Breast-feeders: did you / do you give a bottle of formula at bedtime?

(65 Posts)
Angelico Thu 22-Nov-12 20:25:36

Just curious about this. Have a few friends who found it helpful for getting babies to sleep through the night a bit sooner. Our daughter is 8 weeks old and usually does one longish 5-5.5 hour stretch (had one blissful 7 hr night but has a cold this week and not doing so well.) Did you find a bottle of formula useful for filling tummy more?

Angelico Mon 26-Nov-12 19:39:51

I had honestly never even heard of the whole 'virgin gut' thing pre-mumsnet and as our DD is already putting her hands in her mouth at every opportunity God knows what's going into her confused I'm also a bit concerned that because I'm on ABs my breastmilk is probably doing more harm than good for these few days.

Basically I am coming to the conclusion that motherhood = guilt about pretty much everything so I have decided to concentrate on keeping us all alive and reasonably content and then paying the kid's therapy bill when the time comes... wink

Iggly Mon 26-Nov-12 10:30:46

No formula for either of mine. I actually found the long feeding thing was usually because they were overtired and actually wanted to be asleep by 6pm. So if I worked towards that, they settled much quicker. Otherwise it would be tricky!

I found that they got overtired very easily - think being awake more than 45 minutes once a day would result in them being unsettled - it would be worse the longer they were awake, despite having naps. Got better quite quickly after 3 months though.

Sioda Mon 26-Nov-12 10:22:14

Nah Dr. Google is great!! Try Pubmed instead though. If you read the actual research papers you can make decisions for yourself. Relying on blogs, forums and journalists is not wise. Most either have an agenda when it comes to this issue and/or don't understand or have never read the actual research. You could get tied in knots reading analysis of the contents of breastmilk and theories about what it might or might not do. The research about its benefits (or as the current framing goes - the risks of formula...) is the bottom line really so I'd start there. Try the Kramer study and the follow ups to it about the IQ issue. Not easy to start looking into this with 8 weeks old twins though!!

Bfing is protective against gastro infections and the causative mechanism may include differences in bowel flora among other things. No one is quite sure yet. What people rarely bother to mention is the magnitude of the protective effect. Something like 1 in 1000 fewer babies would contract a stomach bug per year if bfed rather than ffed. Protection only lasts for the duration of bfing. Plus the overwhelming majority of gastrointestinal infections in babies are mild and self-limiting. The protective effect of keeping your kitchen clean is astronomically greater. The risk to their health of driving them in a car as opposed to walking is also an order of magnitude greater. People lose perspective about this. If you don't have time to look into it for yourself just try to keep a skeptical mind about what you read. Be warned the whole area is a quagmire of ethics, politics, vested interests on all sides and bad research.

Skiffen Mon 26-Nov-12 10:21:12

Nancy, I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that parenthood involves always feeling guilty about something! Every single time you breastfeed your babies benefit, and you've taken practical steps to help you cope with twins, be proud!

Nancy54 Mon 26-Nov-12 09:47:27

well thanks for reassurance sioda. still feeling biy guilty though.....must keep away from google i think....

Sioda Mon 26-Nov-12 09:38:20

Sorry "pile of c**p"

Sioda Mon 26-Nov-12 09:34:39

DD was mixed fed from birth. Sometimes had a bottle before bed and sometimes not. It definitely made no difference with her!

Nancy please don't feel guilty about the formula. The 'virgin gut theory' is a pile of that only gets respect in the weird world of the internet. The evidence for bfing being protective against allergies etc. beyond the bfing period is weak and conflicting. Your babies having a calm, well rested mum is far more important to them and to you.

Nancy54 Mon 26-Nov-12 09:22:51

Yeah I think two is prob a lot more difficult! Having read this thread though I am now feeling guilty about the formula. Was not aware of the "virgin gut" tithing and though that. The fact I was beast feeding them all the time apart from evening bottle was just as good!

Skiffen Mon 26-Nov-12 08:03:22

No, neither dd has ever had a bottle or any artificial milk - they're both rubbish sleepers though! I consider 5 hours good now and dd2 is 17 months!!

We have a big family history of allergies, so I subscribed to the virgin gut theory, and didn't wean until after 25 weeks either. I personally think that you're obviously doing amazingly with ebf, so why change anything? The health benefits of bf are maximised by ebf, so if you can do it without going mad, do.

Everyone has to do what's right for them, their dc and their family.

Feeding and looking after one is definitely much easier. I can't even imagine cluster feeding two! I do cradle hold and I imagine with twins I'd need a different hold to feed two at the same time? Or is it one after te other? I can't imagine the hard work with two crying either!

