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Can I successfully mix-feed?

(69 Posts)
alux Thu 05-May-05 13:53:16

Yesterday seemed like the straw that broke the camel's back.

I had an emotionally difficult pg, pre-eclampsia and a traumatic delivery. Baby then had jaundice and I high bp so we were in hospital for 8 days together. During this time I began to bf successfully though baby screamed constantly while under the lights.

We came home a week ago and I promptly came down with the flu.

Yesterday, the HV weighed baby and she has lost 8 oz. (Born 7lb, 4oz on 19/4) She is not yet worried about her weight but I was told to supplement feed with formula as I am not eating properly due to the flu and my milk production must be down. Baby has been very demanding and seemed insatiable so it is possible. Saw my GP the same day who said to do the same.

I am still giving baby the breast as it is comforting for me and her and then she sucks down a load of formula wheb I give her the bottle afterwards. I can't say how strongly I feel about bf, but because it started well, I was only wondering how I would make it work when I go back to work.

Its not that I am anti-formula that I am still crying over this though I know that breast is best and I wanted to do the right thing. It is partly because nothing as been easy for me in this entire experience. Just when I think I am at the last hurdle, something else kicks up. I am now very very weary of being strong again and have been crying all of yesterday and in fits and starts today.

Any ideas?

starlover Thu 05-May-05 13:57:21

If the HV isn't worried about your dd's weight, then why on earth has she told you to give her formula????

I don't really know enough about this to give you any good advice I don't think. But I would continue to exclusively B/F if that's what you want to do.
Your milk works on a supply and demand basis. If your baby wants more, then you will produce more! And as long as you feed her whenever she is hungry then you'll be fine!

hunkermunker Thu 05-May-05 13:58:51

To get your milk production established, you need to breastfeed lots and give formula not much, if at all.

Can you take your baby to bed with you for the day and spend lots of snuggly skin-to-skin time, offering her the breast each time she moves?

The more formula you give her, the less milk you'll produce at this early stage. You can successfully mixed feed, but you need to build your supply up in the first six weeks or so.

I'm sorry you've had such a rough start - but you can still breastfeed successfully.

Tiktok will be able to give you more advice, till then, hugs and well done on getting this far after such a traumatic start xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

alux Thu 05-May-05 14:01:45

I think it is because my appetite has disappeared with the illness. I was always a skinny thing with a v. high metabolism and now I am below my pre-pg weight. I think she wants me to supplement till I am eating normally again. I have continued to put baby to the breast everytime she is hungry, let them both lose their milk and then give a bottle to 'top up'.

starlover Thu 05-May-05 14:07:07

i might be wrong, but I don't think what you eat and drink has an effect on your milk production.

I don't know that for certain though, sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong... just remember reading it somewhere I think

starlover Thu 05-May-05 14:08:15

The problem is, if she is filling up on formula then she isn't going to be demanding more from you, and so your supply won't build up to meet her demand IYSWIM

hunkermunker Thu 05-May-05 14:10:31

Alux, what you eat and drink won't affect your milk production. And your breasts will never be empty - don't believe that you should drain one breast before offering the other - but do make sure your baby has had a good long feed from the first one before offering the other one.

pinksofa Thu 05-May-05 14:11:40

keep going if you can speak to a breast counsellor at nct or laleche they are brilliant, once you start to give anything other than breast it undermines feeding (did for me anyway), i managed 19 weeks and still sad i did not keep going
try and eat a bit three times a day and take a multi for lactating women, sure your milk is fine, i think it is supp to be normal for babe to loose a bit first week

NotQuiteCockney Thu 05-May-05 14:25:26

Studies have shown that if you mix-feed before 6 weeks, you tend to stop breastfeeding before you wanted to. In other words, don't give formula at this point unless you want to stop breastfeeding. As everyone says, the more she nurses, the more milk you'll make.

From what I know, your milk production will only go down if you're actually starving - as long as you eat when you're hungry, you should be fine. I'm not small, but I've been through a few tummy bugs and flus with DS2, and no matter what, milk still gets made (and drunk!).

