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Hungry baby - GP recommends a formula top-up...

(25 Posts)
gogoNagano Thu 01-Sep-11 18:14:34

Hello all,

Apologies, my second thread about this in a day, but just came from my 6-week check-up with the GP, and she asked about sleeping, etc. When I told her about his feeding every 2 hours, she questioned whether he was getting enough from me, as he clearly wasn't being filled up (despite his weight going from 4lb 13oz to 10lb 10oz in less than 7 weeks). She said I should think about introducing a bottle of formula at night to help him sleep for longer. She called him a 'hungry baby'.

I know she is thinking about my wellbeing as I'm not getting much sleep at all, but I'm so unsure of what to do for the best. I always wanted to EBF, but perhaps it's not enough to sate him.

I know it's my decision to make. But I'm getting so much conflicting advice from different professionals, my sleep-deprived brain is a bit kjekjnsmnjehf

Gah...

mercibucket Thu 01-Sep-11 18:19:22

well based on what you've said
- weight going up - is it following his 'line'?
- feeding every two hours

he sounds like an entirely normal breastfed baby!!

sadly GP's don't do any special training on breastfeeding and so are just as prone to the average person to talking crap about it grin
if you want to speak to someone who does know what they're talking about, phone one of the bf helplines, nct, lll, abm and one other I think but can never remember them all

JenAT Thu 01-Sep-11 18:31:40

I agree with mercibucket sounds like a totally normal breastfed baby!
I am a GP and honestly we do not get taught or have any decent training at all on breastfeeding. My knowledge has come entirely from my own experiences of breastfeeding, and speaking to other Mums and of course Mumsnet!

My Ds is nearly 20 weeks and still feeds every 3 hours during the day and usually every 3-4 hrs at night, althought 2 nights ago he slept for a whole 6 hours solid! His weight has steadily followed the 50th centile, so I must be doing something right!

At 6 weeks old they are still so young, and at times I can remember thinking that all ds ever did was feed in the early weeks but it does get easier.

I found swaddling at night really helped me get a little bit more sleep. I know if I had introduced formula at night it would have been the beginning of the end of breastfeeding for us as when I started formula feeding dd at 7 months old in order for me to go back to work, she rapidly weaned herself off the breast. Saying that I know of some Mums who do give a bottle of formula at night and have no problems in continuing to breastfeed.

Your ds is clearly thriving if he is gaining weight well, so sounds to me like you are doing a grand job grin

jocie Thu 01-Sep-11 18:40:05

jsut going from this post it looks like your doing a fab job and that he seems to be getting enough!(although obviously thats hard to be absolutely sure of as this is just the internet and we don't know your ds in real life!) Is he happy and alert imbetween feeds?
Its entirely up to you, i would imagine bf well established and so 1 ff a day shouldn't affect supply(but no one can be absolute about that)
FWIW my ds1 was also a 'hungry' baby and he had 1 ff about 10pmish from about 2 weeks which enabled him to go until 1/2ish for a bf then 5ish bf.
He then dropped the 1/2ish bf so he just had 1ff at 10 and then bf at 4 then up at 7ish. This was bout10/12 weeks.
However ds2 a ff made no difference as he just wanted to feed little and often!
What i found most useful was bf lying down and co sleeping. Id feed him so he was led in middle of bed first and then swap so he was outide (next to bed side cosleeper cot so couldnt fall out) then i would dose as he fed and then when i next opened my eyes would place him back into cosleeper cot.(never bothered winding at night)
thats the thing bout bf that it releases a hormone thats supposed to help you fall back to sleep.

As for sleeping in the day jsut lie down when he's asleep even if you don't actually sleep resting is just as important.
And if dh or someone can take him for a walk that would be good as if he stays asleep while they're walking you might be able to stretch out his feeding for an extra 1/2 hour or something.

Anyway enough rambling from me! HTH smile

jocie Thu 01-Sep-11 18:41:40

forgot to say that i bf both ds's til they were around 13/14 months

WoTmania Thu 01-Sep-11 19:04:57

yup, normal 6 week old. Christ, DD is 2 years 6 months and only recently started going more than 2-3 hours between night feeds!

lilham Thu 01-Sep-11 19:08:54

It's entirely up to you how important is EBF to you. Fwiw, my EBF baby sleeps through from 10-6 from 11-12 wo and is the only one still sleeping through in my NCT group at 5mo. They've all been hit hard by the 4mo sleep regression.

