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Very very hungry 20-week old DS - should I wean or switch to formula? help!

(12 Posts)
MissMitford Mon 01-Jun-09 19:58:03

DS is a strapping 20 week old and has always loved his milk. Am back at work now and have built up a store of EBM but supplies are running low and I just can't keep up with him - would need to pump 8oz per day and I can't manage it! His appetite is growing, waking up in night to feed - all classic 'gimme food' signs, right? But am worried about weaning at under 5 months and wondering if I should try him on some formula/give up BF and switch to formula as it's more substantial. We have now gone back to feeding every 3 hours, draining each boob each feed and I'm knackered!

thisisyesterday Mon 01-Jun-09 20:06:47

feeding every 3 hours isn't that often! honestly.
ds2 never went longer than 2 hours between feeds until he was about a year old hmm

also, some babies do want to nurse more when mum goes back to work. because it isn't just about the milk, it's about connecting with you and getting comfort from it. so you might find that he calms down a bit in a little while anyway.

formula isn't going to make a difference IMO. breastmilk is the best thing for him, and if he is hungry then you just need to feed him more often.

tiktok Mon 01-Jun-09 23:31:08

MissM: formula is not more substantial than breastmilk. Per volume, breastmilk is slightly more calorific than formula, on average. though there's not much in it.

His waking at night could be behavioural rather than a sign he is more hungry - agree with thisisyesterday on this one.

3 hourly feeding is normal at any age.

If you can go with the flow you may find it settles in a short while.

NaccetyMac Tue 02-Jun-09 10:24:18

Similar position - DS2 was 5 months yesterday. My other two were weaned at 7 and 6 months, so this seems counter-intuitive to me in some ways, but he is IMO ready for solids already!shock I also returned to work yesterday, the little monkey took less than 2oz of EBM (8 oz down the drain, argh!) but ate more than DS1 was having at 10 months!

He had the same no. of BF as any other day too, just at different times!

DS1 was also totally BLW, so this is weird.

DS2 is sitting unaided, can pincer grip, pass things from hand to hand (mostly,) get things to his mouth, no tongue thrust reflex, stealing food from plates... ready! lol

Bramshott Tue 02-Jun-09 10:34:19

If I read this right, MissMitford is not asking whether she should switch to formula because of the calories, but whether she should offer formula because she can't pump enough EBM for the hours she's out of the house.

This is a tricky one - conventional wisdom would be to bf when you are there are ff when you are not, which might work well. Certainly there's no need to stop bf unless you actively want to.

Going against the grain, I weaned DD2 at 5 months in a similar set of circumstances (or slightly different in that she refused to drink formula and I was at work) - working on the basis that I would rather she had organic vegetables, cooked and pureed at home so I knew exactly what was in them, than formula milk which I have always been a bit dubious about. Not sure that's exactly recommended though blush.

elkiedee Tue 02-Jun-09 11:18:07

I think those are signs that he wants more milk, and it must be quite difficult dealing with that at the same time as being back at work. I'm not surprised you're tired. Do you want to try to maintain breastfeeding?

If so, I'd say express what you can and have him given formula the rest of the time when you're not there, then mix feed but continue milk - but get advice on maintaining the milk supply.

Otherwise, I would give formula and start weaning at 6 months, but he will still need some milk when you're out of the house. I hate having to use formula but didn't manage to breastfeed ds1 for very long and was forced into top ups with ds2 - I'm now exclusively breastfeeding but expect to have to use some formula (and aspire to continue some bf) at 9 months when I go back to work.

MissMitford Tue 02-Jun-09 13:14:42

Sorry for confusion - that would be the lack of sleep etc!

I guess there are two issues - I DO want to BF as long as possible, but am finding it really hard to express enough to keep him going when I'm away from him. (Also find only (in)effective way to express is by hand - squeezing my boobs for an hour in the toilets at work yesterday whilst balancing a bottle and funnel between my knees - awful!) He has taken the odd bottle of mixed EBM and FF as a last resort, but is not keen on formula. Feel like am moving towards formula by day when at nursery and BF when with me - but he is only at nursery 3 days a week and worried about my supply drying up.

The second thing is that his appetite has noticeably increased - he used to sleep 7-3am, now is awake and STARVING at 9pm, 11pm, 3am, 5am... so EBM/FF issue notwithstanding, do I start solids???



NaccetyMac Tue 02-Jun-09 15:00:42

I have started solids, but am still 2 hourly BF when with DS2.

The expressing thing - I have always struggled but am finding that the Lansinoh hand pump is good for me - I am managing about 7 oz in 2 20min sessions atm. I do have a Medela mini electric, but it really, really hurts, plus I am so self conscious about the noise it makes!

One thing for sure, if you BF on demand when with baby, your supply will be fine. I used to work FT when DD was tiny, she had 1 bottle of EBM and one of FF a day, but at the weekends she only had BM, and there was never an issue.

There is also reverse cycling - some babies will wake more often in the night because you are there to feed them then!

Waking at night wasn't an indicator for solids for any of my kids, none were sleeping through by that age anyway!

MissMitford Tue 02-Jun-09 20:12:35

Thanks for all your help and encouragement. It does feel like a really big worry when am trying to get back to work etc. Gawd.

Caz10 Tue 02-Jun-09 20:26:27

It depends on how keen you are to maintain exclusive breastfeeding - I went back FT when DD was 9mths, and as nacctymac said, supply was fine just bf-ing when I was there, ff-ing when I was away. She definitely started reverse cycling and was feeding LOADS in the night, but it calmed down after the 1st few months.
Good luck!

elkiedee Tue 02-Jun-09 21:51:09

I don't think solids are the answer to his appetite, tough as it seems at the moment. Milk of either sort is meant to have more calories. Maybe he's also thirstier because of the heat, if the weather there is like it is here (and it's meant to cool down tomorrow).

Gemzooks Tue 02-Jun-09 22:07:41

I went back to work when DS was 4 months, and found supply dropped immediately, I wish in retrospect I'd tried an electric pump as I had one of those bloody hand Avent ones which took so long to get enough. To get 8 oz a day was so impossible, I did it in the end but will definitely get an electric pump this time (have 10 week DD).

Also just the feeling of being back in the office seems to take away your mummy hormones a bit, so keep a pic of your baby handy and think mummyish thoughts while pumping, it does help. I persisted and breastfed him up to one year, never used formula, started weaning a bit at 5.5 months and seriously from 6.

so I would say hang in there and get an electric pump, just see if that helps with getting more. there is a great American site called which had good tips which helped me.

good luck, remember the first few weeks of work will be hard but I think it's worth perservering, you'll be fine!

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