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Did one night on formula 'harm' my EBF baby?

(13 Posts)
wolfhound Wed 06-Jul-11 10:56:57

DC3 born 3 weeks ago. At 5 days, MW sent us to hospital because she'd lost too much weight. She turned out to be severely jaundiced and needed a night under UV light, with a tube in her nose to be fed (so she didn't have to come out of the UV light).

That night she had formula top-up for 4 feeds (because I couldn't express as much milk as the doctor felt she needed) - she had about 40mls formula each feed.

Apart from that, she's been EBF (thanks in part to the lovely midwives who ignored the doctors' suggestion we carry on with formula top-ups afterwards and encouraged me to trust the BF). No damage to the BF relationship (I BF both my previous DCs for a year each so am confident with that).

A couple of people have said that the formula feeds will have been harmful to her, but not expanded. Possibly they mean to her digestion? Introducing potential bacteria? I really don't know. It seems unlikely to me, but does anyone know what they're talking about?

jenniec79 Wed 06-Jul-11 11:01:31

No, she'll be fine. I'm assuming the FF was made up properly!

Ignore the people with the crazy opinions, they're just being entirely OTT. She'd be more "hurt" by a stressed out mummy. Are they assuming "bottle fed" and potential problems going back on the breast? I think they have at the very least got mixed messages.

COI: exclusively formula fed in SCBU. 30 yrs ago. Doing fine, thankyou.

WoTmania Wed 06-Jul-11 11:02:53

There is the 'virgin gut' theory - but it is just a theory. EBF will help your baby's gut return to normal anyway.
i would say in your case to regard the formula top ups as a medicine (whihc it was really_) which helped get her through that problem

jenniec79 Wed 06-Jul-11 11:03:07

And for an adult analogy, if a particularly healthy person, always eating home cooked nutritious stuff, would you be permanently harmed by one ready meal when stressed out and poorly over something else? Or even an occasional McD's?

HappyAsASandboy Wed 06-Jul-11 11:05:44

I have the same frustration. I have completely breastfed my twins, except for the formula the paediatrician gave my DD as soon as she was born as her temp was slightly low and she needed the heat lamp. It was the first food she had sad.

Now I know that she didn't need food that quickly I am angry about it. I didn't feed her twin brother for hours after birth (another story), so I am sure she didn't need formula so urgently.

It also seems bonkers to me to feed DD formula when I am lying in a bed leaking colostrum and my birth plan is covered with requests for help with Breastfeeding.

Trying not to dwell on it as I can't change things. Wouldn't let it happen with any subsequent babies though.

UniS Wed 06-Jul-11 11:06:00

no- you'll be fine. Sounds like you are doing well and both of you are getting teh hang of this feeding lark. Keep up teh good work.

Suspect the worriers may have been over concerned because formula does introduce different flora and fauna into a childs gut , but as your back with EBF I would expect 160ml of formula 2 weeks ago would have no noticeable effect now.

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

Glad things are working out for you, wolfhound.

How undermining of people to say this! Formula does change the baby's gut temporarily. It does introduce 'potential bacteria' and this does affect the 'environment' of the gut - temporarily.

Breastfeeding fixes all this and the gut is 'normified' after a short time.

In a few susceptible, highly allergic babies, this might have a longer term effect but it would be very difficult to pinpoint anything and trace it back to a small amount of formula.

In individual cases the small risk of this happening is matched by the probably more serious risk of allowing a newborn to become dehydrated or undernourished. In an ideal world, babies would be supplemented by other human milk if the mother's is not forthcoming, but we don't live in that ideal world.

Note that when the WHO did their massive data collection to form the weight charts now in use, babies were included as 'breastfed' even if they had had a small amount of formula at some point.

What always annoys me is when people say 'any formula destroys the goodness of breastmilk' which is absolutely untrue.

Hope this helps smile

KD0706 Wed 06-Jul-11 11:45:24

I completely understand how you feel. When DD was in SCBU I came in one morning to find they had been tube feeding her formula all night despite the fact I had expressed milk in their freezer. I was really upset at the time and even now (she's 14mo) feel a bit dodgy when I say she was ebf!!

Tiktok is of course the authority on this smile so needs no backing up from me, but from my own reading, my understanding is that the gut does restore itself fairly quickly once you're back to ebf.

peedieworky Wed 06-Jul-11 11:51:27

Gah! Just posted a similar story in response to another thread. In short I was told the same thing by a midwife and it just about tore my heart out. Don't listen to them - you do what you have to do for the best. You weren't force feeding them Pizza - you were putting your baby's needs first by giving your child the nutrients they needed to survive. Which makes you a fab Mum in my book.

wolfhound Wed 06-Jul-11 11:58:43

Thank you very much all! And a special thanks to tiktok for the authoritative answer I can come back to any detractors with - the change to DD's gut was just TEMPORARY!

Much appreciated. I do everything I can to make my babies' first year of life a nutritious one because when they become -toddlers-- and start refusing veg-- and demanding biscuits -it-- all goes to pot.

wolfhound Wed 06-Jul-11 11:59:20

oops the strikeouts didn't work so well there!

but thanks again smile

MedicalEd Wed 06-Jul-11 13:02:23

wolfhound, my DD had formula top-ups due to late TT spotting, very long feeds bla bla bla.
When she was back on just boob for two weeks the HV said to me that this was great because now her gut would be back to normal.
So hope that helps, any changes have all been reversed by now due to your fantastic work ebf'ing.
And shame on all those detractors and double shame on the so-called health professionals saying that too.

wolfhound Wed 06-Jul-11 13:34:41

thanks MedicalEd. DD is a very contented baby (so far) so that implies all well too!

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