How to stop breastfeeding "safely"(4 Posts)
OK, so I feel like a huge failure. Part of it is all the "No, you do NOT have low milk supply" chanting I have had over the last few months...
Because "real" low milk supply is rare does not mean it doesn't exist at all! Somehow it reminds me of what I was told about my three early miscarriages (It's just badlock, just try again!) before we blew up our savings on private care... which came out with a real explanation and relatively simple treatments that allowed us to finally become parents! Anyhow, I digress. But for what I have read I would be a very good candidate to actually have low milk supply...
Little one is almost 11 weeks old now and we had problems since the very beginning. We ended up in A&E twice at 5 and 10 days old for excessive weight loss. The second time we were admitted and stayed for 2 days. What we thought were colics was actually... hunger!
Her latch is good most of the time (she nipple feeds a bit at the beginning but moves on to proper latch fairly quickly.) She likes breastfeeding very much and does suckle strongly. Once she empties a breast, she pulls out and cry for more. I can feed about 4 sides before she stops latching altogether. That's when she gets her top up.
Once our little routine was established (around 3 weeks old) I put quite a lot of efforts to increase my milk supply and reduce the amount of formula she took. Breast compressions worked well, so was returning to the breast after a limited top up. Pumping has never worked; only few drops get out of me even when I do know I have got milk. Since little one empties both of my breast at every single feed I really do not see the point anyway... Before you ask: yes, I do need a top up in the morning as well, just a slightly smaller one.
Over few weeks we went from an almost 100ml top up to less than 50ml. Just when I thought we were winning she got a growth spurt (around 7 weeks) and I had to increase the top ups. Despite my best intentions, things never got better again. Her weight gain was not very good as of last week so I had to give her as much top ups as she wants (instead of trying to limit it.). She is now close to 11 weeks old and drinks almost 900ml of Aptamil per 24 hours. (Isn't what she would be drinking if she was not breastfed at all?) She also spends less time on my breasts than she used to, and they feel less full than before (although I do know that it is not always the best indicator.)
I do not know what happen in the last few weeks but this is not working anymore. I have had enough. I am too scared about poor weight gain to limit her top ups again. I do not have to courage and patience left to calm her down when she cries for more and fight with my breasts.
This is taking huge tool on my morale so I am looking at quitting (almost) entirely. It doesn't seem to make any sense to carry on with all that it implies (I know I am allowed to do it but I still hate public breastfeeding...) How do you do that? Will it be painful? Mind you, I have never been that engorged at all during all that time so I am not sure I should be this worried anyway.
Would it be possible to breastfeed just a little bit in the morning and just before bed for comfort? Just wondering...
Sorry about the ranting. I really needed to get this out of my chest in a place where (hopefully) I will not feel judged for not being a breastfeeding-til-death-do-us-part mom...
You're absolutely not a failure. You have worked so hard and provided your LO with breastmilk for 11 weeks. Totally amazing.
I'm sure others will be along with advice shortly but moving over to formula is not failure. To me it sounds like this might be the right thing for you and your baby but ultimately that is a decision that only you can make. Lots of women (myself included) manage to bf just morning and evening but I do have a very good friend who when she started dropping bfs had to stop completely as her baby preferred the bottle. You'll just have to take the cues from your baby and not feel that it's something you've done "wrong" if you do end up stopping completely.
You are not a failure, you wanted to BF & gave it 11 weeks of your best, despite lots going against you - of course you want what's best for your LO.
You can more than likely keep the comfort feeds- I think that's how most people end feeding anyway, by reducing down slowly, though sometimes babies just lose interest from what I've heard from a couple of friends. I was later with my DC1, but we kept the nighttime feed for a lot longer than were nutritionally necessary for her, it was part of our bedtime routine.
You've done a cracking job! 11 weeks with all that worry and stress - you should be really proud. Only you can decide what's best but there is no failure in what you've done.
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