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I've ruined it havent I. Please help

(20 Posts)
peacefuloptimist Thu 15-Nov-12 08:42:02

This is my first thread on mn so please take it easy on me if it gets a bit convoluted. I planned to bf my ds (who is now 11 weeks old) on demand and was doing this fine up until he was 6 weeks but have run in to problems since then. He has been having green poos intermittently every day for the past two weeks and I am really depressed that this is the kiss of death on my breastfeeding him. I may have got myself in to this situation. sad

My mil has been pressuring me to give him a bottle since before he was born as she said otherwise he would be completely dependant on me to feed him (and basically she wouldnt be able to look after him on her own). To appease her (and also so that I would be able to leave the baby with my mum or her every now and again if needed) I started giving baby a bottle once or twice a week since he was born but because he is not used to it he would only drink very little unless he was really hungry which he hardly ever was as I was bf him on demand. When he was about 6 weeks I started a calorie controlled diet which I had been advised would be okay as long as I ate to my allocated number of calories for breastfeeding. Within two weeks my milk supply had drastically fallen. I think baby was also going through a growth spurt as he wanted to feed all the time and I felt like I was unable to feed him to fullness if you know what I mean. I abandoned the diet and in the mean time gave him a bottle every night to make sure he went to sleep full. He started to drink more easily from the bottle at this time. After a few days of eating like mad grin my milk supply adjusted to accomodate baby and I started giving him less of the bottle (not everyday but a few times in the week).

However my problems restarted last week when my mil came to stay with me for the week. At first I was relieved to have the help but I found that whenever the baby was hungry or crying instead of bringing him to me to feed him (say if I was having a nap or doing some housework) she would automatically start giving him a bottle. She was feeding him about 200ml every day! I really regret not confronting her but I thought she is only going to be here for a few days and didnt want to make a fuss. Also I thought she was doing it to bond with baby as he is her first grandchild. However now that she is gone I have tried to go back to breastfeeding on demand but I am again struggling to produce enough milk to fill my ds up. I have been avoiding giving him the bottle but he has been crying a lot and when I do give it to him he drinks it down really fast and always finishes the bottle when before he would only drink very little. I feel like I am starving my baby but I need him to nurse more even if he is not getting milk to build up my supplies.

My question is do you think it is too late to go back and I will not be able to breastfeed him on demand anymore? Should I just switch to combination feeding everyday and having to give him more substantial amounts of formula? His green poos are really worrying me as well as he has them whenever I breastfeed him which makes me think I might have to switch to formula completely. Also do you think my mil deliberately sabotaged my bf? She didnt bf her children and whenever she stays with us always tries to give baby a bottle. In the past I have always stopped her or regulated the amount she feeds him, its only last week I didnt and now I am paying the price sad

wonkylegs Thu 15-Nov-12 08:46:56

Don't panic about it as stress won't be helping.
Could you try expressing for bottle feeds to try to up your supply but allow others to feed him too. This might particularly help when MIL is about.
I mix fed from the beginning, due to personal circumstances. I expressed, breastfed and used formula. Baby will adjust to whatever you give him and as long as you feel that they are getting enough to be happy and healthy it really doesn't matter how.

SamSmalaidh Thu 15-Nov-12 08:53:10

Firstly, occasional green poo is not an issue - most babies get green poo sometimes.

Secondly, eating a little less will not have affected your milk supply, unless you were literally starving yourself and very underweight to begin with! Your body will use it's reserves to produce milk.

It's not too late to go back. Can you just spend a couple of days doing nothing but breastfeeding? Try switch nursing to build your supply - everytime the baby finishes on one breast, swap to the other, then go back again, and again. You can offer 3/4/5+ sides per feed until the baby refuses any more. If you keep feeding your supply will catch up.

baskingseals Thu 15-Nov-12 09:00:30

this is all okay.

first thing though - do you want to feed the baby yourself? think about what you want to do, not anybody else. i think that a lot of older women can be quite negative about breast-feeding, my mil certainly was, and i had to be really firm about it, which i found very hard.

if YOU want to feed him, just feed him. the more you feed the more milk you will make, you don't need a special diet, just eat well, and his demands will create the supply. he is fine, don't worry. green poos are fairly normal, and there doesn't seem to be one explaination for them, but all three of my ebf babies had them from time to time, and they are all big bouncy and fine. don't worry about green poos.

he is your baby. trust yourself and do what you feel is the right thing for both you and him.

take care x

worldgonecrazy Thu 15-Nov-12 09:13:36

Feed, feed, feed. Get some fenugreek tablets (available at Holland & Barrett) and eat oats/porridge. Both are said to boost milk supply. Then feed some more. Your supply will pick up again very quickly so don't worry about it.

I don't think your MiL's actions were a deliberate sabotage. I'm guessing she comes from the generation that were unaware of the problems of formula, and she would be horrified if she understood what she had unwittingly done.

Take a couple of days and feed as much as you can. Our breasts are incredibly adaptable and your supply will pick up.

