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Combi-feeding - some help/reassurance needed

(7 Posts)
PenguinTheGrey Wed 03-Jun-15 11:14:39

DC is 4 months old tomorrow, and I've been combi-feeding since he was 5 weeks old. I've always expressed after morning feed, and at 9pm, to build up freezer supply and for part of the bedtime bottle (he'll have ebm + breastfeed at bedtime; formula for dreamfeed).

Over the last 3-4 days, he has needed far more feeds during the day than usual - yesterday it was every 2 hours rather than every 3.5-4 hours. The amount I've been able to express has also dropped - it had dropped down and stabilised at about 4oz per day, but last few days I've struggled to express 1oz.

I've just fed him. 45 mins total (had dropped down to about 20-25 per feed) and he's refusing to go back onto the breast but still crying for food. He was doing this yesterday - he's usually such a placid, happy baby, rarely cries but the last few days I just feel like I'm starving him and he's miserable and whingey because of it.

Is this a growth spurt? Has my supply dropped due to combi-feeding? (I had thought that it was well established up to now...) Why can't I express anymore? Can anyone help?

tiktok Wed 03-Jun-15 12:32:10

Penguin, you say you have been combination feeding since he was five weeks old. How many times does he come to the breast each 24 hours (in addition to the 2 x expressings)?

tiktok Wed 03-Jun-15 12:32:39

Are any of the feeds formula?

PenguinTheGrey Wed 03-Jun-15 15:22:11

Tiktok he feeds usually 3-4 full feeds (depends on when he's hungry/when he naps) + shorter feed (alongside bottle of ebm) just before bed. This has been the case for maybe the last 8 weeks? That was when he started properly spacing his feeds out, & it's been a fairly regular 3-3.5 hrs between them ever since, with the occasional sleepy day where it's 4 hrs between feeds.
These are all during day (between about 7:15am - 6:30pm); he dropped the nightfeed about 5 weeks ago. Dreamfeed is formula & has been since 5 weeks old.

PenguinTheGrey Thu 04-Jun-15 08:21:05

Bump..

Would expressing after more feeds help? I used to do this when he was younger, but had to stop because I had so little time (he went through a very long phase of only napping for 45 mins, so it was a toss up between expressing and sleep..)
It's just I'm expressing so little now that it almost seems pointless to continue, but don't want to stop doing it in case it then knocks supply.

tiktok Thu 04-Jun-15 10:23:57

Gosh, this all sounds tricky and hard work, too.

The frequency of feeding plus expressing, which has been the same for a couple of months, is probably not sufficient to maintain a supply - this can be turned round, though. It's normal for the amount of milk to be obtained by expressing to drop after some months, so some of what you are experiencing with the pump may be just what happens. Babies can have growth spurts at any age, and he may be going through one, now.

His more frequent feeding over the past few days is a good thing from the point of view of your milk supply - the extra feeds will be boosting your supply, and prevent it dwindling.

Extra bf is better than extra expressing - how would you feel about that? Using both breasts at each feed (at least - three or four breasts would be ok, too).

PenguinTheGrey Thu 04-Jun-15 17:35:33

I'm happy to bf more - in fact, he's been basically latched on most of the afternoon (since about 2) due to post-immunisation grizzles. How often do you think he should be coming to the breast to try to up my supply?
This morning, for example, I fed him just after 10 when we got back from his jabs, then let him feed again about 11:30 before he went down for a nap, whereas usually he'd only feed once about 10:30.

It's ridiculous really. I was all for giving up bf'ing at 12 weeks, & just using up my freezer stash to give him the benefit of more breast milk, but I decided to carry on until after the 4 month jabs so I had it as comfort. No, I really don't want to give up - I'd essentially decided that as my supply seemed stable I would continue to combi-feed until 6 months when I was back at work. I was even considering carrying on morning and evening feed beyond 6 months, if I could. It's sod's law that my supply starts to dwindle just as I decide to carry on!

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