7 weeks and thinking of stopping BF(26 Posts)
My daughter will be 7 weeks old on Saturday. Breastfeeding went well from the start and she is gaining weight and i feel pretty proud of myself so far.
She feeds every 2 hours, she isnt sicky/burpy, she just has bad bottom wind which we have got under control.
Even though i am lucky enough to have had no issues, i am seriously thinking of throwing in the towel, but i feel so guilty.
My issues are (and i know they seem selfish) i want a bit of time for me, ie: a bit more than an hour to go to the shops alone. I underestimated the commitment of breastfeeding and i always seem in the minority when im out and about and trying to feed her. I have friends with formula fed babies who are sleeping for 5-6 hours and my friends can share the load of feeding with a partner and are less tired than me. My nipples are sore too not cracked, just over used
BUT i know that ill feel guilty for doing so and, im rambling now
I guess im just after any advice or tips, or words of encouragement to keep going
What to do?
one day soon it's very likely that you'll go "oh, she hasn't fed for aages".
Of course if you want to FF go for it but then washing bottles, sterilising, boiling kettles, measuring scoops out, cooling bottles, paying for all of that? All very knackering too. With boob there's no preparation and you never run out.
I'm fast coming to the conclusion that some babies sleep and some don't and there's not much you can do about it. Whatever you decide you aren't alone.
The thing is that your DD won't be feeding every two hours for too much longer - the intervals do get bigger as she gets older, and before you know it you will have more time for yourself. And if you keep going till you wean her at six months, that's only another four months, which will be much easier than the two that have just passed.
I gave up BF with DS2 at 3 months because I couldn't cope with being pinned to the sofa for hours on end every day while DS1 (then not yet two) caused havoc to get my attention. So if this is your first child, make the most of BF, because if you have another you might find then that you just don't have the luxury of time for it.
But don't feel bad for thinking of giving up - this is as much about you as your DD, and if you are tired of BF then give yourself a pat on the back for getting this far and embrace FF (which really isn't as much hassle as shuckleberryfinn says) and will give your other half something to do, as well!
It doesn't have to be all or nothing you know.
I've always been useless at expressing, but from about 7 weeks I gave ds an occasional bottle of formula (maybe one a week) - it meant that at 8 weeks DP and I could go out for the evening, and that I could go out on my own for more than an hour at a time.
I'm not sure how much the type of milk a baby has really effects sleep - my ds was sleeping 8 hours a night by 8 weeks (though this only lasted til 18 weeks ) and always slept better after a breastfeed - but a bottle of formula could mean you going to bed early and your partner doing the next feed so you get a good run of sleep. From 4 months we did a formula dreamfeed every night at 11pm, and although it didn't make ds sleep any longer it did mean I could go to bed at 9pm and sleep til his next feed at 3am (or even sometimes go out and drink!).
I'm still breastfeeding ds at almost 13 months by the way - he hasn't regularly had formula since 8 months when he dropped the dreamfeed, though now he has cups of cow milk in the day and I bf morning and bedtime (but it doesn't matter if I miss a feed, and he has been able to stay overnight with my mum since 6 months).
I guess what I'm saying is - exclusive breastfeeding is obviously the best thing, and at 7 weeks you have done the hardest part. My ds continued to feed 2-3 hourly til he was on solids, but by then it was easier to go out and leave him with food/water - that time does go really quickly. But if you don't feel you can continue with exclusive breastfeeding, then mix feeding is a totally realistic option to consider before switching entirely to formula. Your baby gets the benefits of breastmilk, but you also get the benefits of sometimes sharing feeds, and the convenience of breastfeeding if for example you go on holiday/take a flight/decide at the last minute to spend the night at a friend's house. You never need to worry about having bottles and milk to hand.
If your nipples are still sore at 7 weeks, there could be some alterations to be made to your baby's latch or positioning to improve things. Can you get to a support group or see a breastfeeding counsellor?
If you want more time to yourself (and no its not selfish!) there are other options rather than stopping bf. Have you tried expressing? Thats one option. A bottle of formula every now and then is another option plenty of people do this. Also, if whoever is with your dd while you are out takes her out for a nice walk or a drive or something, there is no reason she wont go for 2 hours or even 3 without feeding, she will probably just sleep.
