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Reluctantly stopping breastfeeding at nine months

(27 Posts)
AvrilH Thu 29-Oct-09 09:34:22

I am wrecked. I've had a series of colds over the past few weeks. My 9mo DD feeds around every hour and a half during the day and about every three hours at night. I've also been stressed lately and her weight gain has slowed, she is dropping centiles.

I had intended to breastfeed for much longer than this, especially after a battle to get breastfeeding established (tiny tube fed baby, recurring mastitis and thrush), and she has thrived on breastfeeding. But my very supportive DH told me last night that breastfeeding on demand is just not working for us, and for my sake, we have to change things.

So, I intend to buy a tin of formula today, and start giving her a bottle before bed. Any advice would be welcome.

nicm Thu 29-Oct-09 10:24:37

hi, just wanted to say she might be feeding more because you have the cold. ds did this when we were on holidays at 6 months i got a really bad cold/flu and all he wanted to do was feed. nearly killed me with tiredness and i didn't realise that if you were sick your milk supply dropped. when i came home my mum took him for 1 day so i could sleep and then we spent the rest of the week in bed. things settled down again when i was better. think he was just making sure ther was enough there for him! could this be the case for your dd or do you want to stop? if so thien 9 months is great. it's really hard work bf, no one tells you about it all! c xo

AvrilH Thu 29-Oct-09 11:05:28

I didn't know that if you were sick your milk supply dropped!

That could explain a lot

AvrilH Thu 29-Oct-09 12:39:28

agree also that nobody tells you how hard it really is

nicm Thu 29-Oct-09 15:55:09

neither did i, and i had asked loads of friends about bf but no one mentioned this. it's happened twice now and also happens just before af. could you take your dd to bed for the afternoon or is she too wriggly?! my ds was ok at 6 mo but not the last time-just over a year, so i sent him with my mum and dp and they brought him up to be fed every now and then and for his afternoon nap. i wouldn't use the formula if you don't want to. it might not do what you think it will. i put my ds on a bottle at 14 months hoping he would sleep through but he didn't, went to sleep with it but still woke for me to feed him during the night. hmm

AvrilH Thu 29-Oct-09 19:57:03

Much too wriggly to cosleep, unfortunately, I did it for the first seven months, until she figured out crawling and how much fun it can be to climb on the bedside table at night, or stick little fingers up our nostrils or under our eyelids.

I bought the formula today and tried to give her a bottle, but she wasn't keen. So I gave her a breastfeed as usual.

nicm Thu 29-Oct-09 21:10:52

was wondering how you were getting on. lol at the crawling about/poking you!! keep trying the formula if you want to. i co slept with ds until 14 months and then he finally started sleeping through and only takes a feed in the morning or more during the day if he's sick.

nicm Fri 30-Oct-09 08:42:18

well how did it go last night? do you feel any better today? hope you got some sleep!

throckenholt Fri 30-Oct-09 08:46:34

try offering her a drink of water every other time you would feed her - so feed every 3 hours and water the rest of the time. As long as she is having solids as well she will be getting enough.

Dropping centiles ? Has she noticeably stopped growing or is she just slimming down as she becomes more mobile ?

Well done for feeding this long - you can continue - but limit the number of feeds to whatever you can cope with - she will adapt.

GhoulsafraidofVirginiaWoolf Fri 30-Oct-09 09:00:03

OK - your body and your choice smile I am sorry you are feeling so rough. It is fantastic that you feel your H is supportive but it is rarely a good idea to make a big decision like this because you have been told to do so by someone else (however much they love you and have your best interests at heart).

There is information which might help you make your decision and it would be worth talking this over with a bf counsellor. Contrary to popular opinion, the NCT ones for example 0300 330 0771, are not there to tell you to carry on bf but to give you info and support so you can decide what is right for you.

The sort of info you might like to have:

While you are feeding your baby breastmilk he is receiving antibodies that your body makes to fight off the infections that you have. When you move to formula that protection ceases.

