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Exclusively breastfeeding made my baby made her ill!

(41 Posts)
CheeseCakeOfDreams Wed 15-Jul-15 07:29:34

I gave birth to my PFB a week and a half ago. It was my dream to EBF her for six months as per WHO recommendation. I did all the relevant research whilst pregnant. I attended the NCT antenatal classes, which included a 2 hour session on breastfeeding. I also attended a two hour drop in session on breastfeeding at my local hospital.

At first the breastfeeding seemed to be going well. She was feeding aprox every three hours and staying on the breast between 20 minutes and an hour. She seemed sleepy and satisfied after each feed, so I had no reason to think she wasn't getting what she needed.

3 - 4 days in things started to change. Instead of just taking to the breast nicely, she seemed frantic about getting on it. She no longer seemed content after each feed and was making feeding cues all day. I spent pretty much an entire day with her on my breast, but she never seemed satisfied.

By the evening of that day I knew something was't right. The midwife was due to visit us the next day and DP wanted to wait till then before checking things out, but I wasn't prepared to wait. I rang triage who told me my breasts should be rock hard & leaking by now (they weren't). I was advised to take her to A&E to get her checked out.

Shortly before all this she hadn't done a poo for 2 days which I did mention to my midwife and she wasn't concerned. She had been doing wees.

It turns out that she'd lost 16% of her birth weight and was dehydrated. I had no choice but to feed her formula. We both had a two night stay in paediatrics to build her back up and for observations. She was on a drip to replace the fluid she'd lost and I formula fed every two hours to ensure she had her ongoing requirements of liquid.

When I expressed in hospital only a lousy 8 MIL came off, so clearly I wasn't making enough for her. Maybe she was o.k. with the colostrum, but when my mature milk was supposed to come in there wasn't enough any more?

Anyway, not sure what the point of this thread is. Just a bit gutted that trying to do the right thing has backfired big time. Is there anyone who has been through similar?

I am expressing so still giving some breastmilk, but the volumes are not huge. I have been giving her goats milk formula as I hear it's easier to digest.

Oh and the hospital says she has a tongue tie. I have had a referral for this and will be discussing with a specialist next week.

CheeseCakeOfDreams Wed 15-Jul-15 07:30:34

Sorry the title doesn't read well! Sleep deprivation!

Artandco Wed 15-Jul-15 07:33:38

I'm sorry to hear that

However 3 hrs is a long time to go when breastfeeding and won't encourage more produced. At 1 week old I would be feeding baby breast every 60- 90 mins. The more baby feeds the first 6 weeks the more you produce. Can you try feeding baby every hour the next few days to see how this impacts production?

At 6 months old mine still fed every 2 hrs during the day ( not at night)

sandgrown Wed 15-Jul-15 07:34:48

So sorry to hear it has not worked out well. People with the right advice will be along soon. I had real problems breast feeding and felt guilty when I couldn't. It is not as easy as some people would have you believe . flowers

McBaby Wed 15-Jul-15 07:36:41

This sounds really tough and distressing for both of you. I would try and find a lacation consultant if your plan of continuing to breast feed to help you build up your supply.

Tongue tie can really affect the babies ability to transfer milk they can also fail to stimulate your supply effectively so you don't make enough milk for them. Hopefully snipping the tongue tie will help you both. My dd1 had severe tongue tie which was not spotted till she was 8 weeks which caused us both massive problems.

Expressing is not always a good indication of supply and even with an abundant supply some mums fail to express even a drop of milk.

SoupDragon Wed 15-Jul-15 07:39:30

It could be that the tongue tie prevented your DD from feeding efficiently so she wasn't getting enough milk and thus wasn't stimulating your supply.

What do you want to do? Do you want to try to increase your supply and wean your DD off the formula or are you happy to mix feed or move to full formula feeding?

It might be worth seeing a breastfeeding counsellor who can offer support and suggestions on how to move forward. I'm sure an MN "expert" will come across this thread and offer suggestions.

If you can retreat to bed with your baby and have lots of skin to skin contact and feed her lots, this can help with your supply. If the tongue tie is snipped, this could make a big difference too.

