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Colic...breast versus bottle, torn in two!

(15 Posts)
MrsBloomingTroll Wed 28-Sep-11 14:15:46

I have absolutely no idea what to do for the best and need some objective views please.

Sorry if this is long, want to give the full background!

I bf DC1 (DD) for 14 months, she loved it, as did I, so much so that we had problems moving her onto bottles/cups when the time came. She is now 3 yo.

DC2 (DS) was born 6 weeks ago and, keen not to have the same issues moving him to bottles, so we started giving him a nightly formula bottle from a few weeks ago. So far so good, no nipple confusion, happy healthy baby.

Two weeks ago I was prescribed antibiotics which immediately resulted (no question, GP agreed) in DS having colic. The first course of antibiotics didn't work, so was put on another course combined with other medication a week ago.

My medical problem has now almost cleared up BUT DS's colic has got worse and I have not finished the course of medication. The evening screaming has become all-day screaming, morning to night, waking our DD early in the morning (5am) as well as causing all of us considerable distress, me especially. DD has been ratty and a nightmare to deal with come the evenings. DS is clearly in a lot of pain and none of the normal colic-relief methods are working. FYI, DH works long hours and isn't home much to support me with any of this, and no family nearby to give me a break. I have just had to leave DS to scream whilst I do anything like have a shower or get dressed, as he won't keep a dummy in.

DS seems to settle each evening after having a bottle of formula, so this morning I gave him a bottle of formula instead of breast. Bingo: my happy, smiley, sleepy little bundle of joy came back to me.

I have subsequently breastfed him and, yup, he had an episode of colic, writhing and screaming, within a few minutes. Luckily it was only a short feed, but he does tend to treat my nipples like a dummy when he is like that, and yet again my nipples are red raw.

I have now stopped taking my medication, which isn't ideal, but it will take time to work its way through my system.

So here's the question: Do I persist with the breastfeeding, and risk causing him continued distress, or do I stop or scale it back and add more bottle feeds to settle him, probably leading to me stopping altogether sooner rather than later?

Every time I put my nipple in his mouth I am causing him such horrible pain. sad And yet I love breastfeeding so much (not to mention the convenience, etc --and not wanting to prove my MIL and DM right when they said I should forget about bf this time--)

Deflatedballoonbelly Wed 28-Sep-11 14:18:50

Are you sure its not something your eating?

thisisyesterday Wed 28-Sep-11 14:20:34


i would continue breastfeeding. because now you have finished the medication the problem will ease, and the long-term benefits of breastfeeding to him AND you far outweigh the colic right now. IMO.

I think, if you wanted to, you could formula feed for a bit and express to keep your supply up until the medication has cleared, but you may still want to offer the breast to ensure he doesn't refuse it when you want to go back to it

MigGril Wed 28-Sep-11 14:26:34

Agree with Deflated, may not be your medication. I wouldn't stop you need to finish the course.

Why did they say you should forget about BF this time? Rather odd thing to say. I know a lot of mum's who have fed multipule babies. I'd say it's easier if you have older one's as I don't know where I get the time to clean and prepare bottle's from.

BF is by far the best way to feed your baby. If there is something that's causeing him to be upset in your milk there far better sort it out know then when he starts solids.

Plus Colic usealy does starte around the 4-6week mark so could just be coincidence that it was when you started your meds. The bottel thing could just be a one off.

squiggleywiggler Wed 28-Sep-11 14:28:35

Just a quick thought - have you both been checked out for thrush?

Antibiotics can cause it and it could be causing him discomfort when he feeds (and might also explain your nipple pain).

If this was the case and you could get it sorted (see this BFN leaflet on treating it properly ) this might go some way to easing the transition back to happy breastfeeding.

It's impossible to tell you what to do though - if you want to carry on breastfeeding though I'd also seek some help from a breastfeeding group so that can check his latch, support you if there's thrush present and help you come up with a strategy to make things managable.

I wonder also if doing some back to basics skin to skin, snuggling up in bed together naked, baths etc (with no pressure to latch but great if he does) might encourage positive associations with the breast. My other train of thought is that if your milk wasn't agreeing with him while your were on antibiotics he may have built up a bit of a negative association so it may just take some time to remind him how lovely it really is.

As you probably remember from last time 6 weeks is a classic growth spurt, developmental leap time so you may also be going through that at the same time.


