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Mix feeding- will it help us? DS is 7 months

(22 Posts)
ilovetosleep Wed 12-Nov-14 12:30:12

Hi all Sorry this is long

I hope someone can offer some advice. We have had a rocky road with bf, 3 tt snips, prolonged nursing strikes, silent reflux, intolerances etc. But we have ebf til now (obv introducing solids now too).

We are at a place (have been for about 3 months) where DS will only feed to sleep during the day in a dark room, refuses breast at all other times, yet feeds every 2 hrs through the night. It is draining. During the day he would act as if i am offering him poison yet at night it is all he wants to settle.

I can't do it anymore, but I desperately don't want to stop bfing. I bf DS1 til he was 2, that is my norm, my benchmark - yet everyone is too tired to enjoy DS2s babyhood, him included. He's also basically hungry all day I think and whines a lot.

Our days go like this:
Wake 6am, sometimes will have bf
7am - offered porridge but not that interested.
8.30am bf to sleep for 45 mins
12am lunch - eats decent ish amount.
12.30 bf to sleepfor 1.5 hrs
Occasionally wakes mid nap and I feed him back to sleep
5pm dinner - usually too tired to eat but has a few mouthfuls
6.30 pm bf to sleep
Wakes and feeds 9.30pm, 11.30pm, 1 am, 3am, 5am etc etc.

He is reverse cycling I guess but just can't seem to tank him up in the day. Recently I have discovered that he will take bm in a cup whenever I offer him - makes me so sad he won't bf sad But I can't be bothered to express a decent amount. Yesterday I hand expressed about 50 ml in a few mins so I don't think supply is an issue but its just another thing to fit in the day.

I have had a prescription for neocate for ages but not collected. I am considering offering him a bottle mid morning and mid afternoon to bring his intake up before I consider any sort of night weaning (v gentle - can't tolerate crying)

What I don't want to happen is for him to have a preference for the formula and for this to be the end of BF. Ideally, he would get used to having the 2 bottles and then begin to accept bf again in place of them? Could this work?

I just don't know where to begin with reversing his food intake. Any suggestions very much welcome.

Imeg Thu 13-Nov-14 19:43:11

I don't know what neocate is for so I'm not sure how that affects your situation. But here are my thoughts anyway in case they're any use.
Personally I think that if continuing breastfeeding is very important to you I'm not sure how formula is going to help, unless someone else can give the odd bottle at night or at a weekend so you can sleep.
It sounds to me like he's actually having a lot of breastfeeds per 24 hours. I know babies are all different and you shouldn't compare but my only just 8 month old only has 3 breastfeeds per 24 hours now. He is wolfing down three meals plus one or two snacks a day though. I found that he slept much better once he started taking significant quantities of solids So anyway, based on my experience I wonder whether yours is unsettled during the day because he is either a) tired because of all the waking at night and/or b) unsatisfied because he's ready for more solids.
So I think if it was me and as long as he is otherwise well and gaining weight etc I would see if it was possible to give more solids, not worry overly about persuading him to have more milk during the day and find a way of night weaning that works for you so that you all get some more sleep. I can't help you there as we did controlled crying at 5.5 months to get away from feeding to sleep but I'm sure I've seen people mentioning gentle methods - try looking on the sleep threads?
Hope it gets better for you all.

LastOneDancing Thu 13-Nov-14 21:10:42

Howcome the neocate Ilovetosleep?

Im absolutely not an expert at all - I have a 7mo who wakes once or twice a night! But I have found his sleep has massively improved from every 2h since weaning.

When you say porridge in the morning, is that literally what you offer? Could you mash some banana in or try shredded wheat/ scrambled eggs with cream cheese? Anything to whet his appetite and get some food into him! I make my DS' porridge or cereal formula & give him any extra in a beaker.

If he enjoys lunch, do you give him a pudding? My DS gets a second wind when the rice pudding comes out smile

Regarding the 5pm dinner, can you bring it forward to 4ish so he's less tired and may eat more?

Just some thoughts.

ilovetosleep Thu 13-Nov-14 21:20:03

He just isn't interested in solids at all, in fact he often cries at the sight of them!

Neocate formula is because he is suspected CMPA, also soya and wheat off the menu for now. I am on exclusion diet. Also he has tested positive for egg allergy.

I thought maybe increasing milk intake during the day would help the reverse cycling as an option purely because he won't take solids - and to keep myself from getting stressed about it I keep telling myself solids are just for fun until 1 etc etc.

