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HELP PLEASE! 3wk old daughter, want to stop breast feeding

(53 Posts)
Jen2727 Fri 03-Dec-10 13:35:00

Any advice would be appreciated. I have a 3wk old daughter and we have been experiencing problems breast feeding. She has always been a fussy feeder and a sleepy one too - she takes a while to latch on, keeps coming on and off and fussing further and i have to wake her during feeds and i struggle to keep her attention. She is putting on weight well, so there are no problems with the amount that she is feeding. It takes an hour/hour and a half to get her to feed for an average of 20 minutes. She feeds every 3-4.5 hours and i feel like i have no time to go anywhere between feeds. I am getting quite depressed about it and am considering quitting and switching to formula to take the pressure off myself.
Has anyone had similar experiences or does anyone have any advice as to how to introduce formula or expressed milk? I was led to believe that you can't really express until 6wks as it may deplete your milk supply. Is this correct?
Any advice on combining formula feeding and breast feeding? I know nothing about formula feeding and wouldn't have the first idea as to which formula/bottle teats to buy ...
I would be really grateful for any advice

SparklyJules Fri 03-Dec-10 13:48:09

She's only 3 weeks old... she's still learning about breastfeeding and if you are getting flustered/disappointed with her then she will probably be picking up on this too.

To be honest what you describe is not a problem, it's pretty normal.

For the first couple of months, breastfed babies just want to be at the breast all the time (not necessarily re-fuelling, just faffing and comforting) , this is what makes them happy. You are not doing anything wrong and neither is she, so accept it for what it is and take the pressure off yourself. She is gaining weight and that is a great sign - you are giving her some gold top and she's thriving on it. There's no "time limit" to feeds at this age.

If you feel that introducing a bottle would help your own peace of mind then go ahead - it's not going to do her any harm and she's young enough that she will accept mixed feeding - maybe your partner can do feeds (if you have one?)to give you a break at the end of the day?

I hope you get some good advice, it sounds to me like you are doing a great job, but just finding it hard to adjust to the snail-crawl pace of having a newborn baby.

Good luck x

tiktok Fri 03-Dec-10 13:48:45

Sorry you are struggling, Jen.

Advice not to express before 6 weeks is more it can cause over supply and then if you don't feed (because the expressed breastmilk is being given) this can cause discomfort and this could lead to a drop in supply because of full breasts depressing the supply.

There are a zillion reasons why your baby might be behaving as she is - have you had a chance to talk to someone who knows what questions to ask and who understands about early bf? For instance, I would ask why you feel you need to wake her up - it is natural and normal for a 3 week old baby to sleep when she has fed. Constantly being woken can make fussiness more likely....what would happen if you just 'went with the flow' and allowed her to sleep?

Of course switching to formula could be an option, but if bf was easier and calmer, am I right in assuming you'd prefer to stick with it?

marzipananimal Fri 03-Dec-10 13:49:32

I don't know much about formula feeding as we only did it a bit when ds was first born and I've never really got on with expressing but...
Your experience of feeding sounds totally normal for such a young baby (in fact feeding only every 3-4.5 hours is really good!) but don't despair, it won't last long! Ds was just like this - it felt like a constant battle to keep him awake while feeding - as you say about 2 hrs feeding for 20 mins actual sucking. But it was a really short phase. By about 5-6 weeks he got a lot more alert and efficient. He's now 13 weeks and a big feed takes about 20 mins (and it's been like that for several weeks).

Hang in there! You can mix feed but if you persevere just for a few days more I bet you'll notice a difference and in a couple of weeks it will all have changed.

SparklyJules Fri 03-Dec-10 13:50:59

Oh yes, second tiktok above and would say it's not a problem for baby to fall asleep at the breast - you would too if you had just had a little snack and were warm and snuggled up to mummy! Just unlatch her and let her snooze smile

Jen2727 Fri 03-Dec-10 13:53:12

Thank you - i don't really know what i was expecting but i am finding things very hard. The temptation to do mixed feeding is enormous, my husband would love the chance to have a go at feeding her. I just don't know where to get started. I know that i am doing a good job as she is a happy baby, but it seems to be to the detriment of my own happiness at the moment, which is what is getting me down

marzipananimal Fri 03-Dec-10 13:54:35

Yes - with the sleepiness - best just to resign yourself to feeds/naps taking ages. Get comfy in bed/on the sofa with drinks, snacks and DVDs and let her do what she wants. It won't be like this for long and you'll start being able to go out much more easily soon.
No problem if you want to switch to formula but when you get the hang of bf it really is easier. I had an awful first few weeks but love it now (mostly!)

