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What should I do? Oops, rather long, sorry!

(33 Posts)
Flossam Tue 11-Jan-05 18:21:25

I'm wondering whether or not to introduce a formula feed as a bedtime feed. He is two months old, co-sleeps with us at the moment (isn't a fan of his moses basket) and so far has been exclusively breast fed. I don't want to give it to him because I want DS to sleep longer but because he becomes really anxious (yes I've posted on this before) and agitated at this time (and only this time). He straches and pushes and pulls himself off me, cries and gets himself frenzied into a state.

I've tried lights off, minimal interation with him in the evenings, putting him down to calm down and picking him up again. I've tried seeing if it was because I had too much milk or overactive let down. I've taken action about this (feeding off the same side for 2 hour periods) and it seems much better (the sofa stays drier anyhow ). I've also tried getting him to sleep before bringing him into the bedroom, which was fine, he slept but then we had the same problem when he woke up for his next feed. The room is at the right (or therabout) temperature, and I've tried various bedding. He hate's having his arms trapped, but I've tried swaddling with them in and out. Arms in works OK when he's about to go to sleep, but during these problem times he quite literally battles to the death, feeding and fighting till he passes out.

I've been trying to express milk for the evening when I can, tonight I have 80mls expressed so far, which I don't think will be enough, and that's best effort! I'll try and do more during this evening, but DS seems to feed more during the evening so I don't have a) time or b) enough supply spare to express! I try and feed off one side in the evenings to 'save' enough milk one the other side to settle him at bedtime.

The relentless fussing and agitation is really starting to get me down. I never get to sleep before 1am, sometimes it is as late as 2 or 3. I really don't want to give him anything other than me, but the idea of having a lovely full bottle to give him, knowing there was enough to satisfy him.. It just seems wonderful! Any advice or suggestions would be so gratefully recieved!

Millie1 Tue 11-Jan-05 18:53:36

How often does he feed prior to getting agitated? I guess what I'm trying to find out is whether he's actually hungry, eg. if he fed well an hour or even two beforehand he mightn't want the milk, just the comfort. I don't know what the answer is though and I'm probably talking absolute rubbish. You sound like you've looked at all the obvious causes. Have you tried ringing a LLL or NCT Counsellor? I've found the LLL people, in particular, really helpful in the past. The more people you talk to, the more chance you have of someone having experienced, or heard of, the same thing.

I'm sorry I'm not much help but TBH am not sure that the bottle of formula will be the answer. Maybe he's just colicky/unsettled at that time. No consolation for you, I know, but hopefully he'll grow out of it.

tiktok Tue 11-Jan-05 19:36:01

Flossam, call someone and talk this through. On the basis of what you say, I reckon it will be helpful to stay on one side only for rather longer than 2 hours at a time...it may be you have an over-generous milk supply. Expressing will fight against this attenpt to keep the lid on your supply, BTW.

zebra Tue 11-Jan-05 20:11:28

My babies would behave like that when they need a good burp...I have fast letdown and even now I still have to sit up at night, with the baby in a sitting position himself (very important that, or he can't get his wind out), waiting for the 7 month old to belch or he doesn't sleep well. Or they'd fuss if they were over-tired but not able to realise it for themselves.

Babies are daft... they try to nurse because it's the only thing they can do, but often hunger is nothing to do why they're uncomfortable.

notsosure Tue 11-Jan-05 21:22:09

I don't know if this will help..

I used to have to give my baby expressed milk in a bottle for my husband to feed her after breastfeeding her (about 4oz).

This expressed milk came from the following sources:
1/ 2oz expressed first thing in the morning
2/ saved milk from my sterilised brestshells during the day (idea from my healthvisitor)

Total = 4oz.

Yes - this was a faff.
But it meant my oversupply was put to good use and I did not get frustrated with the pathetic amount I was able to express in the mornings if my baby had woken in the middle of the night.

I found expressing worked for me first thing in the morning anyway.