Also don't worry about dieting whilst breastfeeding - when you eventually do decide to stop feeding the weight will fall off.

Dollydowser Thu 15-Nov-12 09:32:29

No its not too late at all, keep feeding on demand and your milk supply will soon adjust.
Re green poo, I found that it was related to what I ate, and narrowed it down to bananas, peaches, nectarines and plums. It may be different to you though.

peacefuloptimist Thu 15-Nov-12 09:59:51

Thanks for the replies. You have really reassured me about the green poo. It only started about two weeks ago when I started having issues with breastfeeding again so I thought my breastmilk wasnt nutritious enough or something (I know that sounds crazy but a hv told me he might not be getting enough hind milk from his feeds so I thought he was just getting watery milk). I really enjoy breastfeeding my baby and want to continue to feed him primarily breastmilk. However I also want him to be able to feed from the bottle so that I have that option of being away from him for more than two hours if need be. However right now I feel like I am having to primarily give him formula and that I am supplementing it with breastmilk.

Do you think I should just stop giving him the bottle completely then for the next few days till my milk supply is up? I have being trying since Monday to resist giving it to him but when he cries because he is hungry I feel really mean for denying him the bottle. I do put him on the both breasts first though to make sure that he is getting whatever there is but Im finding that I am still having to give him about 150ml plus of formula a day. He just seems to be hungry all the time.

I still havent worked out what caused my milk to decline when I was dieting. My ds also had trouble producing enough milk when she was breastfeeding. She told me that even if she just missed one meal she didnt have enough milk so Im wondering if it is genetic. It could have been the diet or that baby was having a growth spurt and I didnt wait long enough for milk supply to adjust. I am also wondering whether the milk is there and baby is having trouble getting it out because he is mixed up sucking from the bottle and from the breast. When I express by hand after he has feed there is always milk there even though it doesnt come gushing out in a spray like it did before all my woes started. I am thinking of expressing more but when is the best time to do it? I have tried expressing at night but at that time I can barely get anything out as my supplies are so low. Should I express between feeds? Im worried that I wont have milk in my breasts then when baby does want to feed a little while after I have expressed.

baskingseals Thu 15-Nov-12 10:08:58

please stop worrying. breastmilk is like a river, it doesn't run out, it is always there.
is your baby 11 weeks? from what i can remember they just feed and feed. keep him on your breast for a long time. get comfy on your sofa and most importantly have the remote control within reach grin. i remember feeding ds for so long one afternoon, i watched a patch of sunlight move round the room. it takes longer than you think. just keep him there.

i probably would lay off the bottle for a little while, perhaps reintroduce it sometime next week, just so your supply can establish again.

another thing i used to do was have a glass of water and force myself to drink it while i was feeding, that might help.

i wouldn't worry about expressing at the moment. establish feeding him yourself, get into a routine for a week or so, and then think about alternatives.

MrsHoarder Thu 15-Nov-12 10:28:53

Get yourself into bed and let him graze all day. Don't wait for his hunger cues, if he'll latch feed him. And eat yourself, have a water bottle at your side constantly. Chocolate us good for bfing smile.

But don't worry too much if at first you have to give him bottles too, but try to get him feeding all day until your supply picks up again.

peacefuloptimist Thu 15-Nov-12 10:43:18

I have been trying to keep him on my breast for longer but he is a bit of a speedy drinker. He drinks really fast for 5 minutes then takes a break where I usually take the opportunity to burp him before putting him back on for another feed. I dont know whether he will be willing to remain on my breast for hours as he is starting to move around alot more now but will give it a go. He will hopefully just fall asleep if he is bored so win win. grin

baskingseals Thu 15-Nov-12 10:49:02

peaceful - grin you are doing exactly the right thing. burp him and then put him back on.

keep at it, and all will be absolutely fine, honestly.

peacefuloptimist Thu 15-Nov-12 11:32:00

Thanks baskingseals and everyone else who has replied. I feel a lot more optimistic now about continuing with breastfeeding. Im taking ds to doctors today so will hopefully be further reassured (and not too embarassed) about the green poo. He is currently sucking away as I write this so your advice has already been put in to good use.

baskingseals Thu 15-Nov-12 11:51:43

peaceful - don't expect the gp to know what causes green poos. i have been told different things by different healthcare professionals, including the hindmilk thing.
i think it is just one of those things that you worry about, but is actually nothing to worry about iyswim.

glad he is snacking grin

mummysmellsofsick Thu 15-Nov-12 11:54:28

I agree just feed feed feed and don't worry of it doesn't feel like he's getting milk just keep doing it. The supply gets messed up by giving bottles but not by what you eat. Even in famine situations mothers can still bf for much longer than you'd think. You haven't messed it up mil has, I think you need to ask her not to bottle feed (unless you've specifically asked her to for your own reasons)

ElphabaTheGreen Thu 15-Nov-12 12:51:45

peaceful - why are you so convinced that your milk supply has dropped now and in the past? If it's because your baby seems hungrier now than he did a few weeks ago, that's perfectly normal, and definitely not an indication that your supply has dropped. It just shows he's getting bigger and needs more. His sleep may also start to wobble a bit, but again that is definitely not because your supply has dipped. It's a perfectly normal developmental stage he's at.

