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Big breastfed baby boy - formula???

(24 Posts)
deliakate Fri 11-Sep-09 13:56:40

Just had 7 week old DS weighed today, and he's right up there in the 98th percentile at 13lb 6oz.

His sleep pattern used to be manageable - bed down at 8pm, dream feed about 11pm, then one night time feed about 2:30 or 3:30pm. But recently he's been waking in the night every two hours, and he is definitely hungry, not just wanting attention. Its really exhausting me.

So I spoke to a midwife today, who has said to use Aptamil for the 11pm feed - offering about 120ml - and he will likely sleep a lot longer. The other option I put to her was that I could express and offer him a big expressed bottle at 11. She said this could work if I express off in the morning time, but I have expressed before, and know what a fag it is to sterilise, refridgerate etc (our kitchen is MILES from the nursery). Also, keeping DS amused whilst I express isn't easy, and the milk tends to spill and... its a pain.

Is there another way? I don't think I can keep on getting up 3+ times per night. I was thinking of hiring a night nanny, who could stay with him, bring him to me for feeds, and help us find a routine to make him sttn.

Any ideas would be appreciated.... or experiences?

MamaG Fri 11-Sep-09 14:02:10

deliakate I have a big BF boy too, but mine is now 10 months. I have never introduced formula or a bottle of EBM. I think getting up 3 times a night is just par for the course with a 7 week old baby! You say washing and sterilisig bottles for EBM is fag, but you'd stll have to do that for formula milk wouldn't you - its much more convenient to just whip a boob out!

It IS bloody hard in the early weeks, you have my total sympathies - my baby was awake a lot in the night for feeding too.

ChasingButterflies Fri 11-Sep-09 14:45:14

Congrats on your new ds.

My ds was huge (off the charts) and exc bf for 6 months. I did get the odd comment about how I wouldn't be able to satisfy him with bf alone - to which my response was that bf was what had got him this big in the first place!

Sounds like you are doing really well. Feeding and sleeping patterns change all the time when they're this little - he could be having a growth spurt and is feeding more in order to boost your supply, in which case introducing a bottle of formula is really not going to help at all and could be counterproductive.

I'd say just keep feeding him for now. It is exhausting but it will settle down, I'm sure. Good luck.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 11-Sep-09 14:49:18

congratulations!

I gave my ds a bottle of formula and he STILL woke up three times a night at that age, plus I had all the fag of sterilising etc. I didn't bother for dd.

Being big is not a reason for waking, mine were both little and they woke.

By the way, the midwife said Aptimil because it is heavily marketed to hcps. It is the most expensive one, and once I found out there was no real difference between formulas I resented the fact that my hv had told me it was the best, when she was just responding to good advertising!

ShowOfHands Fri 11-Sep-09 14:51:49

I know it's hard but it's your milk that's making him thrive. I've been there. DD was off the charts and exclusively bfed. At least every 2hrs day and night for 7 months, sometimes hourly, sometimes half hourly. It's desperately hard sometimes but I found that the best thing to do wasn't to try and change the way she fed (she knew what she needed when) but to try and find ways to adjust my life. I co-slept, slept when she slept during the day, accepted all help I could and let the housework go.

Formula and expressing would probably make no difference at all except than to compromise your bfeeding relationship.

Congratulations btw. It will get easier.

saintmaybe Fri 11-Sep-09 14:54:08

What showofhands said

llareggub Fri 11-Sep-09 14:57:20

What the others have said.

My topped-up DS1 never slept through the night. Exclusively bf DS2 slept through from 8 weeks until 12 weeks and now wakes once or twice. It is luck of the draw really. Co-sleeping has made a massive difference to my energy levels though, I can't recommend it enough.

weegiemum Fri 11-Sep-09 14:59:21

I would say at 7 weeks old this is totally normal, not just for big babies - in fact I had 2 big ones (9 and 10 pounders) and then a tiny little (!) one at just under 8, and she was the one that woke the most, cos her tummy was tinier.

hanaflowerhatestheDM Fri 11-Sep-09 15:02:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

deliakate Fri 11-Sep-09 18:55:15

Thanks for everyone's input. We don't co-sleep currently, except after the third feed of the night, because by then I can't go through with putting him down if he cries and its almost morning. But I sleep in the nursery with him in a single bed, whilst DH tries to get a good full night in our room.
I guess I will continue with feeding him myself for a BIT longer and see how it goes. I love breastfeeding, and don't want to put it in jeopardy by mucking about too much. But its so flipping tiring !!!

CarGirl Fri 11-Sep-09 18:59:07

Perhaps focus more on ensuring he gets more feeds during your waking hours? Worth a try?

I had huge babies and they slept through early on bf alone. I am very fortunate! I did try and be very aware of how often they fed during the day but not sure if that really made a difference.

deliakate Fri 11-Sep-09 19:01:14

Did you ever wake then up during the day to feed. ds can sleep for england sometimes!

shootfromthehip Fri 11-Sep-09 19:02:21

Apparently you milk changes density (or something?) at the 6-8 week mark during which time a normally settled baby can wake more and generally be more fussy. The transition can last about a week and can be hard when it is happening but usually settles fairly quickly. Just a thought.

CarGirl Fri 11-Sep-09 19:27:52

Yes I did wake mine up during the day, if they hadn't fed for 3 hours and were asleep I would have woken them.

I did very much encourage them to feed and be awake during the day and do the opposite at night. I never woke them between 7pm & 7am or did dream feeds or anything like that. I just ensured I got the 6 feeds or so in the "daytime" we also did a fair bit of cluster feeding in the evenings with one of them.

