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I think this is the end of breastfeeding and I just dont know what to do

(81 Posts)
cestfini Thu 03-Mar-16 10:56:02

I have name changed for this, because I am ashamed I suppose. (Rationally, this is irrational, i know).

My son is 20 weeks old. Breastfed since birth. Weight gain tapered off from 8 weeks or so. Not the real issue. The issue is this.

Over the past 2 months he has become a nightmare to feed. Gradually he has weaned himself off any position he was previously happy in. We started off with feeds in any which way, any posituion, any place. Cradle hold at the M1 service station? Sure. Biological recline position in inlaws bedroom? Totally. Side lying at home on a lazy Sunday? Why not? Koala bear hug at a cafe on a rainy morning? Loved it.

But then come 3 months, things began to change. He started getting more and more restless and fidgety. We lost the rugby hold first thing. I put it down to his long legs. Then we lost the cradle hold or really any hold across my body - he starts twisting his entire torso and head away from me towards even a dark wall and starts screaming. So we lost the cradle hold. I started calling the NCT breastfeeding helpline every day. Every single day. I think I know the names of at least 23 NCT breastfeeding cousnellors by now. They kept running out of suggestions.

Warm bath. Feeding in a dimly lit room. Duvet day in bed naked. No distractions. Co sleeping at night. The only position we got left with was - side lying with me on his left for both boobs, upstairs in our bedroom. He would feed this way every 2 hours or so, and even then there has been endless twisting away from me.

At this point, you may think about silent reflux, other digestive issues, wind, thrush, tongue tie. I have seen our IBCLC (the only one in my county) twice. The GP 5 times. The health visitor nearly every week. Baby brasseries to get feeds observed. but what feeds observed? He wont feed if I hold him. I even lay down with my boobs out on the floor of a baby brasserie to do the only remaining side lying position but no. A cranial osteopath. Nobody knows why he refuses to take the breast.

I tried mixed feeding. Could never work out when to give him how much formula. I call the NCT line and ask for advice on mixed feeding and I hear the same sentence "wish we could wave a magic wand" - but in the end every day becomes this relentless saga of not knowing what to offer breast or bottle when and how.

Its almost like he does not wish to eat. He is otherwise okay, Hovers between 25th and 9th, born on 50th, poos wees develops okay, smiles etc - except when I hold him.

Hardly naps. 5 or 10 mins tops.

I cant do this. I cry all the time because every day is this relentless stint of going upstairs to lie in bed for him to eat every 2 hours, he lets go in 3-5 minutes and naps for 10 mins and grizzles constantly.

NCT helpline asks me "what is your ideal scenario"? My answer is - that he would breastfeed downstairs, or upstairs, maybe 6-8 times a day, maybe even take a bottle at night. That I would not need to feel scared of holding my son into positions that will lead to pushing me away and shouting.

I think this is the end. The real aim was to do 6 months breastfeeding and then morning and night feeds for a couple more months. But I am crying every single day. Every single time I try to feed him. I do not know where to begin. They say "replace each feed". But how? Do I make up 2 ounces for a feed? Every 2 hours? How do i begin?

I have failed. I truly have. And you know what? Not with any of the "usual" issues. Tongue tie, pain, (never ever had pain), supply (enough milk to feed two), nothing. Its like as he grew taller and taller, 3 months onwards this baby has gradually basically started rejecting the breast one by one we have gone through positions.

I thought I would keep all breastfeeds between say 8 pm-8 am (Currently that means a dream feed at 10 pm, and breastfeeds at 3, 5 and 7 am) and do bottles for the rest. But I cant figure out how much and when. What will satisfy him. I go back to work 1st of May.

If someone can help me do at least that i.e. tell me (literally tell me, yes the magic wand is required) - when to offer how much to him and still keep my supply for a while for mornign and nights without going bat shit crazy, I will be indebted.

I am really beginning to dread waking up, dread feeding him. He is 20 weeks on Saturday and weighs 6.5 kilos. He is 71 cms tall.

cestfini Thu 03-Mar-16 11:58:19

.

SomedayMyPrinceWillCome Thu 03-Mar-16 12:05:45

I'm so sorry you're struggling with this.
I don't have any magic answers for you but have you ever looked at www.kellymom.com
It's a brilliant (American) but brilliant breastfeeding support site - a bit like Mumsnet really. Very knowledgeable & friendly experts on there
Good luck

mudandmayhem01 Thu 03-Mar-16 12:10:54

Poor you sounds exhausting, no expert advice sounds like you have done amazingly to bf for as long as you have. You need a break, your plan for mixed feeding sounds fine. I kept my supply up on just two feeds a day with no problems although everyone is different. Does your son accept the bottle?