I think that 2 hours is way too long to be breastfeeding from one side. Can't you ask your healthvisitor about this?
I know my baby could have sucked for England and was just comfort-sucking (she used to stay on for an hour and I thought that was a lomg time

You must be bloody knackered and can't even have time to think to sort this out. I know that feeling.

I'd definitely ask a breastfeeding counsellor what to do.

The NCT and my healthvisitor were really brilliant with me and my breastfeeding problems.

As a final thought, I definitely would recommend formla as a supplemement, even if it is to replace the night feeds. Formula really satisfies babies longer and I found it to be a real breakthrough.
I chose organic to feel that I was doing the best for my baby.

hercules Tue 11-Jan-05 21:25:14

notsosure - tiktok is a very good bf counsellor.

hercules Tue 11-Jan-05 21:26:13

I also cant see how formula would help you tbh.

moondog Tue 11-Jan-05 21:29:53

Formula shuts them up because it subdues them into a stuffed-to-the-gills stupor. Interferes with their delicate hunger mechanism so definitely not the best thing for a baby.

moondog Tue 11-Jan-05 21:30:38

Organic or not.

hunkermunker Tue 11-Jan-05 22:31:57

DS would do this when he was about this age. He used to get shockingly 'stuck' burps and try desperately to ease the pain in his tummy by rooting for a feed. Me (being a naive first-timer) would feed the little chap, then wonder why when he finally burped he'd projectile vomit...my washing machine still hasn't forgiven me).

I also had a massively strong letdown reflex and for the first few months produced as much milk as a small dairy herd, I'm sure. It's settled down now (now he's 9 months old, I express to leave it for him when I'm at work and it's MUCH harder work!), but I do think that what you're describing doesn't sound like hunger.

I'd not give formula - try making sure he's very well-winded (I found sitting DS up and patting his back was the best way - over the shoulder was asking for trouble, posset-wise...!).

He burps himself now and finds it absolutely hilarious (so do I but have to hide it ).

Also, can you express first thing in the morning? I used to feed DS one side and express the other - easy if you hold them in the rugby ball position (DS sits up if I do it now and pats the pump!). It really helps with letdown.

Not sure I've helped really. Hope he's settled soon hun. xxx

mears Tue 11-Jan-05 22:58:28

If you think rapid letdown is a problem have you tried expressing before you feed him? You could collect that milk and get DH to give him a bottle of EBM while you sleep. Have you also tried skin-to-skin contact? That might help. Definately would be a good idea to speak to a counsellor. I wouldn't give formula TBH. This is not an unusual problem and is common at this age as you will see here Hopefully it will pass soon.

aloha Tue 11-Jan-05 23:20:31

It sounds very familiar from the dim and distant past (3 years ago!). All I can say is that my ds was a rubbish settler and quite colicy in terms of horrible evening crying etc, and I was mixed feeding and formula really, honestly did not help. If it had I would be strongly recommending it because I know how horrible this stage is, but it didn't 'work' for us.

tiktok Tue 11-Jan-05 23:40:17

notsosure - I don't mean for flossam to feed from one side continuously for more than two hours.....I meant not offer the second side and when the baby comes to the breast, to make it the same side for several hours on the trot. Sorry not to have been clear. What I suggested is a well-known way for cutting down an over-generous supply.

Flossam Wed 12-Jan-05 00:07:54

Thank you so much for all your replies! I don't think it is wind, no, he will settle with no further apparent discomfort after he has thoroughly worn himself out. If it was a food I was eating it would seem strange to only be a this one feed so I think I should be able to rule that out. I have spoke (via email) to the LLL, it was them who suggested the two hour feeding regime. In recent days though my supply seems to have gone right down, to the point where I was wondering if I had sufficient. DS was emptying both breasts frequently and constantly wanting to latch on during the day which is unusual for him. My breasts didn't ever feel full. Things have seemed better today, with him going several hours between feeds. He had a feed at ten and is asleep in his basket (!! How long for?!) so I will try and keep him that way.

