breastfeeding on demand: realistic or worth it to try to get DH to do a night feed?(26 Posts)
I'm clearly a first-time newbie without a clue. Trying to work out how sleep and patterns of feeding/ milk availability might work.
If i'm breastfeeding on demand the rest of the time, is it even faintly realistic to think i could go to sleep for a few hours in the evening, leaving the baby with DH, and getting DH to do a feed (as needed) either of expressed breastmilk or formula?
Or would I probably be awake anyway because my breasts were full and leaking at the sound of the baby wanting food down the hallway? Is it not worth the added faff?
Trying to block out some sleep time obviously makes sense, and my view on how much faff it is to pump/ sterilize bottles may well change when I'm desperate for sleep; but it may well be totally unrealistic for all I know... in which case I don't need a breast pump, a new freezer to store milk (and somewhere to put the freezer...), bottles, (possibly) formula, sterilizing kit, etc.
Any thoughts? I need to read a lot more, and I won't know how well things work until the kid is here, obviously.
I never did; for me, the faff of doing it didn't make it worth me just feeding them. Sometimes DH would keep them and just bring them to me to be fed.
But plenty do!
How long did your baby take to go from newborn cluster feeding to having a few hours between feeds?
Unfortunately OP this is one of those things you can't plan! You'll just have to wait and see what your baby is like.
My 2 were both ebf on demand and DH never did a night feed. However if I was particularly tired or baby wouldn't settle\ needed changing DH would take over.
For me when either of my DC woke up, I was already awake so it seemed pointless getting DH to faff about warming up bottles, when I could just get my boob out and quickly settle the baby.
But as I say 'not doing any night feeds' doesn't equal never getting up in the night.
DS is 11 weeks and I ebf on demand. I haven't got DH to give him a bedtime bottle because I think it would be more faff to express, get him to take a bottle, and then have stuff to sterilise BUT he's always been a very efficient eater so it's literally a case of feed for 5mins every few hours.
What we do to make things easier for me is that if he needs a nappy change in the night or to be rocked back to sleep then DH does it, I feed then fall asleep straight away and don't have to get out of bed (we have a bedside crib).
Honestly you just have to see how it goes and also the willingness of your baby to take a bottle will make or break your plan.
I am on demand feeding and freely admit that she bed shares with us through the night so night feeds aren't so tiring and I don't have to fully wake up to feed her.
And I have a toddler too so I don't nap much during the day anymore but when baby was newborn I did when DP was around for toddler and again just took baby to bed with me and fed her to sleep so we could nap together.
I really thought that for me that was the best way to get more sleep and if you are happy to have the baby sleep next to you that might work for you too. If not just try it when you get a chance and see if your baby will have a bottle.
Another suggestion is that you could express the feed your DP is going to give the baby before going for your nap to solve the achy leaky boob problem.
It was too much of a faff for us to use bottles. We had a good arrangement. Dh would get up with baby, change nappy and then pass to me. I was still laying down in bed and would feed then wake dh back up and he would put baby back in crib next to him. worked well for us for our kids.
Evening feeding is when your baby needs you the most. It's how it sets up your milk supply.
After a while it might be possible for Dad to do a bottle but at first concentrate on getting feeding established.
I wouldn't bother...
1. Expressing and the accompanying sterilising is a pain in the arse.
2. During the night is when your supply is at its highest so baby is going to stimulate your supply by feeding then.
3. Babies feed for comfort and will possibly want the breast to feed to sleep anyway. A bottle isn't necessarily a breeze substitute as its a totally different method of feeding.
We planned this but it ended up too much of a faff. What we did was after her feed about 9ish I would leave her with my husband while I slept and then I slept until her next feed.
We planned this too but tbh I agree with pp that it's too much faff - DS is nearly 15 weeks now. He still wakes to feed roughly every 3 hours in the night but I don't mind this - he just feeds and goes straight back to sleep and I have adjusted to the interruptions. DH doesn't wake up at his slightest sound like I do so if even if he was getting up in the night to give a bottle, I'd probably still wake up anyway.
I was adamant I did want DS to be able to take a bottle though, so I do express about once every fortnight and DH will give him a day feed.
See what works for you. DS I think is starting to hit the 4 month sleep regression and beginning to wake 2 hourly wanting to play - so this may change for us soon!
Feeding during the night/early hours is apparently important to establishing milk supply but an evening bottle worked for us. I breast fed on demand all day but mine would cluster feed constantly from about 5-8 after which I was pretty drained so we fell into a routine of giving a 9pm bottle so I could have an early night and get a decent stretch till 1 ish. Didn't bother expressing though as never seemed to find a chance during the day. You can get ready made formula which is expensive but if not using much probably worth it for the convenience. I see formula as your friend not the enemy if helps set you up bf in the long run. Was exclusively bfing by about 3 months. You don't know what will work for you until you get there do good to get lots of advice and know the options beforehand.