EauRouge Thu 01-Sep-11 19:13:03

Yep, sounds normal to me too! Your GP must not have very much experience of healthy, BF babies. Both of my DDs (one 6 mo and one almost 3 yo) are BF and it varies but some nights they do wake up every 2-3 hours. We co-sleep too.

Is there a LLL group near you? There's a list of UK groups here.

Zimm Thu 01-Sep-11 19:24:04

You baby has gained 6 pounds in 7 weeks and your GP is worried he is not getting enough??? Jeepers what a pillock. A pound a week is FANTASTIC weight gain you are doing brilliantly. Please ignore your GP....frankly I'm speechless.....

Zimm Thu 01-Sep-11 19:24:48

DD fed every 90 minutes at that age although she did do a six hour stretch from 9.30pm-3.30am but that was after a 2 hour feed in the evening!

HoHoLaughingMonster Thu 01-Sep-11 19:32:45

Sounds like you're doing really well to me, that's really good weight gain. DD fed this regularly too, it's normal. I would ignore your GP and continue to EBF if that's what you want.

Have you considered expressing some milk so your DP / friend / parents / PIL can do the odd feed so you get a break? Now is a good time to do this, especially if you want to introduce bottles eventually (eg. if you're going back to work).

And if you feel you want to introduce the odd bottle of formula that's totally up to you, you don't need permission from your GP or us.

gogoNagano Thu 01-Sep-11 20:09:58

Thank you all - I think the GP was mainly suggesting it in a round about way so that I could get more sleep - even though I know there may not be a link between a FF and an extra hour of sleep. She did seem to disregard the weight gain though, saying that if he is finishing the breast and sometimes having some from the second breast, and is still waking hungry 1 1/2 to 2 hours later then he's not filling up. Sigh.

I would like to express milk for him so DH can handle one feed in the night, but DS is feeding every 2 hours maximum, and so I'm finding it hard (a) to get much in the way of milk, and (b) fit in pumping as well as preparing and cooking myself a meal and attempting a nap.

It's not just my decision at the end of the day, and I think DH wants to experiment with the formula feed at about 10pm. I know there's nothing evil about it, but it makes me feel all kinds of wrong inside for some reason.

coccyx Thu 01-Sep-11 20:11:53

Breast fed all my 4 and your baby sounds like he is doing really well. Would of thought it was normal to want feeding every2 hours at that age. Does get better. Stick with it

RitaMorgan Thu 01-Sep-11 20:17:16

Even if he absolutely stuffs himself, breastmilk only takes about 90 minutes to digest. Formula milk is harder to digest so sits in the stomach for longer.

In societies where babies are carried constantly and have free access to the breast, they feed something like every 25 minutes. It is the artificially long gaps between hard to digest formula feeds that are abnormal, not frequent feeding. Human babies are designed to feed frequently!

gogoNagano Thu 01-Sep-11 20:40:39

See, that's what I thought. His tummy is only going to hold so much, and if it digests that quickly, well then feeding will be frequent. According to the GP, feeding on demand means feeding every three hours... I thought it meant, y'know, feeding on demand/cue...

I think maybe I'll think about expressing some milk for DH to give, rather than go the formula route. We've come through almost 7 weeks, and hopefully (as people said on my previous thread) things will improve very soon without the need for formula.

Could anyone offer any advice about expressing - i.e. when's best to try and do it. DS's feeds are so sporadic, I worry about expressing and then him wanting a feed straight after and me having pumped it away...

TitaniaP Thu 01-Sep-11 21:11:27

I posted on here about struggling to express and someone suggested pumping during one of your night feeds. When i get up for one of his night feeds I feed DS off one side and at the same time pump on the other. It takes a bit of getting used to, pumping and feeding at the same time but I do find that I get more that way.

I do this twice (once in the middle of the night say 3am and then again at say 6ish) So I feed DS off say the left breast, and pump on the right, and then swap over. I then do the opposite on the next feed. I still don't get loads but managed about 100ml over two sessions yesterday.