FFing will absolutely not guarantee that she sleeps more. Some babies sleep well, some dont. My DS went through a terrible sleep phase and I questioned whether it was a bf thing loads. However, my friends DS is ff and he is just as bad a sleeper, so I was never seriously tempted to stop. Again if you do need a night off, your dp could do a night shift with some ebm or formula. We did that once, I slept in the spare room. I think DS was about 4 or 5m old and it was bliss. Although I did wake up with ginormo-boobs!
Re the tiredness, have you thought about co-sleeping. It has been a lifesaver for us during feeding frenzy times. In case you worry that it means youll never get her out of your bed, DS is now 11.5m and hasnt slept in our bed (unless its been our choice ie on camping holiday) for months now.
I promise you, it only gets easier from now on.
PS re the nipples, are you sure sure sure that the latch is ok? They shouldnt be sore.
I'm mix feeding my 9wk DD after lots and lots of problems (background here).
There are a lot of reasons why I wanted (want, but not much hope) to EBF:
-- No prep - in the middle of the night you just pick the baby up, feed and you're done. No washing and sterilising, or in my case pumping as well.
-- Ease of leaving the house - you don't have to carry around bottles and formula, etc. What if baby decides she's hungry twice while we're out? Two bottles/boxes of formula. What if we're out all day? I feel tethered to the house by bottle feeding.
-- Money - formula is expensive!
-- Bonding - I'm heartbroken not to be able to provide food and comfort to my DD at the same time while bfing (am still bfing, but she hates it and cries for her bottle every time )
-- Comfort - I would love to be able to comfort her with the breast in the way I was able to at the beginning when she was ebfing.
There are some things that are positives, though I'd give them up in an instant:
-- Husband can give her a bottle for her last feed after I bf so I can go to sleep.
-- I had to feed her on the bus once. That would've been harder bfing.
-- If I have to leave her, it's possible.
-- I only have to bf in public if I choose to, though I've realised I have no shame apparently!
It's a personal decision, and you have to do what's best for you and your family, but personally I find bottle feeding much, much more labour intensive.
Is there any way you can start expressing so that your partner can feed a bottle a day to give you a break for sleep/popping out to the shops?
Sorry can I just ask how you got the bottom wind under control?
As for tips or encouragement: I have a 7 week old as well and what is getting me through the times when I get frustrated and fed up is that he is only going to be a tiny baby for a tiny amount of time and to try to focus on enjoying him. Also he may be my only baby as there is never any guarantee for another baby so I better enjoy the one I have!
Interestingly enough though I am not frustrated by the lack of 'me' time. That part has never really bothered me. What frustrates me the most is that I am seen only as the 'bottle'. When he is overtired/upset hed gets confused when I try to settle him as he doesnt know whether to fed or not and this seems to confuse/upset him more. His dad is able to settle him so much easier. Even strangers are able to settle him more easily than me sometimes!
You've done the hardest bit, it gets easier very soon. You will get 4 hour bursts to do as you please soon without having to interrupt your happy baby's routine. It's not forever. If you knew that in one month your baby would be happy BF 4 hours apart would you stop? I can't guarantee it, but it's totally feasible.
Hmm, I'd say it was quite unusual for a 3 month old breastfed baby to go 4 hours between feeds though harecare, though it is possible.
eightyone - if your baby gets upset when you try to settle him without feeding, why not just feed him? The best thing about breastfeeding imo is that it cures hunger, thirst, tiredness, pain, boredom and pretty much any other problem You're not really only a bottle, because your breast isn't just food to your baby - it's love, comfort and security too.
I dont know what Im doing wrong then....I do try to feed him and he gets upset.
He only ever fed to sleep for the first month. Not anymore, he doesnt even seem to get drowsy after feeding. He doesnt often cry just grizzles, grumbles and pushed away.
I was having some issues with forceful letdown and this has mostly settled apart from the first morning feed. I am still ebf and no longer expressing as I think this was causing the problem.
You're aren't doing anything wrong - sometimes babies are just contrary little creatures! My only other solution at that age if a boob didn't work was a dummy and a brisk bouncy walk in a sling. And if that didn't work I was stumped.
I hate to say it but DD fed 2 hourly until well over 6 months, just in the day time the BF feeds got replaced with solids. Maybe not what you want to hear...
