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Is it worth one more go? In need of some sane advice.

(21 Posts)
funnylittlekaty Sun 03-Jul-11 09:25:12

I'm in need of some advice re: bf. Lo and I had a very tough start, formula forced on us in hospital etcetc,v slow weight gain yada yada yada, but I managed to get to bf with just one formula bottle in the evening. The problem is that he was always hungry, never satisfied by feeding. I was nursing for hours, literally on end, if I took him off at all he screamed. He would only ever sleep in the sling and after 6 weeks of nursing 10 hours a day, the final straw came when I had to stay in for a delivery and the poor little sod didn't sleep for 8 hours, just cried and sucked his fist manically. Dh and I decided to try an experiment to see if he was actually hungry or just a fussy little chap...I hired a hospital grade pump and for over a week now he has been having roughly 100ml ebm and formula top ups every 3 hours or so. He is like a different boy! So much calmer and relaxed and me and dh now have a chance to actually talk to each other rather than pacing for hours with a screaming baby. I'm still breast feeding at night, he only wakes up once, feeds for twenty mins in total (both boobs offered) then goes back to sleep til between 5-7. Also he sometimes gets sad in the late afternoons so I'll bf him then for comfort more than anything.
The thing is that im desperate to bf and am becoming a bit obsessed by it. Can't really talk to dh any more...he's been amazing, but I've been going on and on about the feeding since he was born. I've had my latch checked by bf counsellors and the hv and they all say it's fine. It doesn't hurt at all. Can I get it back without making my gorgeous boy hungry and sad all the time? Any advice? Sorry it's long xx

crikeybadger Sun 03-Jul-11 11:45:57

OK, just so I've got this right...

He's 7 weeks old.
BF at night and sometimes in the afternoon.
You're pumping in the day and offering formula top ups.
You stopped bfing directly one week ago.

What is his weight gain like now?
Were the reasons for slow weight gain ever identified?
Was he ever checked for tongue tie?

funnylittlekaty Sun 03-Jul-11 12:57:50

Thanks. Yes that's right, sorry I was a bit rambly before. He was checked for Tongue tie by bfc and also for bubble palate and got the all clear. There is nothing at all wrong with how he is feeding from what I can gather and by rights my milk supply should be overflowing due to the amount of feeding I was doing before last week and also my religious 3 hourly pumping. Could it be a low milk supply? I am so wretched about not breastfeeding, I know it's much more a problem for me than anyone else. I'm worried that when I look back on when he was a tiny baby, all I'll think about is how upset I was that I couldn't breastfeed...

funnylittlekaty Sun 03-Jul-11 13:04:30

Ps he had a week of gaining 7 oz when on the constant bfeeding but generally pretty slow 25th centile. The week we started with the ebm and formula he put on a pound in a week! Yikes! Think he is just catching up a bit.

orchidee Sun 03-Jul-11 13:09:29

kellymom.com/bf/index.html has some good info on weight gain, fussing at the breast, whether there is genuinely a milk supply issue... (and it seems on everything to do with BF). I think you may find it useful.

I've an 8 wo and it feels like we're constantly careering from one growth spurt to another in the early days- constant feeding frenzies with a few more settled days here and there. Keep posting.

crikeybadger Sun 03-Jul-11 13:15:30

No that's fine, I just wanted to clarify. smile

I wonder if the screaming that you encountered when he came off the breast was not necessarily hunger, but just a need to for comfort and to be kept close to you?

The good thing is that you have protected your supply by pumping, so why not just give breastfeeding another go...you have nothing to lose. He's a bit older now and might be more efficient and obviously has no problem switching between bottle and breast.

You say your latch is good and pain free, how is his weight doing now?

Do you think it could be a lack of confidence in your ability to feed more than a lack of milk? You said that you both had a tough start which won't have helped how you feel about things.

Might be worth a chat through with one of the helplines to work out how to best get back to exclusive bfeeding, but if it's only been a week it shouldn't be so difficult.

