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?

AThingInYourLife Thu 22-Nov-12 20:30:46

DH gives a bottle of EBF before we go to bed.

It gives me a bit of a break and he likes to do a feed. It's basically the only time he gets with DD3.

It sounds like you're doing pretty well sleep-wise for 8 weeks.

Do you really want to introduce something harder to digest?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 22-Nov-12 20:32:35

No never.

I think 5hours is pretty good at 8 weeks and I wouldn't run the risk of disrupting that!

JoinTheDots Thu 22-Nov-12 20:34:17

We never did this. The only friend I know who tried it said it made her little one windy and uncomfy in the night so she woke more, but I have heard people on here say it worked for them.

Tried it, as I had three babies who refused to sleep through until 18mths, but it had absolutely no effect whatsoever on the DSs sleep patterns so didn't continue. DD was a total bottle refuser so she didn't even get the option smile

8 weeks is very young to sleep through, although I'm sure there's one or two that do.

BranchingOut Thu 22-Nov-12 20:35:57

No, but I really wanted to exclusively bf, so he never had any formula.

However, I did do a lot of evening cluster feeding - lovely lying there in the dark, watching a film...

If I were to have another baby I would probably try to do a nighttime bottle of expressed milk on a more regular basis.

Angelico Thu 22-Nov-12 20:36:54

Dots she is a bit colicky which was one of the things that put me off the bottle. I found the 5 hours manageable but because she's not well she was waking every 2-3 hours last night so I'm knackered and dreaming of lovely sleeeeeeeep... grin

Trazzletoes Thu 22-Nov-12 20:37:10

I did a bedtime (7pm) bottle with DS from 12 weeks. This gave me a bit of a break from his cluster feeding which I was really struggling with after 3 months.

It gave me my evenings back and helped me to relax more with him. But he didn't sleep through fully til 6 months - that was fine with me.

DD didn't cluster feed but I tried the same thing with her - she wouldn't take a bottle for love nor money but slept better than DS.

moojie Thu 22-Nov-12 20:37:35

With ds1 I did but I personally found it a slippery slope and it was easy to just give him another bottle of formula at times and by 4 months he was mixed fed and ended up preferring the bottle sad

With ds2 I haven't given him any formula and infact he has only had 2 bottles so far at 7 months. Only because it has been far easier to bf than to sterilise/ express! Ds2 has slept long stretches from a few weeks old where as ds1 didn't sleep through until about 6 months. For me formula made no difference but each baby is different.

Angelico Thu 22-Nov-12 20:38:08

I'm not ambitious enough to want her to sleep through, don't see that happening any time soon but if she could just repeat the 7 hour stretch that would be magic! grin

llamallama Thu 22-Nov-12 20:38:16

Nope, never used formula and had a bottle refuser anyway! So no expressed either.

Sounds like your 8 week old is doing great, keep her on that fantastic breast milk!

lottiegarbanzo Thu 22-Nov-12 20:40:35

No. I think you're doing well too.

We do a feed at 10.30pm (expressed). Dd starting giving an impression of 'sleeping through' for about six or even seven hours at around three-four months, when in a habit of eating every two hours during the day, but didn't really keep it up.

Now, at eight months and on follow-on formula and solids (blw so not always massive quantities but three meals), I still expect to get up once at 2 or 3am and feed her at least half the time. When she sleeps through to five or six we feel we're doing well. So not much has changed!

mamasmissionimpossible Thu 22-Nov-12 20:42:01

Yes, we started giving a bottle of formula from 3 months. I am still bf during the day, I don't think it's affected my supply too much. I tried to express, but only got 2oz after about 30mins pumping! DS is 8 months. It seems to work for us.

aimingtobeaperfectionist Thu 22-Nov-12 20:44:01

No. DD slept through from about 6/8 weeks although I use the term loosely as I'm sure other will disagree, she sleeps from 9.30/10pm to 8am which is fine for me. Never used formula just boobs.

