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Nearing breaking point - advice needed RE formula

(12 Posts)
northernnomad Sun 23-Nov-14 20:13:44

Hi all - baby is one month old and since birth I have had problems feeding her. Struggling with latch which is very painful. Have had what feels like every problem going!
First week very painful feeding where I was crying whilst she fed. Was feeding an excessive amount and I was bleeding from the nipple.
Second week - got a pump and started expressing as baby rejected one side resulting in the other side getting a right bashing from baby. Got help from midwives who advised me to express and give my nipples a break from the baby. This was good and baby takes both bottle and breast well.
Third week - slow milk flow and spend so long to get even the smallest amount of milk. Cant keep up with expressing enough to satisfy her so have to do some feeds myself and still cant get the latch right.
Fourth week - doing 2 (slightly uncomfortable) feeds a day myself, the rest with my expressed milk. Cant manage more on the breast as too painful.

I am seriously considering mixed feeding with formula - something I never wanted to introduce, simply because I am not enjoying this time at all. I keep getting a lot of family pressure to 'just get through it' and to persist, but I am so occupied by this problem all day I am dreading every feed. I think I will feel like a failure if I introduce formula, but I want to enjoy my baby as well. I also dont know that much about the pros and cons of formula as I have always thought of it in a negative way, Looking for experiences opinions and advice please!

EmbarrassedPossessed Sun 23-Nov-14 20:33:03

Has anyone with suitable expertise checked your baby for tongue tie/lip tie? If breastfeeding is causing you pain and nipple damage then it could be very likely.

In the meantime google the exaggerated latch (or flipple) technique for getting a deeper latch, and maybe experiment with different positions e.g biological nurturing, rugby ball hold etc. Use a lanolin cream like Lansinoh after each feed as well. Apologies if you have already tried these suggestions already.

Also, you can use formula as a temporary measure, to allow your nipples to heal. You can then move back towards 100% breastfeeding if you want to, or stick to mixed feeding.

MrsSpencerReid Sun 23-Nov-14 20:34:55

Whatever you decide giving baby formula does not make you a failure, your bf journey has been far from easy and many would have stopped by now! Do get tounge/lip tie checked for by an expert, good luck

littlemonkey2013 Sun 23-Nov-14 20:40:18

Have you tired using nipple shields? I used them for a week or so, especially on one side while in the first few weeks and I had pain while feeding. They really made the feeds more comfortable. After that I got on much better to feed without.

sophielouise Sun 23-Nov-14 20:48:19

Hi there, no advice really but I'm in the same boat at 5 weeks and have already resorted to formula. Due to bad latch, pain, poor weight gain, inverted nipple on one side etc. then last week we both got thrush when I was getting checked for tongue tie they diagnosed that instead! In the end I went out and bought some formula as my pumping was going down to just one ounce from each breast and my DD was crying all the time.

The formula sent her straight to sleep I think she was starving! But what has happened since this is that's my supply has gone down even more. Just to warn you that this will probably happen unless you are pumping all the time. So the formula is amazing, but now I think my milk is drying up for sure which has scared me a bit as I want to keep mixed feeding at least. I have now ended up giving formula in the morning as well, due to constant night feeding leaving me empty for the feed in the morning!

I have read it is a slippery slope and didn't believe it but it is happening to me! There is nothing better than giving a BF and knowing that it has satisfied them. I thought that by supplementing feeds, my next feed would be 'bigger' for her but actually what has happened is that my whole supply is already down.

Just wanted to warn you what might happen. However, for mine and my family's sanity I have accepted and decided to move on however that may be. I will keep BF for as long as I can! Good luck OP! Remember, that there is nothing wrong with formula!!

lockie1983 Sun 23-Nov-14 20:51:04

You are not a failure.

Please read that again: you are not a failure.

I know this is such an emotive subject for many reasons. I think it's a shame that this is preoccupying your thoughts, making you dread feeding, during such a special, magical time with a newborn.

Please get some support from a bf expert if you want to keep breast feeding. Equally, using formula does not make you anything but a mother feeding her baby.

Baby needs feeding. Mum needs to be happy.

Good luck.

nosleeptilever Sun 23-Nov-14 21:09:58

your experience sounds similar to mine. We had a terrible time and made it to 4 months before I gave up and went 100% formula. My ds(who is 4 now) started sleeping longer, crying less and gaining weight. I was so upset and grieved for a few weeks feeling like a failure. If I had to do it again I would have given up sooner so that I could have enjoyed those early days a bit more.
I have scars on my nipples where they had cracked, I had mastitis once and a persistent bout of thrush which felt like needles being poked in my milk ducts every time he latched. This made me very anxious and had a negative effect on my supply so we started supplementing with formula while I would then pump my breasts to try and increase supply. So a feed would go: breastfeeding, bottle with expressed milk from previous feed, formula. Then I would have to put nystatin in ds mouth and on my nipples and change bras. DS then started preferring the bottle because it was easier for him. This broke my heart at the time but looking back it was a good decision for me to go to formula. DS is now a happy healthy boy.
My advice is to do what you think best for you and your baby and don't berate yourself or feel guilty about your choice whether you stick it out or supplement they will be ok.

AnythingNotEverything Sun 23-Nov-14 21:36:37

Firstly - there's nothing wrong with formula.

If you want to continue to bf, I think you really need an actual real life human to help you. Is there an infant feeding specialist attaché to your HV team or a breastfeeding cafe nearby? And ask them to check for tongue tie.

In terms of healing up - Lansinoh, fresh air to nipples, covering them in breastmilk ... All should help. Paracetamol can help with the pain. Friends recommended jelonet patches too.

Different positions can protect the sore bits - I found the rugby hold helped as it meant DD was catching a different bit of my nipple.

Congratulations on your lovely newborn.

RumAppleGinger Sun 23-Nov-14 21:54:33

You are not a failure whatever you decide.

I had DS four years ago and really struggled with breast feeding. It was something I wanted to do and felt quite a lot of pressure to successfully do so. For five weeks I struggled with tongue ties, cracked, bleeding nipples, mastitis, a miserable baby who always seemed hungry and was losing weight and a lot of my own tears. I see now that I completely martyred myself. Eventually DH made the decision for me after watching me dread every feed and cry constantly he went and bought bottles and a box of formula and basically said enough was enough. Almost overnight the change was visible in both me and DS; we were so much happier.

I'm now four days over due with DS2. I'm hoping to and am positive about breast feeding. I'm fully stocked with lanoshal and nipple guards however if things deteriorate like they did last time I will not hesitate to switch to/mix feed with formula.

Good luck whatever you decide.

slippermaiden Sun 23-Nov-14 21:55:04

Have you tried expressing for a couple of mins before putting her on the breast. Or try a nipple shield, or as she is having a bottle already then formula milk will do her no harm. Be easy on yourself, looking back I wish I had been. My kids are tall healthy seven year olds and it would be hard to tell how any of their classmates were fed x

jazzsyncopation Mon 24-Nov-14 12:46:11

all my sympathies! prob you already know this (apologies if so)but re your supply, trying a richer diet- HV advice- :protein/treats/full fat/nice fluids++/feet up /away from baby for a few hours-they can get cool boiled water/etc Really helped me one time
Good Luck!!!

jazzsyncopation Mon 24-Nov-14 12:47:42

ps apparently Kellymom is a good website, but you prob know th
at already

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