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About to give formula for first time - urgent advice needed please

(29 Posts)
ElmMum Tue 22-Jul-08 22:14:15

Need to test if DD is allergic to cow's milk before we give her any formula (my niece is toxically allergic and had a horrific reation first time she was given formula).

If we put a bit of formula on her lip, how long should we wait before it seems okay to go ahead and feed her??

Also, how much should we give her? She's about 11lbs and 8 weeks old. Hoping this is just a last feed tonight, to give me the chance to express (long story - sore nipples blah blah) so hoping it won't be the start of formula feeding.


thisisyesterday Tue 22-Jul-08 22:22:23

you won't be able to tell.
putting it on her lip would tell you if she had an extreme reaction.
but you won't be able to tell if she has a lesser reaction until she has drunk it I don't think

chubbymummy Tue 22-Jul-08 22:22:54

No idea sorry, just didn't want you to go unanswered. If you suspect she may have a bad reaction it may be a good idea to wait until morning to introduce formula, at least then you could get her to a doctor quickly if she had a reaction. Good luck, hope all goes well!

islandofsodor Tue 22-Jul-08 22:23:47

It really depends. Some people don't have a reaction the first time they are exposed to an allergen.

IS your neice's allergy genetic and so more likely for your dd to be allergic or has the experience just frightned you.

I'm wondering if you could possibly try hand expressing which would be much gentler on you and your sore nipples than a pump, would keep your supply up, releive any fullness and can be more effective at getting milk out.

If you do give formula it might be an idea to give it from a spoon or from the cap off a bottle rather than a teat. The fact you have sore nipples obviously indicates a problem and not giving an actual bottle increases your chance of rectifying that problem (no problem with bottles once feeding is well established)

As a general rule the main risk of giving formula at this age is it interferes with the virgin gut but circumstances may dictate that some formula to get you through this immediate problem is better than giving up breastfeeding. Unless you have been told that your dd is likely to be allergic to cows milk I wouldn't really worry about it.

Good luck withte expressing, been there done athat at length and hope things get sorted soon.

maygirl Tue 22-Jul-08 22:26:24

i think the first exposure sensitizes, any allergic reaction will be to later exposures.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 22-Jul-08 22:30:34

Message withdrawn

toddlerhip Tue 22-Jul-08 22:38:27

ds had an all over rash at first (we think this might have been the first indication), then got blood in the nappy some weeks later. he was dairy allergic and it started when we gave him formula.

toddlerhip Tue 22-Jul-08 22:39:55

I wouldn't if you can avoid it. We were told to as he was losing weight (not a huge amount for his size) and once we started (mostly at night) we were on a slippery slope. I had to stop and eventually restart weeks later (which i wouldn't recommend)

ElmMum Tue 22-Jul-08 23:43:14

It's done now. Just given her 150ml of ready made aptimil. Feel incredibly conflicted about doing it - made me cry afterwards, but couldn't see a way round it. DH and I did *a lot* of soul searching before we did it.

Have struggled for 8 weeks with BF - bleeding nipples, growth spurts, blocked duct and nipple confusion. Have spoken to loads of BF counsellors, gone to BF drop-in clinics, fed through toe-curling pain, used all kinds of different positions/combinations of cushions etc etc.

And still we're not getting it right and my nipples are bruised and sore. Seems like the positioning depends on millimetre accuracy, which I just can't achieve consistently so I end up getting sore after a while.

Is incredibly frustrating, as I have plenty of milk and she's fantastic and healthy and putting on weight. I just can't feed through the current pain so have had to use formula this evening so I could express off both sides to give me some spare EBM in case tomorrow I can only feed off the right (less sore side). She's demanding both sides at every feed at the moment, so if the left is out of action tomorrow I'm scuppered without a bit of EBM to top her up.

sigh should go to bed now. Feel very sad and worried that this is the beginning of the end.

toddlerhip Wed 23-Jul-08 00:00:00

hey, the main thing is to have a well fed baby, then a happy mum, then a baby that breastfeeds, in that order and the last only if possible! you can't do more than you are. Just keep looking for new info if you want to keep trying. Talk to everyone you can for new leads / help.

Maybe you are trying to feed to long and too often? So you are not giving your nipples a chance to recover? Also are you overstimulating your boobs (hence blocked duct?) I'm pretty sure i fed for too long stretches at a time. Baby will get tired too and keep dropping off at the breast (though they do this anyway!). Seen this bbc article that short breastfeeds are best for baby?

Can you try to relax by distraction (tv?/ feeding rocking chair (they have them free to use in john lewis nursing rooms & they are v relaxing!) so you are not so stressed when feeding?