NoWayNoHow Thu 22-Nov-12 20:52:49

We started at 7 weeks giving a bottle of expressed milk at 11pm so that DH could be more involved and have some time with DS and I could go to bed early and catch some shut eye in time for the middle-of-the-night feeds.

When he was about 4 months old, I started to struggle more and more with expressing (just wasn't getting the volume required for his increased appetite), so we gave him Aptamil in his bottle instead of expressed milk.

We didn't find it filled him up or anything like that, but it allowed us to continue giving him some time with his Dad, and as he got older, we mixed it up timing wise so that the one formula feed could coincide with outings/afternoons with the grandparents etc.

Metalhead Thu 22-Nov-12 21:13:29

DD had a bottle of formula every night from about 5-6 weeks old. Can't say whether it helped her sleep, but it saved my sanity as I just could not cope with the cluster-feeding!

Didn't affect my supply, and apart from that one bottle a day she was bf for 9 months.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Fri 23-Nov-12 02:30:14

DH did a dreamfeed for a couple if months & it made no difference at all, so stopped it.

I found this really useful when decided whether or not to introduce formula.

Yes, and it worked for us. From the age of 5 weeks, I'd bf DD through the day and also when I put her to bed at 7pm, then DH would do a formula dream-feed around 11pm. She started sleeping a lot longer then, and it didn't seem to affect my supply.

MrsHoarder Fri 23-Nov-12 08:17:18

No. ds started sleeping through not much older than that anyway, except when he has a cold. I would Get clear of the cold and see where you are first. She clearly can do 7 hours on bm, so changing mills may make things worse.

StiffyByng Fri 23-Nov-12 08:28:07

I did give my daughter formula in the evenings as I had to do top ups, and my supply was always lowest at that time. She didn't sleep through till 15 months.

teacher123 Fri 23-Nov-12 08:30:01

DS had a small bottle of formula every night at bedtime from about 4 1/2 months to when we started weaning. Annoyingly enough he wouldn't let anyone else give him the bottle... So didn't make my life any easier! Certainly didn't make him sleep through, but if he was having a hungry day he'd drink it! Now at 7mo he will. Not. Have. A. Bottle!

DilysPrice Fri 23-Nov-12 08:33:28

Yes but not to help sleep, they were dropping down the centiles and I could cope with evening cluster feed.

DilysPrice Fri 23-Nov-12 08:35:12

Agree that in your situation I wouldn't ff, good luck for speedy cold cure.

VolumeOfACone Fri 23-Nov-12 08:37:02

We gave a bottle of expressed milk for a few months, so I went to bed at 8 and DH fed her at 10, until baby decided bottles were an absolute no. She never had one again. I missed those bottles sad I never found expressing a problem. Bloody-minded stubborn bottle disliking baby.

mumstonic Fri 23-Nov-12 09:11:18

I introduced formula 'top ups' at night with DD1 and DD2 at about 6 weeks as both were hungry babies and didnt seem to settle after their evening bf. I also struggled with latching on and suffered with really sore nipples. Often by the evening I would be in so much pain, I found a formula feed gave me a break and settled both babies and they'd sleep through from 10pm-7am, however this routine adversely effected my milk supply and eventually I found myself using top ups more and more. I gave up bf altogether at 3 months as my milk supply was just too low.

With DD3, I've exclusively breast fed after receiving excellent help by a superb midwife and to date (7months) my milk supply is good and I’m really chuffed I persevered. I did find myself cluster feeding for hours on end in the evening, but the result was a long 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep so worth it! The flip side is DD3 will not take to a bottle, so my advice is to introduce a bottle early with expressed milk!!

Angelico Fri 23-Nov-12 10:03:05

Willsingforcake did you go all night from 7 till the following morning without BFing? Did you have to express? Think my boobs would expolde confused They have adapted to going 6-7 hours.

Is cluster feeding just feeding loads in the evening? She definitely has more feeds in the evening. Tried putting her in cot about 11.30 last night then she wanted fed again at midnight. She only slurped for 5 mins and conked out so I was a bit hmm but she slept until 06:45 so got a much needed 6.5 hours. Cold seems to be away thankfully (hers, mine is just beginning...)

fraktion Fri 23-Nov-12 10:06:53

She may have been feeding to help clear her nose and deal with the annoying drip feeling you get at the back of the throat.

