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Mixed feeding/formula top ups Newborn - on verge of giving up bf please help!

(15 Posts)
perrinelli Wed 06-Jul-11 09:18:00

Dd2 is 9 dys old and for various reasons we find ourselves in a situation whereby she is having formula top ups after almost every feed. She takes herself off the breast, is very clearly still hungry, won't go back on properly & I can tell I haven't got any milk by squeezing (before a feed milk comes out). From birth really the supply & demand thing was interfered with as she was v slow to latch on and suckle properly.

Anyway, I'm ok with mix feeding and know that over time my supply may dwindle (had bf nightmare with dd1 so feel pleased dd2 is at least getting some breastmilk) but after a hellish night am on the verge of giving up on the breasts but don't want to do anything I'll regret.

The problem is, by offering both breasts with a burp in between which can take a while & a nappy change to keep her wakeful, then offering the bottle and winding again, the whole 'feed' can take about 2 hrs which is causing me to lose the will to live. Any ideas on how else things could work? Should I only offer one breast rather than 2? Should I replace one or two whole feeds with formula? Or try & alternate feeds breast & formula (tho she may well not be satisfied after just the breast).

TanteRose Wed 06-Jul-11 09:25:46

first of all, you ALWAYS have milk...your breasts do not dry up

unfortunately, feeding when they are this tiny DOES take up a huge amount of time - they need to feed often to "order up" the milk, and ensure your body makes more milk.

giving the bottle sounds as if it is making the process longer than it needs to be - I would ditch the bottles completely, and just breastfeed.

By the way, how do you know she is not satisfied? because she doesn't immediately fall asleep in her cot? She only needs to be held and fed and changed for the time being. As long as there are plenty of wet/dirty nappies, you are doing GREAT!

Trust your body to produce exactly what she needs to thrive! hang in there smile

MollysChamber Wed 06-Jul-11 09:30:33

What tante said but also it's is completely normal to not getting any milk out of the breast by squeezing. Babies are much better at it! I would lose the top ups. Gradually cut down the amount until you are breast feeding alone. Feed often and enjoy the chance to legitimately sit on your bum.

perrinelli Wed 06-Jul-11 09:36:46

Thankyou for your responses - I know she's not satisfied because she cries in a certain way, roots around, tries to eat her fingers and fists and it's different to when she just had wind or wants cuddles, she also very eagerly takes a fair amount of formula when offered & doesn't bring it up again. It's all very well saying ditch the top ups but tricky when she is hungry but won't stay latched on and just fusses at the breast.

peedieworky Wed 06-Jul-11 09:41:07

I can totally empathise. My milk took 7 days to come in after ECS and they were SO hard to survive. My peer supporter advised skin to skin and it did settle him. He was able to snuffle around and get feeds even though he was dosing in between. Normal life had to be put on hold and at the time my self-esteem was in my boots - I felt like a cow! Now looking back it's a bit of a blur but am glad I made it through. You're doing so well - don't expect too much of yourself. Cancel all visitors and get lots of food you can eat one-handed!

tiktok Wed 06-Jul-11 09:57:17

Aw, perrinelli, you have had a difficult start sad

Squeezing is not a sign of anything - really. If your baby is still interested in more milk after both sides, put her on the first side again, and then the second side again, and then back to the first side smile

This is called 'switch nursing' and is the most effective way of boosting supply and the baby's intake. You can also do breast compression (google it) as a way of keeping her on the breast and feeding.

'Switching' will not take any more time than you are currently spending on feeding. You need to check with your HCPs about reducing the formula, and you're right not to ditch them - but you do need a plan to phase them out.

What you are doing now - topping up with most feeds - is the quickest way to stop milk production, but you can turn things round. You sound determined smile

(TanteRose - breasts can and do 'dry up' but I agree I dont think they have done so yet with the OP).

tiktok Wed 06-Jul-11 09:58:09

Oh, yes - skin to skin is great, too! Means you can respond to every little feeding cue and fit in loads more breastfeeding.

MedicalEd Wed 06-Jul-11 13:12:29

My DD had formula top-ups and I'm with you on the two hour feeds!
But we got back to ebf and you can too if you want to but it is hard.
You won't immediately rid yourself of two-hour feeds as LO ups your supply by spending hours on boob but you if you can safely co-sleep you can get much more sleep.
If you can feed in a sling you'll get in loads of breastfeeds and LO will up your supply, feel content and snug and you can get off the sofa once in a while (if you feel like it!).

perrinelli Wed 06-Jul-11 13:52:03

Thanks everyone, in the light of day I feel more motivated and will definitely try switching between sides more than once. It's tough though to keep going at night, especially when I had a positive experience ff dd1 (now aged 3). Dd1 is also quite demanding invluding waking in the night which adds another factor in the mix. I just have to tell myself that although last night was hideous I did survive.

I know it's not ideal but I wonder if my milk supply would be less affected by giving a whole ff at one or two specific times a day if required, than topping up after every feed?

tiktok Wed 06-Jul-11 13:57:00

perrinelli - your milk supply keeps going with frequent feeds - it's the frequent removal of milk from the breasts that drives the supply. Short gaps between feeds = lots of milk. Extended gaps between feeds = milk dwindles.

So a whole ff makes a huge gap between bf - not good.

Top ups - not good either, as this means all gaps between bf are extended a bit.

If you were sure you wanted/needed to top up with formula, then one replacement ff would probably be less damaging to your milk supply, but at 9 days old, this is a major risk. Many women 'get away' with mixed feeding like this a lot more easily when the baby is older.

Hope this helps.

perrinelli Wed 06-Jul-11 17:22:48

Thankyou that is helpful - I think I need to continue on the basis that I only top up if I feel at my absolute wits end and that there's no choice. I'm pleased to report that I haven't felt the need to top up with formula since 0710 this morning (it's now 17.20) but she's only really had two major bfeeding sessions since then (each quite prolonged) so bracing myself for a hungry evening/night.

squiggleywiggler Wed 06-Jul-11 17:37:55

perrinelli sounds like you are doing AMAZINGLY today- well done.

Something else to try can be feeding in the bath. Let her lie with you in the water and then snuggle her up against you with no pressure to latch - they often latch really well and feed calmly.

Second the suggestion to do as much skin to skin as possible and trying not to top up if you can avoid it.

perrinelli Wed 06-Jul-11 18:03:06

Another quick question - she seems to really prefer the left side & sometimes I can't get her latched onto the right at all when it's the right's 'turn' but she will go back on the left again. Does anyone know what the consequences are of a baby feeding disproportionally more on one side than the other - does it matter? My breasts are quite different btw with the right one being a fair bit bigger (sorry if tmi)

RitaMorgan Wed 06-Jul-11 18:51:42

One side will probably get bigger and have a greater supply - ds has always favoured my right and that's the side I mostly fed off at night, and it has got a bit bigger.

BertieBotts Wed 06-Jul-11 18:56:41

Being able to latch easier on one side is really common in the first weeks, and usually improves as you both start to get used to latching. You can try and "trick" her by using the rubgy ball hold on the side she struggles to latch on.

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