It takes about 500 calories to make breastmilk - not sure what this equates to in terms of food - an egg and cress sandwich. BF is not "draining" in itself, bf with things like thrush, or in the face of opposition from family and friends can be wearing. Women in famine conditions can successfully bf their children.

BF is there - no bottles to prepare, sterilise, mix, wash after. Breastmilk is tailored to your baby on tap, you might have to try various brands and bottles before you find the one acceptable to your baby. That doesn't sound like less work, but more. Constipation, increased incidence of tummy upsets and colds are also more likely - again, more work, not less.

I am not telling you not to give up but as you mentioned reluctant in your thread title I did want to say that I believe you need info and impartial suppport.

Good luck with your decision. smile

GhoulsafraidofVirginiaWoolf Fri 30-Oct-09 09:01:12

Sorry I referred to your baby as he when you have a daughter blush

peachpearplum Fri 30-Oct-09 09:30:16

Hi Avril hope you got some rest...just wanted to say I totally agree with Virginia that bottle feeding is not the walk in the park it's made out to be. My baby was mixed fed until 2 months when we finally got my bf supply established and I cannot describe what a relief it was not to have to faff about with bottles and worry about expiry dates and sterilising. Night-times, in my experience, are much easier with bf as I don't really wake up properly (although we don't co-sleep the stagger into ds's room and back doesn't totally pull me into the land of the living) whereas heating up bottles and farting about with powder (probably one-handed) means you are totally wide awake by the end of it - which for me meant a further 30 mins or so to get back to sleep.

It can definitely be draining though and certainly there are times when you just wish someone else could take over for a bit. It's fantastic that you have fed your baby to nine months, that's so much longer than many people manage. Totally understand if you feel the time had come to phase it out but be sure it's your choice and not something imposed on you by DH however well-meaning - my DP, although very supportive and hands-on, has never really 'got' what breastfeeding means to a mum. All the more so when you've had to work so hard at it.

AvrilH Fri 30-Oct-09 09:39:49

Well my update is, I tried her with formula again when she woke at about midnight, she took an ounce and a half from me (first bottle feed I've given her since she was two weeks old). Then she was up again every couple of hours for the rest of the night. We are away next week so there was no point in sleep training, and I was too tired to make up any more bottles so just kept breastfeeding her back to sleep.

Ghouls - there is no way I would call the overstretched breastfeeding helplines at this stage. When my DD was tiny, and I was struggling to feed her, I used keep trying the helplines and by desperate persistance would eventually be able to speak to someone. I'd hate to think of new mothers who really need to talk to someone waiting, when I can get the advice I need from MN! DD's determination to feed ridiculously often is draining me, and I suspect the nutrients she takes are also contributing to my tiredness and lack of resistance to colds.

Trockenholt - thanks for that suggestion, I have a beaker of water at the ready now for her next demand! I'll let you know how it goes. I think DD is probably just slimming down as she becomes more mobile, but it is worrying me all the same. She has also reduced her intake of solids, for reasons I can't fathom, she was a great eater until recently. DD has also become oddly fussy e.g. will eat fusilli pasta but not penne hmm

throckenholt Fri 30-Oct-09 12:55:37

dredging my memory here - my youngest is 6.5 now - but it sounds like teething may be part of it.

Have you tried rubbing any of that gel on her gums ? It can really soothe it and then BF drops to just hungry rather than comfort so much.

If you can work out what is the problem then you can offer other things rather than resorting to breast feeding - keep that as the last option once you have tried other things.

GhoulsafraidofVirginiaWoolf Fri 30-Oct-09 13:01:55

OK - I made that mistake - thinking the overstretched bf helplines were "just for new mums". I mentioned it to a bf counsellor once after apologising for ringing when my baby was a year old. She said they are there for all bf mums (and ff mums who want to understand what went wrong if they feel that is the case). You are a mum who is struggling with bf and have just as much of a right to help as the next mum. If you were happy to move on to formula then I don't suppose you'd even have posted or you wouldn't have put reluctant in the title. But that's just me going on what you've written. I help out at a sort of bf cafe and you are just the sort of person we'd be happy to see. We're not bf counsellors but we do tea, toast and listening but I doubt you live near me smile

I think throckenholt might have a point with the teething.

nicm Wed 04-Nov-09 16:31:00

avrilH are you feeling better now? how did it go with the feeding?

