Mix feeders support thread

(51 Posts)
1978andallthat Wed 06-Feb-13 21:07:22

I mix fed dd, now 2, and am mix feeding my ds, one month. Both times I have found loads of advice on breast feeding and loads on formula feeding and very little on mix feeding.

So how about we use this thread for questions, help and advice for mix fed babies?

Pinkponiesrock Thu 07-Feb-13 06:15:18

I did mix feeding with all 3 of my DC and it worked for us. I always got really annoyed at being told I couldn't/shouldn't do it! It was 3 months before I started doing it with DS1, 5 weeks with DS2 and from 2 days old with DD.
I find it gives you the best of both worlds and as long as you feed in addition to BF rather than instead of I've found it works fine. Mine get one bottle at night and if needed a smaller one during the day. Both DS are big strong boys, DD, who is 11 weeks old, is more petite but still gaining weight well and doing all the right things. All of mine slept 7 hours plus at night from 5/6 weeks old so mixed feeding can work!

Aliglobetrek Thu 07-Feb-13 08:16:20

I've just started this as going back to work in 5 weeks. Am still bf but adding in a couple of bottles of formula a day. DS is 20 weeks old.

LAF22 Thu 07-Feb-13 08:35:32

I had always intended to bf exclusively, but babs was v ill when born and in intensive care for two weeks. She was on a drip at first but I was encouraged to express and she then moved on to be tube fed my milk. Trying to establish b feeding in nicu in front of all staff and other parents was v stressful and didnt work, so I stuck with expressing and eventually moved on to feeding expressed milk through bottle. babs is now 3 weeks old and home with us. I have a carum pump at home and have continued to express whilst also trying again to establish breast feeding and she latches on but seems to fall asleep after five minutes and when I put her down wakes up ravenous. On tues I resorted to formula as she seemed so hungry and my milk supply seemed to be dwindling. Feel massively guilty about this but im still giving her my milk during day. Any tips on keeping the milk supply up if also supplementing feeds with formula?

scissy Fri 08-Feb-13 02:21:59

LAF22 I'm in a similar situation, my MW suggested Fenugreek (sp?) to try and keep my milk supply up. Baby is not at all interested in the breast, so have to give a combination of expressed milk and formula at every feed. I'm going to try that for as long as my milk supply lasts tbh.

WaitingForMe Fri 08-Feb-13 03:00:37

I've mixed fed DS pretty much from day one where he was screaming for more after feeds. Things eased when my milk came in but I still can't keep up. There comes a point each evening when he wants a mammoth feed and empties both breasts. I know milk production is continuous but he claws at me complaining that it isn't coming through fast enough.

I then stop and switch to formula, anywhere from one to three 5oz bottles (over several hours). HV said fine as long as it's not affecting BF which just seems bonkers - it's a reaction to BF.

All I hear about is supply drying up but I get slightly engorged every evening which DS loves. If I could direct the stuff highly pressured like a pub's soft drink dispenser he'd be delighted!

1978andallthat Fri 08-Feb-13 08:01:07

We're the same waitingforme. Each evening he has 3 bottles about 90ml each and breast in between. Comes a point where my breasts won't produce any more. In the morning when they've had a rest they seem to satisfy him.

CelticPromise Fri 08-Feb-13 14:29:14

LAF22 sounds like you have had a really tough start and done amazingly to keep going. It's definitely possible for your baby to learn to BF if that's what you want. Can you get RL help?

The best way to keep up milk supply is to put your baby to the breast. The more milk removed from the breast, the more you'll make. skin to skin can also help. Fenugreek works for some people but there's no real evidence.

Cluster feeding in the evenings is really common and not a sign that you have run out of milk. it's hard on the sanity though!

Due to slow weight gain we're topping up DD2 with formula after every bf. she's nearly 3 weeks & is almost back up to her birth weight. She's also on ranitidine for reflux & has suffered with oral thrush which made bf difficult.
She's been starving today & is struggling to go more than 2.5 hours between feeds!

PennieLane Fri 08-Feb-13 21:42:06

Hi everyone. Great idea! I started at 6 wks 4oz every evening because of poor weight gain and now on 8oz every eve at 12 wks. I love mix feeding and it's the best of both. She's gone up to 9th centile, SH gets to bond with her and I have a couple of hours where I can do other stuff (usually housework!!) LO has a mild tongue tie so feeding still takes up to an hour so not reached that 'easy whip a boob out stage' everyone talks about.

