On the verge of giving up breastfeeding

(7 Posts)
Linguaphile Wed 23-Oct-13 23:11:28

I've been doing mixed feeding with my girls (7 weeks old) ever since the hospital started doing top-ups, but in the past few weeks they seem to be progressively losing interest in breastfeeding. They often get really frustrated after just a short nibble when I put them on the boob, downright refusing to take anything from me after a few minutes and crying until I give them a bottle. Help!! Is there something that could be wrong with my milk? I've tried cutting different potentially irritating stuff out, but it's not helped. I'm starting to worry because tonight, in an effort to see what I'm actually producing these days, I just expressed instead of feeding them and got a pathetically small amounts. It seems my body is following their lead on the supply front and my supply has taken a major hit as a result.

I'm on the verge of giving up. Is there any point in keeping on with it if they refuse to take the breast? Is there anything I can do to help them get back to breastfeeding more? Not sure what to do as they seem to prefer the bottle!

Biped Wed 23-Oct-13 23:27:11

It sounds as though you want to carry on so don't give up! Can you find a breastfeeding cafe near you, or speak to a lactation consultant at the hospital? My son is 5 months old and the amount I get out when I express is often pitiful, but he's getting enough when he feeds, so I think expressing can be deceptive. And even if your supply has decreased a bit, I bet you can get it back up with a bit of support.

If I've read your post right, you have twins - that must be hard work, but you can do it. 7 weeks is still early days - they will get used to it. I very much doubt there's anything wrong with your milk - they are probably just finding that it's easier to eat from the bottle. Good luck and hang in there smile

It is easier for babies to drink milk from a bottle it requires less effort on their behalf. Unfortunately mixed feeding often leads to a major drop in supply.

I breastfed until 6 weeks and stopped when I had to go to hospital for 3 days for surgery. Mine are happy and healthy ff babies (although are not on formula anymore), they have had one cold in 13 months and how they were fed made no difference to any of us apart from DH who had to start taking part in feed times

Don't beat yourself up.

Twicethehugs Thu 24-Oct-13 13:27:41

I found the stage when I was mixed feeding hard cos it seemed the worst of both! I agree with the above posts about bottle feeding requiring less effort from babies and also the supply- demand issues. Whatever you decide it will be ok and your babies will do fine. Get some advice before stopping breastfeeding though as some good advice might get you over a tricky patch - TAMBA have breastfeeding cousellors you can speak to if you call their twinline number. There were plenty of times I got very fed up - breastfeeding twins isn't easy but I don't think bottle feeding is that much easier. Mine are 9 months and I'm glad I stuck with it - have heard not to stop on your worst day which makes sense to me. Hope you work something out that feels right for you and your family x

Swanhilda Sat 26-Oct-13 17:46:43

I mixed fed for about 6 months before they were on solids (at that point I bfd and dropped all bottles).

At six weeks half their feeds were bottles of formula, including night feeds. But having fed another baby, and had problems bfng, but then sorted them, I knew a)not to beat myself up about formula, b) that I could increase supply if I worked at it. First step was dropping the night formula. That was hardwork but it meant a) nightfeeds were much easier (not warming of bottles) b) I could feed both at once c) it gave a boost to prolactin levels
Then I basically fed them whenever I could on the breast, although I gave them bottles at fixed point in the day - say at 11am and 6pm. It was a crazy experience..hmm I was demanding feeding them breastmilk, but routine feeding them bottles...really odd.. I never gave up the bottles completely until we were on solids though. Perhaps I could have. I was just happy we were still breastfeeding at all, and didn't want to rock the boat..after all they had had loads of formula up till that point so getting in a state about two bottles a day didn't seem worth it.

but it did work. It only worked because I didn't have a routine for sleeping and eating. I aimed for morning nap and afternoon nap. That worked too. They did go to bed at 7.30 though on the dot! We had a bed bath routine. By six months they were in a very good routine, if that's what you want wink sleeping 2 hours after lunch, and regular bedtime, waking once or twice in night only, waking at 7.30/8.

By the time they were six months and breastfeeding out and about, it was a complete joy not to have to prepare formula and cart bottles around, and to have the pleasure of snuggling up for a feed, early mornign feed cuddled in bed, comfort them if they woke at night, felt a bit under the weather. No problems with d & v, ear infections either. Fed them till they were 2 years.

Go for it if you possibly can, mixed feeding can work if you decrease the amount of bottles they get, and work on the demand side of it. Also make yourself very comfortable when you feed, loads of pillows, tea, radio, phone, so that it is a pleasure not a torture. I also allocated one breast per baby - some think swopping is better. My other trick but I'm not sure how you would feel about that or how much help you have, was to go out with one baby for the day, and just concentrate on feeding that baby on both sides, build up a bond etc. That certainly upped supply too, even if the other baby was bottlefeeding the whole day. Then the other baby got the benefit of the upped supply etc etc.

HighVoltage Sat 26-Oct-13 21:48:13

Lots of sympathy from here. Trying to breast and bottle feed at every feed is really difficult especially with two, sounds like you're doing a great job keeping them at the breast at all.

Firstly, don't worry about how much you can express - there's an art to it and it won't be an indication of how much milk you have.

I've ended up mix feeding in a very similar style to Swanhilda and have had times when DTD in particular doesn't seem to want the breast but have persevered and now it seems fine. I wonder whether having whole bottles at a fixed time in the day works for me as they don't expect it at other times?

My issue seemed to be slow let down - which is a real contrast to their experience with the bottle. So I just persisted until I could tell they were definitely doing long sucks and getting milk rather than just nibbling to get things going.

If this is your issue too it might be worth using your pump a bit before you feed them to ensure that your letdown is a bit faster. I've never tried it but I've heard it works for some women. DTS sometimes does this job for me whilst DTD fusses and pulls away.

Twinsplusonesurprise Fri 29-Nov-13 09:06:15

You must do what's right for you. I tried BF my twin DDs and it was sooooo hard and they were small, refluxy, tongue tied. It was all a mess. I then expressed and shared bottle feeding with anyone who was around. At 6 weeks I stopped expressing and things became much better. I got them both in the same routine and by 10 weeks they had dropped the 2am feed. They are now 2.5yo and sleep really well, eat well, are generally healthy and happy - apart from usual toddler behaviour!
I was distraut when I decided to give up BF and felt guilty for weeks - not helped by v critical health visitor. But as my mum said to me you cannot tell which children were BF but you can tell which children had happy mums.
Good luck whatever you decide to do.

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