What do you think?

funnylittlekaty Sun 03-Jul-11 17:00:32

Yes I think you're right Crikey. A lot of it is comfort sucking I know. For example he had his most recent feed from his dad, 100ml ebm, 60 ish ml formula but wouldn't settle at all. Think he was overtired so popped him in the sling but he made a Mark on my chest by sucking it. Have just put him on my boob and he calmed right down and is now dozing away. I'd just expressed so there can't have been much milk there and his big double bottle feed was at 3 ish. Tbh I love the fact that I can comfort him and help him to be calm. I'd given him a both side bf at 1ish...am sad it wasn't enough to see him through. I'm going to keep trying though...no pain and expressing every 3 hours as well as actual feeding. Surely this should be working!!

crikeybadger Sun 03-Jul-11 20:12:21

Which bit do you think is not working funnylittlekaty- is it because he was hungry after two hours?

funnylittlekaty Sun 03-Jul-11 20:47:28

Maybe...I guess he could have been hungry. I feel like my feeding doesn't satisfy him but like you said it could be my confidence. He's having a funny old day today. Poor little chap hasn't slept since he woke up at 1 for more than about ten minutes at a time. I've expressed tonight for his next feed but because he's been breast feeding I only got a measly 60ml. That means a big formula top up later. Sigh.

crikeybadger Sun 03-Jul-11 21:27:07

Have you tried switch nursing? Offer one breast, then the other, then back to the orginal side. You can switch lots of times, once DS seems to be slowing down or fidgetting and it's a great way of upping your supply.

It's worth remembering too that DS will be more efficient at removing milk from the breast than the pump, so the more you can feed him directly, the better. It may mean that he feeds every hour or every two from you initially, but things will improve over time.

Breast are never 'empty' nor do they need time to refill - the more milk you remove, the more you'll get.

Oh and don't forget that this is classic growth spurt time, so he will want to feed more often for a while.

Is his weight gain OK now?

funnylittlekaty Mon 04-Jul-11 08:05:16

I know he'll need to feed a lot but he seemed really unhappy and was never satisfied enough to nap during the day to the point where I was getting worried for his development. His weight gain is ok now. He put on a pound last week but the mean lady at the health centre says I'm not to bring him every week to be weighed it was "a waste of time". Nice. It's dh's birthday today so I don't want to rock the boat too much but tomorrow I'm going to go back to the bf clinic and ask the bfc to have one last look at everything. Thanks for your support Crikey xx

Grumpla Mon 04-Jul-11 08:18:05

It sounds like all is definitely not lost! I think feeding almost constantly at 7weeks is fairly normal, not necessarily a case of him not getting enough. Growth spurts, wanting the comfort - he is still very wee. Hope things get easier for you!

FessaEst Mon 04-Jul-11 08:26:51

I am no expert in weight gain/supply issues etc. I just wanted to say that at that age DD was feeding on and off almost constantly for hours sometimes, and only settled on me or in the sling. Some evenings she would cry every time she came off. However, we just ploughed on (for lack of alternatives really) and all was fine, she got more settled, and started sleeping more easily and spacing her feeds out more.

I can't comment on weight gain as DD's was always fine - but this could just be newborn behaviour.

Well done on perservering for so long!

Finallygotaroundtoit Mon 04-Jul-11 08:30:12

<I've expressed tonight for his next feed but because he's been breast feeding I only got a measly 60ml. That means a big formula top up later. Sigh.>

That 60ml will be high fat - had he had that by direct breastfeeding he would have been satisfied by a possibly smaller volume but 'concentrated' feed that would have settled him without stretching his tummy.

In any case 60 ml is a good amount.

I understand why you have been so worried, but see no reason why you can't just bf him and forget expressing - he obviously wants to !

At the moment you are causing yourself alot of extra & IMO unnecessary work smile

crikeybadger Mon 04-Jul-11 11:04:02

"Weight gain OK now"? One pound last week is a brilliant weight gain especially as they usually reckon on an ounce a day with a day off (ie. around 6 oz/week).

I don't think the health worker is being mean as it's usual practice not to weigh more than once a month once they have reached birthweight. It just saves on unnecessary anxiety caused by small weight fluctuations. I think she meant that is was a waste of your time, not hers. smile

I wouldn't gauge how well the feeding is going by how well your DS sleeps, I think maybe Finally's sentence hits the nail on the head.

Good idea to go back to the bf clinic- it could be your latch just needs to be a bit deeper or just needs a tweak to improve things.

