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Down about formula top ups. Is there a way back to fill bf?

(111 Posts)
Jellybabie3 Sun 15-Oct-17 00:08:43

So my DS is 7 days old. He lost 13% body weight after birth which was thought to be a result of a stressful birth (ended in c section) and me losing alot of blood so having low milk. He remained in hospital where we were forced to implement a feeding plan which involved bf, 45 min express and formula top up every 3 hours. Ds quickly put on weight and was discharged. He is now 8% underweight. Now we are home we really want to focus on bf. We are gutted we had to add formula. But my DS is such a hungry baby and i am feeding him all day and he is still hungry and agitated. I feel like a dairy cow, not a mum and he is still not full. We give him approx 70ml top up of formula before bed. Is there a way out of this? I am worried he will lose more weight and at the same time so so sad that i cant provide fully for him. I am also expressing a couple of times a day but this is usually only about 40ml.

Any help/advice? I really dont want DS to go off bf

AssassinatedBeauty Sun 15-Oct-17 00:30:33

I've done it twice with each of my children, so it is very possible. It is hard work at the beginning and they will want to feed and feed to build your supply. Newborns do feed all the time anyway, even without a difficult start to breastfeeding. It goes in phases and you'll get to the point where he feeds and falls asleep full and happy.

Try not to worry about expressing loads, just do what you can and use some formula if you need to.

Blahblahboo Sun 15-Oct-17 00:35:31

By giving him any formula you are stopping your supply coming In. Milk doesn't come in properly for a few weeks and you aren't getting it in with formula

Blahblahboo Sun 15-Oct-17 00:37:44

Also it's normal for bf baby to be on the boob all day. He is trying to bring your supply up . So please stop the formula if you want to ebf or you will most likely dry up after a few weeks as a other poster on here found out .

AssassinatedBeauty Sun 15-Oct-17 00:44:27

This is not true. One 70ml bottle a day isn't going to make you lose your supply. Milk takes around 3 days to come in, not weeks, that's completely wrong. Your supply takes a few weeks to settle down to a proper supply and demand basis, and one bottle of formula won't interfere with this. Especially if you're actually mostly giving expressed milk.

Blahblahboo Sun 15-Oct-17 00:56:20

The issue here is the baby is so young and the supply isn't yet established. At this stage the more people breastfeed the better as Anything additional takes away from your production. That's as explained to me by the midwives when they asked if I was exclusively breastfeeding or formula or both

Blahblahboo Sun 15-Oct-17 00:59:09

Also it's very important to put baby to the nipple as it's the babies tongue and sucking that causes the body to produce more . Yes expressing can work but to the breast direct is better for the first weeks

AssassinatedBeauty Sun 15-Oct-17 01:20:46

One bottle plus expressing is highly unlikely to damage supply. Of course eventually you can move to more direct feeding and less expressing/no bottle as your supply catches up. The more you feed the more milk you make.

If you haven't already OP have a read of the Kellymom website, it has loads of useful info about how breastfeeding works.

eeanne Sun 15-Oct-17 01:35:18

Every time you give a formula top up, express around the same time. So that you're still stimulating your production. The issue people fall into with the "top up trap" is that they end up skipping a feed and then their supply dries up.

Jellybabie3 Sun 15-Oct-17 09:00:09

Ok. Gave him another 60ml firmula at 5.30am. Tried bf and he kept falling asleep and getting frustrated when i put him back down hungry.

LapinR0se Sun 15-Oct-17 09:03:15

I am all for little top ups if they help you and the baby. I did this and my supply was absolutely fine

BertrandRussell Sun 15-Oct-17 09:09:21

Jelly- an I suggest something? Can you just spend today in bed with the baby, letting him feed little and often? Practice feeding lying down if you can. If you have someone with you, get them to bring you drinks and snacks at regular intervals-if you havn't, bring some to your bedroom with your phone and the remote control. Don' t do anything else all day, just rest and feed and doze a little. You need the rest, and nothing stimulates milk supply more than constant contact with the baby. Express if you want to, but I wouldn't. Just see what happens if you relax and let nature take its course. Nature can be an utter bugger, but it gets it right sometimes.

harlandgoddard Sun 15-Oct-17 09:10:32

Top ups are absolutely fine. Frequent feeding is normal but It’s not normal for a baby to literally feed constantly. My DD did and she was underweight and distressed all the time, she needed formula. One bottle a day will not affect your supply at all OP. Please don’t feel guilty.

If you’re worried then feed for 30 mins and only offer formula afterwards. That’s what I did.

boatrace30 Sun 15-Oct-17 09:11:28

Be reassured that feeding constantly is very normal at this stage. I wish it was made clearer as I remember feeling it was all wrong.
Anyway top ups will be okay as long as there is lots of breastfeeding too.
Also if massively recommend skin to skin time. It had a big impact for me

Unicornberry Sun 15-Oct-17 09:14:02

Milk comes in around day 3-5 but your supply isn't established until around 6 weeks.

