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Am I making DS ill by breastfeeding? No idea what I'm doing now

(77 Posts)
Alex83 Tue 29-Mar-16 20:39:49


I've had a really tough 48 hours and am feeling so upset and tearful and not sure what to do now.

DS is 8 days old and I'd thought breastfeeding was going well- he seems to feed well (10-12 times every 24 hours), is having lots of wet and dirty nappies (yellowy brown poo) seems satisfied and full after feeds.

When he was weighed a few days ago they said he'd gone down from 8lb 14oz to 8lb (10% loss) but the midwife didn't seem urgently concerned at that stage.

Then yesterday we were admitted to hospital so he could have treatment for jaundice and the doctors there said he probably wasn't eating enough and I felt really pressurised to top up with formula so they could see what he was getting, which he hated and it made him be sick. So I tried expressing for him and was only getting 20-25ml each side which I know isn't enough for him. I've started giving him 10 minutes on each side at each feed today so at least he's getting both quantities but now his poo has become dark green this evening. I have no idea what I'm doing!

I'm now so upset, am I making DS ill by breastfeeding him and just not making enough milk? Should I start topping up with formula or stop breastfeeding altogether? It's really knocked my confidence, he seemed to be doing so well and I thought we were doing alright. Any advice would be great as I feel really lost.

Laquila Tue 29-Mar-16 20:52:34

Don't panic! 😃

I really feel for you. I'm not surprised you're overwhelmed at this stage - it's all very confusing. If I were you, based on what you've written, I would put your baby to the breast as often as possible and concentrate on getting your supply up (given that you think he's reacted badly to formula.) Do you have any other kids or are you able to go to bed with him and have some skin-to-skin?

Bf babies seem to be more susceptible to jaundice but the more you can feed him, the quicker it'll get flushed out.

It sounds as though your baby had lost 10% at his first weigh-in, which is within the range of normal as far as I'm aware. What centile is he on now?

Do you have any bf support groups locally, or a La Leche League meeting? The latter run a useful helpline too - you don't have to be a member.

LittleNelle Tue 29-Mar-16 20:55:37

Sounds like you were doing fine until the doctors told you to give formula?

Go back to feeding on demand, let him come off the first side then offer the second side. Lots of skin to skin and try to get him out in the sunshine (if there is any!).

MissBeaHaving Tue 29-Mar-16 20:56:59

I second everything laquilla said,it sounds completely normal & the more you feed the more you will produce.

La leche are fantastic if you feel you want a bit of reassurance or have any questions.

Alex83 Tue 29-Mar-16 21:10:23

Thank you for the replies.

Thanks laquila and missbea. I have a 2 year old as well (though didn't BF last time) so am trying my best to hibernate with DS but not managing to 100%. That said, I'm feeding him on demand and just letting him feed as long as he likes though this may get more difficult when OH is back to work on Monday. I'm not sure what centile he's on now but the midwives are coming back on Thursday to weigh him so I'll find out then. I'll have to have a look for BF support groups though to be honest I feel quite nervous about them, I'm not sure why.

Thanks littlenelle I'll do what you suggest and go back to letting him feed on each side as long as he wants.

I think I'll persevere until they weigh him on Thursday and see how he's doing at that stage. Just a bit gutted as I was enjoying BF and felt like it was going ok so this has all been a bit of a blow.

MissBeaHaving Tue 29-Mar-16 21:19:06

I remember I was terribly nervous breastfeeding with my Ds as he was a " big boy" and I worried I couldn't produce enough,I waited for weigh in at baby clinic every week to be sure he was gaining until it finally clicked that my body could nourish him enough.
I think it's quite a normal experience for some mums in the early weeks as you can't physically see the amount they've taken as you can with a bottle but as long as he's content that tells you he's satisfied.

How often is he feeding ?

Also I think the amount you've expressed is good for the early days considering he's also guzzling

scotsgirl64 Tue 29-Mar-16 21:27:32

Make sure your keeping yourself well hydrated as well....if he's guzzling a lot you need to look after babies do tend to guzzle constantly for first few weeks, always have a drink beside you while you feed . It does take perseverance, but is so much easier than bottle feeding!

