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Help! I want to breast feed, but I'm prescribed formula... Feeling torn

(80 Posts)
MissEJ Tue 08-Jul-14 06:03:51

Hi, sorry for the long message but I'm so lost and upset.
My baby is one week old today. She was born at 37+1 weighing 6lb 10.5oz by c section as when I was contracting, her heart rate dropped.
When she was born she latched on straight away, fed for 90 mins and I thought all was well. After that, her blood sugar was a little low so she was topped up with formula by the nurses for 2 days in hospital. After that we were breast only, til her weigh in at day 5 which showed she had dropped 11.5% weight.
I was told by the paediatrician I must feed every 4 hours from feed start time, not finish time. To start on the boob, try to feed for 30 mins, but if she's not feeding, then basically force bottle feed 60ml of formula. But, the formula fills her up, so I'm waking her to take breast first, she's not hungry, so not latching, then she's given more formula and this sends her back to sleep again. I've bought a hand pump so that my boobs keep milking and I'm giving her the pumped milk. But she's getting really used to bottles and I'm worried she's not latching anymore. I feel so torn, I want to bond and properly breastfeed, but I'm so worried she'll lose weight again... She has gained since the force feeding formula began, but it's not the way I wanted it to be....
Does anyone have any advice?

lucy101 Tue 08-Jul-14 06:26:45

I was in a very similar position with both my dc plus tongue tie which unfortunately had to be cut twice. Have you had this checked? And by someone who really knows what to look for? I had numerous people tell me my babies didn't have it until I saw someone privately from the team at Kings hospital here in London. It could cause a milk transfer problem hence the weight loss... but it is very common for babies to just take a long time to get the hang of it, in my case 5 weeks of formula or expressed milk and then exclusively breast. However I needed to pump with a rented hospital grade pump to keep my supply up etc. and do it 8 times a day which is hard work as well as trying to keep a bit of breastfeeding going during those first weeks.

It is really early days so don't despair but think about getting some more support from the hospital if they have it or privately if this is an option.

I found Dr Jack Newman's books and videos the most helpful.

MissEJ Tue 08-Jul-14 07:19:08

Thanks for your reply. I'm going to speak to my midwife when she comes in today because I'm so unhappy about it. When you expressed in the early days, how much were you getting per bottle?

LurcioAgain Tue 08-Jul-14 07:30:43

4 hour gaps between feed times sounds ridiculous to me even for a ff newborn (I had to switch to formula when ds was 8 weeks and my recollection is that even at that age the instructions on the tin say 3 hourly). DS was tube fed on the basis of the heel prick test while we were in hospital but it was always me trying to feed first then top up. I'd ask if you can have a second opinion from another paed as it sounds like this one isn't at all interested in supporting bf. And do check for tongue tie - that was part of our problem (not the whole story as I also had low supply due to pcos).

onedogatoddlerandababy Tue 08-Jul-14 07:44:29

Congratulations on your dd!

I agree with pp that 4 hrly feeds for a newborn sounds like madness (and very 1970's), at this age, she probably wants to feed much more often. Are you able to spend a couple of days (or more) with you both in bed? Do lots of skin to skin and put her to the breast when she roots, cries, wakes.

Just prepare yourself for the big cluster feeds, my dd's used to feed on and off for about 5 hrs each evening from about day 5-2/3 weeks. Arm yourself with drinks, food, phone/iPad/box sets, relax and enjoy smile

Hope it all works out for you flowers

ilovepowerhoop Tue 08-Jul-14 07:54:07

4 hours between feeds is far too long for a newborn. Mine were lucky if they went 2-3 hours at that stage. 60mls of formula after each bf also sounds a lot and will impact on your supply. You need someone knowledgeable about bf in order to be able to reduce the formula feeds so you can maintain and increase your breastmilk supply.

couldbeanyone Tue 08-Jul-14 07:54:52

Congratulations and I would agree with the poster above. At that age my daughter was feeding more like two hourly although I fed on demand so could have been more, four hourly is barking. I would personally get yourself in bed/on sofa for a few days feed her everytime she even squeaks and it'll get you both going. Do you have a BF group/counsellor near you? If so they are v helpful (I was lucky to have one plus my mum was a BF counsellor years ago so helped enormously). Good luck.

tiktok Tue 08-Jul-14 07:55:10

Sorry you have had a difficult startsad

This is something you must check with the midwife - great you are seeing her today.

The doctor's advice needs explaining. It is very unusual stuff. He cannot mean no more often than 4 hrly. He surely must have meant no longer than four hours between feeds. The amount of formula is huge. Please do check!

rocketjam Tue 08-Jul-14 08:00:24

agree with others here. If she is latching on well, and drinking your milk, she will be fine but forget the 4 hour rule - a MW told me that in hospital and when I got home I was confused and in tears because DS wanted to feed every two hours, sometimes every hour and I thought he wasn't 'normal', whereas I now know that every hour/two hours IS what most BF babies will do. Try and follow the advice of couldbeanyone. Relax, feed often (even if it's little), and pump in between feeds to increase your supply (if you can, your boobs will probably become sore at some point). Learn to feed lying down, which is relaxing for both you and your baby. Get a good box set on the telly to keep you company!! and DRINK lots of water. Eat chocolate too (just because it makes you feel happier, no medical reasons here).

beccajoh Tue 08-Jul-14 08:03:21

Four hours is a long time between feeds so young. My two were 6.8lbs and 6lbs at birth and couldn't go more than two hours during the day and 3 hours at night. DS was in the same situ as your baby with low blood sugars and needing top ups. He used to have about 30 mins on the breast and then 20-30ml of formula. I've never been able to feed him more than he wants, though, so couldn't have got 60ml of formula in him however hard I tried.

