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Formula top ups or more expressing?

(40 Posts)
mininionsteve Wed 20-Jul-16 21:04:17

My nearly 3 week old has not wanted to stop feeding today. We struggled with getting him to stay on when bf he spent his first couple of days in special care. I have been ebm for the past week as both of us were getting way to stressed out trying to get a decent feed and for him to put on weight.

Now it's so hot he doesn't seem to want to want to stop feeding, I pump every 2-3 hours but I'm just not making enough to satisfy him. Am I right to top him up with formula? Am I on the slippery slope to drying up? I really want to go as long as possible ebm even tho it's hard. Just need some advice.

artisanroast Thu 21-Jul-16 00:52:34

Feed! Feed! Feed! Don't top up with formula because it will affect your supply. Many midwives will suggest doing this but it's telling your body you are making enough milk. You need to stimulate your body to produce more milk. Your baby will go through growth spurts where you won't leave the couch due to freezing. Then it improves. Then comes another growth spurt and more cluster feeding.

Google KellyMom as its full of brilliant info and there is also breastfeeding support helpline which is brilliant when you feel you need encouragement in the early days. Good luck!

I have fed, expressed and fed and am now still feeding at 10 months. You can do it smile

Threesoundslikealot Thu 21-Jul-16 00:56:48

In this weather it's totally normal for your baby to feed constantly, and also for his age. It's all rolled into one. Keep on feeding him when he demands it. Kellymom is an excellent source of supple and advice.

mininionsteve Thu 21-Jul-16 03:41:13

Sorry to sound thick but to keep pumping every time he cries isn't going to hurt other than be uncomfortable? Thankyou for answering was ready to quit today feel like a failure for not keeping up with him.

29redshoes Thu 21-Jul-16 03:53:32

I'm not sure if the previous posters clocked that you're exclusively expressing.

I never did this but I know it can be really hard. Not being able to express enough for your baby is very common - it's very impressive that you've managed to do it so far and you should be really proud. A pump is not as efficient as the baby so it's more difficult to extract enough milk.

If I were you I'd either top up with formula, or try and put the baby to the breast again so he can get milk directly from you. I know it's stressful when you don't know how much he's getting but you can monitor nappy output and weight gain.

There are people here who have exclusively expressed so maybe they'll have better advice but I would say please don't beat yourself up - you've done so well already.

29redshoes Thu 21-Jul-16 03:57:09

Also I remember 3 weeks was about the time when my DD started crying for other things - not just milk! I think sometimes I used to feed her when what she really wanted was a nap blush.

It's still very likely that hes hungry when he cries (especially in this heat!) but it may not always be the case, especially if you are bottle feeding him.

mininionsteve Thu 21-Jul-16 04:03:48

I thought this, but he does all his feed cues. If he's near me it's awful but as soon as he's with his dad he's calm and not looking for food. Also wondering if I'm doing it wrong, switched to hospital grade pump from tommee tippee and feel like it's all gone down hill since. It's probably heat and stress. I'm a walking water bottle I've had so much liquid. Thankyou for the response.

mininionsteve Thu 21-Jul-16 04:06:13

I've tried putting him back to the breast but he just freaks out. I really wish he would just stick with it so we could crack on like a normal mum and baby. I could handle all the feeds but constant milking is deoressing.

Threesoundslikealot Thu 21-Jul-16 07:35:12

I'm so sorry to miss the ebm part of your post. That is a tough, tough journey and I think you're amazing for getting this far. Are you getting any professional support at all? Are there breastfeeding cafes near you? Can you afford to see a lactation consultant privately?

mininionsteve Thu 21-Jul-16 08:04:07

I had support while I was attempting the charade of breast feeding but now we've been signed off I don't know who to call. Will phone nct counsellors a bit later and there's a baby group with breast feeding support on a Monday so il go there if we can get through the weekend. I'm about ready to quit now it has to be said.

Threesoundslikealot Thu 21-Jul-16 08:12:54

Right, first, if you end up giving formula, that is not the end of the world. My children all had to be mix fed and they were fine.

But second, you need help today, not next Monday. Definitely call the NCT but I cannot recommend a lactation consultant highly enough. They usually charge around £100 but will come to your house, spend as long as you need with you, and be on the end of a phone for you afterwards. They can literally save your sanity. Also, a good one will tell you when using some formula is your best option, not pressure you to carry on in an unsustainable situation. Whereabouts (roughly) are you?

Honestly, I get so cross at the appalling state of post natal breast feeding support.

29redshoes Thu 21-Jul-16 08:26:30

OP if you want to go down the breastfeeding support route then go for it - I know people who've done this and are glad they persevered.

Honestly though - and ignore me if I'm wrong - you sound to me like you've already made the decision to bottle feed and are happier with that. If that is the case, I'd give formula top ups if I were you, and think no more of it.

There are things you can do to try and express more milk - pump at all hours, take supplements etc. For me the benefits of exclusive breast milk wouldn't really outweigh the negatives of that approach (extra pressure, less time with the baby) but some people do it very successfully.

Oh and don't stress too much about "normal" mums and babies! I don't have the figures to hand but I'm fairly certain that a significant proportion of babies, if not the majority, are exclusively formula fed...

ChocolateHelps Thu 21-Jul-16 08:27:22

Can you find out if you have a local LLL group near you? Or call their helpline. They are all experienced breastfeeding mums and take calls in their own homes. If you don't get through straight away keep trying.

