Advanced search

We've spent weeks researching and testing breast pumps and bottles in real homes with real families. Read our baby feeding bottle and breast pump reviews to find out which ones were awarded Mumsnet Best.

Mixed fed 3 mo DD - suddenly refusing bottle

(34 Posts)
AgruminoMum Sat 23-Jul-11 18:09:09

Hi all

DD 3.5 mo have been sucessfully mixed fed 50:50 for the last two months. She had diarrea 3 weeks ago, so following doctor's advice I gave her diarrea specific formula (thicker than normal formula) for about 5 days. Afterwards I reintroduced her usual milk (Aptamil) and she kept cutting down on the quantities and over the last several days has been refusing the bottle very vocally. Also tried changing the milk but that only worked for about 3-4 bottles. She now refuses to even taste the contents of the bottle, so no point changing the milk again.

She is happily feeding on the breast - but the breasts doesn't have enough milk in the afternoon/evening, so this really is a big problem. I have been able to sneak in a bottle or two at night which is my only hope right now... Has anyone experienced similar problems? I spoke to a doctor on the phone who seemed to suggest that DD might be refusing the bottle since she is old enough to understand that she likes breastmilk more...which sound weird - why would a baby put herself on a hunger strike?

RitaMorgan Sat 23-Jul-11 18:13:37

Can you just keep breastfeeding until your supply catches up? Maybe just spend a couple of days doing nothing but feeding.

AgruminoMum Sat 23-Jul-11 18:28:02

I tried for a long time to increase my supply and it did not work. I am currently producing 500-600 ml, while she needs 800-900 ml a day. I am afraid that if I breastfeed exclusively, DD will start losing weight. Her weight has been stable over the last week (as in - no weight gain), and she didn't lose any weight only because I managed to sneak in a few bottles when she was half-asleep. Unfortunately, she seems more and more against the bottle, so not sure how long this strategy will work...

RitaMorgan Sat 23-Jul-11 19:17:40

Are you exclusively expressing breastmilk for her?

AgruminoMum Sat 23-Jul-11 21:14:25

Hi Rita - not expressing at all, she is sucking directly on the breast. Did exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 weeks, but due to poor weight gain, we started supplementing with formula. I was worried initially that she will stop sucking at the breast after we started the formula - but she is really loves the breast. Also my milk appears to have increased but it's still far from being enough. Not clear why I can't produce more though - I eat more than enough, drink a lot, have help around the house, and yet - not enough milk... Did try to express in addition to breastfeeding - but there is nothing left after a feed, and the pump is hurting my nipples, and generally I find it less effective than the baby itself.

TribbleWithoutACause Sat 23-Jul-11 21:22:39

Have you thought about a supplimental nursing system? Sorry I'm on my phone so can't do a link, but medela do one if you google it. This way you'll be able to get formula milk into her whilst she's at the breast.

Btw I've never used one but I've seen them around so it might be worth a look at.

Otherwise what bottles are you using? You could try a different brand or even a different teat to see if that makes a difference.

RitaMorgan Sat 23-Jul-11 21:28:41

I just wondered where you got the 500-600ml/800-900ml figures from.

Expressing isn't a good indication of your supply or how much the baby is getting - babies are more efficient at extracting milk than any pump as you have found! 800-900ml also sounds like quite a large amount of milk for a breastfed baby - on average they take about 750ml a day I believe, and the amount doesn't increase with age as it would with a formula fed baby.

Eating and drinking won't make much difference to your supply, but putting the baby to the breast more often will.

AgruminoMum Sun 24-Jul-11 08:05:58

Rita - have you actually tried this yourself? Because I did - I breastfed exclusively for 6 weeks, holding baby on breast for hours and hours - and yet we were admited in hospital for failure to thrive and spend a week there doing all kinds of tests and exams to determine that the only thing that doesn't work is my breast. And after introducing the formula DD started growing and stopped crying for hours and hours. So I know what the theory says, but I have come to the point to admit that it does not work for everyone in practice.
I know the milk quantities because I have been weighting DD before and after feed, and still do it every now and then to monitor milk production.

Anyway I didn't really want to have another discussion about breastmilk and the benefits, and the supply, and how comes it is not enough, and do we really need the formula...far too many discussions like this on MN. I was just wondering if anyone has experienced sudden bottle refusal after months of successful bottle feeding.

It actually looks like DD doesn't like the taste of formula anymore - I tried feeding her two different types of formula last night and she made a disgusted face. Did try the formula myself afterwards - and yes, I agree, yuk, not nice at all! I also tried giving her tea with the bottle - and she took it. So it seems that it is not a bottle aversion, but that at 3.5 months she is now able to recognize the taste, and has decided she doesn't like it... i guess breastmilk tastes better?