Do you have help at home? Can your DH/DP make you whatever foods you want? Take it easy, take a break with your DD and give your breasts and her a chance to sort things out.

alux Thu 05-May-05 14:29:58

DH works away during the week and I don't have relatives in the UK. All friends are work colleagues really so it difficult to find someone to hear me out person to person.

koalabear Thu 05-May-05 14:32:55

i know of quite a few mums (myself included) that have used formula on and off to help through difficult periods, such as when you are as sick as a dog and your partner gets up to do the 3 am feed

there are loads of different opinions, and i don't think there is a right or wrong one - the only one that matters is what is right for you

but to answer your question directly, i used formula for 72 hours when my nipples were so cracked i thought they were going to drop off - my milk supply did not dry up or diminish and i successfully breastfed for 6 months (when DS decided that he preferred solid food )

do what is best for you, and don't feel guilty about it

aloha Thu 05-May-05 14:38:31

It is a myth that your breastmilk is affected much - if at all - by what you eat and drink over the short term. I think this is terrible advice - you want to breastfeed, your baby is fine, and the way to get more milk into her is to breast -feed her more often - not give formula. At this stage it is likely that giving formula at EVERY feed will only reduce your supply. It is bonkers to suggest your supply is reduced, then specifically advise something that can only reduce it far more. Lots of newborns seem insatiable - this is absolutely, 100% normal. In your position I would ditch the formula, go to bed with your baby and feed her as much as she wants. Good luck.

aloha Thu 05-May-05 14:39:43

And HUGE congratulations for getting through such a difficult time. And congratulations on your baby too! You are doing absolutely brilliantly. Breastfeed your baby!!

dinosaur Thu 05-May-05 14:43:43

Alux, my DS3 had difficulty getting back up to his birth weight - I hadn't realised it, but he was just sleeping too much and not feeding enough, and had a poor latching technique to boot.

I was advised to breastfeed him as much as I could, taking care to make sure he was latched on properly and was really getting a good feed, and then to express and top him up with expressed milk after breastfeeds. I was very sceptical at first because I was only able to express a couple of ounces of milk after breastfeeding him, but it really did seem to make a difference. I think that if you are committed to breastfeeding (and it sounds as if you are) this is definitely a better route than supplementing with formula.

Good luck with everything. The first few weeks with a new baby are pretty difficult - so please don't feel like you're not coping, go easy on yourself.

NotQuiteCockney Thu 05-May-05 14:45:11

I would talk to the BFN or the LaLeche League or the NCT hotline. Also, have you considered getting a postnatal doula or some other sort of domestic help, if you can afford it? It's early days, and no matter what you decide to do about the feeding, it sounds like you need some help and/or a break.

Any local BF groups could help with support, or your local NCT coffee mornings. Where are you located?

norash40 Thu 05-May-05 14:47:36

I agree with you koalabear. I think we should all find what is best for us and our babies and don't let people or guidelines make you feel guilty.

My litttle one was born on the 10th April, big baby (10lb 4.5oz/ 4.654 kg) ventuse+forceps delivery. He took to the breast well but was always crying and had a very dry mouth, he developed jaundice and had to be put under the light.

When I went into hospital I was determined to breastfeed exclusively, but after 48hours of my baby crying constantly and aching nipples I decided to mix feed.

I still mix feed almost a month on. I always breastfeed first then give the bottle, it tool a while to get the right amounts but we did it.

Sorry for such a long message, bottom line. You know your baby and your body better than any doctor or health visitor, listen to your body and your baby.

It does get better.

aloha Thu 05-May-05 14:49:15

norash, this isn't an issue about being 'made to feel guilty' - alux WANTS to breastfeed, is ENJOYING breastfeeding and it is going well - why should she be encouraged to stop?

norash40 Thu 05-May-05 14:52:17

Dinasour that is a good technique, I will try it too.

I am only giving 1 or 2 bottles (50ml-80ml) a day now as my milk supply has increased considerably.

aloha Thu 05-May-05 14:53:30

There are also clear health benefits for a baby NOT to put on weight fast in the early weeks. HVs are SO ignorant sometimes.

norash40 Thu 05-May-05 14:56:38

Oh no. Not stop, I believe that babies should be breastfed.

I would not give formula if did not have to, I realise how hard it has been for alux. I aplaud her for sticking with breastfeeding.

I was just saying that she knows her body better and will know what is best.

aloha Thu 05-May-05 14:59:19

Norash, I mixed fed my ds - but did feel the pressure to give formula was overwhelming and upsetting. I think often this kind of pressure is ignored, and believe me, it can make you feel every bit as bad and guilty as any pressure to breastfeed.
I think if breastfeeding is going well and is enjoyable then HVs that push formula should be shot!

norash40 Thu 05-May-05 14:59:58

I think that sometimes health visitors can be out of order.

It always has to be text book with them.

aloha Thu 05-May-05 15:00:12

If alux was saying 'I hate breastfeeding and want to mix feed' I'd support her in that too!

norash40 Thu 05-May-05 15:00:46

I agree Aloha

norash40 Thu 05-May-05 15:03:48

I only started mixed feeding when it became apparent that my son was not getting enough regardless of the number of times I fed him.

I am now almost exclusively breastfeeding as I have a lot more milk. He loves breastmilk and I love feeding him on the breast.

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