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9 weeks BFing and having problems, advice please :(

(11 Posts)
purplemunkey Mon 12-Jan-15 10:13:04

Sorry, this is long - but any BF experts please stick with it and help me!

I'm really just looking for some advice on where to go next as I'm finding feeding pretty stressful at times. Am trying to exclusively give LO breast milk, I feed from the breast all day but express a bottle for OH to give her before our bedtime so that I can get a few hours sleep (and OH can have some daddy/daughter time).

I have given the odd bottle of formula when having a tough time - e.g. week 1 with cracked nipples and too painful to feed (expressed mostly but couldn't keep up with demand) and when I couldn't express enough for a bottle for OH to give.

I've also had a hormonal reaction and have had two outbreaks of PEP (polymorphic eruption in pregnany) which have been intensely itchy and extremely uncomfortable. As I'm BFing docs could only give very limited support e.g. low level anti hestimine and calamine cream (no heavy duty anti hestimines or steroid cream). I had this the week after she was born and then again a few weeks ago, which seemed to coincide with a growth spurt for LO, so I'm assuming the increase in hormones producing more milk caused it - no one can really tell me as docs don't seem to know much about PEP.

We also had some reflux issues from about week 3-5 so that was quite stressful too.

I'm now over the second bout of PEP and reflux issues seem to be gone but LO has inexplicably started fighting the feed at least once a day. She latches on for about 5 minutes and then pulls off and gives me a hunger cry. I try getting her back on, switching breasts, massaging breasts, burping her, calming her down and trying again... nothing works. I've ended up taking out some of the expressed bottle I've made to finish the feed or giving her a bottle of formula when this happens.

I was worried my supply was low so did loads to combat that - lots of water, eating oats, feeding her more frequently, holding her close to me lots more, pumping after every feed - and still, at least once a day we have a screamathon and its really getting me down. Also, I'm pumping a good amount so I don't actually think it's anything to do with supply. I thought it was a phase but we're into the third week of this now. It was mostly during the late afternoon feed and occasionally the early evening feed as well. This morning it happened at the 6am feed which I'm afraid I didn't deal with very well and got very frustrated. I gave her expressed milk eventually.

What is this? A phase/problem with supply or latch/normal for 9 weeks/anything else?

OH keeps telling me to give up as he can see how much it's getting me down when this happens but it seems silly to give up when I'm still producing and want to keep BFing. Does this ever get any easier because if it doesn't I may have to throw the towel in as this is not good for any of us. Any advice?

MoominaMama Mon 12-Jan-15 10:59:35

Hi. First of all you have done a great job to get this far! I have ebf my first for 21 weeks now and it is by far the hardest thing I have ever done! We have battled with tongue tie, poor latch, horribly painful feeding, mastitus (4 times), the list is endless. However I am SO happy to have stuck with it as for me it got so much easier at 13 weeks and now at 21 weeks I am having no issues other than when the poor mite has a cold and can't breathe.

The fussiness you are having sounds very familiar. The way I got through those phases were to offer regularly and if it got too stressful to stop and simply try again in a while. My husband was great at taking DS off of me to distract him for a while whilst I regained my composure (it got him away from the smell of milk and calmed him down also). I found that as he got older we had to keep changing feeding positions/methods for latching on and no assume what had always worked would still work. Also when you get into position sit there and think about how relaxed your neck/shoulders/arms etc are. I found I would tense up horribly and this made DS worse.

Finally during our worst times I would do LOTS of skin to skin anf laid back breast feeding (in the bath is great) as a way to establish calm feeding again.

The best piece of advice I got throughout it all was that if I decided to totally quit breastfeeding .. to make the decision when we had had a good day (not in your darkest hour) as that way hopefully you would not regret it.

Keep in mind that plenty of people FF or mix feed and their babiew are also happy and healthy. Do whatever is best for you and your family but if you feel strongly about continuing then don't give up hope!

We have gone from constant stressful painful feeding where I would dread every feed (and cry throughout most of them) taking anywhere from 45 mins-1hr 30. To lovely feeds that take 15 minutes total maximum which both DS and I enjoy!

