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Advice on combination feeding(3 Posts)
Hi, I’m looking for advice about combination feeding. My son is nearly two weeks old and a great breastfeeder. However he cluster feeds for long periods of time. Yesterday he fed for two full hours at lunchtime and then from 4-11 pm. Pretty much non stop. The upside of this is that he sleeps for a solid 4-5 hours in one go afterwards (before waking up for another mammoth feed for two hours!)
I know this won’t last forever, however I have a DD aged 2.5 who needs me in the evenings. Also I would like to be able to take her out for the afternoon to play dates etc. when my mum is over or DH can have the baby. Basically exclusive breastfeeding isn’t going to work for our family (and it is already taking its toll on me!) Long term this is likely to keep me breastfeeding for longer.
I’m planning to introduce a bottle in the evening over the next week or two. Just one per day probably, if that. Preferably I’d like to give him expressed milk but with my DD expressing caused massive problems with oversupply and subsequent difficulties latching onto my over full boobs. Also I’m wondering how much expressed milk he would need (given the monstrous appetite !) So if expressing doesn’t work I will introduce a bottle of formula.
My big question is, if I were to introduce formula in the evening would this have a negative impact on the cluster feeding and therefore the good sleep stretches? I’m worried that it would fill him up but not quite enough and then he would wake up loads for more cluster feeds. I’m aware that it will have an impact on supply but not too worried about that as this will be a long term solution anyway.
Thanks for any replies. Not interested in being persuaded not to use a bottle/formula. Just want some support on how best to introduce this.
Sorry for long post!
Hi 🙂. I had to do this for similar reasons to you, cluster feeding for long periods of time but I didn't have another child that I needed to give attention to, it was more because I had an infected c section wound and there was just no position I could find while breastfeeding that suited me and my son that meant I could air the wound out meaning the infection was dragging on. So I introduced an evening feed by formula to get me a few hours a day of being able to get the wound healed. I would say giving another child some attention is probably more of a need than my wound was so you won't be getting 'just get on with it' from me.
Obviously at this stage, you'll be using a slow flow teat so this will mimic the slow output from the breast. MAM bottles seem to be a good shout for babies that are used to breast but do look up all options if you haven't already.
My son still kept his sleep well when I did the formula evening feed. He still took it quite slowly, like he did breast but it meant my DH could do the feed and that was the crucial part for me. Nothing changed really, he'd have his feed at 7pm then sleep for 6 hours and wake at 1am and get breast milk then again at 7am and get breastmilk. As the weeks wore on, the formula feed changed to 8pm and he would sleep until 4am then get breast then. As the weeks went on more, I started doing morning and night formula and just breast through the day. Once he was a few months old, he'd get formula at 8pm and sleep until 6am. He would get formula again at 6am then 3-4 breastfeeds through the day then formula again at 8pm then he was down for the night.
It's all about tailoring it to what you need and what your baby will accept as well.
Hi Jennifer M thanks loads for your response. It has been really helpful to hear from someone else that this works for. After a hideous couple of days where I have been unable to get off the sofa I have bought some formula to top my son up. As you highlight, combination feeding can work well and I feel so relieved at the thought of having someone else feeding him! Still feel
some guilt but this is definitely the best thing for our family. Plus I think it is more likely to keep me breastfeeding for longer!