To put newborn on formula?(179 Posts)
Just a bit of background. DS who is 6 weeks old arrived at 32 weeks, his due date will be this Sunday.
He was in SCBU for just over 4 weeks, has had no issues apart from working on the feeding. Apart from a bit of formula in the first few days before my milk came in he has has breastmilk and I have now been ebf for nearly 3 weeks.
It's not all rosy at all. He's got reflux so is not keeping a lot down, except as soon as he's sick he wants to feed again. I am utterly, utterly exhausted. He's putting weight on but the feeding every 1.5-2 hours is killing me. The actual 'feed' is ok however I have to burp him then keep him upright for 30 mins afterwards which then makes it time for the next week.
Alongside this he's on Ranitidine 3 times a day, dalivit once a day, iron once a day and folic acid once a week. He's been prescribed gaviscon too but vomits that up too! I administer all these via a syringe and it's really taking away the job from breastfeeding.
I have lots of breastmilk frozen as I was pumping round the clock when he was in SCBU but this will eventually run out. I just feel so guilty about giving him formula so soon. Another thing that is constantly on my mind is that breastfeeding reduces the SIDS risk, I've had a previous stillbirth so I'm on edge with that as it is.
I guess I don't know what I'm asking but I'm getting to the end of my tether here. Any advice/support would be appreciated. DH is going to try and give him breastmilk in a bottle tonight so will see how that goes. I've got a wrap but he's not big enough to go in it yet, I've ordered a swing got a bouncer etc.
I know next to nothing about reflux...so, in what way would formula make a difference? Would it reduce the symptoms?
Yes I have been pondering this too. There are different types of thicker milks that stay in the stomach and prevent the sickness.
He will probably have larger feeds less frequently.
I can administer his vitamins etc via the bottle rather than syringing them in his mouth midway through breastfeeding which is my biggest bug bear.
DH/mum/sister can feed him
Bless you. Can you get any more help with the reflux? Breastfeeding support?
With regards to SIDS there are lots of important things that will likely have a greater impact (eg exposure to cigarette smoke for hours a day or not doing feet to foot of cot.)
I tried for feed DS for four months. No reflux but he just didn't thrive on it. Like you I was sleep deprived and feeling honestly rather anxious and depressed about it all. Switched to formula. He's now 12!
No one can tell you how you just feed your child. Please do what is best for both of you.
Well I think breast milk is really recommended for little ones with reflux as it is digested quicker and less likely to lie in their stomach causing discomfort. Plus he might have cow's milk intolerance too.
So I'd think carefully (normally I am very pro choice). Good luck, reflux is miserable for everyone...
Feed your baby how you like. BF or FF it doesn't matter as long as he is getting what he needs. Step away from the guilt, bf isn't always best.
DD2 was on formula from birth and is now a healthy strapping teen with hardly a day's illness in her life. No need to feel guilty about using formula, it has lots of advantages.
If he takes a bottle would mix feeding help if you don't want to give up breast feeding? Dad gives baby a feed with vitamins while you rest (formula) you feed rest of the time?
Or if you have really had enough - formula is fine. You have done an amazing job getting so far with the problems you've had.
I've had two babies with bad reflux, DS1 was FF from 6 days old, DS2 was EBF and is still breastfed at nearly 12 months old.
There are pros to FF, you absolutely will get more sleep, for no other reason than someone else can do it whilst you have a snooze.
The downside is that DS1 was just as refluxy on formula as DS2 was on breastmilk. Even the super thick reflux aptimil wouldn't stay down. However, DH would do every other night so I got some decent sleep.
Reflux is awful,you have my every sympathy. If you want to put him on formula thats entirely up to you. Its the alternative to breastmilk and he will do fine on it.
Congrats on your new ds
Formula is not poison. Maybe try one boy a day to start with. Its easier to add gaviscon to a bottle. Formula and gaviscon saved my life and my relationship with my baby and honestly stopped me getting PND. But if you want to persist with BF thats ok too there is support out there I am sure.