Seeline Thu 03-Mar-16 12:13:35

You haven't failed!
You'd be failing as a Mum if you didn't care about what was happening and about your DS.
As a Mum, you have to do what is best for your DS - that may not necessarily be what you thought would be best before you had our DS. Life would be simple if that were the case smile
Will your Ds take a bottle?
Can you express?
If you can feed with a bottle of expressed he will still be getting the goodness of breast, but without the stress of bf'ing.
What you are going through at the moment cannot be doing either of you any good.
Don't see it as failing (which you haven't), but adapting to your sons' needs.

honeysucklejasmine Thu 03-Mar-16 12:16:27

Oh sweetheart. I know how you feel. My DD won't take the breast very well at all, so we've been mixed feeding since an A&E visit for dehydration and weight loss.

It took a while for me to forgive myself for not bfing exclusively as I had wanted to. I am still quite sensitive about it, although DD is now thriving. Though to be fair she's only a few weeks old so it's no wonder!

In terms of how much: she has about 4oz of formula or expressed breast milk every 4 hours or so, and is just shy of two weeks old. We give her three and if she finishes it, add another ounce and repeat until she stops herself. Which is usually four ounces total.

NewNameNoFace Thu 03-Mar-16 12:21:10

Will he accept a bottle when you are holding him?

Could you try pumping when he is due a feed and see how much of that he takes?

My first was mostly Bf but when I didn't leave enough expressed my DP would make up 6 oz formula and throw away any he didn't want.

I don't know if it is recommended but it worked for us, sometimes he would eat the lot other would only take an oz.

Good luck and I hope your situation improves soon xx

NewNameNoFace Thu 03-Mar-16 12:23:12

Also you are by no means a failure.

Lovemylittlebears Thu 03-Mar-16 12:23:33

I felt like you - so desperate to breast feed and was taking all the help I could get and it didn't work out. You know what. I'm ok about it smile didn't think I would be at the time but he takes formula fine now, is doing well, I'm not as knackered and not only thinking about breast feeding every minute of the day and life carries on. I really feel for you. Well done on trying so hard and persevering. Do whatever is right for you and your little one weighing up all the pros and cons of breastfeeding, expressing, combo feeding and formula feeding and be kind to yourself. You are doing a great job and trying your best. What a lucky child you have xxx

cestfini Thu 03-Mar-16 12:56:18

Thank you everyone. The bizarre thing is that he IS breastfed, he has always been so and we are at TWENTY weeks. Even as I write this nothing has yet changed - the weight he gains and the food he eats is still manufactured by my body. And yet I feel like I have failed at breastfeeding even though my son is breastfed.

It's just become so hard to get him to nurse. In any position. For those of you asked about a bottle - he is happy to treat the bottle like a boob is take an ounce or half an ounce hen crane away to watch something more interesting.

TakesTwoToTango Thu 03-Mar-16 13:48:24

This might sound like a bizarre suggestion, but have you tried not trying to feed him so much? Are you offering it only when he is truly hungry, or when you think he must be? I had a similar issue with my 3 month old recently and I eventually worked out ( I think!) that she has just got very efficient at feeding and so needs/wants it less often than I think she should ( based on why she wanted before). If he is well and weight gain is good, maybe give it a go?

cestfini Thu 03-Mar-16 13:50:28

That's actually an excellent idea.... Let me try truly on demand feeding today and tomorrow making sure I don't offer...and he asks

Natsku Thu 03-Mar-16 13:56:52

My DD went through a phase when she around 5 months when she would only breastfeed in the shower, it passed so maybe, hopefully, this is just a phase for your baby and will pass but in the meantime not feeding so often might help. Every two hours seems quite often for a 20 week old.

Gracey79 Thu 03-Mar-16 14:02:41

My ds hit a stage like this at 4m and I honestly think he was tired and I was constantly trying to feed him as I noticed if I rocked him until drowsy he would then usually feed and fall asleep, it did just seem to solve itself around 6m when he started sleeping better at night too.

ItsAllGoodMan Thu 03-Mar-16 14:06:53

Mine went through an awful phase of only breastfeeding in a quiet dark room, often only if I was standing up! I think this lasted from around 4 months to 11 months. He was born 75th centile and dropped to the 9th. I used to worry about it all the time. I'm still bf him now at 2.5 yrs. No idea why I didn't give up due to all the aggro. Anyway now that he eats solids, drinks cows milk etc he's still 9th centile. I think that was just where he was meant to be. I'm not sure if your situation is similar but my advice to myself back then would be not to worry so much... It sounds like you're doing everything you can

chunkymum1 Thu 03-Mar-16 14:07:08

Really hope that works cestfini. I breast fed my Dc1 for 6 months and hoped to do the same with DC2. DC2 took to feeding brilliantly then one day just refused- no position seemed to work. We even went to hospital to have him checked over when he refused for a whole day. Like you we saw every counsellor/doctor etc we could and tried every position possible. In the end I expressed every feed and he was happy to take it from a bottle. Would this be a possibility for you?

