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In middle of breast feeding nightmare, my baby is screaming, please help?!!

(45 Posts)
mameulah Fri 04-Jan-13 23:37:27

Long story short...

We are trying to get our baby to use a bottle instead of my breast. We are trying this for the first time right now. I am supposed to be expressing milk in the living room and our baby is SCREAMING in the bedroom. When I went to investigate our baby is desperately searching for milk on my dh's chest (can't remember the expression for this, my head is scrambled) and is extremely distressed. EXTREMELY DISTRESSED!!! I feel so cruel.

Does anyone have any advice?


MsMarple Sat 05-Jan-13 00:18:45

If you are worried about feeding out of the house, even with the two-vest method, then I can recommend one of these with the little hoopy bit so you can look down at your baby and see what's going on latchwise:

Seriously they are great: your boob could be 2ft wide and no-one would see anything!

Sympathies to you for the endless evening feedings too. Have you tried lying down to do it for a change? This evening I've mostly been feeding in my comfy bed with a laptop balanced on my hip, and have also managed to get loads of book reading done too. In fact, when he does eventually only eat at sensible times I think I will miss this solid gold excuse to laze about all evening reading whatever I like and forgetting the washing up!

Hope you find a way for you all to be happy.

QuickQuickSleigh Sat 05-Jan-13 00:19:02

nursing cover

Try one of these ^ made a big difference to me and my BFing- you and the baby can see each other but nobody can see your boobs smile

How old is your DS? The cluster feeding is hard, but it will lessen. Is he having a growth spurt?

Getting an iPad helped me get through those long, long evenings with DS, as did the entire Buffy series blush

MsMarple Sat 05-Jan-13 00:19:33

Oops missed that link converting box:

QuickQuickSleigh Sat 05-Jan-13 00:19:58

Excellent cross post there with MsMarple!

smile4me Sat 05-Jan-13 00:23:06

Yup that's total my the type of thing I was blathering on about grin. And second getting ipad or something... I have a mini laptop (I'm a crap typer on the ipad) and keeps me sane during feedings!

TalkativeJim Sat 05-Jan-13 00:34:26

You are doing a MARVELLOUS job OP!

Your plan can work, but I wouldn't do it right now and I wouldn't do it this way.

I get that the cluster feeding is terrible for you, but if you want bf to succeed, I think you might have to just run with it a bit until it at least trails off a bit- which it WILL. But it's the baby's instinct to do this to make you make more milk and to try and circumvent it might just end up making the whole thing more stressful, stressing your baby out as well as you and muck up a good feeding relationship. How old is your baby?

The getting used to bottles is a good idea - it's VERY important that your feelings are considered in this too (especially if you're having to deal with hard stuff like cluster feeding). I get what you're saying about feeding in public. It's not a trivial concern at all. I think you might have more success with the bottle introduction during the day, rather than when your baby is settling and looking to cluster feed and get comfort. I'd try it when your baby is more alert, and getting hungry but not too hungry, as others have said.

Good luck and well done on getting bf going so well.

mameulah Sat 05-Jan-13 02:17:50

Thank you everyone so much for your advice and support. Our little baby is now in the land of nod thanks to my very patient dh who gently comforted him until he slept. Our wee baby boy finally took some more milk from me, on my left breast, I have now expressed a full bottle from my right breast. But what the right thing to do next, I do not know.

On the one hand, I think that if my dh could feed our baby once a day it would be a really lovely bonding experience for them both.

Bottle feeding with expressed milk would feel less intimidating than getting my boobs out in public.

Everyone says that when a baby refuses your breast it is because they find it easier to take milk from the bottle, but what if the baby is distressed taking the milk from the bottle, is it because they are angry that the routine they are so familiar with has changed?

And when are you supposed to wean your baby off your breast anyway? Is it as hard when your baby is older?

mameulah Sat 05-Jan-13 02:20:37

By the way, our wee boy is five and a half weeks old.

