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Hospital put us on formula, now its difficult

(13 Posts)
Patopopo Mon 11-Jul-11 12:52:47

I'm hoping someone can give us advice.
Our daughter had a head injury at birth due to multiple unsuccessful tries with the vontuse and then out came the forceps. This head injury isn't so serious but her head was very swollen and it created a bit of jaundice. But the next day the hospital doctor said DD was within the jaundice threshold, with room to spare and could go home.
So we took her home and she was doing well. However the community mid-wife came around the next day. She was young and from eastern europe and said because my wife's breast milk hadn't come in yet and because the baby had some head trauma and was looking a little jaundice we needed to go back to the hospital and the A&E department. Our feeling was the mid-wife was simply playing it safe. I pointed this out but she insisted we had to go. So off we went back to hospital and of course the NHS A&E doctor (a very strict German woman) said we didn't really need to be there because the baby was totally fine and still within the safe jaundice threshold. However because DD was now in the A&E's care and with some head trauma and jaundice and because my wife's milk hadn't come in, the doctor insisted that we feed her formula milk before she was allowed to leave the hospital. We pointed out that we only wanted to breast feed and that introducing formula milk wasn't what we wanted. But the doctor was keen to stress that it was necessary to prevent further jaundice and that the formula milk wouldn't effect the baby eventually taking breast milk. So we accepted what they told us and gave DD the formula milk in hospital A&E.
It's been 19 days since DD was born; my wife's breast milk came in after day five and she has been BF feeding very regularly as demanded by the baby. The problem is DD isn't satisfied with the breast milk alone. She will drink it and then want a formula top up. But if she takes formula alone she will be satisfied. However she just isn't satisfied with only taking breast milk.
We are very frustrated because we didn't want to introduce formula milk at such an early age but the NHS health system forced itself upon us and now we can't do without the formula. This formula milk is almost like being addicted to a drug for our DD and I'm pretty sure formula top ups are having a negative impact on the total amount of milk my wife is producing. We did try breast pumping to confirm the breast milk volume and while not a large amount it is definitely there every few hours. Does anyone have any advice to get off the formula milk?

mummynoseynora Mon 11-Jul-11 12:55:32

does your wife offer both breasts at each feed?

RuthChan Mon 11-Jul-11 12:59:23

It sounds like this has all been very traumatic for you both. I'm sorry you've had to go through all this.
You are right, the formula will be having a negative effect on your wife's supply. It would be better to stop giving the formula and to allow your DD to suckle for longer on the breast. This would stimulate your wife's breasts to produce more milk and therefore your DD would be satisfied with BF alone.
Please don't compare what your wife can pump with how much your DD is drinking. I was never able to get more than 30ml in total from both breasts by pumping. However, both my DCs were perfectly satisfied with BFing alone. Babies are far more effective at pumping than pumps are!

Patopopo Mon 11-Jul-11 13:04:48

Hi Mummynoseynora: Yes she uses both breasts.
Hi RuthChan: Thanks for that good advice.

(It seems I posted this question twice on the forum. Sorry about that. Maybe its better to just reply to this thread and ignore the other thread.)

earthwormalot Mon 11-Jul-11 13:11:37

I second RuthChan's advice, this is what the bf councillor advised me after DD was given formula in SBCU. Don't offer formula as a top up and keep the baby at the breast to suckle and therefore stimulate more milk production.

So sorry it was so traumatic for you all. Hope you and the new arrival are settling back into to normal life now.

tiktok Mon 11-Jul-11 13:30:07

I am an NCT breastfeeding counsellor. I am going to sound a note of warning - no one can tell you or should tell you just to drop the formula, because there is not enough info in your posts....however, you can certainly aim to drop the formula, while building up breastmilk supply.

The advice you got in A&E sounds very poor indeed, and it is a real shame you are in this position.

You need to speak to a HV, a midwife or a breastfeeding counsellor and work out a proper plan on reducing the formula, day by day.

It's true that expressing does not give you any idea on what you are producing or what is going into the baby - so this is not a good guide. However, you can express and give this to your baby instead of formula.

Your baby will boost supply by feeding on both sides at least and doing this often day and night....but you do need a plan.