AvrilH Mon 09-Nov-09 11:25:53

Sorry about the delay in coming back, we've been away for a week.

I also think trockenholt is right - it is more related to comfort than feeding, and probably is teething, but she will be doing that till she's two! Am seriously thinking of trying again to introduce a dummy.

I've now given formula on several nights, but it has not made any apparant difference to DD's sleep. I am having more success with calgel/water diversions during the day, but she is still feeding very frequently.

After another day or two to settle back home, I will do some sleep training for a couple of weeks and daytime diversion. If it is still not working I'll stop breastfeeding then.

Thanks again for all your help!!

EffiePerine Mon 09-Nov-09 11:31:51

DS2 went though a feeding-all-nighty stage recently (he;s 10 mo). I thought it might be a combination of teething, growth suport and separation anxiety - nice! Anyway I was going mad through getting NO sleep (as soon as I unlatched him he'd wake up and cry again) so handed him over to DH and slept on the sofa. When he couldn't see or smell me he quickly gave up on the idea of night feeds and now settles happily for DH (grrr). I still have to decamp to the sofa on occasion, but we are all getting more sleep. Worth a try?

EffiePerine Mon 09-Nov-09 11:33:07

when I say 'more sleep' he was waking twice in the night but settling quickly. The last few nights he slept from bedtime till 5am without a peep, but now he's ill again so we're back to more wakings (sigh).

AvrilH Mon 09-Nov-09 12:16:09

Glad to hear from someone else with similar problems!

While we were away, DH wanted to give me a break and tried to settle DD at night. Two nights in a row he brought her in to me at about 4.30 am, exhausted after hours of soothing her (she was very happy to sleep on his shoulder while he was upright and walking but became hysterical as soon as she was put down). They were both overtired the following days. It is not an option during the week for us anyway. So I guess, I have to bring out the sleep training books again.

EffiePerine Mon 09-Nov-09 12:28:18

The upright thing does sound like teeth - does Calpol help? It is so tiring, I hope you find a solution soon. FWIW lots of people in my postnatal group went through the same thing at the same time, and a couple have had success with sleep training (shh pat or CC). Good luck!

My DH helpfilly says 'well just give up bf' but I fed DS1 until he was nearly 2 and I'd like to do the same for DS2. Plus I'm not convinced that stopping bf will magically help him sleep.

AvrilH Mon 09-Nov-09 16:15:23

Calpol is great smile

but I don't want to give it every day - she'll be teething for such a long time

It is interesting about your postnatal group, fingers crossed we have a result soon!

kitpuss Wed 11-Nov-09 08:56:21

Hello, how are you doing?

I read your post and really felt for you.

Just a quick post, I breastfed both my two and never used formula, but at 9mths they were just having 4 feeds in the daytime and none at night.

I guess I am trying to say that maybe you can just reduce the number of feeds without feeling that you need to add formula into the mix.

As for nights, we did have a bit of crying at night when I decided there were going to be no more night feeds but I had just got to the point where I couldn't take the exhaustion anymore. And things did settle down.

Really think things work out for you, you've done so well to get this far xx

shirleycat1 Wed 11-Nov-09 10:28:40

Hi Avril,

How's it going? I can't offer much in the way of advice, but I am in a very similar situation with my ds and I was just wondering when you said that you might have to start sleep training again, what method you plan to do/have done, and how successful did you find it.

I am seriously considering some sort of sleep training at the moment and so would really like to hear from someone whose done it.

Hope you are getting a bit more sleep.


america Wed 11-Nov-09 10:42:23

Hi Avril, I could have written your post! I went back to work recently and althought DS 9MO goes down well, from the moment I go to bed (we cosleep still) he wants to BF. And he wakes up as soon as I put him down again, and screams until he gets back to breast. It is driving me mad but as I'm by myself it is the only way any of us gets any sleep. I am so tired I cannot see properly in the mornings and I do sympathise. Hope that it will get better for all of us soon.

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