AgruminoMum Sun 24-Jul-11 08:14:57

Rita sorry didn't want to sound negative.. I am indeed putting DD on the breast every 1.5 hour now, given that she is hungry and only takes the breast. And would be lovely if my supply finally increases to a sufficient level. I just feel very pesimistic about this due to my initial experience, and I am searching for other solutions as well... don't want to get into the hospital again for failure to thrive, it is an experience to avoid at all costs sad

RitaMorgan Sun 24-Jul-11 08:24:54

Rather than it being a problem with your breasts, could it be that your baby has a problem removing the milk efficiently? Feeding for hours and hours and not gaining weight sounds like it could be a problem such as tongue tie, or poor latch. Sorry if you have already ruled this out.

RitaMorgan Sun 24-Jul-11 08:30:52

I really wasn't trying to tell you about the benefits of breastfeeding either, just trying to come up with some ideas to make it work if your dd is refusing formula.

AgruminoMum Sun 24-Jul-11 09:03:37

No tongue tie and latch is good. In fact, DD is very fast at sucking out the milk now. But a hungry one month old baby doesnt know much - so would continue sucking on empty breasts for hours, or scream when removed.

You say that babies only need 750 ml of breastmilk a day - where did you get this number? I keep referring to 800-900, because that's the amount of formula they would normally have a day. If 750 ml is enough, I might be closer than I thought...

Regarding breastfeeding - I feel that there is not enough information on how the whole process works. We are told to put baby on breast all the time, but it can't be that mechanical. I am sure stress level in mothers does influence the production, yet nobody talks about this. The only advice is eat, drink and rest enough...

BeehiveBaby Sun 24-Jul-11 09:16:33

Hipp Organic tastes the nicest IME. Tryed SMA White with DD3 as it is now the only veggie one I think but it tasted truely foul.

I don't know if stress affects production but it definitely affects my let down no question.

zzzzz Sun 24-Jul-11 09:50:46

What you eat and drink and how much you rest has a huge impact on the quality and quantity of milk you will produce.

Two things stuck me instantly about what you said.

The first is that the calory content of breast milk is not the same as formula, so you don't have to feed the same volume [number of ml] as you would formula. Remember that even in on feed the hinde milk and the fore milk are different consistancies/calorific values. So I shouldn't look at the formula for an indication of volumes required.

The second is that breast fed babies are lighter than formula fed babies anyway. There are 2 separate growth charts for a reason. Formula is higher in fat and formula fed babies carry more weight because of it. So if you are now exclusively bf your baby, she will not gain weight at the same rate and may lose a little or just not put any on for a bit.

Milk tends to be best in the morning because you are rested [in theory!], so I used to give a bottle at bedtime for my hungrier babies [I have had 5].

I wouldn't feed all the time, as that can make you sore and make the baby grumpy as they are getting little dribs and drabs of milk rather than a good feed. If the baby feeds longer [ie sucks on an empty breast for a bit after feeding] the supply should be stimulated.

Drinking is very important, you need to be super hydrated for the increase to kick in, so drink at least twice what you feed on top of your normal water intake. Funnily enough I am a water drinker normally but find drinking Yop/milk is better when I am tired/feeding.

My babies have all preferred the ready made formula than home mixed [which is frankly expensive but since I only use one bottle a day is ok-ish hmm ].

Sometimes at about 3 months you need to go up a teat sizes [it comes out easier] and sometimes as the bottles get older you need to do them up less tightly [so it comes out easier].

Is the baby active and alert when awake? Is it sleeping reasonable lengths of time in between feeds? Weighing all the time can just make you both anxious. I think sleep, activity levels/interest, and nappies are a better indicator of good health.

Breast feeding is a two people activity and whoever told you that it is all down to you having substandard boobs should be shot, even if they are a professional. I have had the whole range of feeders, from the supremely easy to no suck reflex at is both of you and it takes time to settle and get to know each other and you will both get better at it if you keep going and you will both love each other just as much if you don't.

tiktok Sun 24-Jul-11 12:15:19

zzzzz, happily, eating drinking and resting have zero effect on quality and quantity of breastfeeding/breastmilk , though I know there are strong beliefs otherwise....Big Myth, however. I am sorry to correct you on this and on other stuff, but it's important that the OP and anyone else lurking has good info.

There are not 2 different charts. The current chart in use in the UK is based on data from breastfed babies, which contrasts with the previous (obsolete) one which was based on babies whose feeding was not differetiated, though there would undoubtedly be many ff babies in the data sets. However the difference at 3.5 mths (age of OP's baby) is virtually nil - it's only really in the 2nd half of the 1st year that ff and bf babies start to diverge significantly.

