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Introducing formula to an EBF baby

(9 Posts)
WhatWouldCaitlinDo Wed 31-Oct-12 15:57:46

My DD is 14 weeks old and has been EBF since birth. She's doing well in terms of weight gain and development, but only naps in my arms or a moving pram. She used to sleep well at night (woke once, and even slept from 8pm to 6am on 3 occasions when 10 weeks old) but this has got worse and worse and she is now waking every 3 hours at night. She doesn't always want a proper feed, but usually shush-pat / cuddles don't work, she just wants two minutes of boob to re-settle her. So my husband can't really help, it's all me.

The result is that I am utterly utterly knackered and have lost way too much weight. My pre-pregnancy jeans are hanging off me and I was shocked by a photo of myself the other day.

The health visitor has recommended giving her formula once a day so I get a rest. I hope to get my DH to give her a bottle at 7pm or 10pm but am not feeling v confident as she has refused a bottle to date. I am also upset at having to introduce FF.

Any tips on getting her to take a bottle, formula types (she is a very pukey baby), timing of the replacement feed, how to make the process low-maintenance so it's not creating more work and stress for me? I am dizzy with exhaustion and feeling v low.

sittinginthesun Wed 31-Oct-12 16:02:22

Hi. No advice on the formula feeding (although, actually, I did mix feed my two - I varied the formula feeds, but usually the evening feed is the easiest to switch if you want to).

What I wondered was whether you gave had your thyroid levels checked? I lost a huge amount of weight after DS2 was born - it was eventually realised that it was a post partum over active thyroid. You say your are dizzy - I was, and also had nightmares, bad wrists, shaking, etc. Might be worth getting it checked out.

meebles Wed 31-Oct-12 16:12:32

my DH will sometimes take DS (18 weeks) out in the sling in the evening to give me a break so I can go to sleep early and have a few hours rest. I feed him first, and then they go round the block, or to the local shop, and by the time they get back DS and I are both napping. Just an alternate idea as introducing formula would be such a faff.

perhaps see your gp as your weightloss and tiredness seem extreme, even for a hard work velcro baby.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 31-Oct-12 16:16:28

That's poor advice from your HV - there's absolutely no guarantee that giving a bottle of formula will make any difference to her sleep. There's threads in both Breast and Bottle Feeding and Sleep about whether BFing vs FFing makes any difference to sleep and the general consensus is no - it's entirely dependant upon the baby. The fact that she doesn't actually have a full feed when she wakes in the night is probably a good indication that formula won't make any difference as she's not waking from hunger/not feeling full, she just wants the comfort of a boob to resettle.

I had/have exactly the same (non) sleep issues with my DS, although I've now got him napping in his pram rather than on me. He only naps for 30 mins at a time, though, so I still can't get any catch up sleep! All I can suggest is you have a look at the coping with sleep deprivation thread we've got going on elsewhere on here and reassure yourself that it won't last forever!

I agree with the PP that it's worth getting your thyroid checked.

No real help from me, sorry - just solidarity!

tiktok Wed 31-Oct-12 16:19:54

Hmmmmm.....none of that baby pattern is unusual in a baby of this age, and waking 3 hrly at night is normal - sounds as if she goes to sleep quickly, too, so she's actually not as 'difficult' at night as some babies. Co-sleeping if you can/want to/follow guideline would make these wakings easier.

However, I agree with meebles, your tiredness and loss of weight sounds pretty extreme sad Giving a bottle means work in preparing bottles and feed, will have an impact on the comfort of your breasts, may have an impact on supply, may make your baby unhappy (you say she has refused bottles), may make you more stressed....and to top it all, you say you are upset to give formula, so on that basis, the HV's idea doesn't have a lot going for it confused

Before doing something you don't want to do, ask your HV/GP about your own health.

worldgonecrazy Wed 31-Oct-12 16:32:26

I agree that you need to get your own health checked. Are you eating enough? You need to be eating at least an extra 500 calories a day - that's a big piece of chocolate cake or a cheese sandwich with extras, every day.

If you're not looking after yourself, how can you have the energy to look after a baby? Ensure that your diet is enough for you, buy in some easy to eat "grab" food so that you can eat and nibble throughout the day.

You could try expressing a feed in the afternoon so that you can get a break in the evening.

Cosleeping can also be a life saver if you can manage it.

Another great tip that was given to me is that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours afterwards. It sounds stupid, and so obvious, but a lot of new mums seem to try and maintain their pre-baby sleeping routine, but simply going to bed an hour earlier can make all the difference to your tiredness. It does mean sacrificing "adult time" in the evenings, but it's only for a few short months.

FireOverBabylon Wed 31-Oct-12 16:41:06

Will your DD take a bottle? Your experience sounds very similar to mine - I lost loads of weight, DH hates looking at some of the photos from when DS was tiny because I look so thin.

DS just wouldn't take a bottle, even of expressed milk, and I know how exhausted you get with this.

Agree about the snacking foods as well - I rmember DS having a difficult day and only getting a cup of tea and 2 slices of toast all day. It was hideous.

ZuleikaD Wed 31-Oct-12 16:52:56

It doesn't sound as though your baby is doing anything unusual - and I agree that the advice from the HV isn't necessarily going to help with your baby's sleep.

But your own health does sound poor at the moment - your iron levels may be low and as a pp said your thyroid may need checking. Being physically very low yourself will be contributing to your feeling that you can't cope. Your DH can't feed her but he CAN make a delicious dinner for you in the evening so that you can eat properly (with baby on your lap if necessary). He should also make you some good sandwiches before he goes to work in the morning. You must eat properly - that level of weight loss is going to be making things very hard for you.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 31-Oct-12 16:58:40

I second sacrificing an evening with the DH for sleep. I now go to bed at 6:30pm when DS does and I'm unconscious by 7:30pm - necessary since he's usually awake again before midnight, but I get 3 hours in that I wouldn't get otherwise. More important than staring at the TV with DH.

And I second what Zuleika says about getting DP to get food ready for you too I just hope yours is a better cook than mine...

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