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Is it worth trying to bf at all if I intend to ff from a few weeks old?

(30 Posts)

Pg with my 3rd dc,very pro bf. I desperately tried to bf with both my dc but it didn't work out both times. I'm usually quite anemic, I don't know if this had any bearing on it. With my first, he was jaundiced and had to go under the hot lights, he got really dehydrated and hungry so we had to start supplementing with ff (he genuinely wasn't getting enough from me, you could see his fontanelle pulsing, I tried and tried) and carried on feeding both ways for a good few weeks til it made no sense for me to be so sore, and him so hungry and cross when I could just feed him a bottle. He was much happier when we did ff full time, bless him.

My second, I tried again, determined to make it work as she wasn't jaundiced. I read loads, I let her just feed and feed, she cluster fed for hours every evening. The weight fell off her, she went from 7lb to 6lb in just over a week, the hospital were worried. I started supplementing with a hospital grade electric breastpump and the medela supplemental nursing system which was a great concept but a lot of faff, and I just wasn't producing much. It got to the point where it was obvious it wasn't going to work and I just needed her fed.

This time round, I know I will ff, I know that for whatever reason, supply, maternal health, whatever, I can't bf successfully. So is there any point in trying to establish bf for the first few weeks just to pass on the antibodies (bearing in mind I'll have two other dc to see to, and will also have to supplement) or should I just sod it all and start with bottles immediately? Is it worth it?

AngelDog Fri 11-Jan-13 23:16:11

Yes, sipper has a good point on jaw issues - they can often be mixed up with tongue tie. Both my DS's bf'ing (and my older DS's dribble problem) improved after having their tongue tie snipped, but we saw much, much more improvement after seeing an osteopath who helped release some of the tension around the jaw/chest which went along with the tongue tie. For us both were necessary, but it's worth investigating if you have cause for concern.

dizzy77 Fri 11-Jan-13 21:00:36

And sorry I realise that could look like a dig at the very heart felt, well meaning ideas here, that really isn't how it's intended. Thank you for posting.

dizzy77 Fri 11-Jan-13 20:59:24

Thanks EMS, that's a lovely idea. I'd still like to find a place (and keep thinking of posting here to ask but get a but scared) to come to terms with and really process my bf experience last time, I don't know if there are physiological checks that can be done in advance to see what my chances of success are second time round. I don't want all the "every woman can bf", "have you tried terrifying exotic herbs" or "badgered your dr for a prescription.". Rationally I don't think it's important enough to take things that far myself, although I completely understand why people do.

Aspiemum2 Fri 11-Jan-13 09:36:19

I think it's really important not to put yourself under pressure to bf. If you are planning on ff why not set a limit on bf that feels doable?
Maybe 1 day, 3 days, a week? That way if you then switch to formula then you will have met your target but if its going well you can just take it day by day.

There is far more to parenting than where the milk comes from.

MrsHoarder Fri 11-Jan-13 08:52:42

Eat raw dairy? That's not fantastic advice, we pasteurise our milk for good reason, people used to very often get ill from unpasteurised dairy.

I like to empathise that what did my milk the most good was taking a pack of biscuits to the sofa at least one pack a day and staying there with DS as he fed. But that was just me.

But yes there is a point, the first milk is the best stuff (obviously its all good stuff) so there is a point to starting with the mindset that you will formula feed when you can't bf and let it tail down naturally from that.

thompson369 Fri 11-Jan-13 08:47:53

EMS23 - I think that's really good advice about writing down promises to yourself and then following them.

toddlerama Fri 11-Jan-13 08:31:26

I didn't manage with my first 2 despite being desperate to. Similar stories to yours really, but my 3rd I have. He's never had formula and he's 9 months now.

The things that made the difference were:
-Going home sooner
-Kicking DH out if the bed for a couple of weeks and not caring about baby sleeping day or night
-treated boob thrush with an oral capsule. A gp won't prescribe to a bf mother. I went in WHO website and realise that the rest if the world will, just not uk. I bought it over the counter.
-let nipples dry out. No Lansinoh or other creams
-eat whole oats and raw dairy. This had an effect within hours. I filled up visibly! Had to find a local dairy which sold unpasteurised milk but was so worth it and a lot cheaper than formula (55p per pint). Raw milk is amazing. My whole family are now on it.

I don't know which thing I did differently really made the difference, but something changed. Little monkey won't take a bottle though so expressing was a farce.

EMS23 Fri 11-Jan-13 07:59:42

James and Dizzy - I had a similar debate with myself when pregnant with DD2. For various reasons I had completely failed to bf DD1 and ended up with PND, overwhelming guilt etc..
I promised myself that with DD2 I'd give it a try but stop if it all got too much and I had too many problems. In the end I successfully bf DD2 for 1 week and then stopped for various reasons.
I am so so proud of that one week of bf we achieved. It sounds like nothing to most people, probably would be a failure for some but I didn't think I'd manage one feed so one week was amazing.