The calorie content of breastmilk and formula milk is more or less the same (allowing for the difference between different samples of breastmilk which may well reflect the difference in fat content - but over 24 hours research shows that calorie content of formula/breastmilk has little difference). Babies who are breastfed may need less volume of breastmilk because the formula takes up calories in being digested. one can say what volume any individual baby needs at any one time.

It is fine to feed very frequently, and this is the normal physiological pattern for human infants, and if the milk is being transferred effectively increases the volume of milk taken in by the baby, and this allows for growth.

'Super hydration' is not needed for breastfeeding and in fact deliberately over drinking has been shown in research to reduce the amount of milk made.

Agrumino, sorry about your problems - you have been through a lot. I think it would help to speak to someone knowledgable in person. Not sure what sources of support you have explored - they can outline your options.

Mixed feeding 50-50 almost always means a reduction in milk supply and an eventual disappearence - it is very unusual for anyone to maintain a supply long term on this. Your dd almost certainly needs the formula in some form or other, at least some of it - your figures of how much you are producing and how much you need and what the shortfall is sound very prescriptive to me, so you could certainly check these out again, but with a real life person trained and qualified in breastfeeding support.

AgruminoMum Sun 24-Jul-11 12:43:57

Thanks everyone... I am indeed seeing a paediatrician tomorrow, but decided to post this thread to check if anyone has experienced similar bottle refusing problem.

It is all really confusing. DD actually seems content and alert, and not crying from hunger - which is confusing given that I know she is having about 50 ml per 2 hour feed in the evening (in the morning about 100 ml per 3 hr feed). She should be hungry, yet she seems to have decided it is ok. She gets a little bit more upset (but nothing like the hungry crying during the first month) in the evening - but still refuses bottle.

tiktok - I know that mixed feeding 50:50 is supposed to eventually lead to decrease milk supply and eventually stopping breastfeeding either due to that or to baby starting to prefer the bottle due to faster flow. Yet, exactly the opposite is happening to me. I have been doing 2 months of mixed feeding, and DD was happily drinking litres of formula. Yet, my milk is currently more than when she was 6 weeks old (we measured for days) - perhaps it is due to her sucking more lately, and also to me being less stressed than in the beginning. Also, she kept decreasing the formula intake over 3 weeks, and she is now refusing to take it at all (my guess is due to the taste, and not to bottle aversion, as explained before). I am now measuring milk supply again (weighting before and after a feed). It is no longer stressful as I don't take it emotionally (it was very emotional the first time) but as a scientific experiment. I did manage to feed her a bottle at 5.30 am this morning while she was asleep, so this is my only strategy right now (before the doctors come up with other ideas). I should be able to squeeze in 2 feeds of 150 ml at night, which should make up for the shortfall. Again - would be lovely to have sufficient milk supply - but I am more or less pessimistic about it.

AgruminoMum Sun 24-Jul-11 12:48:47

p.s. would be lovely to have some real scientific research about how our breasts work. There is too much urban myths out there and not clear which ones are actually true. I no longer trust LaLeche League (far too political/religious), or WHO (guidance geared towards third world countries with limited access to fresh water), NHS (too political)...

tiktok Sun 24-Jul-11 15:10:54

agrumino - test weighing (weighing before and after a feed) is not usually considered to be an accurate way to measure intake, sorry. One reason is that most scales cannot calibrate to a sufficient degree of accuracy.

There is plenty of scientific info about how breastfeeding works - try this:

Not sure your criticisms of the other sources of info are justified, to be honest. LLL is deliberately non-religious; WHO guidance is for all; don't see politics in NHS info at all.

TribbleWithoutACause Sun 24-Jul-11 15:20:59

Argumino Have you looked at Dr Jack Newman and the Kellymom. They seem to be the more quoted people on MN. I especially like Kellymom, everything I read on there seems to be backed up with articles and peer studies. I tend to go with what Kellymom states more often than not these days.

Also it could be that as she's been decreasing the formula she's been upping your supply slowly. Does she seem happy coming off of the breast?

There is a section on kellymom about increasing your supply, I don't know what you did before. But there is stuff on there about switch nursing, going on the pump for a few minutes after a feed (not to get anything out but more for the stimulation to get your body to increase the milk supply).

I do hope things get better for you.

