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Talk to me about mixed feeding...

(18 Posts)
Madbee Mon 13-Nov-17 10:08:29

My 5 week old is currently EBF, but I'm struggling in the evenings... She feeds well and is gaining weight, and during the day and even overnight it's all quite manageable - however between 5pm and going to bed (she goes with us around 9-10pm), she is just constantly wanting to feed and seems to get incredibly frustrated, going from side to side and basically beating me up to try to get more milk, crying in frustration when she apparently can't get enough.

I've been expressing a bit in the morning when I seem to have a better supply, which we then feed her an hour or so before bed, which helps a little, but I am mentally really struggling with being pinned to the sofa for 5 hours a night - can't put her down to cook or go out to do anything, and the amount I can express isn't enough to leave her with DH to even go to bed really early and get some sleep. I appreciate that BF is hard, and was prepared for it being a challenge, but am now seriously considering giving her one bottle of formula in the evening to save having a hangry baby and the resulting distress for everyone.
Sounds simple and obvious when I look at it written down, but I keep reading horror stories about diminishing supply, formula damaging the digestive system, and making it sound like a bottle of formula a day will negate all the benefits of breastfeeding at all - is this the case, or am I overthinking? Is my sanity a greater benefit than exclusive breast feeding (for baby, not me)? Or should I just suck it up and keep going as we are? If the latter, does it get better any time soon, or am I resigned to 6 months of it?

Give me opinions and experiences, please - I'm currently very suggestible either way!

ellesbellesxxx Mon 13-Nov-17 10:10:53

I had to combo feed my twins when they had both lost too much weight on day 3. It was a game changer.. my husband could do a feed so I could sleep and they started sleeping better too. No problems with digestion etc.. and my supply eas fine.. better in fact because I was more rested!

Ilovelampandchair Mon 13-Nov-17 10:17:30

Fuuuuck lost my post!

It's brilliant. Best of both worlds. Really recommend wiping out 11am and 11pm and switching to bottles for just those two.

11am means you can do early feed and then be free till 2pm to do anything. Makes out and about so easy and stress free just being able to grab a bottle and make sure baby gets a good big feed.

11pm means if you're shattered you can feed at 7pm ish and go to bed handing baby over to someone who minds and then feeds at 11pm and then puts down to bed again hopefully till 2 am ish. I usually feed and go to bed to chill till 9, then sleep hopefully till 2am. Makes a huge difference to next day even if you're awake at 2, 3, 4, 6am.

Good luck but I find mixed great. Oh, and I usually start it at 4 weeks with great success.

Ilovelampandchair Mon 13-Nov-17 10:20:22

And yes, things will change an improve around 6-8 weeks in my experience. Certainly by 12 weeks.

EgremontRusset Mon 13-Nov-17 10:23:19

I loved mix feeding, it changed how I felt about bfing and made me enjoy it again when I knew I could have an early night or a daytime outing if I needed it, without pumping which I didn’t enjoy.

Ilovelampandchair Mon 13-Nov-17 10:30:04

I have never ever pumped since my first. It's the most joyless and stressful thing, constantly chasing your supply in order to desperately get a few more ounces. Screw that!

*i have had to hand Express on the odd occasion into a pub toilet when I had meetings too far from baby at times not planned for bottles. 😆

Ausparent Mon 13-Nov-17 10:34:43

We did it with my daughter and it was brilliant. Definitely do bottles for specific feeds and not when you feel you can't face feeding as that can mess up your supply. I made that mistake with DS and it was a bit of a disaster.

DH would do the 11pm feed with a bottle whilst I was sound asleep (having gone to bed at 9pm) and then I would only have to do one night feed.

Funnily enough after a few weeks we went EBF because I got into the rhythm and DD was a good sleeper so I felt up to it.

I wish this option was promoted a bit more as I think a lot of people go FF because BF is promoted as all or nothing. My Midwife with my DS was very negative about using both and I ended up lying to her about it because I felt ashamed but if I had said I was FF, it wouldn't have been an issue.

Marcine Mon 13-Nov-17 10:39:16

I mix fed dc2 from 8 weeks - he had a formula "dream feed" from dp at 11pm - 1 bottle at the same time every day didn't effect my supply. From 6 months he had formula in the day and breast at night as I went back to work and I continued bfing til 8 months.