I expressed (though largely driven by early return to work) and I think in your case it will help you. Meant I could go out for 4 hours if I wanted to or DH would do morning feeds (even at weekends as I normally expressed through the week a little more than needed). When I was struggling, DH would pass her to me, I'd feed still lying down and he would return her to the cot. That, or we would co-sleep (normally half and half). I never found feeding her out and about a problem, but she was quick. I was often grateful that I didn't have to deal with bottles etc.
I like what others have said about the possibilty of mix feeding. Then you can find out if formula is really the 'magical cure' it is often made out to be.
eightyone DD never really used me for comfort. Eventually we had to stop co-sleeping and a few times CIO as she gets more worked up if remaining with me/us. For a few months we had awful fussy eating issues and it can feel really personal. It isn't, babies like adults are all different. I reminded myself that I am not a particularly touchy person either.
My DN on the other hand is a very cuddly baby and will lie on me for ages in a way that DD never has. I was rather moved the first time she did it.
If you are tired get your OH involved now. If he is around this weekend and DD is feeding every two hours, there is no reason why you can't do all the feeding and he has DD the rest of the time.
He can do the nappies, baths, shushing, enteraining, cooking and generally bringing you drinks and snacks when you are feeding.
There is no reason why you can't have some time for yourself either, if that's what you want. If Dd has been fed she can be left and you can do what you want if there is someone to look after her. You could also try expressing milk and leaving a feed.
Breastfeeding is a committment but does get easier. Like others have said she will soon be feeding less often and your nipples will feel better. Soon you will be reaping the benefits of all the hard work you are doing now. Bfing will soon become much more convenient and the easier option.
Agree with Rita that it might be worth getting a BFC to check her latch and to check for tongue tie too. If the latch isn't quite right now, and is then improved she may feed less often. Is there a Bfing Support Group you go to or a BFC in your area?
Its a total myth too that all ff babies sleep and bf don't. My Mum says I was ff and screamed all night every night but my sister was bf and slept from 6 weeks. Its quite common to see threads on here along the lines of "my ff baby is awaking every 2 hours for a feed" too. Sorry if that's not what you want to hear but formula isn't a magic formula.
Don't forget too that in lots of cultures you wouldn't be lifting a finger yet, a nipple yes but not a finger . What I'm trying to say is don't give yourself a hard time, don't think you have to do everything. Just try to concentrate on looking after yourself and your baby. These first few weeks go so quickly and before you know it you'll be looking back and wishing she was this little again.
Whatever you decide I though you might like to see Reasons to Be Proud, you've achieved alot already
Here is a couple of links you might like too soothing a crying baby, Getting a good latch and 31 ways to get your baby to sleep and stay asleep.
I agree with JJJ, when DH was around I fed, he pretty much did everything else for the first few months (then more so because he became a SAHD when I went to work)
RitaMorgan Yeah I tend to think it is just his grumpy nature.
PenguinArmy That is funny as I also could only cosleep/feed lying down for the first couple of weeks after that he pretty much refused and never settled.
yeah DD was the same the first few weeks, everything changed after 6 weeks including how she fed (no. of sides etc.)
Wow, i had a lot of great support in the early days from this forum, but your responses mean so much, thank-you!
I really dont want the hassle of sterilizing etc and i have looked into expressing but for one feed a day i am not sure it is worth doing? Or even if i will be able to express any milk at all.
I looked at the cartons, instant bottles of formula and, although expensive, it might be worth it, just to mix feed for one feed every now and again.
Ive found some self sterilising bottles that work in the microwave to sterlise them, but i guess it all depends if she takes this type of bottle.
I was contemplating going out to buy an electric pump but after reading your posts i dont think its worth it.
My nipples are sore, she seems to feed off the end of the nipple somehow. Ill need to get the latch checked i guess. She has been feeding between 6-10pm on and off for the oast week, so i do think its just as a result of this cluster feeding but i will get it checked.
When would be the best time to introduce a ready made bottle of formula, based on the fact that she cluster feeds?
Thanks so so much, im knackered but feel slightly better having read your posts
Not sure on when to introduce the bottle sorry as both of mine pretty much refused every other type of feeding apart from directly from me.
When DD cluster feed, it used to get to the point where I'd had enough so DH used to change her and wrap her up and either stick her in the sling or the pushchair and go for a walk. It worked for us and meant I got a minimum of an hours respite, usually more.
Just wondering too if you've read this on Kellymom?