CommanderShepherd Tue 29-Mar-16 21:27:43

I was 9 point something loss with my wee one, just keep feeding when he wants it, once my milk came in his weight shot right up.

Alex83 Tue 29-Mar-16 21:29:20

He's feeding about 10-12 times every 24 hours though not evenly spaced out if that makes sense.

That's the thing, I have no idea how much he's getting and the fact he's lost weight and the doctors made such a massive deal of his eating has really scared me.

How much milk should you be able to express on day 8 as I really have no idea? Also, does the baby get more out than a pump can or is it the same? I had a CS I'm not sure if that makes any difference to my milk supply.

Nottalotta Tue 29-Mar-16 21:33:38

I was in a similar position but wasn't admitted to hospital. Ds was 9lb 1 at birth, lost weight and didn't regain it for about 4 weeks, and then slowly. I was given so much conflicting advice, it was incredibly upsetting at the time and I felt like I was failing him.

What worked for us: feeding on demand for as long as he wants. Breast compressions. Switch feeding (swapping sides every 5 minutes) the week I did this for a few days I felt that he really started feeding more efficiently and he gained a lot of weight.

Also, if he falls asleep on the boob, wake him to carry on (date esp) by waving his arms about, nappy change, tickling etc.

Good luck, it's an exhausting and emotional time. I thought of nothing else for weeks but it seems a distant memory now (8months)

Ds also had occasional green poop.

Nottalotta Tue 29-Mar-16 21:35:55

Also, I really struggled to express esp to start. When I put real effort on (doing it every day for a couple of weeks) it got better and I got 2-4 Oz. It's hard to fit in though as and ds refused a bottle so I gave up.

Alex83 Tue 29-Mar-16 21:38:38

commander that's really reassuring, do you remember how many days old your little one was when they started putting the weight back on?

Thanks scotsgirl I'll make sure I do that.

Paintedhandprints Tue 29-Mar-16 21:40:03

Its totally normal for a newborn to lose some of his birth weight in the first 2wks. Can you ask your health visitor for info on local breast feeding support groups. Did you have any antenatal classes on bf? My ds fed on demand a lot! Every 2hrs or more. He also cluster fed (feeding constantly almost) from about 6pm. The breast produces a watery milk to start and then the thick creamy milk will follow. Let dc stay on one side as long as they want. Your breast doesnt 'run out' of milk after a certain amount of time, it produces milk constantly. You don't technically need to use both breasts you could just feed from one, but you dont because they will look lopsided. Anyway, a bfing counsellor or group may offer you better info and reassurance. You sound like you arw doing great for such early days.

MissBeaHaving Tue 29-Mar-16 21:43:45

10-12 times is just right for a newborn, they should feed roughly every 2 hours in the day then 4 hourly at night.
There is no set amount you should get expressing but most people don't get much the first weeks as baby takes it all then once your supply is fully established it should increase.
If baby is latching properly he's much more efficient than the breast pump!

I don't understand why they are worried myself,did they raise any other concerns?
It's normal for breast fed babys to drop a bit of weight in the first week while supply comes in.

dylsmimi Tue 29-Mar-16 21:46:08

You normally express less than a baby gets - I certainly did it took ages to get a few oz even months in but the dc both put on weight. So please don't worry about that - the best thing to get milk from a mother is her baby smile
You are doing well don't be put off - are you say In the window / sunlight feeding in the day to help with the jaundice? The mw advised me of that
Not sure but could the change in nappies be because of the change to formula nothing more
We done flowers

Latenighttv Tue 29-Mar-16 21:46:29

My local sure start breast feeding support group has been the best thing, the people there are all the in a very similar situation to me if a few months on, also very welcoming with expert advice, I wouldn't still be breast feeding 15 weeks on if it wasn't for the support of those ladies, hope you can find a similar group, I didn't have a clue they filled the gaps for me.

Marshy Tue 29-Mar-16 21:46:38

I breast fed both my dc, my ds until he was 2 and a half. I never expressed as could never squeeze out more than a drop - just couldn't do it. Your ability to express has no bearing on your ability to satisfy your baby actually feeding from you so don't worry about that.
Sounds like you've been doing fine. It's not unusual for babies to lose a bit to start with or to be a bit jaundiced. Both those things happened with both of mine. Just keep feeding on demand and make sure your baby finishes one breast before offering the other as that way he will get both the fore milk which is thirst quenching and the hind milk which is more satisfying and helps to put weight on. Alternate breasts at each feed.
If you can find some support with other breastfeeding mums I'm sure you'd find it helpful. Good luck!