Madbee Mon 13-Nov-17 10:40:25

Haha, I'm clearly a weirdo, I actually love pumping! Seeing the milk spray out and drop into the bottle is insanely satisfying to me grin. It isn't proving effective enough to give me a break though...

All good experiences so far then... hmm...

Madbee Mon 13-Nov-17 10:44:43

Marcine, that is relevant to me too - I'm planning to go back to work at 6 months too, so will either have to be more effective at pumping by then, or be moving over to formula during the day. Makes sense to move gradually I guess...

Nottalotta Mon 13-Nov-17 21:59:30

Ds2 has had one bottle a day most days since about a week old. (Ds1 was a bottle refuser, went having THAT again!)

I started out expressing but could barely manage 2oz and struggled to do it atoo all between feeding the baby and looking after Ds1 who was 19 months old. So as soon as ds2 upped his intake he went onto formula. The small pre made bottles of aptimil to start with then aptimil powder once he was having a bigger bottle.

He has it at bedtime every day, 7pm ish. Husband gives it to him. He had quite severe silent reflux, aptimil didn't have any effect good or bad.

It also means I can leave him on occasion!

I had the bloody guilt that ds1 never had formula and ds2 has it daily . Before I gave myself a grip.

eeanne Tue 14-Nov-17 03:53:06

The evening cluster feeding you describe is your baby trying to get your production up as she grows. It's normal. You can either give formula or you can push through it. Personally if I were to mixed feed in that situation I would pump in the evening to A) relieve the pressure and B) help keep supply at pace with baby's growth.

I went back to work when DC was 5 months. I had barely expressed a thing at home during mat leave but once I was separated from the baby fully, I pumped more than enough to keep her going through the day. If you're fully BF all day don't assume you will never be able to express, it's very different when you've gone 4 hours without your baby and your breasts are full of milk!

EssentialHummus Tue 14-Nov-17 04:11:16

I went through exactly the same- baby screaming in hunger, increasing pain and frustration. Introduced an 11pm formula feed so I could sleep 8-2. I really recommend it. One bit of practical advice - ime the quantities recommended on the formula bottle are unrealistic. I was giving 7 week old DD 150ml because that’s what Aptamil said and she was taking it, but mainly sucking for comfort at some point. Reduced quantity and she was fine.

Inkythemouse Tue 14-Nov-17 06:07:52

Dc3 was mix fed mainly because of the School run. She had a bottle in the morning and mid afternoon and dh would give her a bottle in the evening so I could give dc1and2 some attention. She was breast fed at all other times.
It worked well for us

Caterina99 Tue 14-Nov-17 15:09:47

My DS (now 2) was mix fed due to low supply etc. the day I decided to just roll with it and stop the feed, express, supplement cycle every 2 hours was an amazing day. We made it to 4 months mix feeding before we moved fully to formula. If we hadn’t mix fed we’d probably have stopped bf within a week.

DD is 4 weeks. Currently she’s doing ok with bf, although she’s had some formula top ups due to lack of weight gain from jaundice. I probably could ebf her now if I want to as she’s only having one bottle a day, but I plan to keep the bottles. It gives me so much more flexibility if I need to during the day and takes some of the pressure off as DH can do a feed if needed and I can get more sleep. I was pumping initially to build up my supply a bit, but I can’t really get enough for a full bottle for her so I’m just not bothering at the moment, especially with a toddler too, and concentrating on good direct breast feeds and she’s having formula in her bottles.

glasshalfsomething Tue 14-Nov-17 20:15:58

I pushed through the cluster feeding you describe and it broke at week 8 exactly. What a relief.

However, she’s now very difficult when it comes to taking a bottle of formula so I wish I had succumbed earlier.

Try if once or twice; one or two bottles won’t impact your supply and then you can decide whether to continue or not!

AppleBlossomTimeNow Tue 14-Nov-17 20:23:08

I did it very occasionally if i was knackered or it was more convenient. Helped a lot & no major probs I could identify.

Madbee Wed 15-Nov-17 14:10:36

Thanks everyone for your perspective- good to hear all the success stories, and also that some have survived the cluster feeding without help from formula. I think I will try it a couple of times to see how much of a difference it makes - if it helps I can carry on, if not, nothing lost by having a go. I ran it past my HV too who thinks my staying sane is no 1 priority given mental health history.

Appreciate hearing people's experiences, thank you all smile

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