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BF not going well at all - please tell me how to prepare FF correctly

(24 Posts)
duende Wed 16-Sep-09 14:16:10

my DS is 5 weeks old and has been breastfed so far. unfortunately, for the last week he hasn't been able to latch on well. he gets really frustrated, screams with anger (and hunger), pulls of the breast, then tries latching on again and the same happens. it has been increasingly difficult to feed him, to the stage where in the last two days he probably got more formula than breastmilk, because I just can't get him to feed and it breaks my heart to see him hungry we have been to a breastfeeding clinic and we have had two breastfeeding councellors pop round. they haven't been able to help.
I now have to learn how to prepare formula feeds correctly, in case we don't manage to get it sorted.

can I boil some water and pour it into sterilised bottles, keep them in the fridge and add the powder just before the feed?
we have been boiling the kettle when DS is hungry, then waiting for it to cool a bit, then adding formula and having to wait ages before it cools down enough in a jug of cold water. this means 20 minutes of listening to baby screaming with hunger and seems completely impractical.

please tell me how to do it right - I am frustrated and very confused.

throckenholt Wed 16-Sep-09 14:20:23

just a comment about BF - if you are engorged it can be hard to latch on - maybe try expressing a bit first to loosen things up a bit.

As for your question about boiling the water - yes you can.You can also cool down a bottle by shaking it under a cold running tap for a few minutes.

BornToFolk Wed 16-Sep-09 14:28:36

You should be making up the bottles using hot water as there could be bacteria present in the powder which the hot water will kill off. Cold water, even if it's sterile, won't.

The way you've been doing it sounds exactly right but if you run it under a cold tap it'll cool quicker than just sitting it in cold water.

I'm sorry your having problems b'feeding. Maybe someone here can help?

Confusedfirsttimemum Wed 16-Sep-09 14:32:33

Hi, I will leave others to comment on breastfeeding support, which is what it sounds like you want and need.

However, on the formula, no, unfortunately it isn't right to keep boiled water in the fridge. The powder itself is not sterile, so it needs to go into boiling water which has cooled for no more than 30 minutes to kill the bacteria and prevent tummy bugs. If it goes into bottles of cold water that you keep in the fridge, the water and the bottle may be sterile, but the powder still won't be.

If you're desperate, I've heard that you can make up half bottles of water and keep them in the fridge, then make the formula with half the quantity of recently boiled water before adding the cold. This will cool it down quickly. It's not ideal, however, as you have to be careful to account for the volume of the powder, otherwise you are making the formula too strong (i.e for a 100 ml bottle, you need to measure out two lots of 50ml, not just make the bottle up to the 100ml line, IYSWIM).

Boodlerpoop Wed 16-Sep-09 18:54:08

hey duende, know how you feel, posted here a few weeks ago about ds who was doing the same.....seriously thought about giving up bf too and basically ff him for a few days... what I found worked best was give him a dummy. If he is screaming and crying like this, I put the dummy in his mouth, calm him down, and then quickly take it out and put boob in his mouth. Is not ideal but it works. Also maybe try to express some milk when you are giving him a ff to keep your supply up, that way if he starts to freak out at a feed you can use the milk you've expressed instead of giving him a ff. I try to have at least 4 oz of ebm in the fridge, ready in a bottle, takes no time at all to heat up compared to making up bottles of formula. Hope this helps! Ds is now accepting breast most of the time, so try to persevere, but I know its tough. <<hugs>>

EldonAve Wed 16-Sep-09 18:57:53

here is the formula info
You can also buy the ready made cartons

CarGirl Wed 16-Sep-09 18:58:16

have you ruled out silent reflux? Mine associated bf with the pain of acidic reflux.

theowlwhowasafraidofthedark Wed 16-Sep-09 19:20:44

So sorry for your problems, it's so tough.

At the beginning we found it easier to use the ready made cartons rather than make the feed up every time the baby was hungry. You don't have to use the whole cartons each feed and can keep them in the fridge (I think for up to 24 hours) and then heat the bottles up using a bottle warmer which is quicker than cooling the hot ones. UNfortuntely it works out more expensive though.

As your baby gets older, his feeding will become more regular so you'll be able to predict when he's likely to become hungry and make up feeds a bit more in advance.

Incidentally it's quicker to cool down the bottles with a bigger surface area rather than the smaller ones.

Good luck with both the bf & ffeeding

duende Wed 16-Sep-09 20:40:47

thank you everyone - for your advice and support.
Boodlerpoop, I am glad you've managed to sort your problems out. I am still trying to put him on the breast every time his hungry and only if he completely refuses the breast I offer formula. Unfortunately, I think this way we will end up exclusively FF very soon.

CarGirl - we are going to see my GP tomorrow and I will ask about silent reflux.

cleanandclothed Wed 16-Sep-09 20:57:21

Sorry to hear about your problems - sounds very like my DS. Literally every feed for well over the first 2 weeks I did not know whether he would ever latch on - used to take upwards of 20 minutes each time just to get a good latch. White noise really helped - to calm him generally as well as when feeding. Have you tried a blast of hairdryer/radio static/ hoover? Might stop him tizzing for long enough to calm down and latch? Have you tried expressing a tiny amount onto your nipple before he latches on so he has something to taste immediately?
Keep on trying - 5 weeks is really good - only a few more and then it becomes just habit for you both, instead of stress, in my experience.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Wed 16-Sep-09 21:28:29

Hey
I think you should work on the BF, try expressing if possible, and try to feed when he's not hungry if possible. But with the formula - make the bottles with boiled water (you can boil the kettle up to 30 minutes before you need it if you are able to plan it) then when you have made the bottle, put it in a bowl and let cold water run over it. It will cool down in about 5 minutes. I often made the bottles with boiling water and put them in the fridge, then warmed as needed. Not recommended btw, but I decided it was ok on balance.

thenameiwantedwastaken Wed 16-Sep-09 21:35:20

Hi there,
Sorry to hear you're finding things so hard! I think your questions re formula preparation have been answered, but just wnated to suggest you get some 1:1 bf-ing support if you want to persevere with that. Does the hospital where you gave birth have any breastefeeding support sessions? I found these SO useful when struggling with DD, if only to gee me up a bit and give me some confidence. Or try the NCT or LaLeche league helplines.