TalkativeJim, what kind of a plan would you use? (If you don't mind me asking)

TalkativeJim Sat 05-Jan-13 02:48:14

I think I would maintain feeding from the breast in the evenings, certainly for now and let baby have his way with the cluster feeding (groan, I know!) - it WILL pass and it's the natural thing to do, and great for establishing your supply. 5 weeks is still early days and I'd be wary of trying to break the cluster feeding habit. Plus, bf is comfort too, and you might want to think about routines or patterns you want to get into later- perhaps that bottles are for daytime, breast for before bed- cuddle time with mum, etc (or maybe not if you're keen to get your DH doing feeds too, of course).

I'm NO expert and I think if you were to look further on kellymom or on here you'd hopefully get some folk who've done similar to advise - but I think my plan would be to introduce the bottle during your baby's most awake time, when he is most alert, not tired and fussing for milk and expecting to fall asleep on the breast. Try the bottle when he is hungry but not desperate. I'm sure he will get to grips with it, and then you can feel your way with how to balance it - how many feeds do you want to use the bottle for, do you want to get into a routine with it, or just get to a point where your baby will take a bottle with no problems so that you can use it when you need/want to? The key thing is that your supply doesn't suffer through baby suckling less- the stimulation is different with the pump so not sure how it might affect you.

If the aim is just to get your baby happy with the bottle so you can get out and about confidently, then I think you'll get there just fine. FWIW I exclusively bf my DD til 6 months and didn't use a bottle at all (wasn't great at expressing) - EXCEPT when we had a total nursing strike at about 4 weeks and tried bmilk in a bottle. She was fine with it!- cue frantic expressing for a few days until she was happy to nurse again. My point is, she wasn't fazed by the bottle at all. I was pretty surprised. Neither did she have any problem going 'back' to the breast. HOWEVER at 5 weeks I guess a potential issue might be that your baby prefers the 'ease' of a bottle and wants that in place of the breast- that's certainly something to be wary of. Again I'm sure there is lots more info out there on that.

Good luck and hope this helps!

TheElfOnThePanopticon Sat 05-Jan-13 09:10:08

Just to reply to your earlier question, there isn't an official time to wean a baby from the breast, but the official advice is to breastfeed with no other food or drink for the first 6 months, and then to breastfeed along with food and drink until the baby is at least 2. Most mothers stop earlier than that, though.

I hope you are feeling a bit better today. I would have a go at feeding with a nursing cover for out and about feeding, as feeding expressed milk is a lot more hassle compared to feeding directly from the breast once the initial crazy feeding period has passed. If feeding expressed milk is important to you, then find a regular time and keep the routine and your baby will probably get used to it.

ipswichwitch Sat 05-Jan-13 09:31:29

In the early day I ha great difficulty feeding when out and about (big boobs, squiring milk, wriggly colicky baby etc), but then I discovered that my local town centre had a room set aside for bf mothers. It's basically a glorified changing room with chairs, but you have to buzz to be let in (no chance of folk just wandering in), and there was never anyone else in there. It meant I could bf while I was out without the worry of flashing to all and sundry or giving then a good squirt of milk in the process.

After a while I got more comfortable with bf, got better at it and was able to sit in a cafe an do it discreetly. It does take practice and time (still early days for you), but maybe a solution for you could be to google bf facilities where you are, so you can bf while you're out without other people about.

DS was also a cluster feeder (8pm til 2am), and there were times I felt like I was going out of my mind, but it did pass, things did settle down an it got a whole lot easier. I can remember thinking that either my boobs didn't work or there was something wrong with DS as nobody told me about cluster feeding. I ended up joining a bf support group and that's where I first got to grips with bf in front of others

tiktok Sat 05-Jan-13 09:31:57

Some great info here, OP smile

You'd be helped by calling one of the bf helplines - give you a chance to really talk things through.

Giving a bf baby a bottle for whatever reason is a perfectly ok plan...but as people have already said, not when your baby is desperate for you, or is used to the comfort, closeness and connection of cluster feeding (perfectly normal at 5 weeks). This is distressing for your baby, and no one learns a new skill when they are distressed.