Angelico Sun 25-Nov-12 22:21:04

Nancy I reckon with twins you do whatever you have to do to survive...! thanks

Nancy54 Sun 25-Nov-12 16:35:56

i have 8 week old twins and i give them a bottle of formula or ebm (depending on if ive expressed or not) just before bed and it does seem to be helping them sleep. also means dp can give to one of them so i get a bit of a break from the constant feeding!

i say do whatever works for you and makes life more managable! i know it helps me a lot.

Angelico Sat 24-Nov-12 17:21:08

And thanks for the encouragement btw smile thanks

Angelico Sat 24-Nov-12 17:20:30

I don't mind the evening feeds as I just sit and watch a bit of telly but then she's maybe only feeding every 1.5 hours in the evening rather than 2.5-4 hrly so not constant. Constant would be draining in every sense! grin

If she gets to the 'consistent 9 unbroken hours stage' I'll be happy forever smile She only did 5 last night but she slept loads yesterday and for most of evening - probably getting rid of the last of her cold. Hoping to get a little bit longer tonight...

Welovecouscous Sat 24-Nov-12 15:05:25

Diet maybe it was less stressful for me because I gave into lying there in the bed and forced DH to come and spend his eve with me there - cruel wife grin when I finally realised co sleeping made life easier for me it was even better as I could just drift off while feeding if I was short on sleep.

dietcokeandwine Sat 24-Nov-12 14:59:53

sorry that response was to welovecouscous

dietcokeandwine Sat 24-Nov-12 14:59:22

I know, it's wierd, isn't it. I loved absolutely every other aspect of breastfeeding except the cluster feeding! I used to sit there in tears hating it, it felt so relentless and draining! I just wanted a couple of hours in the evening, watching TV with DH...couldn't relax with the baby feeding at the same time and would just go to bed too stressed out to sleep! Just goes to show how different we all are I suppose.

EdgarAllanPond Sat 24-Nov-12 14:58:59

no, and now on DC4 they all slept pretty well.

did do evening cluster feeding, but that doesn't last forever, and it did get long periods of sleep after

the research on this is it makes sleep worse - 45 mins less sleep for BF babies given a bottle of formula at bedtime

Welovecouscous Sat 24-Nov-12 14:55:30

Diet it's amazing how different people are as I found the cluster feeding really cosy most of the time - used to do it in bed while reading! Kind of miss it now tbh

dietcokeandwine Sat 24-Nov-12 14:29:54

I didn't use formula to get mine to sleep through the night but I did find it useful to give a formula top up to help them settle in the evening when my breastmilk supply was low - I know you are supposed to cluster feed in the evenings of course but I just found cluster feeding profoundly depressing! I found that offering a few ounces of formula after the evening breastfeed helped them settle to sleep in the evening, I would then get a bit of rest and respite before doing a later breastfeed at around 10:30/11pm, and demand fed through the night as they needed.

I found that as long as I kept bottles to certain times of day (ie one at bedtime) it didn't affect milk supply through the day and there was no nipple confusion either - they just adapted and so did I.

Both mine actually slept through from that 11pm feed till 7am at around 8/9 weeks but I am aware that is more unusual than usual! Formula didn't help them do that, though, as they only ever had breastmilk at the late feed and in the night. Whoever said 'There is usually more than the bottle vs breast behind a good sleeper' is absolutely right. Babies 'sleeping through' is far more about them learning to settle themselves to sleep, and then resettling themselves if they stir during the night. Mine just seemed to learn that quite early on. No sleep training, cunning tactics, dummies, delaying night feeds or anything used either, they just did it on their own, and gradually pushed their night feeds later and later until they were sleeping till 7am.

alexanders ah the trick is not to give dummies either. Then you don't sterilise a thing. Do you need teething rings before 6mo anyway?

Yes, but I've mostly mix fed my LO anyway. Bottle at the end of the day meant him and dad could have a cuddle, and my arms could have a break!

5 hours at night would be considering 'sleeping through'. I considered my LO to be sleeping through when he was going to bed at 7pm, waking at 11pm for a feed, and again at 3am for food, then sleeping till 7am. As long as all he was doing was feeding twice and sleeping between 7pm and 7am, I would say I was getting a good nights sleep!

He now sleeps 12-13 hours with no feeds.

No, I didn't. And DD was an angel sleeper sleeping through from 2mo to 6mo. Solids and then sickness (which ended up with a week stay in hospital) killed her ability to sleep through. And she didn't stop waking up till about 15mo. And now at 19mo she still doesn't sleep through maybe once a week.

Welovecouscous Fri 23-Nov-12 14:12:56

I agree with everyone else that you ate doing brilliantly with the ebf btw - you just need to keep doing what you're doing smile

Welovecouscous Fri 23-Nov-12 14:08:27

No - much nicer to have a cosy cuddly feed to sleep. Also being ebf has significant health benefits as it preserves a 'virgin gut' and makes children less open to allergy and infection. Cheaper and less faff too.

Giving occasional bottles can also reduce your supply and cause nipple confusion, potentially causing problems for continuing to bf.

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