People love to scaremonger about mix feeding-she'll go off the boob; she'll get confused; your supply will dry up etc etc and while this can happen, I don't think it's as bad as everyone goes in about!

waiting I also get that slightly engorged thing and DD loves it!

PennieLane Fri 08-Feb-13 21:42:44

DH not SH!

1978andallthat Fri 08-Feb-13 21:56:56

I mix fed dd from first week after she lost nearly 20% body weight and hated expressing so hardly did any. Also don't believe the nipple confusion thing etc as continued to mix feed until she was 18 months and I was three months pregnant and knackered.

TennisFan42 Wed 13-Feb-13 17:32:38

I am thinking about introducing one formula feed a day in the evening, Has anyone done this and how did it work? I'm worried that once DD (3 months) tries formula she will start rejecting breast milk - is this a risk?

1978andallthat Wed 13-Feb-13 18:07:18

I have started taking fenugreek today to up milk supply. Hopefully it'll work. Still happy to mix feed but want to tip the balance more in favour of breast than bottle.

Contradictionincarnate Fri 15-Feb-13 11:42:35

some very refreshing posts my plan had been to mix feed but mw put me off ... there is some scary anti ff of any kind on mn and breast feeding Nazi at bf support group seemed to think I was being so bad if I just did a formula feed in the night ... I want to give a bottle when she is doing her 5 hour stints... "your supply will dry up" ... she gave me womanly art of bf and then just looked at me pitifully when I was saying I couldn't go on with these mamoth cluster feeds and said "that's normal " but surely it doesn't have to be that way!

1978andallthat Fri 15-Feb-13 12:34:02

Personally I think a sane well rested mummy is a good mummy however they feed. But what do I know as a low supply mix feeder.

I've always fed both breast and bottle when it's me doing the feeds but when dd was 6 weeks I started working one evening a week so dh or my mum had to ff and it never stopped me bf the rest of the time (though I never had enough to ebf so of I had who knows what would have happened to supply.) But some babies sleep through the night from a couple of months and I think it would be madness to wake them for a bf just to maintain supply.

CelticPromise Fri 15-Feb-13 13:33:21

After a couple of months your supply would usually be robust enough not to drop a lot. It's the cycle of introducing formula early leading to fewer feeds leading to low supply that can be a concern.

I'm a BF peer supporter and we get lots of mix feeding mums at the group I volunteer at. All we try to do is give the right info so that mothers can make an informed choice. I always ask what they want first- advice for a mum who is happy mixed feeding is going to be different than for one who wants to get back to breast only. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with BF support, it shouldn't be like that!

Hi, I am doing formula top ups for slow weight gain/ftt. DS 16wks had ptt snipped at 11 wks but had fallen off the chart so supplemented to get his strength up. He's now just above 0.4 line. I give 3x4oz per day after feeds, plus 2-3oz expressed if I can manage it.

He still feeds from the breast with no probs at night. During the day he fusses but he's also had a lot of tummy probs so I'm not sure if its that. I've just gone dairy-free and been prescribed Nutramigen AA for CMPI so am hopeful things will improve. It's hard work.

Like 1978 I am taking Fenugreek & was hoping to reduce ff but at the moment we will continue as we are. I do feel frustrated that we haven't hit the 'sweet spot' where bf is so easy, but at least we are still going.

I know what you mean about all the advice being for ff or bf, good idea for a thread. smile

ValiumQueen Fri 15-Feb-13 20:36:05

Lurking as a would-be mixed feeder. Fed both my girls exclusively for 8 and 18 months, but my son, 16 weeks, is draining the very life out of me. He is a big boy, and does not like to sleep at night. With two older children, one aged 2 (after sympathy here) I am run ragged with no time to rest. Perhaps my milk is shite because I am so very tired, but to look at fat boy, it seems to be doing its job.

I am looking to introduce a bottle or two max a day, and don't really know where to start. I want to keep bfing for as long as he wants, and I do not expect it to cure his sleep, but I would like a bit of relief from the cluster feeding at night. He has had a couple of bottles and seems fine taking formula. I do not have the time or energy to express, and on the one occasion I did, he rejected it as it was fishy. He has been unwell since a week old with colds and bronchiolitis. I have wondered at times if he has silent reflux.

Any helpful hints appreciated.