You can find some good info on NCT's factsheet, Bottles for Breastfed Babies (google it and you'll get a link to the PDF).

Young babies may become upset when a bottle is offered not because they are cross at their routine being changed, but because breastfeeding is a way of checking in socially and emotionally with you, because sucking at the breast feels familiar and comforting, because they don't know how to satisfy hunger with a bottle....the change can be gentle and accommodating, and doesn't need to be upsetting. It doesn't need to happen immediately either - there's no urgency in your situation so you can have the luxury of doing it at your baby's pace smile

Badjudgeofcharacter Sat 05-Jan-13 09:46:06

Think about the reasons you want your baby to drink from a bottle. No one cares if you breastfeed a baby when you are out. You need to teach your baby and others that breastfeeding is great and NEVER feel embarrassed. You should be proud especially when others would have loved to be able breastfeed. What is the point of getting stressed trying to express at this stage. Wait untill your baby is older. You should be proud. People can't see much when you are out. I fed everywhere no one cared. Most people think that babies are lovely however they are fed and will always look at babies. Just sling on a scalf. You are currently giving yourself extra problem you don't need. Be happy and thankful for having milk.

ticklebug74 Sat 05-Jan-13 15:29:49

The op is embarrassed by her large breasts and does not feel comfortable feeding in public so all the comments on nobody cares, just do it, don't feel embarrassed don't actually help. Breastfeeding with large breasts is very hard to do discreetly so I completely understand the op reasons for wanting to get baby used to bottles!

Op, rather than try and feed my dd3 a bottle as a whole feed i started by giving her a one ounce top up bottle after a feed and she would happily take it. Just be careful of your supply as it is still fragile at 5 weeks. My dd3 is now 11 weeks and happily takes a full feed bottle now and again and has no problems going back to breast. Did this with all 3 of mine no problems!

And I have fed in public a handful of times but it is awkward and not at all a pleasant experience for me and baby picks up on it so I avoid it whenever possible (have even fed in the car rather than face a busy cafe) but it does get easier when they are bigger and better at latching on their own although I am still seriously self conscious.

Good luck.

Badjudgeofcharacter Sat 05-Jan-13 17:41:39

I have extremely large breasts and when I was BF'ing they were even bigger. I was nervous at first untill I got over it and realised no one cared. They were seriously large! I had to order special bras. I wore a nursing bra, a vest and a had a pashmina. We need to teach our children that large breasts and breastfeeding are nothing to be embarrassed about. You need to get over the uncomfortable feelings the more you feed in public the less nervous you feel. Go to a nice cafe or coffee shop. The more you feed out and about the less nervous you will feel and the uncomfortable feelings will subside.

Badjudgeofcharacter Sat 05-Jan-13 17:42:55

Sorry for repeat of sentence!

mameulah Mon 07-Jan-13 11:07:21

Thank you everyone for all your advice. It was a really tough night and all your wisdom has been much appreciated. My dh and I are still working out a plan on how to tackle the next bottle feed but all your wise words and websites will hopefully make the experience much more successful for all of us. Either that or I will just have to breast feed my son until he is twenty!

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Mon 07-Jan-13 11:45:28

You may need to play around with different bottles, to find one he likes. There are so
Many to choose from. When I breast fed dd1 she hated tommy tommy but loved the mam bottles more so than my breasts.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Mon 07-Jan-13 11:45:49

Tommy tippy sorry

MrsHoarder Mon 07-Jan-13 12:00:57

Are you near a large town? My local shopping centres, John Lewis, ikea and mothercare all have feeding rooms. Also I have often asked to use changing rooms in clothes shops (can lock the door and staff have always been helpful) our just gone back to the car and sat in in back seat.

Finally I learntto bf in public from going to bf cafes, but don't feel you have to. Good luck with the bottle, I gave up and just took ds everywhere until he was 6 months and drinking from a cup.

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