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Will supplementing one feed a day cause my milk to dry up? And is it drying up anyway? (LONG POST, SORRY!)

(13 Posts)
Belgrano Sun 05-Aug-07 22:40:55

I hope somebody might have time to read this. I am feeling a bit confused. Haven't been on these boards before but thought it was worth a try as you are all so experienced!
My baby is 5 1/2 months old and has been exclusively breastfed. She gained really well at first but now has dropped right down the centiles on that blasted chart, culminating in her gaining 1 oz only over the last month. She was born on around the 60th centile and is now on the 15th.
HV suggested baby rice. She hates it. She also hates pureed veg (or is very uninterested in it). She seems happy and healthy, just a bit skinny!
In the last 3 days I have started offering a top up bottle of formula after her 7 pm breastfeed, and she guzzles down exactly 2 oz of that, which leads me to think there wasn't enough milk in my breasts at this feed. She is now looking a bit fatter and doing more dirty nappies (once a day rather than once a week!).
So I guess I need to ask - is this an ok thing to be doing? Do I have any other options than to offer some formula at 7 pm since she is uninterested in solids? And if I were to replace this 7 pm feed with formula altogether, will that lead to my milk supply gradually drying up for all the other feeds? I really want for her milk drinks to be breastmilk until she is one, so am hoping this is just a phase to bridge the gap between her needing more milk than I can give and her eating solids, which will make up the calories she needs.
Thanks so much if you have got this far!
PS I don't know anybody else among my friends who is still bf this far down the line or intending to carry on so I hope some of you might be in a similar boat to me!

magnolia1 Sun 05-Aug-07 22:47:34

Ok firstly, solids will not make up the calories. Breast milk is way more calorific then any solids

Giving occasional formula does not always lead to supply problems if b/f is well established but it is a possibility.

5.5 months is too early for solids anyway. Her guzzling 2oz does not mean you didn't have enought milk. Most babies will take from a bottle even if not hungry.

She isn't losing weight, is she happy and alert with regulare wet nappies? If so then I would say you are doing fab and to continue as you are xxx

Twinklemegan Sun 05-Aug-07 22:55:30

Personally I'd start solids rather than formula at 5.5 months if you're determined to do one or the other, since you're so close to 6 months. But she probably just needs an extra night time breast feed? Solids probably wouldn't make much of a difference tbh.

Tommy Sun 05-Aug-07 23:11:44

I have a baby the same age and I haven't had him weighed since the HV was last at my house (about 5 weeks old). This might be your problem.

The HV shouldn't be recommending solids before 6m

If your DD seems happy and healthy, then that is the main thing - if you don't want to top up with formula, then don't. Just give her afew more breast feeds. My DS always guzzles in the eveing - I think it is mostly comfort to be honest which is fine by me.

gr8kids Sun 05-Aug-07 23:14:59

dd1 i fed for 2yrs,dd2 6 months and ds is 18wks and still feeding and will do hopefully till 18 months. Only with my ds did i give him a formula feed at night from 4wks old. I just couldn't cope with him feeding every hour all day and night. It worked for me and he was much happier for at least 3hrs to start with and then it just got longer. And he now sleeps through 9-6 most of the time. He still drinks alot through the day, about every 2 hours or so. I don't mind this because i get sleep at night. My milk supply is great. If you feed dd on demand through the day you shouldn't have any hassle with your milk coming in. Try not feel guilty about giving her that 1 bottle of formula at night, i did and its not good for your baby to feel you stressed. If she's happy thats all that matters. Good luck

DaisyMOO Sun 05-Aug-07 23:55:02

Honestly, 2oz of formula a day will not make her look fatter in 3 days. Bottle feeding actually encourages babies to drink more than they really need, which is why many formula-fed babies are bigger. Formula is less easily digested than breastmilk so there is more waste, which is probably why she is pooing more. Lots of babies' growth slows down after a while, which is completely normal. If you think she needs more calories then give her more breastfeeds - the more often you feed the more milk you will produce. I don't know how often you're feeding at the moment but could you try and squeeze in an extra feed?

maltatheterrible Mon 06-Aug-07 07:48:18

belgrano - just to confirm my dd is following exactly the same path as your dd, but mine refuses a bottle.
i'm trying to relax as she is lively (very!) and happy, and producing plenty of wet nappies so even if she does look a bit skinny i think she must be fine
i believe that breatsmilk is so well absorbed by a babies system that fewer dirty nappies is quite normal.

Belgrano Mon 06-Aug-07 22:57:24

Oh thanks everyone! That's so helpful to see lots of cheerful positive responses. I think I will stop worrying and try to go with the flow. And maybe stop getting her weighed and just enjoy her!
Enjoy your babies too and thank you!

Belgrano Mon 06-Aug-07 22:59:20

Oh - meant to say that she isn't that interestesd in food anyway. I can't give her an extra feed in the day (I have tried) as she will go on for about a minute and then come off and just stare at me as if to say 'its not a feed time, what are you doing?!' or start looking around at other things. She's very distractable (probably part of the problem).
But thanks for all your advice... Belgranox

KITTENSOCKS Tue 07-Aug-07 16:50:20

Could you express milk earlier in the day to give in the evening instead of formula as she seems hungrier then? Later in the day it's not unusual for milk production to dip, especially if you're very tired. That way you will still keep your supply up, not need formula, and baby will get more food in the evening.
Even if you replace a feed with formula, at 5mths plus your supply is well established and won't stop. When I went back to work when mine was 5mths, he had a bottle at the childminders and I bf all other times. Your boobs adjust accordingly. Wish I'd been organised enough to express milk for the childminder to give him, but went back full time sraight away and just too tired.

NineUnlikelyTales Tue 07-Aug-07 16:54:40

The reason your DD is pooing more often is probably because the formula contains stuff that isn't as easily digested by her and contains more waste products. It's not a sign that she is getting more nutrients. I always saw the less frequent BF pooing as a MAJOR advantage!

witchandchips Tue 07-Aug-07 16:54:50

imo if she was hungry she would take the breast, perhaps at night if not during the day.

prettybird Tue 07-Aug-07 17:02:43

Definitely stop getting her weighed!

You said she is happy and alert - so stop worrying!

As Tiktok and others have repeated ad nauseum, the amount of calories in baby rice are miniscule compared to nice full fat breast milk, so why oh why do HVs keep on suggesting this as a "solution" to poor weight gain.

Your dd seems quite rightly be telling you that she's not ready for weaning.

If you didn't know about the grwoth cahrts, would you have been worried about your child?

There will now be less milk in your breasts for the 7pm feed becasue your body will have adjusted to the formula that you are thne supplying. I bet she slurped it down 'cos it was new and "easy" - did you use easy flow teats? (My ds had a lot of EBM, as I went back to work when he was 4 months old - but he alwyas had to work for it with slow flow teats! )

As others have said, the reason for more dirty nappies is beasue formula is not as efficiently digested as breast milk - what you really need to watch for is that she is having plenty of wet nappies.

Good luck anyway!

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