That said, I agree with the other posters about laying off the bottles for a while, or expressing so your MIL can give a feed rather than using formula, so that your boobs get the stimulation they need to keep meeting his demands.

Also - I've read so many times about mums who give their babies a bottle and presume that, because they finish it off quickly and then fall asleep, they must therefore have been starving their babies. This is definitely not true! Bottles make a baby a bit of a captive audience - they have a lot less control over how the milk comes out so they can drain a bottle very quickly. That's purely mechanical - not starvation sucking. Because they then get a full stomach much more quickly than they're used to, it may well make them feel sleepy quickly, especially if it's a belly full of formula which will make them feel fuller than breast milk.

Please reassure yourself you have not been starving your baby! smile

SamSmalaidh Thu 15-Nov-12 12:55:20

It's fine for him to feed for 5 minutes then take a break - just put him back on the other side. If he still seems hungry after feeding from both breasts, put him back on the first again and keep swapping til he is done.

Breastfed babies usually drink just over 700ml of breastmilk a day, so 150ml of formula is only a small part of his milk intake. Maybe set yourself a limit of no more than 100ml formula for the next couple of days, then 50ml etc so your supply can catch up.

FlossieBear Thu 15-Nov-12 13:06:47

peaceful - you've had some great advice, and I'd like to echo what others have said, especially the green poo, it's really nothing to worry about and the change in colour was most likely down to the formula, I know sometimes that can change babies poo.

If ever you feel you've not got enough milk, just keep at it, the more baby tries to feed, the more milk you will produce. This process will be slower if you give a bottle because your body won't get the message to up your supply, IYSWIM.

As for your MIL, could you suggest she bonds in different ways? Perhaps bathing baby, baby massage, taking baby out in the pram? However if you like the idea of having a bottle ready in case you would like to go out for example, express some (if you can) and store it, you can even freeze breast milk. Guidelines on storing milk here. Come back if you need any help with expressing as some mums can find that a struggle.

You're doing great and sound like a fab Mum smile

TantiK Thu 15-Nov-12 13:07:42

I've just quickly scanned this post, so sorry if this has been mentioned already, but when I had my daughter 3 years ago she got sick and the hospital gave her formula as my own breast milk supply had gone down whilst she wasn't feeding.

I managed to get my supply back up and eventually weaned her off of formula and back onto the breast. After feeding her, I would then express what was left (if anything) into a bottle. This could then be used to top up the feeds and I would then reduce the amount of formula I was giving based on what I expressed. Even if it was just 10ml, it all counted. I found loads of helpful advice (and sheets for tracking feeds etc) on the Kelly Mom website. It really did work and I was really pleased that I managed to do it - i felt so proud of this little thing that I could do for my daughter.

However, I do wonder if I spent too much time worrying about all of this...a lot of my energy went into measuring, expressing etc. when actually the odd bottle of formula wouldn't have done any harm.

I hope this helps a bit.

Tancub Thu 15-Nov-12 13:48:46

I'm glad to see so much great advice on here for OP. My mum was also desperate to give my DS a bottle, but didn't get the chance! You could ask her to do other things - like cook your dinner or do some laundry, or take little one out so you can catch 40 winks. At 11 weeks, just embrace the breastfeeding and your little one will stimulate exactly the right amount of milk, if that's what you want.

Keep hydrated, try nettle or fennel tea, but avoid peppermint tea. Eat well, and relax. I remember my little one having green poos too - it'll come and go, then all of a sudden you'll realise you can't remember the last time you noticed it.

Good luck x

elfycat Thu 15-Nov-12 14:08:12

Everything I'd have said has already been.

Try and have a skin-to-skin day if you can. Two of you snuggled up with ds rooting, snuggling and feeding as much as possible. Babies suddenly seem hungry and unsatisfied as their demand grows but your body and ds will find a new balance after a few days. 12 weeks is one of those times so you might be coming up against that.

Chocolate - oh yes. I'm not the biggest fan of chocolate but I craved it while bf and figured my body knew what it was doing.

Green poos are part of life with babies. Get it checked out if it's worrying you or frequent/long-lasting.

Maybe you need to make a plan for what you want to do with feeding and discuss this with DP. It sounds like you are be pressured into mix-feeding and that's not fair. If you want ds to have a ff then that's a different matter but MIL can bond in another way. It might be hard as she's already been bottle feeding and will expect to again but hide the bottles and bf when she's around. If she comments on any aspect of bf (like how frequent it can be at times) just breezily answer 'oh it's quite normal' (even if you're not sure) and then ask here or a HV, or feeding specialist to check.

Hope you are still having lovely baby/feeding snuggles today.

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