SophiePendragon Wed 15-Jul-15 07:41:00

Oh you poor thing, it sounds very traumatic.

It does sound like maybe there was a problem with the latch? I don't know, but you probably needed more help...which isn't always forthcoming.

It is not too late if you wanted to try again. There will be more experienced people here who can help with that.

You may not want to though which is fine. flowers

SophiePendragon Wed 15-Jul-15 07:43:06

Yes expressing can be a very poor indicator of supply, I could never express a bean, but fed all of them without too many problems.

Also were you working to a routine initially? Every 3 hours does sound a bit regular for a newborn! grin

CheeseCakeOfDreams Wed 15-Jul-15 07:49:58

The thing is when she's on my breast I have no way of knowing how much she's getting, if anything. I am so scared of breastfeeding now. I feel like I need to measure everything!

The feeding team at the hospital want me to put her to the breast, then formula feed and then express. This means I am constantly feeding. I tend to put her to the breast these days to comfort her when she's upset, rather than relying on it to feed her e.g. when she wakes up to feed I put her to the breast to comfort her while DP makes up her bottle. I have no confidence that she is getting any milk from me. I just think she likes to be on the boob for comfort.

I'm averaging a total of 20MILs when I express. I have been taking fenugreek capsules on advice of the hospital and DP has made lactation cookies. Sometimes when I express I only get milk from the one boob.

I was extremely tired in hospital and hit the wall. DP took over the hospital feeds for a few hours so I could go home and get some sleep and a proper meal. When I got back to the hospital I expressed 60 MILs. This was a complete fluke though and has never happened again. The most I've expressed since then is 30MIL, but averaging between 10 - 20 MIL a time.

CheeseCakeOfDreams Wed 15-Jul-15 07:52:23

Btw I fed her when she wanted feeding. She got into her own pattern of roughly every three hours.

StoryOfMyLife Wed 15-Jul-15 07:58:01

Have a look at Dr Jack Newmans Facebook page, also his website and videos on YouTube. He is an expert in breastfeeding and teaches skills to recognise of your baby is getting enough. One is looking for a pause in their chin to see if baby is swallowing. It's really really helpful to learn.

CheeseCakeOfDreams Wed 15-Jul-15 07:58:25

I think I am too scared to breastfeed now. I tend to lie down in bed to breastfeed her as it still hurts to sit down after the episiotomy and second degree tear. It does feel nice to feed her like that. Although I do worry if she stays on the breast for too long now, as I feel like I need to get the formula into her ASAP once she wakes up for feeding.

I'd like to get a surplus of expressed milk so I can feed her that instead of formula, but I'm not getting enough. I need to see the volumes so I know she's getting enough!

easterlywinds Wed 15-Jul-15 07:59:44

Poor you, this sounds very tough. What do you want to do now? If you want to get back to exclusive BFing then please find a lactation consultant. Then find yourself a group to go to - it really helps to see that other mums have got through the first few weeks. The best thing for you to do now is take a week to spend time with your baby. Do lots of skin to skin, this is one of the best ways of stimulating milk production. Put her to the breast every hour. Look on you tube for videos of laid back feeding or biological nurturing. This is a great position that is baby-led.
Whatever decision you make, your baby has had a good start by having colostrum. It's normal for babies to lose birth weight, especially if it was a medically managed birth.

easterlywinds Wed 15-Jul-15 08:01:28

Btw, the best way to see if she's getting enough is by looking at nappies not by expressing. If milk is going in, then waste comes out.

DottyCotton Wed 15-Jul-15 08:02:12

Not pooing for 2 days in an exclusively breastfed baby = entirely normal. In fact it can be longer than that!

The early days of breastfeeding can be very difficult, more so if you're an anxious sort of person (I am) I have 3 children, breastfed the last 2 and spent the first few weeks with both of them up all hours of the night and day, wondering whether they'd had enough, why they would leap off of the boob, after only a few sucks for sometimes only 60 seconds at a time. I remember even resorting to a notepad at one point, to write down the time my son would drink for. They would cry, I would cry, and the newness of it all + sleep deprivation doesn't help one bit.