Jen2727 Fri 03-Dec-10 13:56:57

Sometimes she only suckes for a couple of minutes and then falls alseep. surely i can't let her stay asleep as she won't have had enough? If i let her keep falling asleep and waiting for her to wake, i will be in the position of feeding even more and being able to do even less and have even less freedom?!

marzipananimal Fri 03-Dec-10 13:58:40

x posts
I do sympathise. Breast feeding made me miserable at the beginning. I only carried on cos I thought formula feeding would make me more miserable. It felt like a lose lose situation but I just took it one feed at a time and plodded on and things improved bit by bit.

ginger2000 Fri 03-Dec-10 14:01:44

Jen - just to add to the comments of others - what you describe sounds perfectly normal. I have also found bf hard work (and I have done it before and found it hard then too) but my DD2 will barely go an hour without a feed/comfort suckle. I think you have to go with it - she will cope if you want to go out, either hanging on until you get somewhere to feed her or not wanting to feed because she is either asleep or interested in where you are!

If you can, just get some good comfort food and watch loads of tv/dvds. Like others have said - it all changes sooo quickly at this stage and bf is so much less faff than bottles at this stage when you need to feed on demand. That said, introducing a bottle to give yourself a break might be a good idea if it will help you bf for longer - I probably will do the same in a month or so. ( I know not everyone will agree with this and I know it can have an impact on supply which has to be considered.)

Good luck

Jen2727 Fri 03-Dec-10 14:02:08

I'm glad i'm not the only one! My husband doesn't understand why i'm crying all the time. I do love my daughter but feel guilty that i get cross with her, I definately feel that these niggles are making me not bond with her as well as i should which is why i am tempted to switch to formula. I want to be a good Mummy and not lose patience with her as i know it is not her fault!

tiktok Fri 03-Dec-10 14:02:12

Please don't feel you need to poke her awake, Jen. A little doze even after a short time at the breast is just fine....she will perk up and feed again, most likely. I can't think this would be worse or more time consuming than what you are describing at the moment, with its fussing and re-latching. I would hazard a guess that she is fussing because she is not permitted to have these little mid-feed naps

Yes, it can take a long time to feed a newborn baby, but honestly, going with the flow takes less time than clock watching to ensure she has had x minutes in whatever time frame

This is newborn behaviour - not something that lasts.

If your dh is that desperate to feed her (why?! There are loads of other things he can do) then you could express, or, of course make up some formula for him to give - but both of those options have their downsides.

Lots of mothers find it easier to accept their spot on the sofa with the baby and just relax into it - nothing can be more important than feeding the next generation, and it really is not something that lasts for long

SparklyJules Fri 03-Dec-10 14:03:41


It's not uncommon to feel like this. Life takes on a very different pace when a baby arrives and every decision suddenly seems like life or death and can result in hours of agonising ... i've been there.

Rest assured that from what you have written here you sound as though you are doing a fab job, all the right things, and are focusing on the feeding as a "reason" for feeling down. And it's not the feeding, it's just how you are feeling - tired, overwhelmed, tired, unsure, tired, tired, tired!

Why not send out your DH to buy some formula stuff and then he can introduce some feeds at night before he goes to bed - letting you get an early night, and then when you get up in the middle of the night to breastfeed you will not be shattered? Baby will take to the bottle better from her daddy because he doesn't smell like your milk and you are not in the room (although the temptation to hover will be hard to resist!).

And like others have said, it gets better on a daily basis - and sometimes we just have days where we've had enough and just want a cry and a cuddle ourselves!

Take care, keep posting for moral support and please know that we've all been there and you will be offering support to someone in this position next year!


tiktok Fri 03-Dec-10 14:04:14

Crying all the time is not good - can you speak to your HV?

earwicga Fri 03-Dec-10 14:04:20

Just get some bottles and some FF and your baby will be fine and dandy, just like all the other children who are bottle fed.

tiktok Fri 03-Dec-10 14:06:04

Jules - at three weeks, skipping evening feeds will risk making Jen feel very uncomfortable and can lead to mastitis. Not a good idea She could express when the baby has the bottle, of course, but that rather defeats the object of giving her a rest!