MigGril Wed 28-Sep-11 14:29:40

by multipule's I mean subsiquent children. Although I do know mum's who have BF twin's as well.

MrsBloomingTroll Wed 28-Sep-11 15:12:08

Thank you for your replies...will come back later and read through them properly, but thank you for the encouragement to continue breastfeeding. I must admit that even getting the bottles ready for one or two feeds a day has been a challenge to organise!

I feel like I have no support to continue breastfeeding at the moment. I think MIL is anti-bf because she (selfishly) wants to be able to have DS as much as possible to babysit, and that wasn't really possible with DD as she wouldn't take a bottle. My DM is well-intentioned, motivated by concern for me as she saw how pinned-to-the-sofa I got by feeding DD (DD was also colicky, used me as a dummy, snack-fed, etc.) but that isn't really an issue if we continue to mix-feed DS.

Squiggley I don't think he has thrush as I've had oral thrush myself, know how it looks (and feels...) and I have been checking his mouth, just in case. He is "normally" very placid.

Hadn't occurred to me to express and throw away my milk for a few days. Will give that some thought. I also need to talk to DH about what he thinks is best, as DS is also his child, not my decision!

I have wondered is the onset was just a coincidence due to his age, but it really would be a massive coincidence...and then it got worse the day I started a new course of meds. I'm convinced this is the reason, especially as when he takes formula he has no problem shifting his wind/poo. And his poo turns bright green and smelt foul for the bf feeds, as DD's did when she had colic, whereas the formula feeds that come through are "normal" yellow and smell as normal for formula.

MrsBloomingTroll Wed 28-Sep-11 15:13:15

Meant to say "not 100% my decision".

Sorry, typing quickly as DS is napping at the moment (yay!) and got lots to do before he wakes!

organiccarrotcake Wed 28-Sep-11 15:25:30

He could well be reacting badly to the meds. Are you likely to need more? If so, there is likely to be another version that you can take which may not affect him.

Sounds like you want to keep BFing, so if the colic is caused by the meds then perhaps the answer is to keep battling through and review in a week?

organiccarrotcake Wed 28-Sep-11 15:26:31

Don't forget that 6 weeks is a very classic time for babies to be constantly feeding and colicky anyway (and they can be apparently settled with formula). This will pass smile

I would also, if you can, get yourself to a breastfeeding group so that they can check to see if there's anything else they can see.

MrsBloomingTroll Wed 28-Sep-11 16:36:20

Hopefully I won't need such strong meds going forward, I am mostly better now.

A week does feel like a lifetime at the moment, but you're right, it isn't that long. One day at a time...

I did actually go to a bf drop-in session on Monday with a friend and spoke to someone, but she seemed to think all was well. Now I think of it, she also suggested expressing, so maybe that's the solution - express my milk for a few days until I'm done with the medication, then resume bf as before. Anyone ever done that?

thisisyesterday Wed 28-Sep-11 16:38:50

haven't done it myself, although i've read of people who havel.

i would say your biggest risk is baby refusing the breast when you go back to it though

MrsBloomingTroll Wed 28-Sep-11 20:53:46

Well, he's had two large bottle/formula feeds today and the screaming has been minimal, and he has napped very well. I certainly needed the respite, and the housework got done!

I also gave him my breast in between and he took it very enthusiastically. He still had some colic but much less than before. And there was definite correlation between type of milk/feed and his reactions, nappy contents, etc.

I am still waiting for DH to return home to discuss it with him. If we have a decent night then I will try a breastfeed in the morning, as well as during the night, and assess the results. The meds may have gone through my system sufficiently by now. If not, I'll continue to supplement as a temporary fix, but aim to continue to bf.

Thank you again for your support and kind words.

MrsBloomingTroll Sun 02-Oct-11 04:11:10

OP here.

Just to say that, a few days on, things have got better. DS no longer very colicky. A little bit, but not bad at all.

I haven't been taking the meds and seem to have got away with it in terms of how I feel (so far anyway).

I am still breastfeeding but still giving him a large bottle feed at the end of the day. He absolutely wolfed it down today, probably due to being a hot day. He has been very happy and smiley still, just with the odd short colicky crying fit, but we are with family this weekend so I have lots of pairs of hands to help so I get a break.

thisisyesterday Sun 02-Oct-11 20:00:15

ahh i am glad things are going better and you were able to carry on breastfeeding smile

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