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After 5 weeks of bf, how do I switch to ff?

(22 Posts)
oysterpots Wed 29-Aug-07 13:56:16

Have made the decision that I cannot bf my 5 week old son any more - mastitis and thrush and resentment mean that despite my genuine wish to bf I just cannot cope with it anymore.

How do I go about stopping? What happens to my boobs? I tried to express this afternoon but that was as excrutiating as the feeding so not sure I can gradually cut it down. What normally happens?

chopster Wed 29-Aug-07 14:01:03

are you hand expressing? I think especially since you have had problems with mastitis, you really don't want to suddenly stop, or it could come back again. Try sitting in the bath and expressing by hand, and jsut gradually cut down the amount you express over a few weeks.

chopster Wed 29-Aug-07 14:01:35

Hopefully someone with mroe knowledge will be along soon, too.

meandmy Wed 29-Aug-07 14:04:32

i started doing a 2oz ff from bottle topping up with bm then increased the formula do stop/reduce the feeds slowly or it will be painfull!
if you need more help tiktok always good with this sort thread!

ImBarryScott Wed 29-Aug-07 14:11:32

Are you sure you really want to stop? Lots of people on the boards can give really great advice if you're not 100%.

Most people advise stopping gradually to avoid painful boobs (think like when your milk came in). If you want your baby to go straight onto formula, you can hand express (much more comfy than a pump). I found doing this 2x daily in a warm shower more comfortable than anything.

iwouldgoouttonight Wed 29-Aug-07 14:15:52

Hi oysterpots - you have my sympathy, I also found BF so much more difficult and painful than I'd imagined and stopped after about six weeks too. I agree with the others, best to cut down gradually otherwise the mastitis may come back and your boobs will get really full and sore. But I found it didn't take as long as I'd expected - I did it over the course of about a week - I began by only breastfeeding in the day and giving formula at night and then gradually replacing breastfeeds in the day with formula until I was only doing one a day and then just stopped.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend stopping all the night feeds at once like I did - my boobs got quite full and painful by the morning and was harder to latch DS on.

I couldn't express either - tried for hours and got about a teaspoonful!

tiktok Wed 29-Aug-07 14:23:00

Aw, oysterpots....sorry you are in such a difficult situation. I am afraid gradually cutting down is the safest and most comfortable way....with a history of mastitis you don't want to mess with anything too suddenly

Think in terms of extending the gap between feeds, by topping up and/or giving a bottle instead of a feed.

Watch carefully for any redness, or engorgement, or anything else that hints at too quick a winding down.

You will be able to take each day as it comes, then.

I don't think this has to be as long as a 'few weeks' if you are really concerned to get it over and done with - but a couple of weeks is realistic.

Are there ever any feeds which go well, and which you and your baby enjoy? You could arrange things so that feed/s is/are the last to go

oysterpots Wed 29-Aug-07 17:50:57

Ok, am aware I probably sound completely mental but I am a stubborn old thing and decided I would give it one last go with the bf before making my final decision. And I managed a relatively pain-free 45 minute feed! Wow.

The difference was that I had him in the football hold position rather than across my chest using the My Breast Friend cushion (that was an expensive mistake). Also my breasts were engorged to say the least, but doesn't that make it more difficult to latch rather than easier??

So I am going to persevere now. Tiktok - could you give me some advice on combination feeding? Is it possible? I'd like to know that the possibility is there if it gets worse again. Thanks in advance

tiktok Wed 29-Aug-07 18:02:43

Glad you had a good feed, oyster

Health considerations apart, the real downside with combination feeding is that it doesn't 'combine' for long, unless you are careful. You end up fully formula feeding sooner than you planned (see a million experiences on mumsnet to back this one up).

The later you start combining, the better....because long-standing bf is much more robust. So if you intro bottles to a five-week-old, you need to hold back on them, because, as the rest of this thread explains, this is the way to stop breastfeeding.

Yes, you can maintain bf alongside bottles, but my judgement ('cos there is no research on this) would be that keeping it to one feed in 24 hours is best for now...and then gradually introduce more over time.

Hope this helps

BTW - most women do not need a cushion to bf!

NineUnlikelyTales Wed 29-Aug-07 18:07:14

I'm sorry you are having such a hard time Oysterpots. I'm glad you have had one good feed anyway - hopefully things will keep improving. Best of luck whatever you decide.

oysterpots Wed 29-Aug-07 18:52:22

Are you serious about the cushions Tiktok? Even with the football hold? I find it hard to feed without an elaborate mountain of cushions that have to be at exactly the right height. Hmm...

