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2 week old baby currently mixed feeding and I don't know what to do

(32 Posts)
silkcushion Mon 06-Jul-09 09:17:39

Dd2 is 16 days old. Started with bf for 6 days by which time my nipples were shredded (lumps of flesh coming off and me in agony)

Mws were saying latch etc was fine but it wasn't.

I took 3 days off and ff with a bottle to allow my nipples to heal. Went to a brilliant bf support group last Tuesday who showed me how to feed properly and dd latched on really well (much wider mouth) and painlessly. During the time off I hand expressed as was very engorged

Since then I have bf whenever she seems to want to feed (about 3 hourly) and continued to offer topped up bottles when she seemed still hungry. By Thursday she was reducing the amount of formula. But since Saturday she seems to constantly feed at my breast and then still want 3oz bottles straight afterwards.

Last night for example she fed for 30 minutes each side between 10 and 11 and was then crying for more. Drank a 3oz bottle. I tried expressing and nothing seemed to be coming out. (it had been earlier) She then had another bottle at 1am.

Can't tell if my milk supply is low or if she is just very very hungry. Any ideas on what I should do?

giantkatestacks Mon 06-Jul-09 09:27:08

Just bumping for you - she is probably building your supply back up - so she feeds all day and the stimulation will produce more for the next day but am sure that someone else will be along with some proper advice soon.

Have you tired offering her three or four breasts iyswim as well? so doing both and then starting again?

well done btw!

Jojay Mon 06-Jul-09 09:27:17

It's completely normal for her to be feeding very frequently at this age - 3 hourly routines etc come later!

It's possible that your supply is low, due to the top ups.

If your long term plan is to exclusively breastfeed, then you need to be brave and drop the top ups.

I'm assuming you're not in pain any more and your latch is ok?

If you drop the top ups she won't starve, but she will feed A LOT to begin with. You need to let her feed for as long and as often as she wants and within a few days your supply should increase.

I'm not sure how much formula she's been having. Maybe phase them out gradually if she's been having a lot, for exapmple just top up in the evening for a few days, so you're not withdrawing the formula all at once.

I wouldn't bother with expressing - if her latch is correct now, she'll be much more efficient than any pump, and it'll stop you getting paranoid as to what is / isn't there when you try.

HTH smile - by the way I'm in no way qualified to advise you on this, it's just what I would do.

memct Mon 06-Jul-09 13:46:04

Your post brought tears to my eyes- your poor nipples! Well done for sticking at it.
Jojay has said it all, would just add that you said LO fed 30 mins each side. Instead of timing it, you could try squeezing to see if breast is truly empty before swapping over. That way,you know the breast is being fully emptied which will help boost your milk production. As mentioned above, expressing doesn't give you a true idea of what's left in the boob- it took me months to get a decent amount out when I expressed.
Sounds like all is going well after a rough start though

tiktok Mon 06-Jul-09 13:55:10

silkcusion - what a difficult start

You have some good suggestions here already (apart from the squeezing - more later* ) and the thing to remember with bf is that the more often milk is effectively removed, the more milk you make. 3 hourly is not very often for a baby of this age, and if you care for her skin to skin and keep her close she is likely to feed more often. Go by her behaviour, not the clock - sometimes babies need to be on and off the breast for a long time - that's fine. Giving formula bottles is very, very undermining to bf, as it lengthens the gaps between bfs, and this is the opposite of what's needed.

Discuss with the midwife the minimum amount of formula to offer, and gradually phase it out.

*Squeezing is not a good idea, sorry. It does not show anything - some people can squeeze milk out, some can't, and as the breast never fully empties, people who do manage to squeeze milk out could be there all day squeezing! Judge from your baby's behaviuour at the breast when to swap sides, and it's ok to have three four or more breasts at a feed

posiedullardparker Mon 06-Jul-09 13:59:09

My babies have all varied, the last couple fed very frequently. This they do for two reasons, to boost your milk supply and because they're hungry. If you're feeding bf only then I would just do that for a few weeks, don't try to express.

Make sure you eat well, get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. Put a weekend aside where you do nothing but feed and cuddle, this has always really helped my supply.

And he very best of luck!smile

silkcushion Mon 06-Jul-09 23:52:20

Thanks for the advice and sorry it's taken so long to reply.