RitaMorgan Sun 24-Jul-11 16:58:34

There's a section on Kellymom regarding how much milk breastfed babies consume. The average is around 25oz a day (750ml) with a range of 19oz-30oz in different babies, and this is stable from about 1 month until weaning - the amount of breastmilk a baby needs doesn't change with age/weight as it does with formula. I think this is because the fat content of breastmilk changes over time, whereas of course formula is exactly the same product all the time.

zzzzz Mon 25-Jul-11 20:59:36

Tiktok, Thanks for putting me straight on the not eating/resting for increasing production. I have to admit to thinking you are talking rubbish! But I have no data just 5 children and 10 years experience of doing it. I would like to see the research because I am now beginning to think I have alien non-human boobs. grin

If your scales can weigh down to 1g then I can't see how it can't be an indication of your output. Again, interested to hear what else the weight difference could be? Even with 10g accuracy you will get a realistic idea of what is going on. I have no personal experience in measuring breast milk in this way [though I do have a degree in Mech Eng with biomedical Engineering, and spent my final year part time in a neonatal unit] but it seems sensible.

Perhaps they use different charts in different parts of the country, my youngest is now 4 so it is possible I am antique in my views/experience. hmm

Of course it is fine to feed all the time and it will increase your supply, but and it is a big BUT, it is exhausting and my babies tend to be more windy and less settled if I do this, because they drink a lot of fore milk which is thirst quenching but not as satisfying as drinking right to the end.

I seem to have upset you tiktok....these are my own personal views, I love bf and have bf alot, but not all of it is easy or knowledge you have instinctively. Sometimes it helps to have a non-medical veiw, and sometimes it helps to have cool hard facts. Personally I found NHS bf counsilors in my area were not too helpful, but have no experienc eof the others mentioned.

agrumino, I hope the appointment goes well and you get some helpful advice. I remember what it was like to have a baby that just dropped and dropped in weight [with me it turned out that I was the problem and I ended up having an emergency appendotimy and then her weight just righted itself over the next 3 or 4 months].

tiktok Mon 25-Jul-11 23:41:03

I am absolutely not talking rubbish smile I will post references tomorrow. I have them coming out of my ears, as mumsnet regulars know smile

Very few scales outside a laboratory can weigh to 1g accuracy. Most scales for sale for use by HCPs in a clinic would not claim anything like that - scales need calibrating, regular servicing and weighing is something you need to be trained in. Test weighing is not a good indication of breastfeeding effectiveness for several reasons.

Charts in the UK are all the same now - and my point about divergence stands anyway.

You are misunderstanding foremilk and hindmilk. Babies do not usually drink 'right to the end'. It is not inherently exhausting to feed often .

You haven't upset me. What does perturb me, I suppose, is someone talking from experience and assuming that what they have read or experienced is a general truth - 'cos that can be misleading. You spoke from your experience in exactly that way - experience is fine and sharing experience is fine but it has limitations.

zzzzz Mon 25-Jul-11 23:59:01

As far as I remember our baby scales went up in 10g increments. I'm sorry I didn't mean "upset" as in you were just sound so aggressive.

I am of course talking from experience and have tried to make that very clear in each post, presuming that OP could then give the weight she feels is appropriate to that information. I am not trying to be misleading in any way.

Talking about bf without experience has limitations too.

Still I am interested to read your research and would also be happy to hear what your understanding of fore and hind milk is. You are welcome to pm me if you feel that is more appropriate.

I assume as a regular you know how to do that.

MigGril Tue 26-Jul-11 07:55:37

ZZZZZ - tiktok is a trained NCT breastfeeding counciler and as such she has to have fed at lest one child exculsivly for at lest 6months, if I remeber the critira correctly. In fact all volantry orginisation who train pear supporters and councilers ask that you have personal experiance in order to do the training.

I learned in my helper training and it's shown more and more to me every day as I help women that personal experance can be good in making a women feel like she's not the only one. But being objective and giving correct information so that a women can make her own choices baise on the research avaible is acutally far more improtant.

Even if you have scales that are that acutrate unless your in a control enviroment lot's of things could effect the weight on the scales by a couple of grams. I'm a trained Physicist so should no a thing or two about measuring acuratly.

zzzzz Tue 26-Jul-11 10:07:02

MigGril I am not trying to put down tiktoks experience [though the reverse does not appear to be true]. The information I have given is correct in my experience, as presumably tiktoks is in hers [be that theoretical or practical, though I obviously have no idea what that is]. Weighing a baby is not rocket science, so long as you don't change clothes or nappy during the process the system is closed. I too have spent a lot of time in labs, grin and in hospitals.

I think we are hijacking poor OP's thread, so as I said above, feel free to pm me or start a new thread to discuss the relative merits of practice versus training courses etc and direct me to it, but in the meantime, the information above helped me and I hope will help the OP.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: