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Thinking of adding a bottle of formula for night feed, AIBU?

(13 Posts)
sminkypinky Sun 06-Sep-15 10:57:49

My DS is just over 6 months old and is exclusively BF and we started BLW a week ago.

I had terrible problems with his latch after a traumatic birth and I left hospital swollen, bruised and scabbed. I had countless visits from lactation consultants, HVs and my MW who all gave conflicting advice. DS takes his time feeding and for the best part of 5 months was feeding every two hours for at least 30 minutes. He now feeds for about 20 minutes, every 2 hours or so. At night, he does sometimes have a chunk of sleep of around 4 hours, but is then up for feeds every 1.5-2 hours, which means I get very little quality sleep. DS sleeps in a cot bed next to me, but after the first night feed generally co slept with me as he always woke up when I tried to get him back into his cot. Recently I had an incident where he rolled out of bed, so now I put him back in his cot, which means he is awake for 2-3 hours at his first night feed, as he fights his sleep and doesn't like not being in with me.

His first chunk of sleep is generally the longest, so I was considering giving him a bottle of formula as his night feed rather than his usual mammoth hour pre sleep BF. I'm hoping that this will help him sleep better and for longer in his cot (so I may not have the early morning wrestle to get him back in bed), partly for him, and partly so I can get some sleep/my relationship with my husband back. I also had/have the remnants of PND and the lack of sleep doesn't help. I intend to BF for all of the other feeds. I mentioned this to a HV at his recent weighing clinic and she was horrified that I would even consider it and has put me on a major guilt trip. AIBU to do this? would it even help his sleep?

Duggee Sun 06-Sep-15 11:04:02

It it helps you then you could consider it. Do you have a partner to help? I doubt very much it would help your LO though and be warned he probably won't take a bottle of he loves bf! Have you considered a bed guard? That would stop him rolling out. We have taken the side of ds's cot and pushed it against our bed. We then rolled a blanket to fill the gap at the other side. I feed him to sleep in the cot and then I still have my space. With each feed I swap him in to the middle and then I lie half in the cot bed. It works well for us and means we all get some sleep.

PermetsTu Sun 06-Sep-15 11:05:13

Did your HV really act horrified? If she did, that's atrocious. I can quite imagine her saying that it might not be the solution you're hoping for, which sadly it might not be, but if she was horrified and said something negative about the choice, then that's terrible. I know when I had dd (a very, very frequent feeder, I had pnd and ptsd), I heard some things that weren't actually implied by the person I was talking to. Mostly, it came from my own insecurities and anxieties. I am not implying the same is necessarily true for you. I'm sorry you've been made to feel that way.

If you want to try the formula option, then absolutely do that. Have you ever tried expressing milk so you can ask your DH to do some of the feeds? Or have you thought about making cosleeping a safe option?

My two were frequent feeders and they needed to be close to me, particularly ds so I coslept and I slept very well as I could feed lying down and snooze through the feeds.

I know a few people have had the odd success with a late night formula feed. I know more who have had no success with it. There is absolutely no reason not to try it.

Do you have help during the day? Are you getting a break and some naps in elsewhere?

PermetsTu Sun 06-Sep-15 11:07:00

Duggee, we did exactly the same! Side taken off a cot, DS started the night in there and we had a rolled up blanket in the v small gap.

sminkypinky Sun 06-Sep-15 11:09:59

My DH could help. DS is ok (most of the time) taking a bottle, as I've expressed milk to feed him in the past, unfortunately it isn't an option for me to do that long term as I can only express about 1.5oz per day.
I could try a bed guard, we couldn't take the side off his cot and put it next to the bed as there is too much of a height difference between the bed and cot. I was hoping to move DS in to his own room soon as I need to start getting ready to go back to work so need to be getting more sleep, he's like the duracell bunny, I have no idea where he gets his energy from confused

sminkypinky Sun 06-Sep-15 11:15:41

Yes, she was horrified and said "why on earth would you consider doing that at this point, he doesn't need it", she then went on to tell me that weaning will help him sleep which I've been told by other mums isn't true. I agree though that part of the guilt trip I'm on stems from my own insecurities about it.
Unfortunately I've got Generalised Anxiety Disorder too, which in my case makes it really difficult for me to nap during the day, DS doesn't nap, so all the sleep I get is when DS is asleep at night.

PermetsTu Sun 06-Sep-15 11:28:55

Oh that hv sounds bloody awful. I'd suggest you complain but I suspect you won't have the energy right now. Do you have to see her? Is there another one with an ounce of compassion?

You sound so very like me actually (down to the GAD). My eldest never, ever slept. No naps. Fed every 2 hours at least and didn't appear to get tired. She's 8 now and still needs very little sleep. I had a brilliant hv when she was a baby who helped me work round the baby I had and not the baby I wanted. She told me (maybe lied to make me feel better), that dd was just a certain personality and when older she'd have a quick memory, learn things very fast and be classically intelligent. So very good at reading and recall and find school very easy. She said her personality was already coming through in the fact that she was always up, interested, curious and didn't need to recharge. She was right. DS was very different in his sleeping patterns and she also very accurately predicted his later personality. I hung onto that in dark days. I told myself that it wasn't something I was or wasn't doing.

You're absolutely right about weaning too btw. Often it makes sleep worse in fact and there's bog all evidence that it improves sleep.

The only thing that improved my eldest's sleep was time and being mentally worn out. Once she could do stuff and was mentally exhausted from reading, writing, learning etc, she did sleep better. Still not as much as most children but we got there.

sminkypinky Sun 06-Sep-15 11:39:15

That HV is one that I see at the weighing clinic, so I see her once every couple of months now. My own HV isn't much better (drops in unannounced, turns up late on the rare occasion that she has made an appointment etc). Your eldest sounds very much like my DS, he's been very alert from a young age and is very curious about everything. I've been trying to comfort myself thinking that this is a good trait as he'll be keen to learn.
Your comment about working round the baby I have and not the one I wanted struck a chord with me. We were ttc for 6.5 years before I fell pregnant, so I think I built things up in my mind, so the whole thing has been nothing like I expected.

MuddyWellyNelly Sun 06-Sep-15 13:19:41

Just a quick reply to say that I was told at the BF clinic not to replace a night feed with a bottle due to hormone levels and impact on supply. But overnight means after midnight. Not sure from your post what time you'd be giving the bottle?

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 06-Sep-15 13:22:55

you need no excuse or reason other than "i want to" for adding a bottle of formula or 10 bottles of formula at any time you see fit.

the HV is a bitch and I hope she is reported before tipping vulnerable women suffering from sleep deprivation PND and BF guilt over the edge.

ElphabaTheGreen Sun 06-Sep-15 13:36:53

Muddy That would apply if the baby was 6 weeks old. At six months old, changing one night feed for a bottle won't make an iota of difference. Supply is very well established by then.

OP - I've had two around-the-clock feeders now. Weaning made no difference at all (it didn't make either of them worse, probably because it couldn't have got any worse than 1-2 hourly wake ups all night, every night until past 12 months old), so formula, I suggest, isn't going to make any difference. It's not hunger causing the wake ups but a need for security. Some babies are just like that and there's really not much you can do until they mature a little more and develop the confidence and security to sleep more independently of you.

Both of mine were still waking up upwards of six times a night when I returned to work full time both times when each was 8 months old. Safe co-sleeping is really the only way to cope. Bed guard like a PP suggested, or a double mattress on the floor. At the moment, DS2 is sleeping on his floor on a cot bed mattress and I'm next to him on an air mattress which is working quite well for us.

My relationship with DH is pretty non-existent at the moment, but we know that, in the scheme of things, it really only lasts a short time and I'll be back in with him eventually smile

PermetsTu Sun 06-Sep-15 15:50:14

It really helped me too when the hv said that about working around the baby instead of trying to change her. You can nudge things, try things, ask for help and advice and sometimes it does help, but there was almost a relief in accepting that the baby I had was who she was and it was up to me to try and work round her. In a way, it's harder when they're 6 months because you're expected to be in the swing of it, baby sleeping, routine sorted and you don't get the leeway you do when you have a newborn. I think it's okay to say you know what, this bit is hard, I haven't slept for 6 months and now the baby is curious and starting to move and needs stimulating all the time and I'm tired. Let other stuff go, ask for help and just get through it.

It seems interminable while it's happening too. I remember just feeling so altered. I didn't feel like me. The PND and the exhaustion meant that the world had contracted down to the needs of this little baby. I remember thinking I'd never laugh spontaneously or have a marriage that wasn't a united front against the trials of having a baby.

It does change though and when you're through it and out the other side, you can't believe how quickly it actually went. My oldest is 8 and she sleeps well, is a pleasure to spend time with and the easiest child in the world. She was very, very easy from toddlerhood onwards because the world was hers for the taking. The same hv who jollied me through the early days said that she thought some babies were born slap bang in the middle of an existential crisis where their limbs didn't work and things didn't make sense but once they were up and interacting, they started to find their place in the world. She was so right in many ways.

Congratulations on your baby. Sounds like you've had a long journey to motherhood. It's a funny old things. The gap between expectation and reality is a real chasm sometimes and we all trudge through it to some extent. We all come out the other side too. Blinking and confused granted, but largely we all get there and sometimes, turn round and go back in.

Give a bottle of formula. It might help with the sleep, it'll certainly help you have a break and it almost certainly won't have any negative repercussions at all. You don't need permission from your wazzock of an hv. Tell you what, I'll give you permission if you need it. You do whatever helps. You are that baby's mother and you deserve to enjoy him, not endure the challenges he presents like a martyr. Your hv is wrong and awful. Ignore her fuckwittery and carry on.

sminkypinky Mon 07-Sep-15 13:13:29

I'll definitely give some more thought to co sleeping with a bed rail. It sounds like it might help.

Thanks for your post PermetsTu your comments about how PND and exhaustion made you feel definitely ring true with me. I'm slowly starting to feel better. It sounds awful, but it is good to hear that other people had a bit of a rough start and came out the other side "normal".

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