I wonder if the problems I am having can still be related back to the three days DS was in hospital with Jaundice when he was a week old, prior to that we could not get him to feed at all well (hence the jaundice) then in hospital I was expressing and trying to continue to breast feed at the same time. Maybe this contributed to an unsettled start.

Because of how I've been feeling about my milk supply I'm reluctant to go for longer than two hours, I'll see how things settle down again over the next couple of days. Maybe I'll start doing 2.5hrs then! I think DS was needing bigger feeds than he was getting, it has been a struggle to get him to go an hour between feeds in recent days. Does that make any sense tic tok? I realise that about the expressing, but DS did settle really well one night (!) with a bottle of EBM. I haven't really tried proper skin to skin contact Mears, so perhaps I'll give that a go if needs be later. I'll try and catch him before he wakes up too much too and see if that helps. I really would prefer not to use formula, surprised at how strongly I feel against it tbh, but it's just that thought of a full bottle... Someone is awake again now so wish me luck, and thank you all for all your help. x

mears Wed 12-Jan-05 00:18:50

If you think you milk supply has gone down is it worh offering him the other side once he has spontaneously let go of the first. Perhaps he has moved to a phase where he needs/wants both breasts. Just a thought.

tiktok Wed 12-Jan-05 09:18:14

Now I'm confused!!

Flossam, one of the biggest misconceptions with bf mothers is that soft breasts are empty breasts. Not true! Babies who feed at frequent intervals will 'give' their mothers soft breasts. The shoter the gap between feeds, the quicker the breasts make milk, but before the breasts get full, the baby is at the breast again, but he is not getting nothing. The reverse is true - long intervals between feeds leads to a slower milk production. At first, long intervals will result in fuller breasts; within a short time, production slows even more, and the amount produced is less. This is how women wean, after all.

I still think - from the info in your first post - that you have a generous supply. If you haven't then of course put the baby on both sides. If however, you think your baby's restless behaviour may be a result of too much milk, then feeding one sided for several feeds (ie the same side again and again) will not restrict the milk made available to him, but it will cut down on your over production.

Flossam Wed 12-Jan-05 09:51:47

Sorry Tiktok! I know you are expert, but I have just been feeling like everything hasn't been quite right with my supply in recent days. The evidence has suggested that I do have an large supply, he has put lots of weight, I was spurting and he would fuss on the breast, but only at the bed time feed. If I had such an oversupply, wouldn't it be at every feed? Because like most women, I find that my supply is most bountiful in the morning. In the evening I find it harder to express and it is at this time usually where I do wonder about my milk supply and also when he starts to fuss.

Anyhow, I don't know. We had a really good day yesterday, with him, as I said,going longer periods between feeds. I gave him the bottle of EBM and he had a little off me and settled really easily last night, and I'm sure it will be just a one off, but slept through till 7.30! I'm now wondering if we get him worked up and anxious by trying to get him to sleep in his basket. We were round a neighbours last night and he slept pretty much all evening on me, and seemed a much calmer happier baby. Being a mother is so confusing!!

hunkermunker Wed 12-Jan-05 10:08:55

Flossam, the feeding all the time thing you describe is just what DS did when he was having a growth spurt. Exhausting, and you do begin to feel like you'll never be able to put the baby down again, but they're just making sure there's enough milk for the next day when they'll need more.

Cluster feeding in the evenings is common too (when they seem to feed all evening - I used to get 'feeding again? type comments )

Flossam Wed 12-Jan-05 10:52:02

Yes, HM, it is like that, except DS has therefore been having a continuous growth spurt since birth!!! Yesterday is the first day of respite I've had in about 8 weeks.

tiktok Wed 12-Jan-05 11:53:15

Flossam, nothing you say makes me think you have a poor supply, in the evening or any other time. Quite the opposite - the mega-weight gain, the spurting do not signify poor supply, believe me.

