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Struggling with having enough breastmilk, thinking about formula.

(18 Posts)
AlisonL1981 Tue 14-May-13 08:15:27

Hi, I've got an 8 week old little boy who was 7 weeks premature. He has been solely on breastmilk from the start,I expressed for the 4 weeks he was in hospital and continued to give him ebm when we came home as he was struggling to breastfeed.

He's just started to get the hang of breastfeeding but I usually have to top him up afterwards with a bottle of ebm.

My milk supple us now struggling to cope with how much he takes, at one point I had a huge supple of frozen to fall back on.

I'm struggling with trying to breastfeed and to express and keep up a supple.

As much as I don't wasn't to I guess the next step is to introduce formula? I will continue to express and try and build up the supply around breastfeeding as well thought.

We were looking at cow and gate first milk as that is what they had in scu.

Is it ok to just start supplanting the odd feed or should it be done a certain way?

Any advice appreciated.

yetanotherworry Tue 14-May-13 08:19:56

Congratulations on your new son and well done for getting so far. Why don't you relax about the expressing for a few weeks and concentrate on building up your supply by offering baby breast more often (eg every 2 hours). Have a couple of days where you just lie in bed with snacks and baby and see how it goes.

AlisonL1981 Tue 14-May-13 08:30:06

Thanks for the reply, that's exactly what I've been trying over the past couple if days, its helping but after each feed when little man falls asleep he wakes about half an hour later screaming and takes ages to settle which is why I've been topping him up so he doesn't get do distressed. He feeds every 2/3 hours anyway.

I've also got a family funeral to travel south for so that isn't going to help x

QTPie Tue 14-May-13 08:33:54

Why do you think that your supply is struggling?

If you have enough to feed and then express, then you probably have enough to feed.

The best thing to do is to speak to a qualified breastfeeding counsellor (NCT or La Leche League or ask your HV to recommend a local one). It sounds as though you are both doing fantastically.

AlisonL1981 Tue 14-May-13 08:37:14

Think you. Perhaps it's not my supply that's struggling, more that he doesn't take enough. He's so used to to bottle that he can drink quite quickly. He happily breastfeeds for the same time as having his bottle but than falls asleep.

QTPie Tue 14-May-13 08:40:49

It might be that he is waking up for a reason other than food (or just that he has woken up and thinks he needs to suckle to go to sleep again). However, have you tried just offering the breast again (rather than expressed)?

Either he is trying to up the demand (doesn't mean that you cannot meet that with your supply) or he is just looking for a way to get back to sleep again.

Funeral is a difficult one. Are you staying overnight away from home. Personally I wouldn't let a funeral interfer with breastfeeding - would work around it.

lifesobeautiful Tue 14-May-13 08:43:53

Sounds like you've done brilliantly with the breastfeeding so far, but if you're struggling to keep him full up and it's becoming stressful or making either of you unsettled or unhappy, there's absolutely nothing wrong with (and don't feel guilty about) introducing formula. Lots of people successfully mix feed. You could introduce it into the bed-time feed to encourage lengthier sleeping - but you can substitute it any time. You could set aside two special times you breastfeed, then use formula at other times. Cow and Gate is a good brand - made by the same people that make the more expensive Aptamil. Good luck!

QTPie Tue 14-May-13 08:44:49

Yes, I could be wrong, but it sounds as though you are both "going through a period of adjustment": your DS needs to get used to just breastfeeding (although I wouldn't give up expressing altogether - I did one feed a day from 4 weeks: have some flexibility and meant he was used to a bottle) and you need to relax and do with the flow a bit (trust your body).

Saying all that, I am not qualified and haven't met you: so get some professional advice.

If you do want to "mix feed", then go ahead (personal choice), but from what you said it doesn't sound like you "need" to (if you don't want to).

GibberTheMonkey Tue 14-May-13 08:54:15

Prem babies do get tired very easily especially when feeding. If he's waking up again an hour layer hungry because he fell asleep midfeed this is perfectly normal. It will improve and get easier if you feed him when he wants it.
I used to have to set my alarm every two hours in the night because feeding wiped my dd out so much.

lotsofcheese Tue 14-May-13 08:55:53

Hi Alison, this is just a brief reply as I'm in the middle of expressing.

My DD was also premature &I'm struggling with supply & expressing plus looking after my 4 year old.

There's a couple of threads in Breast & Bottle feeding section (under Feed the World Topic) where there's a few of us struggling to establish breast feeding after having an early baby.

So you're not alone! Hoping everything works out x

mrsbugsywugsy Tue 14-May-13 09:03:18

hi Alison

dd was also premature although only by 5 weeks. I found that once she passed her due date she 'woke up' and began to behave like a normal baby. instead of waking her for feeds she began to demand them herself, quite a lot more often than the 3-4 hours suggested by scbu.

is your ds being weighed regularly? is he putting on weight? lots of wet and dirty nappies? if so I would be tempted to carry on as you are, and offer the breast whenever he is hungry. this will increase your supply whereas if you give formula your supply could decrease.