Take care of yourself!

MoominaMama Mon 12-Jan-15 11:03:23

Forgot to add, DS also fusses massively in afternoons/evening if he is simply REALLY tired and so I find actually trying to get him to have a snooze first (even a short catnap) results in a calmer feed.

tiktok Mon 12-Jan-15 11:04:17

purple, I can see how frustrating and upsetting this must be....but nothing you have described sounds all that unusual, or definitely linked with breastfeeding.

I think all mothers have experienced the same - inexplicable screamathons, happening at unpredictable times.

It's part of being a baby sad

However, one thing that strikes me that might help is the possibility that you have an over-supply that is overwhelming your baby at times. You are pumping - if you are doing this more than once of twice, then you might be making your supply too generous and causing a rapid let down which is hard for your baby to control.

Have a think about this, and maybe call a helpline and talk it through.

If it is not this, then it might be something you cope with best by staying calm, not becoming upset, and just trusting that it will go away by itself as your baby gets older.

Hope this helps.

purplemunkey Mon 12-Jan-15 12:05:41

Thank you moonmin and tiktok. You've given me a few things to think about. It may be that I'm pumping too much or it may be nothing to do with BF at all and she's just going through a fussy phase.

Actually when I put her in the bouncer this morning whilst I was preparing to sterilize a bottle she calmed down, it was only when I tried feeding her from breast again that she started fussing - perhaps she was no longer hungry but the smell of milk was causing her to fuss?

When she feeds calmly it's lovely. She's pretty quick, about 15-20mins and I have a free hand to either stroke her or y'know... have a cup of tea or something!

I've got nothing against FF, my aim was only ever 6 months anyway. I just feel like I should put this super milk I'm producing to good use. I'm lucky enough to be able to take a full year off work so I've got the time to commit to it too.

Thanks so much for your support, it's good to speak to other mums TBH. OH is great but obviously he can't really offer any BF advice!

I may cut down the pumping and see if that works. OH can always give formula for his feed instead.

LillyEvans Mon 12-Jan-15 12:20:23

I'm no expert but wanted to chip in with my own experience. My dd is exclusively breastfed and is 24weeks old now. I remember in the earlier days going through something similar to what you described.

At the time I thought it was colic and gave dd infacol but now I've read so many similar stories I wonder if it's a fairly normal part of establishing breastfeeding and your body working out the correct supply needed.

A midwife did recommend that I hand express before a feed in case I did have too much milk. Looking back I think she was right, but it did sort itself out in the end. It really gets so much easier.

Listen to tiktok she is very clever and gives wonderful advice.

purplemunkey Mon 12-Jan-15 12:29:17

Thanks Lilly

pipnchops Tue 13-Jan-15 01:43:04

Have you tried playing some kind of white noise when she gets fussy? This helped me calm my little one down and she'd either latch on better once calmed by the noise or she'd stop feeding altogether and fall asleep in my arms. I downloaded an app onto my phone and find the hairdryer sound particularly effective!

squizita Tue 13-Jan-15 11:33:17

No expert - but also had a phase like this (and lots of milk/powerful let down) and it got better with time.
Also have mild pep ... big sympathy it sucks!!

Greenstone Tue 13-Jan-15 21:12:41

Purple are you sure the fussing isn't about wind? My ten week old does this and it is always always because she either needs to burp or has a windy poo brewing.

purplemunkey Fri 16-Jan-15 02:52:19

Hi guys, sorry just seen these latest replies. I'm afraid it looks like I'm coming to the end of my BF journey.

I stopped expressing and tried to persevere but ended up fearing each feed in case it turned into a stressful one and crying through it when it did. Not good for me or baby (or OH for that matter).

I've been trying mixed feeding but the more bottle I give the more she refuses breast which I suppose was inevitable. I think she'll most likely be off breast altogether within a few weeks.

It's not what I thought I'd do but I think happy baby and happy mum is what's important so I've just got to do what works best for us.

Thanks all x

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