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mixed feeding Qs and As

(8 Posts)
herbaceous Fri 04-Sep-09 12:35:48

Hello all

Like many out there, I'm giving my eight-week old DS both boob and bottle. And, probably like many, my reasons include:

1 Drugs involved in induction and emergency c-section meant my milk didn't come in for ages, baby lost weight, docs in hospital insisted he went on formula until he gained enough for us to leave. Then had to teach him, and me, how to BF, while keeping up formula.
2 Now, even after four boobs-worth, he's often still crying with hunger, so I top him up.
2 Bad latch and sore nips meant giving the odd bottle gave me enough relief to keep going with the BF
3 Formula at night helps him sleep better, and thus makes for a happier me
4 DH can give him the odd bottle. In an ideal world I'd make that bottle EBM, but pumping is both grim and not very productive - 30 mins of udder action yields about 3oz.

It's hard to find out much about the best ways of mixing the two. I'm sure all us mixed feeders know that we're in danger of jeapordising our supply – so please no-one come along and tell us off - so it would be good to exchange info on, for example:
1 How much boob to give to maintain supply. For example, I'm doing between five and ten breastfeeds a day, sometimes topping up, and the occasional bottle-only feed. My supply seems fine, but will this last?
2 How to know they're getting enough, or, perhaps too much? For example, DS has put on TWO POUNDS in three weeks. Is he getting too much formula?
3 Do we feed on demand, like breastfeeders, or to a schedule, like formula?
4 How to get the time taken for a feed down from the current hour? Two boobs worth, seeing if he's still hungry, making up a bottle (ready-made formula, natch), etc...

Perhaps I should ask a breastfeeding counsellor, but frankly I'm rather scared of them and how they'll tell me off for using formula!

GreenMonkies Fri 04-Sep-09 12:51:26

No breastfeeding counsellor will tell you off for using formula, go ahead and ring them, they are generally very suportive.

I would feed on demand, that way you stand a chance of your supply increasing and being able to reduce/stop the bottles.

I think its important that you are aware of the mechanics of why mixed feeding can be so detrimental to long term bf. The sucking action used to extract milk from a bottle is totally different and uses different muscles to the one used to feed from a breast. When a baby learns to "bottle suck" s/he will then use the same technique when feeding from a breast. This means s/he will not extract milk from the breast as effectively, feeds will take longer, stimulation to produce milk is reduced resulting in low supply, which in turn can result in the baby getting frustrated at the breast ad refusing anything but a bottle. The only solution to this is to stop using bottles. An SNS will allow you to supplement your own milk with formula without the nipple confusion issues.

duende Fri 04-Sep-09 13:11:04

herbaceous, I will not help, but I am very interested in hearing the answers you get - was going to start a similar thread this morning. My 4 week old has been cluster feeding since birth, yesterday he fed continuously from 6p.m. to half past midnight and I am exhausted and frustrated. I will either start giving him a formula feed in the evening and hope it helps me persevere with BF, ot just give in and switch to FF altogether...

I hope mixed feeding works for you!

Jan9ne Fri 04-Sep-09 21:35:51

Hello there. My DD is 19 months old. Like many new mums i was DETERMINED that i would solely breastfeed. I assumed it would be a breeze and i would have milk in abundance and would sit and feed serenely like lady bountiful....
It didn't quite work out that way.
I had a very quick and straightforward birth and started breast feeding more or less straight away. a MW gave me a cursory glance and seemed to think all was ok.
Went home and after 3 days found breastfeeding was very painful indeed and had problems getting DD to latch on. I phoned mw who very very reluctantly came to see me but who was quite helpful after i spent from 11 pm til 5 am attempting to feed. I also phoned the nct who were very nice but i still found it difficult.

By night 5 i just didn't seem to have enough milk, DD was screaming and i was SOOOOO sore that i gave her some formula. I think it was about 2 or 3 oz. She slept for 5 hours immediately after! My boobs recovered with the help of Lanisoh cream (amazing stuff) and i mix fed for a while - i think for about 9 or 10 weeks. By this stage my milk was much more plentiful and i dropped the bottle feeds - or to be more precise DD refused to take the bottle and only wanted breast. She was then solely breast-fed until she went onto solids and i stopped (she stopped!) breast feeding when she was a year. She is extremely content and healthy and has never been to drs apart from for her jabs. Mixed feeding did her no harm at all.

Don't feel guilty, do what works for you and bubba.

All the best.

mamayaya Fri 04-Sep-09 21:51:28

Keep on giving your baby a bottle, but why not try and restrict the bottle til night time? Feed on demand during the day and don't top up. Topping up is a bad idea as then the baby won't take enough from the breast. But if you give a bottle at night time, you know that the baby has enough. And check baby's weight AND I would say try to express at the time the baby's being given a bottle so that you keep the supply going for when you are able to bf then again. I don't see a problem personally with giving baby one bottle at night-time. Hey honestly, bf is best but if your baby ends up on ff it is not the end of the world!

Hope everything works out.

tryingtobemarypoppins Fri 04-Sep-09 22:09:53

I mixed fed and it was fine.
I BF during the day and then expressed at 7pm whilst DH bottle fed. I then went to bed and DH woke me up to do the 11pm BF which I topped up with the expressed from earlier mixed with formular if I didn't express much. At 3am if needed we gave a FF but by 3 months DS slept through till 6am thank god!

My boobs were very full by morning so I expressed first thing after the first feed to up supply and ease the pain.

I had a tough time BF, bleeding, sick baby being tube feed, great deal of pain and infection early on so FF was a life line. I always thought though any amount of breast milk was better than none.

Your doing a fab job!

tryingtobemarypoppins Fri 04-Sep-09 22:11:47

duende try giving a FF before you go to bed then express. Your be exhusted otherwise. You can use the expressed during the night if needed. Good luck

thinkaboutthepepilepticdogs Fri 04-Sep-09 23:01:59

herb I mexed fed for the first month and went on to exclusively BF. My milk took ages to come in and DD became dehydrated so really had to have formula. To try to keep my boobs feeling a demand I absolutely always BF before giving any formula. We kept the top ups to night time only too. Slowly, once my milk was properly in, I was able to reduce the amount we topped up until she didn't need it anymore.

We did then reintroduce a bottle as part of her bed time routine when she was about 3 months old but for other reasons.

I was roughly following the baby whisperer, 3 hourly eat, activity then sleep routine. Its not so much a routine, more a schedule for you to feel like you have an idea of what you are aiming for but don't feel guilty that you didn't feed at exactly the right time etc.

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