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How much easier is formula feeding?

(60 Posts)
kazbeth Mon 16-Feb-09 22:59:35

Sterilising and boiling water faff aside .. how much easier is formula feeding? Do formula fed babies cluster feed in the evening? Do you generally get more sleep?

I'm currently breastfeeding but starting to cave and thinking about formula feeding. Every night she cluster feeds and I'm really fed up. So far tonight she's fed constantly for more than 5 hours. The only breaks I've had are toilet and nappy change breaks. This is getting ridiculous .. it's the same every evening .. often more than 6 hours solid.

It would just be so much easier to give her a bottle wouldn't it then at least I could go to bed and get some sleep while my husband feeds her (am getting on average 4 hours sleep a night - even with co sleeping).

I don't really want to formula feed but don't think I can cope much longer with this.

How long does cluster feeding go on for?

Thanks

kazbeth Mon 16-Feb-09 23:01:49

She's 6 weeks old by the way.

sweetkitty Mon 16-Feb-09 23:04:25

Don't have a clue about FF as have never done it but have been in the same place you are right now.

Sleep deprivation and cluster feeding are torture.

From a poll on my AN group, FF babies sleep no more than BF babies (I asked the same question)

What age is your DD? 6 hours solid feeding isn't good, you need a break, your nipples will get sore. Is it comfort sucking? Have you thought about a dummy? What about expressing a last feed so you can get some sleep

Honestly it will get better.

fruitshootsandheaves Mon 16-Feb-09 23:04:42

persevere it does get easier. They go through phases of feeding all the time but in the end it settles down.
Bf is easier (you don't have to make all the bottles up or take it all with you when you're out), and much cheaper.
My dd used to feed like this in the evening and it is really tiring I sympathise.

sweetkitty Mon 16-Feb-09 23:05:46

6 weeks is still very young, sounds like she just loves sucking

A few people on my AN threads have given one bottle of formula last feed to get some sleep, might be a compromise.

HolidaysQueen Mon 16-Feb-09 23:07:31

You poor thing. I vaguely remember this horrid phase but think I have blocked it from my mind!

I seem to remember cluster feeding got a whole lot better around 8-10 weeks. We went away when he was 11 weeks and it had definitely calmed down by then. So by my reckoning you are more than half way there.

Cold you try expressing so that your DH could do the odd bottle, say every other night, to give you a break completely or just shorten the evening cluster feed for you?

Hopefully Mon 16-Feb-09 23:07:37

I reckon the worst of our cluster feeding stopped at around the 7-8 week mark. Still got/get it occasionally during growth spurts, but only for a few days here or there.

6 weeks is classic growth spurt. Can you promise yourself another week and see how you're doing?

Have you tried expressing? Even if you can only get enough out for a small bottle, it might mean you can go to bed a bit earlier and possibly get one decent stretch of a few hours, then feed and possibly get another stretch.

Does she settle easily after feeds at night? If she doesn't, could your DP settle her as soon as you've finished feeding?

Anecdotally, a lot of people who have babies that cluster feed seem to end up with babies that sleep a good chunk in the night sooner than those that don't cluster feed (they seem to 'tank up' more effectively), if that makes you feel any better!

PeachyHasABrokenKeyboardSorry Mon 16-Feb-09 23:08:07

ff is no easier, all my other threehad bottles.

theressterilising andrunning out of formula and costand if you go out.... its a pita

is shehaving agrowth spurt? but maybe not, ds4 is like it and it does get easier, honest.

anddo remember between bfand ff there isan expressed bottle smile

feetheart Mon 16-Feb-09 23:09:42

6 weeks is a growth spurt I think, hopefully she will settle down again soon - until the next growth spurt that is!

I might not be the best person to ask thoughas I only gave DD and DS one bottle a day from about 8 months. They both cluster-fed a lot when tiny but I used it as a good excuse to sit in front of the TV eating chocolate and cake (for the energy you understandsmile) and get DH to do everything else!

Even with only one bottle a day I found FF a faff but then I'm lazy!

Pannacotta Mon 16-Feb-09 23:10:25

Not sure what you are describing is cluster feeding, with cluster feeding it is frequent feeding with some breaks inbetween.
Maybe a dummy woudl help, or ask someone else to have the baby for a while so you cna have a break.
Also I found the breastfeeding was the most intense for the first 8 weeks or so, after that the feeds did space out a bit.
I used to let DH run around after me whiel I sat on teh sofa feeding and wathcing TV, if you can do that then it's not too bad.

HolidaysQueen Mon 16-Feb-09 23:11:11

On the one bottle of formula thing, we did that and managed it for 8 months and at 10.5mo am now just back to bf (with solids of course). However it was hard, and I nearly quit bf totally several times (it's so easy to think "oh i'll just add in another bottle") and I really wish I had stuck with just bf and perhaps expressed more to get me through the tough periods as i feel bad about it now. But I am proof that it can work, although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it and you would need to be prepared that it could mean the end of bf for you. You need to be sure that you are okay with that possibility before doing it, I'd say.