I also second the advice to get a bfing counsellor to check your latch.

I carried on expressing and now top up dd after her evening feed only, in the hope that it will help her sleep for longer (ha!) and keep her used to taking a bottle, not because she really needs it any more.

good luck and well done bfing so far with a preemie smile

oscarwilde Tue 14-May-13 11:23:10

I had this but only 3 weeks early so not strictly prem. V poor feeder, lost tons of weight, needed light therapy and all sorts so had to express and top up after most feeds. Felt like a milking sow and my day was basically; feed, express, feed - 1 hr off, feed, express, feed.
Things completely turned a corner when DD2 hit circa 9lbs in weight which was about 8 weeks old for her. She was much more alert, properly finished a feed and I only had to top up once or occasionally twice a day. I used the little Aptamil starter pack for top ups when I couldn't find the time to express [have toddler too] or if my supply was low in the evenings. Regularly expressing definitely increased my supply though and DD2 is pretty much ebm at her own insistence.

If the weight gain is going ok and everyone is happy, AND ebm is v important to you, then I'd carry on as you are. If you just want to skip just one expressing session so you can have a sleep then don't beat yourself up about it. You'll have tons of milk when you wake up and 90ml here and there won't make a blind bit of difference.

Huge congrats on getting this far - 8 weeks early must have been really tough. 3 weeks scared the sh#t out of me.

10storeylovesong Tue 14-May-13 14:15:08

Hiya, I just wanted to say that I could have written your post a couple of weeks ago. My ds was 13 weeks prem and I expressed for 13 weeks until he reached his due date. I really struggled with it and have now switched to formula as I wasn't expressing enough to keep up with him and his tongue tie made it very difficult to breast feed.

If you do decide to do it, please don't feel guilty. I beat myself up so much and lost sleep etc about it. I was prescribed domperidone by baby's consultant and this did nothing for me.

Practically, I was told to start alternating formula and ebm about a week before I thought my supply would run out, so one bottle formula then the next formula so his stomach got used to it. Also, although most formulas are pretty similar I have been told by midwives and health visitors that aptamil is most similar to breast milk.

GingerDoodle Tue 14-May-13 14:55:27

There will be lots and lots of posters with advice on bf but I just wanted to add that bf is not for everyone and if you don't want to or don't have a pref there is nothing wrong with ff.

I topped up from a week old with my DD as my milk had not come in properly, dd was not pooing, not really gaining weight and was very unhappy. Top-ups solved the problem. I liked bf so continued and mix fed until 3 months.

I got lots of advice at the time to persevere, to see a bf counsellor, to stay in bed and feed etc but for me as long as dd was happy and healthy and I was able to give her some bf I was not that worried (and for me laying in bed all day to promote feeding was not going to be enjoyable!)

As 10storeylovesong says practically Aptmil has been good for us (and I used the ready made cartons / bottles - expensive but convenient). I started by topping up and gradually as her appetite got bigger I get bf the same and up'd the ff. I never had that my milk but it did not completely dry up until 5-6 months (so 2-3 months or so after stopping feeding).

HearMyRoar Tue 14-May-13 20:00:05

What if you just keep offering him breast whenever he asks for it rather then using a bottle or worrying about how often he is feeding? At that age dd was feeding every hour during the day. There was no problem with my supply or her feeding (in fact i tend towards an over supply if anything), that's just the way she liked it, particularly when having a growth spurt.

She's now 14 Months and can pack away food like you wouldn't believe grin

chocolatemartini Tue 14-May-13 20:14:43

If you don't want to offer formula I'm you don't have to. My DS fed pretty much all day and night at that age, I think even every two hours might not be often enough, especially if you want to build supply. In your position I'd try to see a lactation consultant, even if you have to pay for it, formula isn't a cheap solution either. Good luck I hope it works out as you want it to.

chocolatemartini Tue 14-May-13 20:15:19

Meant I'm sure you don't have to.

Sunnysummer Wed 15-May-13 10:46:08

We've had a similar problem in the last few weeks with our (very) little one, and the midwives told me to stock up on food, organise DH and family on an errand roster, sort out Netflix/lots of DVD box sets and then settle down for a week of nothing but feeding to get supply up and because he really wanted the calories.

I also found that stopping half way through the feed for a nappy change helped to wake him up enough to eat properly for the second half.

DS is now extending to 3 and even 3 1/2 hours between feeds, although I still worry that he empties me out! I'm so glad we did it, though, as after a bit of a rocky start it made me feel like we were a real little team smile

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