You are doing brilliantly so I wouldn't introduce a bottle.

MrsHoarder Fri 23-Nov-12 10:12:20

Op: once ds was reliably doing over 10 hours at night my boobs settled down within a few days. Don't express at night if she's sleeping through, that will so your body adjusting. If you have problems at first, I recommend sleeping on a towel.

MrsHoarder Fri 23-Nov-12 10:12:46

And hurrah for the long sleep!

spiderlight Fri 23-Nov-12 10:15:38

I did for a couple of nights around 6 weeks when I was literally so tired I was hallucinating, but then started pumping a feed in the morning for DH to give in the evening so I could go to bed a bit earlier and get a longer stretch of sleep and that seemed to work far better. Those couple of nights when he'd had formula he was really uncomfortable, windy and grumpy the next day. Next time I would just make more of an effort to pumnp and give a bedtime bottle of EBF.

Angelico Fri 23-Nov-12 10:15:38

True Fraktion - and thanks for encouragement. MrsHoarder when did yours start doing the reliable ten hours? <salivates at prospect> wink And good to know boobs don't pop grin

Angelico Fri 23-Nov-12 10:16:40

Good to know Spider. We did do this at about 4 weeks and it was great but I strated getting blocked ducts and have been put off ever since. If I get a week or two clear might try it again...

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Fri 23-Nov-12 10:22:48

I tried with DD1. Never worked. I just lost my evening milk as my body adjusted its production.

I did it bother for DD2 and DS1.

Do what you want to do, but the promises are unbroken sleep are just promises. There is usually mor than the bottle vs breast behind a good sleeper.
Like birth weight, temper, evening routines, middle of the night delaying feeds, etc.

Talking to my friends who formula fed, they sleep trained earlier and use delaying tactics earlier too.

Good luck!

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Fri 23-Nov-12 10:23:50

Saw your update re long sleep. Well done you!

gwenniebee Fri 23-Nov-12 10:28:08

No, I don't. Mine was doing 5/6 hour stretches at 8 weeks (which is amazing, btw) and 9 or so hours by 12/13 weeks and 11 or twelve hours soon after. (She's just gone thru a bit of a regression at 19 weeks but fingers crossed is through that now!) Keep doing what you're doing!

MrsHoarder Fri 23-Nov-12 13:52:54

He first did it at 8-9 weeks. Took another few weeks before he did it every night so I didn't need to fret as much.

He's never gone to sleep for the night before 8 though. But usually wakes up around 9 and only before 7 when he's ill.

AlexanderS Fri 23-Nov-12 14:01:22

Yes, I did do this, I started at about eight weeks and DS did sleep better (and put weight on and chubbed out), but eight weeks is about the time you can expect them to start sleeping for longer periods during the night anyway (as that's when they start to distinguish between night and day).

Startail Fri 23-Nov-12 14:02:31

No, why on earth would you, the whole point of BFing is no faffing with bottles.

Feeding a baby, toddler, small child to sleep is the most beautiful thing I've ever done.

In any case DD2 only once drank out of a bottle. She was 5 and put her own squash in one she was using to feed dolly.

AlexanderS Fri 23-Nov-12 14:05:07

P.S. I'd give him a bottle at about 7.30pm then breastfeed him at bedtime (10.30-11pm) so that my boobs didn't get too full overnight.

AlexanderS Fri 23-Nov-12 14:07:30

No different sterilising a bottle to sterilising dummies, teething rings etc. and ready-made formula is a godsend if you can afford it.

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.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

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

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.

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

sorry that response was to welovecouscous

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.

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...

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

And thanks for the encouragement btw smile 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 Sun 25-Nov-12 22:21:04

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

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!

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.

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!

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.

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

Sorry "pile of c**p"

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....

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!

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.

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.

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

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