NellyTheElephant Fri 11-Sep-09 22:10:28

The thing is, if your milk supply is good (as yours clearly is) it is very doubtful that formula would really make much difference to his sleeping. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the main reason that people suggest trying formula for the last feed is to compensate for low milk supply (as supply often dips at that time). All my 3 have been huge and hungry (despite starting off teeny tiny), but night feeds started to settle down really quite suddenly from about 8 weeks with all of them (DD1 went through at 8 wks, DD2 at 10wks and DS at 12wks). I would really suggest that you persevere as you have clearly been doing a great job so far. Believe me, night time bottle feeding (formula or EBM) is hellish compared to the ease of BF.

Maybe try and increase your daytime feeds??? Don't let him sleep for England! I would never leave mine asleep more than 2 and a half hours during the day as my aim was to get as much milk into them between 7am and 7pm as possible so I tried not to let them go much more then 3 hours between feeds during the day. DS is now 5 months but I still feed him approx every 3 / 3.5 hrs during the day, sometimes 2 hrs in the afternoon (when he's at his most hungry) - a bit of a pain, but he's slept 12 hrs a night since he was 12 weeks so I'm fine with what works for us.

Like Cargirl I never woke them between 7pm and 7am, I did try it but dream feeds didn't really work for us, they needed to find their own sleep pattern. Basically all three of mine had one long sleep in a 24 hr period (as is the normal pattern for most people - babies or adults), that fell from 7pm until...... whenever. If I woke them at 10.30pm they immediately reverted to their usual 3 hr waking pattern for the rest of the night, but if I left them, the might go to midnight, then a week later to 2am, then another week and it became a 3am wake etc etc. until they went through. I think the dream feed does work for some people (particularly if they are lucky enough that their baby's longer sleep falls naturally around that time), but the experience of myself and my friends it's generally not so good if you are bf.

Good luck, you are doing a great job, it is KNACKERING, but in retrospect it passes in a flash.

Gemzooks Fri 11-Sep-09 22:16:14

I agree with others, more milk and strict naps/wake regime in the day. Your body can produce more than enough milk, but you have to get rests when he does and get him on a bit of a routine.

At 7 weeks you are just at that bit where you think they SHOULD be going longer but aren't, he is prob having a growth spurt. Try to keep him more awake in the day, and also have a massive meal and a mini nap yourself before the 11 pm feed, that will get your milk going a bit.

you're doing very well, keep going, it will get better around 12-13 weeks.

elkiedee Sat 12-Sep-09 01:03:41

It's very hard but I think the midwife's giving you very poor advice. Formula won't necessarily make him sleep better adn you'd have all the work of preparing and giving and cleaning up as well.

skidoodle Sat 12-Sep-09 01:34:27

The handy thing about giving a bottle before your bedtime, is that your DH can do it and you can be in bed for hours before the first night time wake up. We used to give EBM like this. It might not get him to sleep more, but it might help you to, if you're getting exhausted.

I don't really understand the obsession with big babies, and especially boys, not being satisfied with just breastmilk. It doesn't make any sense - as someone said, that's what got him this big!

My Mum had this with my brother - he was a massive baby and people were always going on at her about how she'd never manage to breastfeed him. He was her third, so she just ignored them, but she says that if she'd had a boy first it might well have affected her.

deliakate Sat 12-Sep-09 20:30:47

An update - last night we slept in the cot from 8:30pm to 2:30 am, with no dream feed, formula or breast! Then another waking at 5:30am, but two wakings, I can handle.
Am amazed. Perhaps waking him at 11 was interfering too much with his natural pattern. Anyway, I am going to drop that feed for a week or so and see how it goes....

hunkermunker Sat 12-Sep-09 21:35:11

Did the midwife actually suggest you use Aptamil rather than formula? Bloody hell - that's very bad practice if so.

hanaflowerhatestheDM Sat 12-Sep-09 23:06:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

deliakate Sun 13-Sep-09 08:28:06

Erm, I think I asked her which one and she said Aptamil combines best with breast feeding.

tiktok Sun 13-Sep-09 09:48:46

What she said is pure marketing....this is how Aptamil positions itself commercially. There is no justification for it whatsoever in nutritional terms.

Mothers thinking of using formula alongside breastfeeding, or mothers thinking of using formula after a period of breastfeeding, are encouraged to do so by Aptamil's marketing.

HVs collude with this

Beveridge Sun 13-Sep-09 21:06:29

I was doing the 11pm,1am,3am,5am,7am FeedFest for what seemed like ages with DD so I can fully sympathise with the nocturnal shenannigans! We ended up co-sleeping (though she always started off in the Moses basket beside the bed) and I always feed DD lying down on my side - I went through a phase of thinking maybe sitting up on the edge of the bed and consciously trying to make sure DD took as much as she possibly could would stop her waking so much ( as opposed to me dozing off as she fed!)but it didn't work and I felt sooooo much worse in the morning.I also found when she was that near to me I would wake up well before the "Waaaaaaaah!" stage, so DH wasnt disturbed much and I wasnt woken up too rudely either.

Personally, I wouldn't mess about with formula as I realise now at 15 weeks just what a finely tuned equilibrium of supply and demand bf is and I would never take the risk of replacing even one feed as your body will assume demand is lower and will produce less (especially if it does result in a later next feed)and this will not be helpful in the long run. The night feeds are very important in stimulating your overall supply so try and look on them in a positive light!

This is probably just a phase e.g. gearing up for a growth spurt. The extra stimulation your baby is providing will result in the required level of supply if you trust the whole process. DD can now sleep 7.30am to 4.30am but in the last week or so it's only been until 2am or 3am (and she's been feeding every 2 hours during the day today) She actually lost weight this week but I'm not worried as she appears to have grown in height and I think this is her now 'chubbing up' for the next growth spurt, rather than me 'running low' on milk.

Btw, I am now planning to bf until DD is a LOT older, as it just gets easier and easier if you have faith and stick with it.

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