I wouldn't go by expressed volume either, as I could barely fill up half a bottle in hours, but I ended up breastfeeding my son for 4 years in the end. When it comes to formula, you have to do what you think is best...I'm not giving advice really - more experience - just to reassure you that a lot of these issues can be a normal part of breastfeeding in the early days, and as you continue to feed on demand they sort of work themselves out, you become more confident and things do get easier.

MyGastIsFlabbered Wed 15-Jul-15 08:02:25

I had the same thing happen with DS1, when I was expressing I hardly produced anything. Eventually my PND was so bad I was put on medication which meant I couldn't BF, in a way it was a relief. When DS2 came along I didn't have the confidence to BF and only managed a week. Both my boys are healthy and happy, I still feel sad that I couldn't BF but honestly it's not the be all and end all.

Good luck!

callamia Wed 15-Jul-15 08:03:51

I think talking to a lactation consultant/trip to a breastfeeding cafe might help. It sounds like a possible latch problem, and this is usually solvable. Do have her cig helped for tongue tie though. The idea to bf, ff and express is beyond tiring, and I'm not sure it a a good one. It'll wear you down and erode your confidence very quickly.

I think I'd really go for breastfeeding when she wakes - the best advice I had was to feed everytime my son woke up, or so much as squeaked. We were learning to feed after a stay in nicu when he was bottle-fed, so we weren't coming from the optimal position either. This didn't last too long, but it was enough to increase my supply, and get him 'practiced' at feeding from me rather than a bottle.

Whatever you end up doing, you've done the best you could in those circumstances. Please don't think that you or your body have failed - it's simply not true. This can be a really miserable time, so be kind to yourself and get as much support as you can.

MrsNuckyThompson Wed 15-Jul-15 08:06:18

You've received bad advice and shoddy support.

Lots of breast fed babies lose a little weight initially. She was quite possibly tongue tied. Shame you weren't given the support to continue.

poocatcherchampion Wed 15-Jul-15 08:11:09

It happened to me - 18% and we were admitted and she was tube fed.

We followed the advice you were given. Breastfeed then top up with a bottle - then I pumped like crazy. Started a feed every 2 hours. So after it was all done we all had an hours sleep and then woke up again. Dh handled everything and I fed. It was tough but workth it.

After 2 weeks we were fulling bf and a week or so later we dropped the 2houlry regime.

Fed her for 2.5yr

SoupDragon Wed 15-Jul-15 08:17:50

I tend to put her to the breast these days to comfort her when she's upset, rather than relying on it to feed her

If you are happy doing this then that's fine. However, it won't help increase or even maintain your supply. To a certain extent, it is a self fulfilling prophecy - you are not confident that you have enough milk to feed her and so you fill her with formula so your milk supply dwindles and...

I do think some time with a proper breastfeeding consultant would be beneficial if you would like to be able to continue but need the confidence to do so.

BitOfABoost Wed 15-Jul-15 08:17:51

Oh lovely, lovely OP. Please do not fret. Please do not worry.

Your story is exactly how mine panned out. From this point (ie after having returned from hospital when DD has got back to a good weight/rehydrated. As we left the nurse (who was amazing) said to me "Bit, please don't fret. It doesn't matter what how you feed your baby, all you have to remember is that your role is to feed her. Feed her and love her. If it ends up FF it really, really doesn't matter."

I continued for another 11 weeks trying to breastfeed.
I fed her. Then DH "topped her up" with a bottle while I expressed to try and increase my supply more. Then the expressed milk would be saved for the next top up. I felt like I spend my entire existence breastfeeding, sterilising shit for breastfeeding (pumps and bottles), expressing or thinking about fucking breastfeed.

I developed thrush in my nipples. Saw my HV. She said "Bit, really, truly, happy mum is happy baby. At her fifth birthday party, her first swimming lesson, her first day of school you will not give a stuff about what went into her gob when she was a baby. FF/BF it doesn't matter. If you need permission to stop you have it. Stop. You did the first few days - the colostrum. That is brilliant. You can stop now."
I stopped. DD thrived. I was so much happier and had some type of life back without the feeding/pumping crap. My nipples healed.

