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Breastfeeding - thinking of comb breast & formula -how??

(24 Posts)
rlou Wed 27-Jul-05 14:29:06

my baby is 8 weeks old and I am thinking of moving to formula. Whilst I have no problems with my side of breastfeeding my baby falls asleep on the boob every time and never finishes a feed. I have tried everything to keep him awake believe me!!I also love to get out and about in the day and breastfeeding can be a real pain !!

He also does not sleep for more than 2 hours in the night as he never gets full so constantly wants feeding resulting in us both being shattered. My HV is useless. Can you combine breastfeeding and formula?? How??
I feel guilty about wanting to use formula but desperatly now need sleep !!!!!
Advice please......

tiktok Wed 27-Jul-05 14:35:20

rlou, if you don't want to use formula, then explaore your options first. Call one of the bf helplines and find out how to make bf a better experience.

Not everyone would agree that formula feeding away from home is easier than bf....with bf you have everything you need with you

rlou Wed 27-Jul-05 14:43:16

I have been expressing and have found this works fine - however my HV has said to stop this as baby gets too much fore-milk (I don't think he does as I empty the breast when I express). I am tempted to ignore her as he's gaining loads of weight and it works for both of us and dad likes to be involved. That said I'd still like to know how to combine form & breast..

bakedpotato Wed 27-Jul-05 14:49:29

I mixed-fed from 5 wks and am still feeding DS who is 6 mths, with no plans to stop. I think the crucial stage to get past is 6 wks; by that stage bf is well established, so you should be safe to give up a few feeds at this point if you feel the need.
If you want any encouragement, you've done the worst bit already, feeds start to speed up pretty soon, and babies become more wakeful and therefore more efficient at feeding, so if you are in doubt and aren't desperate to cut down the bf, maybe wait for a bit if you can bear to, to see how you feel in a week or so. But if you do want to cut down -- and I did, violently, I was really struggling -- mixed-feeding can make life easier. But this is a contentious point .
If you do want to give up a feed here and there, make sure you don't give up 2 consecutive feeds as that can jeopardise supply. So my schedule was: I bfed at 7am, introduced a bottle at 10am or so, bfed at 2pm, bfed at 5pm, bottle at 6.30pm, bottle dreamfeed at 10.30pm (I expressed at this time until about week 12).
Most important: once you've introduced one bottle feed, wait for a day or 2 before knocking out another bfeed. Do it gradually, give your body a chance to adjust.

janeybops Wed 27-Jul-05 14:51:02

I have combined and it worked for me. what i did was choose a time of day when you would liek them to have formula. then everyday at that time give it to them. i used to do just one bottle for a while and then once ds and dd got to about 4 months i added another bottle as i wanted. breasts soon adjust to new routine within a few days.
but before you do that have you tried keeping to a routine rather than demand feeding - if your ds is hugry then he might not fall asleep so quickly and finihs one boobie off so to speak?

throckenholt Wed 27-Jul-05 14:51:03

If you are happy expressing - ignore the hv - I did it for my twins for 9 months. I am pretty sure you get both fore milk and hind milk all mixed up together in the bottle.

If you do want to combine both try and keep it to a regular time otherwise your body will get confused about supply and demand.

Having said that - your baby sounds fairly typical for an 8 week old. If you can hang in there for another few weeks things will probably improve.

It maybe that your baby only has a small stomach and gets as much as he needs (not sure what never finshed a feed means !). As he gets bigger this will change, and so will the sleeping through the night bit. If is generally happy, alert, growing well and getting plenty of wet and pooy nappies you are doing fine - no problems with not enough milk.

If you do combine try replacing the last feed before bedtime - let dh feed that one, you go to bed early. Baby is likely to sleep a bit longer on a formula feed because it is harder to digest. Then you breastfeed in the night (sorry - but this is the one that doesn most to stimulate milk supply !).

It will only be for a few weeks more.

rlou Wed 27-Jul-05 14:56:15

Thanks -
Did you find that DS went a little longer in the night with a formula feed?
If I'm totally honest I think its the sleep element that is making me want to combine. I am shattered and baby is mumpy and tired from all the night feeding. I really have tried everything to keep him awake to take a full feed but to no avail..

hunkermunker Wed 27-Jul-05 14:58:33

How do you know he's not taking a full feed? How long he feeds for is no indication to how much milk he's getting. And some babies do wake up frequently, whether they're breast or formula fed.

Can you try just breastfeeding and stop with the interference (supply-wise) of expressing, etc?

rlou Wed 27-Jul-05 15:09:53

Hi hunkermunker

When just breastfed he feeds for about 5 minutes then falls sound asleep. He then wakes 30min to an hour later wanting more. If I express and feed him - he takes about 3-4oz and sleeps for 1.5 - 2 hours.. So I've been used this method for the 2 & 4am feeds the HV has advised me to stop this - the thought of going back to feeding constantly is scary!!
We have an established routine in the day for feeds -- its the night thats the challenge...
I think i'll stick with expressing and ignore HV.

Leogaela Wed 27-Jul-05 15:14:59

rlou - if its any consolation it gets better! If you are not keen to go onto formula you will probably regret it and (although I can't say this from experience) my feeling is that changing to formula wouldn't help a baby that falls asleep feeding.

Try feeding him when he wakes up instead of when he is tired. Play with his feet and hands while you are feeding to keep him awake. Give him lots of feeds before he goes to bed at night. If possible sleep during the day while he sleeps so you don't feel so shattered.

merryberry Wed 27-Jul-05 16:04:52

Hi rlou. My young man is 3 weeks only and I have to mix feed him to cope with his demands still. I do 10-12 BFs a day/night, plus a lunchtime aptamil 70ml feed and an early evening 50-60ml feed. I am actually aiming to go for BF only still, and keep on on the breast way past empty. He is gaining weright well after a >10% loss in the first 3 days of life due to severe treatment, for which he was dripped.

