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Stopping breastfeeding at 6 weeks?

(21 Posts)
tappitytaptap Tue 10-May-16 21:12:54

I have been bfing 6 week old DS since he was 2 weeks old (was in special care and tube fed with mix of EBM and formula until then, when we switched to bfing on demand). He is 50th centile for length, just shy of 2nd for weight - born on 2nd, slightly dropped now seems to be putting lots of weight on - 11oz in 6 days last week. Whilst I get a good stretch of sleep at nights, with him doing 4-5 hours between feeds, he has fussy afternoons/evenings, often cluster feeding from 3-4 til about 9. DH distracts him with dummy, rocking, burping (his wind seems quite bad, farts a lot!) a couple of times to give my nipples a break otherwise I literally could not carry on. I am starting to wonder whether I'd be better switching him to formula sooner rather than later. Had originally planned on doing so around 3 months. Have tried to express but due to volume of feedings (he also bunches them in the mornings), finding it too difficult unless I never leave the house. Given his low weight centile the HV said he is trying to 'catch up' and thats why he feeds so much. However Im finding it really hard going emotionally and never get a break from it. My nipples feel bruised. And despite reassurance can't shake the feeling he's not getting enough milk otherwise why would he cry til he got boob for so long. I genuinely think I'd be happier sharing feeds with DH (who has given him a bottle a couple of times) and I'd also know what he was getting. I'd hoped to be able to actually have some sort of life at some point and I feel totally trapped by breastfeeding. Anyone had a similar plan to me and got through it? I keep thinking just 6 more weeks but finding it so so tough.

Laquila Tue 10-May-16 21:17:16

I'm generally very pro-bf but only if it isn't making the mother miserable, and it sounds as though you'd be happier ff so I would go for it and wouldn't give it a second thought! Having said that, just bear in mind that in a way, knowing how much your baby is getting is not always a good thing - you might end up overthinking it a bit and focusing too much on the measurements/exactly how much he's drunk and at what exact time, rather than just trying your best to meet hia needs and enjoying him. I'm not saying don't ff, if that's the decision you've made, but just be kind to yourself and don't drive yourself mad with numbers! Good luck, whatever you decide 😀

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Tue 10-May-16 21:20:08

We put so much pressure on ourselves to BF for as long as possible. I could only feed my first DD for 2 weeks and beat myself up about it for years afterwards, however I managed to feed my subsequent DCs for as long as I intended.

You've done so well and given him so much already so you mustn't feel bad if you stop, but, if you're not sure that you want to stop, why not alternate between BF and bottle?

Whatever you decide, your DS needs a happy mummy and, if that means bottle feeding, so be it

meffhead Tue 10-May-16 21:28:33

I think you have a problem with your latch. Breastfeeding does not hurt at all... It may in the first couple of weeks. If the baby has a poor latch it will hurt and they will not be as successful at getting the milk he needs.
Have you tried making contact with anyone regarding the feeding. Once you have s good latch it should not hurt at all ...

ColdCottage Tue 10-May-16 21:29:53

You need to do what is best for you. A happy mummy equals a happy baby.
Have you thought of combination feeding? That way your partner can get involved with the feeding and you can have a little break whilst baby still gets the benefits of breast milk.
6 weeks is such early days even if it feels like an age, especially given that he was kept in for 2 weeks to start with.
You are doing an amazing job so be kind to yourself.
If you are feeling you are missing out get your friends to come to you or plan a baby friendly location close to home to go.

