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4 1/2 month old rejecting breast in favour of formula bottle - please help...tiktok?

(15 Posts)
cheethaz Tue 03-Jul-07 21:18:31

My four and a half month old has started refusing breast. She has fed on a single side up until a week ago but I just had a feeling she was needing more. She has never once stopped a feed voluntarily so much so that in the early months she ended up throwing up ounces and ounces of milk from taking too much. I had dreadful oversupply until about 12 - 13 weeks and this also contributed to the vomiting as my let down was pretty fast I think. I wanted to test the waters before upping my milk supply by feeding her on both boobs so to try to guage what she needed - I added an ounce or two of formula in a bottle at the end of each feed for two days to see how she reacted. This was five days ago and she seemed to need it so I've been feeding her on both sides since and we seemed happy. She started fussing a bit yesterday but as of this afternoon she pulls off and refuses to feed on the breast. In the afternoon I gave up and gave her a bottle; after the bath - she was too sleepy to really object and she fed a bit but then woke up after 20 mins, fed another bit and woke after 30 mins....This time she wouldn't feed from me at all so again in desperation I have given her another bottle. I don't know what to do - it took weeks of agonising pain to get the hang of breastfeeding, we're finally on a roll and she seems to have had enough. How to I tempt her back without starving her? She's pretty feisty and likes to try to hold the bottle herself so is this her way of saying she wants to be in charge and she's had enough of boob? Sorry - I know is long winded but need to give the full story.....Her Dad has given her a bottle after the bath since week 10 and they have both seemed to really enjoy this. Were my two days of bottle topping up just too much and have pushed the breast feeding aside? What to do? Any advice gratefully received.

whomovedmychocolate Tue 03-Jul-07 21:40:22

First of all, stop panicking, babies do things like this and it doesn't mean anything - day by day their behaviour changes.

Personally I would do a babymoon if I were you, let your baby feed all day everyday, breast only, as often as you can, to get your supply going. Don't offer her formula - it sounds like she's worked out that bottle feeding is less hard work (and it is) that's all.

Try also to relax about this, I can understand how stressful it is (been there) but it will pass but your DD will be picking up that you aren't happy and be pulling away.

Give her dad a different part of the childcare for now - he can do the bath or dressing instead. There will be plenty of time for them to relate and quite honestly in a few months they'll be interacting on so many levels he won't worry about not being able to bottle feed her now.

cheethaz Wed 04-Jul-07 10:24:53

Thanks for your message - guess you could sense the crisis in my tone!! Do you recommend simply not giving her a bottle at all even if that means she gets nothing? Especially at 7 in the evening when I'm totally programmed not to feed - am worried the boobs won't really be able to oblige and she'll just get more upset by the process. She is not a hefty baby - she's about 12 1/2 lbs so don't want to starve her ....Also, we thought it might be teething pain but would she be so happy with a bottle if that was it? Would have thought the sucking would hurt either way?

callmeovercautious Wed 04-Jul-07 10:37:00

Hi Cheethaz

I remember when DD was this age loads of people were having the same sorts of problems, it seems to be an age where they suddenly realise they have preferences and start to throw you off by waking more or being fussy feeders.

It could be teething or a cold on the way or just that she is trying to work out what she wants for herself and is getting in a bit of a muddle with bottles and bf.

I agree that you should just bf her for a while. You always have milk at any time of day although sometimes a bit more than others. You might find she cluster feeds a bit in the evenings before she settles for her long sleep but that should even out after a while. You can reintroduce expressed bottles after a week or so if DH really wants to feed her. I sometimes used to let DP give her 4/5oz then bf her anymore that she wanted before bed, it gave her the chance to cuddle us both.

Also I would offer both sides, my DD never used to pull off on her own, either I took her off when she started to play with it or she fell asleep! (still nibbling!) She would throw up what seemed like a lake sometimes! Now she knows what she wants and when, she usually only feeds 4 times now and lets me know when she wants her morning and afternoon feeds by patting my chest (she is 10m now).

tiktok Wed 04-Jul-07 11:15:22

cheethaz - guaging what a baby needs by giving formula is not just useless, but it's also very misleading, sorry!

Babies do not show you how much they need in this way - and breasts do not behave like bottles.

It is fine to give both breasts at each feed, and fine to put her back on side one and then side two again...if she fusses and refuses, then just leave it.

Giving bottles can have an impact on supply and on the baby's behaviour, which is why it can be a risk to give them. Your baby is too young to decide what is 'best' for her, she holds the bottle not because she is telling you anything about having enough of the breast, but because babies of this age can hold things....she is too young to send symbolic messages!! You can take charge because you know that continuing with breastfeeding is what you know will have the best effect on her health....yes, since you ask, I suggest dropping all the bottles, including the after bath one, and just keeping her close and having the breast available whenever she looks like she might take it. No fighting, though, as this will make things more difficult. She may accept the breast better when she is sleepy.

Please don;t think there are times you are 'programmed' to feed. Breasts cannot tell the time. Breastmilk is produced more quickly when the feeds are more frequent. When they become less frequent, production slows down.