His fussing may well be a response to not wanting to sleep alone....he simply prefers to sleep on you and objects when he is put down in a cot/crib/basket. This is a normal, healthy, baby who is trying to communicate his needs...not easy when you are two months old and only have a limited vocabulary

It is not true that an over-generous supply would show itself all the time - he may be able to cope most of the time, but not in the evening. His (normal) cluster feeds combined with his objections to settling away from you lead him to appear to fuss and object - not wind, not hunger, just a need to be with you, and a little difficulty in coping with the supply on top of this need.

emz31 Wed 12-Jan-05 14:42:09

just a suggestion, but have you tried putting him in a cot? we had the most horrendouns month when DS was botn, he's wake every hour in the night to be fed when he was in his moses basket with us. finally at the end of my tether we decided to try him in the cot in our room, but horror of horrors, as we'd built it in the nursery it wouldn't fit through the door to come out. so we decided to try him on his own in the cot in a sleeping bag (as like you he didn't like being swaddled etc). he slept like a dream because of all the space. turns out he was being disturbed everytime he touched the sides of a moses basket and waking up , the only way to get him back to sleep was to feed him. even now at 6 months, a travel cot is too claustrophobic for him, so when we go away, we have him on a huge matress on the floor barricaded with pillow! - some babies really need their space i guess. good luck and hope you get some sleep soon! x

Flossam Wed 12-Jan-05 14:56:26

Hi em! I would like to try a cot, we have still to get one, I've been badgering DP about it but he thinks I'm crazy! People have said on here before see that they will sleep in a cot but not their basket. It seems the ideal solution to me, he could still be besides me but in his own bed. He likes to look around, so I wonder if not being able to see out if he does wake is a problem, as well as when he moves his arm hitting into things.

Tiktok, thank you for giving me so much advice. I think I'll try the method that worked for us last night for a couple of nights, to see if it was just a fluke, and if so (which probably is the case but a girl can hope!) I'll start going for 2.5-3hrs on each side. I have been managing to keep him off me so much today. I think as you say, it is very confusing for the baby and I to communicate with each other. I think he thinks that everytime he lies on my chest it's feeding time! I do appreciate what you are saying and I am taking it on board I promise!

tiktok Wed 12-Jan-05 15:58:38

Good luck, flossam!

But I don't understand why you think it is a helpful thing to 'keep him off me'. It's also normal and natural for a two-month-old to think of cuddling and feeding in the same breath as it were.....

Flossam Wed 12-Jan-05 17:31:13

Oh, no I love cuddling him. I mean off my breats as in recent days he has been feeding hourly or even more. I'm not that neglectful I hope!

highlander Wed 12-Jan-05 20:04:43

flossam, it's a bloody nightmare when your baby fusses at the breast

My DS was always like this in the evening - screaming every 10 secs, legs and arms everywhere. It's very common in a babies until about 8 or 9 weeks and this evening fussiness is often called the witching hour. Swaddling helped my DS a lot, but do be prepared for the intitial resistance (can take 5 mins). You can use 2 blankets to swaddle: 1 to lock his arms by his side and the other around his whole body. SSssshing, rocking him on his side as well can help to calm him down. The fussing may come in 3 or 4 cycles before he eventually completely relaxes and can focus on feeding.
I also had a bountiful supply, with uncontrollable let down in one breast. I used to let that breast squirt into a pad before the feed by starting to hand express then letting go until the excess milk squirted out by itself. That way, I only lost the excess foremilk, leaving some foremilk and hindmilk behind. I also made sure DS was slightly tilted up (not flat on his side) and on his side so that his head wasn't twisting. For the bountiful breast(right) DS much preferred the football position. I also had to wind him every 5 mins.

I've heard a few people say that babies often prefer to feed lying on their left hand side (so the left breast would be football hold and the right the normal hold) as that means there is a straight line from mouth to stomach.

hope this helps in some way - let us know how things are going?

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