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11wks, on the brink of giving up breastfeeding as this can't continue :(

(42 Posts)
Ready Fri 09-Oct-09 17:27:56

DD has dropped from 50th to 25th centile, and last fortnight only gained 2oz. HV has told me to offer both sides per feed, but now neither breast feels full, ever. Before when I was feeding from one at a time they would do.
DD now only lasts 6 minutes on one side before pulling away and crying, all I seem to do is switch back and forth each feed, it's stressful for both of us.
Also DD never cries for food, so had been going 4 hours between feeds, but the HV has said that she is too young to that long, so that is possibly why she hasn't been gaining lots. I don't know how I am supposed to know when DD is hungry is she never asks, and basically after 4 hours still wasn't asking for it, but I would make her have it as I thought she shouldn't go longer. Now I feel; as though I have been starving her and think that breastfeeding is not right for her - I am just selfishly clinging on to it because I think it is the best for dd, but perhaps she needs formula to thrive.

So confused and worried. Anyone got any advice, or should I give her formula so she can gain the weight she needs??

cece Fri 09-Oct-09 17:30:45

DS used to let go and cry after a few minutes at this age. It generally meant he had wind, so I would have to stop and bring his wind up before I could continue. He also didn't really ask for a feed either but I used to feed him everytime he woke up.

reikizen Fri 09-Oct-09 17:32:53

I'd make contact with la leche league or similar support so that you can go along and they can check positioning attachment etc. Advice on here is usually sound and there are a number of really well qualified people to advise you but in my experience I need to see how the mum is actually feeding. Good luck.

Ready Fri 09-Oct-09 17:45:25

I do bring her up for burps throughout the feed, usually each time she pulls away. Strangely as I type she is happily feeding!

I had wondered about position, but she always comes away with milk all round her mouth... and sometimes afterwards during a burp she will bring up some milk. So although I can't be certain of position, she seems to be getting milk from me.

Should I express in place of feeding? How much per feed should I give?

Ready Fri 09-Oct-09 17:46:56

Thank you for the suggestions, I realised my reply sounde stroppy, really not intended to.

preggersplayspop Fri 09-Oct-09 17:49:15

My DS only ever fed for 7 mins at a time, so perhaps she is efficient and doesn't need to feed for longer at each go?

Could you try offering more frequently if she is not crying for it rather than trying to extend the feeds you are doing?

Ready Fri 09-Oct-09 17:55:44

Once she settles on a side, after 4-5 switches she will then feed for anywhere between 20-45 mins, it varies from feed to feed. Should I try to offer her some before a nap??

toodles Fri 09-Oct-09 17:56:33

I agree with reikizen -get on the phone to the LLL. It would be good for you to see a qualified person. HV's IME are not qualified enough to handle bf problems or questions.

I think at 11 weeks you could offer the breast more frequently. Don't stop bf before speaking and hopefully seeing a professional though. Good luck.

chibi Fri 09-Oct-09 18:00:07

she may not ask, some babies don't really - this shouldn't stop you offering - if she doesn't want to feed, she won't.

the basic test of 'are they getting enough' is:

content after feeds
6-8 heavy wet nappies per day
soft yellow stools (after 6 weeks it is ok for these to not be so frequent)

if she is meeting these, all is probably ok. one weighing isn't indicative of a trend in growth, try not to get too freaked out.

another thing to bear in mind is that this could be catch down growth - she is finding her centile.

it is normal for breasts to not feel engorged or full after the early weeks. this is not indicative of supply. neither is feeling/not feeling a letdown.

i would get rl help to check your latch + observe a feed - an NCT bf counsellor or bf counsellor at your hospital can do this, as can a bf counsellor at a baby bf cafe (google it, your town or one nearby)

if these are ok, all is fine and you don't need to worry.

not every baby is big even though it feels that way, and small doesn't = unhealthy. (i say this as a mother of a 9th centile girl and a 2nd centile boy)


toodles Fri 09-Oct-09 18:02:32

When you say she's feeding for 20-45 mins, how much of that is actual feeding? With my first I had a sleepy baby on my hands. She seemed to feed 24 hours long but she was actually just nibbling at the breast and not actually feeding, because she was so tired from not getting enough milk from me. It's a bit of a vicious circle.

You don't want to switch sides too soon as she will only be getting the watery foremilk and not the creamy hindmilk. I think she should be getting the hindmilk by 5 minutes though but not sure. That's why you need to speak to someone with experience. I think there are Lactation Consultants at some big hospitals. Maybe try ringing your local hospital up and asking if there is one there. Please find help soon. This could be resolved quickly and she starts to thrive on breastmilk.

tiktok Fri 09-Oct-09 18:10:53

Ready.....sorry you are feeling so bad about this.

Lots of good stuff already on this thread. In what period of time did she drop from 50th to 25th? Dropping one centile is well within normal...however, the HV has seen your baby and has assessed her as needing more milk, and the suggestions she has made are fine and sensible.