Seems like you're all saying that constant feeding is not that unusual even without this mixed feeding problem.

How long should a feed take? (she can keep up the alternating breast routine for hours at a time) Sorry to be so clueless but although she's my second I didn't manage to bf my first sad

JoesMummy09 Tue 07-Jul-09 00:14:26

I mixed fed from birth because DS kept being sick on day 1 and it took a while to get going with the bf.

He is a very healthy, happy 14wo now and I still give him a bottle of formula or formula/expressed milk before bed so he sleeps better (I get DH to do the bottle and I use the breast pump) but all other feeds are breast.

Like you I was concerned that mixed feeding was a problem and that I wasn't making enough milk. It isn't a problem and you can increase your supply by more feeding.

Some days DS feeds constantly, others every few hours. It is normal at 2wo and will settle down. Like you we did top up bottles at that age but by 4 weeks he was mainly breast as above.

Don't worry. Every breast feed helps. The more you feed the more milk you produce. You don't need to exlusively breastfeed all at once, or indeed at all.

Is she always feeding when on the boob? IME DS likes to suck a bit for comfort! When he starts that I take him off. He may wail for a minute but if he's not hungry he'll stop.

We also used <whispers> a dummy in those first few weeks, but just when DS was comfort sucking and we now don't need it. It may be worth a try. Cherry teet is the one most like a nipple.

I think you're doing brilliantly and ignore anyone who knocks mixed feeding. According to the NHS breastfeeding survey of those who were breast feeding most were mixed feeding <I felt much better when I read that>

PortAndLemon Tue 07-Jul-09 00:17:08

At that age both of mine were feeding constantly for much of the day and, as you say, keeping up the alternating breast routine for hours at a time. It did settle down and space out later.

sambo303 Tue 07-Jul-09 07:46:31

silkcushion I can second what has been said above by tiktok and posie - I had terrible problems with shredded nipples at the start (mws said latch was fine, it was not) and ds losing weight so one mw suggested going to bed for 24 hours and not moving (take sandwiches/water/etc) and have baby naked except for a nappy next to your own skin. I was a little sceptical but it really worked and my supply went from not much and lots of top ups required to milk flowing copiously just in that period. I was amazed. It may be a little difficult with your other dc, perhaps a grandparent could take them while you take 24 hours out. It's a quick way of getting your supply right up.
Good luck smile
ps I went on to exclusive bf after that and am still going at 10 months

silkcushion Tue 07-Jul-09 07:57:48

Joesmummy - that is very encouraging to know. How can I tell if she is sucking for comfort and not food?

Port - a mw told me they should only need to feed for 15-20 mins from one breast and any more than that was me pandering to them hmm doesn't sound right

Sambo - I'd heard the 'take to yr bed idea' and was considering doing it to some extent on Friday (will need to drop dd1 to nursery in the morning and pick her up later). Glad to hear it can make such a huge difference. Are bodies are amazing aren't they?

silkcushion Tue 07-Jul-09 07:58:29

our bodies blush

idontbelieveit Tue 07-Jul-09 08:20:54

Sorry I haven't got time for a long reply but if you have a look [[ here] there's lots of evidence based information on breastfeeding and a section on the normal course of breastfeeding for newborns.

Contrary to what joesmummy says, mixed feeding can undermine your milk supply especially if you mix feed in the first 6 weeks when your supply is being established.

The time spent on each breast does not really matter, keep them on while they want to be there and you'll know they're getting what they need. They need the comfort from sucking just as much as the food, it helps development for them to be close to you for most if not all of the time.

Sounds like you've had a difficult start but you're doing brilliantly to keep going and if you want to exclusively breastfeed it sounds like you'll find it fairly straightforward to gradually drop the formula.

PortAndLemon Tue 07-Jul-09 08:43:28

Would these be the same midwives who told you your latch was fine? It's complete twaddle, anyway. And to be frank, I think a midwife who believes you can "pander" to a two week old baby is in the wrong job.

tiktok Tue 07-Jul-09 09:02:35

silkcushion - for a midwife to say you 'pander' to a tiny baby by feeding him for longer than some arbitrary, clock-led limit is actually a disgrace. I agree with Port - she is in the wrong job. I'm afraid in my book that is the equivalent of baby-hating, though I know that sounds extreme.

