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What have I done?? Think I have cocked up the breastfeeding!

(21 Posts)
ivedoneitnow Tue 06-Jan-09 20:51:45

Hi all... This is my first post, so here goes!

It all started on Christmas eve, when I went shopping with my 3 year old, leaving my hubby with the baby (11 weeks at the time... exclusively breastfed, but had taken drink of water from bottle before, so I knew she could drink from bottle). I left 3oz formula in bottle in case she couldnt be settled.... well guess what, she drank 2oz and seemed to love it!

Since then, on most days, she has been grouchy and I have given her either 2oz or 3oz of formula (just to top up on one feed, at teatime). I thought this would help me a bit as I feel I am struggling a little with a 3 year old and a new baby (mainly with the breastfeeding ... the time I took to feed my first was the only thing I did, whereas now, I am trying to juggle more things).

Anyway, went to get the baby weighed and she is dropped from 75th centile to 50th in the last 2 weeks (although still has gained 4oz in weight)

I have since reflected on the last 2 weeks, and have noticed a trend of the baby preferring the bottle to my breast and in the last few days, she is screaming uncontrollably when I put her to the breast (not at night, just during day), so much so, that today I ended up crying myself, and gave her formula (she only took 3.5oz). I feel so guilty that for easiness I have given her formula, and now it feels like she wont take to the breast again. I have really tried for 2 days and feel even worse when she is so fretful, she becomes hysterical.
I really wanted both my daughters to be breastfed until the age of 1 (managed fine with my first born, but had nothing else to do really!) and now, at 3 months, things are spiralling downhill with my newborn.

I really dont want to stop bf, but I feel it cant be OK to let the baby become too distressed over feeding.

What should I do?

ChristmasPresence Tue 06-Jan-09 21:00:39

Well first of all, please don't beat yourself up over it. It's very hard work looking after a young child and a baby. With my first, I was bfing constantly and my (rather elderly)HV suggested mixed feeding, ie giving a bottle of formula at night. And I have to say it worked very well for a couple of months, but the bfing gradually died off. But most importantly my DD was happy and healthy, and had been exclusively bfed for a couple of months, which was the most important. I would just let your baby lead the way, and try not to think that you've failed in some way. Having a happy baby and a happy mum is far more important IMO. Good luck with whatever you do smile

Brangelina Tue 06-Jan-09 21:09:07

I had a similar problem when I topped up with my DD at around that age. I saw that she was starting to wait for the bottle rather than feed properly from the breast so decided to ditch the bottle as I didn't want to give up bfing. You do have to be insistent and resilient, put baby to breast often and not offer a bottle at all.
In my case DD seemed to suss quite quickly that nothing else was forthcoming and in a week we were back to excl bfing. You could always try to give the formula in a cup if you don't want to cut it out altogether immediately, babies often prefer bottles as they're much less effort but if that's removed then she should go back to the boob no problem.

MrsHappy Tue 06-Jan-09 21:09:26

Have you tried offering the breast at times when she is not hungry? Sometimes I think when they are hungry it degenerates so quickly into hysteria that it can be hard to get them to latch (esp if they prefer the speediness of a bottle).
I would also try to spend a few hours going back to the skin-to-skin babymoon business that people do when they have a newborn. That might encourage her.

As for the bottle, are you giving her the slowest teat each time? I gave the odd bottle of EBM to my DD until I stopped bf (7mo) and always used the slowest teat (the one for newborns). I thought maybe doing so makes a bottle more work, so there isn't such a marked dfference between it and the breast. Well, it is probably a load of rubbish, but it seemed to help.

pinkspottywellies Tue 06-Jan-09 21:13:31

I just wanted to say don't worry about the weight gain/centile charts. Lots of baby's weight gain steadies off at some point (dd only put on 6oz from week 10-16!) so it might well be a coincidence that it's happened at the same time.

smellen Tue 06-Jan-09 21:14:22

Good advice here.
Don't beat yourself up, but I think Brangelina makes sense when she says try to offer the breast frequently and ditch the bottle. If you can get your DH to help you for a couple of days, you need to get rest and lots of good food inside you to build up your milk supply again. Look on www.kellymom.com for hints on relactation, certain foods, and some prescription drugs (ask your GP) can improve your milk supply.

Good luck to you - it is hardest to BF when you have lost your confidence in it - don't worry to much about the centile stuff. As long as your baby is gaining some weight and active/producing sufficient wet nappies, she is getting enough.

Hope someone more knowledgeable will be along in a minute.

madmouse Tue 06-Jan-09 21:22:57

Hey hun

As said before try not to feel guilty!

Around the same time my ds (now 11months) started going down on the charts. He went from 25th to 2nd centile and guess what there is nothing wrong with him, just very active, always on the move. Your baby is gaining and that is what matters.

Once babies are used to a bottle they discover it is easier to get to the milk than the breast, so if you feel your baby prefers bottle that may be why.

