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Duelling HVs one wants me to add solids, one to add ff - I just want to BF and have a happy baby!

(24 Posts)
tinkerbellhadpiles Tue 27-Feb-07 16:09:51

Am really upset. Last week called the HV because I was finding that my breastmilk levels seemed to be dropping and DS was not really satisfied, despite having small amounts of baby rice and fruit as well.
DS is frankly HUGE - very tall and in the 91st percentile so she is v hungry. Nice HV called me back, discussed it with me and said 'look, your baby is clearly hungry, trust your instincts here, if she's still hungry, add a bit more food'. We were fine with this and carried on bfing and adding more baby rice etc.
Went to drop in clinic at GP surgery today and second HV (our main one) told us (took DH because he was home) that we were doing completely the wrong thing and that we shouldn't even be giving her solids and that since my breast milk clearly isn't satisfying her we should give formula.
Both DH and I reiterated that we had been advised otherwise and that I did not want to give up bfing and she replied 'well if you insist on continuing, you should cut right back on solids and add formula'.
She really made it sound like we were these horrible monsters forcing food down our daughters throat and giving her substandard milk and now I don't even feel like I'll be able to call the HV service again for advice. I was really upset and close to tears and my DH told her he thought her advice was 'totally unrealistic'.
She said that DD wasn't 'absorbing the food' - funny that, she's gaining weight fine.
I do need help getting my baby settled, my BM isn't doing enough for her and because she is so big and so active we are worried about it.
And now I can't turn to my HV for help without becoming a cannonball in what is clearly a turf war!

DizzyBint Tue 27-Feb-07 16:14:23

how old is she?

what makes you think your milk levels have dipped?

are you feeding on demand or to a schedule? have you tried just bfing more often?

melrose Tue 27-Feb-07 16:22:26

Trust your instincts and never see nasty HV again is my advice! If your think your baby is gaining weight and you have no concerns about her health then you should be OK.

Remember the HV is there predominantly to help you, if she is not doing then stop going to see her, you do not have to.

One of the lovely MN bf experts will be along in a mo with lots of nice advice, wish I had dfound them when my DS was little!

mammaduck Tue 27-Feb-07 16:25:29

If you want to BF, then blooming well BF!!

Don't let the ignorant HV bully you into giving her formula if you don't want to. My DS was on the 91st centile when he was about 10 weeks old and I just upped the frequency of feeds and he was fine. You say she's gaining weight, then she's fine.

You will very probably find that although she's on the 91st now she will gradually drop down a bit as she gets older as this is very common.

I'm guessing she's under 6 months if some HVs are saying it's too soon to give solids. But remember also that babies cry for lots of reasons, not just because they're hungry.

How long do your feeds tend to last?

tinkerbellhadpiles Tue 27-Feb-07 16:26:42

She's 19 weeks and weighs 18 pounds.

The reason I think my milk levels have dipped are that my boobs are smaller and don't feel as full. I know that can mean that things have just settled down but her demands are going up and my milk production isn't. I used to be able to shoot milk across the room because I had so much. I also feel sort of hormonal, can't explain it, a bit nauseous until 4pm, and generally quite worn out (but what mum doesn't? .

My boobs also feel quite sore sometimes (I've always had really painful letdown), my nipples have suddenly got sensitive - it's not an attachment issue though, we checked that first (although DS has got teeth coming through and has nipped me twice so far!)

We are currently at a max of 3 hours apart and feeding for at least 25 minutes each time - actually ranging up to two hours duration when she's starving! She drains both sides as well. I'm feeding on demand (and boy is she demanding!)

I've tried feeding her every two hours (but when I do that it takes 45 minutes for her to get enough out to satisfy her and then all that happens is I get nothing done at all other than feeding).

Thanks for replying btw.

hunkerdave Tue 27-Feb-07 16:29:15

I hate to worry you, but have you done a pg test?

Piffle Tue 27-Feb-07 16:30:18

snap hunker

tinkerbellhadpiles Tue 27-Feb-07 16:31:37

Hi Mammaduck

Sadly, it is definitely hunger. I've tried to distract her, get her to sleep, taken her out to see things, changed her nappy, burped her, rocked her etc. etc. and she's still rooting around and crying her 'feed me now wwwwaaaaah' cry.

I know they try and get you to six months now before foods and I'd like to have been able to do that because I did want to do the baby led weaning thing, but honestly, the first night she had a bit of baby rice she slept for four hours for the first time ever and I find it hard to think that it's coincidence.

But I also don't want to introduce allergens (ie like cows milk) too soon.