Enough preamble: one of our problems was his 'resting'+++ during a feed. He takes both boobs each meal - for up to 45 minutes if I let him. Here are the tips the NICU/SCBU nurses gave me to speed him up and help him become more efficient:

1. Change him in middle of feed: wake him right up
2. Burp him awake if he really falls asleep at other times during the feed
3. Do breast compressions to make him carry on feeding. These really did the trick for me.


Makes you very self-conscious if feeding in pubic is the prob. As a newbie to BF, I'm awre I am essentially squiching my own breast in public

HTH, xx

merryberry Wed 27-Jul-05 16:05:43

laugh severe jaundice for which he had treatment, i wasn't being heavy handed mama

aloha Wed 27-Jul-05 16:39:14

I always say this but honestly my son was a terrible sleeper as a baby, mixed fed, and he slept not a minute longer on formula compared to breastmilk.
I think your HV is talking rubbish and agree with everyone else, your baby will 'wake up' as he grows and will be able to feed longer.
I did mix feed and it was OK - I fed for over a year - but for some people it does spell the end of breastfeeding so you are right to be cautious.
why do you feel you can't go out? A sleepy little baby who is breastfed is the ultimate portable person!

throckenholt Wed 27-Jul-05 18:07:37

he will probably go longer on a formula feed because it is harder to digest - but it will not help you breastfeeding in terms of getting it established.

I agree it is much quicker to bottle feed at night - so if it suits you better carry on expressing and bottle feeding at night - BUT make sure you at least express once or twice in the night - because that is when the hormones work most to stimulate supply (something to do with being safer to feed at night when curled up in your nest compared if early human history).

I found the best way was to leave a feed for the bed time one (say about 10pm), and go to bed at about 8pm, then at least you have probably got a good 4-6 hours sleep before the middle of the night feed. If DH can handle feeding a bottle in the middle of the night while you epxress then that will cut down the wake up time for you. Working a shift system between you and dh can help - so he handles from early evening til midnight (either with expressed or formula), and you do the middle of the night.
Whatever you decide - it will really settle down soon.

TuttiFrutti Thu 28-Jul-05 10:08:20

My baby is 13 weeks and he's always been a very hungry baby. I've just started giving him formula as a top-up after the 3 main feeds of the day (making sure the breast is totally empty first) and it works brilliantly so far.

I did this because he was starting to demand feeds earlier and earlier each day, and was obviously not getting enough from me any more. On one day last week, he was demanding feeds every 2 hours and my breasts ran dry pretty quickly and never got a chance to fill up again properly - stress levels were quite high!

Rlou, I also express milk every evening like you, so my husband can do the last feed from a bottle. I would ignore your HV as I think it's great for husbands to bond with the baby like this, and makes sure the baby never forgets how to feed from a bottle. If we hadn't done this, I might not be able to do the formula top-ups now because the baby would probably reject the bottle.

throckenholt Thu 28-Jul-05 10:24:37

TuttuFrutti - your breasts almost never run dry - they make milk on demand.

To some extent by giving the top ups of formula you are reducing your own supply by not stimulating it for the extra.

BUT if you are both happy with combi feeding in that way and it suits you them stick with it. However, if you want to keep breastfeeding long term try not to increase the top ups any more otherwise you will get into a slow spiral of diminshing supply.

tiktok Thu 28-Jul-05 10:30:20

TuttiFrutti, throckenholt is right.

Giving three top ups a day will reduce your milk.

Your breasts do not empty.

A baby who is asking for feeds more often is normal - you make the milk in response to these requests simply by feeding him.

Giving formula extends the gap between feeds and reduces the milk.

If you find this works for you, then of course that's fine....but you do need to know that leaving time for breasts to fill up has the opposite effect of what you intend.

alux Thu 28-Jul-05 10:31:46

TF: sounds like your lo had a classic 3 month growth spurt last wk. nothing to do with supply.

tiktok Thu 28-Jul-05 10:47:09

Just another point about the way milk is made -

short gaps between feeds = quick replacement of milk

long gaps between feeds = slower replacement of milk

Some milk is also made as and when the baby sucks.

tiktok Thu 28-Jul-05 10:57:23

I have just found a good webpage (on the excellent kellymom site) that explains what I am saying in easy terms.

This shows how 'empty' breasts are never empty and how letting breasts 'refill' is counter-productive

Good analogy is one which has you drinking water through a straw while your friend refills the glass from a jug....the emptier you make the glass, the faster your friend pours the water!

ruty Thu 28-Jul-05 14:40:38

i've had to combine feeding due to what doctors diagnosed as food protein intolerance in my milk. my baby had blood in his stools from 3-6 months until i introduced combined feeding with neocate formula. My 10 months ds still breastfeeds quite alot at night and has a feed in the evening, but thats it. Will my breasts dry up? I try to express once a day but don't get a lot. Not sure how to keep my supply up. Sorry to hijack!

tiktok Thu 28-Jul-05 14:43:31

Better to start a new thread, ruty....too different from this one!

throckenholt Thu 28-Jul-05 14:48:31

ruty - I think by 10 months your supply is established and you can continue feeding 1 or 2 times a day for quite a long while. Your supply will only probably dry up when you stop feeding completely.

ruty Thu 28-Jul-05 14:51:37

ok tikok - thanks throckenholt!

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