HTH

Sofabitch Thu 01-Sep-11 21:15:36

A 6 weaker that goes 2 hourly !! envyenvy no fair. Mine took 4-6 months to settle down to that.

BertieBotts Thu 01-Sep-11 21:19:41

Watch your baby, not the clock! Seriously, frequency and/or length of feeds is nothing to do at all with how much they are getting. GP needs to read a good book on breastfeeding smile

Kiwiinkits Fri 02-Sep-11 02:58:04

If you do decide to try a formula top-up, don't worry about it stuffing up your Bfing. It works very well for most (I know several women who have done it and each have reported a great sense of relief and no discernable impact on supply for other feeds).
At 6 weeks old, a 6.30pm bottle, given by DH, and supplemented by a 10pm BF worked very well for us. I found my energy and my supply was low by the early evening, so that was a better time to give formula than the other times. It also means you're not cluster feeding ALL evening which can be exhausting (save that for the martyrs).
Don't close your mind to the formula top up. Formula can be a lifesaver, or just a blessed relief.

gogoNagano Fri 02-Sep-11 06:44:45

Oh my, thank you all very much for your reassurance and advice.

DS took his first BM from a bottle since he was in NICU in hospital, DH gave the feed and I managed to get a little bit more sleep, and did the 2am, 4am and 6am feeds just fine - so far, he seems to still want mummy's boobies, yay! Babies are so adaptable aren't they, he took the bottle with very little fuss, which made me feel a shade happier about him having it. I did have to get up to hand express a little as I was getting too full, but I feel much better this morning smile

Guess we will see how things go, but we'll give the formula a miss for now. Thank you all again.

Sofabitch Fri 02-Sep-11 07:30:13

Sorry but cluster feeding isn't about being a martyr. It's a very important part of building up supply. And it only lasts a short while. I disagree that formula top ups doesn't affect supply.

The op has said she doesn't want to give up. It feels wrong to her. Why do people feel the need to give advice to the contrary she is doing really well. Why not give her useful tips like good weight gain and wet vapours are more important that frequency of feed. That it sounds like she is doing a great job. That there is many other ways dad can be involved with the baby to help him to feel bonded and a part. Like bathing changing skin to skin baby wearing.

Bad advice like it's ok to give formula tops ups when everything is going well is one of the reasons we have such low breast feeding rates in the uk. Fair enough if the op had said she wanted to then that's a choice she is entitled to make. but she didn't she said it felt wrong. And IMO even a small amount of formula can have a big impact on a babies digestive system, supply and confidence in a woman's ability to breastfed.

Lorelai Fri 02-Sep-11 07:39:15

Just quickly in response to your question about expressing - milk is produced on demand - there will always be milk available to your baby as soon as he starts to suckle - you don't need to worry about taking it all out and there not being any left for him if he wants a feed straight away. I am trying to build up a freezer stock for going back to work and I find it easiest to express first thing in the morning while I am full, then feed DD2 afterwards - she still has more than enough to satisfy her.

HTH, glad you had a better night - it is amazing what a difference a bit of sleep can have isn't it smile

HerdOfTinyElephants Fri 02-Sep-11 07:44:20

That sounds absolutely normal for 6-7 weeks. I remember being in tears when DS (first child) was that age because he was feeding All The Bloody Time and I would have given him formula if he'd have taken it (he turned up his nose at it, though). Two or three weeks later the feeds had started to space out a bit and it all got easier after that.

DD1 and DD2 followed the same feeding pattern but those times I knew it was normal and just a phase so I wasn't as upset by it.

HerdOfTinyElephants Fri 02-Sep-11 07:49:47

Oh, and well done. 4lb 13oz to 10lb 10oz is fantastic!

Cosmosis Fri 02-Sep-11 10:38:03

Babies have tiny tummies and bm is very easy to digest for them, that is why he’s hungry again after 2 hours.

And based on his weight gain, he is clearly getting enough milk for him! He may well be a hungry baby, but you are satisfying that hunger by feeding him on demand. Well done, you are clearly doing a fantastic job!

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