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Mixed feeding - is it worth persevering?

(10 Posts)
dinster Thu 25-Jun-09 19:20:45

Hello, I'd be so grateful for any advice and/or reassurance about mixed feeding.

Just to explain: ten hours after her birth, my dd was whisked up to special care with jaundice and low blood sugar. She stayed up there for a week, during which time I expressed round the clock, tried her repeatedly at the breast with lots of kind help from bf counsellors, she had donor milk and eventually formula top-ups. She could latch on but was too sleepy to feed effectively. When we got home, she was still jaundiced and very groggy for a good two weeks more; I kept pumping, pouring it back in, trying her at the breast. Managed to get my supply up and tried a supplementer tube thing briefly but couldn't get the hang of it. After a visit at 3 weeks, the midwife suggested I should keep topping up with formula as dd wasn't putting on much weight.

She is now coming up for 10 weeks. I'm still pumping (though only 5/6 times in 24 hours, not 8) and try proper bf sometimes but it's still not great - she did 40mins the other day, but was still hungry and took 50mls ebm after. Of her 7 feeds a day, she probably has 2 of formula.

I feel so guilty about the formula and about the whole situation but also, sometimes when I look at the internet - not just mn! - I feel like any formula at all is bad and I may as well give up with pumping and ebm now as I've messed it all up anyway. And part of me feels cross that I've spent so much of this time feeling wretched and sad and a failure about feeding.

Are the benefits of my breastmilk worth it even if I'm giving formula as well? I'm prepared to keep going with the pumping... and with bf proper, though I find it upsetting. Should I keep trying? Or make a decision one way or the other and stick to it? I feel like I'm trying to do my best but my best isn't good enough - and that always, always I could've tried just that bit harder.

Sorry for such a long post. I'd be really glad of any advice or to hear from anyone who's had a similar experience.

choufleur Thu 25-Jun-09 19:24:23

sounds like you've had a tough time and have been doing a great job get as much breast milk into her feeds as possible.

I'm full of admiration as i would have given up much sooner.

Scaredycat3000 Thu 25-Jun-09 20:29:50

Totally agree with choufleur, you have been amazing and should be proud of yourself.
As for the 40min feed, that was normal for us as we where learning how to feed, we have had 11 weeks practice and still sometimes take that long.
Good luck grin

CurryMaid Thu 25-Jun-09 20:56:51

Keep going if you want to as every breastfeed is of benefit to your child.

You're doing incredibly well in really tough cirumstances, so well done!

Tiktok or hunker know a lot more about this than I do but as far as I know the benefits of breastfeeding are dose related (?) i.e. the more you give the better it is for the baby, even if formula is being given.

I mixed fed for 6 months even though I had planned to b/f exc for 6 months and although at the time I felt bad about the formula now I feel very pleased that I kept going for as long as I did. My DD also had two formula feeds a day and the rest was breast milk.

Well done again xx

Breizhette Thu 25-Jun-09 21:06:35

Despite all my efforts I had to top DD up, but I managed to mix-feed until she was 14 months and I am very proud and very glad I did.
Well done to you. It is so hard to keep fighting but it's well worth it.
I also felt that there was very little information on mixed-feeding. Very frustrating.

Elliemama Thu 25-Jun-09 21:09:14

If she is having 5 breast feeds and only 2 formula then you're doing fab!!!
The more you feed her the more you'll stimulate your milk production. And also she will actually be more effective at getting milk from your breast than the pump is so I would say its worth continuing with trying to feed her directly yourself.

There are some real experts on here re breast feeding so hopefully some of them will see your thread and give you some more advice and encouragement.
Also there's kellymom and La Leche websites for advice and helplines....

La Leche helpline - 0845 120 2918

Goodluck and don't beat yourself up about the formula. You have had a rough time but despite that you are doing brilliantly!!! Well done!!

TOK Thu 25-Jun-09 21:41:35

Dinster you are doing so well. Considering what you've been through and you are still willing to perservere, I think you need to give yourself a break. Do not feel guilty at all about the 2 formula feeds, your baby is getting lots of goodness from the ebm. I know it can be really draining but if you are willing to keep going, I would say that is whats best for your baby. I agree that there isn;t much info about mixed feeding. When I told my hv that I wanted to try it with DS(same way as you, by expressing) she told me that I could, but that the breatfeeding counsellor she had recommended that I see would not like it. I was feeling so emotional and tired I was weak and gave up. I'm sorry that I did now and admire you for what you're doing. Hope it all goes OK xxx

sambo303 Fri 26-Jun-09 08:07:36

dinster I second what other have said, you are doing a fab job. I can only speak from personal experience as I'm no expert - my ds was losing weight after 2 weeks and mw said to top up. I was really depressed as I would bf for one hour and then ds would drink 50mls of formula and I thought I just had no milk or it was not good enough. Then I went to see an NCT bf counsellor as I was thinking of giving up bf as it was all just too much and did not seem to be working. She explained what to look for - ie that baby was actually swallowing cos although the mw's were saying the latch was good, it was not and ds was not getting much bm. She gave me my confidence back. I got my supply up by spending 24 hours in bed with my ds, I did not get up except to go to the toilet (had sandwiches and bottle of water) and we did lots of skin to skin contact/cuddling and snoozing and suddenly there seemed to be lots of milk, I think it's because of the hormones produced by being close together. Gradually we got it together and I am still bf at 9.5months. Is there a breastfeeding cafe nearby where you can go to for some support or just talk things through with someone?

tiktok Fri 26-Jun-09 08:53:50

TOK: what the HV said to you was awful and (I hope) not true about the bfc. I am a breastfeeding counsellor, and we do discuss mixed feeding with mothers and it can be the chosen option for some...we help them continue breastfeeding because that is the main risk of mixed feeding, that it curtails bf before the mother planned to.

OP: you have had such a struggle The bf you have done and are doing are 'worth it' so dont feel you have wasted your time. Might it be possible to talk it over with someone in real life, maybe on one of the helplines, and to go through your options with a 'fresh' input?

I hope you find the right help.

dinster Fri 26-Jun-09 09:20:18

Thank you so much everyone for the support. I feel reinvigorated to keep going with bf and expressing and will press on with both for as long as I can and if there comes a point when it really just gets too much I'll try to remember your kind words! I might try to get to a bf cafe, too, though I'm a bit loath to put myself in another situation where there's more opportunity to feel rubbish if it doesn't work out - though that feeling is totally self-imposed, the counsellors I've seen have all been terrific. It would be nice if there were more info generally available about mixed feeding...

Really looking forward to the point where food isn't all about milk - it'll be nice to start angsting about weaning instead!

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