I am 99% sure he doesn't have a cows milk intolerance as he has my breastmilk via NG tube in SCBU with no symptoms and my diet hasn't changed.
Yes I believe breastmilk is easier to digest, but does it mean I will be at home for the next 4/6/8 months feeding every couple of hours? I am still in my pyjamas not even brushed my teeth waiting for DH to come home.
Sorry - that sounded a bit like justify why you're thinking of using formula, lol.
It was more that not knowing whether it would make a difference meant I wanted to answer, but didn't know how...
Formula is a perfectly fine way to feed a baby, yes, BM is better, but not if you can make him more comfortable and make it easier on you as well.
A more content baby and less stressed mother is way better IMO than continuing breastfeeding in the circumstances you describe.
My DS was early, special formula for first few days then ebf and he fed every hour and half for 6 weeks, and then at 3 or 4 months he went on to cluster feeding which was from 4pm to 2am every night. After 2 weeks of this I broke down crying and I couldn't handle it any more. After that I mixed bottle and breast feeding which worked really well.
I did not however have the issue of reflux to deal with which must be a nightmare. You need to be happy, formula is brilliant and there's nothing to feel bad about. You could try mixing the 2? However, switching entirely formula is nothing to feel guilty about either.
I know mine was a bit older but I didn't have the whole reflux thing to deal with. You have to do what's right for you too.
I wouldn't bank on formula being the answer TBH, I doubt very much that he will take larger feeds and it will possibly make the wind even worse, not to mention the sickness as he adjusts to the formula, BM is very easily digested so switching to formula will be a shock to his system.
If you feel you cannot continue breastfeeding then of course you must switch but your exhaustion and method of feeding are 2 very different issues. Can your partner not use the frozen breast milk in a bottle to give you a bit of a break?
Many mothers find stopping breastfeeding and going onto formula an emotional trial, at whatever stage this happens.
Many children go on to be happy, fulfilled adults having only EBF for a few days if at all. You have done / are doing amazingly well, your DS is out of SCBU and putting on weight which is fantastic!
See how your DH gets on tonight with the bottle if it goes well try and get some proper sleep and see how you feel after a bit of rest. Then see how you go EBF, mix or Formula.
Whatever you decide try not to feel guilty, you have already done and are doing brilliantly.
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step away from the guilt
Exactly well said.
Sweetheart that's tough, you feed your baby just as you like and don't worry about anyone else.
I am sure your baby will cope and come through this on formula.
And you need sleep. It's not about sacrificing yourself on the alter of parenthood it's about keeping baby fed, changed, and loved. The rest is all truly bollocks.
if the formula will prevent the reflux then isn't that the main issue? I would feel more guilty keeping on with the breast if its prolonging the reflux.(not that you should feel guilty at all)
you've already done brilliantly now give yourself a break and do what you want with the formula you don't need permission you have nothing to feel guilty about whichever way you go.
My DD was a 32 weeker with reflux. What helped was mixing expressed breast milk with gaviscon sachets ( you can get these from the gp) it thickens the milk but has the side effect of constipation
You want to do what is best for your family. There is nothing to feel guilty about.
I was very anti ff for the sole reason of hating the idea of sterilising, making up feeds then cooling them down a zillion times day and night etc....will 'future you' think formula is a good idea? Once you've gone through the awful weeks, its gets waaay easier, whereas formula stays the same level of hard iyswim.
I know its not popular on mums net but a big advantage of formula is it allows a mum a chance to properly rest and recuperate. Every case is individual. I am absolutely pro choice and the best thing to do will be different in every case but if its best for you then absolutely its ok.
FWIW I had planned to extended BF. As it happens I never got past 3 months. I still beat myself up about it sometimes but I did my best with what was going on at the time and its the same for you. You have done an amazing job so far.
Has anyone mentioned Carobel to you, OP? It's a powder that you spoon into feeds and it thickens them. Worked a treat for DD whereas several medications did nothing.
If you already have loads of milk to use you could try some in a bottle, see if it works and then reassess where you are.
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