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BF should I suppliment?(28 Posts)
My baby is 5 weeks old and he's not put on as much weight as HV would like. So far I've been exclusively breast feeding & ideally that's how I'd like it to stay.
LO feeds on and off between midnight and 8am every day & he's exhausted, so I introduced a dummy to help him settle (he doesn't settle well during the day either). The dummy worked the first night and he slept for 4 hours in a row (unheard of!).
His attachment is sometimes off, especially at night for some reason, & Im left with very sore, white, cracked nipples. I'm not sure if it's all just in my sleep-deprived head or not, but when he does feed, most of it is quick sucking - maybe only a couple of gulps suck-swallowing. He's producing a lot of wet and dirty nappies, so surely he must be getting enough milk? If not - perhaps I should introduce a bottle at night, which might help him sleep better too?
Where's the baby instruction manual again...?! Thanks in advance for your input!
Sorry - may I just add, the past few days my breasts are back to their normal 'feel' - does this mean I'm not producing enough milk for him?
Your supply may have regulated to give you that feeling. Have you had a check for tongue tie. It's worth airing your nipples as often as you.m can to help them recover.
Has he dropped any centiles?
Is there a breast feeding group near you? I've found mine invaluable for support and advice.
Babies are meant to feed overnight, he will still have a small stomach so feeding often is normal. It's also important to feed overnight as that is when the hormones which regulate your supply are highest, so if baby is feeding then it tells your body to keep producing milk which is a good thing! If you introduce a formula feed you might miss out on this night feeding which could impact on your supply. Plenty of wet and dirty nappies is a good sign that he's getting enough. Don't worry about the lack of fullness in your breasts, it's usually around now that your supply will start to regulate. You will still be producing milk!
It sounds like you could do with some support for his latch. Is there a breastfeeding support service in your area? In mine there's an organisation who do home visits and will watch you feed, and give you practical advice and support. Your hv should have info about that. Also agree with PP about getting him checked for tongue tie. Although it might be a simple tweak in positioning might help!
He has dropped from 93rd to 73rd but hv said I shouldn't worry too much (unfortunately, as you may be able to tell, I am a natural worrier!). I did attend one this week but I struggled to articulate my concerns - mainly due to lack of sleep I think! Will go again next week, thank you. LO did have tongue tie but it's been fixed - I'm not sure my nipples ever recovered from the original bad attachment come to think of it. There's definitely milk there as one leaks when I'm using the other (sorry if tmi!). I just don't want him going hungry and as a result not sleeping. But perhaps some babies just don't sleep as much as they're 'meant' to?
I'm finding that getting Dh to do one bottle of expressed milk while i go to bed early in spare room for a few hours is doing wonders for sleep, DS is 6 weeks today.
He cluster fed last night from 8-half ten but then went 3 hours, which I currently accept is as good as it gets. DS is also a very grunty, thrashy sleeper which isn't helping me sleep, hence going to another room, although we only do it when DH not off to work next day.
BF support if it's any good in your area and not formula if you don't want, at this stage
Thank you so much for messaging me. So grateful!
Ps at this age, they don't sleep long chunks, it's a myth to beat ourselves up with...
He doesn't have much of a pattern besides feeding from about 830pm until 11pm sleeping from 11pm until about 2am, then feeding but not letting me put him down from 2 until the morning... I guess that's why co sleeping was invented 😂 husband a smoker so unfortunately rules out that option
I met a friend yesterday who's bottle fed lo is in a perfect routine already & she's only a week ahead of me. She sleeps for several hours at night & goes down easily into her moses basket. I think that's just thrown me a bit!
Don't compare your baby to a bottle fed baby - they behave in very different ways. (In fact, try not to compare your baby to ANY other baby!)
If there are plenty of wet and dirty nappies and baby seems content then you're doing ok. It's very normal for bf babies to drop percentiles, or dip occasionally.
I'd persevere with the support group too, if I were you, their tips should be useful.
If you do decide to give a bottle of formula, don't feel bad about it, you're still bf most of the time, and as long as baby is fed that's the main thing, but make sure you only do it if YOU want to, not because others (including HV, etc) think it would be a good idea.
A mum I know BF her first child - a good sleeper - second child was bottle fed - a bad sleeper! It's not always true that bottle fed babies sleep better. No two babies are the same anyway.
Even if it were there's so many other advantages to breastfeeding.
I'd keep doing what you're doing and wait for the next weigh-in but do see if you can get more breastfeeding support.