Babies suck for food and comfort. This is a good thing. They don't know the difference - feeding feels good to them, whatever the physical reason for it! Babies are new to the world. Part of the parents' role is to show them it's a good place to be , where people love them and accept their need for closeness and comfort, and respond to it.

This build up a baby's confidence in the world, helps to teach him he is a person worth loving, and that he has people around him who care for his well-being.

What's not to like?

Of course we can teach the opposite by ignoring these needs, but why would any normal parent want to do that?

Please don't worry about the difference between nutrition and comfort. Just feed your baby and you will make the milk in response

idontbelieveit Tue 07-Jul-09 09:58:09

tiktok puts it brilliantly as always!

tiktok Tue 07-Jul-09 10:17:41

blush smile

JoesMummy09 Tue 07-Jul-09 10:57:51

Silkcusion glad you're feeling encouraged. Pleased to have helped a tiny tiny bit.

Knowing when baby is comfort sucking is tricky. I'm no expert but with my DS he starts chewing a bit and it becomes a little sore. So he's not really sucking, is chewing(!)

I was thinking after I wrote my post about "how" we had got from mostly formula to mostly breast. Having read the other posts I can agree with the take your baby to bed idea. That is basically what we did... I don't know why but lying down does seem to make a difference.

I used to lie on the sofa in the daytime, put him down at night and take him into bed when he woke at between 5-6am (when DH got up for work so there was more space and I didn't worry so much about squashing him) and fed him lying down in bed. We still do the bed together from 5am until 9.30am, sleeping and feeding and he's really big now!

Agree with the other posters that midwife sounds terrible.

I am proof you can get there with perserverance
<I know he still has a bottle of formula every night but that works for us. I think we could get to exclusively bf but we are happy with our current arrangement. Not suggesting anyone else must do the same!>

moondog Tue 07-Jul-09 15:28:33

It makes me feel physically ill to think that a midwife of all people talks about feeding a baby as being pandering.

Jesus Christ, what hope have any of us with 'professional' support like this????

stillstanding Tue 07-Jul-09 15:35:02

It really is awful, Moondog. All the conflicting and misinformed advice is the worst part of being a mum and it would be so much easier if you could at least rely on the so-called professionals.

My HV told me I was "feeding my needs, not my baby's" when I wanted to carry on bf after 6 months. angry

tiktok Tue 07-Jul-09 15:39:44

'Tis true, stillstanding.

I hear really awful things that mothers have been told. Even in hospital, mothers are told off for feeding their babies often. 'You don't want him to get used to doing that,' for example.

moondog Tue 07-Jul-09 15:42:23

I work in a 'caring profession' (vomit emoticon) and have basically come to the conclusion that contrary to populat belief, the fewer people you get involved in a sticky situation the better, as each comes with thier own generally ill informed opinion which, when overlaying poor training, is devastating.)

hairymelons Wed 08-Jul-09 20:35:22

Sorry for the rubbish 'squeezing' advice blush.....Thank god I'm not a professional handing out crap advice, seems like there's plenty of that around.
How's it going?
p.s. changed user name, was memct

silkcushion Wed 08-Jul-09 23:11:25

feeding is going really well.

Bf group yesterday morning explained that even if no formula was involved my dd would be constantly wanting to suckle cos of increasing/establishing supply and/or wanting to be with me.

I realsie now that bf takes maybe 6 weeks to establish even if it goes well from birth so feel more confident about holding off on the ff.

On my own from today with the dcs (which I prefer) so I can spend large amoutn sof time bf (and have)

Dd2 has only taken about 3oz of formula today so I feel the bf is winning.

One more question though - at each feed today she has started clicking. I know this means something is wrong so I detach her and start again. But what is she doing? And is it something I'm getting wrong? The clicking starts after about 30 seconds of her sucking well (on either breast)


ineedalifelaundry Wed 08-Jul-09 23:39:01

Clicking sound means she isn't quite latched on properly - I think the sound is loss of suction then immediately catching on again iyswim? This is only from personal experience. You are right to detach and start again if you hear this. If it only starts after 30 secs it sounds as if she's shifted slightly and therefore loses the good latch she started with.

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