My poor 4 week old baby girl became very ill on Sunday with what has somewhat uncertainly been diagnosed as a gastric infection. Symptoms were basically bfing constantly (as opposed to 3-4 hour intervals which is a pattern she had got into as I had to wake her to feed her 3 hourly when she was born as she had jaundice so she carried on demanding to be fed at those intervals later on) for a very short period, then projectile throwing up the feed, then screaming to be fed again. She became dehydrated and was given nil by mouth in paediatric ward from Sun night until late yesterday afternoon. I expressed whilst she was nil by mouth and have been feeding on demand since permission given to do so by consultant yesterday pm. We were discharged at lunchtime.
We are now home and poor little thing is terribly unsettled and still completely out of her usual pattern. She is feeding for very short periods, goes to sleep and wakes up shortly afterwards asking for more boob. She isn't vomiting any more.
However my boobs feel pretty empty and I wonder if this is why she is only feeding for short periods - she is usually a complete guzzler and spends at least 20 mins on first breast and 10 on the second. I am concerned my supply may have dropped - should I top her up with formula? I don't want her getting dehydrated again and am worried I don't have enough milk to meet her wanting very frequent feeds. I couldn't bear for her to have to go back to hospital dehydrated once more.
Feeding for short periods frequently is normal and good, and she needs your closeness and reassurance after feeling poorly and being in a strange place, being handled (however gently) by different people. It is normal for breasts to feel empty when feeding is frequent (read www.kellymom.com on this).
It is possible your supply may have dropped a bit, but freqent feeding using both breasts (exactly what you are doing) will build it up very quickly indeed. If the doc has given you the all clear to bf with nothing else, then you can take this as reassurance that all is well if you do this. If you want to be more confident in this, then call the doc and ask again.
Don't top her up with formula as your supply will definitely drop then. I would just feed her as she demands. If she has been ill she's probably still feeling really grotty. As long as she is having wet and dirty nappies she should be ok. When she's feeling better she'll go back into a routine again I would think.