In the moment, at the time, with all the post birth exhaustion, hormones etc I hated myself again. I felt like a failure and I fought the same battle with myself as I did with DD1.

Write down your promises to yourself now. Write down your promise to try your best but stop when it gets too much and the problems get too big for you. Then you can refer to it if it does start to get difficult and you can remind yourself what your non hormonal, rational self promised to do.

Best of luck.

thompson369 Fri 11-Jan-13 07:54:02

This sounds similar in some ways to my experiences, with both DDs 1 and 2 I did want to breast feed and lasted a week or so with both. I don't think I had supply problems, more depression/anxiety and just had enough of the cluster feeding. So with dd3 who was born nearly two weeks ago I took the view that I would start off bf and see how it went but wouldn't get stressed to high heavens about it.
Two weeks in and I feel this time it's working out better, I am now with a different partner who is vastly more supportive and helpful than my ex which helps, also I had to have a section do was forced to stay in hospital for a few days whereas with the other two I was home within a few hours of delivering and was doing washing etc! So these differences I think have helped - plus of course each baby is unique too as others have said.
At present DH gives baby a formula bottle last thing at night and settles her to sleep, I get off to bed. I know this is against advice but it seems to be working for us so far so I'm sticking with it!
Just do what feels right to you, there is so much conflicting advice about that ultimately you need to rely on your instincts and do what is best for you, baby AND the rest of your family x

dizzy77 Fri 11-Jan-13 07:25:06

Hi James wanted to check in as I'm 19wks w DC2 and had a very similar experience to you with DS. I also have the rational, "give it a try, see how it goes, one feed at a time, in the grand scheme of parenting this isnt the very most important thing" mindset now but when this one's a few days/weeks old, I'm sleep deprived and hormonal, it might not be so simple, so I'm just wondering whether I should cut my losses and ff from the off. I'm actually vacillating from seeking all the peer support, LC input pre-birth, as I'm a people pleaser and feel ill just let people myself down if i do all that and still ff early on.

I got a fair bit of support first time but DS was born in peak bank holiday season which delayed my access to a lot of drop-in, clinics etc) and the MWs and HCPs after dehydrated DS's admission to NICU whilst lovely, ALL gave conflicting advice. Expressing took hours to get drops and I just can't see myself doing all that work whilst caring for a toddler too. I'm impressed you DID go to such lengths with your second and want to send love and support for whatever you decide this time.

Weissdorn Fri 11-Jan-13 07:00:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Aspiemum2 Fri 11-Jan-13 00:00:23

I wouldn't rule out expressing altogether. I had to express for dtd as she had feeding problems relating to a breathing issue. It took me about a week of faffing about to suss that I was never going to get large amounts so I settled for 3oz every few hours and topped up with formula.

I did put them both onto formula in the end as, like you, I have 2 older dc so bf one and expressing for the other was just too much.

They are 8 months now and I still miss it sad

sipper Thu 10-Jan-13 23:52:40

Tongue tie also sometimes confused with jaw position so good to get a cranial chiropractor to check too as they might be able to give some very gentle adjustments and nothing needs cutting smile.

The adjustments can also help latch and suckle. Cranial chiropractor who uses a technique called SOT would be v good for this sort of thing. My DD3 was treated when one day old - she wasn't latching on. A very gentle tweak later and she was feeding like nobody's business. Worth it!

Best wishes and I hope all goes really well for you and your baby.

Thanks, I'll definitely get them to check that then! You know, this sounds daft but I've often wondered if I have a tongue tie as I can only stick my tongue out 1cm over my bottom teeth. If its genetic who knows, maybe my two dc did have it!

AngelDog Thu 10-Jan-13 23:29:34

I would definitely try to get the baby assessed for tongue tie by someone who knows what they're looking for (many HCPs don't know, unfortunately) as your first two DC's issues would definitely fit tongue tie, and it runs in families.

As well as bf problems, tongue tie can also cause issues with bottle feeding, eating , solids, speech development, dental issues and a whole host of other health problems so it's worth checking even if you plan to entirely FF. Neither of my DS's would have been diagnosed with it if I'd not read about it here (DS2 diagnosed at 4 weeks, DS1 at 2.10 years old). Getting it sorted has made all the difference to feeding for both, even though neither of them had any dreadful problems.