My first was a terrible sleeper, he would sleep for 2 hours if we were lucky, but my second & third were/are brilliant sleepers, all bf, whereas one of my friends is bottle feeding her LO who is two weeks older than my third (7weeks) & her LO only sleeps for 1-2 hours at a time, & is a very unsettled baby. What I'm trying to say is that some babies sleep, some don't, you cannot compare your baby to others.
My breasts no longer feel full & hard, but I know that my milk is there, it has just settled now that bf is fully established. Your baby is still very young & needs to feed in the night, I personally wouldn't supplement with formula, as this can have a bad effect on your supply.
I agree with continuing with the support group, there will probably be people there with the same issues. Good luck
Sorry for typos & lack of paragraphs, my phone is clearly trying to make me look stupid!
I breastfed both dc till 9 months but always gave a formula feed late in the day as apparently breast milk can be less when you are tired and baby sucking does not mean they are getting any breast milk
This probably sounds rediculous, but I've been trying to draw links to everything he's doing, as I like things to 'make sense' (he's not sleeping - he must be hungry - he's feeding all the time - i must not have enough milk - maybe because of the dummy). Whereas in fact I think these things may not all be linked after all 😂 not sleeping - he might be happy just looking around and stretching, he's feeding all the time - he has a little tummy... I guess I'm just getting to know his little personality! He does want to sleep, just not in his nexttome...and that's okay. He wants to feed an awful lot...It doesnt mean anything is wrong, hes just a growing little man...I need to give him, & myself, a break 😂 thanks everyone for your replies.
Dropping that amount of centiles isn't a worry at 5 weeks. My dd2 did the same and actually went to 50th centile but is now back up to 98th! She's huge now. I would just keep feeding on demand and keep an eye on his weight but from what you've said there isn't a problem.
It sounds like you"'re doing fine.
We left hospital with a feeding plan as our dd lost too much weight (i was emcs - quite common apparently but i didn't know that then). We gradually dropped the formula top ups and she is putting on more weight now she is bf. She feeds a lot, about every hour and a half to 2 hours, but she's thriving. Around 10 weeks, she started sleeping longer at nights, but we appear to be hitting the 4 month mark so she'a waking every 3 hours again.
Do what you think is best. Your instinct counts.
Frequent feeding on its own is not necessarily an issue. DD (now 5 months) was on the boob relentlessly for well over three months. She'd rarely go more than an hour before wanting to have a go again, often less. She had no medical issues, I knew my supply was fine (could pump decent amounts without problem) and when we were out and about she was actually able to go for up to three hours without being massively hungry. She also put on lots of weight so I just stopped worrying about it and accepted that I'd spend a lot of time on the couch. In hindsight I think a lot of it was comfort feeding rather than hunger. She's now started to go much longer between feeds (up to three hours).
If you're struggling to sleep then I'd highly recommend expressing some milk and giving the first night shift to your OH. sleep for at least 4 hours, no matter what. It makes a world of difference. Pumping might also increase your supply (if it does turn out to be on the lower side) or reassure you that you make plenty of milk.
Have you tried BF lying down in your bed and napping next you him to catch up on sleep?
At 5 weeks you've just got to go with it. I like organisation too but this isn't the time for it. Google the fourth trimester, feed on demand, do things to get as much sleep as possible (somebody takes baby out for a walk, co-sleep, express) and just go with it. Your baby will start to develop patterns over the next few weeks and this will become your routine. But for now, go with your instincts and let your DS lead you.
If you need "sense" google the fourth trimester.
Google Dr Jack Newman's videos on youtube if you want to look at the swallowing reflex and latching. Also it was handy for me to know that a baby's last indication of hunger is their cry. Wriggling, chewing fists, making noises can all be indicators too (so lucky that all of those things can indicate God know what else as well).
The Dr J N videos were really useful thank you. This afternoon lo been to the breast for 3 hours, but hardly swallowing, and he's still routing & very unsettled...is it time to get a bottle?! Wish I'd bought a breast pump while the shops were still open don't want him to starve!!
What's his nappy output like? Plenty of wet and dirty nappies means he's still getting plenty of milk.
Babies are confusing things and the early days of BF are even more so. If you're thinking about a bottle to supplement BF, this is quite a good read about steps to take/ things to think about before supplementing:
You could also ring the La Leche league BF advisors.
If you feel like you've reached a point and need a break, giving a bottle is absolutely fine.
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