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Formula top ups(18 Posts)
My DD is 3 weeks old and due to losing too much weight in the first few days we were told to express after every feed and give her EBM in a bottle and formula top up.
She’s now slowly gaining weight but I am exhausted with the three hourly feeding, expressing and bottle washing. I also have a three year old to look after.
I’m struggling to find time to express now DH is back at work. I’m trying to slowly reduce the formula top ups but don’t want to DD to be hungry and scared of her losing weight again.
I’ve no real idea what my supply is like but I know without regular expressing it won’t increase, I am offering boob as often as I can.
Just feeling a bit lost now she’s gaining weight and the the health professionals have basically left us to it now. I’m not sure what to do or how to move forward?
Hi op, I combi feed by choice but only in the evening now... For a while I fed through the day and I cut out all of those top ups so it can be done... I also have a toddler and didn't want the faff of bottles in the day. I am not sore how practical this is for you but I just devoted as much time as possible to feeding - my toddler goes to nursery a few mornings a week - and during nursery times, nap times and evenings I was on the sofa, cuddled up and skin to skin with baby just feeding, feeding, feeding. It took a few days but supply increased and over a week or so I cut out daytime top ups. As long as baby has wet and dirty nappies they are getting enough. There is also loads of helpful info on kellymom.com about increasing supply. Good luck!
I was in the same situation with my first. I just had a conversation with my HV about this and what she told me is generally the advice is changing. What she recommended was much simpler. She said to feed from the breast as often as possible, so do as many feeds a day as you can from the breast, switch, feed from both, switch back, whatever works for you so that baby gets as much milk from you direct from the breast as possible in a feed. And then if you need to offer top ups, offer that as a single stand alone feed. So you can express if you want and that's easy or offer formula. But the whole expressing every feed and offering a top up every feed is exhausting. You also don't need to do bottles. You can cup feed if you want (saves on the washing all the bits) but if you were only doing 1-2 full feeds a day form a bottle, it's not so much washing and sterilising. As long as baby is putting on weight now, you don't need to be stressing about the amount as well at each feed. Just feed her and lots of skin to skin between feeds. I would keep on the 3 hourly feeds though as that will help your supply (or more often if she'll take it).
If you do want to express, do it in the evenings unless baby is feeding. It will boost your supply for the next day that way.
Get a second real life opinion on this, OP. As mindutopia says this is a crazy complicated way to deal with your issue - call any of the BF helplines and talk about your options. Good luck
Thank you so much for the replies, so good to get some advice from people who have been through the same! I’m going to speak to the midwife who is due today but think I will aim initially to cut out the daytime top ups gradually and just feed feed feed! So interesting to hear the advice is changing, I wouldn’t recommend what I’ve been doing to anyone, I’m exhausted! But DD is doing well now so that’s the main thing!
I'm nursing my third, I struggle with low supply. On my first, I was advised to feed, express, top up etc. and it almost drove me insane! With this baby, I feed as often as she likes and offer one formula bottle in the evening. I pump when she's having this I get about 5mls so nothing really useful but it encourages my boobs to make more milk.
Three hourly feeding of a three week old? That doesn’t sound like very often and may not be sufficient to establish a really good supply. More frequent feeds (as often as they’ll feed) sometimes almost continuously say curled up in the afternoon reading to your other one for a couple of hours may boost your supply. Topping up tends to reduce supply. Once a better supply is established the gap between feeds will increase and life gets simpler.
How's her suck? DO had a weak suck and used to fall asleep from exhaustion before she was full. She ended up giving up the breast apart from at bedtime when she was 4 months.
I think her suck is pretty good but she does get frustrated into the feed as I think the flow slows down and she prefers the bottle as it comes out faster.
I do let her cluster feed in the afternoon and early evening as much as I can, typically she wants to do this when I’m trying to do bath and bedtime with the eldest so that’s tough. I guess it’s just trying to work out how to get myself out of this cycle
Hi op you must be knackered, well done for coming this far already
I know how hard it is to juggle with a toddler too, v challenging
Re supply -- do you have anyone (husband mum sister etc) who could take a week off work & help you to devote an entire week to increasing supply? I know it sounds a big ask but my exper was that if you can throw all your resources at it & et the supply up quickly then it could save you from several weeks of this dragging on
If you did this my ideas would be see a bf counsellor to triple check baby latch etc is all fine. Then get your husband/whoever to take over all practical household & toddler stuff so you can simply go to bed/sofa skin to skin with baby. Offer breast every hour & try to get baby to work their way to the hindmilk for the calories. Pump that boob for 15mins after baby is finished. Rest for an hour. Offer baby other breast& pump.
Forgot to say the pumping is to increase your supply, you don't have to give it to baby just because you managed to pump it
If after 3 full days of that you're not seeing a significant increase in your supply (you would see a lot more milk coming out when you pump) then I would see the bf counsellor again & ask their advice on taking fenugreek etc for supply.
I know it sounds a gruelling regime but just thought if you could get help in to support you through it for a week you might get the results you need. All best x
Agree with ticktock hear you need some real life breastfeeding support.
3 hourly feeding isn't enough for a new born. Help with latch and supply is what you really need.
Feeding her more often for a couple of days should hopefully increase supply quite lot and be more efficient than expressing to increase supply. Could you do a shorter bedtime routine with your toddler for a few days? Just have a few easy days on the sofa feeding baby?
Thanks everyone, I spoke to the midwife today who said the same as you all so I am going to try feeding as much as possible for the next few days and seeing if we can wean off the formula top ups. I’m on my own with the children at the moment so it will be tricky but I can only try!
I did this for a while (milk delayed coming in so had to use formula initially). The expressing cycle was exhausting and depressing - I gave up expressing at about three weeks and just put baby to breast often with a couple of bottles of formula a day. This worked brilliantly for us and we combination fed for first year and still breastfeeding now at over two years!
Good luck! I decided prioritising sleep and my mental health would be a better idea!
My DS is 16 weeks old and we've never got the hang of breastfeeding for a number of reasons- he only latched for the first time at 8 weeks old. I'm in that cycle you describe of feed-express-bottle feed and can confirm doing that 8 times a day is pretty consuming and exhausting at times. Have you got a La Leche League group near you OP? I cannot recommend them enough as in my experience they knew much more than my health visitor or midwife and have got me from a son who refused breast completely to a son who will latch and is slowly learning to breastfeed more effectively. (My HV had already advised me to either switch to formula or completely express as apparently there was no way my son would ever latch properly... clearly not!)
The main piece of advice I've been given and agree with is express during the night (early hours) as this is when your prolactin levels are highest so it's the best chance to boost your supply, which is so important in the early days if little one isn't feeding effectively from you 100% yet. You're doing so well OP, it's not an easy road to tread! Xx
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