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Struggling to breast feed new baby while looking after a toddler. Is bottle easier?

(15 Posts)
Ginplease Sat 05-Apr-14 11:50:28


I have a 4 week old daughter who is doing great with feeding. I am feeding on demand. I also have a 2.3 year old daughter who although understands that I need to feed wants attention a lot through the day. This has led to feeds being disrupted, me walking around feeding and sitting in bad positions which is causing backache and headaches. I am struggling with it.

I don't want to give up breast feeding. I fed my first daughter until 1 and I'd like to give both girls the same if I can but I can't think how to help this situation. I am starting to wonder if bottles would be any easier or if that would just replace one problem with another.

Does anyone have an opinion on this or any tips to help?


ArtFine Sat 05-Apr-14 14:17:13

I can't tell you which is better as I haven't bottle fed (with formula) but what I would say is do what is easier for you. What the baby needs and will prefer is a happy mother.

NormHonal Sat 05-Apr-14 14:24:36

Can you get into the habit of laying out some toys for your DC1 before you sit down to feed, when you know DC2 is getting restless?

It will get easier over time (I promise!) as the feeds get shorter. Although I'm a fine one to talk as I had my DC1 in a pre-school every morning when DC2 was a newborn and dealt with it that way. blush

I also fed on-demand BTW.

What made it easier for me with DC2 was giving him one bottle a day. So, DH could do this when he came home and I could do bath/bed with DC1. Or (very) occasionally at weekends I could leave DC2 with DH and go and have a day out with DC1 to "compensate" a bit and reconnect with her.

I was committed bf'er so that decision was a tough one for me.

Be assured though, it is bloody hard having a newborn and a toddler.

It gets easier two are currently playing together quite nicely (rare) and DH and I are having a few minutes "off".

cakeymccakington Sat 05-Apr-14 14:25:45

i don't think it would make a difference., the baby would still need feeding and the toddler would still want attention.
plus you'd have the extra washing and sterilising taking up your time.

Munxx Sat 05-Apr-14 14:29:15

I felt this way as well, and beat myself up with guilt for a wee while. But I persevered with the breastfeeding. I too was running around toddler groups feeding while chasing and spent quite a lot of time at her music classes sitting feeding.... But it does get much easier faster.

I never used a sling with my first, but I got one for my second and it did make a difference.

In the end you should do what works best for you, but I can tell you that my eldest has never felt left out or resentful and as your 4 week old gets bigger and more robust you will be able to wrestle them into better positions.

FoodieMum3 Sat 05-Apr-14 14:56:18

I feel for you. I'm expecting no.3 and have a 2 yo.

With no.2 I moved to bottles and regretted it very quickly. If BF is otherwise working out I would stick with it and maybe think about getting some help with your toddler or help in the home. Have you anyone that could even help for even one hour a day?

With bottles and FF I found washing bottles, sterilising, counting scoops, feeding baby and baby cranky with wind and other problems harder than the initial weeks of BF.
bottles IMO are not the magic answer and are still time consuming. This time I hope to stick to the BF.

Also I've never used one but some mums swear by slings, have you tried one?

Sorelip Sat 05-Apr-14 15:01:42

I bottle feed, so can't really comment on the breast feeding, but I found it took a bit of timefor DS1 to get used to me needing to feed the baby. DS2 is 17 weeks now and DS1 gets on with playing while I do it. So I don't think bottle feeding would be any easier for you in the long term or even medium term.

ArtFine Sat 05-Apr-14 15:02:49

How about you give one bottle feed per evening so that you get a break and your LO is used to the bottle? Then when you want to stop BF, it won't be a problem.

Ginplease Sat 05-Apr-14 16:34:49

Thank you all, I appreciate your comments.

I haven't tried getting toys out for the toddler as she has done toys she can reach in her toy box but I wonder now if it might capture attention more if I get some out specifically.

I do have a sling, I have a baba sling and a sa-be carrier. They help between feeds but I don't think I can feed in them.

Sorelip, I was wondering if that would be the case with extra work for bottles.

I have expressed and my husband is going to start trying a bottle this evening.

Thanks for sounding it out for me.

PorkPieandPickle Mon 07-Apr-14 14:41:28

Can't give you any further info on which is easier as

PorkPieandPickle Mon 07-Apr-14 14:42:01

as only bf, but I do feed in my baba sling with relative ease smile

feekerry Mon 07-Apr-14 18:11:22

dd is 24m so full blown toddler, ds is 8 wks. i have only ever ebf so i do sometimes wonder like you but for me bottle feeding i think would be a million times harder. (and feeding ds hasn't been a walk in the park!!)

when i feed ds i ask dd if she would like a sticker book or peppa pig on tv. both keep her quiet!!!
i can't imagine faffing with bottles. you still have to feed baby and may have to spend more time winding!
i do think feeds start to settle a bit when they get a bit older. ds now 8 weeks and lovely quick feeder!

harverina Tue 08-Apr-14 00:01:21

What about a box which comes our only during feeds? It can have some toys/activities in it that see a little different to her usual stuff?

I have recently been in a similar situation and find that getting out is the easier option - setting up play dates and going to toddler groups works well for us grin

perfectstorm Tue 08-Apr-14 02:20:58

I've done both. DS couldn't bf (severe tonguetie, two divisions, never able to latch) and had to be bottlefed. The faff of constantly sterilising was immense, and while I had to pump as well I don't see that prep of formula is any easier, if you do it the safe (boiling water, leave to cool, freshly prepared every feed) way. Bottlefeeding is massively inconvenient. DD is being ebf and as she was also tonguetied, is a painful feeder, and has nasty oral thrush she's infected me with and thus we've both been infected a month now (no remedies have worked) believe me when I say I still prefer to bf on convenience and cost grounds, as well as benefit to the baby. It does suck for my eldest, how many endless hours I spend feeding, but the reality is he'd be even less with me if I had to sterilise bottles, prepare feeds, and cart all the paraphenalia around. Boobs are always there, always sterile and always the right temp.

The pain is making me question ebf. The convenience, and thus benefit to my eldest as well as me, is part of why I'm persisting. And I have huge boobs and a baby who can't latch correctly by herself (she nipple feeds, if I try it) so I have to use both hand throughout each feed, too. My hope is as she gets bigger and her mouth larger she'll feed better, and I can move from cross-cradle hold to standard cradle.

I would advise asking to speak to the Infant Feeding Specialist in your NHS Trust, if they have one. Ours is stellar and it's like having a very good lactation consultant on speed dial. It may be your second child, but the challenges are different and thus so are the needs.

perfectstorm Tue 08-Apr-14 02:23:05

For positioning help, I mean. If you have a free hand when feeding then most toddlers would love being read to, or watching a DVD or Cbeebies while being cuddled up to you, I would imagine. Not an option for us as yet, sadly, but if it is for you then some help in achieving that might be good?

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