On your original question, yes, 'every bf counts' is the slogan, so anything you can give baby is all good. Congratulations on the pg and I hope things are less stressful for you this time. smile

I really don't want to start faffing with expressing tbh, I never managed to get more than an ounce or so out of my right boob, even less with the left, and that was with a heavy duty hospital pump. I will take it one feed at a time and do it for a week or two to let them get the benefit, after that but I'll definitely be ff so I don't want to expend as much energy as before on this as it just never works and I'll be so busy.

Thanks everyone for your responses smile

Spiritedwolf Wed 09-Jan-13 18:41:18

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can start with ebf for the initial immunological benefits and to see if things are better than with your older DC. If you and your HCP feel that the baby isn't getting enough food then you can top up with formula to help with weight gain as you have said. But that doesn't need to be the end of breastfeeding.

You can mixfeed for as long as it suits your family. Even if you end up mainly bottlefeeding for baby's nutritional needs, you can still keep a couple of nursing sessions in your day for comfort and immunological benefits if you and baby enjoy them. It might not last forever if your supply isn't good, but there are benefits to you both for as long as you are able to, and if the alternative was stopping cold turkey then you haven't lost anything by trying.

Just take it one feed at a time and remember that if there is some physiological reason why breastmilk doesn't make up the majority of baby's diet, there is no rule that says you can't continue to nurse alongside bottles if you want to.

Congrats on your pregnancy, try not to worry about the feeding. smile

thehumanegg Wed 09-Jan-13 10:54:40

I'm in the same position in that I can't produce much milk (due to breast reduction) and I'd like to think it's worth a go with future pregnancies incase you produce more - IIRC one bit of research stated an average 30% increase with each pregnancy. With the next one I'm just going to be very watchful of wet nappies and merconium to make sure it's turning to normal poo in a normal amount of time, and start with formula as soon as this doesn't seem to be the case as like you I just want to get them fed and well primarily even if I would desperately like to bf. Also I don't know whether domperidone was something you looked st last time (using Dr Jack Newman's protocol it really helped me anyway, to the point of leaking boobs - though still supplementing heavily.


ScrambledSmegs Wed 09-Jan-13 10:19:56

Floradix is good as it doesn't make you constipated and is more easily absorbed than tablets. Hope it helps you.

mrscog Tue 08-Jan-13 23:59:19

Every feed counts so i'd just feed them as often as you want but maybe supplement with formula from whenever you get fed up smile

midori1999 Tue 08-Jan-13 23:58:40

Sorry, we are in the BF section... blush hopefully Mawbroon will see this.

midori1999 Tue 08-Jan-13 23:57:57

Yes, it's worth it. Any breast feeding at all is beneficial and you never know, maybe it will just work out this time and be easy? Plus, you often produce more milk the more pregnancies you have too.

I 'couldn't breast feed my first three DC, or at least that is what I thought at the time. However, I have now been BF DD for 18 months, she's never had a drop of formula.

Did anyone consider tongue tie with your other children? This very often goes undiagnosed, even when several health professionals have had a look, especially if its a posterior tie. There is a thread somewhere in the BF section where many babies haven't been diagnosed until some real insistance or Parents going private. Mawbroon is one of them and IIRC, her son was 6 before his TT was diagnosed.

I don't think I tried floradix, with the last baby they said I was very anaemic and gave me a load of ferrous sulphate tablets to get it up but they made me terribly constipated and as I had a tear I didn't really take them. I'll definitely try floradix then, before the birth, who knows, it might help.

concessions, I'll give it a go. My first two weren't bad feeders really, they both seemed to have a painfully strong latch, there just wasn't much coming out. I think I'll give it two weeks, to give them the benefit. If by then it seems more successful than with the other two then I'll carry on.

concessionsavailable Tue 08-Jan-13 23:29:48

My personal experience is of completely different bf experiences with different babies. For DD1, it was a nightmare. For DD2, far easier. I would just start off bf and see what kind of baby you have and how it goes, especially I hear you on the juggling with two other kids thing. You may have a baby who is not jaundiced and who is very efficient at getting your milk out, and you might want to consider a nursing herbal tea or something to get your supply up, as well as all those cluster feeds. Basically, what I'm trying to say is don't give up before you've even started, but don't drive yourself totally nuts trying either.

ScrambledSmegs Tue 08-Jan-13 23:25:53

I think, purely from a bonding point of view, you may want to try breastfeeding for as long as you feel you want to/can. But honestly, don't put yourself under pressure to do so, do whatever feels best for you and your family.

On the anaemia front, have you tried Floradix? I realise that won't 'cure' pernicious anaemia, but I'm normally borderline anaemic, with first birth I lost a lot of blood, became very anaemic and had a real struggle breastfeeding DD1 properly due to low supply. With DD2 I took Floradix for a while after giving birth, and it really made me feel a lot better and more alert, to the extent that this time round I seem to have oversupply. It may of course be a coincidence, feel free to be a bit hmm !

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