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Mixed feeding - don't know if I'm producing any milk!

(18 Posts)
Imstickingwiththisone Thu 02-Feb-17 23:40:05

DS is 3 weeks old. Decided beforehand after bad experience with first DC that I was going to combination feed. I still feel like it's been the right decision but it has definitely ended up being more formula than I had anticipated at this stage.

So DS is now basically on 5 x 5oz bottles a day. There is one long breast feed in the early hours and baby seems hungry 2 hours after each bottle so I'm topping up with a breastfeed between each bottle. These top ups can last about 20 minutes.

I'm no longer getting that full i-need-to-feed feeling in either breast and I don't know whether it's because my milk supply has decreased to meet the reduced demand, whether that feeling goes by the third week or if there's nothing left and my DS is just enjoying the comfort of suckling. I do still see seeds in his poo but his pooing habits have reduced from after every feed to once a day.

DS falls asleep quite content after a breastfeed but that could just signal comfort. I know there is some milk....Just not whether there is a substantial amount.

A bit of me would be sad if milk had dried up already but I was aware of the risk when I made the decision to combination feed so early on and tbh it's worked out for us. DC1 is extremely demanding of my time and wouldn't have coped with me giving all my time to breastfeeding and I think the guilt of not giving my time would have outweighed the guilt of not ebf.

Bex134 Fri 03-Feb-17 00:58:22

Hi

I'm pretty hew to all this - my DS is 18 days old. I've found in the last few days my breasts are much less full and no longer go from rocks to soft after a feed. I checked it out with my midwife who says this is normal for this stage of milk settling.

Not sure if that helps but sounds similar to you.

Imstickingwiththisone Fri 03-Feb-17 03:36:34

Thanks bex - I think that change is what has made me the most suspicious so that is helpful to know.

AmeliaJack Fri 03-Feb-17 03:45:43

I wouldn't think your milk would have dried up if you ate regularly feeding each day but it will have reduced to cope with the demand. Also as Bex says as your breasts get used to the process you don't always get that rock hard feeling (unless you are a long way past normal time for a feed)

There's nothing wrong with a baby sucking for comfort but if the baby seems happy and contented after each feed I suggest that he is indeed getting milk.

The nature of babies poo changes as they get bigger however the formula will also have affected the type of poos.

Speak to your health visitor if you are worried and don't beat yourself up about it. Any amount of breastfeeding is good for your baby for as long as you can manage.

Imstickingwiththisone Fri 03-Feb-17 07:58:28

Thanks Amelia. Think you're right. Hopefully I'll be able to carry on feeding and maybe change things a bit once he isnt so hungry. I really want to feed him but in my own way 😁 just to make things difficult for if I need advice...

tiktok Fri 03-Feb-17 13:17:26

OP, if you want to continue with BF, then you can....but you will need to take action.

It can be normal for initial over-fullness to go early (as with Bex) but in your case coupled with the very large amounts of formula he is having and the fact you introduced bottles from the start, I think it's almost certainly a sign you have a much reduced supply. In the early weeks, which you are in, this leads to zero supply in a short time ( think a couple of weeks or so).

This is the risk with combination feeding - too many, large bottles too early means the BF never gets going. If combination feeding is the preferred option, then it's better to establish a BF supply from the start and then cut back, carefully and gradually. It's just the way the biology of it works!

Most of his nutrition is coming from formula now. You can do the maths. If he was fully FF, he'd be needing something like 2.5 oz per pound of weight per day. So if he weighs 10 pounds, he'd need 25 oz of formula in 24 hrs. That's what he's having now. It sounds as if he is getting some breastmilk and still enjoys it -that's good. So if you want to retrieve your BF, you can build on this by BF more often. If you want to know more, just ask smile

Imstickingwiththisone Fri 03-Feb-17 15:17:12

Thanks for the reality check tiktok. I was kidding myself I have supertits! Will start decreasing the formula feed and try to establish a better supply without starving poor DS. Don't know how it sprung up to 5 bottles in the first place tbh confused

Imstickingwiththisone Fri 03-Feb-17 23:49:34

Righto well I recall exactly how it sprung up to 5 bottles now. I've basically ignored DC1 all afternoon and evening as I just breastfed between 3pm-ish and 30 minutes ago when I gave a bottle. I realise that my likely low milk supply means there won't have been a lot of milk available for poor DS and that it will have been good for encouraging it to increase but how do people do this when they have other DC to care for? DC1 is quite clingy but now is a time that I want to reassure her that she isn't being pushed out. Don't know how to achieve that while bf confused

tiktok Sat 04-Feb-17 09:04:41

OP, it can feel demanding and pressurising to BF and look after a toddler as well but what makes BF harder than FF in this respect?
You get a free arm with breastfeeding for playing, looking at books and whatever - and whether the baby is BF or FF you still have to sit and hold the baby. Neither stops you going out somewhere. BF babies tend to feed more often than FF babies and take longer but this is 'top loaded' i.e. it happens in the early weeks and BF tends to take less time as the weeks go by. Hope things work out for you.