I used breastflow bottles with ds - they are supposed to mimic the breastfeeding action. I would introduce a bottle when the baby isn't too hungry or tired.
Agree with Rita again. It might help too if you get someone else to try the bottle with LO while you aren't in the room.
There is some info here on bottle feeding a bf baby.
If you do use formula for some feeds then cartons are fine, that way you can try different brands to see which one LO prefers.
I think Hipp Organic comes in two packets so that you won't be throwing a whole carton away if you don't use it within the month.
The latest information on making up formula is here.
Also, don't know if you leak snowchick but did you know that you can collect any milk you leak and save that for a feed? If you do leak whilst feeding try collecting the milk in some breast shells.
If you are reluctant to buy an electric breast pump it would probably be worth asking a BFC to show you how to hand express whilst you are getting your latch checked.
Do you go to a bfing group already? When I was bfing DC1 I was climbing the walls at about 6 weeks. All my friends had or were ff and I just felt like the odd one out. There weren't any Bfing Support Groups locally but there was an NCT group that met each week and my HV sent me along to that. It was about a good mix of bfers, ffers and combined feeders and really helped me to get my head around bfng and see that I had in fact done the hard bit already and it would get easier.
Rita - maybe my memory is not as good as it could be Although I'm fairly certain my DDs would have a 3/4 hour afternoon nap at around 3/4 months- maybe that's just wishful thinking?
Anyway, it DOES get better eventually! My 6 - 10 cluster feeding babies quickly managed to cut down to being asleep by 8/9 and then not waking til 2/3am allowing me to go out in the evenings from 8 weeks.
Good luck with everything, my laziness regarding bottle sterilising (didn't do) and feeding on demand (did do)definitely helped me to have easy babies who gave me time to run a business between feeds!
Also if you want to go shopping as you are just go! If you time it right you can have a nice sit down in a cafe or a cheaper seat in a public breast/bottle feeding
toilet room between shops if you need to feed.
Sounds to me like u've hit the dreaded "peak"!!!! It always seems easier when your friends are able to bottle feed, go about their business and not worry about where your going to feed your LO, or even give your partner a turn, but trust me, the relentless feeding will patter down now, and wot you neglet to see from your bottle feeding friends is the endless bottle washing, over filled nappy bags, stinky nappys, getting caught short with a lack of bottles if they're out, the organisation needed for night feeds (not the luxury or barely having to wake & pulling ur LO beside u), not to mention the added cost!!!! At 7 weeks i found my LO's feding pretty established and was able to express off a feed a day to allow my partner to give her one feed a day to giev me some much needed me time, be it half an hour down the supermarket or a blissful bath, it made all teh difference!!! I successfully nursed my LO till she was 18 months a she decided to pull away, although she went to a CM at 9 months and had an expressed feed twice a day with no difficulty, although at this early stage i would not reccommend more than 1 feed a day expressed (and certainly not formula as it really mess's with ur milk supply!!!!) The other thing to take into consideration is the pain in ur boobs from stopping!!!! I found it pain free with my LO stopped as by that point i was down to 2 feeds a day (morning & night) however other friends of mine were in agony for days and ALL have said they regretted quitting when they did! Well doen you for giving it a go, but consider quitting at length, once its goen its gone x x
Definitely worth getting a pump even for only a few feeds a week, if you decide not to go the formula/mix feed route. It's not hard to pump if you're lucky enough to be someone who can express - you never know til you try I suppose! I can get 4 oz in about 20 minutes which isn't tons but enough for our purposes. You can get a half-decent (mine is an Ameda Lactaline) pump secondhand on ebay for not too much.
Regardless of how it works for you in practise, I don't think you can underestimate the impact of expressing in that you get a mental break from feeling like you have to be there on call al the time. In reality my DH probably only does 2-3 feeds a week with the expressed milk, but I'm so glad that he can do that, as it means with milk in the fridge I never have to worry if I'm out somewhere a bit longer than I planned to be. Also lets me plan some things (in my case, I ride my bike for a couple of hours at a time) in advance knowing there's milk at home. Getting this bit of "me time" back means that the rest of my bfing is much more enjoyable.
As for sterilising, we have a handful of bottles and the pump gear and I use the cold tablets for both -- takes about 20 min and done. Much easier than I thought it would be.
It might be worth seeing if you can borrow or hire a pump to try out to see if you can express?
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