Have a good day.

funnylittlekaty Tue 05-Jul-11 08:35:19

I'm going to try just breastfeeding today and see how he goes. There's a bottle of expressed milk ready in the fridge if I start to panic that he's hungry. So far he's fed 5.50am on and off til about half seven (I think but we were both dozing), then 8.10-8.30 off the other boob. Will try and put him down for a nap in a bit. Fingers crossed and any additional advice much appreciated! X

crikeybadger Tue 05-Jul-11 12:42:30

Hey, good stuff funnylittlekaty smile

Just keep offering at the slightest squawk and remember to try switching sides at each feed.

Any chance you can just take him to bed for the day and then doze together?

Hope the day goes well.

funnylittlekaty Wed 06-Jul-11 10:50:46

Well...tried that yesterday. Morning went ok. He had a sleep mid morning, woke up fed then we went out and he fell asleep in the pram. He woke up when we got home at 1.30 then the fun and games started. He wouldn't sleep and just fed all afternoon, getting more and more upset. He wasn't satisfied at all and didn't sleep at all between 1.30 and 8 when he finally settled after 80ml ebm and 80ml formula. I was a wreck by then. Surely surely it's not right or normal bfeeding behaviour for a little 8 week old babber to not sleep for 6 hours. He was so upset bless him. Back on the expressing today...just pumped 155ml so don't think it's a supply issue. Argh. I'm so gutted about yesterday, just don't want to subject him to another sad day.

debhawk Wed 06-Jul-11 15:20:45

I felt horrible when I decided after a week that bfing just wasn't working and to move onto exclusive ffing.

Four weeks on and I am so pleased I didn't continue to torture myself over bfing and reading all these posts confirms that I made the right decision! Baby feeds every four hours or so and I just increase the amount he's getting every week. If he doesn't seem satisfied, I give him a bit more and if he seems hungry before the four hour mark then I feed him early. It's all so easy and so pleasant - I have had none of the exhausting, upsetting experiences described here. My baby is happy, healthy and gaining weight at the right rate.

The best thing is that he sleeps for four or sometimes five hour stretches at night and with me and daddy sharing the feeding, we both average at least six hours straight sleep per night.

I totally would have bfd if it had worked for me and think that mums who do it are brilliant, BUT, whatever the benefits of bfing, there must be some pretty huge benefits to baby having parents who are healthy and not sleep-deprived or stressed! We have all the time and energy for him in the world because we're well-rested and relaxed, and can focus our energies on where to take him, what to play with him etc rather than obsessing over what kind of milk he's had, when and how much!

So - of course mums should bf if they want to and if it happens easily but I would ask the question that if it's that stressful and upsetting for mum and baby then is it worth it? I'm so happy that I drew a line under bfing and moved on.

mumnerves Wed 06-Jul-11 15:40:52

OP I was in your situation when DS was 6-7 weeks old, I was fretting and in tears most days about how much he was getting (we had a bad start which didn't help) I was expressing all the time except for one feed just before bedtime when I was feeding him off the breast. I think it was because I didn't understand what breastfeeding entailed and that I had to trust DS to keep my supply up and take what he needed. At 7 weeks I decided enough was enough and took a feeding 'holiday', stocked up with foods and did nothing but sling and feed baby for a week. I got lots of dvds and just sat and watched them whilst feeding and I think the relaxing did help with my supply.
He was stronger then and suddenly after a week everything clicked into place. He was feeding for shorter periods, still every 3 hours or so but it was nice to be able to feed him just off me without having to sterilise bottles,warm up milk and hear him cry whilst I get his milk. Within 2 weeks of me just EBF he went from 50th centile to 75th!
Now I'm glad I did it as it became so easy to feed him, just take my top off and it's there! Do persevere, I found after the second month I was so glad I did and could relax. I wish you all the best in whatever you decide to do!

crikeybadger Wed 06-Jul-11 16:51:54

OK, look his weight gain is great, your supply is great.

He fusses in the afternoon/early evening - this is completely normal especially at 6-8 weeks.

Here, kellymom says so smile

Maybe he stayed awake for that long because he was simply overtired and not necessarily hungry?

Anyway, you're doing great so keep smiling. smile

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