ColdCottage Tue 10-May-16 21:34:56

Agree, after 6 weeks of feeding your boobs shouldn't be hurting.
Going along to your local Breastfeeding cafe (google for a nearby one) they are so helpful or message your local NCT group to see if there are any local support groups. Your midwife should also be able to come out and help.
Its a learning curve for you both but you will get there.
If you want to move to formula that is fine too. The most important thing is that you are ok. Formula is great these days and you have given him 2 months of breast milk already which is great.

tappitytaptap Tue 10-May-16 21:41:34

I have had my latch checked my numerous professionals who have said it is good. Its sort of aching more than anything, my nipples are not cracked or anything like that. He has a strong suck...! I am not sure I get the 'bonding' from breastfeeding that some people do. I feel most bonded when he falls asleep on me grin. Must admit am also massively sceptical of breastmilk over formula claims, as an Oxbridge educated rarely ill formula fed baby!

tappitytaptap Tue 10-May-16 21:45:02

Laquila, DH thinks exactly the same as you re amount of formula drunk, that I might obsess over it. If he could space his feeds a little in the evening I would feel happier and less drained I think. Definitely made a decision to only EBF til 3 months so is literally a matter of weeks but feels like forever at the moment.

whatevva Tue 10-May-16 21:46:04

You have done really well. I BF twins who were in SCBU for 2 weeks and that made things really difficult, even though I was experienced at bf. I nearly gave up in an attempt to get them out of the place!

I would echo what others have said. Be kind to yourself and look for a support group to make sure the latch is right.

I found that the cluster feeding in the evening lead to better nights. It was just a matter of a good dinner, plenty of fluids and putting my feet up for the evening. (It was not so good with my first one who kept me up more in the night than the twins did hmm)

FuzzyOwl Tue 10-May-16 21:47:47

If you change to formula your baby will be perfectly happy and thrive so don't feel guilty if breastfeeding isn't working out for the two of you. It doesn't work out for many mothers and/or babies, and there is nothing wrong with that.

ColdCottage Tue 10-May-16 21:50:01

I agree. I exclusively bf and a friend did too. Her son was poorly all the time and my son is hardly ever poorly.
Who knows, I have enjoyed feeding, especially as I was ill when he was first born and BFing was the main thing I was able to do for him for the first 10 weeks so meant a lot to me.
Also liked that it was hassle free and cost free.
Follow your gut, mothers instinct and all that. He won't care now or when he is older so trust yourself to do what is right for you and your baby.

tappitytaptap Tue 10-May-16 22:12:35

There is a bf group I could go to next Mon if I manage to carry on that long. Doing a day at a time approach at the moment seems to be only way to get through this tough part.

Miffyandme Tue 10-May-16 22:28:50

Someone with more experience will be along but in my experience of BFing two babies, the first 6 weeks are definitely the toughest. I think there is a growth spurt around 6 weeks as well so he'll be extra busy feeding.
I also think by 6 weeks the initial excitement / terror at having a new baby has worn off a wee bit and the tiredness is really kicking in. In addition your baby has been in SCBU so it was a way more stressful start.

You have done a fab job so far. My point is that I think BFing gets easier after this point so it may be worth planning your day-by-day approach, reaching 6 weeks is a great achievement. Mixed feeding is also fine though so whatever you decide, go easy on yourself.

Miffyandme Tue 10-May-16 22:33:11

And I should also add that switching to bottles at this point is no failing. He's had the very early colostrum which is the most important. Once I got through those first few weeks I found BFing much easier and more convenient. I bottle fed my first from 6 months, breast feeding second still at a year mainly due to laziness about not wanting to make up bottles! And I know for sure that at least two friends who are formula feeding have babies that wake up as often as mine!

tappitytaptap Wed 11-May-16 03:05:04

I can't really complain about the waking up. Stopped cluster feeding around 9pm, short feed around 10.15 or so then woke up for food at 2.45 so he is clearly 'tanking up' by clustering. Think that we have def had a few fussy days so may well have had/be at end of a growth spurt. One day (hell, even one feed!) at a time is the only way to think when I'm finding it rough. After this feed is done I will try and express a little. Even a bottle of EBM a couple of times a week from DH would be both lovely for him and a nice break for me.

tappitytaptap Wed 11-May-16 03:08:05

Also going to make concerted effort with the infacol as DS quite clearly suffering with wind in evening too and feeding to relieve that as well as for hunger.

