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Mixed feeding advice for new mums

(17 Posts)
Baby2b Tue 23-Aug-11 13:18:47

I am due my first child any time now and want to be as clued up as possible on feeding options. I intend to breast feed, but am fully aware it is difficult. I didn't realise until recently there was an option to mix feed.

Four of the ladies from my nct class have been told they aren't producing enough milk and should supplement with formula. Then try to reduce formula, which they are having problems with. All four of them are ready to switch to ff full time (babies between 1week and 8 weeks).

It has kind of thrown my thoughts on feeding and gave me quite a few questions. How does your body know to produce more milk if you are bottle feeding? Has mixed feeding been successful for anyone or should I see it as the sign to switch to ff? Is there anything I can do to reduce the need for formula?

I don't want this to be a breast vs ff debate. I personnally want to breast feed and am intrigued that nct and nhs antenatal never mentioned this apparent middle ground?

posterofawolef Tue 23-Aug-11 13:27:44

My advice is not to be bullied by HCP. I wish someone had told me that 'top ups' would be shoved at me.
I do supplement with 2 formula feeds a day otherwise my DD doesn't gain weight. We had huge problems with traumatic birth and then trying to establish with an injured baby and an injured mom.

I'm sure one of the experts will be along in a minute to give you some proper advice but I have made mixed feeding work even though it's more work and it breaks my heart.

BaronessBomburst Tue 23-Aug-11 13:36:59

Breast milk is produced on demand. The more a baby suckles, the more the body will produce. Your colleagues have been given some seriously flawed advice, and this has very likely resulted in reduced milk production, especially for the lady with the week old baby! sad

I was induced and my milk was very slow to come in. DS had to have top-ups for three days as he was losing weight and we were threatened with hospitalisation. I feed him as best I could, then whilst DH gave him a formula top-up, I pumped like mad to get my supply going. By the second day I had enough BM to use that for the top-ups, and after 3 days my supply had increased enough to dispense with them all together. 18 months later and I'm still feeding him myself.

I think mixed-feeding in the early days is not generally a success and not a middle ground! Maybe for an older baby, once BF is established, and if a mother has to go back to work for example, and so can only BF morning, evening, weekends etc.

Please post here or contact La Leche League and don't take advice from whoever they did - at least not if you want to BF!!!

Cleverything Tue 23-Aug-11 13:39:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

juneau Tue 23-Aug-11 13:40:31

You won't necessarily need to mix-feed, so I'd just concentrate on getting BF established and see how it goes. It seems that here in the UK health visitors immediately suggest mix-feeding rather than ways to boost your milk supply, but most women can BF exclusively, as long as they have the right help and support. Plus, supplementing becomes a vicious circle because you give your baby a bottle of formula and your body learns to make even less milk than before. It's supply and demand - which is why BF mothers are advised to feed on demand - that way your body should learn to make enough milk.

When I had my first child (in the US), I found the La Leche League invaluable - they helped me get BF established and trouble shoot any problems as they came up (latch, engorgement, blocked ducts, sore nipples, etc). The best thing to do is read up on BFing before you give birth. Go to a BFing class if you can. Talk to other mothers who BF. Chat to a La Leche League counsellor or go to a meeting if you can. Get yourself educated about the common problems and how to overcome them. All of that will stand you in really good stead and make the niggly problems of the early days less overwhelming and unexpected.

juneau Tue 23-Aug-11 13:45:16

This is a great book for learning about breast feeding:

Baby2b Tue 23-Aug-11 13:49:05

Thank you for the good advice. I think I was just surprised as at least two of the women were very strong advocates of breast is the only way. I have done a reasonable amount of reading and my dh is very supportive, I suppose I just need to try and remain confident about it.

Unfortunately our bf session with nct wasn't very good and we all came away a little bemused. The councillor expected us to be shocked and embarrassed by the breast feeding pics. Think that could be another thread in itself. smile

I expect to become a regular in this area on mumsnet grin

juneau Tue 23-Aug-11 13:57:18

If you really want to BF, often that's enough, because it gives you the impetus to keep going when you have a bad day. And I think just accepting that BFing is an art to be learned by you and your baby together is helpful. Yes, it's natural, but that doesn't mean that it always comes naturally IYSWIM. It's a skill and when you've nailed it you won't look back, but for a few weeks you'll both be learning and as long as you accept that then you should be fine smile

TittyBojangles Tue 23-Aug-11 16:07:21

My best advice would be to find out where and when your local bf support groups are (presuming there are some). And if you possibly can go along now before your LO arrives as you will get chance to make some bf friends, and make it all less daunting once you have a baby in tow. The more people who you can see successfully bf the better imo, it really does help to speak to people who have been where you are and come out of the other side. Of course bf may just come easily and with no problems for you but it helps to be prepared. smile

EauRouge Tue 23-Aug-11 16:19:46

I second buying or borrowing The Womanly Art of BF, it's a very good book. If there's a LLL group near you then it's worth going along; you can go before your baby arrives, pregnant women are always very welcome. You can find groups here. I'd steer clear of whoever's been advising your NCT friends!

Yes, do become a regular on this forum grin It's been so helpful and supportive to me and I've learnt loads from reading other threads.

Kellymom is a great resource too.

verylittlecarrot Tue 23-Aug-11 16:40:39

You say of breastfeeding "it is difficult".