DreamingofFour Fri 03-Dec-10 14:06:20

I couldn't believe how much time I spend breastfeeding in the first twelve weeks, literally felt like I could never escape. I quite liked it because I would settle down with a book, a drink, a snack, the TV remote and the telephone and make everyone else do everything, but I think if it is getting you down you should consider either expressed or formula, not for baby's sake (she is gaining weight so clearly okay) but for your sake. We mixed it up (expressed/formula in the evening given by husband while I hit the sack) and it was fantastic to allow my DH to take on some feeds, really good for him too to feel like he was doing something important.

It's really good that you are recognising your feelings too, just acknowledging that things are less than perfect is a really big step, because depression is so common: my other advise would be for you to try and get some more sleep - the advantage of a bottle from your husband is that you might be able to have one long stretch. Found sleep was the most important factor in battling postnatal depression

Jen2727 Fri 03-Dec-10 14:07:00

I'm not crying all the time ... just periodically. I am very up and down. The snow hasn't helped as i haven't left the house for a few days!

Lulumaam Fri 03-Dec-10 14:07:07

she might not feed any less fussily with a bottle.. and oyu ahve the added work of washing, sterilising and making up feeds

I bottle fed both DCs from birth and it was moer tying in hindsight, than breastfeeding. IME.

DD would snack, and would take a couple of ounces, then an hour later another couple, and then maybe another 1/2 oucne, so it felt like constant feeding as there was little gap and she fed slooooooowly.

it does settle down and what you describe is normal.. albeit tiring

your DH can do lots of other things to bond with DD and have time with her, bathing, changing , dressing her. just holding and cuddling her, does not need to be feeding her.

and he can ensure you have eevryhting you need

earwicga Fri 03-Dec-10 14:08:58

'she might not feed any less fussily with a bottle.. and oyu ahve the added work of washing, sterilising and making up feeds'

But then Jen wouldn't have to do all of this would she.

Lulumaam Fri 03-Dec-10 14:10:32

quite possibly, but it depends when her DH is home etc.. and how many bottles she would get through

if the OP can ge help to get through this time and continue breastfeeding, then great, if not, then that has to be her decision

but the default mode should not be 'give formula; and i have no agenda as i did not breastfeed !

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 03-Dec-10 14:12:54

Jen I won't add anything about feeding because you've had some really good advice - I too remember the frustration initially and how much better I felt once I had accepted that this was how things were going to be for a few weeks.

Is your DH looking after you? He should be helping you relax, cooking you yummy and nutritious food etc etc.

marzipananimal Fri 03-Dec-10 14:14:14

I'm getting fed up of being stuck in due to snow too. In terms of freedom to go out, once you're past the first few weeks bf is so easy as you don't have to prepare or pack anything or worry about bottle warming facilities or running out if you stay out longer than planned

bumbums Fri 03-Dec-10 14:17:20

With my second DC each feed was spread over an hour. When she was do to feed she'd have her first go on the first breast then about half an hour later she'd want the rest of that breast and eventually she was taking one and a half breasts (if you see what I mean?) She was able to stay awake for up to an hour before needing to sleep again. Some times I fed her to sleep and other times I rocked or pushed her in pram to get her to sleep.
But of course that was just her.
Have you read Tracy Hogg's 'Baby Whisperer'. She's quite good at giving practical tips for recognising your childs needs and learning their routine.

Try and get to 6-8wks cos things will fall in to place and they really do change so quickly. Just when you think a situation is so unbearable you can't go on,they change.

Think about seeing GP for some anti-depressants if this anxiety and crying goes on past the 8wk point. They are very effective and help you to think clearly.

tiktok Fri 03-Dec-10 14:17:38

Jen, it is possible to maintain some breastfeeding alongside formula feeding - the key to it is to keep formula to a minimum. The breastfeeding helplines could discuss this with you, as actually doing it needs a 'tailor made' size does not fit all

However, lots of mothers will testify that when you get over the more difficult stage of bf, it becomes a lot easier than formula feeding. It's probably not a decision to make when you are feeling as low as you are - and I agree, the snow makes things worse

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