Hope this helps.

trufflesbum Mon 11-Jul-11 16:41:50

Hi Patopopo. I (unfortunately) had a similar experience. My now 7 week old son's birth was long and traumatic (and eventually an emergency c-section). He was also jaundiced. The hospital were certain that I wasn't producing enough milk for him (!) and that I should top him up with formula. I had also hoped to breast feed him exclusively.

When I said I didn't want him to have formula I was told I needed to in order to be discharged. When I again said I didn't want him to have it, they said they'd have to refer me to Social Services! Eventually tiredness won out, and he had the formula, and it was a slippery slope, with him needing topping up at every feed.

Now, at 7 weeks he is exclusively breast fed and gaining weight well. He's perfectly healthy (other than a couple of small scars on his head sad ).

I spent much of the day with my son on the breast (and sometimes felt like that's all I did!). Sometimes we would sit for a couple of hours at a time and he would feed and feed and feed. I gradually reduced the formula top ups as my milk supply increased to match his demand. I was incredidbly hard work for a good week or so, and there were a few tears involved, but so very worth it!

Just wanted to let you know it's very do-able, but that your wife is likely to need plenty of support from you while she spends hours stuck on the sofa feeding and feeding and feeding!

Good luck!

ohanotherone Mon 11-Jul-11 16:54:18

Hiya, I had this with my son, I fed him alot and gradually reduced the formula and by about 6 weeks he was off the formula. I also pumped and expressed (EBM) in the morning too rather than give formula so that I had spare milk in the evenings when he wanted most milk, this was more something I thought would work for us rather than being sound advice for you, maybe the HV suggested it though, she was really nice. As Tiktok says you need a plan and I agree that you are right in saying that the formula tops up are impacting on the milk supply.

Basically, my plan was both breasts, EBM if still not satisfied, formula as a last resort. Good Luck!!!!!

kalo12 Mon 11-Jul-11 17:02:15

how do you know the baby isn't satisfied? i had to bf my baby constantly, sometimes for 3 hours somtimes every 20 mins. this is normal. i had alot of breast milk but i could never pump more than a tiny bit. my ds gained weight at first but then slowed down and docs advised formula, but i didn't i bf for 22 months

japhrimel Mon 11-Jul-11 19:31:07

She'll need to drop the formula. What I did was express and transition the top-ups to EBM before gradually dropping the top-ups. However my DD was on top-ups because of 15% weight loss from birth and feeding issues, so doing a babymoon and dropping the top-ups quicker wasn't an option for us.

ilovemydogandMrObama Mon 11-Jul-11 19:42:59

What are the signs that your DD isn't satisfied? I know that my 7 week old, when she is hungry will root or try and find milk by any means possible and sometimes includes a head butt!

Although b/fing is supply and demand, reducing formula slowly is probably best if your DD is reliant on it.

VeronicaCake Mon 11-Jul-11 20:52:56

I think the point about what are the signs your baby is not satisfied is very good. Breastfeeding is about more than food. If a baby wants to feed and snuggle close to Mum for aaaaages and squeaks every time she tries to move away this doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong. The baby is just new and frightened and likes the security and warmth of its mother.

Formula fills up tummies faster so the baby may feel very full and have lots of food to digest and so fall into a deep sleep. But not all babies fall asleep when they are satisfied. My DD would feed for aaaages, then bob off and be happy to be put down to look around, before getting tired and needing to be rocked to sleep. She only started feeding to sleep at 4m (which is the point when all the crazy baby advice books tell you you must stop feeding to sleep or your baby will be ruined! This is not true).

Obviously if there are other signs that things aren't well like slow or nonexistent weight gain, constant weak grizzling, lots of green poos, a shortage of wet or dirty nappies then you may have cause for concern. But do review what is making you think your daughter is left unsatisfied by breastfeeding.

shuckleberryfinn Mon 11-Jul-11 22:05:23

there is a way back, I've been there. Get a hold of any and as much professional trained support as you can. I was lucky, our local "breast is best" group sent round a few very nice and smart people and also a hospital grade pump. Their help for me was priceless, my little girl has been off the top ups for 7 ish weeks now.

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