VQ I would think about an evening bottle. We do one post-feed about 7pm, then after burping and sometimes a little fuss he snoozes on me (or occasionally in basket) till 9pm. We then change him, I do a bf upstairs and he goes into bed.

We've had bad sleep lately due to his snuffles but in terms of feeding, we usually go till 3 or 4am.

Worth a try?

ValiumQueen Fri 15-Feb-13 21:46:31

Cheers blonder anything is worth a try. I had a bottle sterilised tonight and a carton of ready made, but did not have the heart as DS was really tired. I just took him up to bed and he fed to sleep. It needs to be when he is not so tired I guess.

Do I give boob first then bottle? Or bottle first? Or just bottle? The evenings still feel like one long feed. I need to write down what he does for a couple of days to see if there is a pattern.

1978andallthat Fri 15-Feb-13 23:38:28

VQ - I don't know that I do it right but when giving both I do both breasts then burp then bottle (6 weeks old, 90-120ml) then offer breasts again if still hungry. But am trying to up supply. If I was doing to give me a break I would personally start by trying a big bottle feed before bed and seeing how long he slept for then doing the middle of the night feed as a bf.

ValiumQueen Sat 16-Feb-13 12:15:35

1978 yes, it is to give me a break. Nothing wrong with my supply, I just have a baby who takes ages to feed and gets bad wind. Slightly concerned the wind may get worse with a bottle. I think bf at night is the way to go as less faff and usually my milk is plenty quick enough for him. I feel as if I am wishing away time to get him to 6 months for solids. I do not want to wean him early even though many do.

ValiumQueen Sat 16-Feb-13 12:16:26

And there is no right or wrong with this. So long as baby gets fed.

Pikz Sat 16-Feb-13 20:43:33

Absolutely VQ. It's what works for each baby.

We are a mixed express/formula feeder since last week.

VQ I would say write down all the feeds. When I did it thinking he was all over the place I saw a small pattern. It was enough the know the beat times to try and give some formula.

It doesn't help him sleep longer but it gives me a break from expressing 40oz a day.

1978andallthat Sat 16-Feb-13 20:56:39

40oz?!! I only ever managed 1

GraceSpeaker Sat 16-Feb-13 21:15:27

Hooray! Glad I found this thread.

I've mix fed DD from the very beginning, because she didn't initially take to breastfeeding well. BF's continued to be uncomfortable (I had it all checked out early on - it just seems to be me), but I've persevered with 3-4 a day. DD's on formula the rest of the time, which I don't have a problem with at all. She's bang on what her weight should be and doing well.

Has anyone had a baby feed pretty constantly on mainly formula at 4 weeks? We're running a bottle factory during the day at the moment! Likely to be a growth spurt? I've tried looking this up, but mostly get stuff on EBF babies!

EATmum Sat 16-Feb-13 21:16:48

I am a firm fan of mixed feeding. We knew that's what we wanted for DD3, so started when she was about 6 weeks to do a bottle every evening. I still did the night feeds and day feeds and it never negatively affected my supply - quite the reverse. My husband loved giving her a 7pm bottle, having his own time with her after work. And it meant that by the 10pm feed I had enough milk to give her a good feed, rather than the relentless cluster snacks I did with the other 2.
It makes me frustrated, not be because I think this is for everyone, but because our society seems completely polarised - that you have to be 100% one thing or the other. No one wants to admit that both FF and BF have good things and that it can suit some people to combine it.
Off soap box now ...

GraceSpeaker Sat 16-Feb-13 21:16:56

Oh, also, how much were/are babies likely to be eating at 4 weeks? She's going through at least 6-7 125ml bottles a day at the moment, which seems a lot. She's 10lb almost exactly.

GraceSpeaker Sat 16-Feb-13 21:18:36

Agree with you, EATmum. Mixed feeding makes a lot of sense and there should be more guidance on it. I've been getting very cross recently about the complete focus on breastfeeding and how wonderful it all is without going into any of the potential negatives or problems in nearly enough detail.

1978andallthat Sat 16-Feb-13 21:36:30

GraceSpeaker - babycentre website says 150-200ml per kg.

Ds is 5.5kg so that's 875-1100ml per day milk. I give him about 400-500ml formula a day (roughly 8am, 1pm, 6pm, 10pm and sometimes middle of the night) so as he's a big hungry baby I reckon that's about half the milk he gets.