CarGirl Wed 16-Sep-09 21:53:40

I've just remembered when I bf they were really laying down but of course when I FF then they were much more upright which made a difference with the silent reflux.

My other advice is see a cranial osteopath in case the laying down is aggrevating any tightness/pressure that is causing discomfort.

duende Thu 17-Sep-09 10:29:48

I have spoken to NCT and have been to a breastfeeding clinic. yesterday a breastfeeding councellor was here, but even she couldn't get him to latch on properly.
he fed fine during the night, then this morning it was a struggle again.

we have also been to see a cranial osteopath and are going again next week.

girlsyearapart Thu 17-Sep-09 10:45:35

we boil the kettle- with unused water- then at least 30mins later pour the water into the sterilsed bottles and put them on the kitchen work surface to cool.
We measure out the formula into a little divider which means you know you've got the right amount of powder and don't have to measure it out when you're knackered/baby is crying.
Both our dds have been totally against warmed milk so we don't reheat it but you can stand it in a jug of hot water to warm it.

throckenholt Thu 17-Sep-09 11:24:54

may sound daft but I got my ds1 breast feeding by putting a bottle teat over my nipple and letting him suck on that (need to have a good seal and express a bit into it so start with) - once he was well into a feed I snuck the teat out and gave him back my nipple - it sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. Gradually over about a month it worked and I BF for a year.

Little blighter was awful to begin with - hated the real thing with a passion - and acted as if I was poisoning him ! I was more stubborn than he was though

Pannacotta Thu 17-Sep-09 11:30:02

Did your DS feed lying down during the night?
That can be an easier position for babies to breastfeed. I found that was a good way to relax both me and DS1 who was a bit tricky to feed in the early days.
I agree about expressing a bit first before a feed, it might be that you are engorged as another poster says, or that your let down is fast which can make it hard for your baby to latch on.

Hmm, when my ds was little he did all that arching his back and refusing the boob and we ended up giving formula after 3 or 4 weeks of bf. I felt SO guilty, but try not to if things don't work out with bf (which I hope they do for you. And for me, next time!) it's much more important in the scheme of things that your baby is fed and healthy. You sound like you're doing everything you can to make bf work so good luck.

With regards to formula, I used the cartons of ready made-up aptamil in the beginning when he was having lots of feeds, but when things calmed down I started using powder.

I generally kept bottles of boiled water in the fridge so that I could either warm them up in the microwave before adding the powder, or to use in conjunction with newly boiling water to make up feeds as Confusedfirsttimemum recommended.

Both methods worked for us, and he never had any tummy bugs or anything.

duende Thu 17-Sep-09 12:51:07

Pannacotta he is still feeding relatively well at night, lying down. But I tried the same during the day and he is not having it
I do express a bit if I am engorged and I know it is not the let down that's the problem - if he decides to take the breast it is going well for the first few minutes and then the fussing starts.
I managed to breastfeed him once today, for the next feed he wouldn't take the breast and got a bottle of EBM. will attempt breastfeeding again later but may have to resort to formula if DS is not cooperating.
thanks everyone for advice on FF. my GP told me today (unofficially ;)) that she used to mix formula powder with room temperature boiled water and thought that was fine.

throckenholt Thu 17-Sep-09 12:58:32

have you tried the rugby ball hold - baby under your arm, legs pointing backwards. That was one that was most successful for me in the early days.

It may be that he is getting frustrated when the letdown slows - it is much easier with a bottle because it keeps coming and they don't have to work at it.

If you can face it - you can keep expressing every time he misses a feed, that will keep your supply up and hopefully you will always have some on hand if needed. And keep offering the breast - he may just settle down to it in the end.

I expressed for mine, and topped up with formula only when I didn't have enough EBM. It is a lot of messing about though.

duende, the only problem with your GP's advice is that if you mix powder with room temperature water sometimes it doesn't melt the powder enough so it has all bits floating in it (like bisto gravy mix when it's not been mixed enough) that's why I used to warm the (previously boiled) water up enough to melt the powder properly. But I'd say her advice is otherwise spot on. We don't live in a sterile world, after all!

hairymelons Thu 17-Sep-09 14:05:58

You've had great advice about the FF, would just add that the LLL helpline was great when I was struggling at the beginning 0845 120 2918. I know you've had NCT and BF counsellor advice but you never know, there may be something they've missed that would make you're life easier. And they are lovely too- always made me feel better.
Good luck

girlsyearapart Thu 17-Sep-09 14:23:17

Yes the HV came over and saw my bottles cooling on the side and said really they should be made up fresh each time.
I said that just is not practical, she agreed and said you can make up two bottles and leave to cool so always a spare.
She also said you can add the formula and refrigerate for up to 24 hours (not from boiling though) but we never did.
Avent bottles have been the best ime and their microwave steam sterilser.
From when they start crawling it seems a bit mad to give totally sterile milk when they spend their day trying to eat gravel/mud/dog food etc ..

Pannacotta Thu 17-Sep-09 16:32:13

There is some excellent advice on the Kellymom website which looks at fussing at the breast
www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/baby/fussy-while-nursing.html
DO keep posting if you need any advice about the breastfeeding, its worth perserving if you can manage it.

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