And IME ff not easier than bf from practical point of view - sterilising, making up to required temp etc. is more faff than bf

Heated Mon 16-Feb-09 23:11:20

I bottle fed mine after not managing to bf and it's the first part "sterilising and boiling water faff aside" that's the bug-bear. I hated doing that part tbh. The inconvenience when out of the house, lugging round chilled bottles and then finding a way of warming them and formula and equipment's not cheap but I know too how awful it is to be soo sleep-deprived any option that lets you have more shut-eye looks good. Experienced bfers can advise on this, but what about expressing for a night feed to give you a longer period of sleep?

anchovies Mon 16-Feb-09 23:12:38

Hang in there because it will soon get much much easier, you have done/are doing the hardest part! As soon as you've cleared this bit you will have a much easier time than if you were formula feeding, no washing bottles, sterilising, planning for trips out or (what would be the killer for me) getting out of bed at night.

PeachyHasABrokenKeyboardSorry Mon 16-Feb-09 23:12:39

good point-might be dummying (as ds4 is doing as we speak) where no milk istaken but sucking for comfort

which not only iis hardwork but can cause wind

growth spurt definite possibility, dummy might help

jellybeans Mon 16-Feb-09 23:13:07

My DS didn't sleep AT ALL at night until 8 weeks (11 lbs ish). I also nearly caved to try ff but am very glad I carried on bf as now at 14 weeks, DS has been sleeping 7-8 hrs a night from about 8wks.

Pannacotta Mon 16-Feb-09 23:13:56

I agree that giving just one bottle is not ideal, it so easily leads to total formula feedign which is not necessarily what the mother wants to do. Especially at 6 weeks where your supply is still not that established.

I sometimes expressed enough for a bottle and let DH do a night feed so I could get a longer stretch of sleep.
Worth trying maybe?

SnowlightMcKenzie Mon 16-Feb-09 23:15:53

What happens after the cluster feed? What time does it end and what do you do then?

Bottles take some of the pressure off when at home but make life pretty traumatic when you go out and you are much less flexible.

kazbeth Mon 16-Feb-09 23:16:08

Thanks for the replies everyone.

No idea if it's a growth spurt as she seems to always be like this. She's pretty good at night but just likes to feed a lot and I don't find co sleeping to be all that comfy so don't sleep very well.

She doesn't seem to be comfort sucking - she gets quite stressed if I take her off and won't settle at all.

I've started expressing but so far can only get 1 oz max so it'll take me at least 4 days to get one feed.

Rindercella Mon 16-Feb-09 23:16:34

You have just taken me back to when DD was that age. It was sheer agony sometimes, and the sleep deprivation really didn't help things. Unbelieveably, I had a fantastic HV. When I spoke to her and said I wanted to introduce some formula to give myself a break, she was supportive, but gently suggested that I just needed to get through those growth spurts, said I had done a brilliant job up until that point, etc. It really helped me, and I got through that period of being desperate to get DD off my boob. DD is now 17 months & I am still b/feeding her...she has never been near a bottle grin

Oh yes, I remember going away when she was 9 weeks old & that was the first time she slept through until 7am (think the last feed was at about 11pm). That was amazing (although I woke with a start worrying something was wrong with her!).

You are doing fantastically well. Whatever happens, you have given your child a brilliant start. This period does not last forever, I promise - it just feels like it at the time.

Stitchwort Mon 16-Feb-09 23:17:14

My DS did the exact same thing and it was such hard work and at the time seemed to last forever but looking back now I realise it wasn't as long as it seemed, so if you do decide to stick to BF it will get better.
(Sorry I know when people told me this at the time it did nothing to help me!)

kazbeth Mon 16-Feb-09 23:22:45

Sorry, being a bit slow replying .. it's taking me a while to type.

I've tried a dummy a few times but she's having none of it and spits it out. Once she's finished the evening feedings (usually midnight sort of time) she's started sleeping for the longest stretch of the day about 3 hours sometimes 4 if I'm lucky.

I take your point about making bottles being a pain and the faff involved, it's just that I'm so hating the evenings. But you're right that I need to absolutely sure I want to go down the formula route and I'm not quite ready to do that .. yet.

kazbeth Mon 16-Feb-09 23:25:24

I'm amazed some of your babies slept through the night so early. My toddler was 16 months when she first started sleeping through the night!! We had such trouble with her sleeping that I'm expecting the same again .. but I know they are all different though (hopefully )

kazbeth Mon 16-Feb-09 23:27:30

She's nodded off now (hence the faster typing so I'm off to bed too. Thank you for the support and wish me luck getting some sleep - 8 hours non stop would be nice (yeah, right!)

Heated Mon 16-Feb-09 23:32:25

Appreciate you'll see this tomorrow, but do you have a breast pump or are you hand expressing? Your mw might be a good port of call for trying out different kinds of breast-pump to see which one suits you, if you wanted to express.

feetheart Mon 16-Feb-09 23:41:49

Also have a go at expressing at different times. I found expressing first thing in the morning was best though could only express from right boob (right-handed!) so baby had to go on left. Took me AGES to get more than an ounce at a time but did build up to 6-7oz eventually.

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