Alex83 Tue 29-Mar-16 21:52:00

nottalotta sorry to hear you went through the same thing, it really helps to hear of others who have experienced similar.

We weren't admitted to hospital for weight loss it was for jaundice but then it came up when they weighed him and they started really stressing me out about it. It's good to know DS will be getting more than I was pumping! I couldn't understand how he seemed so content if he was getting so little.

Yes that's exactly what he's doing, every 1-2 hours in the day and then does 2 stints of 4 hours over night.

Thank you so much everyone for all the advice, it is so so helpful.

geekaMaxima Tue 29-Mar-16 21:56:48

OP thanks I hope you're less stressed than earlier. Lots of wees and poos are a good sign, and weighing baby again will be a good indicator of whether he's taking in enough milk. If you would like him to eat more in the meantime, just offer the boob more often.

One thing I'd like to add is to stop the "10 mins per side" timing of feeds. Different babies at different ages take different amounts of time to feed, so it's not a good idea to be prescriptive about it.

Just let him feed on one side until he's had enough - he might pop off by himself or fall asleep, or if you like you can take him when he has stopped actively swallowing. You can then offer the other side if you want; he'll feed if he's interested.

The amount of milk you can express is not a good indicator of how much milk your baby gets when feeding directly. There are so many variables that it's pointless trying to use it as a guide, so please don't worry about that part!

Congrats and enjoy your ds smile

MissBeaHaving Tue 29-Mar-16 22:10:16

I have to add It sounds like you are doing really well Op, especially when you also have a toddler to contend with on top,I bet he will have started to regain some of that weight by Thursday.

Cakescakescakes Tue 29-Mar-16 22:14:20

Drink lots of water. Like a big glass of water EVERY time you feed. You cAn get really dehydrated quickly when you're breastfeeding and this can cause a dip in your supply.

JoyofSpring Tue 29-Mar-16 22:31:54

Lots of good advice here OP. Hope you are feeling OK!

Have faith. Your boobs are amazing. Just keep putting him on - try not to worry about how long for or how often or how much he might be having. If in doubt, whack him on the boob. It's a subtle dance between your baby and your body to ensure he gets everything he needs, and to be honest the less you mess with that (in the form of giving formula) the better. And as geeka says, don't try to time it - just put him on one boob and then when he has had enough you can offer him the other one - then start the next feed on that side. Even if it's only 2 minutes later (and sometimes it might be).

If he is doing lots of wees and poos then I am sure he will be fine. It might take him a little longer than it would on formula but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

You are doing brilliantly! We are all rooting for you. Good luck!!

Alex83 Tue 29-Mar-16 22:36:38

Thanks geeka yes I've stopped the 10 mins each side now and have gone back to letting him stay on as long as he wants. Thank you all for the advice on this.

I'm feeling a lot less stressed now we're back home and people aren't measuring how much I'm expressing every 3 hours and telling me it's not enough! Was very stressful to be back in hospital again so soon especially as I'm still healing from the CS so it was physically difficult too. It's nice to be in our own space again and hopefully being relaxed will help with feeding.

Thank you all for the encouragement, I'm definitely going to just carry on as we are until he gets weighed again on Thursday and really hoping he will have put a bit of weight back on.

CommanderShepherd Tue 29-Mar-16 22:39:12

he had started gaining the weight by the 2nd weigh in 3 or so days. He went through (and still is) a cluster feeding phase which helped I think. He was weighted last week and was nearly back up to his birth weight

Louise43210 Tue 29-Mar-16 22:40:24

Also the amount of milk from breasts does not have to be equivalent to the amount of milk from bottles. So for e.g. 3 fluid oz of formula is not equivalent to the same amount of breast milk in terms of calories and nutrients. I think what I am saying is don't get hung up on 'amounts'. They are not equivalent. (Not saying you are hung up lol, just that you can trust your body as long as you drink and eat well).

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