For reasons I won't get into here, I was unable to breast feed my baby when she was born and instead have been expressing milk and giving it to her in a bottle. We have been feeding baby formula and breast milk for 3 weeks now and I'm wondering what a "reasonable" amount of time is to continue expressing milk for to ensure my baby has had a good start? Does anyone know how long it takes to pass a decent level of immunity and anti-bodies on to baby?
I tried so hard to feed her from my breast right from the start for 2 weeks but she just would not latch on. I tried nipple shields, I've seen breast feeding counsellors, watched videos online, read books, had lots of great support from ladies at the la leche league, you name it, we've tried it! My baby just did not want to breast feed and I think once she had got used to a bottle there was no going back for her. I am very conscious of the health benefits to my baby of breast milk hence why I have been expressing, I'm just not sure if it makes any difference to carry on or not?
Have you tried putting her to the breast again? Only a friend I met recently fully fed her DS expressed milk for weeks and finally decided to give up but thought, 'right, last try on the boob and then it's formula' and he took to it and she's still breastfeeding!
It's probably worth pointing out - babies who don't breastfeed, it's because they can't, not because they don't want to.
Just because nobody has succeeded in finding a reason, doesn't mean there isn't one. Not to say there is a big sinister scary reason, but just, I don't think it's helpful for your future relationship to decide she's a 'fussy little madam' at three weeks.
I couldn't breast feed DS1 and managed to express for six weeks - during this period he was exclusively fed breast milk. Personally I found it really hard going and gave up because I wanted to enjoy time spent with DS rather than constantly expressing. It's a very personal thing, but don't feel like you've failed if you decide to ff.
I don't think there's any fixed answer to be honest it would theoretically be possible to keep going for ages, years even, but really the cut off point is more to do with you and how long you feel happy to keep expressing etc. It does actually get easier once your milk supply is established, 3 weeks is really not that long in terms of that all settling down for you. On a personal level I couldn't bf my first DD either (very similar story to yours) and gave expressed milk until she was four months old, felt that was okay but that was me - there really are no hard and fast rules here.
If it's any help DD2 latched on straight away and I bf her until she was 3 and a half so just because it didn't work for you this time doesn't mean it won't. I also second the suggestion of trying her at the breast again if you feel comfortable with it - a friend did this with non-bf a six week old and she did indeed latch on.
Maybe other people's stories don't help, but my DD (now 14 weeks) didn't latch on at all until she was 4 weeks - I was expressing - and is now fully breastfed. It was hard work and I made a mental deadline of 6 weeks when I was going to make a decision about what to do. Fortunately for us, we cracked it, but I'm sure this isn't possible for everyone. Anyway, well done for getting this far. It's so hard expressing with a new baby.
I don't get a huge amount with expressing to be honest, maybe 3oz a time (at the most) which is not enough to keep baby satisfied at the moment.
I know that expressing milk does not stimulate the breast in the same way as baby suckling and I can tell my supply is dropping already. So I either have to express even more often, or as has been suggested I am going to try to get her to latch on again and see how that goes. You never know, she might take it now that she is a bit bigger and more settled.
As notquitecockney says, she may just not be able to breast feed but its got to be worth a couple of final goes, we have nothing to loose eh?
I just feel so guilty for not feeding her myself, which is something I know I just need to get over.
By the way, the "fussy little madam" comment was intended as a light hearted tongue-in-cheek comment, you have to keep smiling in these situations or you'd go mad
I had a nightmare BF as well, and wish I'd thought of expressing to continue giving him milk (not sure why it didn't occur to me, but it didn't until too late).
When I was in hospital trying to re-establish BF the midwives said to put baby to my breast for 20 mins each side (assuming he didn't latch correctly) and then express. Apparently even if they don't suck properly just seeing a baby at your boob can stimulate your supply - and if she latches then even more stimulation hits you.
Like others, I would suggest you speak to NCT or somesuch to see if you can get support to re-establish BF as I now know others who have had success at 6-8 weeks after formula feeding for some time. But if you can't take it or it doesn't work, don't feel bad. She'll grow just as well on formula and as long as she has a loving mum she'll be just fine.