NewFerry Sat 16-Feb-13 21:37:11

Just wanted to pop in and add my support for mixed feeing. We introduced a bottle at 8 weeks with DS1 given at about 11pm by DH. This meant I was able to go to bed at 9ish and get a few hours sleep before baby woke at 3 for a night feed. And it gave DH a chance to feed the baby. Over the next few months, I introduced more bottles each time to replace a bf.

Worked so well that I did mixed feeds for DS2 and then later for DD.

The was a long time ago now, and guess what? All 3 have grown/are growing up perfectly fit, healthy, bright, funny, secure, infuriating and much loved.

GraceSpeaker Sat 16-Feb-13 21:42:27

Thanks 1978, that's really helpful and matches what she's eating at the moment! Phew!

ValiumQueen Sat 16-Feb-13 22:16:59

Thank you newferry that is encouraging.

eatmum I wish I had been more open minded about this issue as feeding DC3 has been so much harder. It was the best bit of parenting with the girls, but the worst bit with boy. I have been so hung up on treating them all the same, when they are clearly not the same.

I gave him a bottle tonight. He played with it mostly, but was happy and giggling. He took 20mls so I will do the same tomorrow and he will get used to it. I felt ok emotionally doing it which I was pleased about. DH looked horrified.

I think pikz should name change to ExpressingQueen or something similar. As always, respect to you x

EATmum Sat 16-Feb-13 23:14:47

Agreed Valium - it's so hard to be open to mixed feeding as all HVs seem to see it as the slippery slope to stopping BF - rather than recognising that for some, it is a way to keep that going. More honesty about BF (for some people it hurts, hurt me badly each time, but I persevered) so that expectations are realistic, that'd really help too. But being able to share the feeding a bit, and to know that life didn't revolve entirely around me - that all the other people who love my DD could feed her if she needed it - was also massively reassuring.

AnnaBBad Sat 16-Feb-13 23:51:14

Hello all, lots of interesting points here. I have been trying to get 10 week DS to take a bottle for a few weeks now (although not every day) and he just hates it. I only want to do it so DH can do a feed in the evenings or maybe even we could go out one evening! I have tried Avent, NUK and Playtex latex teats. Sometimes he does suck and I think we've cracked it by then I look and almost no milk has gone. I got faster flowing teats but still no joy.

Any tips on how to encourage him please?

NewFerry Sun 17-Feb-13 10:22:14

Sorry Anna, no tips really. I used avent bottles and teats, and DH fed him to start with rather than me. And feed when he's hungry, ie at least 2-3 hours after last bf.

1978andallthat Sun 17-Feb-13 16:04:42

We've always found tommy tippee good Anna but the people I know with bottle refusers finally got lucky with Nuk.

ValiumQueen Sun 17-Feb-13 17:43:25

Apparently the cheap rubbery brown latex teats can work with a bottle refuser sometimes.

PennieLane Sun 17-Feb-13 21:20:10

Hi EATmum I think your posts are excellent and I completely agree. The recent debate on the Open Lecture on Is Breast Best shows how polarised everything has become unnecessarily. I feel pleased to have walked a medium middle ground that incorporates the best of both. I do wish people would stop the scare mongering about mixed feeding!

GrandPoohBah Tue 19-Feb-13 15:20:08

We mix feed - we started because after cluster feeding all evening, I then didn't have enough milk to fill dd so she'd sleep a decent amount at night - so we give her a bottle then instead. It works for us and it gives me a break as DH takes her up and settles her. Sometimes she fusses and I'll give her boob too, others not. Every other feed is breast.

I think the problem is that FFs tend to be people who didn't want to BF or had lots of problems, so won't be BFing at all, and there are a certain proportion of 'lactivists' who wouldn't countenance giving their baby formula.

This works for us and I have a happy, healthy baby smile

PoppyWearer Tue 19-Feb-13 16:07:15

Just jumping on to mark my place.

Ebf my DC1 for first 9 months, I turned into the human dummy, she bottle-refused to 9mo. We then had a more pleasant mix of bf and ff to 14mo, when I stopped bf'ing.

With DC2 we set out mix-feeding from about day three, just one bottle a day at bedtime. I found the whole thing much easier, and DH enjoyed being more involved. I eventually stopped bf'ing at 15mo, would have kept going longer but had to stop for medical reasons (mine). He's now 18mo so this was quite recent.