We did this with dd1 (who was colicky and didn't settle all evening) from about six weeks. I pumped every morning at the same time (while she screamed, as I couldn't hold her and the pump), and that meant my body 'knew' there was an extra feed at that time. Then I went to bed after the bedtime feed for her (6-7ish) and left DH to try and get her to sleep (sling, cuddles, rocking etc) and feed her when she woke up / wouldn't sleep. That way I got a chunk of time until about 11ish when I could go 'off duty'.
Didn't bother with dd2 as she fed and settled, and also because pumping while looking after a toddler is tricky.
Never worth it for me. I used to take baby to bed about 6:30-7pm and feed lying down for a couple of hours while dh put the house back together and cooked something and I dozed, then spend a bit of time together and he always took baby off me at about 6:30am for an hour or two and just entertained them. We did end up with early rising toddlers though!
We planned this too but DD wouldn't entertain a bottle. She slept really well from the start though- at 2 weeks she went down at 11/12 and would wake at 3/4 then sleep on til 8 (after a mammoth evening cluster feed!), by 8 weeks she had dropped the middle of the night feed.
Sounding like it might be simplest to just assume not to bother with the evening-sleep-attempt faff, but possibly have some formula and a bottle handy in case breastfeeding goes pear-shaped for some reason. I can also give pumping a go - but breast pumps here are insanely expensive...
I have to say I bought my medela swing electric when DS was about a week old and it was expensive yes (£100 I think) but sooo worth it - I think it's brilliant.
Yeah, my learning point second time around was to get a quiet double pump. Twice as fast and you can at least hear the telly (or the toddler) while you're doing it. I had the Ameda Lactaline, which is a closed system (ie no milk gets into the actual pump, so it's safe to share or buy second hand) and it was brilliant.
I never did this, but a lot of other mums I know did, especially from around 6 weeks when apparently it's more ok (in relation to your supply) to bring a bottle into the picture. I think like anything you can fit these things into your routine. From a few weeks in your breasts settle down a bit and don't get engorged if you go a bit longer and it's easier for them to adjust to what's expected. You will work out what will work best for you!
Night feeding is important for your supply and I find it the easiest and quickest way to get DS2 back to sleep. The cluster feeding in the early weeks was mainly of an evening so put your feet up and relax. For us DP was able to take DS2 downstairs at about 5am till he went to work at 7 so I could get 2 hours uninterrupted.
Good luck OP
Thanks for all the advice - very helpful!
(£100 for a quiet double electric breastpump? Sounds great. Try £300 for the same thing where I live...)
You don't need a breastpump. I hand expressed for both of mine. I got more that way!
We did something like this and knowing I had a block of guaranteed sleep was a godsend in the early days. I know BF is convenient and easy for many etc but I also think people vastly exaggerate the work involved in preparing a bottle. If you can spare the funds, then simplest of all is to use ready-to-drink single serve bottles. But in any case, washing one bottle a day is not hard labour, and sterilizing is simply a question of flicking a switch on a machine or microwave. I do think it very important and useful for all potential caregivers to be familiar with safe formula preparation and handling - I unexpectedly ended up back in hospital for a long stay when my BF baby was just weeks old, not at all what we planned so it was good for us that my husband was already familiar with the formula routine - one less thing to worry about at a scary and busy time.
If you want to try it, go for it. Sleep is so important to your recovery, healing and being a good parent.
A number of friends of mine have successfully done this- bed time bottle of formula since about 2 weeks. tips- make it a regular, every day thing. Same time of day etc. Use formula- my friends found it easier if baby found it a totally different experience. Introduce it about 2 weeks, but definitely before 4 weeks.
We weren't so lucky. I took the advice of midwives and health visitor of waiting until 6weeks but turns out DS is a bottle refuser.
We had a tough time with BF anyway, so were doing lots of expressing to top up feeds (using the amazing double ardo calypso pump).
It is important to BF as much as you can for the first couple of months (rather than using formula) to build your supply. Especially from midnight - 5am (I think) due to the hormones around then.
However I found it a lifesaver to be able to leave my husband with a bottle of expressed milk during the evening so I could get a couple of hours sleep, as our baby was not sleeping much at night.
As others have said, you need to see how things are when the baby comes as you won't know how easy you find BF and how the sleep is going.
Once things settled down I did consider my husband doing a regular evening feed of ebm but it has never really happened - too much of a faff and I knew I'd end up being awake anyway!
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