In the heart babies will ask to feed more often as they're thirsty. You're doing a great job of recognising feeding cues. It sounds like you would like support to get baby feeding directly from the breast? It's not too late and when skilled support anything is possible

Threesoundslikealot Thu 21-Jul-16 08:29:07

Stick your postcode into this. You may be in an area with only a few, or one with a long list. All of them will be happy to talk to you on the phone free of charge to establish what's going on with you. Some work within the NHS although referral routes will vary. Others will see you on a discounted rate if necessary - it's worth asking.

Littleelffriend Thu 21-Jul-16 08:30:53

People don't realise how hard expressing is. My dd is 11 weeks and I ended up expressing for various reasons. She gets some formula because I can't express enough. I bought a really good pump which helps.

Threesoundslikealot Thu 21-Jul-16 08:39:16

Again I absolutely agree that formula is not the end of the world. But it's best to use it as a positive decision if possible. Women who want to breastfeed and then don't, for whatever reason, can really struggle. The best thing if possible is to have professional support in making the decision, and as I've said, any good breastfeeding specialist will help you make that decision. They wouldn't try to persuade you to continue if they could see it wasn't doing you any good. Bad breastfeeding support, which too many women have as their only experience, in post natal wards, can be like that, but a professional shouldn't be.

mininionsteve Thu 21-Jul-16 08:54:06

I'm on the south coast. I don't have any spare cash to afford a professional to come out. Wish we did. Hopefully nct can suggest something.

mininionsteve Thu 21-Jul-16 09:20:59

Thank you everyone. 29red you are right I was happy with the decision to pump exclusively and I don't really have a problem with topping up with formula. Just feel like I've broken in the last 24 hours. During the 4am pump nothing can't out of my right breast which having switched to a hospital pump it seems to have dwindled. Went back to my basic Tommy tippee and got better results. It just gets too much and not knowing wether to battle on or just quit completely, just end up feeling like a failure even though I know that's silly and there's no problem with just formula. Probably just tired and emotional. Thankyou all for listening and the advice, will give it all a look at properly once ds has gone back to sleep.

ispymincepie Mon 25-Jul-16 15:12:06

I am exclusively pumping for dc4, 11wks who has never successfully latched. In the beginning I could get nowhere near enough to meet his demand and he was largely on formula while I worked in my supply. If that's the path you want to go down I'd suggest tiger milk, fenugreek and domperidone, as within a week I was able to catch him up and now even have a slight over supply. However, it is very hard and I totally relate to wishing we could just be like a normal mum and baby. I'm also south coast if you'd like any peer support just drop me a message flowers

mininionsteve Mon 25-Jul-16 22:57:10

Thanks ispy saw the health visitor today for a weigh in. Ds is past birth weight now. Left in tears though because I asked for advice on breast feeding again and felt like I was an idiot to have given up and that it was super easy. Now going to spend 48 hours trying to get it going if that's doesn't happen I guess we have an answer. No idea what to do for the best anymore!

Threesoundslikealot Tue 26-Jul-16 20:15:01

It breaks my heart that you're not getting more support. Did you try the La Leche League? Not that I think you need to keep doing something that is making you miserable but you need to feel that your decision was made for the right reasons.

Brilliant on birth weight! Something is going right.

mininionsteve Tue 26-Jul-16 21:24:45

Just an update. The boy is just not interested in breast feeding. He never was and that's fine. I don't need the pressure and he doesn't need the stress. I'm going to lee pumping and get him to 6 weeks. I don't know why I have that goal. I guess where he was born by complete surprise c section and then taken away poorly that night I feel guilty and just really wanted to do something my body was built for. I know that's stupid. There's nowt wrong with formula and we will move on to it. Just not ready to let it go. Guess I'm just a bit of an idiot. Would la leche be able to help with expressing? Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

dollydaydream84 Tue 26-Jul-16 21:43:27

You are not an idiot! It's easy to feel as though your body's failing you etc etc but it's not. Breastfeeding is bloody bloody hard work for most people! Can I help you with expressing queries? I've been mixed expressing and breastfeeding for 5 weeks due to tongue tie x

Ps if babs was born by surprise and you feel guilty about him being poorly (you shouldn't by the way!) it might help to talk through your birth with supervisor of midwives at your hospital. I wish I had done that with my first Dd who was born by EMCS as I had so many questions which were only answered when I was pregnant with Dd2.

Big hugs sounds like you are doing amazing x which pump have you got x

mininionsteve Tue 26-Jul-16 22:05:47

I'm using the Tommy tippee pump. I hired a Medela symphony but within 24 hours my milk started dropping and it panicked me so went back to the old faithful. It's not ideal, it won't last but it's doing the job.

Questions I would like answers to:

If the baby wants to feed hourly do I pump hourly as well? Or do I stick to every 3 hours?

Is the power pumping thing I read about on a Pinterest an actual thing or will I damage my breasts.

How much should I be feeding the baby? He currently has 4oz per feed,

He was undiagnosed breech and had done a meconium poo in utero. was happy with the decision to get him out while he was happy and knowing now how he ended up so poorly I'm glad we did. You just mentally prepare for giving birth and I don't feel like I did rather than just lie back and think of England. I think that's why I've become stuck on breast feeding and now expressing. Just got to work through it and keep on swimming.

Threesoundslikealot Tue 26-Jul-16 22:06:48

Big hugs from me too. You are NOT stupid. Research suggests that women who want to breastfeed but can't are more likely to get PND because it is such an emotive subject.

If pumping is bearable and getting to six weeks (or who knows, beyond?) will help you feel that you achieved what you wanted, then absolutely do that. The LLL advise on all parts of breastfeeding and will certainly be able to offer advice on expressing.

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