MatNanPlus Wed 29-Aug-07 18:58:49

A mini hijack, hope you don't mind Oysterpots.


i have had to mum's recently who had their LO's virtually sitting up to feed, are there any downsides to this type of position? The LO's were fully supported by mum's arm down the back, youngest was 3 wks old, 3rd time BFing mum/hubby a pead.

tiktok Wed 29-Aug-07 19:18:38

oyster - I am totally serious about the cushions. They can often get in the way of a comfortable, effective feed.

That's not to say that a few women don't benefit from them. But when I see someone having probs, the first thing I do is ask if we can get rid of the cushion/pillow, if they are using one.

MatNanPlus - can't see anything wrong with what you are describing...what could be wrong with it???

Pixiefish Wed 29-Aug-07 19:29:39

Oysterpots- glad you had a good feed and long may it continue for you x

sazzybee Wed 29-Aug-07 19:39:48

oyster - I really struggled with the normal hold (does it have a name?) but once I switched to the rugby ball, it was much better. I found that a softish cushion (ie feather-filled) folded in half like a sausage when I was sat in an armchair worked really well to lie the baby on.

I did use the breast friend but much later on when we were good at bfing (it is a two person activity and neither of you know what you're doing - I wish I'd realised that earlier)

Good luck with whatever you decide

MaeBee Wed 29-Aug-07 20:07:26

oyster - i too had a really painful start to breastfeeding. it felt like being tortured 10 times a day with no respite for night! in a way it was worse than labour, and i felt desperate and miserable and it felt like it was getting in the way with bonding with my baby.
11 mths on and we're still breastfeeding! it got much much better after about 6 weeks, and it really was a problem with the latch all along (he wasn;t opening his mouth wide enough so not getting all the aerola in.). my breastfeeding counsellor - who was fabulous - said 6 weeks was usually a turning point cos your breasts calm down and your supply sorts out etc.
i kept a diary where i wrote down when it was a very painful feed or a good one etc and what position and all that, and that helped me loads cos i could see it was slowly improving.
i also used lanisoh, that helped with the soreness. if you live in leeds i'll give you some spare tubes! you can get it on perscription otherwise.
have you had someone look at your latch? i would really recommend it. i also looked at lots of other mothers breastfeeding and that helped (i asked first!!)
to get the latch right i had to make myself de-latch him each time. the latching on was the most horribly painful bit, so this was very hard, but it eventually meant he learnt to do it right. or rather, we learnt together to do it right. a glass of wine in the evening helped!
my boy got quicker and quicker at feeding. by about 4 months he was on and off in a few minutes. so its not the lengthy painful feeds forever.
on the downside, i NEVER learnt to bf lying down or one handed or walking about! and expressing was the biggest drag ever, i could never be arsed to labour for so long over such a small amount.
so good luck. but also, if you do decide to stop, please don't feel guilty and you have given your son more than 5 weeks of breast milk and that is a gift.

MaeBee Wed 29-Aug-07 20:09:24

oh, for me cushions did help. although i had to remember i no longer had the tits of an 18 yr old, and my nipples were lower down than i hoped!

MatNanPlus Thu 30-Aug-07 11:59:08

Tiktok, ty for your reply, i personally didn't think there were any problems with it, but not a position i have seen much of so thought i would ask a very much more experienced person.

oysterpots Thu 30-Aug-07 19:04:26

I'm going to give it until he's 6 weeks and if things aren't at least a little better by then, well we're going to ff.

But how do you go about getting a demand-fed bf baby onto 5 ffeeds a day? He really isn't used to that at all.

MaeBee Fri 31-Aug-07 09:19:02

well done for trying to stick at it til 6 weeks. is it getting any better? have you got some lanolin?

aloha Fri 31-Aug-07 09:24:42

How's it going? Have you had proper treatment for the thrush and mastititis? I had mastitis with dd and antibiotics were like a miracle. Also sitting in a hot bath, hand expressing, was very soothing.
It's incredibly painful to get mastititis so I totally understand your feelings.
I did mix feed my ds - bottles almost from day one (was told I was 'starving' my baby by horrible, horrible midwife angry) but I still managed to keep breastfeeding for a year. I did a lot of breastfeeding, esp at night, though. I honestly don't think there is any need to totally switch when you can combine, esp as you seem very keen to breastfeed.

inkstigmata Fri 31-Aug-07 09:26:30

@ oysterpots:

"But how do you go about getting a demand-fed bf baby onto 5 ffeeds a day? He really isn't used to that at all."

Not straight away. He will probably fuss over the bottle and take very little to begin with and you would have to keep up with little and often until he gets used to it. But over a week or two it should change so that he will take 3 to 5oz from a FF. If he takes 4oz then that really should be enough for 4 hours (roughly 6 feeds a day--don't expect a long nighttime gap for a while), and fussing before then would likely be not due to hunger but more of a craving for a comfort suck. FF for comfort is a bad idea, a dummy would be better.

But this is all jumping ahead for you. Good luck with continuing to BF.

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