DropYourSword Wed 11-May-16 03:21:37

Do you have to stop BF completely? My DS is only 14 days old and we do a mix of BF, expressed milk and formula. He is fine BF during the day but at night he turns into a ravenous monster. We give him as much breastmilk as we can, but he has a top up bottle when he needs it. I didn't plan on feeding this way, but am already learning that you do what you need to do when it comes to being a parent!

PropertyBefuddlement Wed 11-May-16 03:36:11

Gosh this sounds like my LO.

He was 50th percentile for height and 2nd for weight but didn't track the weight curve, kept dropping under the 2nd line. I had him on my lap, lying on a cushion on the boob, for about 20 hours a day at 6 weeks.

From about 4pm till about 11pm it was literally none stop. DH would come in, cook dinner, and I would eat it, plate on the arm of the sofa, fork in hand, while bub was still on boob. And flipping expressing to try and increase my supply, so even when baby was off I was still doing it, and had bottles to sterilise to put the milk in etc, it was endless. I found it so difficult. Easily the hardest thing I have ever done. You are doing so, so well. flowers

If you give up now, you have still given your LO a wonderful start, and being a happy and healthy mummy is much more important long term than anything else. On the other hand, if you just aren't ready to stop now, there are ways of maybe getting a bit more help. A BFeeding clinic is a really good idea if you can possibly get there.

There may be several solutions, but if it helps, what the lactation midwife suggested to me, was that the length of the cluster feeding was excessive, even by cluster feeding standards at that age, and, together with the disparity between height and weight, it suggested that DS needed a little bit more milk than I was producing.

She told me to try introducing one small feed a day of supplement to help him at the time he was most restless and hungry. She suggested at 6 weeks it would not cause nipple confusion or upset the Bfeeding, but might help me continue to for longer. She suggested that I buy those little bottles of Aptimil that come ready sterilised (NOT the powdered formula that you have to sterilise etc) and to give the baby 100mls a day. This meant I had sterilised bottles and teats, and opened the formula and poured it in. It is a bit more expensive than the powder but much easier than faffing about with it all.

This made an immediate, massive difference to mine LO. He was just a different baby. Still fed a lot, but without the desperation, IFSWIM, feeding in a manageable way I could cope with.

I would never have done this without the specific advice of that midwife, I was terrified of nipple confusion, giving up, obsessing over how much to supplement etc. It was really helpful just to be told what I needed to do and do it, if that makes sense!

(My LO never caught up his weight until hitting 6months and solid food, at which point he burst through the percentiles until he was at 50th centile for both weight and height, where he has stayed ever since. He is now nearly 2 and still on the boob, when he wakes up and when he goes to bed, and they are now the happiest bits of my day.

Laquila Wed 11-May-16 09:41:07

What a lovely post, Property - excellent example of how combination feeding can sometimes be the route to bf for longer.

tappitytaptap Wed 11-May-16 14:35:44

Very useful Property, thanks. We have been in hospital today as DS had blood in his vomit (he is fine, they think it is my blood!) and an infant feeding specialist came round who gave me a couple of tips on latching and positioning which is great. Basically she told me to really shove my boob in his face and that he wouldn't suffocate, and to hold his head slightly differently to allow him to latch on and off more easily, and hold him a bit closer to my body. Seems to have worked well in the couple of feeds we've had since - DS satisfied afterwards and smily/milk-coma-d a bit quicker than before!

PropertyBefuddlement Wed 11-May-16 14:54:28

Tapitytaptap Gosh that must have been scary, so glad its nothing serious. It sounds like it might have given you the opportunity to get what you need in terms of advice, though.

I have my fingers crossed for you that it is the beginning of easier times.

Laquila, Mumsnet is great sometimes, isn't it. I have had so much useful advice from other MNetters when stuck, (hence my namechange, currently being slightly outmanoeuvred by an estate agent.)

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