NotWithoutMyMerkin Sat 04-Feb-17 09:08:02

Tv! One handed book reading. Feeding in a sling (if you can). Playing on the sofa near where you are sitting etc
I try to max out my focus on dd1 between feeding times so that I don't feel bad about letting her play alone for a while while I am feeding

FusionChefGeoff Sat 04-Feb-17 09:20:04

wheres your partner?? As soon as they are home they need to take DC1 and provide lots of love and undivided attention. So you can focus on feeding then without feeling guilty. Toddler groups were great - again a couple of hours when DC1 was happy running about like a loon with plenty of other symapthetic Mums about who could jump in if I was feeding and he needed something. Then stick a film on after lunch and you've covered quite a large chunk of day. As pp said, this feeding frenzy drops off really quickly so a couple of months of extended TV won't do any damage.

And feeding at the table is a good time to get out play doh or craft and interact with DC1 at the same time.

Then as soon as baby has finished feeding, settle them as quickly as possible in bouncy chair / basket etc and make a huge and immediate fuss of DC1 for being such a good big brother etc etc. Also involve him 'oh no, DC1, baby is crying again, what do you think they need?' And sympathies with them 'oh no, they want feeding again! Isn't it a pain - but never mind, we can do xyz now / when she's finished'

FineLookingHighHorse Sat 04-Feb-17 20:53:37

Hi im combi feeding my nine week old and have been since 3.5 weeks.
I only get the engorged boobs feeling if I'm late for a feed or have swapped a BF for a FF at an odd time of day.

My DS has between ten and 12 0z of formula per day and I feed the rest. No problems with my supply so far as I can tell and DS is now over 12 pounds 😀

Combi feeding can be great and sanity saving (I have four other DC)
But make sure you are feeding at/through the night to stimulate supply.

Good luck and congratulations on your new baby.

Imstickingwiththisone Sun 05-Feb-17 10:51:23

Thanks for the tips everyone. I can do better I guess. We've had latch problems so I stay quite still on the couch to feed but I think we've got over that now so I could probably bf on the go a bit or at least in different places to the couch.

TV was too much of a crutch when I was pregnant and not well so don't want to rely on that too much.

When I ff I can pop baby in the bouncer and DC1 and I interact with him. He also naps really well in the Moses basket. When I bf he is on the boob for hours and hours. If he falls asleep he wakes as soon as he goes into the basket and is looking for the boob again. DC1 doesn't get to interact with him because if he's awake he just wants boob. I realise this is my own doing as there won't be enough milk right now so he can't fill up and have a good sleep. I've gone about this arse about face... I just hope it won't take long to get it back to how it should be.

Imstickingwiththisone Fri 10-Feb-17 23:37:54

I just wanted to report back because sometimes I do advanced search for information and never find out how things end for an OP who has had similar experiences to me.

So, I cut down on the formula and give only 3 bottles in 24 hours. Once in the morning before school run, again in the afternoon and an 11pm ish one. I breastfeed through the night now which I think has helped sort my milk supply. Breastfeeding is so much easier now, and quicker too. I started thinking it was going pear shaped as DS kept falling asleep on the boob but then he would sleep for so long afterwards I realised he was just finished! I'm going to see how I get on but may drop the afternoon bottle. I feel I'm better at time keeping with bottles so like to give one before school run in morning and afternoon so I'm not breaking off mid breastfeed and upsetting DS but if the feeds are shorter and actually have an end I'm happy to drop it.

I'm so surprised that this has changed so quickly as I thought I would be back at square one.

Oh another breastfeeding faux pas (along with introducing bottles early) is that I give a dummy. Sometimes DS was rooting just 2 hours after formula so I would breastfeed then he would cry and throw it up. He just seems to do this exactly 2 hours after a feed so I assumed he was really hungry but if I give a dummy, he sleeps a couple of hours and then doesn't throw all his milk up. He's still gaining weight so I'm happy I'm not starving him by doing this. It's so odd that it's always about 2 hours after his feeds that he wants to suck something confused

Imstickingwiththisone Fri 10-Feb-17 23:44:07

I've just reread my OP as I forgot exactly the situation I was in just one week ago grin

Think I caught it in the nick of time as you said tiktok!! Ds's sucky habits 2 hours after a bottle gave me the opportunity to breastfeed as otherwise I had phased them out completely, but as DS was just using me as a dummy I probably stopped producing a lot of milk. I've been eating porridge all week grin

seven201 Fri 10-Feb-17 23:53:42

Well done for getting nearer to where you want to be. I found it really hard to drop a bottle (was advised to top up due to not regaining birth weight for ages) so I take my hat off to you for doing it so quickly.

Imstickingwiththisone Sat 11-Feb-17 00:06:47

I think I've just got lucky seven and it's not because of anything I've done well. It's still early days yet so I may find things aren't as smooth sailing as I do now but I've gotten over the mental hurdle of dividing my time between my DC which is what I mainly wanted to achieve / felt guilty about.

FineLookingHighHorse Sat 11-Feb-17 11:27:48

Well done OP that's great news.

I hope the combi feeding continues to go well for you smile

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