I should add that part of my motivation to mix-feed was because I had nipple problems on one side, causing acute pain in the nipple, mastitis and repeated blocked ducts when feeding DC1. It was so nice this time to just forget about feeding from my "problem" side, safe in the knowledge that I could use the bottle as a backup if the side I did use couldn't keep up with demand.

I know that most of my NCT group mix-fed the second time around and I see no shame in doing so, you get the best of both worlds!

For the poster asking about bottles for bottle-refusers, I really did try 'em all, even the special needs ones (yes, really, I found them recently) and Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature were what worked. Nuk looked like they should work, but DC1 hated them. Medela were a good second, maybe because they were what I used with my expressed milk.

ValiumQueen Tue 19-Feb-13 16:48:29

poppywearer did you just feed from the one breast then? Did you have any problems? I have one side that is very poor and is beginning to give up. It did with DD2 at about 8 months and I continued feeding with the other for a year. She was however on solids. DS is barely 4 months so a way off solids. I would love to just use my good side.

PoppyWearer Tue 19-Feb-13 16:53:52

I did just feed from one side with DC2.

No problems as such (after all, my friend with twins does it!) but I did look a bit lopsided for a while. I wore a neck scarf most days which I hope covered it up. DH never really noticed, anyway.

Now feeding is over, the breast that did all of the feeding is back to the same size as the other one, but definitely a bit saggier.

ValiumQueen Tue 19-Feb-13 22:15:28

Thank you poppy I am a bit lopsided anyway grin and could not be more saggy! I have been putting on him that side first, but it just gets him annoyed. I might ease off a bit. I am prone to blocked ducts on that side.

1978andallthat Tue 19-Feb-13 22:48:05

Ds, 7 wks, mix fed approx 50/50 has hardly wanted boob today. Just rejecting it then crying a hungry cry. When I give in after half hour of putting him to breast (one then other) and him rejecting it he greedily has 120ml bottle. Then he'll have both breasts after that. At night he mostly just bfs (co sleeper) so no bottle between about 10pm-8.30pm. Am
Worried he'll start rejecting boob altogether as hoping to mix feed for 18mo as I did for dd

Any suggestions? I think it doesn't come out fast enough to satisfy him when he's really hungry, which he is for the three feeds after night time, after a 3 hour morning nap which I would be very loathe to wake him from as it's when I can get stuff done, and after a shorter afternoon nap.

Will also start thread on this to maximise responses.

Contradictionincarnate Tue 19-Feb-13 23:54:55

grand refreshing ... when did you Start mix feeding?

Contradictionincarnate Wed 20-Feb-13 00:41:53

Anna wrote massive reply then phone froze and I lost it angry
some thoughts and things you may want to try from reading more than experience my dd is quite good I think its the luck of the draw a lot of the time.
try
skin to skin -dh could feed bottle top off with lo in just a nappy snuggled under a blanket.
try giving milk at different temps (my dd has it cold) your lo may prefer room temperature.
if you haven't done already try expressed breast milk before formula.
hope I'm not patronising you if you have already tried these techniques.
let us know how you got on!

Contradictionincarnate Wed 20-Feb-13 00:42:59

ps I need advice re bottles if anyone can on seperate thread.

I am having a similar issue 1978. DS is 16wks and has been mix fed from 11wks due to a late diagnosis of TT which was preventing him from gaining weight.

I was hoping to go back to ebf once he had gained some weight but can't see it happening now. He's doing a similar thing to yours, fussing at the breast and not taking milk from it even when hungry. However night feeds are still going well & haven't been affected so that may give you some hope! I'm in two minds about what to do during the day; getting a lot of pressure from DM to increase formula but think that will have a worse effect on my supply which I struggle with anyway.

Not sure if that helps but you have my sympathy. It's hard.

EggsMichelle Fri 22-Feb-13 22:31:24

DS is 11wks and have been mix feeding since 6wks. First introduced a bottle at 5 days due to his weight lose and giving ebm top ups, and continued to administer gaviscon with the bottle. Have used a variety of bottles, and lucky had no problems with nipple/teat confusion!

We started with just the one bottle at bed time, and have gradually increased to 6. I have never had a brilliant supply, and in the past week he has been constantly hungry, so have swallowed my pride and now giving him bf when he wakes in the morning, expressing in the evening and ff for the rest of the feeds. He is now a much happier baby, sleeping better and crying very little (was a constant crier).

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