This is definitely possible. Firstly, make sure you are pace feeding the formula top ups and pumping whenever you give formula. Lots of skin to skin with your baby will help too. The next thing I would advise is to use an SNS to feed the formula as this will stimulate your breasts at the same time and make it much easier to wean off the formula. By doing this your milk supply will regulate to what your baby needs and you can slowly reduce the formula however I do need to advise that you get real life support at the same time, either by contacting an IBCLC or by attending/calling La Leche League.

Jellybabie3 Sun 15-Oct-17 09:35:42

Ok thanks. I am feeding and expressing ALL DAY. Like a cow. I dont mind doing it but can see DS get frustrated and sleepy when the milk runs out. This morn (5.30am) i bf for about 10mins and he was nodding off. Switched sides - same issue. Tried waking etc. Assumed he had had enough and tried to put him down. He got upset. Tried formula, and he necked 60ml and went to sleep. Awake again at 8 and have been bf since. I dont want my milk to dry up but equally i cannot have a hungry underweight baby.

Jellybabie3 Sun 15-Oct-17 09:36:35

However i would add i havent been expressing in the night

PastysPrincess Sun 15-Oct-17 09:40:02

I gave my DS top up feeds as a last resort after he had been suckling all day and still wasn’t full. My milk eventually came in and I went on to breastfeed him until 19 months. Top up feeds are fine as long they are “top up” feeds not “replacing” feeds.

Isadora2007 Sun 15-Oct-17 09:41:04

HAVe you got a BF support worker? I wonder if dropping by just 10ml would help? You’re doing fab managing to express amounts like 40ml as well- in feeding four babies for over 10 years in total I never could express much more than a mouthful!!!
Skin to skin cuddles. Offering the breast first as you’re doing... it all sounds really positive. And even if you are topping up it really is only a small amount so you’re doing the vast vast majority of the nourishing.

RoseHarper Sun 15-Oct-17 09:43:38

It is very tough, make sure you are eating and drinking lots yourself, sure there are some foods which help, oats/porridge i think? I bf both children for 6 months and have ff top ups at the start...for me...thst little break now and again was the difference between bf or not...too much pressure otherwise. I second getting etc...its the one time in your life you have permission to sit down all day and i look back on it fondly actually but sure i didnt think like that at the time.

eeanne Sun 15-Oct-17 09:44:50

Great advice from BertrandRussell

NameChange30 Sun 15-Oct-17 09:45:05

Has he been properly assessed for tongue tie (i.e. by a lactation consultant or feeding specialist)? Weight loss or failure to gain weight, plus constant feeding, are two of the main signs of tongue tie. More info on it here:

You might have a supply issue but you're not giving that much formula so I'm wondering if that's a red herring. My DS had tongue tie and all the midwives and health visitors failed to spot it.

Jellybabie3 Sun 15-Oct-17 10:19:26

Just to add i looked at times (we are writing down after the hosp feeding prog) and i fed him for 30mins at 5.30am befor giving him the 60ml formula. Did try swapping breasts but he gets more milk and therefore prefers one.

BertrandRussell Sun 15-Oct-17 10:21:01

Can you try the "baby moon" ( hideous term!) thing today, jelly?

user1472377586 Sun 15-Oct-17 10:24:58

Oh OP,
Baby fussing and not wanting to be put down = switch sides & persevere. I would not give a bottle of formula.

If you want to establish bf, you will need to not give formula at all during this early stage. 60ml formula will totally fill him up. He will therefore not seek a bf from you, which will then cause your body to limit supply. And in a couple of hours you will be thinking 'oh he is sucking but not getting any milk.... bf doesn't work I will try a bit of formula. Oh I can see him drink x amount - that is good at least I know he is not hungry' and so on.
It is a vicious cycle.

BertrandRussell has excellent advice. So does BoatRace.

The human body has a mechanism - if there is a baby to feed, it takes the baby actually feeding on the breast for extended periods to bring the mother's milk in. If you just have little goes at bf & then offer some formula your body will not produce sufficient milk.

Just enjoy it! Don't stress. Please don't time the feeding. Please don't worry about how much bf milk baby is getting etc etc - just enjoy your beautiful baby and feed, and cuddle, and ask dp to change the nappy, and repeat...... feed, cuddle (switch sides). As long as you are getting some wet nappies, all is good. If he falls asleep, gently try and put down and if he doesn't want to, well - continue to feed, cuddle, enjoy.

For me, continual feeding for 12 hours or so created huge milk supply. I had enough for 2 babies. It was leaking out while baby was sleeping! I threw formula away & had an exclusively bf baby. He ended up fat, contented and happy.

It is very, very easy to get your milk supply to go down. You do this by limiting or timing breast feeds / stressing / running around doing jobs / shopping/ housework.
On the other hand, it takes time to establish it and make it go up. Particularly in the beginning. Have faith in your body.

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