As for solids, I offer porridge with either some fruit pot or banana in. He clamps his mouth shut. He will self feed finger foods but if it comes on a spoon it must be very smooth and I don't want to go down that road. So I suppose I need to think of breakfasty finger foods.

At lunch eg today he had one slice avocado and about 3 bites of a fish cake. He chomped on cucumber but none went down. Then the mouth was firmly shut until fruit came out - watermelon. Ate 3 small slices. Thats a pretty average lunch.

Dinner - absolutely would not open mouth. Admittedly it was a bit late in the day, he was tired, and I offered some ella's strawberry porridge with apple puree afterwards and he did eat that (about 10 mouthfuls).

I can't force him to eat, and its getting me down as DS1 ate everything in sight from the word go (still does!)

I will definitely try offering dinner earlier.

I guess i thought that if he had some formula in his tummy I'd feel a bit more confident in trying to cut out some night feeds. I know full well he is having more than the average 7mo but with him hardly eating solids I don't feel ready to start limiting them...
Don't get me wrong, adding formula would be going against my instinct and a massive hassle, but I am just clutching at straws I guess.

ilovetosleep Thu 13-Nov-14 21:20:47

ActuallyImeg you are right in that I think he is grumpy most of the time because he is hungry. But won't eat. don't know what to do about that sad

CrispyCrochet Thu 13-Nov-14 21:21:24

Hi OP! Well done for persevering with the breastfeeding.

In short, there are no guarantees that changes you make will help your baby sleep. Some just don't sleep well. My 11 month old is terrible - I try to just accept it & hope that one day he will sleep through. I seem to cope ok with the broken sleep (we co-sleep to help minimise the time I'm awake in the night) & I do nap when I can. Also, coffee. Lots of coffee.

I agree with maybe trying to up the solids intake. Will your DS take a dummy? You could try offering water in a cup & dummy during night wakings? Can you settle your DS with cuddling or rocking?

I'm not sure if it helps or not but none of this works with my DS. confused Sorry.

CrispyCrochet Thu 13-Nov-14 21:23:04

Sorry X post about the solids.

Maybe offer formula but in a cup to avoid nipple confusion. At 7 months he may just not be ready for solids yet so just keep offering. I'm sure one day he'll surprise you & start eating.

munchkinmaster Thu 13-Nov-14 21:26:24

I night weaned my youngest at 9 months. Initially I offered a first feed on first waken ing then nada till 5 am . I didn't realise that in actual fact she was taking so much milk till we stopped. She then started to eat so much better . Took less than a week.

ilovetosleep Thu 13-Nov-14 21:40:16

I don't mind the idea of a dummy binge doesn't realy
Know what to do with one. He chews it. Mind you he's teething he'll chew anything. That's another reason I don't want to get tough at night. I just need a bit more sleep.

Is that amount of solids really bad for 7mo then? I was kinds of hoping you'd all say its fine, he's stil so young etc etc. like I said DS 1 took to solids so remarkably well tha I don't really know what is normal.

ilovetosleep Thu 13-Nov-14 21:41:50

My mistake crispy you did sort of say that. Am so tired can't read properly.

Imeg Fri 14-Nov-14 09:08:08

If he doesn't like being spoonfed have you tried offering him the porridge (or whatever else you might normally spoonfeed) to feed himself? I know it's messy but despite a condition affecting his dexterity mine prefers to eat all sorts of sloppy things (including yoghurt and porridge) with his hands so I'm sure yours could if you can bear the mess. Then you don't have to think of specific 'finger foods'. Also if you're not spoonfeeding you could consider concentrating on talking to your older child/ eating your own meal/have some music on or similar and let him get on with it on his own (obviously keep an eye he's not choking...) If you're more relaxed -easier said than done I know! - he might relax too?

Phoenixfrights Fri 14-Nov-14 13:33:20

I sincerely doubt he will develop a preference for Neocate grin it tastes absolutely vile!

Having had a baby with similar issues (and only lasting 5 weeks BF) I am not sure what to advise but you do have my sympathy. We moved to formula and this was better in the sense of having someone to share the burden of feeding. OTOH, there was the issue of palatability and getting DS to accept hydrolysed/ amino acid based formula.