Tryto find time alone with her (I know that will be hard having read your post) in a warm room, you top half nekkid, her in just a napple, cuddle her without trying to feed her. See if she will rediscover it.

I would say contact a breastfeeding counsellor for advice but (and I am saying this as a big bf fan and still - just - feeding my own ds) be realistic and if it comes to the worst and you switch to formula she will live, and be fine.

madmouse Tue 06-Jan-09 21:24:17

that was supposed to read nappy, in case you wonder what a napple is blush

bubbleymummy Tue 06-Jan-09 22:18:41

Lots of good advice here already. I too would recommend avoiding the bottle completely. They are easier to drink from which is why babies take to it quite easily and then they get unsettled when they have to work for bm! Go back to basics of breastfeeding as suggested. Quiet time, plenty of skin to skin. Maybe a warm bath for you and lo? - helps let down. If you really feel like you can't completely drop the bottle yet - you could always give emb instead of formula. Don't despair - there is always a way back and you can get there.

ivedoneitnow Tue 06-Jan-09 23:05:14

Thanks so much to all who have replied.

I feel so much better now as I have had a warm bath and expressed some milk from my full boobs! My baby did take some breast milk before going to bed, and it felt like it was back to normal. I am going to not offer the bottle at all tomorrow..... perhaps giving ebm via cup if baby gets hungry. I feel more determined to continue with breast feeding now! Thanks so much

I will post again tomorrow night with how we got on! wink

aurorec Tue 06-Jan-09 23:19:14

Good luck!

bubbleymummy Tue 06-Jan-09 23:22:01

Good for you! You sound much more positive. The cup sounds like a good compromise. Hope you have a good night.

FinalFurlong Tue 06-Jan-09 23:34:44

Some brill advice here already, but will share my expierience with this particular problem.
At 2.5 months my dd, who was/is exclusivly breastfed would have one bottle sometimes two of expressed breastmilk a day (in my naivety i felt better being able to see how much she was having at each feed) We did this for about 2 weeks before we realised she was stopping taking the breast as easily and as frequently, and started to scream when i tried to feed her from it directly.
It took about a week of refusing to give her a bottle before she started acting normally again with her feeds, and i was terrorfied the whole time that i was starving her, but it worked! and she didnt loose any weight. I guess she was just lazy and wanted the 'easy' milk from the bottle.
I found she fed better in the night time (2am onwards) than the day when times were rough though.
good luck! with a strong will and some patience you'll have her back on in no time i am sure.

Marthasmama Tue 06-Jan-09 23:52:21

My baby is the same age as your LO and recently went on breast feeding strike. She only had a bottle once when she wouldn't settle while we were out shopping (she HATED it though) but that was weeks before the trouble started. She would scream and scream every time I tried to feed her then when she calmed down she was so tired from screaming she would just go to sleep. I got really worried that she wasn't getting enough food but she was still filling her nappies. In the end I opted for lots of skin to skin time as recommended by other posters. It worked a treat. She woke up on my chest and wiggled round to feed all by herself. That nice close, calm time seemed to chill her out. She still has her moments now but it is nowhere near as bad!

ivedoneitnow Wed 07-Jan-09 23:01:48

Its better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fed normally from the breast at 1am. Woke again at 5am and only had 10mins on the boob, then started screaming... the whole house was up! Managed to settle her by breast feeding standing up and swaying side to side... weird I know but it worked!

Other morning feeds involved some degree of screaming, but I used a syringe with 10mls of formula in, so when she came off the breast to start screaming, dripped few mls in and then she latched on again. Had 3 excellent long feeds today without any syringe too! (Involved lots of skin to skin too!)

I feel much better now I knwo the situation can be rectified, as I felt truly helpless yesterday.

Thankyou to all who helped.
Im convinced that, without help from mumsnetters, my baby would be on the bottle for every feed today and every day!

Moral of the story... wish I had never even tried a bottle in the first place!!

Night night grin

madmouse Wed 07-Jan-09 23:04:19

oh that is brilliant news.

you rock

and so does mnet

bubbleymummy Wed 07-Jan-09 23:41:49

Oh yay! Well done you - that's great news!

FinalFurlong Thu 08-Jan-09 12:22:32

Great news! well done you.

MrsHD Thu 08-Jan-09 13:22:18

Well done, glad things are improved smile

I have a very hungry 9 day old and have given him formula at night two or three times as it seems to be all that will satisfy him enough to sleep, but we use a syringe so as not to have any boob confusion issues. He seems to love bf and has an excellent technique which I'm scared of sodding up!

smellen Thu 08-Jan-09 18:56:47

Well done. Glad you seem to be through this crisis. Here's to many more months of happy BFing!

ivedoneitnow Sat 10-Jan-09 11:12:00

Just an update.... She is back to her happy self! Exclusively breastfed .... no formula at all! I feel so much better too.

Thanks again for all comments!

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