The first months are definitely hardest, it isn't just something you get the hang of in a couple of weeks necessarily. It took me til 5 months before i either had enough supply / relaxed enough to feel a let down reflex! I struggled for 6 months before i felt happy breastfeeding. I worried about breastfeeding almost every minute of the day and it made me stressed and upset. We both love it now (17mo) but in retrospect i do wonder if it was worth all the heartache for so long.

i know it sounds obvious but if your nipples are sore it sounds like maybe baby isn't properly on the nipple i.e. mouth isn't open wide enough. Having said this i'm pretty sure my lo had a wide latch but i just fed too long and got cracked nipples too (you don't believe it at the time but they do eventually heal, even while feeding). Make sure you keep the nipples clean to prevent infection.

islandofsodor Wed 23-Jul-08 00:09:17

I really feel for you. I too had to make the very hard decision to give some formula, I felt that despite the risks that it was the best decision for me, the respite from expressing gave me the strength to carry on persevering as a whole rather than give up completely.

Hve you got Lansinoh, it was a godsend alongside sorting the latch problem. othert brands just don't cut it.

bluedomino Wed 23-Jul-08 00:41:42

Hey Elmmum, don't beat yourself up about not breast feeding. I did and its just stupid. The important thing is a happy baby and relaxed Mum. Maybe tomorrow things will be better.

I struggled for weeks, DD fought at breast, bit, threw up constantly. She was allergic to tiny amounts of dairy coming through my bmilk, I felt terribly guilty about giving up feeding her until DP told me that when I fed her she was ill and in hospital and when on formula she was happy. That was a bit of reality check. Now I feel guilty for prolonging her suffering with my poison boobies wink Some people bfed easily and can't understand that its not as easy for everyone.
Good luck.

ElmMum Wed 23-Jul-08 04:32:02

Thanks for those messages. Have just done another feed and it's still painful.

The problem is that she won't open her mouth wide enough. Have tried everything to get her to open up but it requires about 4 pairs of hands.

BF counsellor showed me a position that keeps one hand free to tease down her chin but I just can't sustain the position - she's too heavy (11lbs) and my boobs are just too big. I simply can't do it in that position and all other positions mean both hands are being used in which case I just have to put her on even when I can see her mouth isn't wide enough, knowing that it will make me sore.

I really feel like I've tried everything but I still feel I've let her down by not getting it right in the first place. She used to open her mouth wider - we think it's because we gave her a dummy too soon that she's forgotten how to open her mouth.

Think this really is the beginning of the end and feel so upset that I won't be able to feed my own baby any more. I know formula isn't evil but I just don't want to stop but I know I can't go on. Horrible horrible feeling.

kittenloren Wed 23-Jul-08 05:03:09

Oh, bless you - I know the feeling well.sad

Have you tried an enormous pile of pillows to prop her up to a comfy level? DS was quite big and I have enormo-boobs at the best of times, so the pillow stacks supported him & gave me two free hands for boob wrangling in the early days.

I second the suggestion of Lansinoh, brilliant stuff, and can I also recommend Silverette discs? Someone on here recommended them when I was where you are now, and they were little miracle workers, mended my poor nips in a few days. smile

I also found pottering about without a bra on (for relief!) wasn't doing me any favours, as the weight of boob+milk was actually bruising me - better to be supported!

I'm sorry you're feeling so low and I really do sympathise - I remember the feeling of not being able to go on very clearly. My DS is 18m now and still bf, but my DD was a formula girl after a very rocky start bf, and at 6yo now is as healthy & happy as they come.

I realise the potential allergy is obviously a major concern for you, but I would echo what toddlerhip says about 'happy mum coming first' - your little girl will thrive in your arms regardless.

Good luck.x

ElmMum Wed 23-Jul-08 08:45:06

kittenloren - yep, I've tried all kinds of pillow combinations. Just can't find anything that works more than once. And totally agree re letting boobs out to air. Very uncomfortable - I am always in a bra at the moment.

Lansinoh - yes, been using buckets of it since the beginning.

The thing is, the sore nipples aren't sore as in cracked and bleeding. They're sore as in squashed flat each feed with a white ridge across them, so more bruised and crushed. Plus the tip then goes white like an ice lolly that's had all it's juice sucked out of it at the tip.

Between feeds, the nipple goes back to normal shape but the end gets progessively more sore and the whole nipple progressively more bruised. Between feeds, I wear either breast cup things to keep the air on them, or breast pads, always with Lansinoh. But I can always feel them, gently throbbing away and if I brush anything against them (towel after shower, hand etc) it makes me wince. Hence wasn't able to do lots of skin-to-skin when nipple confusion started, as letting DD roam about on breasts was excruitating and stressful.

Anyway, thanks for the supportive comments. I just need to come to terms with the fact that I can't do BF. Can't keep struggling on in the hope of this magical moment when it will all become second nature and pain-free.

fishie Wed 23-Jul-08 08:51:13

oh dear that does sound very painful. could you try talking to the bf counsellor again? she can give you some more direct advice re formula, how much, what to do about expressing, your supply etc.

you could also try feeding lying down, put your arm around dd to bring her to right level if you need to, i found gravity did help a bit with getting mouth open wider (a problem ds had). as he grew mouth got bigger and problem went away, so this doesn't at all mean this is it for your bfing. but i think some advice about how to manage right now would make you feel a lot better.