Pumping and exclusively cup feeding might be the way to go - I know it's a total pain in the arse but it might be less of a pain in the arse than getting him to accept neocate. Plus, it's far easier if you ever go away on holiday and you'll never be caught short when your tin runs out over the weekend [bitter experience emoticon]

Phoenixfrights Fri 14-Nov-14 13:36:05

It sounds to me like he has a feeding aversion (apols if you already know that). Have you had any help from a SALT? Whoever he sees at the hospital should be able to refer him.

PS we also had dummy rejection and I now believe this was because of DS's high arched palate (associated with the tongue tie). It just wasn't that comfy for him to suck.

Has he ever been assessed for reflux, or been on any anti-reflux medications?

ilovetosleep Fri 14-Nov-14 14:07:57

Hi phoenix

Yes he def has high palate, LC confirmed after last TT snip and explained sucking wouldn't be so easy for him. That said, he goes crazy for boob all night long and loves to feed to sleep.

He is on omeprazole but we now think his reflux was caused by intolerances and now that I am free of all suspect foods we are going to wean him off omeprazole.

As for feeding aversion, it is something that has worried me. Esp in the early days of bf. but, as pp suggested, he will feed himself so I don't think he is totally averse to the idea of food. He is pretty averse to 'being fed' though.

Having said that this morning he did accept some porridge, at lunch he fed himself a chunk of squash and a bite of falafel, and ate loads of hummous (v messy!). I think blw is the way to go with him, so it would be considered pretty ok for him not to be taking huge quantities of food?

Re SALT - no. We are not in uK and no one has been that interested in our issues, despite seeig a paed for allergies. Main advice has been 'wean wean wean, get food in him'. Not really listening to me that I can't. From mumsnet though hv from ds1, I always thought milk was more important at this age anyway? And so confused.

Maybe I should push for SALT. Honesty I feel like we have been back and forth so many times they are sick of me. Does salt help with TT related probs Etc? Don't really know what they do tbh.

I am really hoping he's just taking his time with food and will get there in the end...

Phoenixfrights Fri 14-Nov-14 18:47:06

It is really, really, really common for babies with feeding aversion to not like to be fed by others via spoon or things poked into their mouth. And also to feed like champs when drowsy/ in the night but not in the day. It's classic feeding aversion behaviour. The good news from me is that if it is allergy-related, and you have now excluded all allergens, he could get loads better. My DS had a fairly significant aversion accompanying his milk allergy and reflux, but this abated when the underlying problem was solved. around 6 months. It's not always the case but it can happen.

Children's feeding problems are often the cause of parents going back and forth and back and forth IMHO. People see a baby that's perhaps a bit skinny but otherwise healthy, and think 'there's no big problem here', but I think maybe they don't always appreciate how stressful it all is for everyone concerned.

Milk is definitely more important than food at your baby's age. Oz for Oz, milk contains more calories than many weaning foods (especially if you're in a mediterranean culture where there seems to be a peculiar fascination with feeding a baby pureed root veg exclusively for three weeks before moving on to some other arbitrary food!). Having said that, if weight gain is an issue then things like avocado can be good, as can protein foods. Cream and butter and cheese will obviously be out.... If there is an issue with milk consumption, then sometimes food has to become a bigger part of the equasion than it otherwise would be and paeds sometimes press for earlier/ faster weaning.

DD did not have problems as severe as DS, but she hardly ate anything apart from pasta wheels and baby crisps until she was about 18 months old. She was (and is) perfectly healthy on that, plus breastmilk and some sneaky vitamins. Food is fun 'till one, is the mantra they use here in the UK.

SALT was helpful for us as they had lots of good suggestions about textures, foods, exercises, and the psychology of feeding aversions. But not essential. In my experience, getting the real underlying problem sorted was the main issue; the other stuff helped but was kind of secondary...

angelopal Fri 14-Nov-14 21:59:18

Cannot offer any advice on the bf as dd is formula fed. However she had never had any feeding issues or intolerance and will only eat yoghurt and porridge off a spoon. Everything else is finger food. She is 8 months

Porridge can be a bit of struggle but she will guzzle down plain natural yoghurt. Can he have yoghurt. Can you keep offering finger foods. It can mean you have to get more creative but there are lots of recipes out there.

ilovetosleep Fri 14-Nov-14 22:38:37

Yes it will have to be finger foods all the way.

pheonix your post was really helpful although I still feel lost. He (I) have been dairy and soya free for 3-4 months and gluten free for about 6weeks. He is on omeprazole so pretty much symptom free. Yet he still doesn't like to eat. Weight gain is not an issue at all, he is huge, and maintained 75-91st centile. Which I why hcps dont really care.