At her first birthday/swimming/day of school HV was right. I did not give a fuck she was FF from 12 weeks. I look back with a bit of regret that I beat myself up so much over it - that I didn't stop a bit earlier. But I don't think "Oh woe is my DD only got x weeks of breastmillk".

(And when DS turned up BF worked much better).

If you want to continue, great, go for it. Get some expert advice (they are wonderful and lovely).

If you want to stop it is OK to do so flowers

BigFluffyHair Wed 15-Jul-15 08:28:21

I had the same situation with DS1. Except for the tongue tie.

I had a CS and released day three, after various nurses witnessed Bf. With hindsight I wasn't doing it enough. Day four midwives visit revealed a 16% weight loss, automatic readmission. Very scary. They discussed tube feeding which is heartbreaking for your first (or anybaby you have really!).

In the end we stayed in for five days, expressing and cup feeding. Like you I had average slow start to expressing, 20-30 mils each time. I needed 56mls every three hours (calculated by his birth weight). I was very disheartened everytime I went to the fridge when I saw full bottles of other mums bm there! I had a routine of express while Ds slept, wash up/sterilise equipment , rest/sleep, wake Ds for feed. I was told to bf first then finish with cup feed of expressed bm, Ds, like yours, was very agitated by the breast, seemed almost scared! It wasn't helping that every midwive in the hospital declared they were going to get the baby to latch! We quickly decided to swap the routine, so my DH cup fed at least half (this is to avoid issues with latch and bottle reliance if you want to exclusively bf.) then we finished with boob. So we knew he had enough milk in him and it satisfied his hunger a little bit then he could try bf, then have the rest of the cup afterwards. My issue was with flat nips, he couldn't latch on. He did with nipple Shields at day five, in the middle of the night just the two of us. We stayed in hospital until day nine. I gradually weaned off nipple Shields over the following weeks. I fed him for 17 months.

At no point was formula mentioned, I didn't ask or want it either as NCT brainwashed me into thinking it was bad. It wasn't. In hindsight I would give him a little to help him grow whilst continuing to pump to build up supply and nurse to gain that latch. I don't think that all is lost at a week and a half. Have her close to your naked breast ad often as possible , try to offer her boob first, if she does sleep a little express on the pump. Cup feeding is easy, ask the pharmacy if they have plastic cups, and get the liquid to the rim and let her lap it off, don't pour it in.

Do you have Breastfeeding support workers in your area?

Big hugs, it's tough but all is not lost if you want to bf, or if you choose to ff or mix feed either!

chillychicken Wed 15-Jul-15 08:32:41

Cheesecake, I've been there. I ended up too terrified to breastfeed my son and I'd panic about not knowing how much he was having because it had been drummed into me by the hospital that he needed so many mls every 3hrs. I tried putting him to the breast but I found myself worrying too much.

I felt so guilty as "breast is best" was drummed into me, I expressed as often as I could, often willing him to go back to sleep after a feed so I could express. I missed out on evening cuddles with him as I was so obsessed about getting breastmilk into him. It took over my life.

My HV had me down as a PND risk and told me it was ok to bottle feed and it was ok for the milk in that bottle to be formula. For the first 8 weeks of his life, I gave him expressed breast milk for at least half of his daily intake. From 8-13 weeks he had 1 bottle of breast milk a day. After that I just gave formula and I cannot begin to tell you the relief I felt. No more sitting their hooked up to a machine. We could go out! I could cuddle him and we could play.

I now look back and realise I missed out on some of the most wonderful moments with my newborn and I will never get those days back.

Breast is best for baby, we know that, but it isn't always for mum. Formula isn't evil - for me, it saved my boys life and it then saved my sanity.

Caterina99 Wed 15-Jul-15 09:27:51

I was in a v similar situation. DS is now 3 weeks and almost exclusively breast fed. Lots of feeding to stimulate supply, and slowly weaning off the formula top ups.

It was awful though. How are you supposed to know if they are getting enough?! I know exactly how you feel! The constant cycle of feeding, pumping, sterilizing just seems never ending.

I had advice from a lactation consultant. But even she said formula is not bad. Breast is best, but formula is a v close second, and as long as the baby is fed, that's all that matters!

Hangingandhidingout Wed 15-Jul-15 10:04:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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