Two sides per feed - good idea, and your breasts do not need to feel full. If you have routinely been offering one side only and feeding four hourly only, then it is certainly possible your dd could benefit from more milk, and there is no risk of harm doing this. No, you haven't been starving her! She is healthy and growing....but she's maybe a little laid back and does not cry for feeds, as some babies don't. The HV is, again sensibly in my opinion, assessing this as a situation where your breastfeeding may need to be protected by feeding more often, and as this will benefit your baby, too...why not?

My guess is that a week of frequent feeding, offering when she seems she might accept, and not waiting for her to 'ask', and using both sides at least every time, will lead to a more reassuring picture for you.

You can also call any of the helplines. I think they will say the same

tiktok Fri 09-Oct-09 18:13:12

toodles - you have it a bit wrong about foremilk and hindmilk, sorry.

Switch nursing is entirely appropriate if it's thought the baby's intake needs increasing.

Ready Fri 09-Oct-09 18:50:54

Thank you everyone...

Plenty of heavy wet nappies, but the poos have slowed down as she has got older. Still get 1-2 a day. Is that enough?

TikTok, she was on the 50th at 5 weeks and slowly tailed off to the 25th this week, 11wks today. Only put on 2oz in 2 weeks

The HV said she looked really healthy and wondered if I wasn't eating enough... my weight has dropped off. Is it possible that my quality of milk might not be good enough - so dd is getting lots in quantity, but not enough fat??

preggersplayspop Fri 09-Oct-09 18:57:24

My weight plummeted when I was breastfeeding. I think its a red herring when people say the quality of your milk deteriorates and is one of the reasons why people give up when they don't need to (this happened to my mum who was told her milk 'had gone thin' by her doctor).

Obviously its important you keep eating enough to keep your energy up but I'm sure your milk is fine!

tiktok Fri 09-Oct-09 23:35:56

Ready - this fall is perfectly within normal limits, truly. Might be a wee bit of a warning if this was a drop within a very short time. No, your diet will not affect milk quality. The amount of fat in your milk is unaffected by diet.

Sounds as though you only need to do what the HV suggests - ensure your dd feeds more often and on both sides

Concordia Fri 09-Oct-09 23:48:40

I don't think you need to be as worried as you are. But you could seek support from one of the breastfeeding organisations. A drop from 50th to 25th percentile isn't actually that much (although it sounds like a lot) because it is a normal distribution (sorry for non mathmaticians or good spellers) which means that there is not so much difference between the amounts in the middle (around 50th) as there is around the 1st or 100th percentile. So if the weight had changed from 10th to 0.5th percentile i'd be more worried.
Sorry that's clear as mud.
Also, i think that as this point your boobs do start to feel a bit more normal and this is nothing to do with how much milk is or isn't in them.
If your baby looks healthy and you are ok i would continue breastfeeding.
I had problems with milk supply first time round and then always fed DC2 on both sides and it did seem to work.

SardineQueen Sat 10-Oct-09 00:03:25

Ready TBH your LO sounds like mine - mine is 13wo. Feeds only take 5 mins or so for us.

Can you hear her gulping/see her swallowing maybe? With a quick letdown they can often squibble as it's a bit much, then get windy etc from trying to cope with it. Just guessing as our LOs sound so similar.

Your milk quality will not suffer from you losing weight - your body will look after baby's needs first - just make sure you look after yourself. BF takes a lot of calories and is tiring (for me anyway) make sure you eat & drink plenty smile

Really it all sounds fine to me, keep at it, and what tiktok says!

Ready Sat 10-Oct-09 07:21:03

Ok. So try not to worry. The drop is not as scary as I think. I do hear her gulping at the start of feeds, so perhaps she is getting air and feeling full when she's not?

Is 2oz in a fortnight a worry though? Or could it just be that dd has started to be way more active and so has burned more cals? Also only catnaps in the day?

Ready Sat 10-Oct-09 07:22:14

SardineQueen, how often do you feed you LO?

Ready Sat 10-Oct-09 07:22:34

*your LO

SardineQueen Sat 10-Oct-09 12:38:55

She feeds about every 2-3 hours in the day and at night is going 7pm-4am then into the 2-3 hour thing.

So on average I guess she feeds every 4 hours.

If you can hear her gulping, I'm sure it's milk going down, I wonder if you do have a fast letdown, they can get overwhelmed and pull off coughing and squibbling. When she pulls off does milk drip out?

Ready Sat 10-Oct-09 15:10:04

A lot of the time she will have milk round her mouth at the end of feeds, but not after the initial burst.

Funnily enough today has been so good, no fussing!!Fingers crossed the weight is good on tues!

Thanks everyone.

SardineQueen Sat 10-Oct-09 21:02:04

Sounds like you're onto a good thing there ready, good luck with the weigh in, it really does all sound fine to me smile

Ready Tue 13-Oct-09 20:39:52

Just wanted to update, in case anyone was wondering... DD gained 6oz, so breastfeeding has been given a pardon wink - goodness knows why she only put on 2oz the previous fortnight, but perhaps she was just finding her line on the graph. Onwards and upwards I hope.

Thanks for all the advice.

SardineQueen Tue 13-Oct-09 20:54:29

Brilliant news Ready, so pleased for you and DD smile

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