Re solids. Today he ate quite a lot. But he just doesn't enjoy it at all. He are half am Ella's pouch, chewed on on some sweet potato wedges and broccoli, then accepted a few spoons of fruit purée. BUT, especially at dinner time, he spend the whole time in his chair grizzling to get out. He spent all afternoon grizzling with hunger, grizzled all the way through the eating process and then was in a great mood right up til bedtime. So he is definitely hungry a lot of the time.

I'm not entirely sure about it being a feeding aversion, as he will happily put food to his mouth himself. He just won't eat very much of it. And he seems to struggle with it being in his mouth. A lot comes out again. He doesn't gag loads but can't seem to manoeuvre it well. Also he sits in his chair whinging (I really don't want him to get even more bad associations with eating but he really hates sitting in his chair!) but doesn't go for the finger foods. Then when I put something in his hand he shoves it in his mouth like he's starving! Then it goes in and he looks pretty disgusted, then sometimes he'll carry on and sometimes he'll drop it. And then start grizzling again.

Anyway I don't know how far we'll get with hcps/salt referal. Whenever I've mentioned feeding aversion or anything like that I just get 'oh it's behavioural you'll have to be tough' Well I bloody know its behavioural but he must hae a good reason, right? I can't force feed him and I will not leave him to cry all night when he needs the milk!

ilovetosleep Fri 14-Nov-14 22:40:51

phoenix sorry I re read my post and I don't sound very grateful, I am honestly thankful for your post, it makes sense to me I just wish I had some RL support! I hope your children both eat well now. My first DS eats so well it's all come as a bit of a shock to me. I never thought a baby would not want to bf. it's been heartbreaking at times!

ilovetosleep Fri 14-Nov-14 22:45:37

One last thing - do you think I should just embrace blw and sit on my hands, rather than piss him off even more with a spoon? I just think that if he does have an appetite he's not quite dexterous or interested enough to get food down him by himself, but on the other hand I do t want to make things worse by pushing it with trying to feed him myself.

As for milk, am going to express as cup feed when out and about bit stick to bf at home before naps and bed.

Phoenixfrights Fri 14-Nov-14 23:06:26

Sorry you have no real life support. That is hard flowers. Good ol' mumsnet will ride to the rescue. There are lots of mums on here with similar experience and I'm sure they'll be along soon to give their words of wisdom.

If the BLW is working for you then I would follow your instincts and go with it. It may not be too long in any case until he can get to grips with a spoon himself.

It's funny you mention the 'not being able to manoeuvre food around' because I think that is/ was also true of DS with his arched palate. Even now at 4 he struggles to chew food thoroughly enough and will just kind of gulp it down and I do wonder whether that's because he can't move it around with his tongue to faciliate chewing/ swallowing properly. He will quite often gag. He has also had some speech issues. I do think it's all possibly connected. Perhaps the same thing is going on with your little chap.

Oh and by the way, aside from the aforementioned gagging/ swallowing things home, DS is now a brilliant eater and has been from about 9 months of age. You can't keep him away from a chicken tikka masala with peshawari nan. I never would've believed it had you told me back in the day that he'd end up so omnivorous. So there is home....

Phoenixfrights Fri 14-Nov-14 23:07:55

hope, not home.

Honeycrumb Fri 14-Nov-14 23:11:29

I breastfed my twins for 4 months — and 'gave in' into formula when I could no longer take the non stop demand for bf. They would only go 4 hours, max, once per 24hrs with out wanting to be bf. I could never produce enough milk for them and by heck I tried. When they slept, I tried to express to tell my body to produce more milk. It just didn't work. I was a ragged, tired mess by the end of 4 months, having already gone through a very difficult pregnancy. When I look back I think that I felt so much pressure to be the best mum, to give them the best start in life by bf — and I really couldn't see the wood for the trees. After 4 months, I decided to 'give in' and supplement. Sadly, this did have the effect that my body immediately began compensating and I had less milk. By 6 months, they were only drinking formula. My dp and I will never the forget the first time they had some formula — they looked so satiated and dreamy — content. They also gained a good weight -- they went from looking like sparrows to babies.

I had to do what was right for us and ignore the pressure of 'breast is best' mantra, which was very, very hard. I decided I would never judge anyone for choosing what's best for them where their baby is concerned -- we're all different including our babies -- you have to go by what is going to work for you.

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