It might not be, you know! And it is possible to breastfeed without giving formula too. It isn't some unattainable holy grail. It really helps to prepare in advance, which you are doing. It also helps to recognise when someone is spouting rubbish, so that you can know they are not knowledgeable about breastfeeding and dismiss their advice. This applies especially to midwives and health visitors. Judge them on the quality of their advice. They sometimes are very ignorant of breastfeeding.

I knew some stuff from research before my baby arrived. I'd watched videos online of biological nurturing, the "assymetric latch", recognising swallowing and milk transfer, and breast compressions. So we got a perfect latch from the get go.

What I didn't know (and a midwife gave me very bad advice on) was how frequently I needed to feed, and that I might have to wake a sleepy baby to feed. This came as quite a surprise.

Learn as much as you can now!

Mampig Tue 23-Aug-11 17:12:31

Hi there! I never imagined I'd still be bf my ds who is 8 wo!! We had very rocky start with nipples cracked and bleedingsad. My mw was good. Showed me how to feed lying down and was very supportive in the early days. I think what kept me going was just taking it one feed at a time and looking forward to dozing at night while ds fed on wink. In the first week I gave one or two bottles to give my nipples a break. I cried while giving them sad. But 8 weeks on and he's still ebf!!! It's so easy now that I wouldn't even consider ff as it's so complicated!! My advice along with the excellent advice from the others, is to see how things go. I got a bit stubborn about bf but I'm glad I did. I do think that mixed feeds are a very slippery slope to ff. Good luck with your new baby- hope it all goes well!

Baby2b Tue 23-Aug-11 17:15:05

I will have a look on amazon for that book now and investigate local Bf groups. Thank you for making me feel much better about it all again. I think I just had a panic that I was being too naive.

organiccarrotcake Wed 24-Aug-11 12:42:09

This also is an beautiful book:

and well worth having on your shelf next to The Womanly Art.

You might wish to write out the telephone support line numbers and stick them to your fridge:

NCT: 0300 330 0771
LLL: 0845 120 2918
ABM: 08444 122 949

All these are run by volunteers and it's quite normal to have to dial a few times to get through to someone so don't be disheartened - do keep trying - and call them for any reason, or of course post here anytime.

Baby2b Thu 01-Sep-11 03:40:02

An update: 6 days into bf my beautiful boy and it's going really well. Had a great intro to breastfeeding at the hospital, before going home the same day. My midwife has been fantastic too and helped me fix my latch. Baby wasn't on properly and was getting too windy. Not had any problems with being sore (I heart lanolingrin).

Dh helped cut back the number of visitors, which has given me time to stay in bed more and just let the baby feed. Think we were both shocked at how all consuming bf is. Neither nct or nhs really prepared us for this. Thankfully your book recommendations and advice have helped me go with what feels right. Food of love has really helped dh too. My nct groups constant chat about Gina had him worried I was over feeding and spoiling the baby to begin with.

Thank you so much again. It is early days, I'm shattered, but I'm loving feeding my little boy smile

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 01-Sep-11 03:54:16

That's brilliant, congratulations on your son. So glad breastfeeding is going well. It is all consuming at this age, but it pays off no end. A few months in, it's a million times easier than ff, just because of the logistics involved, which is why it's such a shame that women stop early. I mean for their sake, because they get all the hard bit and then none of the easy bit!

And I'm sure you know this, but you CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT over feed an exclusively breastfed baby. And you CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT spoil a newborn. You can't. You really, really can't. They don't have the cognitive skills to be 'spoilt' they're just a delightful little bundle of primal needs, who are incredibly vulnerable and need all the comfort and nutrition they can get. I mean, if you were helpless and unable to move or communicate on your own, you'd want to be in constant contact with your protector-nurturer-source of food, wouldn't you?

lilham Thu 01-Sep-11 08:21:55

Congratulations on getting to day 6. I wasn't prepared for how time consuming taking care of a newborn is. It seems to be an endless cycle of feed, nappy change, rock to sleep and then back to feed again. I remembered sometimes it took so long to try to get her to sleep we were back to need to check nappies and feed because 2 hours would have passed! But it will get easier.

And just forget about Gina Ford. I've tried her and honestly I don't think you can get a bf baby to fit the feed schedule. Iirc, it's 7am, 10am then 2pm even in the early days of 2 weeks. And I was left thinking there's no way my tiny 2wo will go 4 hours between feeds!

If you are worry about creating a good sleep habit, I recommend Elizabeth Pantley's no cry sleep solution. It's very bf friendly. She basically says before 4mo, the baby lives in the newborn pattern of not distinguishing day and night. So all you try to do in the first few months is 1) help her to tell day from night, by being quiet in night feeds, and cheerful during the day, 2) try your hardest to put your DS into cot/moses basket half awake. But we all know this is a hard task and sometimes not possible. 3) Try to establish a bed routine when you are close to the 4mo mark. One thing she reassured me is that you don't have to impose any cruel routine to have a baby sleeping through. And ofc being realistic about what is sleeping through. (I see anything going from 11pm to 6am as an excellent night).

Also, you almost can never overfeed a bf baby. Milk doesn't just fall out the breast like a bottle. The baby can suckle at the end of a feed for comfort without filling the tummy up. That's why you'll notice a lot of ff babies use dummies. However, some babies do like to suckle a lot and one EBF mum from my NCT group uses a dummy for her LO with success.

Good luck with bf. Have your DS gained back his birth weight yet?

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