Also, I wondered if when you have seen the GP etc they have ever looked closely at your health? Quite a few weeks after I had started to express my feeds I became ill and found out that I had a rather large absess on my breast which had obviously been growing most of the time I was feeding. This was never linked to my difficulties with feeding but I can't help wondering if it was part of the problem.

Hugs to you- your baby is clearly loved and cared for so will be fine whatever feeding decision you make.

BendydickCuminsnatch Thu 03-Mar-16 14:07:42

Oh OP you poor thing! I can't really advise, we combo fed from 3 weeks, but my DS does arch away and do all of that if he's not really hungry. Very good suggestion TakesTwo. Give it a go OP. I'm always surprised each time DS gets more efficient/less hungry/drops feeds and it always takes me a while to realise that's the problem! blush
Good luck and WELL DONE for breastfeeding for 5 (?) months, my goodness that's fab, don't beat yourself up! thanks

PenguinsAreAce Thu 03-Mar-16 14:13:06

I knew a baby who got like this. Mum stopped offering unless baby obviously wanted boob. It turned out baby was sucking down the milk so fast a full feed was a couple of mins tops every 3hrs. One boob each feed. Baby still grew fine.

Have you had his ears checked? Could there be some discomfort in the disliked side?

cestfini Thu 03-Mar-16 14:17:17

I did this now. He actively rooted and asked - fed for 5 mins off one boob and that's it. He can't have got anything surely?!?

icklekid Thu 03-Mar-16 14:17:32

So interestingly we went through something similar at 3 months. My ds who had breastfed exclusively and happily from birth would just scream every time I tried to breastfeed him. For a while the only time I could feed was immediately as he woke from a nap. I would walk with him in pushchair for an hour to get him to sleep then as he stirred put him on the breast but by 4 months even this didn't work. I expressed and he took from bottle happily. I knew expressing longer term was not something I could do. I cried every day for a week. Saw every specialist I could find, was in the bath, in dark rooms, with ds on, naked in bed you name it I tried it. So I gave up. I formula fed and my ds was fine. Around 5 months he was taking less from bottle so we started weaning.

As for formula feeding make up a 5oz bottle and try a larger teat (not first size) to see how he does. If he shows hunger cues offer more/another bottle otherwise I would say every 3 h should be enough. Good luck and keep posting to get advice

PenguinsAreAce Thu 03-Mar-16 14:40:28

Yes, that genuinely could be it. See what happened next...

PenguinsAreAce Thu 03-Mar-16 14:40:53

Happened = happens

dannydyerismydad Thu 03-Mar-16 14:46:04

You mentioned earlier that supply isn't an issue for you. Whilst a "normal" breastfeed is considered 20-40 minutes for an average baby, the combination of a very efficient feeder and a strong letdown and good supply can mean that a baby is satisfied in 5 minutes. We are all so different.

DS used to feed for only 5 minutes at a time, with maybe 1 longer feed at some point in the day.

I couldn't keep up with the nappy changes. He was chugging back plenty in that time!

You have not failed. You are doing your best to work out what your baby needs - a good mum adapts and changes her plans because she is responsive and caring. That's you.

PenguinsAreAce Thu 03-Mar-16 14:48:15

You might find this reassuring

5 min feeds are fine for a 5 month old. They can get up to 25% of their calories at night anyway, and are busy nosing at the world during the day. Bigger mouth, stronger suck and efficient production by your breasts all adds up to much shorter feeds than a newborn.

villainousbroodmare Thu 03-Mar-16 14:51:40

I would suggest placing him on a schedule. 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm, 10pm, +/- 2am was the one suggested to me by an extremely experienced paediatrician when my now 7mo DS was 5 weeks old and suffering from the effects of my oversupply. It worked extremely well for us. I subsequently relaxed and went to demand feeding (worked out to be spookily close to that anyway). I recently returned to it since I returned to work, as I was finding that he was taking daytime bottles in an erratic and irritable fashion that sounds a LOT like your baby. It guarantees, I think, that he will be genuinely hungry by the time you offer food. I know that frequent demand feeding is often seen as integral to bf but it doesn't seem to be working for you.
It will do no harm to try it for a couple of days. I bet it will improve things for you.
flowers
You sound like a fantastic person and a cracking mother btw.

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