I think it's really sad that the medical community (in my case) spends the first six weeks postpartum extolling the value of BFing then once you get past three months starts on the 'well maybe you've done all you can now' argument. Hopefully I'm the only one having this experience though.

massagemum Tue 27-Feb-07 16:33:10

I started all three of my children on solids from 31/2months. They all seemed to need more but was unable to take any more milk.

there was no problem with them on solids and they actually cut the milk out by themselves by their 1st birthdays.

mine all seem to really enjoy food - and as of yet i haven't found anything that they don't like!!!

tinkerbellhadpiles Tue 27-Feb-07 16:36:24

LOL, me pregnant - I've only had ONE chance to have sex since I had her (and yes I know it only takes once). I have no periods, and while that would make me very happy if I was I don't think so.

Having said I am going to the GPs on Thursday to ask them what the blinking flip is going on. I've just got over kidney stones (which are actually like having several mini babies shoot out your urethra over the course of a week) so maybe that's why I feel crappy. I don't know if that could be causing the problem with my milk though.

I also had a liver problem when I had my daughter though - pre-eclampsia followed by LFTs of 97 (apparently in the teens is okay 97 is bad), and low blood count at PP+5days.

hunkerdave Tue 27-Feb-07 16:36:51

Thing is though, you say about not introducing allergens, but I'm allergic to apples and peaches, which everyone thinks of as ideal first foods.

tinkerbellhadpiles Tue 27-Feb-07 16:41:01

Hunkerdave - ooh that's a scary thought. Poor you, think of all the crumbles you are missing. Hope you make up for it with chocolate?

FloatingInSpace Tue 27-Feb-07 16:45:20

I remember 5mo being hard in a similar way, dd wanting feeding even more than she already was, and trying to start solids & just not relaxing about it because the HVs were on my back about her not gaining weight quickly enough. I soooo wish i'd known about mumsnet then, they would've set me straight!

It's probably not your milk levels dropping, just that your ds wants more, a growth spurt etc. I'm sure in a couple of months things will have settled down a bit again. (Having said that my dd was a frequent feeder right up until I started weaning her off the breast at 1yo!)

Good luck. Hopefully mears or tiktok will be along soon. I must say although I found breastfeeding incredibly draining, I don't remember feeling as sh*t as you are, although sounds like you've been through the wars a bit - kidney stones etc!

tiktok Tue 27-Feb-07 16:52:10

tinker - you have been very badly let down by the healthcare professionals whose job it is to support you, safeguard your dd's health and also to enable you to do the healthiest thing for your baby which is to bf exclusively to 6 mths. You are justifiably angry and upset.

19 weeks is too soon for solids, except in extreme circumstances.

Your baby is gaining weight just fine, but seems to need to feed more often than before. Her feeding pattern is normal - sorry, I know it seems demanding and tiring, but it is normal. By now, your breasts feeling soft is normal. Not being able to shoot milk across the room is normal.

Giving formula or solids - it really doesn't matter which, they are still not breastmilk - will not help you maintain exclusive breastfeeding, and both will interfere with your body maintaining production at the level your dd needs at present.

If you continue bf with no solids or formula, you may have another few days of feeling she is feeding v. frequently, but it is likely to settle down in a little while and you will feel more 'in control' of the whole thing.

It's a real shame neither HV could commend you on your bf, and encourage you to hang in there with nothing else - because she doesn't need anything else.

tinkerbellhadpiles Tue 27-Feb-07 16:52:18

Thank you floating in space for your reply. Yes kidney stones are the pits (quite literally hahahh)

My friend reckons I've got them because I didn't get to push the baby out (I had an emergency section) and it's my body's way of dealing with the lack of experience by expelling these pellets.

I reckon I need some Viakal

tiktok Tue 27-Feb-07 16:53:19

PS the only thing that makes me less certain about all this is the soreness and tenderness, which could mean pregnancy.

tinkerbellhadpiles Tue 27-Feb-07 16:59:32

I'm NOT pregnant. This is not a denial thing, I'm really not.

Wish I was though, this virtuous healthy eating to lose all my pregnancy weight is very dull!

Am going to have to go rooting about in my bloody bathroom cupboards now (avoiding the spiders who have taken over and are guarding my abandoned nail varnishes since I now have no time to do such things) and find a test.....

I will return.....

edam Tue 27-Feb-07 17:00:08

I know the phrase 'it's a growth spurt' can be very annoying, but it does sound like one! He's just trying to up your milk production - which is fine, btw, it's how b/f works. Don't panic about not having enough, your body will make enough for him. Breast milk is far richer and higher in calories than any weaning food so I wouldn't bother trying to wean tbh, just feed him as much breast milk as he wants.