Imeg Tue 08-Jul-14 08:40:18

It took us 6 weeks to really get the hang of breastfeeding. These two resources helped me - especially the breast compressions.

Hedgehogging Tue 08-Jul-14 10:29:04

Just echoing everyone else MissEJ- my LO fed nearly hourly for the first while from the start of one feed to start of the next so I was often only getting 30 mins with her off boob!

I'm no expert but if your midwife is supportive maybe a day of skin to skin in bed and just letting her glue herself to your boob without formula top-ups (assuming latch has been checked and she manages it etc)? It might help to get things kick-started again.

Good on you for sticking with it- took me and DD a while to master even without additional difficulties thanks

NickyEds Tue 08-Jul-14 11:22:22

When my DS was having problems with weight gain as a new born I was told to feed every 2 hours (from feed start time), after 11-12 days when he still wasn't gaining I was told to top up but only 10-20mls, I think 60mls every 4 hours will affect your supply. Do you know if there's there a specific reason why your paed said this? Hope your mw sheds some light and gives you some much needed support.

MissEJ Tue 08-Jul-14 14:47:52

Thanks girls... I thought 4hourly was weird. I assumed I'd get a lot less sleep than that.
The paed calculated how much formula she should get from a chart thing based on her weight and age.
I spoke to my midwife today, who said I should try feeding every 2 hours or one hour if bub wants it. She also said to get a better pump to ensure my milk keeps coming and top up through breast milk finger feeding if needed. So, off to mothercare we went, and bought an electric pump... But they didn't tell me we also need batteries, so my OH is out again to get some. I have the Harry potter box set (OH idea :@) milk for me to encourage breast milk, nipple shields, snacks etc... It might be a long day night week and month but I really want to get this right. The breast clinic is on Friday, so I'm also attending that.
For the ladies whose babies feed hourly or 2 hourly... How long do they feed on the breast for at 1 week old?

tiktok Tue 08-Jul-14 14:56:48

The paed has assumed your baby is fully formula fed. There has been no allowance made for your wish to preserve bf.

Babies fully ff get something like 150 g per kg of body weight per 24 hours. Paed has done the maths and divided the sum total by 6, for feed.

This is NOT good care, if I am right about what has happened. It's great the midwife has been more individualised in her advice.

Time on the breast ie length of feeds is pretty irrelevant. It's frequency of feeds that increases intake and supply, as long as the baby is removing milk effectively.

Babies of this age do best feeding ad lib, held closely and/ or skin to skin for as much time as poss.

It is early days and you have time on your side, honestly.

tiktok Tue 08-Jul-14 14:58:14

Btw, you don't need to drink milk yourself to make milk. Of course you can drink it if you like it!

middlings Tue 08-Jul-14 15:02:03

Listen to tiktok, whatever else you do over the next few days, listen to what she has to tell you. Best breastfeeding advice I ever got was from this woman.

Oh, and DD1 used to feed for 10 minutes if I was lucky. She is now a healthy if slightly snotty this week two year old. DD2 loves a good boob. She could feed for an hour, easy, at a week old. I got used to it much faster than I thought I would. She's nine months now and I miss those snuggly feeds (although the night time ones, not so much.)

Good luck!

middlings Tue 08-Jul-14 15:03:14

Agreed on the milk drinking by the way. I would say the important thing is to stay hydrated, so drink tons of water. And eat a lot of cake - you'll need it when the Day 10 growth spurt starts!

couldbeanyone Tue 08-Jul-14 15:10:20

Good you have got some helpful advice, keep positive! One thing I forgot is try offering both breasts at each feed (ie feed off one until she's had enough then swap) which will help with supply etc. although at her age she may not want both definitely no harm offering smile

NickyEds Tue 08-Jul-14 15:59:43

What type of pump is it op? My Lansinoh one had batteries but could also be plugged into the mains with an adaptor -much cheaper as it went through LOADS of them

Chunderella Tue 08-Jul-14 17:30:09

60ml formula every 4 hours is a lot even for an eff newborn, and I don't think many 7 day old babies would be able to cope with such large and widely spaced feeds.

MissEJ Tue 08-Jul-14 18:08:17

Hi ladies, we've had an afternoon of pumping and feeding. Hoping no one comes to visit today as I always have a boob out!
We bought the medulla swing. It plugs in too but also needs batteries in case you're out and about and won't work on plug alone with no batteries..l I think?
I'm feeling a bit better. She has latched on a few times and feeds for 1-10 mins at a time. I've topped her up with expressed milk finger feeds.
Strangely, 2 separate midwife told me to drink milk to help bring my milk on.

tiktok Tue 08-Jul-14 19:16:30

Milk's an easy, quick and cheap source of food - but it is no better than anything else you might like smile It has no special qualities of bringing breastmilk 'in' - not good that midwives should say it has.

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 08-Jul-14 22:15:40

I used the Medela Swing, and I never put batteries in it - just plugged it in with the mains power supply each time. The batteries are just for if you are somewhere without a mains power supply.

MissEJ Wed 09-Jul-14 09:03:13

I've created a monster!! :@/
At 2 am after feeding for an hour from boob and giving 10ml expressed milk, my bub decided she's not sleepy and latched on like a trooper, suckling on and off til 5am.
I feel guilty as we then had 3 hours sleep... Should we have only had one or 2? and she went back on the boob at 8am...and she's still suckling now at 9.10am...
Is this too much feeding now, should I stop her? She's quite happy to suckle away.

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