Just offer, more and more, and things will return!

tiktok Wed 04-Jul-07 12:16:50

cheethaz - sorry if I sounded a bit critical with the 'useless''s not your fault you tried something that would not help, and I can see it might make a sort of sense. Not enough people breastfeed in the UK for mothers to know what's normal and helpful and what's not

whomovedmychocolate Wed 04-Jul-07 12:21:31

To follow up on my comment yesterday - yes, do drop the bottles. Just feed as much as poss. Your milk is there, your boobs don't have to feel enormous to be full of milk and they sort of shrink a bit after four months anyway - at least mine did. Your daughter will be getting enough out and her weight won't slip. But if you are concerned get her weighed once a fortnight.

This will pass though. Next week you'll be worried about something entirely different. Such is the paranoia of the parent

cheethaz Wed 04-Jul-07 16:48:34

Just wanted to say thanks all so much. This really threw me. I worked so hard for the first two months to get going and just never thought I'd have to struggle again... So not prepared for her to have an opinion - won't make that mistake again!! In retrospect I really wish I had not given those bottles but I thought my supply would be okay becuase they were top ups only. I continued to feed just as much and actually more in the intervening week as I doubled up boobs as soon as I saw she was taking it and not throwing up too too much. We have since had a few iffy feeds last night and this morning but last one was much better. Off to do another and will report back. Thanks again.

Highlander Wed 04-Jul-07 20:21:00

at 4 months both my DSs started to fuss at the breast; I think they were really distracted by noise around them and other developmental stuff going on in their heads.

Try to ride along with it and not panic. You may find that your DD is on/off/on/off until she settles to feed. This worked with DS1. With DS2 I had to be 'firm' and insist that he fed, otherwise he would have quite happily starved himself then got himself into such a state that it was impossible to feed.

Word of warning - your DD may start to wake a bit more in the night, stuff things in her mouth and she gains hand control. It's a big developmental time for her. This is not a sign that she's ready for solids, or that your breast milk is 'poor'. She'll also go through a growth spurt soon, but your breastmilk will easily cope with it - honest!!

Good Luck

whomovedmychocolate Wed 04-Jul-07 20:36:02

Hurrah - well done you Cheethaz - keep it up!

cheethaz Thu 05-Jul-07 09:40:28

Think we headed back in the right direction finally. Back to usual this am. Night was a bit brutal with late eve followed by two middle of the night ones. How did we do those early nights? Anyway, am very grateful for the advice. Will need to think again about a bottle in a few weeks as am going back to work a few mornings a week in Sept so any heads up on how to prepare for that would be great. Hope this latest episode doesn't mean we won't be able to mix boob and bottle when the time comes.

cheethaz Thu 05-Jul-07 19:14:26

More Questions - is it possible that I am misinterpreting? She howled today at 1pm when I tried to feed her...Hadn't been fed for 3 hours and seemed vaguely interested. But then proceeded to go another 1.5 before I tried again. This time she fed on and off with some grizzling and looking around for nearly an hour. Her latch felt pretty poor but she is so fretful that just getting her on at all is as much as I can manage and was scared to try to adjust her. Is she just spacing out her feeds more? She has been pretty regular on 3 hour gaps during the day so far.
Or - is her jaw/teeth bugging her on one side. She seems much happier feeding from the right boob and the only time the left has worked, she has been in a football hold so still lying the same way.
Lastly - is my left boob going to be ok? She's hardly feeding from it at all and it was the one that got more action until all this started! It feels ok, soft etc. but am irrationally worried about blocked ducts/mastitis etc as had a lot of this at the beginning. She is feeding Almost normally from the right. Keep the advice coming please!

determination Fri 06-Jul-07 11:05:29


I too would agree with ditching the bottles and nurse nurse nurse.. as much as possible to get your supply up. Eat Oats to help boost your supply if need be. Lactogenic foods and herbs

Also if you feel that your dd is unhappy at the breast when refusing it. You should use pschycology on her! Play a game or do something with her that makes her laugh, then quickly, softly touch her face with your bare breast.. this will make her associate your breasts with happiness.

brightpurplecow Fri 06-Jul-07 14:31:57

My DD is 4 months and has started to object whenever I try and feed her crying and arching her back. It really threw me at first as I thought she wasn't hungry but now we just ride out the objections and she eventually latches on. She is less keen on one breast and objects even more so I feed her from that one first. Sometimes she'll feed off both sides and we're feeding over an hour - others she is happy after 10 minutes.

The moral of the tale - all babies are different and tend to change their habits as soon as you get used to them - just try and relax and go with it! Good luck!!

callmeovercautious Fri 06-Jul-07 21:57:01

I think they all have a preference for one side, DD hated my right as it had a quicker let down, now she doesn't care!

Teething may well be the problem, they don't always show signs but if her mouth is a bit sore it may be putting her off. Try some powders or even a small dose of calpol about 20mins before a feed and see if it helps. You won't need to do this all the time so try not to worry about giving her the medicine, I worried loads until DP talked me into it and I saw how much happier DD was.

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