And really don't worry about formula, your HV is talking out of her arse. Your body makes your breastmilk to suit your baby's individual needs - formula isn't going to do that. And study after study shows formula just isn't the same as b/m so if you are happy b/f, carry on and don't let any daft HVs push you into giving your baby second-best!

Sounds as if you've been given some really duff and confusing advice. I'm sure your HVs haven't been on b/f training courses for years if this is the sort of rubbish they are spouting (do you know, many HVs don't have much training at all once they are qualified?).

tinkerbellhadpiles Tue 27-Feb-07 17:41:06

Hi Edam, nice HV is 70-odd and says things like 'ahh they change the advice all the time, she's healthy, be thankful and trust your judgement'. Nasty HV says 'it is not recommended that....'

I am not sure if it is a growth spurt. She has definitely had several and because I've been feeling pretty crap I do wonder if she's getting enough and that's the problem.

Trouble is, I am now alienated by HV and don't want to return to get her weighed to assess impact if I do go back to just BM.

BF poos are less smelly though...maybe I could try for a week or so? Does that work then, cutting out solids when they've had a little bit? Will I have to nurse constantly for the next few weeks?

amijee Tue 27-Feb-07 17:58:30

I think it's normal for your boobs to feel less full as time goes on - doesn't mean you have less milk necessarily.

Also I don't think you should add formula or solids if you wanna breast feed exclusively - sounds like you have done a magnificent job of it so far.

You may have to feed really frequently for a few days if that's what LO wants but it should all settle down again.

Good luck with it all and you're right not to accept all advice blindly.

CorrieDale Tue 27-Feb-07 18:13:03

Oh how I remember the five months growth spurt. It really sounds like exactly what you are going through now! Horrible time - sleep went even more completely to pot, DS wanted to feed all the time, and all my RL friends and family could say was 'try some formula' 'put him on solids'. My boobs had softened up considerably by then, though by the time DS finally stopped his constant feeding, I had nipples you could have stuck pins in, they were so tough! It lasted from week 17 to week 23 - day and night! DS is now 20 months, so you can see how vividly the memory has remained with me! Bloody hard work and I do not envy you at all to be facing it now, but I remember I needed to hear that this was normal, and the only people telling me it was, were MNers. But it is, as Tiktok says, completely normal. I managed to feed DS through it (thanks to MN and a v supportive DH) and I'm not sure I'd still have been bfing past 6 months if I hadn't. It was, I think, the hardest time bfing I had - much harder than when DS was a newborn because you expect that to be hard. FWIW, lots of MNers found that this phase only lasted a few days or a week or so - I think my 7 week nightmare must have been a bit of a record!

edam Tue 27-Feb-07 20:23:04

Corriedale's right, five months is a popular time for growth spurts! Don't worry about going back and getting her weighed, you know your baby and you know if she's ill. As long as she's pooing, weeing, generally her normal self and isn't losing weight so fast you can see it dropping off her, then you can opt out of the tyranny of the scales, if it worries you.

She probably won't stay on 91st centile for ever, btw, babies feed lots, put on weight, and then grow, kind of levelling out. It's sudden and continued dropping through the centiles that would be a concern, and frankly you'd see if that was going on without needing to get her weighed. By five months you really don't need to worry about weekly weigh-ins or every ounce she puts on. She's clearly a healthy, growing baby!

(Ds followed the 75th centile until 5 months when he dropped to 50th btw - my HV was not bothered at all as we could both see he was plainly healthy and still putting on weight, just not at the same rate as before.)

oops Tue 27-Feb-07 20:35:47

Message withdrawn

tinkerbellhadpiles Tue 27-Feb-07 21:49:57

Thank you ladies, I'm suitably reassured. She's had no food today just BM and she's actually asleep (feel like putting the flags out). However I'll settle for a bath.

It could be that I'm not eating enough. I tend to be very good when I decide to lose weight at dropping ten pounds in a week and I guess that's not helpful if you are a bfing mum.

It's hard though, since I cut out sugar I have no cravings for food at all, I only eat because at meal times DH sticks a plate of food in front of me and says 'eat'. I do eat three meals a day though and a pint of skimmed milk. I'd love to lose all this pregnancy weight though because I'm simply not used to being overweight. But I guess it can wait a few more months.

Will not be going back to the HV for at least a month (it'll take me that long to get over the desire to kick her up the bum).

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