintain milk production are Brewers yeast, whole oats and milled flax seed. It's to do with how much iron, B vitamins etc they contain I think. You should be able to get all the stuff from a hlwholefood shop although I had to buy the Brewers yeast online.
Good luck!

TimefIies Wed 01-Jul-15 13:20:05

Hi vradz83, sorry you're having a hard time. I know it can be so hard to get your supply up, and such an emotional experience when you're trying to feed and they can't seem to get enough.

You could ask your GP if they would be happy to prescribe domperidone - a drug that can improve your milk supply. It temporarily increases your supply (you take it for a week), the idea being that because baby is able to feed more, and by taking a certain amount from you, your body then replicates producing that amount - supply and demand. I know it can be so hard to get your supply up, and such an emotional experience when you're trying to feed and they can't seem to get enough.

Personally I have found trying to feed baby when baby doesn't appear hungry does no one any favours, it takes forever going on and off because they're not interested, and you both get annoyed.

You're doing brilliantly, try not to let it get you down. Your baby is very lucky you're trying so hard x

vradz83 Wed 01-Jul-15 19:17:04

Thanks Lilla & Timeflies - we've had a much better day today with ds not getting fussy at any of his feeds. Think it is possibly a result of the fenugreek.

However, the explosive watery green poos (x3 today - he's usually every 2-3 days!) mean I'm going to stop taking it. I've ordered motherlove more milk plus drops, as it doesn't contain fenugreek, but after discussion with dh that's the last attempt. I'm getting really obsessive & emotional about it, & I think it would be far more healthy to enjoy all of the bf's I've got left with him, & supplement with my freezer stash, than obsess every day about whether or not i'm starving my child smile

Thanks for all your help though smile

TimefIies Wed 01-Jul-15 22:48:21

Glad you had a good dayvradz83. I know when you spend your whole day either feeding expressing, taking supplements etc to improve your supply, reading about it and talking about it, it can take over! Take care x

HomefromHome1 Thu 02-Jul-15 16:27:33

I'm sorry I'm a bit confused by your post.
I combination feed by 4m old from 2 weeks-she is BF at 5am/9am/12pm/3pm and then a BF/bottle at 5pm and 10pm between 120-150mls.

I did worry about supply in the day-so I FF her at 12 and then expressed. I was really surprised to find that I expressed about 100mls each side. I came the conclusion that she just is much better at feeding and is much quicker than before. If she is fussy on one side I just swap and then swap back at the end.

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