ElmMum Wed 23-Jul-08 09:09:21

fishie - I've tried lying down, cradle hold, rugby ball, a version of cradle where you support the baby with your other arm to leave a hand free to tease open mouth. Have tried a big soft nursing cushion, a small hard one, piles of cushions, no cushions, sofa, armchair, dining room chair, chair with arms, chair without arms...etc etc

All these different ways have kept us going for 8 weeks but I just feel drained and at the end of the road.

Whilst I'm very very sad about stopping - feel I'm letting DD down and fearful that I'll miss the closeness of BF even though I've struggled with it and hated it at times - I also feel it's the only option now.

Am going to call my HV and see if she can come round and talk me through mixed feeding, how much to give, expressing etc. Will also call the BF counsellor for same advice.

Eirlys Wed 23-Jul-08 09:15:16


Has your DD been checked for a tongue tie?

Your description of your nipples are exactly as mine used to be. Then DS had his tongue tie snipped at 7 weeks. That was better but he still squashed the nipple and I learned exercises that involved pushing down on his tongue with a thumb, to teach him not to squash my nipple between his tongue and the upper palate. The exercises were in LLL's breastfeeding answer book - something a breastfeeding counsellor should have access to.

The magic moment when feeding no longer hurt didn't come until he was about 10 weeks, and also i could finally wrap a towel around me.

Kellymom is excellent - look for nipple vasoconstriction and clamp-down bite reflex. Most of the breastfeeding councillors that I have met weren't very knowledgable on these issues- you have to do a lot of the work yourself.

one other great tip i was given by a mw, when feeding was really sore and i was expressiing, was to put my baby to the breast after half-expressing.

good luck x

ElmMum Wed 23-Jul-08 09:26:52

Eirlys - BF counsellor mentioned tongue tie but she can stick her tongue out and it looks fine to me when she cries and I can see under it. No one has officially checked though.

BF counsellor also gave me the exercises for pressing down on tongue etc and rubbing gums. Have been doing these on and off but not making much difference.

Maybe I just don't have the patience for it that some have. I know people press on with it through much worse than me - feeding through mastitis and absesses and the like.

I just think it might be time for me to concentrate on playing with DD, stimulating her, enjoying going out and about again, getting some life and enjoying time with DH, rather than stressing and obsessing about BF, doing tongue exercises, being in pain or discomfort continually etc etc.

Just hope I don't come to regret the decision in time to come and think I was selfish and impatient. sigh think I probably will but need to try and remember how much I did try and how hard it's been.

lizziemun Wed 23-Jul-08 09:42:38

I can't help with Breastfeeding as i failed both times sad.

But can you express milk rather and give it in a bottle.

lizziemun Wed 23-Jul-08 09:43:26

I can't help with Breastfeeding as i failed both times sad.

But can you express milk rather then formula and give it in a bottle.

Peckarolloveragain Wed 23-Jul-08 09:47:22

Has your BFC talked to you about biological nursing positions?

I had real trouble getting my DD to breastfeed properly, like you, she did it great at first but her latch deteriorated. My BFC showed me to lie back with DD on chest, skin to skin, and let her find her way to the breast. It was quite amazing! She snuffled around and found her way to the breast and latched on beautifully.

She was older than your DD at this point too so I would imagine your DD should go for it.

TheDuchessOfNorksBride Wed 23-Jul-08 10:16:19

Huge sympathies. My 8 week old and I have had mouth/nipple thrush which was the cause of my ongoing nipple pain. So I'm expressing exclusively. It is actually no more time consuming than b/f direct as he's so much faster with a bottle.

I'm using an Avent hand pump rather than the electric, which is too painful. The pump is kept in a sealed bag in the fridge and sterilised once a day. I express for 10-20 minutes around 8 times a day (sometimes less if I'm out and sometimes more if my milk supply seems to be dwindling). And I always try to express once at night because that's the best time (so I'm told), so I give baby a feed and then nip down to the kitchen for a quick express.

It's an option to keep the guilt at bay and I may yet be able to return to 'proper' b/f.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

ElmMum Wed 23-Jul-08 10:17:14

Peckarolloveragain - I tried biological nursing last week. She snuffled about, I winced and cringed as she flailed about over my very sore and tender nipples, she got in a rage because she couldn't find my boobs and it was all a bit of a farce. My boobs are very big at the moment (36GG) so when lying back they're quite flopped over to either side, which made it very hard for her to find them IYKWIM.

But thanks for the suggestion.

Health visitor coming to see me this afternoon. Will update you later in case any one is interested x

ElmMum Wed 23-Jul-08 10:18:33

Duchess - are you managing to give your 8 week old all its feeds with expressed milk or topping up with formula?

V impressed if you're getting enough out to do a whole day.

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